The free half. The breaking point was (Dumbrella Hosting principal, Fleen publisher, and guy who buys my beer) Phillip Karlsson looking at my Twitterless state (and phone that just makes phone calls) dismissively and asking what it’s like in 1997.
Day Two of The Very Webcomics Mazola Orgy was mercifully quieter than Day One. Of all the good ideas associated with NEWW™, Webcartooners don’t do mornings was the best, and things didn’t kick off until noon. There were panels (many thanks to the panelists of “Webcomics Newlyweds”, who made my moderating job look easy by being so damn funny), and sketching, and a slow bleed as creators had to leave to make flights.
Those that were able to stick around to the Offical End were treated to an award ceremony that featured hilarious video, a reenactment of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth, a host who was not given an advance look at the video, and the following categories:
- Best Letterer: Rich Stevens, for Diesel Sweeties
- Best On-Line Digital Comic: Chris Hastings, for The Adventures of Dr McNinja
- Most Ants: KC Green, for everything he does
- Historical Inaccuracy Award: Kate Beaton for her history comics (award accepted by Emily Horne)
- Memorial Award: Paul Southworth, for the dearly missed Ugly Hill (award accepted by Jeph Jacques)
- Best Sandwich: Holly Post, for her success at feeding guests and volunteers all weekend
- Most Fucked Up and/or Delicious: Joey Comeau, for his entire body of work
- Superstar: “All Of You” (awwwww), with Ryan North designated to accept on behalf of all of us
- Best! In Show: Danielle Corsetto, for her foofy dress
The best news of the show came at the end of the awards — Webcomics Weekend will be back next year, and with any luck, as good as this year. I realize that it’s customary to say that next year will be better than ever, but honestly? I don’t see how. This event morphed from Let’s have a get-together and keep it casual to Okay, I’ll take care of the fire marshal’s concerns if you can research con insurance in a remarkably short period of time. Registrations filled in two days. I got three dozen sketches (on the theme of Beards and Moustaches) and still managed to miss Rob DenBleyker, John Keogh, Dorothy Gambrell, and about a zillion others. If there had been space, there easily could have been 1500 attendees, judging from reports of the stand-by list. And it was all free to the participants.
It couldn’t have happened without the incrediblly time-compressed efforts of Meredith Gran, Rich Stevens, Jeff Rowland, Holly Post, Vincent LaBate, Jeph and Cristi Jacques, and everybody else in the Dumbrella/Topatoco orbits. It couldn’t have happened without the enthusiastic cooperation of the Eastworks building owner and management. It couldn’t have happened without the volunteers who ran the video equipment, made sure that guests were well supplied with food and drink, and directed traffic in the parking lot. It couldn’t have happened without the creators willing to come in from all corners of the country (and the world!) with little expectation of making enough money to cover the trip.
It couldn’t have happened without you, who care enough about this nascent medium to come tell these creators how much you love their work; next time you see Ryan North, ask him to hold the award for a few minutes because you damn well earned it. It’s going to happen again, and if we catch lightning in a bottle, things will be a little smoother, a little less improvised, and maybe have as charmed an existence as this first one. Watch for the announcements, mark your calendars, line up your vacation days, and I’ll see you there.