The webcomics blog about webcomics

Doctor’s Appointment, Running Behind

We’ll catch up on Monday, ‘kay?

From The Tweet Machine

Man, you can learn a lot from the Twitters. Sometimes, you learn that an idea you had is already in motion. Sometimes you learn that an idea that nobody had makes perfect sense.

  • I swear, when I wrote a week ago about the new line of civic engagement graphic novels from :01 Books and how they should pick up Zach Weinersmith, I didn’t know they already had:

    Check out the exclusive cover and excerpt reveal of #OpenBorders by @bryan_caplan and @ZachWeiner, on @PasteMagazine! This nonfiction graphic novel on immigration comes this fall, and is available for pre-order now!

    Weinersmith’s been talking to me forever about the graphic novel he’s been working on that argues in favor of open borders; I think the first time we talked about it here was a good eighteen months ago. In all that time, he never let on it was with :01, but honestly I should have guessed. And today, we have a cover reveal and street date, courtesy of Paste¹ magazine: Open Borders: The Science And Ethics Of Immigration, and 29 October.

    There’s a six page preview over there, too, which quickly establishes the central thesis of the book: that wholly unrestricted immigration is not only an economic good, but also morally necessary. I’m calling the over/under on the number of angry, early morning “executive time” tweets about the book on or around the release at … let’s say four.

  • There’s a thing I never knew I needed — that anybody needed — and in retrospect it appears bloody obvious. Jeph Jacques has made a habit of purchasing … unique URLs to redirect to his comic², which is no new thing in webcomics. Jeffrey Rowland showed me a list of all the domains he owned once, and it was a thing of demented beauty; Rich Stevens collects domains like an early ’90s kid collected pogs.

    But Jacques makes use of his redirects, linking them when a new comic goes up; I don’t think he’s used questionablecontent.net in more than a year; on the one hand, most of his aliases are much shorter, and on the other, the fact that a massive, worldwide technological infrastructure was constructed just to allow dildo.pizza to exist is funny all by itself.

    But let’s face it — a gag can only take you so far, and some of those exotic TLDs have noncompetitive registrars; at some point, you gotta cut your losses or find a way to pay for your hobby:

    I have the best URLs in the business, and now you can have a sweet fuckin’ print of them thanks to @topatoco https://topatoco.com/collections/jeph-jacques/products/qc-urls-print …

    This is, I believe, the first poster that needs to possibly come with annual updates. Hey, Jeph, have you considered that? This could be an annual subscription item.


Spam of the day:

Teaching Communication Skills in the Age of Video Content

You know that I teach for a living, right? Fuck outta here with your one-click styling, automatic translation in over 120 languages and instant resizing of videos.

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¹ And hot dang, can I just express my admiration for a moment of how the folks at :01 have taken the let’s promote our forthcoming graphic novel game from sending the exclusive to The Beat or CBR and raised it to the likes of the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, and Paste? It sends a message not just about their own offerings when you can say a new graphic novel is not just of interest to the comics world, it is and should be part of the general culture.

² And sometimes just to have. Remember walmart.horse?

Hey, Lookit That, Webcomics Division Nominees From The NCS

The National Cartoonists Society is a venerable organization, founded on the principle that cartoonists ought to get together and have a big ol’ drink-up. Oh, and promoting the art and craft of cartooning, and later endowing scholarships, doing USO visits, public outreach, but mostly? Cartoonists like to hang out and party.

In the past, they’ve spread the partying around (case in point: I got to dress up in a damn tuxedo and gamble like I was James Frickin’ Bond one year), but this year and going forward, it’ll be Huntington Beach and a public, Euro-style festival that hosts the (members and guests only) Reuben Awards.

(Requisite disclaimer: I have been a member of the advisory jury for every iteration of webcomics awards the NCS has presented, from 2012 to present; I will not discuss the details of my participation or the process by which the jury made its determinations.)

This year, the nominees for Online Comics — Short Form are Cat And Girl by Dorothy Gambrell, bacön by Lonnie Milsap, and Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal by Zach Weinersmith. The nominees for Online Comics — Long Form are Untold Tales Of Bigfoot by Vince Dorse, Kill Six Billion Demons by Tom Parkinson-Morgan, and Barbarous by Yuko Ota and Ananth Hirsh.

Webcomickers and adjacent folks in other categories include Pia Guerra (who tears it up at The Nib) for Gag Cartoons and John Allison (and let’s acknowledge the rest of the Giant Days team: Max Sarin, Liz Fleming, Jim Campbell, Whitney Cogar) for Comic Books.

With respect to my disclaimer above, my thoughts:

  • All of the nominees in both categories have that je ne sais webcomiques that says this is something that could only exist on the internet, it would never work in the paper, with the exception of bacön, which could have been slotted into the Gag Cartoons category.
  • As previously stated, the categories have undergone a several years refinement process, both in developing an eye as for what makes webcomics webcomics, and in seeking out a wide variety of nominees¹ that wouldn’t ordinarily fall into the orbit of the average NCS member.
  • Due to the nature of webcomics and the fact that the term itself is terribly imprecise, there will possibly never be a slate of nominees that entirely satisfies the sort of person that cares about this sort of thing² which makes these categories par for the course in comics awards. That being said, I think this year’s nominees represent well the breadth of webcomics.
  • Having previously won, I think Dorse won’t win Long Form this year.
  • It’s weird that the revived Nancy did not get nominated for newspaper strip, but since Olivia Jaimes took over in the middle of the nomination period, maybe it’s to avoid confusion. But if Nancy stays as good as it has been (a virtual certainty) and isn’t nominated next year, the pier at Huntington Beach may see riots.
  • All three nominees for Feature Animation are recognized for their work on Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, which is only right and proper. Well done, Shiyoon Kim (character animation), Peter Ramsay (director), and Justin K Thompson (production design). It must have been terribly difficult to single out only three names, and I suspect whichever wins will declare that the recognition belongs to everybody that worked on the movie.
  • I don’t know who won; until the public announcement, I didn’t know who the final nominees were.
  • I have and will continue to have opinions.

The various awards will be presented on 18 May in Huntington Beach, California. Best of luck to all the nominees, but if I had to express one preference? I think it would be awesome if the NCS gave an award to a story about a sorority girl, a genderqueer angel, and a demon fanfic author pulling off a heist from an infinite fractal vault in Hell, if only because a bunch of old dudes that didn’t like dames or beatniks or minorities even appearing in comics (much less making them) would turn in their graves, giving us a perpetual source of clean energy.


Spam of the day:

You are rewarded with clean and healthy feet with japanese fungus code

What.

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¹ Including Jon Rosenberg’s Scenes From A Multiverse (won), Meredith Gran’s Octopus Pie, Danielle Corsetto’s Girls With Slingshots (won), Minna Sundberg’s Stand Still, Stay Silent (won), Ngozi Ukazu’s Check Please (won), Drew Weing’s The Creepy Casefiles Of Margo Maloo (won), Boulet’s Bouletcorp, and Allison’s Bad Machinery (won).

² AKA all of you.

The Difference Between Treating Your Audience Well And Fleecing Them

I will, to my dying day, maintain that Shaenon Garrity lacks a sufficient sense of greed, or perhaps ego. I say this because she criminally underprices her originals, which is why I’ve gotten several — from both Narbonic and Skin Horse — simply because she’s Kickstarted a book and was willing to throw original strips in at an uncreedably¹ modest price.

Case in point: Garrity and her Skin Horse writing partner, C Jeffrey Wells, are Kickstarting twotwo!Skin Horse volumes, and they are being typically generous on the rewards.

  • US$35 Both print volumes, signed and sketched (early bird, limited to 100, but only five bucks more after)
  • US$50 Add an original character sketch
  • US$150 Add an original prose story from Wells and the original art of a strip from the books
  • US$250 Add print copies of all six previous books
  • US$300 The 150 tier, plus you get drawn into the story as a character and you get the original art from your cameo²

Thirty five bucks for two color books, signed and sketched? That’s stupidly cheap, and I encourage you all to get in on it, but not because it’s stupidly cheap; because Skin Horse is one of the smartest, funniest, long-con-est webcomics around, and we need to encourage such.

Plus, if we’re very lucky, a stretch goal will get added that will convince Garrity to resume her recap comics of The X-Files, Monster Of The Week, since the Patreon doesn’t seem to be producing on that front.

Speaking of Patreon — and has there ever been a case in the past 18, 24 months where speaking of Patreon was the precursor to something good? — there’s changes a’coming down the pike, which bear all the hallmarks of keeping VC funders happy at the expense of merely being a stable, profitable company. Let’s let Ryan North³ explain this one:

Patreon, a platform that has become measurably worse with each update, is excited to announce an exciting new update! Now it costs you more money.

I love my patrons and I hate that Patreon as a company is so deep into VC funding that they’ll do anything, like last year when they changed everything overnight and then walked it back a few days later. This isn’t a platform you can trust.

Here’s a great thread from earlier this year about why Patreon is getting worse, and why it’ll continue to do so for a long time. I’m very much looking forward to Drip relaunching as a public benefit corp, which will sidestep these issues entirely: https://twitter.com/FoldableHuman/status/1092846201374892032

Here’s the deal: Patreon will be charging up to 12% of your pledges plus payment processing fees. The fact that they announced this as we’re making changes soon but if you have an account before cutover you won’t get charged as much instead of we’re making changes soon but if you’re already have an account then you won’t be charged as much is fairly screaming that they’re trying to show some kind of subscriber growth to their investors. It is the same make the numbers look good for quarter end bullshit that leads corporations to fire a bunch of people just before they report earnings to make Wall Street happy.

There’s always been a saying around tech — if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product — which Patreon seems intent on inverting: you’re paying for the product and you are the product. Unfortunately for Patreon, they aren’t irreplaceable. Facebook badly fumbled their Patreon-alike, but New Drip is going to peel people off for the simple reason that a public benefit corporation that isn’t beholden to venture capital won’t — can’t — treat its golden-goose user base as an excuse to sharpen the knife.


Spam of the day:

Listen, after my husband just used this.

I think I’m supposed to infer that whatever your husband did, it left you so breathless from the sex that you can’t complete a sentence even when typing a spamvertisement at a later time?

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¹ Love you, Ike Willis .

² At least one past cameo has become an occasional recurring character — KT the zombie sewer maintenance worker.

³ Who, like Garrity, is a Nexus Of All Webcomics Realities.

Because There’s An Akira Visual Homage That Does More Than Just Look Hell Of Cool

We all recognize it — about 1.5 seconds of animation that is one of the most spectacularly recognizable bits of animation of the last 30 years.

We’ll recognize Kaneda’s bike slide from Akira for as long as animation exists, and it’s spawned a host of tributes for no other reason that it looks hell of cool, doing as much to establish the bleeding-edge aesthetic of Neo-Tokyo¹ as any part of the movie.

And yet, it’s maybe not the most arresting image in the Akira canon. There’s one image, from the original manga, of the title character, small atop an oversized, ruined throne, an empty dictator of a ruined empire.

It speaks of a desperate attempt to maintain the façade of order amidst destruction. It’s ice-cold, chilling down to the marrow². Even if you don’t know the context (and it comes more than 1000 pages into story), you can tell everything that image is conveying. It’s powerful. And because it’s not there just to be hell of cool, it hasn’t had a plethora of pastiches and tributes.

Until today.

Over at The Nib, Omar Khouri and Yazan Al-Saadi, who live and work in Lebanon, have produced a primer on the state of Syria after nearly a decade of civil war. And to bookend the piece, there sits Bashar Al-Assad of Syria, small atop an oversized, ruined throne, an empty dictator of a ruined empire.

He’s less figurehead than Akira of the Great Tokyo Empire, but the image is no less arresting or powerful. It’s viscerally disturbing, given that what’s happened to Syria is not the result of insane psychics, but rather the hatreds and love of power of ordinary men, who would rather destroy that which they cannot control.

Eight Years Of Unrest In Syria is a sad, necessary piece of journalism. It’s too small to contain a full accounting of the horrors that the people of Syria have suffered, but it’s a damn good introduction. And it reminds us that just as Akira is the story of how one destruction of [Neo-]Tokyo inevitably scatters the seeds that will lead to the next, if the underlying causes remain unaddressed and truth, accountability, and justice are absent. Without a reconciliation process, there can be no real rebuilding.

Kudos to Al-Saadi and Khouri for their reportage — not least because running stories critical of the Assad regime is not a safe activity — and to The Nib for bringing us voices and stories from around the world³ that would otherwise likely go unseen on these shores.

And if you haven’t yet, go read Akira — it’s a much larger, more nuanced story than the movie (which, let’s be clear, is a masterpiece). There’s a lot there that has particular resonance today, even before you consider that the story features the 2020 Olympics taking place in Tokyo; while there don’t appear to be murderous biker gangs and telekinetic children running around the Olympics site causing catastrophic destruction, these days nothing surprises me.


Spam of the day:

The Free Energy Device That Might Scare Trump To Death

Why? Unless it can be explained in small words by Tucker Carlson or works by stealing his hamburders, he’ll neither understand nor care.

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¹ It occurs almost exactly five minutes into the film.

² More than a little appropriate for Akira.

³ Also running today, a reflection on the New Zealand shooting republished from The Spinoff in Auckland

Respite

There’s so many terrible things happening, so much tragedy perpetrated by those unable to conceive of a world where they are not universally acknowledged as masters, and yet …

And yet, there’s always good news to give us a respite from the terrible. Maybe you noticed four words at today’s Gunnerkrigg Court¹. Maybe you saw a tweet that was fairly brimming with joy. Magnolia Porter and Tom Siddell celebrated his relocation from the UK to New York City earlier this week by getting married this morning, and there is a world of good right there. Situations like these, I always fall back on on of my favorite bit from Willy Shakes:

Claudio: Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I were but little happy, if I could say how much. Lady, as you are mine, I am yours

Okay, Claudio’s a drip that needs his ass kicked², but that’s a great line. And like Claudio, I cannot properly say how happy I am for Porter and Siddell; may they find all the joy they can scarce find words to express.

And on the off chance you aren’t the sentimental sort, more good news: KC Green has retrieved his adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio from Tumblr’s foul clutches and set it up on its own site, as well as released Chapter 25. This puts us at about the start of the final act in this three-act story, so get caught up if you want to see how the story looked before the grillo parlante got a name.


Spam of the day:

E-File Your IRS Taxes For Free* & Get Your Refund Fast.

I got my refund like six weeks ago; it must not be denied but you are a plain-dealing villain.

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¹ Which, let’s be fair, went up approximately 5:45am EDT, speaking in the past tense about something that likely was still a few hours off.

² Benedick calling him on his shit is another of my favorite bits from Dub-S; in fact, pretty much all of Much Ado is a nonstop delight, and I have regular, lengthy internal arguments about my favorite interpretations of those roles. On any given day, Emma Thompson/Kenneth Branagh and Catherine Tate/David Tennant go back and forth as my favorite Beatrice and Benedick.

I prefer Denzel Washington as Don Pedro and Richard Briers as Leonato, but Nathan Fillion and Tom Lenk beat out everybody for Dogberry and Verges. Not sure why Antonio gets short shrift in so many productions, but it doesn’t matter — Brian Blessed is untouchable in that role. And dammit, I think that Keanu does a great one-dimensional villain.

Innnnteresting

By rights I should have talked about this yesterday, but then when would we have discussed Too Boat, Too Boner? So today it is.

:01 Books is not resting after two years of transition from a 20-titles-per-year publisher to a 50-titles-per-year publisher; particularly in the wake of Gina Gagliano’s shift to Random House — which I’m sure everybody at :01 would agree is actually a win for the industry, although I’m sure they feel the sting of her absence — they have been expanding not only in volume, but also in focus.

Recall that they are not only the only graphic novel publisher that addresses every age range, as well as one of the few that are actively bringing European comics to American readers¹. They have launched thematic lines of graphic novels — Science Comics, Maker Comics — while also staking their reputation on supporting authors of distinctive voice. It’s not obvious what niche they’ve left unserved.

And now we know: civic education and engagement:

That’s the goal of a slate of new graphic novels from World Citizen Comics, which aim to excite and inform readers about how they can fight corruption in elections, blast fake news with truth-telling, and even battle would-be dictators both near and far through a better understanding of constitutions and the rule of law.

It’s significant that the new sub-imprint was announced in Entertainment Weekly, who tell us that there will be seven books initially, starting in Spring of next year (just in time for a major exercise of the political process here in the US). It’s a new enough endeavour that the :01 and Macmillan websites (as well as that of Roaring Brook Press, of which :01 is an imprint … the lines of hierarchy can get kind of scrambled) haven’t caught up to the news yet. But given the enormous impact of the March trilogy (certainly to be matched by the forthcoming sequel, Run), it appears that it’s a niche that can match up ideas and minds with the intention of doing some good.

World Citizen will feature :01 vets like Shelli Paroline & Braden Lamb (on Breaking (The) News by Jennifer Pozner, on modern media culture) and George O’Connor² (on Un-Rig: How To Fix Our Broken Democracy by Dan Newman, on the influence of dark money on politics and policy). They’ll also bringing new folks into the fold, like Kasia Babis (on Re-Constitution by Beka Feathers, about resisting authoritarianism and buttressing the rule of law), who’s been killing it at The Nib.

I’m expecting the tone of the imprint will be something similar to Josh Neufeld’s The Influencing Machine, which is one of the best, densest, but easy-to-read primers on How The World Really Works. As for the future, it’s not like the world will be getting any less complex (or the challenges facing us any easier) after the initial tranche of books is done; we seem to be more open-eyed about the resurgence of authoritarianism around the world than we have been in the past³, but the generations that didn’t live through the last antidemocratic period need to learn history — a history that those in charge may not want them to learn. A line of books made for a general audience (as opposed to political junkies), especially one that’s at least partially pitched at younger readers, will be welcome.

And hey, maybe they look at what Zach Weinersmith is doing in the same sphere (his comic series on the American political system with his political scientist brother, his forthcoming book in favor of open immigration with a prominent Libertarian economist) and we get more of his work in book-sized chunks incisively determining what’s wrong with the world and how to fix it, but with dick jokes. If you’re going to tackle something as serious as the defense of democracy itself, you gotta lighten the mood at least a little.


Spam of the day:

The gun that was meant to end his suffering led him to the biggest breakthrough in tinnitus treatment.

Fact: I have had a lifelong sensitivity to pressure and temperature changes, which manifests (primarily at night) as a mild case of tinnitus.
Fact: Stay the fuck away from me with a gun. Thank you.

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¹ Even though not enough of you bought Last Man and the series stalled on the most devastating cliffhanger imaginable, damn you all.

² Gotta have a project lined up for when Olympians ends, which will simultaneously be a magnificent accomplishment and a very sad day.

³ Which is damn good, because the last time you had so many aspiring strongmen in so many places, it led to 50 million or so dead people and multiple continents in ruins.

EmCity Programming, Just In Time

Hey, y’all. I know that many of you are in the act of traveling to Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con, but here’s some programming you might want to keep an eye out for; because there are numerous panels that fall into clear topic lanes with certain people repeating, I’ve taken the liberty of first examining these clusters before going strictly sequential; naturally, many other people will contribute to these sessions.

The Katie Lane Cluster
Katie Lane¹ brings the legal knowledge; note that some of these require separate admission.

From Panel To Publisher (Thursday, 11:45 to 3:15, TCC L3-R2) is intended for lawyers representing clients in the comics field. Comic Book Negotiation And Contract Drafting Practicum (Friday, 1:30 to 3:45, TCC L3-R2) is for the same office, on Lane’s favorite topic ever. Critical Contracts And Copyrights For The Comic Book Creator (Saturday, 11:00 to 12:00, WSCC 3A) is for a general audience of creators and also all appreciators of alliteration.

The Gina Gagliano Cluster
Gina Gagliano had a very good 2018, is going to have an even better 2019, and will turn comics upside down in 2020. Ignore her at your peril.
The Graphic Novel Survival Guide: Tips, Strategies, And Tools For Building Your Graphic Novel Classroom (Thursday, 12:00 to 1:00, Seattle Public Library Microsoft Auditorium) is skewed towards teachers. Graphic Nonfiction: An Introduction (Thursday, 1:45 to 2:45, Seattle Public Library Level 4, Room 2) is for everybody from creators to teachers. STEAM-Powered Graphic Novels (Friday, 3:00 to 4:00, TCC L2-R4) will focus on the sci-comm potential of the medium.

The Colleen AF Venable Cluster
Colleen AF will be busy AF, talking about very nearly every aspect of comics and graphic novels.
99 Problems But A Comic Ain’t One — Comics As Therapy (Thursday, 3:00 to 4:00, Seattle Public Library Level 4, Room 2) wins for best title, as well as looking at the humanistic support comics offer.
Inclusive Comics 101: Or, Comics For The Rest Of Us (Thursday, 4:15 to 5:15, Seattle Public Library Microsoft Auditorium) should be the last time we have to discuss the fact that comics don’t “belong” to any subset of readers, and that gatekeepers suck. No More “Others”: Cultural Connection Through Comics (Saturday, 5:30 to 6:30, TCC L2-R4) should be the last time we have to discuss the fact that comics exist in every country and describe every culture. Writing Graphic Novels For Any Audience (Saturday, 6:30 to 7:30, WSCC 603) assumes you aren’t objecting to the self-evident truths of those last two panels and are looking to expand your audience to the historically underserved.
LGBTQ+ In Kids Comics (Sunday 12:00 to 1:00, TCC, L3-R2) discusses how kids are learning about what it’s like to be queer from some friggin’ great comics.

The Noelle Stevenson/She-Ra Cluster
Noelle Stevenson took a fairly soulless toy cash-in from decades ago and made something really beautiful that’s delighted people. Conversation With She-Ra And The Princesses Of Power Creator Noelle Stevenson (Saturday, 10:45 to 11:15, ECCC Live Stage, Booth 1239) and Dreamworks She-Ra And The Princesses Of Power (Saturday, 12:15 to 1:15, WSCC 611) will give her a chance to talk about the show, its message, and what’s coming up.

The Dylan Meconis Cluster

I’ve long said that I adore Dylan Meconis as a friend because she’s just a little bit evil. That desire to poke at what she loves is evident in The Long Con, the story of a comics convention that never ends and all the weirdness that would inevitably result; ain’t no nerds that don’t come in for some noogies here. Tales From The Long Con (Saturday, 4:00 to 5:00, TCC L3-R1) is a telling of real-life con stories, and Dylan Meconis And Ben Coleman On The Long Con (Sunday, 5:45 to 6:00, ECCC Live Stage, Booth 1239) will give you the chance to finish out ECCC with the knowledge it can always be worse — you might have been trapped in the convention center for five years while the world outside ended.

Other Panels Of Note
The Reurgence Of Anthologies And Zines (Thursday, 4:00 to 5:00, TCC L3-R5) will talk about one of the surer ways to level up your comics career.

Convention Horror Stories, An ECCC Tradition (Thursday, 4:15 to 5:15, TCC L3-R4) will feature the worst from co vets Jim Zub and Katie Cook.

Spotlight On Iron Circus Comics (Thursday, 5:30 to 6:30, TCC L3-R4) is what it says on the tin, with Blue Delliquanti, Evan Dahm, Kel McDonald, and Maria Frantz.

Kickstarter Presents: Kickstarting Your Comic (Friday, 5:30 to 5:45, ECCC Live Stage, Booth 1239) is brief, so go, listen, learn, and stop thinking Kickstarter is a magic money machine, godsdammit.

Can You Suggest A Good Comic With No Butts And Guts: Exploring Amazing Elementary And Middle Grade Comics And Graphic Novels (Saturday, 1:45 to 2:45, TCC L2-R4) is seriously completely self-descriptive.

The Lost In Wikipedia Game Show! (Sunday, 4:00 to 5:00, TCC L3-R5) has a superfluous exclamation, so you know David Malki ! is involved. He Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett, Kris Straub, James Sutter, and Camilla Zhang will be professionally funny for your amusement.

And Then There’s This Thing:
Boats And Boners 2: Too Boat, Too Boner (Saturday, 6:30 to 7:30, TCC L3-R2). Yeah. Lucy Bellwood (boats) and Erika Moen (boners) reprise their discussion in front of a classy fireplace from last year. I’m just relieved they didn’t title it Boats And Boners 2: Electric Bonerboataloo.


Spam of the day:

Sie haben unseren kostenlosen ERFURT Newsletter abonniert.

How do you say Nnnnnoooope in German? Google Translate is letting me down here.

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¹ Light-ning Law-yer!!

Now That’s A Dilly Of A Pickle

I’m going to call it a quirk of the category definitions rather than some inability to determine what a thing is.

Wait, let me back up..

For years now (seven, if my count is correct), Slate and the Center For Cartoon Studies have offered the Cartoonist Studio Prize, with one thousand American smackeroos going to the winners of the two categories: Print Comic and Web Comic [sic]. Ten nominees on the final ballot in each category. Simple, straightforward, a history of high quality nominees representing all genres and formats, and nice as a brick or statue may be, cash money is something many cartoonists can really use.

This year’s nominees are out in the wild, and there’s an anomaly. An unusual occurrence. A weirdness.

As is entirely right and proper, Nancy is nominated … as a webcomic.

Okay, on the one hand, I get it, Nancy has a website and updates there daily. But it’s a syndicated comic that originated in the newspapers, one that is owned by that syndicate, one that can replace artist and/or writer at will — which is how we got Olivia Jaimes on the gig in the first place.

And I get that the print collection is really for things that are self-contained in the form of minis and graphic novels, and Nancy is only now getting to the point where you could get a print collection of the Jaimes era. But it’s in print, literally every day. The corporate ownership and multiple layers of editorial control are the antithesis of webcomics. But Jaimes, as we are told, is a webcomicker.

I get the dilemma that the judges panel must have struggled with, as there’s no way you can’t acknowledge Nancy — it’s simply too good — but that it doesn’t fall neatly into either category and despite the seeming contradiction, it is more similar to the other Web Comic nominees than it is to the Print Comic nominees (especially considering the category also considers This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow, once found in alternative weekly newspapers, now at The Nib, and two contenders that ran at The New Yorker).

All of which is to say, pretty much every comic — at least, those not initially sold as bound floppy magazines or as an original graphic novel — is a webcomic. Good luck Olivia Jaimes, good luck everybody else, and the Cartoonist Studio Prize will be awarded on 12 April.


Spam of the day:

You have a website, right? Of course you do. I found fleen.com today. It gets traffic every day – that you’re probably spending $2 / $4 / $10 or more a click to get.

Yeah, you utterly do not get how we do things here at Fleen.

Neither A Day Late Nor A Dollar Short, But Pretty Close

I’m always behind in pointing folks towards Emerald City Comic Con (which starts on Thursday and runs to Sunday), and I resolve to get my act together one of these years. After a couple of EmCity iterations under the ReedPop banner, I get the sense that this is a make-or-break year for the until-now universally beloved show — it’s showing signs to messing with things that didn’t need to be messed with, and possibly reducing the comic component of the show.

As long as it doesn’t devolve further unto a generic pop culture show, I think it’ll be okay, but I’m not sure if it can still claim the mantle of premier comics-oriented show¹. After all, the Literary Guests² outnumber the Entertainment Guests by 2:1, and the Comic Guests outumber the Literary and Entertainment Guests put together by a third.

Some of those Comic Guests likely to be of interest to readers of this page include Abby Howard (booth KK19), Blue Delliquanti (booth KK20), Chip Zdarsky³ (booth JJ12), Edwin Huang (booth E14), Emi Lenox (booth G11), Erica Henderson (booth O3), Jim Zub (booth Y14), Kazu Kibuishi (no booth, here’s his schedule), Ngozi Ukazu (booth P7), Ru Xu (booth P3), Sarah Andersen (no booth here’s her schedule), Sfé Monster (booth G1), and Taneka Stotts (booth P14).

On the main show floor, you’ve got Alaska Robotics (booth 204), Cautionary Fables & Fairy Tales (booth 208), Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett (booth 1616, on the skybridge), Girl Genius (booth 118), Harper Collins (booth 2202), Hiveworks (booth 2002), Iron Circus (booth 644), Little Vampires (booth 310), Oni Press (booth 216), TopatoCo (booth 1606, on the skybridge).

Over in Artist Alley you have the traditional cluster of folks in Aisle H-for-Helioscope Studio (including Aaron McConnell, Aud Koch, Cat Farris, Dylan Meconis, Erika Moen, Jonathan Case Katie Lane, Kerstin La Cross, Leila Del Luca, Lucy Bellwood, Maria Frantz, Matthew Nolan, Ron Chan, Ron Randall, Steve Lieber, and Terry Blas). Also around you’ll find Yuko Ota & Ananth Hirsh of Johhny Wander (booth P6), Gigi DG (booth OO4), Haley Boros (booth U9), Mad Rupert (booth P2), Megan Rose Gedris (booth LL7), Jam from Wasted Talent (booth G1), Molly “Jakface” Nemecek (booth R3), Lexxy Douglas (booth BB13), Tyson Hesse (Q11), and the inimitable, indefatigable, indomitable, and indescribably awesome Tony Breed (booth S10).

Note that Blind Ferret will not be at the show, but Lucas Elliott and Evan Dahm and will, at booths 1916 and 208, respectively.
Updated to add: Mary Cagle, at booth 2002.

Okay, that’s it. Yeah, it’s not that long a post, but wrangling that many links? Takes forever. Let me know if I missed anybody, and we’ll talk programming in a day or so.


Spam of the day:

If you’re a man, you will spend 65,520 minutes, or 1,092 hours, shaving your face. That means you sit down, haul out the shaving cream, make a mess, wet your clothes, and annoy your wife.

You are very bad at shaving.

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¹ To the extent that such thing as a premiere comics-oriented show still exists outside the Festival model. Everything on the convention center, multi-day scale is pretty heavily invested in the TV, movie, wrestling, and generic entertainment component.

² At least some of which — Molly Muldoon, Colleen AF Venable, Judd Winick, Gale Galligan, Alison Wilgus to name just a few — could easily have counted in the comics category.

Oh, and all those links (and the others for individuals) are to Twitter, since that’s what the ECCC guest profiles provided. Comics will generally be to the website in question.

³ Losing out the “last person by family name alphabetical order” crown to Zub again.