The webcomics blog about webcomics

All New Sparse Fleen

Okay, no photos and limited links — it’s just too painful fighting with the spare wifi available to me, which frequently achieves speeds measurable in the double-digit KB/sec. The hub of nerdery and modern cultural passions is in a location that runs on dial-up. If there are errors of formatting, I’ll fix it later.

  • The thing about Nick Gurewitch is, you never know how much of what he’s doing is a put-on. He started his presentation with the immortal words, “Does anybody have a laptop? Can it burn DVDs?” and proceeded to put the final technological touches on his talk there in the room. Okay, that was probably real.

    To fill time while the DVD burned, he started with an open Q&A, which was punctuated by a very polite conversation with an attendee to one side of the room who was engaged in a very loud cell phone conversation.

    If you were to script out a scene with a clueless person having a loud, interruptive conversation in an inappropriate setting, and then having to explain to the person on the other side of that conversation that he was being told to stop having this loud, interruptive conversation, and made it feature the most socially graceless protagonist acting in the most socially graceless manner possible? What actually happened in room 5AB would be rejected by the script editor for being too cliched and stereotypical.

    I honestly don’t know if that was a real socially awkward person (and how many of those do you find at Comic Con?) or a minor entertainment for our benefit; call it 50-50 either way.

    The actual presentation led to conclusions that were drawn so broadly and so obviously for laughs (yet so seriously, earnestly, and in the manner of most academic papers I’ve read) that Gurewitch was clearly having fun with us — but like most of his works, there was a kernel of truth at the center that was fascinating and insightful.

    Namely, in a multi-panel comic (and this is extended to final scenes/shots in movies and other staged entertainments), the final panel is a summation of all that goes before it. It encapsulates all of what previously happened and could in many cases stand alone as a single-panel gag. This perspective hadn’t occurred to me previously, and has had me looking at comics more carefully since yesterday; it’s an interesting idea and maybe an universal phenomenon.

    Gurewitch also dropped some hints about his current projects: his next book will be a graphic novel “the size of a wallet”, done with a “scratching” technique that hurts his hand; as a result, production is a bit slow, and it’s due out at “some future Halloween.”

    He also shared some cartoons that he’s finished for the BBC’s online arm (produced through a subsidiary of Endemol, the UK-Dutch production company that owns massive entertainments like Survivor); these are due to go up next month under the series title Sometimes This Happens, and they are hilarious (particularly the ones set in outer space, and one featuring a bear animated by the awesome Rebecca Sugar).

    Gurewitch is also writing a lot of movies, has just finished a draft of a feature film, and is likely to do some comics sooner rather than later — he has ideas sketched out that need to be finished. Likely none of those comics will be what he described as the most awful idea for a comic [he] ever had:

    A giant penis and a giant vagina say “let’s fuck”, and they have little human beings where genitals would be, and the little people have a sophisticated conversation.

    Nicholas Gurewitch, ladies and gentlemen — there’s nobody else like him.

Booth busytimes kept me from the other presentations I wanted to see, but there was plenty happening to make up for it.

  • The California Board of Equalization — aka the tax collector, aka The Man — was on the floor at the start of the day, and presumably throughout show hours. They were checking vendor’s permits, getting descriptions of offerings and employee counts, and generally making sure that the state will get its cut. This is the first time I’ve seen them at Comic-Con, so vendors that haven’t had an encounter with them (and by “they”, I mean a very nice guy with a tablet computer and a moustache), keep your paperwork handy.
  • I was lucky enough to see Karl Kerschl when he found me at the Dumbrella booth; as he isn’t boothing this year, it was probably the only way I would have run into him. As you may know, he and fellow Transmission-X studiomate Cameron Stewart are just back from St Petersburg on a research trip for their current project, a comics adaptation/extension of the Assassin’s Creed videogame series.

    The three-issue comic is due out in the fall, and Kerschl says they will likely be working on it extensively until end of the year, then hopefully have more time for creator projects. Projects like clearing the backlog of sketch editions of the Abominable Charles Christopher books (he’s got about 100 still to do, and working on them as fast as he can — believe me when I say it’s worth the wait, because what Kerschl calls a “sketch” is unbelievably delicate and complex and beautiful), and Stewart’s newly Eisner-minted webcomic, Sin Titulo. Naturally, Stewart’s most serious competition for the Best Digital Comic award was Kerschl, which will doubtless lead to happy good times back in their Montreal studio.

  • Erika Moen, fans, rejoice. DAR! is deeply missed, but she gave me the lowdown on the two (two!) new projects that she’s working on, which should see online debuts in the coming months. The first is a “dick and fart joke murder mystery”, and the second a young-adult graphic novel featuring ayoung woman whose sketchbook comes to life. I’m not sure I can think of a better story hook for a graphic novel than fighting ones own sketches to save the world.

    In both cases, she’s collaborating with a writer, and in both cases the early art that she was gracious enough to share with me is some of the best comics work she’s done in her career. Also, she’s selling original pages from DAR! for ridiculously low prices; I came this close to buying the original of Junk Waxing Party, and still might if I can find a safe way to transport it. Even if it doesn’t go home with me, I now know why the dude at the junk waxing party has a squirrel on his head. Good times.

Up today: Webcomics Lightning round at 5:00pm in room 8; Robert Khoo, Brad Guigar, and Scott Kurtz answer questions on all aspects of webcomicking without bogging down in details and rat-holes. I’ll be trying to get as many notes as I can.

A minor typo, Karl’s site is at (not .ca). I do agree that the best webcomic award was between his and Cameron’s.

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tim Flickinjer, Nina Lords. Nina Lords said: Okay, no photos and limited links — it’s just too painful fighting with the spare wifi available to me, which freq… […]

Hi! I went to this panel too! I really enjoyed it. Did you happen to go to his second panel on Sunday? If not, do you know anyone who did? It was pretty disastrous – but in my opinion, not on Nick Gurewitch’s part. I really want to hear what other people thought about the panel. Thanks!

[…] refers to something I’ve been waiting on since last July, when Hurricane Erika told me about her post-DAR! projects. The first of them, the “dick and fart joke murder mystery” is now live, and going by […]

[…] You may recognize the name of Nicholas Gurewitch, creator of The Perry Bible Fellowship; together with Walborn and Stanin, Gurewitch forms Voltron works under the aegis of New Picture Agencies (who are also responsible for earlier projects, like the BBC-commissioned short films that Gurewitch talked about at SDCC ‘10). […]

[…] than ever for the forthcoming projects that she’s mentioned, including a graphic novel about a woman whose sketchbook comes to life, and a second that’s focused on sex education for teens (who in many cases don’t get […]

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