Rebecca Parham of Let Me Explain Studios on the Rise of YouTube Animation

Let Me Explain Studios

Just one year after Parham quit freelancing to become a full-time YouTuber, her Let Me Explain Studios is among the most popular animation channels on the platform. When Rebecca Parham of YouTube channel Let Me Explain Studios posted a collaboration video titled “How to Creep Out Your Fav YouTubers at Cons” in May of 2017, the freelance animator could’ve never anticipated the reaction she’d get — or the life changes that were in store. The video, which featured lines voiced by fellow YouTubers TomSka, Jaiden Animations and Daneboe, sent her subscriber count soaring. Just two months later, the night before she left for VidCon, she hit 100,000 subscribers. That was only the beginning. In July of 2017 the Ringling College of Art & Design graduate quit her freelancing job and became a full-time YouTuber. With more bandwidth for what she loves, and with the support of the YouTube animation community,        …read more

James Rallison on TheOdd1sOut Comics, Animations & New Book

TheOdd1sOut comics

The creator takes us back to the beginning of TheOdd1sOut comics and his enormously popular YouTube animation channel and teases his new book. On June 14, 2012, 16-year-old James Rallison posted the first in a new webcomic on his Tumblr page. It took him 100 comics to gain 100 followers, about a year to settle on a defined style of sketching, and more than two years to make the transition to YouTube. But since these humble beginnings, the now-21-year-old animator amassed a following of more than seven million YouTube subscribers (at the time of this writing) who wait with baited breath for new videos to appear on his channel, TheOdd1sOut. With a quirky sense of humor and self-voiced characters, Rallison’s personality is at the heart of what makes TheOdd1sOut such a hit — his comics aren’t just funny but also relatable. While videos like “My Thoughts on the Science Fair        …read more

Hannah Cranston Talks ThinkTank, The Young Turks & the Future of News

ThinkTank Hannah Cranston

Hannah Cranston of ThinkTank and The Young Turks discusses what’s involved in producing the viral news and culture videos. If you’ve been on Facebook this year, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Hannah Cranston’s face in your news feed. Perhaps you caught her rebuking media outlets for blaming women for men’s killing sprees, explaining why tourism is down in the U.S. or chronicling the rise of the alt-right. The 26-year-old cohost and executive producer of ThinkTank, a YouTube talk show channel in TYT (The Young Turks) Network, has helped rack up more than 1.3 million subscribers and more than a half billion views on YouTube — and she’s nowhere near slowing down. With millennials and Generation Z more engaged in current events than ever, ThinkTank’s daily videos defy genre by spanning them all — from Kim Jong Un to Gigi Hadid, from politics to pop culture, there’s no topic this channel        …read more

How Jack White Became One of the Most Influential Men in Music

Jack White

By bringing the past into the future, Jack White has changed the way we experience music. When we think of the artists who revolutionized the rock music industry, we often harken back to the artists of yesteryear. Jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong and John Coltrane influenced rockers like Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley, who in turn paved the way for the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Their classic sounds produced entire generations of copycats who churned out hit after hit, only to be replaced by the next big thing. For a while, it felt like originality was dead. Then came Jack White. Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, White (née John Anthony Gillis), has always been something of an enigma. Though known for his unconventional, slap-you-in-the-face guitar riffs, he grew up listening to classic country and blues, including the Stooges, Son House, Captain Beefheart, Charley Patton and Loretta Lynn. The White        …read more

This Sex Podcast Could Bridge an American Divide

sex podcasts

Sex podcasts are demystifying one of America’s favorite pastimes. A man who’s married to a RealDoll. A trans performer who’s fearful for her future. A former United States Surgeon General who was fired for suggesting Americans teach children about masturbation. These people couldn’t seem more different, but their stories can help us reexamine the way we view sex in the United States, which is exactly what sex podcasts such as American Sex aim to do. He’s into clown play, and she fancies mimes. Much like their guests, one might not imagine American Sex creators and hosts Sunny Megatron and Ken Melvoin-Berg to fit into a traditional love story narrative. Yet, somehow, the sexuality educators have found a way not only to make their relationship work but to also inspire their listeners each week. Though they’re perhaps best known for their work on the Showtime series Sex with Sunny Megatron, the        …read more

‘My Favorite Murder’ Makes Murder Great Again…Kind Of

My Favorite Murder

How two California girls are bringing sexy [murders] back with their popular comedy podcast ‘My Favorite Murder.’ Plus: 4 tips to not get murdered! What’s your favorite murder? Is that a weird question? Are you freaked out? I can explain. Let’s back up a little bit. Rewind to early 2016, when friends Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark gave us the gift we never knew we needed: a true-crime podcast focused on murder…that’s categorized as a comedy. They weren’t the first duo to venture into true-crime podcasting, but their charm and (usually inappropriate) humor have earned them worldwide recognition in a short two years’ time. Fast-forward to present day, and the duo have a website, badass fan art, and live-show tour. You may be wondering, “What kind of people start a true-crime podcast and have the audacity to label it comedy?” Well, let’s meet the California natives. Introducing Karen and Georgia        …read more

Logan Paul Apologized, But We All Feed the Machine

Logan Paul

Oh, Logan Paul…you poor, goofy young man. Now, now, I know everyone is up in arms over how he started 2018, and I’m certainly not saying his recent video in Japan was tasteful or even artful. But Logan Paul is an artist. And as a society, we need to learn from his experience, especially as more and more bright teens aspire to become famous YouTubers. Of course, disrespecting the dead is offensive; but it is important to note that Paul did not commit murder or rape or worse. He simply exhibited very poor judgment based on a certain brand of ignorance that online culture has actively encouraged. And that’s what I’d like to discuss here. First, what did Logan Paul do exactly? He traveled with friends to the Aokigahara forest beneath Japan’s Mount Fuji to go “ghost hunting.” Upon arrival, he and his seemingly vapid, hapless posse came across a man        …read more

How the Jewish Experience Gave Rise to Our Favorite Comic Book Heroes

Jewish Creators

Whether consciously or not on the part of the Jewish creators and innovators, what comes to mind when we think of comics and superheroes comes straight out of troubled times for Jews. Comic books are lifted from the myths, plights and religious teachings of the Jewish people. Let’s start with the framework for comics as we know them. It’s 1933, the heart of the Great Depression, and M.C. Gaines (born Maxwell Ginzberg) needs an idea to make money and provide for his family. One day while reading through old comic strips, he begins to wonder if others would enjoy them too. So he decides to publish a collection of old strips, and the first comic book, Famous Funnies, is born. This is followed by Popular Comics, which includes an original strip called Scribbly about a boy cartoonist, based on its Jewish creator Sheldon Mayer. Realizing this success would be short-lived,        …read more

The World’s First Supernatural Horror Magazine: ‘The Orchid Garden’

horror magazine

Almost 100 years ago, German publishers introduced the world to ‘The Orchid Garden’ and a new art form: the supernatural horror magazine. One of the greatest inventions of all time? Paper. Though its creation is commonly attributed to Cai Lun in the Eastern Han Dynasty, archaeological research suggests paper existed in an earlier time. With the advent of the printing press in 1440, people were able to enjoy all kinds of printed works. In our now-almost-forgotten public libraries, in bookstore aisles and at the grocery checkout counter, we can still find a form of reading material that’s been popular for centuries: the magazine. In 1731 Englishman Edward Cave released The Gentleman’s Magazine, which would go on to enjoy 200 years in publication. Cave’s goal was to create a periodical that would interest the general public, so he included everything from essays and poems to stories and political musings. With the        …read more

Did Our Favorite Indie Comics Grow Up or Sell Out?

indie comics

How did indie comics ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ and ‘The Tick’ rise from cult followings to franchises, and what did they give up for mass appeal? When I saw that a new version of The Tick was coming out — from creator Ben Edlund, no less — I was ecstatic. However, the pilot was not the laugh riot I expected. I was leery of the dark, serious tone and the direction it was taking. An odd approach, if you remember the original indie comics. When I was a kid, comic books were my be-all and end-all. While other kids dressed up as athletes or in occupational garb, year after year I dressed up as superheroes and — I likely should be embarrassed to write this — still do every Halloween. So imagine my delight when, as a young teen, I ran into two indie comics: The Tick and Teenage Mutant        …read more