The webcomics blog about webcomics

Comics Are Better In Groups

Hey, how you doing? I’m a little slow on the uptake today. Remember how I got no sleep across the weekend and didn’t really post on Monday as a result? Turns out sleep is important! Once again I’m short hours of sleep from last night’s regular EMS duty night because (and I swear this is true) I had to haul my ass out at 3:15am to deal with a patient who was experiencing visual and auditory hallucinations because he hadn’t slept in three days. I’d totally nope out on you again, but I can’t do that twice in one week, so let’s do this quick and then I’m takin’ a nap.

  • TCAF announced that volunteer signup for this year’s show (9-10 May, at the Toronto Reference Library¹ and other locations around Toronto) is now open. As well, they are looking for a new Volunteer Coordinator, an October-May gig of varying intensity; if you have strong people organizing skills, familiarity with conventions (especially TCAF), excellent communication skills, the ability to wrangle crowds, and open time across half the year, read the description and maybe apply.
  • The Fourth Annual Prism Award nominations are now open, recognizing the best in queer comics (that is, queer subject matter and/or queer creators). The three nominees in each category will be announced at the Queer Comics Expo (16-17 May in San Francisco, presented in conjunction with the Cartoon Art Museum), with the winners announced at SDCC (23-26 July).

    Categories include Best Short Form Comic, Best Webcomic, Best Comic From A Small To Midsize Press, Best Comic From A Mainstream Publisher, and Best Comic Anthology; descriptions, requirements, and submission form may be found here, with a deadline of 18 March.

Okay, that’s it for now. See you tomorrow.


Spam of the day:

Bye Bye Barks incorporates an ultrasound system that prevents your dog’s woofing.

My dog is a greyhound and thus very quiet. She has these little snuffly sighs, and occasionally lets a yawn turn into a classic greyhound rooooo, and you are monsters for suggesting I should punish her with your sonic assault devices for being herself.

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¹ Although they aren’t happy about it, it’s too late to change venues for 2020 to someplace that doesn’t host open TERFery. If TCAF 2021 is held in a different main venue, it’ll be a momentous change, but very likely a necessary one.

A Win For The Good Guys

'Bout damn time, too.

Approximately half an hour ago, Kickstarter United won their election for union representation. I’m doing something I never do an posting this in an incomplete form, so I can get the word out but also go and think about the broader implications. Update to come.

Okay, update time. Things that have occurred to me since the news broke:

  • This is a foot in the door; Kickstarter’s a small company¹, but one with an outsized brain share in the public mind, largely because Kickstarter (uniquely) has a direct relationship with people that much of tech doesn’t.

    With the big internet companies — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google — you end using their services because they’re unavoidable, not because you want to. Other tech behemoths — your Microsofts, Oracles, etc — are at a remove, with your usage of them typically intermediated by somebody else that gets your ire when things don’t work². Tech companies related to the gig economy have lots of act-alikes (if Uber’s too creepy for your liking this week, there’s always Lyft — and your opinion on them will probably reverse in another week), and/or they only offer a service that already exists in the real world, but may be marginally more convenient.

    But Kickstarter is a tech company that people deal with an intermittent, voluntary basis; when you can afford something that looks cool, you go for it, and they’ve got a reputation for at least trying to get the most obvious scammers out, whereas their competitors either let in bullshit unbuildable projects³, or allow for less-than-goal funding, which practically invites cash grab scams. People use their discretionary income for Kickstarter, and have a relationship unlike any other tech company.

    So over the next year or so, as Kickstarter and the Kickstarter United reps hammer out their new relationship and find new ways of moving foward, as tech workers across the country start to see how their labor and interactions with the money end of things can interact in new ways, where will this spread? How many new startups that hit a certain size will have to factor in this is how large we think we can get without a union forming as part of their due diligence with venture capital?

    Nor will this necessarily stop with what we think of as pure tech workers. Once the coders behind — let’s say GrubHub as an example — unionize, how long before their very put-upon gig workers get the idea? How long before games companies can no longer persist in their cruel march of years-long crunch followed by mass layoffs when their two nearest analogues — tech companies like Kickstarter, and artistic endeavours like unionized animation shops — show that there’s another way?

    How long before the FAANG Five can’t come down on employees who object to their involvement in undermining democracy, caving to totalitarian regimes, enabling ICE, selling garbage facial recognition to the Pentagon/law enforcement, undermining efforts against climate change, and other things that offend the most basic ethical framework?

    And how long after the high-income coder population is even partially unionized before people making a hell of a lot less money start wondering why they don’t get to have a union? I truly believe that this could be the turning point that starts the overall levels of union membership in the country towards the first upswing since the ’50s.

  • On the flip side of all those rosy futures, PR and law firms that specialize in union busting are celebrating today; they just got to up their rates because a bunch more employers are calling them in a panic.
  • Creators can breathe a sigh of relief. A lot of them were fully prepared to walk away from Kickstarter as a platform, and some were holding off on starting projects, waiting to see how this went. That last probably wasn’t necessary (see the next item), but I’m sure it was noticed. Given the failure of Drip 2.0 to launch, there really isn’t an alternative to Kickstarter.
  • Everybody that announced you were boycotting Kickstarter (despite the fact that the union organizers specifically asked that you not do so unless they deemed it necessary to bring management to the table), you’ll be coming back now, right? I’d hate to think any of that was performative outrage.

Spam of the day:

Magnetic GSM Mini SPY GPS Tracker Real Time Tracking Locator-Device

As I am neither an evil obsessive, nor a potentially murderous, controlling partner with a restraining order on him, I have no use for your stalker wares. Kindly go away, dispose of all your inventory in a large fire, then sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done.

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¹ Fewer than 90 employees took part in the vote.

² What up, Tech Support?

³ At least in our universal of physical laws. I swear, it’s only a matter of time before somebody on Indiegogo promises an inertialess drive or overunity power generator.

Fake Holiday, Real Slacking Off

Today is the lamest holiday on the Usian calendar, Presidents Day (New Jersey), and Washington’s Birthday (federal). I had work today, but the banks are closed, the mail isn’t delivered, and also I am still super tired from the weekend¹. So not a lot of webcomics sleuthing going on around here, but I bet with the footnotes I can stretch this past 300 words. Betcha.


Spam of the day:

The coronavirus has reached US shores with 6 confirmed cases in the United States. While there is no known cure for this virus right now You could also consider using this… destroying free radicals as if putting an ‘off’ switch to diseases. Debilitating diseases such as diabetes, chronic pain, and even cancer isn’t something you have to ‘put up’ with.

1, see footnote #2 below. 2, fuck all the way off into the sun, and when you get there fuck off some more.

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¹ Not from anything fun, either. It was EMS duty weekend, a 24 hour shift that served to illustrate that people always have their cardiac arrests at 3:00am and their strokes at 5:45am², instead of 3:00pm and 5:45pm, respectively. Not a lotta Saturday night sleep for Gary is what I’m saying, and while last night was ordinary, I am still yawning and occasionally slow on the uptake today.

² I should clarify that these were not the same patient. Also, one of them answered the routine question, Any overseas travel in the last three weeks? with My daughter and mother-in-law returned from Chengdu on January 15th, which is the closest I’ve come so far to COVID-19.

That being said, take the approximately 70,000 cases reported so far in China, and divide by a population of approximately 1.43 billion, and you’ve got odds that are somewhere between three white balls + the Powerball and four white balls, and ain’t too many of you reading this that have hit that partial jackpot, I’m guessing.

Here in the US, the odds are even longer: 15 confirmed cases out of 330 million people, you are as likely to get five white balls (but no Powerball) twice, meaning two separate million dollar jackpots. Stop being crappy to the people that live and work in your local Chinatown, please.

We Won’t Mention The Bit Where I Had To Ride The Subway Back To The Party Because I Left My Notebook Behind

I’ll leave it to the boss herself:

It turns out that sometimes if you and @ppcrotty, @WhitLeopard, @RoxieReads, and @jhautsethi work very hard, people bring you cake. Who knew?!

That from Gina Gagliano, head of Random House Graphic, at the party thrown to celebrate the first releases from the imprint, and a debut year that will see twelve graphic novels for kids released¹. She and her stalwart staff² — senior editor Whitney Leopard, designer Patrick Crotty, and publicist/marketer Nicole Valdez — talked about the books out now (and coming soon) that they really want you to know about. And since I accepted a piece of their cake, I feel like I should hold up my end of the bargain.

  • Gagliano’s choice for favorite upcoming book is Witchlight by Jessi Zbarsky, which she described as a girl with swords meets a girl that does magic, they have adventures and fall in love and in the middle there’s food which is just … I’m in. Look for it on 14 April.
  • Leopard wants you to read The Runaway Princess (out for the past three week) by Johan Troïowski, because it’s got an interactive element in each chapter, as the reader is asked to do or achieve something, and also Stepping Stones (due 5 May), the first kids book by Lucy Knisley, who is the best.
  • Crotty, coming from a background of indie comics, particularly wants you to read Bug Boys (released three days ago) by Laura Knetzger, noting how many of the great comics we’re getting these days wouldn’t exist without the indie creators doing 8 to 12 page minis, never anticipating they’ll be collected in a print volume. The Bug Boys are for kids but have a Charlie Brownesque philosophical side, and Knetzger keeps cranking out the minis, so it won’t be long before the second collection arrives.
  • Valdez allowed that there was some disagreement over who would get to talk about Bug Boys, but was enthused to talk instead about Aster And The Accidental Magic (coming in two and a half weeks) by Thom Pico and Karensac. This girl is me is the message she wanted to convey, an idea that underlies RHG’s mission — to put a graphic novel in the hands of every kid in America³.

They’re on their way. Gagliano talked about how she started in the industry fifteen years ago, how comics were regarded with suspicion but now schools and libraries are their biggest champions. There’s a lot of hands out there that still haven’t gotten comics, and lot of minds that still have to develop that higher level of reading, and she and her team are going to do their level best to fix that.

And yes, publishing is a very Manhattan-centric business, but the crowd was overflowing the aisles at Books Of Wonder, and not just because of the cake. There were younger folk there, mid-20s a lot of them, ready to answer that call and pitch their ideas and end up on some of those shelves. Here’s to finding out what makes it there in the coming years.


Spam of the day:

Your regular glasses can get lost, break or your prescription can change over time, resulting in expensive trips to the optometrist!

I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 19, and in the 30+ years since, I have lost exactly one pair (sunglasses, on my way home from Tom Spurgeon’s memorial), broken none, and yes, my prescription has changed because my eyeballs have changed. This is the definition of a straw man you’re propping up here.

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¹ Out of a total twenty four for Random House Children’s Books. No pressure, just got to make up half the output for one of the most storied publishing imprints in history in your first year, that’s all.

² Random House associate publisher Judith Haut, while not part of Gagliano’s staff, is the one that decided that there needed to be a RHG and found the right person for the job.

³ Quoting Gagliano, and echoing their tagline, A graphic novel on every bookshelf. Whoever that kid is, wherever that shelf is, Leopard told us back in July, they will have at least one title that makes that kid say This is the book I was waiting for.

West Coast Comic Show Rapidly Approaching

What? No, not EmCity, although we will be talking about that presently.

Today I’ve got my eye on the SF Comics Fest, via the good folks at the Cartoon Art Museum. For those of you that haven’t seen it in past years, SF Comics Fest is an association of comics-related events (like Will Eisner Week) taking place in and around the Bay Area, in a sort of mutual non-aggression pact. This year’s events will run from 29 February¹ through 8 March and will include:

  • 29 Feb: San Francisco Youth Justice Comic Con A free event for youth blending activism with comics, anime and pop culture. The event will feature zine-making, a drawing jam, a cosplay parade, exhibitor booths, and workshops facilitated by local artists and activists.
  • 1-7 Mar: Will Eisner Week Read a graphic novel, encourage others to do so. Yeah, I know, for most of us this is better known as “every week”, but now’s your chance to get evangelical about it.
  • 7 Feb: Eisner Edition Saturday Cartooning for Kids There’s monthly Saturday afternoon cartooning workshops (underwritten by the NCS Foundation) that run from 1:00pm to 2:30pm at the Cartoon Art Museum, and March’s will focus on the legacy of Eisner. You can get more information on the full Spring 2020 series here.
  • 8 Mar: 35th Anniversary Spirit of Mini Comics Challenge It’s the 35th anniversary of CAM, and they’re marking the occasion by seeking to make 35 minicomics in one day. Demonstrations, creative coaching and materials provided at the event, which is free and open to the public.
  • 8 Mar: 25th Anniversary of MUTTS Patrick McDonnell will be talking about his work and signing afterwards; in keeping with the theme of MUTTS, representatives of Muttville senior dog rescue will be there to talk about adopting older dogs. Muttville outreach from 5:30pm to 6:30pm, and McDonnell from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. CAM members free with RSVP, others US$10 and up, with book purchase and membership options, head over to Guestlist for all means of attendance.

There’s plenty of other events happening around the Bay Area, which you can catch up with here; if you want to host your own event, you can sign up here, which means the list of SFCF events will only grow from here on out. Anybody on the left coast in two-three weeks should keep an eye out for what’s going on while you’re there.


Spam of the day:

Request Pending… Cancel Your Subscription…

Hmmm, every “button” in your email leads to the same place, and you don’t actually tell me what I’m allegedly unsubscribing from that requires my information to be sent to Brazil. Next time, just tell me it’s LinkedIn. I’d do anything to get those bastards to leave me alone.

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¹ Also the 13th birthday of my evil twin, Howard Tayler. At last, he is a man!

Hooray, Books!

Hey, y’all. Got some time-sensitive info for you, and some advance-planning info for you. Let’s do this.

  • Time Sensitive! Iron Circus Comics has a sale going on. In honor of Horny Werewolf Day tomorrow, there’s discounts to be had on all of their funtime sexytime offerings.

    Until the famous gettin’ it on holiday is done, you get 30% on books, softcover and hard¹ PDFs, special editions, and even the already-discounted scratch-and-dent copies of The Art of Kaneoya Sachiko, The Complete Curvy, Crossplay, Iris and Angel, TJ and Amal (including the prequel and side story), Letters for Lucardo, all the various Smut Peddlers, and Yes, Roya. Get ’em while the gettin’s good.

  • Advance Planning! Ngozi Ukazu just a few updates away from the big finish of Check, Please!, and getting ready to release the second half of the story in print form through :01 Books. Check Please: Sticks And Scones drops on 7 April, and to mark the occasion, Ukazu’s going on book tour.

    Her travel kicks off on the 4th, with launch day in her hometown of Austin, before heading on to DC, Brooklyn, Long Island, suburban Boston, and Chicago over the next ten days. Now’s the time to prepare yourself to attend an event if you can, but also to say goodbye to the best bros² you could ever wish for.


Spam of the day:

Best Weight Loss Program:Lose Weight for Good with Noom

Even if Noom wasn’t the stupidest brand name of the century, I’d still tell you to get the fuck out of here with your diet program bullshit.

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¹ Hurr, hurr.

² I have so much headcanon about what Ransom and Holster will get up to. They are basically going to have to live next door to each other for the rest of their lives or they’ll be too sad. Also, Shitty will be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court some day.

Webcomics Before The Web

From Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin:

I have a lot of memories in relation to Claire Bretécher’s work; I first knew her through Aggripine, the teenager whose adventures she created during the 80s, 90s, and 00s. Then, I later discovered her earlier works: Cellulite, Les Frustrés, but also some lesser-known ones. Her work was so groundbreaking in every way: the style, the themes, the language, but also everything that does not appear on the page (more on that in a minute) that I still can’t believe Angoulême never awarded her the Grand Prix. It’s a disgrace.

But I’m going to leave a proper overview of her work to people more competent than I am; rather, we at Fleen will focus here on how she has preceded French webcartoonists in their quest for independence.

Bretécher had traditionally worked with publishers, many of them in fact, in the 60s; but in the 70s for Les Frustrés she was working with Le Nouvel Obs, a weekly magazine publisher. And once enough pages had run there, she sought to have them collected. While some publishers showed interest, they also offered her conditions that she was not happy with, so she said Screw it. (not an exact quote)

She went ahead and took a loan, hired a printer, sought bookshops, etc: she self-published Les Frustrés. The 70s were a time of upheaval in Euro comics, but the contemporary initiatives¹ to break free of traditional publishers aimed at creating editorial structures pooling the publication of multiple creators; Bretécher, by herself, showed that it was possible to go at it alone, and remain independent: she kept self-publishing for the remainder of her career.

She never published on the web (she did feature the sociological impact of the Internet in the later Aggripine books, lest you think she ignored it), but nevertheless she has directly or indirectly inspired the current crop of French-language webcartoonists who are self-publishing today, the same way she did so many years ago.

For those interested in furthering their knowledge of Bretécher, a large portion of her body of work has been translated in English, with Les Frustrés being easiest to find; however, in some cases you might have to hit the second-hand market.

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¹ The Hara-Kiri crew had founded Charlie Mensuel to publish Al Capp, Charles Shultz, and a few others; Moebius, Dionnet, and Druillet founded Métal Hurlant (Heavy Metal); Gotlib had founded Fluide Glacial so grown-up comics (his and other’s) could see the light of day; Bretécher herself had been part of such an initiative, with Mandryka and Gotlib, called l’Echo des Savanes, before they ran out of money, etc.

First Of Two Today

This is going to be somewhat brief, as we at Fleen (and by that I mean Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin) are working up another posting in response to the breaking news.

Until then, I hope that you saw what would have been yesterday’s most important story but for other (and much happier) breaking news — the Creators For Creators Grant applications are open:

HEYYY! The Creators for Creators grant is open for 2020! We give $30k to an unpublished creator or duo to support the creation of their debut work. It’s funded entirely by comics creators. Check out our submissions page creatorsforcreators.org/submissions-2/ and follow @Creators4C for updates!

That from Kelly Sue DeConnick, all around amazing comics writer and one of the original — let’s say signatories — that established the C4C grant back in Aught-Sixteen. Since then there have been three recipients¹; the fourth will receive:

[US]$30,000 to a single cartoonist or writer/artist duo in order to support the creation of a new and original work of a length between sixty-four and one hundred pages over the course of a single year.

In addition to the monetary support, the recipient of the grant will have access to mentorship from the experienced creators involved with Creators for Creators. Mentorship will cover almost every aspect of the comic-creating experience. The goal is to give the recipient a firm foundation in the creative, business, legal, and financial areas of the comics business.

The recipient has total control over how and where they choose to publish their work once it is completed, whether they choose to submit it to a creator-owned publisher or release it themselves in any format. Iron Circus Comics and Image Comics have both pledged to support the recipient by publishing their work, if the recipient so chooses. No matter their choice, the recipient retains all rights to their work.

Applicants (18 years and older) must not have had solo work published by a third party (anthologies and self-publishing are okay), and the work submitted for the grant (which must be 64-100 pages when complete) must not have been submitted for publication in the past year and must be original. The full guidelines, application [PDF], and release agreement [PDF] are at the C4C site; send them with your supporting materials to submissions2020 over at the creatorsforcreators site, which a dot-org. Applications must be received by 11 May 2020, and the recipient(s) will be announced in June.


Spam of the day:

Clear View–Drive Safe, No Matter What the Conditions

Dude, you had a lot better chance of getting my money when you had the rapping dude on 80s daytime TV hawking BluBlockers™.

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¹ Who mostly are not originally American/Canadian; there’s huge world of comics built out of experiences from outside North America, and we’re all luckier for getting to see them.

A Whole New Small Person

So I was going to be writing today about the official announcement, last week, that Queen Of The Sea (one of my very favorite books of last year) would be getting a sequel. Dylan Meconis had said as much, back in July when I last saw her, but the announcement made it officially official:

So some exciting news! There will be a sequel to Queen of the Sea!! There is exclusive sneak peek art and a lovely interview by @FuseEight right here.

Prince Of The City will pick up where Queen Of The Sea left off, but not for two and a half years, boo. Pages composed of watercolors take a hell of a long time to make, and Meconis has other projects in the meantime, like the History Smashers series (words by Kate Messner), which releases starting this July.

Like I said, I was going to be talking about all that today, but Meconis got upstaged a bit more than an hour ago, by an announcement of a new, ongoing project that she’ll be involved in:

I don’t want to brag or anything, but I turned my latest project in three days early.

My wife joked that I wouldn’t post about having a kid until we brought the baby home and I laughed because I’m not THAT paranoid but then it just kind of snuck up on me, and by that I mean “went into labor pre-dawn the day after turning in two huge sets of files” which is VERY me

Bringing a child into the world under the best of circumstances is an act of supreme optimism. Given the challenges we face now (and the women involved), I choose to see this birth as a declaration: the world had damn well better get its shit together and be a place worthy of this little one growing up, or it will be subjected kicking and screaming to ruthlessly logical — Vulcanesque, one might say — behavioral modification, until it does. Either way, we get a better world out of the deal.

Congratulations to Meconis, wife Katie Lane¹ (of Work Made For Hire), and to this perfect child, blessed with the two most amazing moms anybody could ever ask for. Associate Child Oversight Specialist President Teddy Roosevelt is reportedly preparing to help shepherd the new member of the family until they’re ready to apply to Starfleet Academy, or take up a career in nonsparkly vampiric piracy, whichever they choose.


Spam of the day:
Spammers don’t get to share the day with the new one. Bless.

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¹ Light-ning Law-yer!!

Almost Live From Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Editor’s note: Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin attended the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée in the midsized city of Angoulême in the southwest of France. The third largest comics event in the world (eclipsed only by Lucca Comics & Games in Tuscany, and the twice-yearly Comiket in Tokyo), Angoulême is the center of the Franco-Belgian comics style, with a healthy representation of work from around the world. He’s here to tell you all about it.

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I had never been to Angoulême before, whether for the FIBD or any other purpose. The town of Angoulême has a few claims to fame, notably that it was the domain for a junior branch of the French royal family, up until the senior branch became extinct and its lord ended up becoming king under the name François Premier (the first), thus starting the Valois-Angoulême subdynasty. But regardless of its historical role, I had never needed to go there, until this week-end for the 47th edition of its world-renowned comics festival.

There are a few reasons why I decided to (finally) start covering the festival this year, but the main one is clearly the Grand Prix having been awarded to Rumiko Takahashi in 2019 as a definite proof of the FIBD sincerely correcting its course (unfortunately, neither Takahashi-san nor any showcase of her works could be seen at the festival¹ besides her poster, but as predicted the Grand Prix resulted in new releases of her classic works). Even then, the festival was the occasion for protest and other such activities, whether they were in relation to the impoverishment of creators², like creators taking to the streets or taking advantage of the awards ceremony to raise their concerns, or in relation to more general opposition, such as when president Emmanuel Macron posed along a t-shirt denouncing police violence during his visit, or the placards in town denouncing the same, using comics characters.

However, I do not feel comfortable reporting on such events since I did not get to witness them first hand. I much prefer, inspired by fellow Angoulême first-timers Spike Trotman³ and Deb Aoki to give you my impressions and advice for attending the FIBD, coming from someone more used to regular Euro comics festivals. Indeed, Angoulême from its sheer scale has to or can afford to act differently from the former, and may not be representative of them.

  • It feels like Disneyland: the lines The legends did not mislead me: you must pad your schedule to account for the lines everywhere. Waiting for a signing is done in a line, of course, but as is waiting to enter a tent, waiting to enter an expo, sometimes for eating, etc. Fortunately, none of those were of the “one-off hard limit” variety: all of the spaces I waited in line for, I was able to enter, the worst being the Claveloux expo, set up in an old townhouse where I was told only about 25 people could be allowed in the ground floor at any one time, and only about 20 allowed in the first elevation. Yup, once you were done with the ground floor you had to again get in line for the first elevation …
  • It feels like Disneyland: the marketing This is the main event of the year for comics publishers, and it shows, with the booths in the mainstream publishers tent seemingly trying to outdo each other. For instance, just like you can spot children coming out of Disneyland, everywhere in town you could see children holding balloons, except here the balloons were shaped like Titeuf’s hairdo.

    As for Editions Dupuis, they went as far as to feature performers wearing oversized costumes of some of their characters in their booth, Disneyland-style. At least the marketing is focused on comics, and possibly comics-related works (for instance, there were a few advance showings of the latest Ducobu movie).

  • It feels like Disneyland: the scope Not only do the festival activities take over the town center with five tents, plus some buildings such as the Espace Franquin, resulting in an area that requires about 5 minutes to walk across, but an additional tent and a library were set up about a 15 minutes walk away from that, next to the train station, to which you have to add a cluster around the Musée de la Bande Dessinée, about a 20 minutes walk away from either of the other centers.

    And the center is on an elevation, so a bike might not be that helpful. Take good shoes, and one pair of socks for each day you’ll be there. Finally, they had a townwide PA system to remind of upcoming events and announce cancellations and the like.

  • It feels like Disneyland: the price Okay, it still does not compare to Disneyland, but at 19€ for a regular day, 25€ for Sunday, or 45€ for all 4 days, this is 5 times as expensive as, say, Lyon BD.
  • Plan in advance, or else The lodging situation is absolutely crazy, with every hotel room in the vicinity being booked months in advance; this is owed not just to the festival scale, but also to the fact Angoulême is not a big city like Lyon, and is not a beach resort like Saint Malo which finds itself with plenty of vacancies when the festival occurs, outside peak touristic season. I was able to get away with booking a B&B about 25km away a few days before and get there by train from Angoulême, but first I’ve been told I lucked out on being able to book so late, second this requires some faith in the reliability of the train service4, and lastly ties you to the train schedule even when everything goes well, which is an issue because:
  • Expect long days Regular festival activities only end at 8:00pm; this is in contrast with other such festivals, which generally close at 6:00pm. As a result, I had to bail out of an interesting exposé on how a new wave of superhero-style comics are too using crowdfunding and other such techniques to fund themselves outside Diamond distribution, since the last train for my B&B was departing at about 7:00pm. Moreover, I can’t help but think of the ordeal this must be for creators, since the festival lasts 4 days, with the other festivals lasting at most 3 days.
  • The footbridge does not give access to platform 3 This one is rather specific. There is a new footbridge over the train tracks, which is very practical to get to the side of the train tracks opposite the station, where the library and manga city cluster was, and to get directly to your platform, wherever you come from. However, you cannot go directly to platform 3 from it: it turns out you first have to get off the footbridge as if you wanted to get to the station building, walk the entire length of the building alongside it, and finally you will get to platform 3. No, I did not miss my train, but I had seriously started to worry at some point.

I also brought back a few more pictures:

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We at Fleen thank FSFCPL for his efforts, and look forward to his next dispatch from the world of BD.


Spam of the day:

“gary.tyrrell“ WelcomeTo “ProvideAuto“

Those are the most terrifying scarequotes I’ve ever seen.

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¹ Here is a translation of the relevant part:

On May 30th the Fauve of the Grand Prix was given to Rumiko Takahashi at the French embassy in Tokyo. Upon deliberation and exchanges over the last months, and in coordination with her publisher, she eventually declined the traditional proposals from the Festival, such as a retrospective exhibition and a public appearance, which would have entailed a workload and availability incompatible with her ongoing workload and commitments. Furthermore, she deems her work to be best discovered through her books, rather than her original plates. The Festival is naturally understanding and respectful of her decision. Sincerely moved by the honor, she wished to create a poster symbolically and concretely representing the richness of her world-appreciated body of work. The Festival will honor the creator through a program of meetups and tributes.

“I once again thank the creators who voted for me and I was particularly moved by the professional recognition I was bestowed. It is particularly moving to realize how European creators have grown in contact with my works and how much they love them. I have particularly enjoyed and put my heart into the illustration for the Festival poster. It showcases the manga I admired with a lot of respect in my childhood. I hope you will like it.”
— Rumiko Takahashi, Tokyo, 2019/09/20

² Who had reasons to be upset, for instance a newly-released report on their situation contained a few bombshells on their pensions situation.

³ All of her impressions from her time there are worthwhile, but don’t miss her considerations on French food, which are relevant since the duck-based products she procured are typical of southwestern France where Angoulême is located.

4 I again lucked out on train issues, but my fellow first-timers were not so lucky; and before you think “strikes”, those issues can occasionally happen outside of any strike.