The webcomics blog about webcomics

Of Robots And Recognition

GIFs and graphics process and generational struggles, oh my.

  • Oh Rich Stevens, you coffee-fueled, pixel-wrangling, furiously-kerning machine, how I wish I could put a copy of today’s strip up there in all its animated GIF glory. More to the point, props for constructing a strip that can be read in more than one pattern and still make sense — it’s like a small-scale exercise in Carl.
  • Off to a good start: PC Weenies creator and process geek Krishna Sadasivam has set up a Tumblr that allows him to ask artists he admires four questions about how they work:

    1. Who are you and what do you do?
    2. What’s your hardware setup?
    3. What’s your workspace look like?
    4. What tools do you use to make your cartoons?

    … and then get them to tie that information into a demonstration of their art via the simple instruction Draw Me A Robot, thus delving into the mind of a fellow creator. No word yet on what Sadasivam plans to do with those minds (one hopes nothing too icky, but as we all know, there ain’t nothing so fun as having a pile o’ brains), but until it all turns sinister, you can enjoy the questions and answers.

    Quick note, though — if you’re not reading DMAR on mobile, the pictures of hardware, workspaces, and robots won’t show until you click on the navigation arrows that are to either side of the artist’s photo (Sadasivam has coded things so they’ll highlight in orange when you mouse over them), so don’t overlook those. If you’re on mobile (at least, on my Android), you’ll see all the photos for a given post together.

  • That National Cartoonists Society announced nominations for its various division awards this morning, including the second year of webcomics getting nods (and the first for long-form webcomics). Okay, this is gonna require a couple of disclaimers.

    • I was part of the screening committee for the webcomics awards again this year. This meant that we received all of the self-nominated works, vetted them against the criteria that the NCS established. We were able to add additional comics for consideration¹, and forwarded the list of self-nominees and committee adds onto a jury, which whittled each category down to three comics.
    • That illustration up there at the top of the page? A webcomicker happily webcomicking? That’s by Meredith Gran, who is a friend of mine.

    Everybody got all that? Cards all on the table? Good. Because I want to point out that one of the nominees in the long-form category this year is — Meredith Gran for Octopus Pie, and I can’t think of anybody that deserves the recognition more. Reached for comment, Gran said

    It feels rad. These guys are the foundation of my comics experience. And I’m so pleased to see the new category for “long form” comic strips, a format that has really thrived in webcomics.

    Now it wouldn’t be an award if there weren’t a difference of opinions². Quoth Jon Rosenberg³ (winner of the very first NCS webcomics division award, last year), on Twitter:

    All three of the Online Comic Short Form nominees are from GoComics/Universal. None are independent. Pathetic.

    That prompted a rely from Tom Richmond, NCS President, member of the usual gang of idiots, and exception to the rule that cartoonists are malnourished, hunched-over physical wrecks; seriously, he’s huge with arms the size of my chest cavity. Enormous, muscular, and thankfully very polite man, because he could definitely intone the answer to What is best in life? and make you believe it.

    Where was I? Oh, yes, Richmond responded to Rosenberg about the nomination process, and I believe that they finished on good terms; awesome, disagreement but polite. Apparently, not everybody was as generous towards Rosenberg, which is unfortunate.

    The process isn’t perfect — I’ve said that before and I’ll say it again — because no process is perfect, at least not until I’m made Benevolent God-Dictator For Life and get to decide who lives and who dies. As I’ve said before, perfect is the enemy of progress, and the way to get closer to perfect is to participate.

    I’ve been honored to participate on the screening committee for two years now, because I want to see the best creators recognized; the fact that it has to go through another set of hands (which may or may not track my views on what is the best work of the year) doesn’t change the fact that my views are at least getting into the process.

    Richmond is participating; probably nobody has worked harder to get these categories considered and now finally implemented. Rosenberg is participating because he’s now a member of the NCS and at some point they’ll call on him to be a part of one of these juries because what the heck — he knows what the kids are doing because he’s one of them4.

    Think the nominations could have been better? Awesome — join (or replace!) me and Tom and Jon in the process next year; join the NCS if you’re eligible and before you know it you’ll be part of the generation running things, while the new kids wonder why you’re keeping them down. You can tell them it’s my fault, that’s cool.

    And with that thought in mind, the full set of nominees for webcomics at the NCS Awards this year will be:

    Short Form
    Graham Harrop for Ten Cats
    Jonathan Lemon for Rabbits Against Magic
    Michael McParlane for Mac

    Long Form
    Vince Dorse for Untold Tales of Bigfoot
    Meredith Gran for Octopus Pie
    Pat N. Lewis for Muscles Diablo in Where Terror Lurks

    Fleen congratulates all of the nominees and wishes them good luck, but is totally in the tank for Meredith.

¹ And did — by my count, nineteen additional short- and long-form comics were added by the committee.

² Let me be perfectly clear: I am not indicating any agreement nor disagreement with any opinions opined upon by various people here, and am acting purely as a hack webcomics pseudojournalist. Given my participation in the process, I feel editorializing on the nominations themselves is bad form.

³ Disclaimer time again — as noted a few days ago, Jon and I have deep ties.

4 Frank Zappa wrote of how the explosion of musical talent in the ’60s really happened: a cigar-chomping record company exec said to his assistant about the kid in the mailroom, Sherman, listen — I think we can trust him. We’ll make him an A&R man — let HIM talk to these stupid fuckers with the tambourine ‘n incense. He understands this shit — he’s got the same hair. (page 204).

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