The webcomics blog about webcomics

Outside World Taking An Interest These Days

Sometimes that’s good, sometimes less so. Let’s take ’em as I found ’em, shall we?

  • First up, The Verge describes itself as covering

    the intersection of technology, science, art, and culture. Its mission is to offer in-depth reporting and long-form feature stories, breaking news coverage, product information, and community content in a unified and cohesive manner.

    So there’s a bit of pop culture there at the edges, but it’s not the focus. Which is why I was happily surprised to see a fairly comprehensive summary of Achewood, with a particular focus on the recently shopped-around TV series, along with an update of what creator Chris Onstad is up to these days (short version: refining the pitch for round two of trying to get somebody interested). I’m with author of the piece, Adrianne Jeffries, in my puzzlement at the lack of grabbed-up status for an Achewood show. I’m not sure which metric is used to quantify the “top five cable networks” that all took a pass, but I’d have to believe that somebody at [Adult Swim] would be smart enough to snag at least a pilot commitment. Like Ms Jeffries, I await Achewood’s eventual triumph.

  • The National Wildlife Federation is the largest private nonprofit organization to focus on conservation education and advocacy, unless I miss my guess; generations of American kids grew up reading NWF’s Ranger Rick magazine, and they’ve got more magazines pitched at older and younger age ranges, along with a mountain of multimedia and broadcast programming. They’re a big deal, and their blog collection is pretty comprehensive in its scope and coverage.

    Yesterday, this Official Big Deal in the world of Nature took some time to talk to webcomics own naturalist, Rosemary Mosco, about her nature-oriented comics, her favorite wildlife environs (bogs and fens), and included some of her best work in the piece. I expect to see a lot more Parts of the Bird and Animals with Misleading Names prints out “in the wild”; now if only we could get some prints of If You Find A Baby Songbird Out Of The Nest into our nation’s schools, kids would be able to help said birds and also be safer from raptor attack. I call that a win-win.

  • It’s irregular as all hell (which, let’s be honest, is part of its charm), but Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half is also one of the most straight-to-the-truth-of-the-matter acts of comics ever. Brosh spoke to Mother Jones magazine (the current newstand issue, no less) about her upbringing her, now widely-publicized struggle with depression, and — oh yeah — her new book which releases today. I have feeds for HaaH, I follow Brosh on Twitter, and I entirely missed any hint that Brosh was was compiling and expanding her comics into print form:

    This full-color, beautifully illustrated edition features more than fifty percent new content, with ten never-before-seen essays and one wholly revised and expanded piece as well as classics from the website like, “The God of Cake,” “Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving,” and her astonishing, “Adventures in Depression,” and “Depression Part Two”.

    Fifty. Percent. New. Allie Brosh. All at once. Oh, hell yes. I’m gonna just go right ahead and tell you to buy this one sight-unseen.

  • Not that outside attention is always good; IP churn-factory/possible fraudulent enterprise Platinum (no link because screw those guys; go read what Heidi Mac has to say about the state of their corporate governance back at the start of the year) got a bad reputation in webcomics circles back in the old days of Aught-Six and Aught-Seven, but their influence persists to the present day, as Megan Rosalarian Gedris can sadly attest:

    Right now, Lesbian Pirates From Outer Space is one of the comics Platinum is most proud of. They can show it off to investors as a success that they created, despite not doing a thing with the property except for one small print run 6 years ago. I have not seen a dime from them since 2007. Once the initial 6 issues they commissioned were over in 07, I was “allowed” to keep working on the series, which I did because I enjoyed the characters, but I received no payment. I received no support in any other capacity. I built the comic up by myself and with some gracious help from Hiveworks. Platinum Studios did nothing but hold it back. I had plans for a 4th and 5th arc of the comic, but ended the series this past January when I realized things with Platinum would never get better and as much as I loved these characters, I was being taken advantage of by continuing the series.

    So I have to take it off the internet. I won’t let my work be used to boost the reputation of this slimy company even a little bit. I’d rather see it disappear.

    There’s no good outcome here for Gedris; she’ll see the work of years disappear down the memory hole and likely won’t even have the satisfaction of inconveniencing Platinum (they’ve tied up the rights to so many different IPs, they likely won’t notice one that goes away). The only good comes from the possibility of an object lesson for younger creators, and not one that relates solely to Platinum … there are a lot of people out there that would love to take advantage of you. So let’s go over the key points again:

    1. Contracts offered are starting points, not ending points.
    2. It’s okay to grant a limited license to develop a specific project with clear terms describing rights reversion; it’s not okay for somebody else to say And that’s why we own your entire idea now.
    3. It is not a once-in-a-lifetime chance you have to snag right this very minute; if your work is good, there will be other offers.
    4. Never forget the immortal words of Scott Kurtz: Hire a lawyer. Hire a lawyer. Hire a lawyer.¹ Repeat as many times as it takes to get the idea thoroughly ingrained in your skull.

    Got it? Good. Now pay it forward and make sure everybody else knows these lessons as well.

¹ Said lawyer’s hotness or Jewishness is up to you.

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