The webcomics blog about webcomics

Making Up For Missed Opportunties

You know what I don’t talk about enough? Dicebox, by Jenn Manley Lee. It’s right over there in the blogroll, its story is nothing short of brilliant, and the art — so much detail, so much depth to the color, so much work goes into every panel (see the piece written by my erstwhile cohort Jeff Lowrey more than five years ago on this very page), and it’s been going on for so long, one just assumes the brilliance is obvious and takes it for granted. Mea culpa.

Let’s expand on that “it’s been going on for so long” idea a bit, shall we? Book 2 of Dicebox began two days ago, which means that Book 1 is complete, and that means that Book 1 (of a planned four books) can be printed as an undivided single unit. Pre-orders went up on 10 January, and as of about six hours ago (at the time of this writing), Lee reports that more than 10% of the books required to make the print run viable have been pre-purchased.

And you’ve got some choices with those books — much like Dylan Meconis did with Family Man‘s first book, there are different editions at different price-points, with varying degrees of goodies attached. These range from The Simple (US$25 plus shipping, for a signed copy — which one should note is a freakin’ bargain, given it’s more than 300 pages, 8″ x 10″ in size, and probably several new printing technologies had to be invented in order to get the depth and subtlety of color properly reproduced) up through The Sponsor (US$500, with the book upgraded to hardcover, and including a hand-colored tip-in sheet, a print, actual dice in a cup, and your choice of story pages recreated by Lee in watercolor just for you). It’s like a Kickstarter, only without the progress & countdown bars.

Even if you’re only enthusiastic about Dicebox (as opposed to rabidly enthusiastic — there really aren’t any other kinds of Dicebox readers, near as I can tell), you ought to pick this one up. After all, somewhere in the indicia, there will be a mention of where the book was printed, and then all webcomickers will find out which company is willing to print 300 pages at a very reasonable cost, and then we’ll get a lot more full-color, thick books from all of our favorite creators. Win-win-win, QED.

  • Speaking of Kickstarter, there’s one I’d like to direct your attention towards, offered by Michael Gianfrancesco, to fund a new comic anthology to be titled Show and Tell, a Comic Anthology about Learning and Teaching. Alexander Danner (who is on the editorial board for Show and Tell, and who tipped me to the story) informs us:

    This anthology is part of a larger project that we are very excited about — the New England Comic Arts in the Classroom conference, which will be held March 26th in Providence, Rhode Island. Guests at the con will include Raina Telgemeier and Tracy White.

    Comics, naturally, have an affinity in the classroom, if only to judge by the many uses of them around the world to teach language and literacy. We will be following both the conference and the anthology closely.

  • Once more back to Dicebox — if you look carefully around at Ms Lee’s store, you might notice something that most stores don’t have: a blog. It’s pretty short (given that the shop’s only just opened), but having this sort of mechanism within the store itself to communicate with your readers is a pretty damn good idea. Something similar just launched over at the Transmission X storefront, making it easy to note specials, low quantities, sold out items, etc.

    In the past week I’ve noticed creators from Box Brown to Rich Stevens tweeting or posting on their main pages about store special offers (Stevens) or imminent out-of-print status (Brown). But if a customer missed those announcements and just wandered over to the store directly? Just seems to me if it deals with your merch and it’s worth mentioning, it’s worth mentioning again where the merch is presented. Heck, TopatoCo’s landing page focuses on new items, shipping deadlines, special announcements, and whatever weirdness is spilling out of Malki ! today. If they can do it, you can do it.

  • Lastly, it’s getting a lot of attention right now — a manifesto on not being a particular type of internet jerk in webcomic form, courtesy of Rosscott and Caldy. See Something? Cite Something has already spawned shirts based on the bottom two images in the flowchart, one of which has been objected to by a copyright owner. Irony? Or ultimate manifestation of the message in the strip? Regardless, it’s been pulled in accordance with the copyright holder’s wishes, and no need for C&Ds or legal threats. So that’s all right, then.
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