The webcomics blog about webcomics

Flyers

Hey, got some Kickstarter cash in your budget? There’s some things you might want to look at.

  • Charles Brubaker has done licensed SpongeBob comics, done work with the usual gang of idiots, and a series of web strips that lean heavily on the cute. The latest of these, The Fuzzy Princess, has reached the point where an upgraded print collection makes sense. Crowdfunding, ho:

    I had two paperback volumes of “Fuzzy” printed, but due to limited resources they were released in black and white. I always dreamed of having it put out in color, however, and made it my goal to do so.

    This is where this Kickstarter come in, to reprint the first book volume in color. It’s not just a color version of the black and white books, I’m also adding new materials: title-page illustrations for each chapter, behind-the-scene sketches, as well as remastering old comic pages, with cleaned-up art and dialogue for clarity and general improvement.

    Given that Brubaker’s done this before, everything’s laid out and ready to send to the printer, so the promised August 2019 for fulfillment is eminently doable; physical copies start at US$20, which is pretty damn good for a 192 page book in color. There’s another 28 days to go and Brubaker’s coming up on 40% funded, but that backer count is a little low; it looks like he’s got a devoted group of superfans, but he’s going to have to get a broader base of support to make the (very reasonable) goal of US$5000. If you ask me, 20 bucks is a pretty fair price to take a flyer on a new comic. Give ‘er a look.

  • I don’t usually point at Kickstarts that haven’t happened yet, but I’m making an exception. Inhibit is new to me, but it’s got a killer hook:

    As a kid, Victor dreamed of training to be a superhero. That didn’t go so well.

    Now, nine years later, Victor is a resident at the Earl Estate, a home for kids who haven’t yet demonstrated that they can control their powers. With his 18th birthday — and a transfer — only a few weeks away, he has one last chance to prove he is capable enough to receive his licence and go home.

    That comedown in the first line is great.

    Like I said, I like to promote stuff I’m familiar with, and while I’ve started a quick read of the archives, Inhibit’s been updating Wednesdays for four years and that’s 200+ comics to catch up on. The reason I’m mentioning it here is creator Eve Greenwood took the time to put together an announcement with a clear description of who they are, what they do, what they hope to accomplish, and where to go for more info. As a hack webcomics pseudojournalist, this makes my life a hell of a lot easier.

    Greenwood also dropped in some good images showing off various parts of the story as well as the cover¹, and gave me the full rundown: the campaign launches on 28 Jan (that’s next Monday) at 5:00pm GMT, and runs for 30 days. The goal is £4500 (approximately US$5800), with books starting at £20 plus shipping (which hopefully won’t be a bankbreaker). Now exactly what else is up for grabs at what support levels, and where the stretch goals go? We’ll learn together.

    I’m taking a flyer on this one myself because Greenwood’s obviously thinking and planning and treating their career seriously (having graduated university this past November with a Masters of Design in Comics & Graphic Novels) and I want to encourage that. Want me to take a flyer on you? Gotta bring your game up to at least Greenwood’s level. And if the Inhibit Kickstart craters, you’ll have to do even better, so we’re all rooting that that the followthrough will be as good as the prep.


Spam of the day:

Explore the Glory of Single Russian Women

The fine print at the bottom indicates This is an advertisement for services offered by SOL Networks Limited, which makes me wonder if they know what SOL stands for.

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¹ Which I have to say really grabbed me. Those faces are great and have oodles of character.

Travel Day, Holiday, Let’s Clear Some Spam

Oh man, the quality of these spammers is just not what it used to be. The entire cold-contact-people-so-you-can-scam-them industry is filled with scrubs. For example, today I got one of those robocall messages about how it’s very important that I press 1 to talk to somebody about restructuring my credit card debt¹, so I did what I always do:

I placed my phone’s handset and headset on the desk, with the mic of each against the speaker of the other, set the the handset to speakerphone, and pressed 1. When the scammer on the desk started to talk? Glorious, glorious feedback. The more they shout, the louder it gets. If you call me with the intent of stealing, then a bit of shrieking in your ears (and residual tinnitus) is the very least you can expect.

Time was scammers would hang up, shrug it off and maybe put my number on the don’t bother to call again list² and accepted that at least I didn’t waste their time for 15 or 20 minutes. That guy today hung up, then called back 15 seconds later to call me a bitch. Next to the guy who called back to scream at me that he was part of Al-Qaeda and would bomb my house³, he was the sorest loser I’ve encountered. Give me the old-fashioned scammers, the ones that realize that in trying to steal from me, they’re running a risk and may have to pay the price.

Anyway, here’s some of the drive I’ve gotten lately. Enjoy.


Spams of the day:

Must say your website looks quite ok. Good job. However, if you want your website to be really successful, then make sure you use the best tools to optimize your online content. Otherwise it won’t be on the top of Google search results and no-one will know about it.

I think he’s trying to neg me but can’t quite do it.

I discovered your Fleen: The Awkward Christmas Dinner Of Our Obligation To Existence » It’s Been A Day page and noticed you could have a lot more traffic.

Wow. You’re able to read the <title> tag in HTML. Your wizardry will never cease to amaze.

mate your site is really cool, but it has a poor Domain Authority sad truth is that sites with poor Domain Authority won’t rank high in Google and in result get very little of traffic

Given that Domain Authority requires a Google Places or Facebook page and I have absolutely neither of those, I’d say it’s undefinable on the good/poor scale.

This is a stupid title. I bet a large percentage of kids have written essays about gun control since it’s one of the biggest social issues in US politics. This kid wasn’t some clairvoyant.

This spam, which is selling an academic essay-writing service, was referencing this post, which features neither the word gun nor the word control. Maybe work on your reading skill before offering up your writing?

Hello, Could you be interested in making $ 200,000 a day with us? Visit our website for more details

Weirdly, your URL appears to go nowhere. Also, that’s Zimbabwean dollars, right?

HERE IS HOW YOU CAN MAKE OVER $750 PER WEEK IN 2019 & YEARS TO COME … JUST BY USING INSTAGRAM ON COMPLETE AUTOPILOT!

WHY ARE WE SHOUTING?

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¹ The amount of which is zero, thanks.

² As opposed to the Do Not Call list. The DBTCA list is the one where I pick up and as soon as I say something, it disconnects.

³ He also shouted about how he was having sex with my mom and I told him unless he’s got a thing for very particular controlling behavior, it seemed unlikely.

Sloppy Weekend Coming Up

I’m talking about weather. Wintry mix and such. Get your minds out of the gutter Anyways, I’ve got preparations to make, so just a quick thing for you today.

Shing Yin Khor is many things: comics artist, sculptor, installation artist, space gnome, and expert in Paul Bunyan muffler men, just off the top of my head. And she illustrates the most amazing critters in the most delicate of watercolors. We’re here about those today. She’s Kickstarting a postcard book as a MAKE 100 project¹, with 20 gorgeous, heavy postcards for US$20 Or bump up to US$25 and she’ll gift wrap it. Her wrapping is a work of art in itself, and likely to include other cool stuff.

Okay, that weather is going to hit a pretty large swath o’ the country. so stay warm and dry, ‘kay? See you Monday.


Spam of the day:

You still have not received your prize in the category of super Like the year 2018
January 24, 2019 the gain burns [translated from Russian]

Given that your email account seemed to promise a cabana in Tulum, this is quite the pitch.

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¹ Sorta. Some of the rewards are limited to 100, others there are plenty to be had.

Thursday Things

Hey, how’s it going? I’ve taken to keeping a half-full bottle of gin on my desk¹. On the theory that it may help your day to get better, here’s some things to examine and/or plan for!

  • Today! Kevin Sonney is a magnificent dude; programmer and Linuxbender extraordinaire, tatted and bekilted con security heavyweight, and certified Disney Princess to whom critters flock. He’s also a persistent podcaster, mostly with wife Ursula Vernon — they cohost Kevin And Ursula Eat Cheap and consume things no mortal should; he is the voice of Reverend Mord on The Hidden Almanac.

    Right now, though, we’re focusing on Productivity Alchemy, which is about — stripped to its most basic — Getting Your Shit Together And Getting Shit Done. It is, ironically, the sort of thing that would paralyze me, as I am definitely the sort of person that would hopscotch from solution to solution, method to method, tool to tool, and obsessively chase achievement badges. My productivity works in fits and starts, and a lot of it looks like Ignoring The Issue At Hand from a distance, but it works for me². Which is to say, Sonney’s probably a lot smarter than me on every aspect of productivity as he’s put a hell of a lot of thought into it, and I’m more intuitive and decidedly nonanalytical about my methods.

    But sometimes I have to beak my own rule to see what’s on Sonney’s mind, and today is one of those days. He’s talking to Howard Tayler — my evil twin — about his approach to keeping life together, and dropping refs to the likes of Jennie Breeden’s The Devil’s Panties, KB SPangler’s A Girl And Her Fed, and Randy Milholland’s Something*Positive. It’s a fun, informative listen and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

  • Future! For those whose personal productivity includes future planning, and who also live in the Bay Area, the Cartoon Art Museum wants to help you sort out what to do with the kids this summer:

    Cartoon Camp is filled with active creative engagement for older kids and teens who are avid artists enjoying drawing and are looking to build skills. All materials are provided. Find discounts, details and sign up opportunities for museum members on the registration links. Register before camp sessions fill up!

    Classes are designed for the 10-15 year old set with a bit of experience under their belts, with a choice of three week-long sessions. You can do skill-building in the mornings with Mark Simmons, afternoons of group work and studio time with Ellis Kim, or full days to experience both (bring lunch, it’s not provided). There’s also a couple of drawing excursions to local scenic spots.

    Sessions run the week of 17 to 21 June, 24 ot 28 June, or 29 July to 2 August.; morning sessions run 9:00am to 12:30pm and afternoons 1:45pm to 5:15pm. CAM members get 10% off the US$300 tuition (full days are US$550); reserve now before slots fill up.


Spam of the day:

View live security camera feed from your phone

This is advance notice: If I ever give any indication that I have allowed any Internet Of Things™ or “Smart” appliances into my home, that is a sure sign that I have been replace by a pod person, and you should set “me” on fire at the first opportunity.

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¹ Okay, it’s one of those airline bottles on account of my exit-row seat home from Dallas t’other night entitled me to a free drink and that was all I wanted at the time. But still! Hard bitten journalising going on here!

² All the seeming off-goofing is my brain arranging itself into a Cave so I can hit the Zone. Lots of people achieve their Zone via external tools, but mine are on the inside.

It’s Been A Day

An air trip that was going suspiciously well ran into some snags on the back end, which got me home Too Damn Late. Then today, the local gas company’s ongoing maintenance & upgrade cycle hit my house, necessitating a turn-off of the magical hydrocarbon that makes things like heat and hot showers possible. What I’m saying is I could use some good news today. Luckily, several excellent people have stepped up.

  • Okay, Molly Ostertag actually made her announcement yesterday, but I’m still happy today so it count: there will be a third book in her The Witch Boy/The Hidden Witch¹ series:

    I’m very excited to announce THE MIDWINTER WITCH – the third graphic novel in the Witch Boy series² and a continuation of the adventures of Aster, Charlie, Ariel, and Sedge! Preorder link below, this will be in stores everywhere 11/5/2019 ?? www.amazon.com/Midwinter-Witc …

    A few thoughts:

    1. Ostertag is a machine; three books released at one-year intervals? That’s an enormous amount of work to sneak in around her animation day job.
    2. I want all of the Witch Boy stories she has kicking around her in head; I want to have to dedicate an entire shelf to the world that Aster, Charlie, and the others inhabit.
    3. To the extent that it doesn’t kill her because see #1.
    4. That cover is gorgeous and heavy with portents. Heavy, I tells ya!

    Start making your Halloween-season plans³ now; come the frost, there’ll be a new witch in town.

  • One may recall that it’s been a long time since The Abominable Charles Christopher has updated regularly; creator Karl Kerschl has been busy on print comics that pay nowish, whereas Charles Christopher holds the promise of a gorgeous book (and the income that would attach) at some nebulous point the future. One must support oneself and family, after all.

    But there have been two updates on two adjacent weeks and that is a blessing. The impetus may come from challenges in Kerschl’s life, in which case they’re more for his benefit than ours.

    Which is entirely as it should be. As much as I want to see all these characters again, none of that matters worth a damn compared to Kerchl’s well-being. I will celebrate and love each of these strips when they come, and if there’s never another I’ll be grateful for those we’ve had so far. Be well, Karl, and thanks for sharing when you can.

  • Comics can tell stories in ways that other media just can’t. Today’s proof of concept comes from The Guardian, and in a brief (but very, very heartfelt) read, lays bare challenges and failures of the medical system in Britain. Not what you normally think of — budgets, services, cutbacks — but how doctors are trained, what toxicity is perpetuated and reinforced, and how it impacts patient care not in a quantifiable rating, but as human beings.

    Read Healing Alone and realize that the systemic flaws described here are damn near universal. Argue for a better, more humane system of training physicians, and we’ll get a better more humane system of care for all of us.


Spam of the day:

#1 erection killer

Friend, I am pretty confident saying that I do not wish to purchase your product and/or service.

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¹ I’m not sure the series has a name, so until I learn otherwise I’m thinking of it as the Aster series, as Aster’s the foundational character.

² That didn’t last long. Okay, it’s the Witch Boy series.

³ Note to self: consider carving a pumpkin with some of the symbols for the magic names of things. Maybe ask Ostertag what the name of the pumpkin is.

Flight To Take, Airport Delays Expected

Post is poned. See you tomorrow.

Gosh, Wouldja Look At That

I believe that by this time, I have made the case that Larry Gonick is a national treasure. His use of comics to educate (across seemingly all fields of knowledge) is unparalleled, and if you are not familiar with the three volumes of The Cartoon History Of The Universe¹, you need to remedy that.

You may recall the word last month that Gonick was selling originals; you may also recall that he and I corresponded, seeing as how some of the few thousand pages he’s drawn in his career dealt with Claude Shannon, who I may have mentioned once or twice.

It’s done. The Shannon pages from The Cartoon Guide To Computer Science (sadly out of print) are now mine. They are installed on the wall over my desk, where I can feel the spirit of a playful polymath encourage me to look at problems that are interesting and solve them to the extent that the effort is both meaningful and fun.

Should you have some topic that Gonick has expounded upon that is near and dear to your heart, I encourage you to contact the man, as he is making his work available for exceedingly reasonable prices. If I were to win one of the fuck-you huge lottery jackpots this week, I’d make him an offer just to get his entire archive into Jenny Robb’s hands and loving care.

But not my three Shannon pages. Those will be going to the Electrical Engineering department at my alma mater


Spam of the day:

I have for you a quantity of new customers . you need?

I do not. Thanks for asking.

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¹ The first of which was — no kidding — edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis.

A Pair Of Delights To Lead You Into The Weekend

You might not realize that a pair of occasionally-updating webcomics updated today, but some of us still believe in the power of RSS and saw the notifications.

First up, The Perry Bible Fellowship and a very good dog (despite what some in the panel might say).

Next up, a 22 page behemoth from Abby Howard at The Last Halloween; Howard’s spent a lot of time the past couple of year on her excellent Earth Before Us series of educational graphic novels (the third of which should drop in summer — Age Of Horns, people!), but you know that the monster-overrun TLH is where her heart yearns to be. We get a lot of backstory and worldbuilding in this one, and progress towards the next chapter, which may or may not take us back to Mona and whoever else survived Book 1. Go check it out!

And now, the weekend.


Spam of the day:

Take 57 lucky days of the year
Take +1 happiest day of week
The formula, which activates the luck 30 hours

Is this one of those deals where you do the math on your calculator and the answer is 5318008?

Oh, This Looks Good

Before we get to the Good Thing in the title, I wanted to mention an Auxiliary Good Thing. That is to say, the second issue of The Nib in print is reaching mailboxes — such as mine, today — and it looks great. If you want a copy of this issue, on the theme of Family, you can either go back in time and back the Kickstarter, or you can take out a supporting membership.

Both options give you a choice of digital or print, but let me assure you that like the Death issue from September, Family is beautifully designed, on weighty, satisfying paper and has a considerable odor from the many inks¹ used in its construction.

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Okay, the main Good Thing: Word’s been going around for the past few days about how the Eric Carle Museum Of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA, would be running an exhibition on the history of the graphic novel. Out Of The Box: The Graphic Novel Comes Of Age² opens on !0 Febrary and will run until 26 May, and will feature the work of Vera Brosgol, Catia Chien, Geoffrey Hayes, Gene Luen Yang, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Hope Larson, Matt Phelan, David Small, Raina Telgemeier, and Sara Varon.

But wait! There’s more.

The night before (that would be 9 February), there’s an opening reception from 5:00pm-7:00pm, with guest curator Leonard S. Marcus Brosgol, Chien, Krosoczka, Phelan, Telgemeier, and Varon expected to be in attendance. There’s a talk with the same folks the next day (10th again) at 11:00am to officially open the exhibition.

If you want to attend these special events, you need to RSVP, via one of two different methods. For the reception, contact Jenny Darling Stasinos at 413-559-6310 or jennys [at] carlemuseum [dot] org; for the gallery talk, RSVP at 413-559-6336 or info [at] carlemuseum [dot] org. Reservations open today, and run through Monday, 4 February.

Now here’s the kicker — both of those events are for Carle Museum members. If you aren’t one, now’s the time to join. Please note that Amherst is in the middle of one of the greatest concentrations of web/indie comics creators on the continent³, the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, home to Northampton, Easthampton, TopatoCo, Eastworks, the very sexy R Stevens, and at least one creator of Ninja Turtles, so if you’re going you may as well wander around and try to spot background locations from Questionable Content.

It’s not like those folks keep storefronts you can wander into, but if you bump into one on the street, they’d probably appreciate it if you told them I love your work, please accept three dollars cash from me a tip and I promise I will leave you alone and not be a creepy stalker.


Spam of the day:

As Seen On TV + 1 Month FREE!

One of the great improvements in Gmail lately is that images do not automatically load in spam. As there’s no text in this email, only pictures, I literally have no idea what they’re trying to scam me with. It’s awesome.

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¹ I pity the youth of today, who never received a fresh-from-the-ditto machine quiz in junior high, the purplish ink still stinky and damp, making all your penciled answers smudge and tear. Wait, no, the opposite of that, those things were terrible.

² No direct link; at present, that’s on the upcoming exhibitions page, and will presumably shift to the current exhibitions page, and eventually the past exhibitions page.

³ Other loci include Portland, Seattle, the Bay Area, Toronto, Brooklyn, and White River Junction.

If Homestar And 17776 Are Webcomics, So Is This

That is to say, both deeply weird Flash cartoons of the early Aughts and deeply weird space probe/football fanfic are idiosyncratic, personal creations made for the internet, marked by a sense of collaboration/accessibility with the audience, which makes them essentially webcomics, so say we all.

Webcomics as a concept, stretching past the literal definition of comics on the internet¹, can incorporate anything creative that probably won’t pass the muster of a publisher/editor, but which can find a niche of similar weirdos when thrown into the wilds.

Which is to say, Jonathan Coulton has always been a webcomicker, albeit one that worked primarily in words+sounds instead of words+pictures. No music publisher would have ever done something like Thing A Week, which means no music publisher would ever have made available a song about a very cool NPR morning host, fractal math, Leonard Nimoy’s late-70s paranormal-bait syndicated TV show, or (tangentially) Ferocious J². Heck, the guy partnered with Matt Fraction to do a graphic novel to accompany his last album.

(And, since JoCo has collaborated with MC Frontalot, you have a direct link to songs about Achewood, Wigu, and Indie Rock Pete.)

And what, I ask you, is more webcomics than doing a giant passion project that no sane publisher would get within 3.048 meters of, throwing it up on Kickstarter, and finding that a bunch of weirdos are into it?

My new album is called Some Guys, and it’s a collection of soft rock songs from the 70’s that sound exactly like the originals.

Our approach was more, what if we put these guys in a time machine and brought them into this studio and recorded them here today? What would that sound like? And what if we hired real horns and real strings? How much would that cost? A LOT! But would it sound delicious and make us giddy, like we had discovered an amazing secret or invented a new magic trick? Yes, it would. The end result is that these songs sound exactly like you expect them to, but they’re also different and new in an alternate universe sort of way.

And for a guy on his first Kickstart, JoCo’s apparently learned from his predecessors pretty well:

STRETCH GOALS
No.

Some Guys (seriously, go see the album cover, and read the writeup about the album cover, and especially watch the video — the clips that JoCo included sound exactly friggin’ like the originals, which is somewhat cognitively dissonant³, but in a wonderful way, and the message in the text crawls is inspiring) was announced at 10:00am EST, and as of this writing it’s over US$49,500 (on a US$20K goal).

The record is made, this is effectively a pre-order and a way to pay for physical versions (CD, vinyl) for those that don’t want digital downloads; it’s a zero-risk project if you’re looking for something wonderful, fun, soft, and cheering.


Spam of the day

You still have not taken the prize in the category Like the year 2018
15 0.1 2019 super prize is canceled

Aw, man, I really wanted super prize.

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¹ Since pretty much everything is on the internet even if emotionally it’s designed for another space.

² As seen here, in requisite tin foil hat.

³ I am reminded of the very first live event for This American Life, where the stage band (consisting largely of John & John from TMBG) went out of their way to reproduce song snippets that were heavily used on TAL in those early years. Not putting a TMBG spin on them, mind you, trying to make them sound indistinguishable from the actual songs, rather than just drop the original clip into the staged readings They didn’t attempt Perpetuum Mobile by Penguin Cafe Orchestra, but can’t really blame them — it takes about 15 musicians playing in I think 7 different time signatures.