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SDCC Approaching, Assume Emergency Positions

Packing and logistics today, travel tomorrow. Posting sparse until later in the week. You know how it is.

Fleen Book Corner: Queen Of The Sea

I almost had a nit to pick with Queen Of The Sea Dylan Meconis’s gorgeous, immersive, engaging, and absorbing alternate history of the disputed succession of the British crown. It’s not the history we know, it’s a different history with the lands of Albion, Gallia, and Ecossia standing in for England, France, and Scotland. King Edmund reigns in Albion rather than Fat Henry; his daughters from various wives include Catherine and the fire-haired Eleanor (taking the place of Mary and Elizabeth), and the order of nuns¹ that make a large portion of the cast all worship the Mournful Mother and the Sorrowful Son.

Everything is just a little bit off, but so little that if you came to the book not knowing much about the tail end of the Wars of the Roses, and figured that for some reason some Latinish names were used for countries, you might not realize it’s a different history at all. The economics of an isolated abbey on an infrequently-visited island, the politics of serving and betraying noble families, the mechanisms of exile, the remnants of pagan culture to be discovered, the modes of dress, they all read mostly familiar and just a little different. It’s our history, plus or minus a few key differences at a few branches of history’s tree.

A metaphor may help you place the degree of familiarity and oddness that we’re talking about, one that I think Meconis would appreciate — this is the 16th Century by way of a Trekian Mirror Universe². Not the one that we keep seeing in the various iterations of Star Trek where good is evil and everybody has the same name with a reversed personality; it’s more of an angled mirror, one that’s a random 17.6° off from our reality instead of 180.

And that is why I decided that I don’t have a nit to pick over the first few pages of the book, where we see a put-upon and about to be captured Queen Eleanor, flanked by a pair of rather majestic greyhounds.

You see, they’re actually grey, uniformly grey, from tip to tail, and in our reality greyhounds very rarely come in that color³, and those few that do are nearly always sporting a tuxedo pattern of white on their chests. But in that world that’s 17.6° off from ours, let us allow that the grey in greyhound actually refers to the color, rather than having an unknown origin as it does here.

I mention it because it was literally the only thing in the book that I didn’t absolutely love with all my heart from the very beginning.

Young Margaret, our POV character, takes us through her life on an isolated island and the ten other people that live there, the socio-political state of her world, the foundation of the dominant religion, and the rhythms of her life in a natural, conversational tone over two dozen pages. The plot kicks in when two more come to the island to stay, and she discovers that the simple truths we absorb in childhood have layers of hidden truth behind them. As she grows (and grows more inquisitive), she finds that answers to earlier questions and personal biographies change, the world becomes more complex, and that the heroes and villains she’s heard about are both more nuanced — and closer — than she’d dreamed.

And so her story goes, learning to navigate the priorities and plottings and conspirations of people who range from utterly dismissive of her existence to desperately willing to exploit her. Her personal experience is no different from any other pre-teen girl, one that’s still got a sense of adventure and inquisitiveness, that hasn’t yet been pulled fully into the allowed gender roles of her time. She’s naive — or maybe merely uninformed, not having grown up among intrigues — but not stupid. She knows when things appear right and when they appear wrong, and she feels the sting of injustice as keenly as any child whose temper flares in a That’s not fair! reaction. She may not appreciate the weighty nature of all that’s landed on her little home island, but she’s willing to kick back at the cruel and manipulative to the best of her ability.

The lack of chapter breaks in Queen Of The Sea may have been for practical reasons (the book is exactly 400 pages long, plus endpapers), but it makes the experience of reading reflect Margaret’s perception of time. A child of just about ten years, she lives life in a continual flow, one thing leading to another, aware of the larger passing of days, but not really saying and then this ended and having it be a true break before the next thing begins. It also makes it almost imperative to read the book in one sitting.

Be sure to set aside enough time for that sitting, though — the art throughout is gorgeous, subtle, each page a watercolor (some decorated by embroidery), done in a color palette inspired by the cloudy skies and choppy seas around a little spit of an island housing a rather subdued order of nuns. Each face is lovingly lived-in, each life revealed by posture and expression as much as word and deed. Every drape and fold of clothing reveals the effects of both gravity and a cycle of wear and repair. Eyes and brows speak volumes, and the noses….

Ah, the noses. Who pays attention to noses when they design comics characters? Meconis does, each one different and full of character. In a medium where too many careers are built on sameface and samebody and clothing that may as well be spray-painted onto naked (exaggerated, idealized, ridiculous) bodies, Meconis does her characters the respect of making them stoop here, sag there, to exist as gloriously varied and imperfect people.

Queen Of The Sea is, by turns, contemplative, pulse-pounding, educational, silly, philosophical, and overall a perfect distillation of what it’s like to be a child learning your way in the world rather too quickly for comfort. It’s a perfect read for anybody of, let’s say 8 or 9 years and up. Producing it was a labor of years — I was privileged to watch several of the pages be painted last year, in the rush towards deadline — and I wouldn’t wish that burden on anyone, but if Meconis should feel the need to tell us what came next in the dynastic struggles of that world that is 17.6° off from ours, she’ll find a crowd of readers eager to join Margaret, Eleanor, and the rest in the next phase of their lives.

Queen Of The Sea by Dylan Meconis is published by Candlewick Press. It’s available wherever books are sold.

Spam of the day:

Revolutionary Bluetooth-Powered Smart Wallet is Driving Pick-Pockets Crazy

Oh yes, because having a shit-security bluetooth connection in your wallet won’t make it vulnerable in all kinds of interesting new ways. Just keep your damn wallet in your front pocket. Problem solved.

¹ Of which we are introduced to four: the Clarites, the Wandering Sisters, the Lamentines, and the Elysians.

² Meconis, one may recall, is a Trekkie from birth, and one of the few people I would trust with an actually operational phaser.

³ Which greyhound people refer to as blue. And plausibly-colored or not, these greyhounds are marvelously rendered, each pose and proportion perfectly rendered. It’s almost like she had a live model to draw inspiration from.

First Looks

A bunch of forthcoming stuff has been announced, which I thought we ought to be familiar with. Let’s dig in, shall we?

  • Lucy Knisley does memoir like nobody else. I mean, her ability to capture the mood and tenor of a situation in her completely authentic voice is like an inward-focused Studs Terkel. We’ve seen her travel the world, eat, marry, and have a child, now we’re going to see what motherhood is like:

    Cover reveal! Check out the cover for my book, “Go To Sleep (I Miss You)”, which collects my sketches and comics from my days (and nights) of early parenthood. Out February! …
    #babies #newborns #breastfeeding #birth #comics #thelongestshortesttime

    Did I mention that she’s a comicking machine? It will be only one year since Kid Gloves released that we get Go To Sleep (I Miss You).

  • Last July, the world learned not only that there would be an original Steven Universe movie, but also that Becky Dreistadt would be the lead character designer. At the time she couldn’t say that the story took place after a time skip, but the poster reveal shows a clearly older, taller Steven¹ as well as a new villain. Entertainment Weekly has the first look.

    I’d ask Dreistadt about it next week in San Diego, but I know she’s gonna be under killer NDAs, so let’s just consider — this is a movie that’s already announced Patti Lupone (as Yellow Diamond) in the cast, so at least one Diamond is still on Earth and this new baddie has to be a credible threat to the team that took down the Diamond Authority. Citizens are urged to remain calm until the air date.

  • You know what we haven’t had in waaay too long? A collection of Scott C’s Great Showdowns. So you know what Scott C just teased over on The Gram? News of a new collection of Great Showdowns. Teased is the right term, too, since all we have is a title (Legend Of The Great Showdowns) and a super-vague release date (2020). You know what? I’ll take it.
  • In terms of scientific journals, you don’t get much more prestigious than Cell. It’s pretty much up there with Nature and Science, and within the family of Cell journals there is a new one, Matter, which is devoted to Materials Science². Volume 1, issue 1 has just released, and there appears to be a section for discussion of issues that are less hard-science-and-numbers in nature, things that scientists should keep in mind as they are Doing Science, but also dealing with people who are Not Scientists. This section is called Matter Of Opinion and the inaugural iteration is titled On The Sensory Analysis Of Matter And Materials.

    Very interesting, Gary, but what are you talking about this? What’s it got to do with webcomics? Excellent questions, Sparky. Because this first Matter Of Opinion features an illustration by Lucas Landherr and Monica Keszler, names that should be familiar if you recall Landherr’s contributions to STEM education via comics, Science The World. Landherr, one should recall, is one of the most highly regarded STEM educators in the US university system³, as well as the proprietor of Surviving The World, and Keszler formerly one of his Chemical Engineering students and also an animator. It hasn’t been said that Landherr and/or Keszler will continue to provide comics to the journal, but it hasn’t been said that they won’t, either.

  • And in the ultimate in first looks: HarperCollins announced today the formation of a new graphic novel imprint, HarperAlley, under the editorial directorship of Andrew Arnold (formerly an art director and acquisitions editor at :01 Books). The HarperCollins backlist (which includes Scott McCloud’s Comics trilogy and Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona) will be joined by about 30 books a year, starting Fall of 2020.

    That is an insanely close time. To release books in the Fall of next year, they need to already be pretty much done with the editorial process and well into the production cycle. Recall that when Gina Gagliano got headhunted by Random House in May of last year, the first books were set for 2020. Arnold is trying to do what Gagliano is doing in half the time. And the thing of it? With what he learned at :01, he’ll very likely succeed. :01 Books is looking as much an incubator of the next generation(s) of publishing leaders as it is an imprint.

Spam of the day:

Action requested: Regarding your subscription …

This claims to come from Sears. The only communication I want from Sears is a notification when Brandon Bird decides to do something Sears-related.

¹ And hey, we saw Stevonnie shaving last season, so a puberty-affected Steven so it’s rational to expect some rapid changes from Steven.

² I prefer to read a second meaning into the title — these are things that matter.

³ Relevant part of his CV: American Institute Of Chemical Engineers 35 Under 35 Award, 2017; AIChE Award For Innovation in Chemical Engineering Education, 2018; American Society Of Engineering Education Northeast Section Outstanding Teacher Award, 2016; ASEE Chemical Engineering Division Ray W Fahien Award, 2019, Fostering Engineering Innovation In Education Award, 2017; Dr RH Sioui Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2015; Omega Chi Epsilon Faculty Member Of The Year Award, 2015, 2016, and 2018.

Sick Doggie

Gotta take care of the pooch today. Looks like it might just be a one-day thing and she’s starting to act like she feels a little better, but she’s still out of sorts. To make up for it, please enjoy an extra-special Spam of the day, and I will be sure to post any further responses from Dorian. Talk to you tomorrow.

Spam of the day:

Dorian wrote:

I would like to know if you are selling your domain name because I would be interested to buy it from you

have a nice day


Hi Dorian,

Sure, I’ll sell.

To account for the effort of reporting, editing, and writing on the site, I will require US$1.37/word of content. For brand recognition and accumulated goodwill, I will require US$4.82/word. The site registration itself is worth US$12.95, which I am willing to provide gratis if you meet the price for the rest.

I estimate I’ve written about 2.3 million words, meaning the cost for and all of its intellectual property will be approximately US$14.237 million; I can provide a more accurate accounting as we get closer to finalizing the deal.

Please remit to me a certified check in the amount of 15% of the above total as a non-refundable deposit against final costs to obtain exclusivity. For a period of time not to exceed 180 days from the time the check clears, I will not accept any other offers, and you will receive the right to meet any offers that exceed the amount above.



Hey there. Let’s catch up with some stuff over at the Kickstarter, yes?

  • Rippin’ up the charts, the latest game from the folks over at Cyanide & Happiness is notable for a few reasons:
    1. It gamifies the traditional philosophical connundrum known as the Trolley Problem for laugh-chuckles.
    2. They asked for a funding goal of US$69,420, an amount known as one sexweed.
    3. They cleared goal in 44 minutes.
    4. They have further gamified stretch goals by putting in now-familiar social media promotional activities, but also by essentially playing a mass game of Trial By Trolley. The outcome for the first vote hasn’t wrapped up yet, but presumably the stretch goals will be revealed based on which path the murdery (but quaint) mass transit vehicle takes.
  • Jon Rosenberg¹ is Kickstarting the third Scenes From A Multiverse collection, in part to get the revenue to reprint out of print Goats collections to fulfill a previous Kickstarter². Normally, an uncompleted fulfillment would be a red flag, but since Jon’s gone from trying to run this himself to engaging the professional stuff-handlers at Make That Thing, I’d say that supporting this one is safe, and will do a solid to folks waiting for the earlier one to finish.
  • From Matt Inman and the Throw Throw Burrito team, news that shipping on product which was due to begin in September has been rescheduled to approximately now. I am not convinced that somebody on Team Kittens hasn’t internalized the lessons of one Commander Montgomery Scott, who notes that you always inflate your delivery promises so as to come in earlier than you said you would. If half of adulthood is showing up, the other half is managing expectations.
  • Anthology 1: A new themed anthology that will raise funds to support the Coalition To End Gun Violence and the Community Justice Reform Coalition has been announced. Shots Fired finishes its 28 day campaign in a week, and features a (pardon the expression) murderer’s row of creative talent, including Tom Beland, Alex de Campi, Colleen Coover, Roger Langridge, Carla Speed McNeil, Trina Robbins, Marguerite Sauvage, Scott Snyder, Paul Tobin, Fred Van Lente, Shannon Wheeler, and about four dozen others. US$25 for the paperback, US$35 for the Kickstarter-exclusive hardcover.
  • Anthology 2: There’s lots of harbingers of the End Times out there, friendos, but maybe none so disturbing as the fact that a Kel McDonald Kickstart is in danger of not funding. The anthology Can I Pet Your Werewolf was Kickstarted back in 2017, and it’s out of print. The reprint campaign is three days from wrapping and (as of this writing) a bit more than US$3000 from goal.

    That’s a lot better than it was two days ago when it was under US$10K (and boy howdy, that’s a weird funding curve), but still possibly it will fall short of the mark. McDonald and co-editor Molly Muldoon have a lot of great folks on the book³ which again — just needs a reprint. It’s done, it’s all laid out, it’s a proven seller. It just (as Thrór told Thráin4) needs gold to breed gold.

Spam of the day:

The guy lost 84 lbs

Wait, which guy? Stinko Man? Because everybody says he’s the guy, and I wanna be the guy, too!

¹ Disclaimer: he hosts this page, was the one that prompted me to start it in the first place, and owns my soul.

² And let’s acknowledge that was approximately the time that Jon and his wife had a high-risk pregnancy with two very small twin sons, one of whom has spent a significant chunk of his life getting past the medical side-effects of being born. Dude’s had some shit on his plate is what I’m saying.

³ Aud Koch! Seanan McGuire! Monica Gallagher! Sophie Goldstein! Cat Farris! Kendra Wells! Plus at least one dude because there are men that make comics, too.

4 Nerrrrrrrrrrrd.

SDCC 2019 Programming: Sunday

And we make it at last to the wind-down, which weary resignation is a recurring theme when talking about San Diego Comic Con and Sunday, whether considering advance planning or the actual experience. Sunday remains the kid-themed day, with lots going on for the younger fan of comics, not to mention the wild rush to finish up commerce before things that getting torn down until next year. And hey, Con ends at 5:00pm, so there can’t be panels that don’t start until 9:00. I think …


Food Network’s Chef Duff Goldman
10:00 — 11:00, Grand 10 & 11, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

I love that dude, and the joy he brings to creation. I may just go check this one out.

Space Wizards: The Quest To Define Speculative Fiction
11:00 — 12:00, Grand 12 & 13, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

Wait, there’s a panel about Space Wizards, and they didn’t invite Jon Rosenberg? That’s messed up.

The Adventure Zone: Murder On The Rockport Limited! Graphic Novel
11:00 — 12:00, Room 7AB

Two McElroys (Travis and Clint), Carey Pietsch, and Satine Phoenix talk about the brand new graphic novel adaptation (it releases the day before Preview Night).

140-Odd Years Of Looking At The Future
12:00 — 1:00, Room 25ABC

Junior high school me, with a serious habit of ’60s-and-later hard SF, would shit himself at the possibility of being in a room with Larry Niven, David Brin, and Greg Bear (who, at 17 or 18, was one of the founders of SDCC). The topic will be time travel, and discussion will be guided by Dr Travis Langley (professor of Psychology, Henderson State University).

Growing Up with Comics: Introducing Younger Readers To Graphic Storytelling
12:00 — 1:00, Room 28DE

One of my great thrills in life is giving a stack of graphic novels (some exactly age appropriate, some that require stretching a bit) as a birthday present as part of my grunkle duties. Last year I watched a seven year old forgo a water fight on the hottest day of the year when she say I’d given her a copy of The Witch Boy². So I imagine a good deal of the discussion from Cecil Castellucci, Sarah Graley, and Amy Mebberson will be variations on Put comics in front of kids and let ’em rip, but they’ll find much smarter ways to express that thought.

iPhones And Wands: Can Tech And Magic Coexist?
1:00 — 2:00, Room 25ABC

Clarke’s Law gets a workout from the likes of Gene Ha, Maya Kern, Katie O’Neill, Bree Paulsen, Carey Pietsch, and Ursula Vernon, with moderator Lilah Sturges.

Short Form Comics For Every Reader
1:00 — 2:00, Room 28DE

There is a certain irony in inviting Randall Munroe to this panel, given that probably his most famous comic¹ took four months to play out and has an entire wiki built around its 3102 frames. But join Sarah Mirk as she talks to Munroe, Aminder Dhaliwal, Ebony Flowers, Kevin Huizenga, and Sophie Yanow about getting ideas across in just a few frames.

Super Asian America
2:45 — 3:45, Room 5AB

Do me a favor. If CB Cebulski shows up to bother Andrea Walter, CB Lee, and Wesley Chu, somebody smack him.

Wonder Women CEOs — Female Owned And Operated Comic Publishers
3:00 — 4:00, Room 7AB

Quoting here: One day a female comic publisher will be standard — until then, we have Wonder Women! Hoo-howdy, that’s a crappy topic sentence, and whoever wrote it needs to re-evaluate where they are in life. As previously noted, it’s women that do the nuts-and-bolts work of getting comics out, and as the big two become less relevant because their corporate masters see the money brought in from Wednesday sales as a rounding error, the small companies are going to fill those niches. Hear about the revolution in the offing, and try to convince Sandy King Carpenter (Storm King Comics), Enrica Jang (Red Stylo Media), D Lynn Smith (Kymera Press), and C Spike Trotman (Iron Circus Comics) that you’ll be useful to the new regime. Comics is about to be a women’s game, and the dudes currently running things are placeholders.

Spam of the day:

Bring Your Doorbell Into the 21st Century 2.4g WiFi connectivity, Android and iOS compatibility, image capture technology

I have a bell. I also have glass up and down the front door, and other windows that look out on the front door, and a dog that loveloveloves new people bouncing up and down scrabbling at the front door.

Under no circumstances am I bringing your shit-security, hardcoded-admin-credentials Internet Of Things thing into my house. Fuck outta here with that nonsense.

¹ Depending on who you’re talking to, of course. In my day job, it’s more likely to be a discussion of scrubbing SQL inputs or computer voting being an inherently bad idea.

² Certain of the grand-nieces and grand-nephews have had to be informed by friends that not all graphic novels come signed and sketched by the creators.

SDCC 2019 Programming: Saturday

I continue my befuddlement at the the programming decisions. It’s just … yeah. But on the bright side, this will be the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, so that’s cool.


How To: Absurd Scientific Advice For Common, Real-World Problems
10:00 — 11:00am, Room 4

Given the similar timing we saw yesterday, it appears that Randall Munroe is a morning person. He’ll be talking about his forthcoming book, How To, which will doubtless involve some questionable logic, safety, or rationale. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Comics Arts Conference Session #9: Focus on Carey Pietsch: Comedy And Fantasy In Comics With Clint McElroy
10:30 — 11:30, Room 26AB

Carey Pietsch has been doing a bang-up job on her The Adventure Zone graphic novels, and McEldad Clint has proven to have a pretty good eye for writing comics. I’m guessing that the early start is what makes the organizers think that the relatively small Room 26AB is sufficient for anything McElrelated? Same logic that put Justin in the similarly-sized Room 32AB for a dinnertime start on Thursday.

Comic Book Law School© 303: Super Lawyers Unite!
10:30 — 12:00, Room 11

Session three gets into the thornier issues around intellectual property, which expected to include licensing comics for television streaming services, online and social media IP protection, the 12 biggest copyright and trademark myths, Dr Seuss vs. ComicMix, and memes: tributes or infringements?

Sesame Street Puppets Live!
11:30 — 12:30, Horton Grand Theatre

I can tell you everything you need to know in five words: Big Bird will be there. Also The Count, Grover, Bert, Oscar, and Elmo.

Quick Draw!
11:45 — 1:00, Room 6BCF

Hey, organizers? I know that having Mark Evanier host a battle of Sharpies between Sergio Aragonés, Scott Shaw!, and this year’s sacrificial lamb special guest, Disney legend Floyd Norman, is gonna be great. It always is. But y’all need to invite Lar DeSouza. Dude’s, like, Roadrunner fast.

IDW And Oni Press: Rick And Morty vs Dungeons & Dragons
12:00 — 1:00, Room 25ABC

Looks like all of Zub’s appearances this year are going to be D&D related? That’s cool. He’ll be with editor Chase Marotz and Wizards Of The Coast game designer Nathan Stewart.

Innovations In Comics
1:00 — 2:00, Room 9

Did I mention that Shing Yin Khor is repeating her Space Gnome Mercantile Exchange again this year? You can trade her a good rock, or a handwritten copy of your favorite poem, or a cutting from a succulent for some awesome stuff. And if you’re a previous trader with the Gnome, you can get special stuff. I mention all this because if you can’t find the Space Gnome at table O-04, you can stalk her at this panel, or one of the others she’ll be at. It’s easy to miss her, she’s tiny.

Anyhoo, she’ll be talking with Panelists Jordan Plosky (founder, ComicBlitz), Atom Freeman (Sales & BizDev, ComicHub), and Nick Coglianese (founder, Key Collector Comic App) to talk about technology, ideas, and innovations on the horizon. Moderated by Brett Schenker (founder, Graphic Policy).

Speaking of space, at 1:17 San Diego time (or specifically, 20:17:40 UTC), it will be 50 years since Eagle, the Apollo 11 lunar module, touched down on the surface of the moon.

Ask Me Anything: Pick Educators’ And Creators’ Brains On Comics In Classrooms
2:00 — 3:00, Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library

Gina Gagliano and Mark Siegel on the same panel? Talking about comics in schools? Yes, please. Also featuring Meryl Jaffe (Johns Hopkins), Derek Heid (Temecula Valley Unified School District), Tracy Edmunds (curriculum development consultant), Ben Costa, and James Parks, with moderator/educator Talia Hurwich (NYU).

Women Rocking Hollywood 2019: Women-Powered Projects And The Push Towards Parity
2:00 — 3:00, Room 7AB

At various times in the history of this-here blog, I have mentioned that Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett is married to TV showrunner-producer-writer-story editor-and-everything-else Gloria Calderon Kellett. I believe that I have, on multiple occasions, mentioned that in that particular household, Glo is the funny one. She’ll be talking with Alison Emilio, Liesl Tommy, Catherine Hardwicke, Cheryl Dunye, Jen McGowan, Angela Robinson, and C Fitz. They are, between them, responsible for the likes of How I Met Your Mother, One Day At A Time, Twilight, Queen Sugar, Rust Creek, True Blood, Professor Marston And The Wonder Women, ReFrame, and The Walking Dead. Moderated by journalist Leslie Combemale.

Invader Zim
2:30 — 3:30, Room 24ABC

Sam Logan’s been writing a bunch of Invader Zim comics, and he’ll be part of the panel talking about where the series has been and where it’s going. Naturally, Jhonen Vasquez will be there, writer Eric Trueheart, and Oni publisher James Lucas Jones.

Becoming a World Builder: How To Start Making Science Fiction And Fantasy Comics
3:00 — 4:00, Room 29AB

This is the real nerdy stuff here, digging in and making a whole world for your story, knowing that your readers will only see a fraction of it. Marc Bernardin, Spike Trotman, Richard Starkings, Ariela Kristantina, Clive Hawken, and Jim Zub — Wait, is that right, Zub’s on this? It’s not D&D related. — talking to moderator by Kiersten Wing.

“Get Drawn In” To The Next Generation Of Digital Comics
4:00 — 5:00, Grand 12 & 13, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

Shing Yin Khor again; I think this is her fourth panel of the show so far? Anyway, this is about a streaming platform called Graphite, and their Chief Content Officer, Tom Akel, has gathered up some folks to talk about it. That’ll include creators Nick Seluk, Ryan Benjamin, and Leeanne Krecic, along with publishers Filip Sablik (tell him BOOM need to pay their fucking creators) and Robert Napton (Legendary).

Rolling The Dice: Where Comics And Role Playing Collide
5:00 — 6:00, Room 28DE

How playing let’s pretend in groups greases the creative muscles for story making. Includes Kieron Gillen, Spike Trotman, MK Reed, and Jim Zub (back firmly on D&D-related ground). Moderated by Ivan Salazar and Jose Sagastume.

Kiki’s Delivery Service Screening
7:00 — 9:15, Horton Grand Theatre

This movie is a damn masterpiece, and the screening is in honor of its 30th anniversary. Later in the month, it’ll be simulcast to theaters across the country, so if you can’t get tickets for this showing, you’ll have a few more chances.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine
7:45 — 8:45, Room 6BCF

It is nearly eight pee-em, and now is when you trot out Andy Samberg, Melissa Fumero, Terry Crews, Joe Lo Truglio, Dirk Blocker, Joel McKinnon Miller, and executive producers Dan Goor and Luke Del Tredici? This is weird, right?

Assuming you’re not in the movie, you should be aware that at 7:56pm (02:56:15 UTC, dontcha know), it will be 50 years since Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface. Please acknowledge it as you see fit.

NXonNetflix Presents the Comic-Con 2019 Masquerade
8:30 — 11:30, Ballroom 20
Consecutive late night number three for Los Foglios, as they fulfill their annual duties hosting cosplay’s greatest competition. Doors open at eight, but tickets are handed out at noon at the Masquerade desk outside the ballroom. Overflow seating (no tickets required) in Room 6A and the Sails Pavilion.

Happy Birthday, Troma
9:00 — 10:00, Room 25ABC

Okay, Troma and their low-budget, schlocky (I mean that in the best possible way) movies are legendary. But you know why you want to see this very late night presentation? Because Chuck Tingle will be there, buckaroos. He’ll be part of the panel, moderated by Megan Silver, talkig with Troma impressario Lloyd Kaufman, WWE wrestler Dolph Ziggler, actor/director Trent Hagga, writer James Rolfe, producer Patricia Swinney Kaufman, and more. Get pounded in the butt by the shared love of tongue-in-cheek splatter films.

Spam of the day:

The most simple and cheapest digital organising system on the market with 64GB storage capacity.

It’s a USB thumb drive. I’ve got like a dozen of them in reach as I type this, up to 128GB in size. You are not impressing me.

SDCC 2019 Programming: Friday

Getting caught up, what with yesterday being a holiday and all. The Thursday programming list went up a little while ago, and here’s what’s happening at Comic-Con two weeks from today.


The Factual And The Actual
10:00 — 11:00, Room 32AB

Starting things off early on Friday, with Randall Munroe, John Hendrix (The Faithful Spy), Don Brown (Rocket to the Moon! Big Ideas That Changed The World #1), Dylan Meconis (Queen of the Sea, review coming soon), Jim Ottaviani (Hawking), and Rachel Ignotofsky (Women In Art) talking nonfiction and nonfictionish comics, moderated by Judy Prince-Neeb (Chula Vista Public Library).

Comic Book Law School© 202: Let’s Make A Deal (or Three)
10:30 — 12:00, Room 11

The legal education continues, with this session on income-related topics: licensing, and agreements covering merch, manufacturing, and distribution, and how contracts govern it all.

Bedside Press: What’s Next?
12:00 –1:00, Room 25ABC

Remember yesterday when I thought we’d never see Scott Kurtz inside the San Diego Convention Center again? Well, today it’s Kris Straub that’s returned, talking about projects coming from the Canadian small press, along with fellow creators Amanda Deibert, SM Beiko, Steenz Stewart (editor extraordinaire, hire her after the Lion Forge implosion fiasco), Lilah Sturges, Ashley Robinson, and pubisher Hope Nicholson.

Feminist Comics That Rock
12:00 — 1:00, Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library

Meanwhile, we’ve got a just as compelling session in the same timeslot as the Bedside talk, over at the library so it’s pretty much impossible to hop between the rooms and catch half of each. Raina Telgemeier, Peggy Burns, Claudia Aguirre, and Jennifer Holm, moderated by Candice Mack (LA Public Library). Not that I’lll get to either, as I’ve got an interview lined up at 12:15. Grrrrr.

LGBTQ+ YA Graphic Novels
1:00 — 2:00, Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library

If you were at the library for the noon slot, stick around for Rosemary Valero-Connell (Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me), Sarah Graley (Kim Reaper), Claudia Aguirre (Morning In America), and Lilah Sturges (Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass) in discussion with Amanda Melilli (ALA Graphic Novels And Comics Round Table).

Steven Universe
1:00 — 2:00, Ballroom 20

But if you’re a Steven Universe fan, you weren’t in any of those sessions listed above, because you’ve been in line for Ballroom 20. Shelby Rabara (Peridot) moderates, with Estelle (Garnet), Michaela Dietz (Amethyst), Deedee Magno Hall (Pearl), and Rebecca Sugar. Songs! Laughs! Trailer for the movie!

America’s Best Comics Editors And What They Do!
1:30 — 2:30, Room 8

I love the nuts-and-bolts discussions of how thing get made. I can’t think of anything that would keep me from listening to Jann Jones (Legendary), Henry Barajas (Top Cow), David Mariotte (IDW Publishing), Chynna Clugston Flores (Image Comics), Shannon Eric Denton (WildStorm/DC Comics), Sarah Gaydos (Oni), and Elizabeth Brei (IDW) talk about the editorial process!

Spotlight on Ursula Vernon
1:30 — 2:30, Room 24ABC

Godsdammit! Except this. Because as I believe I have established, I loves me some Digger, and everything else that Ursula Vernon creates.

A Conversation With Sonia Manzano (AKA “Maria” from Sesame Street)
2:00 — 3:00, The Theater, Comic-Con Museum

No lie Maria was one of the moral lodestones in my early education. Unfortunately, the Comic-Con Museum is like 5 miles away at Balboa Park, so this ain’t happening. Just as well, I need to get lunch sometime today.

Graphic Novel Or Illustrated Book: You Make the Call
2:00 — 3:00, Grand 12 & 13, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

It is one of the rules of this page that you should see Karen Green, Columbia University librarian, speak whenever you get the chance. She’ll be talking with creators William Stout, Armand Baltazar, and Mark Wheatley, along with JC Vaughn (VP Publishing, Gemstone). Unfortunately, I’ll still be at the Vernon retrospective.

Kids And YA Graphic Novel Publishing: Behind The Scenes
2:00 — 3:00, Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library

I am becoming convinced that somebody said, Hey, let’s put every single panel Gary would want to see overlapping in one big block on Friday, at the far corners of the city! Why else would I miss out on hearing :01 Books publisher Mark Siegel, with Tracy Hurren (Drawn & Quarterly), Maya Bradford (Abrams ComicArts), Andrew Arnold (HarperCollins) and moderator Carla Riemer (librarian, Claremont Middle School).

Science And History in Comics
3:00 — 4:00, Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library

This is getting ridiculous. Maybe if I find food I can eat on my walk from the Vernon retrospective on my way to the library, I could hear Jim Ottaviani, MK Reed, Ben Fisher, Emily S Whitten, and moderator Tracy Edmunds.

Spotlight On Kurt Busiek
3:00 — 4:00pm, Room 28DE

Mentioning because the spotlight will be controlled by Scott McCloud, who besides being a genius has been buddies with Busiek since middle school. Nothing better than watching two old friends catch up and shoot the shit.

Graphix Fix: Great Graphic Novels For All Ages
4:00 — 5:00, Room 32AB

Scholastic Graphix superstars including Jim Benton, Sarah Graley, Jennifer Holm, Varian Johnson, Shannon Wright, Jon J Muth, and Raina Telgemeier. I suspect the room may be too small.

Comics Law: Disney, Malibu, And The Uncensored Mouse
4:30 — 5:30, Room 24ABC

This sounds legit fascinating: a discussion of a court case where Disney stomped on a publisher for printing public domain Mickey Mouse newspaper strips. Tom Mason (editor of the reprints), Dave Olbrich (publisher of the reprints), Nat Gertler (About Comics publisher), and Michael Lovitz (IP attorney).

Best And Worst Manga Of 2019
6:00 — 7:00, Room 4

I’m not making it to the show floor at all on Friday, am I? This one’s always fun, and features Brigid Alverson (my good friend and fellow pixel-stained wretch), Christopher Butcher (who has a birthday today, go wish him a happy one!), Megan Peters, Rob McMonigal, and Deb Aoki. Lots of experience and impeccable taste on this panel, find out what they loved and what they hated.

Creator Origins: A Candid Conversation On LBGTQ Comics Creation
6:00 — 7:00, Room 9

I’ve lost track of how many panels have caught my eye today … twelve? Fifteen? [Editor’s note: this is number seventeen, and we’ve got a still to go.] Megan Townsend (GLAAD) taking to Joe Glass (The Pride), Clive Hawken (Delver), Spike Trotman (Iron Circus Comics), and Ivan Salazar (comiXology).

Comics Of The Internet: The Memes, the Myths, The Legends
7:00 — 8:00, Room 9

It’s about comics that go memetically viral. Sounds a lot like one that happened last year on Sunday, and even also features Hope Nicholson, this time with Jose Sagastume, Ivan Salazar, and Kris Straub.

MAD vs New Yorker Cartoons: Which Are Funnier?
7:30 — 8:30, Room 24ABC

Oof. Too soon?

TGIF Keenspot Panel Party Hosted By Rob Potchak
8:00 — 9:00pm, Room 28DE

I’m not entirely certain that Keenspot shifting from their traditional very last timeslot of the con is actually doing them any favors, considering they’re now up against Friday night food, parties, and the friggin’ Eisner Awards.

The Girl Genius Radio Play
8:30 — 10:00, Room 8

Yepper, somebody is bound and determined to ensure that Phil and Kaya Foglio don’t get to bed at a reasonable hour at all this year.

The World Of Drive
9:00 — 10:00, Room 9

Oh, come on! Look, I stand second to no man in my love of Drive, and the work that Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett and his colorist Beth Reidmiller have put in to make it such a great strip. And I really, really love what happens when LArDK talks with his directing partner, Fred “Not The Beethoven One” Schroeder. But if I’m awake after this day at 9:00pm, I’ma be wherever the impromptu Comics Camp reunion is happening, with booze close to hand.

Spam of the day:

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Is e2 something like twenty-exty-six?

SDCC 2019 Programming: Thursday

It’s that time when we find out what’s happening in the programming tracks of San Diego Comic Con, and something about this year seems … odd. Did programming always go so late? Sure, some screenings and replays and such would start well after the convention center was mostly empty, but I can’t recall actual panels that started at 9:00pm in previous years. Or maybe it’s just stuff that I noticed because it has some interest for me being thrown into such late slots? We’ll figure it out together, friends. Onward.


How to Get News Coverage
10:30 — 11:30, Room 8

Quoting: A lot of publishers have no idea what to submit to the press, how to submit it, and why they are being overlooked for coverage, so please yes go learn from these people and make my inbox a little more civilized. Comics journalist Rik Offenberger moderates Tim Chizmar, Glenn Hauman, Jez Ibelle, Heidi Mac, Alexander Raymond, Rob Salkowitz, Francis Sky, JC Vaughn, and Josh Waldrop, with independent comic creators Ed Catto and Holly Golightly.

That’s … yeah, twelve people is about six too many for any panel.

Comic Book Law School© 101: IP Law Basics, Simple as 1, 2, 3 . . .
10:30 — 12:00, Room 11

The annual seminars on IP law relevant to comics, each worth 1.5 credits of California MCLE. IP attorney Michael Lovitz focuses on the basics of intellectual property rights available to creators and business owners and will provide attendees with the foundation needed for understanding which rights are available to creators of comics, games, films, and other creative works, as well as insights on how best to safeguard ideas, creative works, characters, brands, and names/titles, from genesis through publication and distribution, and beyond.

Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks in Conversation
1:00 — 2:00, Room 28DE

Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks talking about lots of stuff, including presumably their collaboration on Pumpkinheads, out from :01 Books in August.

The Making of a Graphic Novel Publisher: Random House Graphic
2:00 — 3:00, Room 28DE

Gina. Emmer-Effin. Gagliano.

D&D: All Bards
3:00 — 4:00, Horton Grand Theatre

The last time Jim Zub played D&D on stage, he shaved his head to get into character. This time he (and all the other players) will play a bard and no combat allowed! There’s no telling how weird this may get, especially considering Sam Sykes and Chuck Wendig (they live-tweeted a weird story that became an actual movie!) will be there, along with Paul Krueger, Pierce Brown, and EK Johnston.

Webcomics: Truth in Four Panels
3:30 — 4:30, Room 4

Not really sure if I get the premise — four panel comic strips are more credible than news? — but I guess we can listen to JR Gervais ( and Eddie deAngelini ( explain. Moderated by Jeremy Wein (founder, NYC Podfest).

Artist as Brand, Rise of the Artist Entrepreneur
5:00 — 6:00, Grand 12 & 13, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

I desperately wish Brad Guigar could be at this panel, just to get his impressions afterwards. Greg Spalenka (artist/educator moderates Daniel and Dawna Davis (founders of Steam Crow, publisher of monster products), Melissa Pagluica (writer, comic book artist, author of Above the Clouds), Ray Chou and Vincenzo Ferriero (founders of Mythopoeia, Skies of Fire), and Ashleigh Izienicki (illustrator).

How to Make a Webcomic You’ll Actually Finish
5:00 — 6:00, Room 9

Maya Kern (Monster Pop!) is talking on many of the same topics as that last session, judging from the description: This panel offers a presentation that examines comic making through the lens of [career, and work/life balance] sustainability, with a Q&A session at the end.

Working in Comics: The Folks Behind-the-Scenes
5:00 — 6:00, Room 23ABC

The 5:00 hour is getting crowded. Sarah Gaydos (E-I-C at Oni Press), Shing Yin Khor (Kickstarter Thought Leader 2019), Cara O’Neil (social media strategist at Dark Horse Comics), Chloe Ramos-Peterson (library market sales representative at Image Comics), Nancy Spears (VP, Sales at DC Publishing), and Michele Wells (VP and executive editor for DC Books for Young Readers) talk about the non-writing, non-drawing work of comics. Also please note? The folks doing the work that get you your funnybooks each Wednesday? Women.

Will Eisner: Defending Comics/Graphic Novels as “Real Reading”
5:00 — 6:00, Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library

Really crowded; dang, I think this is the one to see in this hour: Parents and administrators are still fighting the concept of comics as literature, and the educators on this panel have excellent methods for addressing these challenges. Moderated by John Shableski, panelists include Erin Hill, Lisa Harrison, Joe Onks, Nichole Santangelo, and Amy Pitotti.

Passion into Cash: Animate Characters and Make Money
6:00 — 7:00, Room 11

Listing this because it appears that Scott Kurtz, who I thought would never set foot inside the convention center again, is setting foot inside the convention center. Innnnteresting! Also Cory Casoni, Laura Williams-Argilla (director of product management, Bits at Twitch), and Dave Werner (Adobe experience designer, YouTube illustrator and animator).

Comics PR and Marketing 101
6:30 — 7:30, Room 8

Lotta smart people: comiXology head of content Chip Mosher moderates Alex Segura (Archie), Spike Trotman (Iron Circus Comics), Hope Nicholson (Bedside Press), Kel McDonald (The Stone King), and Ivan Salazar (comiXology).

Condensing an Idea: Making the Difficult Palatable
6:30 — 7:30, Room 26AB

Again, lotta smart people on this one, and in direct conflict with the smart people on the last one. Damn, SDCC scheduling, why you gotta be this way? How to delve into complex worlds and come out the other side with stories we readily consume. Panelists include Kurt Busiek, Jon B Cooke (Comic Book Artist), Randall Munroe (xkcd), Dani Colman, Tea Fougner (editorial director for comics, King Features Syndicate), and moderator Barbara Dillon.

From OSHA Violation to Superhero: The Lab Accidents That Will Most Likely Give You Superpowers
7:00 — 8:00, Room 6DE

There’s nobody listed in the description so it could be a complete bust, but I love the title.

Spooky Kids
8:00 — 9:00, Room 23ABC

Mariah McCourt (Stitched), Lilah Sturges (Lumberjanes), Shing Yin Khor (The American Dream? A Journey on Route 66), Louise Simonson (New Mutants), Che Grayson (Noble), and Amanda Meadows (Lionforge senior editor) talk about spooky stories for kids, but this is getting ridiculous. You can’t stay on the floor until the show’s done and do this panel and eat diner before 10:00pm at the earliest. I may have to go by Shing’s booth and slip her some snack bars so her righteous hanger doesn’t cause her to change to her Lumberjack Form and wreak havoc but then again that would be spooky.

Webcomics Advocates: The Webcomics Gathering
8:00 — 9:00, Room 9

We see this one every year, but usually a bit earlier in the evening. Brendan Creecy (Brax the Alien Rocker), Patrick Scullin (Super Siblings), Eddie DeAngelini (Collectors), Ambrose Quintanilla (Gopher-It Comics), Daniel Sansonetti (Daniel’s Way), and moderator Kristen Parraz (Comadres y Comics podcast) talk webcomics. Features the 30 second lighting round o’ advice, but seriously — can you believe they’re starting this late?

The Storyteller’s Guide with Satine Phoenix
8:00 — 9:00, Room 32AB

Can you believe they’re starting this late with a friggin’ McElroy Brother on the dais? Moderator Satine Phoenix and dungeonmasters Travis McElroy (Adventure Zone) and Kailey Bray (Damsels, Dice and Everything Nice) improv a story in real time.

How the West Got Weird Again
9:00 — 10:00, Room 23ABC

And we’ll wrap with what will be the first of a couple of late nights for Phil Foglio, what with his traditional hosting duties at the Masquerade on Saturday. Western stories crossed with zombies, monsters, aliens, etc, moderated by David Boop, with Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger series, V-Wars), Foglio (Girl Genius), Eytan Kollin (The Unincorporated Man), and Naomi Brett Rourke (Straight Outta Tombstone).

Spam of the day:

eCards via fubar

Somebody ought to tell you what your company name means.

Holiday Eve, And Working On A Review

So this will perforce be on the shorter side.

  • Firstly, everybody in the States enjoy your day off, maybe take some time to consider what freedom in this country actually means, and if you’ve got fireworks in your future please be careful¹. If you wanted to watch fireworks with other comics folk, the Cartoon Art Museum in San Fancisco is hosting a viewing party.
  • Secondish, we’ll probably see a release of San Diego Comic Con programming tomorrow or Friday; I’ll be sure to bring that to you when it drops. In the meantime, may I remind you that the Will Eisner Spirit Of Comics Retailer Award nominations have been released? And that Pat Race and Aaron Suring, the generous gentlemen behind Alaska Robotics Gallery (and Juneau Mini-Con/Comics Camp, and more involvement in the arts scene of Juneau than can be recounted here) are nominees? Indeed, they’re the first nominees on the page! Okay, alphabetical order and all, but I like to think it’s also because they’re the best.
  • Thirdwise, if you ever wondered what I sound like, I was on a podcast with my excellent friend Jon Ferocious J Sung² and my new friend Besha. Come listen to me achieve Peak White Guy! And if you find the discussion that Besha and I had around unfortunate medical experiences, find me in person (preferably with booze to hand) and I’ll share the story that I didn’t tell, of the Most Unfortunate And Embarrassing Patient Packaging Challenge Of All Time. It’s a corker.

Okay, that’s it. Be well, friendos.

Spam of the day:

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I’m not sure if the translator algorithm is flaky, or if the spammers can’t spell/use recognizable grammar in Russian as well as English.

¹ I’m on EMS holiday duty tomorrow night, and I’d rather not deal with anybody that’s blowed up, thanks very much.

² You may remember him from such internet image searches as This party’s better than it seems and God Hates Jedi. He’s been a significant part of the Dumbrella at SDCC efforts until fairly recently, when he and his wife decided to reproduce themselves. Apparently carrying around a toddler in a BabyBjorn in the pathogen-rich environment of the San Diego Convention Center for four days is too big of an ask. Whatever, J.