The webcomics blog about webcomics

CWAA

There’s so much idiocy and stupidity in the world of comics these days, so many people who can’t look beyond their own noses and find a minimum degree of empathy for another. Those who think it’s wrong can — rightfully! — rail against it until they turn blue, and somebody else will pop up being just as big a jerk thirty-seven seconds later. It’s like the world is overrun with assholes.

That thought put me in mind of the famous dictum that you can replace the caption of any New Yorker cartoon with Christ, what an asshole and the gag will still work. That thought made me wonder if you could do the same for webcomics, so I went looking for examples where it would work. In fact, it’s pretty applicable to a wide variety of situations.

I’m only including comics that are new today, and in some cases I’ve only included a portion of the comic. Where you see a word balloon empty, that’s where you insert the magic phrase; otherwise, treat it as a caption after reading the whole thing. Clicking any of the images will take you to the original (most likely better) joke; in the case of Girl Genius and Schlock Mercenary, you’ll probably want to click through to be able to read all the text.

In no particular order:

Evil, Inc.

Three Word Phrase

Schlock Mercenary

The Devil’s Panties

Dumbing of Age

Surviving The World

Girl Genius

Gunshow

Wondermark

Monster of the Week

And, because I’m nothing if not fair, here’s a counter-example where the substitution absolutely does not work, unless you’re a horrible person. It’s pretty!

Trying Times

Okay, I know that I asked for things to start happening, but I didn’t mean these kinds of things.

We at Fleen would like to send our very best wishes to two of the finest people in the world: Jenn Klug and Ryan North are, as near as I can tell (including from personal experience) universally beloved. If they have a fault, it is that they are, jointly and severally, too awesome. They had kind of a rough 2012 due to Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but they took the most positive approach to such a diagnosis as ever I’ve seen:

We were lucky and caught it pretty early though! This sort of thing generally responds pretty well to treatment. Wikipedia has a pretty great summary about Hodgkin’s if you’d like to learn more!

Several months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments followed; Ms Klug was heard to declare that if she was going to have to do this, she would be the best at chemotherapy, and made good on that goal. Hooray for modern medicine.

But cancer is a pernicious, nasty, mean-spirited son of a bitch that doesn’t know when to stay down or get its ass kicked again, so you’re always watching for it to poke up out of its hidey-hole:

What you do then is basically drink radioactive juice. The radioactive sugars get absorbed by tissues, and you look to see if there’s any growths absorbing them, which would indicate some cancer cells that made it through the first round of chemo. Unfortunately there was some uptake in that growth we were worried about and a few other places too, which means treatment has started again.

Cancer treatments have made tremendous strides; chemo and radiation therapies are far less scattered and debilitating than they used to be, but they are still no walk in the park. That hasn’t stopped North from approaching this challenge with a sense of wonder:

This is the hardcore round, where they throw everything they can at it. At one point the treatment will be so strong it’ll actually completely destroy Jenn’s immune system. But before they do that, they extract stem cells from her, and once her immune system is gone they’ll inject those stem cells back into her, which will restart her bone marrow and reboot her immune system. That’s kind of amazing. And it is a complete reboot: she’ll lose any acquired immunity she ever had. She’ll have to be re-vaccinated. She’ll be able to get chicken pox twice. You thought it wasn’t possible, but SCIENCE FOUND A WAY.

All of which is to say, for the very best of reasons, you won’t see Ryan North on the convention circuit this year, except for hometown show TCAF in a couple of weeks.

Here’s what I’d like those of you heading there to do: go over to the table where Ryan is (perhaps for abbreviated hours, which I think we all understand) and after whatever else you do there — get a book signed, buy some amazing comics, just give him high fives if you think you’ve got the necessary vertical leap — give him a card for Jenn. Make him take home a 30 or 40 liter tub of well wishes to her. Send her so many good thoughts that they will stretch through the trying times ahead and still have some to open when she’s through with treatment.

And if any of North’s projects are a little slower coming out than they would otherwise be, let’s all resolve to remember why that is and be grateful for the fact that modern medicine is able to reboot an immune system, and that Klug & North live in Canada, so they won’t be bankrupted in exchange for the privilege of not dying.

Jenn, Ryan, I’m so sorry about this. If the love of family, friends, minor acquaintances, and total strangers was enough to fix things, you’d already be nigh-immortal. We’re thinking of you and know that you’ll be best at showing that vicious little bastard clump of cells who’s boss.¹

There was other stuff today but it can wait until tomorrow.

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¹ It’s Jenn. Jenn is totally the boss.

All Thanks To Lauren Davis

Seriously, there was nothing going on today, and then she went and stirred up a discussion about the Eisner nominations from yesterday. Said discussion over at io9 takes the form of Okay Eisner nominating committee, you want longform? Here’s longform webcomics, 51 of ‘em, that have never been recognized and should be. It’s not quite a call to the barricades, but it’s close and I love it. Thanks, Lauren!

In the absence of people gettin’ riled up, all I have to point you towards today are two comics that grabbed my attention in a good way:

  • Evan Dahm, Vattu page #533: Oh shit somebody gonna get executed by the emperor. Crappity crap.
  • Jeffrey Rowland, Overcompensating #1497: Shepherding the company that provides a living to so many creators, like a sort of commercial father to webcomics, has forced Jeffrey into the realm of dad jokes. But dad jokes or no, Rowland’s been making comics again on the regular, and I for one am thrilled. All hail.

That’s all I got — go do something, or send me an announcement, or make some noise. Clearly, I got nothing in the buffer.

Interesting

So the 2014 Eisner Award nominations are out, and there are some things worth mentioning on the list. Things that jumped out at me in no particular order:

  • Matt Inman’s nomination for Best Digital/Webcomic is less significant than his nomination for Best Short Story. As near as I can tell, this is the first time that an online offering has gone head-to-head with print offerings within a category.
  • That said, it should have been two online offerings, as it is entirely inexplicable to me that Dean Trippe’s Something Terrible should have been a shoo-in; for that matter, its complete absence from any category is the most baffling thing about this year’s nominations.
  • :01 Books continues to have the best hits-to-misses ratio in the industry, garnering four nominations on fewer than two dozen releases in 2013; they dominate Best Publication for Teens (13-17) with three of the six nominations¹.
  • The requirements for Best Digital/Webcomic continue to keep much of the best creators locked out, with the emphasis on longform works only:

    For the Best Digital Comic category, works must be longform—that is, comparable to comic books or graphic novels in storytelling or length. Webcomics similar to daily newspaper strips, for example, would not be eligible. Digital comics should have a unique URL, be part of a webcomics site, or otherwise stand alone (not be part of a blog, for instance).

    Which is why I’m surprised that Inman was included here; it doesn’t feel of a piece with the other nominees.

  • I’m in favor of any awards list that permit Chip Zdarsky to be … well, Chip Zdarsky.
  • Names that jumped out at me: Becky Cloonan, Faith Erin Hicks, Jeff Smith, Brian Fies, the late Kim Thompson, Fraction/DeConnick, Terry Moore, Steve Hamaker², Carla Speed McNeil.
  • Seriously, nothing for Something Terrible?

In other news:

  • Eric Colossal’s Rutabaga has been picked up by Amulet Books:

    I am currently coloring the ENTIRE BOOK and I think it’s going to look really amazing! Above is a sample of what the coloring might look like.

    I’m super excited and can’t wait for everyone to see it!

    The first book is due out in March next year, with a second to follow. Everybody be happy for Eric!

  • The Cyanide & Happiness crüe have been picked up by Boom’s creator-owned division, Boom!Box, where one may also find Midas Flesh (by Ryan North, Shelli Paroline & Braden Lamb) and the just-launched (and wonderful) Lumberjanes (Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters and Brooke Allen).

    The rapid expansion of Boom!Box from zero to third announced property in — what, four months? — makes me think that they must be doing something very right. I’d love to get a good look at their creator-owned contract.

    The C&H collection, Punching Zoo, will drop in July, presumably just in time for SDCC.

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¹ Although I’d say that Boxers & Saints have as much to offer adults as teens.

² I’m guessing that Jenny Robb, 2014 Eisners judge, curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, and Hamaker’s wife, recused herself from some catgories.

Happy Monday, Everybody

Where to start, where to start? Let’s grab a random story and … go!

  • Readers of this page may recall that I stand second to nobody in my admiration of Minna Sundberg’s Stand Still, Stay Silent, and may also recall that immediately after discovering and devouring SSSS, I also archive-binged on Sundberg’s earlier story, A Red Tail’s Dream¹. Before SSSS launched, Sundberg had a very successful crowdfunding campaign to print ARTD, and the books left over from fulfillment are now up for grabs:

    First, without further ado, here’s the link to the simple little store that I opened (at Storenvy) for those of you who simply want to grab a copy right naoow: Linkity-link go here!

    I’ll keep the store open for two weeks, which means I’ll close it before the month is over and go back to Finland and start shipping out the orders.

    Okay, first, I have to start rearranging my bookshelves to make room for this, because it looks gorgeous on screen, and I imagine even better on paper. Second, I hope that Sundberg can find a way to keep it in print in future, because I’d hate to think that somebody discovering her work next month would get frozen out. If you’re interested, now’s the time to buy.

    Third, somebody with a distribution business on this side of the Atlantic, please contact Sundberg and get a bulk purchase in place, because international shipping on one copy (unsigned, un-arted) puts the price on the book at ninety dollars. Granted, it’s a great big huge hardcover, and there’s only a $15 differential between people getting the book within Finland/everywhere else, but I can’t help but wonder what US media mail rates would be.

  • Homestuck! Canon! From different creators! Let’s just let Andrew Hussie explain this one himself:

    A young reader stands in a webcomic.
    April 13, 2014 by Andrew Hussie

    A brand new webcomic, to be exact. One that has launched on the 5th anniversary of Homestuck’s first page. If the thirteenth of April holds a magical place in your heart, then chances are, you are on pins and needles waiting for me to post the end of the story. It will still be quite some time before that happens. I’ve had too much else going on to be able to attack the remaining content with the ferocity that has been characteristic of my update schedule over the years. It is nothing short of The Greatest Tragedy that a beloved story is held hostage to the ability of a single artist to continue creating it. Which brings us to the website called Paradox Space, and the chapter it will represent in Homestuck’s extended life cycle.

    Those who like HS are extremely fond of the characters, yet those characters are trapped – “stuck” if you will – inside a very particular narrative, which itself has been at the mercy of my ability to produce it. So when I think about the future of Homestuck, I envision projects which liberate the things people love about it from the story itself, and most importantly, from my intensive personal effort.

    So this website is the first major step in that direction. Here is the idea:

    Paradox Space will feature many short comic stories involving literally any characters and settings from Homestuck. Any point in canon could be visited and elaborated on, whether it’s backstory, some scenes that were skipped over or alluded to, funny hypothetical scenarios which have nothing to do with canon events, or exploring things that could have happened in canon through the “doomed timeline” mechanic that is a defining trait of Homestuck’s multiverse-continuum known as “paradox space”. There is a WHOLE LOT of fun stuff we can do here; and we will!

    The idea is also to get a lot of different artists and writers involved. It’s going to be a major team effort. Occasionally I will write some comic scripts, particularly at the onset to help get this off the ground. But I’d like that to be the exception rather than the rule. I think it will be exciting to see how a talented pool of creators can work within the HS universe, and what they will bring to these characters.

    Never let it be said that Hussie doesn’t know how to keep his fans coming back for more.

    It’s a true group effort, too with Rachel Rocklin and Kory Bing listed as the managing editors, and updates scheduled daily (today was skipped so that yesterday’s anniversary launch could happen; next update is tomorrow). That sound you just heard was a thousand Homestucks polishing up their fanfic and desperately trying to find an established creator to partner with them.

  • Now this sounds like a lot of fun:

    April 26! We’re live-tweeting @strippedfilm: Everyone hits “play” @ 7PM PST/10PM EST for Q&A, behind-the-scenes stories & more #strippedfilm

    Time to clear my schedule for the 26th.

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¹ No big, just 556 pages in both English and Finnish, which Sundberg created as a practice run to sharpen her skills before launching SSSS. Like you do.

Because I Know You’ve Been Wondering

Randall Munroe is not just terribly clever, he’s an absolute genius at explaining complex ideas simply. The Heartbleed bug has been all over the news for the past couple of days and almost nobody — either reporting on it or consuming the reports — really knew how it worked or why it was bad. For the definitive translation from geekspeek into human, I refer you to today’s xkcd.

  • Speaking of computing, it appears that comiXology is getting bought up by Amazon; I don’t really have a dog in this fight in that I don’t buy through comiXology, but I have to wonder about a few things.

    Will Apple still get their cut of comiXology sales, or will Amazon (maker of the Kindle) sunset those contracts in favor of their own file formats and standards? If so, will we see fewer comics being rejected by Apple’s content police? After all, Amazon doesn’t appear to have a problem with smut, no matter how wacky. Most importantly, is it a good thing to go from a dominant player in a niche industry partnering with a (indeed, the) megacorporation to that dominant player in a niche industry being owned by a somewhat-smaller megacorporation while partnering (perhaps temporarily) with the other?

    Answers: Dunno, Very possibly, and Hard to say but I’m reflexively against media consolidation and concentration.

    For anybody that’s been selling through comiXology, your best strategy remains the same it was before yesterday’s announcement: get what you can from providers, but be ready to shift to another channel if you need to. I suspect that Gumroad and Sellfy may be accelerating any strategic plans they had to deal with this sudden shift in the centers of power.

  • Speaking further (probably) of computing but who the heck knows, hotel reservations for SDCC went out yesterday, and a casual inspection of Twitter seems to indicate a lot fewer people getting in than usual. I was tweeting about being done with the process around three minutes after the rodeo opened, and I got my sixth (of six!) choice. I’ve seen reports of people in well under the three-minute mark being told nothing was available.

    For the past three or four years I’ve had no problems getting my first choice, which was a somewhat-smaller, somewhat-off-the-radar, and somewhat-pricey hotel conveniently located in the Gaslamp, even when not so fast on the draw as I was this year. Weirdest of all, my confirmation email tells me:

    You were booked into this hotel because you chose “Book me into any downtown hotel.” when asked what we should do if none of your 6 choices were available.

    … but the hotel I was booked into was one of my six choices.

    That makes me wonder if the choices I made (and the email confirming my request matches my prepared list) actually were the hotels the system looked for. It’s almost behaving like I requested hotels A B C D E F, and the system read my request as B C G M Q T, then just happened to have space at F. I suspect there’s no way to tell, and maybe it’s just some faulty logic on when that You were booked into this hotel because … message got generated. But still — damn peculiar.

  • Speaking furthest of computing, those of you on WordPress, have you noticed that since the latest patch to version 3.8.2, the Quick Drafts feature doesn’t work? Just me?

New Best Thing

Hecka. Yeah. Now all I need is the limited-edition poster and the book of the film and I’ll be as set as you possibly can be. Freddave, thanks so much for this. Oh, and if you’d like to see STRIPPED on the big screen, there are at least three screenings coming up. Only thing is, the big screen don’t get you director’s commentary, which is on the DVD, so maybe grab that?

  • Y’know, Professoressa and Professor Foglio have been doing this comics thing for a long damn time, and they must surely know by now that their fans are going to buy their books, but it’s still got to make you feel good when Girl Genius book 13 clears 100% of funding in something like 16 hours. As always, putting the Foglios on video is a treat and a half.
  • Also a treat and a half — quite possibly two treats, if we’re being honest — is the news of a new comic from Steve Wolfhard. Forg the Winter Frog is short, but it’s making me smile like a maniac; here’s hoping that Wolfhard gifts us with more Forg in the future.
  • Hey! Do you make comics? Are you in the New York City area? Thomas Crowell, author of a legal reference for filmmakers and a soon-to-be similar reference for comic book creators, will be the guest of the Media Law Collaborative of NYU’s law school on Monday, 14 April. He’ll be speaking on the topic of representing comics creators, from 4:00pm to 6:00pm with a cocktail reception to follow.

    Now it appears that the event is by invite only, which may possibly be garnered via this form. I’m not saying that a bunch of cartoonists can just show up and listen to the law guy and then get free booze, but none of us will know unless some of you try. More likely, you cartoonists will have to point it out to your lawyer or business guy or agent, but somebody you know should be going. If you can’t convince somebody to go, be sure to mention the free booze part.

I Can’t Wait Until He Gets To The Planet Of The Nazis

The new webcomic by David Morgan-Mar (PhD, LEGO®©™etc) launched today, and it shows great promise. Lagies and jenglefenz, I give you Planet of Hats, a week-by-week recap of Star Trek episodes! One can only hope that Morgan-Mar sticks with the strip after the original 79 episodes, so we can get TNG episodes like Planet of the Joggers.

  • It’s been pretty common knowledge for a while that ReedPOP, the folks behind New York Comic Con and C2E2, partners of the various PAXes, and a bunch of other shows, have been planning a second show for New York City, one that actually focuses directly on comics rather than all the extraneous bits that often seem to be crowding the comics parts out of ostensible comic cons.

    But for the life of me, it’s only been in the past couple of days that I’ve really seen much about Special Edition NYC; an actual comics-centered show would be welcome, the North Pavilion of the Javits Center is a sizeable but reasonable space, and it could provide a high-traffic alternative for east coast webcomickers. This is one to watch.

  • Kickstarts! On the one hand, the Doug Wright Awards — honoring the best in Canadian cartooning, with honors that are exceedingly well-curated and do not bog down into dozens of overly-specific categories — could use your help holding the annual awards ceremony (in conjunction with TCAF) this May. At present, they’re about 25% of the way to their (very modest) CDN$6150 goal.
  • On the other hand, David “It’s!” Wills, creator of the Walky- and Dumbiverses, is (as of this writing) about 14 hours in and 96% of the way to funding the third Dumbing of Age collection. Willis-related Kickstarts are always interesting for the overfunding rewards that include extra comics for everybody.
  • On the other other hand, I just thought I’d mention the fact that Smut Peddler 2014 is now over US$80,000, which means an extra US$650 per creator/creator team. Only 25 days to go, which means it’ll almost certainly touch US$100K, eclipsing Smut Peddler 2012, and providing creator bonuses over a thousand dollars. Hooray for porn!

All This And A Life Lesson From Ramses Luther, Too

The biggest missed opportunity of my life was when I attended the Chris Onstad/Great Outdoor Fight signing at Bergen Street Comics (RIP) and Clover Club, and when he asked who I wanted sketched in my copy I neglected to say Ramses Luther Smuckles. True story.¹ Anyway, The Man With The Blood On His Hands is back, with inner piece and advice for safer motoring.

  • I’ve been obsessively reading and re-reading each installment of Kate Beaton’s latest reminiscence of her time in the Alberta tar sands, Ducks, as they’ve been released over the past week or so. All five parts are now collected in one place and they are mandatory reading.

    The tar sands are fraught with political controversy and subtext (in both Canada and the US, as it’s tar sands oil that will be shipped if the Keystone XL pipeline is approved), but Beaton’s story is — as always — focused on the people who find themselves at the center of the great events rather than the events themselves:

    It is a complicated place, it is not the same for all, and these are only my own experiences there. It is a sketch because I want to test how I would tell these stories, and how I feel about sharing them. A larger work gets talked about from time to time. It is not a place I could describe in one or two stories. Ducks is about a lot of things, and among these, it is about environmental destruction in an environment that includes humans.

    As much as I love her takes on history and literature (I don’t think better one-off comics exist than Beaton’s takes on on Musashi and Henson), the autobio comics are the pinnacle of Beaton’s craft. I could read her conversations with her younger self, or the small moments with her parents, or stories from Fort McMurray (which read like a war veteran’s tales of survival) for the rest of my life and never grow tired of them.

  • Happy Tenthiversary to Chris Yates, who has been constructing the world’s most colorful, creative, and baffling puzzles for ten years now. To share the joy, it’s free shipping (US & Canada; discounted elsewhere) on Baffler!s all month, with free lucky cactus toys in every order. And as long as we’re doing the numbers, it appears that the highest-numbered Baffler! on Yates’s site is #2899, meaning just about 290 puzzles a year for ten years, or an average of one Baffler! every 30 hours. Watch them fingers around the scroll-saw blade, Chris, and keep puzzlecutting like a madman.
  • The Harvey Awards are now accepting nominations for the best of comics produced in 2013; I’m sure that you can think of some that deserve consideration, but allow me a moment of politicking if you will — if you sumbitches don’t nominate Something Terrible for every damn category that it would qualify for, you suck.

    A quick scan of the ballot would suggest Best Cartoonist, Best Letterer, Best Inker, Best Colorist, Best Cover Artist, Best Single Issue or Story, Best Online Comics Work, Best Biographical, Historical, or Journalistic Presentation (Any Book, Magazine, Film, or Video That Contributes to the Understanding of Comics as an Artform), and Most Promising New Talent² as plausible categories. I’m sure you can think of other works deserving of notice, but this one’s an imperative. Go. Do.

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¹ I did get a very nice sketch of Cornelius Bear so that’s all good; it’s just … I could have had a sketch of Ramses Luther Smuckles!

² Okay, Dean Trippe’s not exactly a new talent here, but that hasn’t stopped anybody in the past.

Yep, It Worked

Just as I was going to snap this photo I ran into a friend and we got to talk about our dogs. It was a good day.

On Friday I was wondering if the new center aisle configuration would work at MoCCA Fest and it turns out, it sure did. You walked up the stairs and into the hall, jogged around the Society of Illustrators table (perhaps taking the time to marvel the surprisingly short line for Fiona Staples) and there you had it in front of you — an aisle designed purely for travel, with access to nearly the entire show floor. It was brilliant, as long as you didn’t get caught up in any of the mooring lines for Charlie Brown.

Speaking of, Charlie Brown was not the best thing above eye-level in the hall — it was the navigational signs that were found at each end of each rank of tables, which made getting around the show trivially simple one you realized one little thing: the booth numbers on each signpost represented both sides of a fabric divider line. I’m pretty sure that one small change to the signs (maybe a horizontal variation on the u-turn symbol) and they’ll be perfect.

One could argue that the signs weren’t even really needed in a venue as small as the 69th Regiment Armory, but you know what? Nobody’s ever done signposting this well before, in a large venue or a small one, and maybe now we’ll see more shows taking up the idea. Yeah, it’ll take some detail-oriented planning, but dang was it a nice touch.

Speaking of detail-oriented planning, I want to recognize Neil Dvorak of Easy Pieces Comic for putting together the best table design I’ve ever seen. Nothing about the look-and-feel of table C8 existed but that it provided the impression that you were in Dvorak’s world now, and everything beyond his immediate proximity was the noise of the outside world and wouldn’t you rather be here where it’s nice and civilized?

It worked on me, and I was happy to pick up a packet of his individual, brief, conceptually linked comics and associated ephemera, which have left me with the impression of a documentary work looking at an askew world of bizarre happenings, corporation/cults, and one man’s search for sense in it all. If Welcome to Night Vale was crossed with a ’50s-era social hygiene film and existed in craft paper envelopes, it would look like Easy Pieces.

So that was my big discovery of the show. Along the way I was lucky enough to talk with some terrific creators about what they’re doing; this list includes (but is not limited to):

  • Noelle Stevenson had a stack of the debut issue of Lumberjanes, in advance of the official launch this week. It’s great book.
  • Tom Siddell came all the way to America and had a continuous stream of people bringing his (very large, very heavy, thus he didn’t bring any himself to sell) books to be signed, and to purchase his minis and artwork. If you missed out on your chance to see him, he’s got a meet-up tomorrow night in Manhattan. You’ll know it’s him because he looks exactly like his avatar.
  • Magnolia Porter’s Sugar Crash mini is funny and heartfelt, and perfectly in keeping with her work on Monster Pulse. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Porter writes early teens better than anybody else in webcomics, because they reflect the fact that growing up isn’t a matter of age, it’s a matter of practice.

    Her characters try, and they fail more than they succeed, and sometimes they’re stupid and sometimes they’re mean (and they know that they shouldn’t be and don’t want to be, and yet it still happens) and slowly they become somebody new. Siddell and John Allison and damn good, but Porter is the best. The only thing that would make Monster Pulse better at what it’s trying to do would be an easily-found link to her store on the main page.

  • Evan Dahm is approaching the end of Book 2 material for Vattu, but his next project will more likely be his illustrated Wizard of Oz project. Scott C has a new book releasing in a few months, Hug Machine; it’ll be his first children’s book as both writer and artist, and it looks terrific. David McGuire is approaching the point in the story when he can give us a new Gastrophobia collection.
  • Box Brown has now signed his first copy of Andre The Giant: Life and Legend, mine to be precise. He’s starting to the feel the excitement in the run-up to release in a month, and expressed his appreciation for his editor at :01 BooksIt was a big help to have somebody that doesn’t know wrestling to point out what would be confusing to ordinary people.
  • Speaking of :01 Books, Gina Gagliano expressed the excitement that everybody is feeling over Scott McCloud’s next book, due out sometime next year. I bumped into Colleen Venable on the floor and thanked her for being my favorite book designer¹ and she very kindly gifted me a copy of the last book in her Guinea Pig: Pet Shop Private Eye series because she is awesome.
  • Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell’s print version is in the process of being manufactured, which is the only reason I didn’t buy a copy from Sophie Goldstein; I did get the chance to talk to her about how unsettling I found her contribution to The Sleep of Reason. Seriously creepy, people.
  • Ben Costa and Phil McAndrew were kind enough to sign books of theirs that I brought with me (as did Siddell; Dahm, Stevenson, and C signed their illustrations in my copy of To Be Or Not To Be — three down, a zillion to go).
  • Jaya Saxena, Matt Lubchansky, and Maki Naro seemed to be having more fun than anybody else on the floor. There’s a lack of awkwardness and effort that I observed in them talking with people who both sought them out and those who casually wandered by; even those in the convention grind for a decade may not have mastered that skill, or find that it requires considerable effort. Somehow, they’ve managed to become comics creators (that most solitary of endeavours) without losing the trappings of sociability; this must be stopped before they accidentally destroy comics.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t note that I ran into Brigid Alverson and Johanna Draper Carlson — two of my favorite people on the ink-stained wretch side of things — outside the Armory and we took some pictures together. After that, I completely missed seeing them again on the floor. Oddly enough, I’ve never met up with either Brigid or Johanna by intention; we always just seem to bump into each other, which is part of how I know it’s going to be a good show. Ladies, it’s always a pleasure.

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¹ Of all the things I never thought I’d have a “favorite” of, but dang if her work for :01 Books doesn’t grab me and make me want to read inside.