The webcomics blog about webcomics

Busy Weekend

You know, what with two different sets of comics awards being given out, nominally from different coasts but practically speaking all from the confines of cyberspace.

  • On the delayed hand, you had NCSFest handing out the various NCS Division Awards, along with the Reuben¹. In the Online Comics categories, you had wins by Alec Longstreth (Long Form) and Jim Benton (Short Form); the latter wouldn’t have been my votegetter if I had a vote, but I can’t say it’s undeserving; I can say it was probably the most familiar work for the membership who, as previously noted, notoriously skew old.

    Which might explain why The Reuben itself went to the oldest nominee, one with a career stretching back four decades. A’course, the oldest nominee is the deeply subversive living legend Lynda Barry, whose work is most definitely not what I’d have expected the older members to vote for. It’s hard argue with the choice, and easy to argue that there might not have been a Raina Telgemeier if not for Lynda Barry’s deeply personal, memoirlike work (which started in print when Raina was about 2 years old) blazing the way. So no complaints here — Raina’s mantlepiece is getting a bit crowded anyway — and I suspect every one of the other nominees up for the top prize agreed that Barry was the right choice.

    As a side note, I see that Joe Wos — once a recurring name on this page during his years of directing Pittsburgh’s now-folded Toonseum — was given the division award for Variety Entertainment for his Mazetoons. Congrats, Joe.

  • And on schedule (although distanced), the Ignatzen were also presented on Saturday, and managed a simultaneous best-and-worst outcome in the same category. Do a quick refresh on the dilemma that the Ignatz Awards found themselves in this year and you’ll understand. Rosemary Valero-O’Connell is a creator whose work I deeply admire and, I daresay, a friend. The work for which she was nominated as Outstanding Artist, the short story collection Don’t Go Without Me, is magnificent and entirely worthy of the brick.

    But Valero-O’Connell was also on the jury. And while I stand second to no person in my love of and evangelical fervor for her work, and I recognize the accomplishment of being only the second person to win Outstanding Artist twice² and the only one to repeat in back-to-back years, I wish that it hadn’t happened. I do think that this situation has lessened the credibility of the Ignatz Awards, and I really, really hope that they write some ground rules to ensure that this appearance of a conflict of interest cannot happen again.

    Looking at other winners, Ebony Flowers has had nearly as good a year on the awards circuit as Valero-O’Connell; last year she took the Promising New Talent brick for the short story Hot Comb and this year for the expanded print collection incorporating it (also titled Hot Comb), she’s recognized for Outstanding Graphic Novel. Ariel Ries received bricks for Outstanding Online Comic (for Witchy) and Outstanding Comic (for Cry Wolf Girl); if you weren’t following her work before, you really should be.

    Outstanding Anthology went to Be Gay, Do Comics by the various contributors of The Nib. Look, you know that on a daily basis, it’s the most wide-ranging source of original editorial and nonfiction comics around, with a list of contributors that kicks every ass. Curating their best work on a theme is something that Matt Bors, Eleri Harris, and Matt Lubchansky were going to throw themselves into, and produce something terrific.

    Speaking of The Nib, Whit Taylor’s contributions there have always impressed the hell out of me (as well as everyplace else her work runs), and today she must take some solace in the fact that after two years of utter bullshit being inflicted on her in the form of a baseless lawsuit³, her Fizzle took the Ignatz for Oustanding Series and nobody can remember that other guy’s name. Seriously, I had to look him up, whereas members of The Eleven keep getting recognized for their work. It was a long, expensive, pointless road, but I have to imagine that the heft of that brick is gonna feel really good in Taylor’s hands.

Spam of the day:

As of today there is a limited supply of LUMIGUARD Solar Motion Sensor Floodlights Click the Button below to find out if they are still available.

I got something like this for literally twelve bucks at the local hardware store two years ago. It picks up the neighborhood outdoor cats when they wander by after dark. Why exactly do I need your more complicated and expensive version?

¹ Yes, yes, common parlance refers to all of these awards as Reubens, but the term proper applies only to the Cartoonist Of The Year, the one chosen by the entirety of the NCS membership rather than those of a particular area. It’s the COTY that gets the fancy Rube Goldbergian trophy, where the division winners get a (admittedly, handsome and heavy) plaque.

² The first being Jaime Hernandez in 2007 and 2012.

³ Which resolved after tens of thousands of dollars of legal fees and the plaintiff not getting his US$2.5 million, which is apparently the going rate for butthurt in the first degree.

From The Bunker

Hey, gang. How’s everybody holding up? Good? Good. It’s like I told my EMS crews last night: this isn’t what we signed up for, but we stay safe and do the job right, and after we’re done we can go back to life being somewhat more boring again. To the end of keeping my head in the game where it’s needed, I am vastly cutting back on my social media reading; if there’s something you think I should know, email or DM me.

Now let’s check in on other people who are dealing with the pandemic in constructive ways:

  • Joining just about every other institution, the Cartoon Art Museum announced over the weekend that they were closing their galleries and cancelling programs until the 29th; any return dates that are announced for the next while should probably be seen as on the cautiously optimistic side of the scale. Similarly, all of the public-facing events around the Month O’ Scott C at Gallery 1988 are off. This is a good and responsible pair of decisions, and we at Fleen thank the management of both venues.
  • Not just here, either. From Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebaupin:

    I come as the bearer of good news, of an evangelion if you will. Fëanor, our envoy of the Religion of the Invisible, has vanquished Death and come back to us.

    Readers will no doubt remember Fëanor, Who was cursed early in life by a tragic slipper. But blessed as well, since that gave Him the gift of seeing the invisible, and soon afterward He adopted Maliki as His caretaker. And lo, the years passed, and Maliki started a webcomic, where He made many appearances, inspired many artefacts, current and past, becoming a general symbol) of Maliki. And lo, the years passed, with Maliki spreading the image of our beloved prophet. But resentment was rising with rumors being spread against Fëanor.

    This week, Fëanor showed all detractors wrong by revealing through His caretaker that He had vanquished Death and come back to us, ascending to godhood in the process. And yet He is content to keep a presence for His Earthly caretakers, rather than fully ascend after 40 days. All praise the eternal Fëanor.

    Fanart is accepted as proof of adoration, and to be directed to His Earthly caretakers through the keyword #PetitDieuFeanor.

    In other news, the French government as announced banning all events involving more than 100 participants, which implies pretty much all cultural events, so Fëanor kindly requests that no public celebration be made of His new status.

    Guess no more Smurf festivals for a while, then.

  • For those stuck at home with time on their hands, the invaluable Jim Zub (who, to my recollection, was one of the first to cancel his appearance at EmCity, a good week before the ball really started rolling; you don’t get much appreciation for being the first at a good decision of this nature so allow us to say Good choice, Zub) has decided to make the time away from everything a little more enjoyable:

    Click the attachment links over on my public Patreon post for two full volume PDFs of two of my creator-owned comics, free of charge and with no strings attached:

    Enjoy, share, and be good to each other.

    One may recall that Zub, via his extensive series of guides to making a living self-publishing, makes a good chunk of his living not from individual floppy sales, but via trades, particularly in digital. This is going to cost him some money. If you find you like the stories, maybe purchase the subsequent volumes or some of his other work? He’s doing the world a solid, you can do him one back.

  • For those stuck at home with offspring on their hands, Joe Wos (once the head of Pittsburgh’s ToonSeum, which sadly is no more) is offering a free online cartooning course for kids:

    Beginning on Weds March 18th Joe will be offering free live cartooning classes online for all ages.
    The live classes will take place on YouTube channel HowToToon at 1pm, 3 days a week (Tuesdays-Thursdays). Students can access the channel by visiting

    Joe has been teaching cartooning for over three decades! He currently teaches a daily cartooning class at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, PA and is has also been the visiting resident cartoonist of the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa California for the past 18 years. Joe has been a staple of comic cons, school assemblies and library programs for the past thirty years touring worldwide.

    Same deal as with Zub: solid, buy stuff, etc.

  • Finally, let us not forget that — global pandemic or no — plans get made and must be followed up on lest opportunities be lost forever. C Spike Trotman had plans to announce a major Kickstarter today, the largest and most ambitious in Iron Circus history, and about two and a half hours ago she delivered:

    Lackadaisy Cats has been running online since 2006, immersing its readership in a world of sepia-toned crime, adventure, action, and comedy. And now, it’s ready for its next big move … to a screen near you.

    It’s an art book, to fund the 10-minute short (digital download of which is available at tiers US$80+). As of this writing, funding is north of US$60K of the US$80K goal, with stretch goals going all the way up to a mind-bending US$225K (post-credits scene featuring fan-favorite character Mordecai Heller). It’s a new realm for ICC, a big ask, and a lot of logistics, but Lackadaisy Cats has a deep and ferociously invested fanbase, so I think those wacky kids might just pull this one off. Not sure if you’d be into it? You got time in isolation, start reading.

Spam of the day:

United Steel Industries is a new Rolling Mill in Fujairah. USI is incorporated in 140,000 square meters of land.

Sorry, I require all my steel to be cast, not rolled.

For A First-Year Event, This Is Damn Impressive

Okay, so you know that the National Cartoonists Society has a big to-do every year, right? Different city every year, give out the Reubens, very fancy, I went to it once. It’s also pretty insular, by cartoonists and for cartoonists, no real public component to keep people excited about cartooning, either as consumers or the next generation of creators.

Which is why the NCS is doing a damn near 180 turn and going full Euro-style festival this year: NCSFest will be held in Huntington Beach, California, 17-19 May, and the vast majority of it will be a) in public, and b) free. This is not going to be a fill-the-convention-center type event, it’s going to be on the beach, on the pier, in the Arts Center, occupying a significant portion of common space.

Now we all know that first year events are rough, but NCSFest is getting advice from show partners Lakes International Comic Art Festival in the UK, and LyonBD Festival in France. Their consultation must have been great — did you see the guest list they have lined up for this one? Keep in mind that all of the newspaper creators, they aren’t used to the idea of tabling and meeting the public and sales and such, and they’re going to be able to learn from the comic book and webcomics folk, who are all over this in droves. If you’re in SoCal the weekend after TCAF, you’ll be able to see a frankly astonishing array (I’m going to link to the NCSFest bios instead of websites, because it will feature their appearances).

On the legit superstars list, you’ve got Boulet, Jaime Hernandez, Pénélope Bagieu, Sergio Aragonés, and Lewis Trondheim. From the world of museums, you’ve got Andrew Farago (of the Cartoon Art Museum, and Joe Wos (is it a coincidence without him as a driving force, Pittsburgh’s ToonSeum has closed shop?). Speaking of Pittsburgh, you’ve got Rob Rogers, who was a staff editorial cartoonist that was fired by a Trumpalo publisher for being too tough on Cheeto Mussolini and Shaenon Garrity, who is Yinzer by upbringing¹.

The Nib regulars Ann Telnaes and Gemma Correll will be side by side with indie/webcomickers Carolyn Belefski, Lucas Turnbloom, Brad Guigar (who noted that he is listed as a podcaster rather than cartoonist … be sure to ask him when you see him!), and Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett. Newspaper editor Tea Fougner will represent along with the likes of Patrick McDonnell², Lalo Alcaraz, and a bunch of others whose work makes regular appearances over at The Comics Curmudgeon³.

And that’s before you get to Mary Fleener. Everybody doing off the wall, let’s push the boundaries of weirdness and see how they stretch comics for the past couple of decades owes a debt to Mary Fleener. They’re putting her out in public where she can freak out the tourists and I love it.

Note that some events (seminars, workshops, meet-and-greets) are ticketed, and are predominantly being held in conference rooms at the Hyatt Regency. Details are available on the Tickets page.

Spam of the day:

Request: even if you are not interested in this property please click on the link and click on the “Go to the platform,” I’ll be very blogodaren is my bread

Don’t ask, don’t ask, no possible good will come of asking.

¹ Today, she brings her sensibilities of Pittsburgh-area linguistic tradition and upbringing to her new roles as Funk Queen Of The Bay Area And Surrounding Environs, Tiki Ambassadrix At Large, and Nexus Of All Webcomics Realities (West Coast division).

² Who lives one town over; sometimes I bump into him on Main Street, and we chose our vet based on his recommendation.

³ Including Jerry van Amergongen, who wrote a gag strip when I was in high school that I still recall with perfect clarity.

Things To See And/Or Do

It’s a bit of a roundup today, folks.

Spam of the day:
Okay not quoting from this one. Unlike the PR email I got yesterday that was wildly inappropriate for this blog, I got an email that was relevant, but put me off for a different reason. Namely, the subject line was A desperate attempt to get your eyeballs on my shameless self-promotion.

Don’t do that. Not the self-promotion part, not the shameless part, but the desperate part. You shouldn’t be desperate to get my attention — you have something that you want me to cover? Let me know. I’ll cover it, or I won’t, but anybody that you want to pay attention to your work can smell desperation (even when you don’t state it outright) from 1.61km away, and it’s not an attractive smell. Being desperate to get my attention is like telling somebody This is my work but it sucks, I’m terrible. STOP DOING THAT.

I am not naming the person(s) that sent my that email. I’ll cover them in the coming days/weeks, or I won’t, and if I do I won’t ever say that they’re the offender(s) in this situation. I’m not going to hold this subject line against them, I’ll cover them (or not) based on the quality and newsworthiness of what I find … but seriously, don’t do that.

¹ Dylan Meconis is going to be on my coast and I’m going to miss seeing her! This is killing me.

² Who is in the middle of this list instead of the end, thanks to SENYC listing creators by first name.

³ Dylan Meconis and Katie Lane are going to be on my coast and I’m going to miss seeing them! I’m already dead.


There are towering institutions in the realm of {indy | web}comics and allied forces of creativity; we’ll note some goings-on with three of them today.

  • The ToonSeum has been a part of the rebirth of Pittsburgh’s arts district, as well as honoring the legacy of a wide swath of the comics arts. It takes a lot to keep an organization like that running, so if you’re in Western PA, consider dropping by their annual fundraiser, Ka-Blam!, on 25 April at the Teamsters Temple Banquet Hall in Lawrenceville.

    In keeping with a mission that honors not just cartoons but also its hometown, this year’s Ka-Blam! theme is Pittsburgh Characters, meaning prominent Pittsburghers (Pittsburghians? Pittsburgundians? Pittsburghasques?) will be honored, meaning you can watch people remember the greatest human of the recent common era: Mister Rogers.

  • On the far side of the North American continent sits another institution that preserves, popularizes, teaches about, and studies the comic arts: the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. It’s a very active place, with programs out the proverbial wazoo, including a particularly rich and lively cluster in the immediate future. This Sunday, 19 April, will be the monthly Sunday Storytime Hour (theme: bunnies!) from 11:00am to noon.

    A scant hour later at 1:00pm, there will be hosted demo of Mangaka: The Fast and Furious Game of Drawing Comics until 4:00pm. And in a few weeks on 7 May, CAM hosts their annual fundraiser/comedy showcase, Comics 4 Comix. On the off chance none of those programs suits your fancy, there’s still a whole museum to enjoy, with a current exhibition of the films of Cartoon Saloon.

  • Coming back to the Eastern Time Zone to finish, you have an institution that is unlike the other two; one that is interested in the art and creators of comics, but in the tangible approach of directly supporting them in their efforts (not to mention their ability to pay for things like rent and food). An institution that exists in a compact, moveable (indeed, in near perpetual motion) form that is responsible for facilitating more than ten million dollars of support directly to various creators.

    I speak, naturally, of George, who condensed from an aether of pure consciousness into our world of meat and sorrow on this day in the year of our greatest hope; who took on physical form to better help us; who causes reality to shift around himself to aid those who put forth the effort to better their skills and create good works. Let us honor him on this, the anniversary of his birth, with the traditional gifts of spreadsheets, cool glasses, friendship, and Big Gay Ice Cream. Happy Georgeday, everybody!

Spam of the day:

We have Excellent work from home Option , where you will get steady Income source here No Target No Limitation,

Curiously enough, I already have that, and from a company whose checks don’t bounce.

Welcome Returns

Sometimes,you just need something that was amazing and hasn’t been seen for a while to be public and prominent again.

  • I don’t believe that I have written on this page before about a trip I took to Belgium and Holland maybe … fifteen years ago? Sounds about right. While in Brussels, my wife and I visited the Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée, and in and around all the Hergé exhibits (the whole town is a celebration of Tintin), and the other great Eurocomics (around the corner from my hotel was a mural of Blake et Mortimer that took up the entire side of a building¹), was one small piece of art that was clearly the centerpiece of the entire museum.


    One precious, thin to the point of near-transparency original image (not even a “cel”, as this predated the use of celluloid for animation) from Gertie the Dinosaur, drawn by Winsor McCay nearly a century earlier. Much of what we recognize as comics, and maybe the entire idea of animation, derives from McCay and Gertie the Dinosaur. Heck, it’s a marvel that any of the film still exists, given how little of the silent film era was preserved. But Gertie has never been entirely forgotten, and she’s getting her due courtesy of The Toonseum for her one hundredth birthday:

    Gertie toured the vaudeville circuit in 1914 along with creator Winsor McCay in a unique show combining a live on stage performance and animation. The show wowed audiences, and left them bewildered at what was dubbed one of the great wonders! That vaudeville circuit would have brought both McCay and Gertie to one of Pittsburgh’s many theaters. Now almost 100 years later Gertie returns to Pittsburgh.

    On February 8th, kids can come watch Gertie in action on the screen again and learn about the world’s first of film’s dazzling dinosaurs. Gertie will also be showing off some of her classic cartoon friends on screen as the ToonSeum kicks off our year-long Century of Animation.

    Gertie screens at 1:15pm, followed by quick classes in cartooning and flip-book making, and the dinosaur part also gets its due attention:

    In addition you can explore Gertie’s dinosaur friends including T-rex, Apatosaurus, Velociraptor, and many more from Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Enjoy activities such as measuring teeth and claws, dino foot print stamping, and much more.

    The Carnegie Natural History Center’s Dippy the Dinosaur will be celebrating his 150th Birthday later this year, so look for other events with Gertie and Dippy coming up soon. (It has long been rumored that Dippy and Gertie are an item!) The event runs from 1pm-3:30pm on February 8th at 1pm at the ToonSeum. The cost is $8.00 per child (general admission) and $3.00 per child (members). Adults are free.

    Personally, I think that Gertie might be related to Professor Science, and the velociraptor mentioned may actually be Utahraptor going incognito; naturally, there is only one T-Rex.

  • You know what kinda looks like a dinosaur, but not really, but kind of? Jellaby. Okay, J’s a monster, what with the tiny little horns and wings and all, but work with me here. Because this lets me keep to the theme of welcome returns and the subtheme of dinosaurs and announce that after too long a time out of print, Jellaby volume 1 is coming back:

    OMG you guys! JELLABY v.1 is coming back into print! This is awesome news! Yay @CapstoneConnect & @keansoo!!! -kjc

    At least in Canada? Amazon’s US site doesn’t recognize the book, but their Canadian site claims it released last week, even though it appears to not be releasing until March? Look, it’s got a new subtitle, a new cover, and a new foreword by Kazu Kibuishi, so find every kid that you know and get them a copy (even if you have to import it from Our Friends To The North) because Jellaby is great.

¹ I gather that there is more than one in Brussels.

More On Those License Fees

If you don’t know what license fees I’m talking about, see yesterday’s post where we learn that boilerplate approaches to convincing somebody that your endorsement is really, really essential went wrong. Now, hold on to your (metaphorical, physical, doesn’t matter) hat, because it’s about to go extraordinarily, amazingly wrong.

Yesterday we introduced the idea that Ziff Davis (no link for them!) wanted webcomickers to pay a license fee for the privilege of quoting a listicle about their own comics. The creator who shared that email back-and-forth didn’t get around to asking what that license fee might be but another one did, and gave me permission to share the number if I kept his name¹ out of it. Ready? Here it comes:

Apart from the quote “PCMAG Best Webcomics” you can use the following quotes from the feature:

“[removed for anonymity]”

“[removed for anonymity]”

The fees vary depending on if you want to use the logo and quotes on just your website or on all digital media platforms (social media, emails, etc.) The fees are about $1,000 for a feature like this but I am willing to work with you on figuring out a fee that works for you. [bold added for emphasis]

So that’s a cool thousand dollars for the privilege of using a logo and two pull-quotes for a year. Now you know why defender of the realistic sense of artistic worth Ryan Estrada got all incredulous yesterday. I can scarcely believe it myself.

Let’s end on an up note before the weekend, yeah? By the time you do something official and public twice, it becomes a tradition, which means that The Toonseum is well into beloved, longstanding tradition territory, as they’re releasing their fourth edition of Illustration Ale in conjunction with East End Brewing. Two things of note:

  • The launch party for Illustration Ale 2013 is at 7:00pm on 5 December, and as is traditional will feature six labels from six Pittsburgh artists.
  • This launch is coming months later than expected, as East End Brewing takes some pride in their craft.

By that I mean that the beer was due in August, and the brewmasters made a tough call:

My apologies for the late notice on this, but based on what we’re seeing with the bottles of Illustration Ale we’ve been sampling here, we will not be doing a release at the Toonseum for bottles of this beer as we had planned this Saturday August 3rd.

We had hoped the bottles would come around (which is why this notice is so late in the game), but they just aren’t up to snuff, so we need to make the call to POSTPONE this release, until we can get a re-brew into the tank and subsequently into new bottles.

It’s one thing to have 1,500 bottles of unsaleable hand-bottled beer on our hands, but it’s another to… well, yeah. In all honesty, this is about the only thing we’re thinking about today. But you can’t sell GOOD BEER every day if you aren’t willing to make the decision to pour some not-so-good beer down the drain. It doesn’t make it any easier though.

Well done, East End Brewing, and well done The Toonseum — you’ve chosen your partners well, and I expect to hear that this year’s vintage is spectacular.

¹ Side note — of the 25 webcomics on the list there are a total of 33 creators if I counted all the creative teams correctly; 7 of them were women, which is less than I would have expected. Where on earth were Dylan Meconis, Erika Moen, Dorothy Gambrell, Yuko Ota, and Magnolia Porter, just for starters? Okay, Hurricane Erika gets left out because of the sexytimes, fine.

Still, that 21% representation blew away the gender imbalance I noted in their list of best digital comics (that is, regular print comics also available via comiXology and the like). Over there it was ten comics, 14 creators, and the incredibly skilled Fiona Staples the sole lady for a whopping 7% representation. I’m starting to get why so many ridiculously talented comicsmaking ladies are in the original graphic novel end of the industry, where they seem to be more welcome.

Some Things To Consider

It’s Events Day at the Fleen Ranch, so break out the dayplanner and gas up the car, you got some places to be. While you’re waiting for the tank to fill and the GPS to get your directions together, Rich Stevens dropped some wisdom last night, followed by the mic. Check it:

Do you want to make webcomics?

OK, great. You need two traits. One or the other, you will fail at my definition of webcomics in the professional sense.

1.) You need to find joy in variations on a theme, even if the theme is “your imagination.” You will hopefully be doing this task thousands and thousands of times. Enjoy it, love it, do it for the right reasons.

2.) You will need a gleeful, hateful, beautiful endurance. Avoid drama and destroy all your enemies by being solidly there for your fans. Save your heckling for the graves of misogynists.

The end. [boldface original]

Something to ponder while you make your way around the country.

  • The every-three-years Festival of Cartoon Art kicks off tomorrow in Columbus, Ohio on the campus of Ohio State; the formal festival is full up, but some associated events have individual admission tickets still available, at the FCA page linked just above. One thing that’s sold out entirely will be the STRIPPED screening; just think: three years ago STRIPPED co-creator Dave Kellett did a keynote presentation, which opened doors for a lot of the interviews in the movie he’s now sharing … what new project will the screening enable? For those of you (including me) not able to attend the FCA this year (which is pretty much the entire world, minus the 275 registrations that the FCA allows), time to start making plans for Fall, 2016.
  • While you’re making those plans for 2016 (or maybe 2019), maybe head east on I-70 for a few hours to Pittsburgh, where our old friend The Toonseum will be holding its third Bad Movie Night tomorrow at 7:00pm; as is tradition, the name of the movie will not be announced until the audience is seated and unable to escape. Admission is US$10 (five bucks for members) and the event is 18 and up.
  • Rumblings have been made on the nets that serial troublemakers Danielle Corsetto and Randy Milholland may be about to spring a new iteration of ComfyCon on an unsuspecting world. The original ComfyCon, as you may recall, took place last year during San Diego Comic Con, for those creators and fans that could not (or perhaps would not) attend the much more hectic show by the Pacific Ocean; taking place online, it was well received by all concerned.

    ComfyCon II: The Comfying is still on for this weekend, and the quiet launch will make it all the more exciting when we see all involved, both event- and people-wise. Notifications may come with short lead times, so follow the twitters of your favorite webcomickers to be sure not to miss anything.

  • Finally, what’s likely the last webcomics-related event of the calendar yet, Webcomics Rampage 2013 rolls into Austin Texas early next month, with an all-new, all-larger, all-louder THREE! THREE! THREE! days of webcomics maaaaayheeemmmmm.

Anybody Out Candy-Wranging?

Happy Halloween, kids! Try not to rot your teeth out by the weekend.

  • November is shaping up to be a momentous month, as it’s finally been announced when Jeff Smith’s new webcomic will be launching. As previously noted, Tüki Save The Humans [that link may just be a placeholder; we’ll all find out together in a couple of weeks] will be about the first human to leave Africa for the wider world, and it’s been in the planning stages for a very long time (Smith’s wife and publisher, Vijaya Iyer, was dropping hints as long ago as SDCC 2012). Working in a share-first, print-later model will be a big change for Smith, and his shift to the webcomic model will represent perhaps the biggest name in dead-tree comics to take a flyer on our weird little community.

    In any event, Tüki will be unveiled in a 10 November brunch at the Society of Illustrators in New York, as a benefit for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (Smith has been a long-time supporter of the Fund), which you can attend in exchange for a donation to the CBLDF. You’ve got US$100 general admission tickets (US$40 of which is tax deductible), and for those that want to get up close and in-person with Smith, there’s the US$250 VIP ticket (US$190 deductible). Drat and darn, about the time the program starts at noon I’ll be at the airport getting ready to depart for Wildest Iowa for work, or I would most likely be there, because Jeff’s great, the Society is great, the CBLDF is great, and I have a feeling that Tüki is going to be great as well.

  • For those that can’t be in New York on the tenth, how about Pittsburgh on the ninth? The Toonseum will be holding a memorial service for Lou Scheimer, the recently-departed animation impresario and co-founder of Filmation. For those that were too young to catch Filmation in its heyday on Saturday mornings, or perhaps after school, the animation was basic, limited, featured a lot of re-used stock footage, and was pretty often in the service of not particularly great shows.

    He also made sure that Filmation’s work was never sent overseas and was a major contributor to keeping animation jobs and skills in America. There’s a lot of animators today that grew up watching Filmation’s various shows, and they’ve been the teachers and inspirations of at least one more generation. Scheimer was a Pittsburgh native, as well as a supporter and booster of The Toonseum, where a gallery is named in his honor. The memorial is open to the public, and will run from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.

  • On the off chance that you’re having trouble keeping track of all these dates, can I suggest you invest in a webcomic-themed calendar? Okay, the offerings from Jorge Cham and Brad Guigar might only start in January, 2014 … but if you’d bought one last year, you’d have someplace to note your Pittsburgh or New York comics-themed events right now, wouldn’t you? Don’t let that happen to you next year.

Catching Up On Random Things

A couple of things happened that people have been kind enough to email me about, and I figure I could share those with you. That would be nice, wouldn’t it? Sure it would.

  • The accolades keep rolling in for Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers and Saints, which has been included in consideration for the National Book Award (where it is the only graphic novel this year). This is the longlist, the finalists have yet to be determined, but Yang’s got a proven track record, considering that American Born Chinese was an NBA finalist in 2006. Not only that, but if my search skills are correct, ABCwas the last graphic novel to get an NBA nod, and Mr Yang also appears to be the only repeat nominee in the Young Adult category in that time. Interesting.
  • New York Comic Con is fast approaching and I’ll be keeping an eye on webcomicky goings-on from the show floor again this year; programming has appeared on the NYCC website, with all four days populated as of this writing. As usual, watch out for last-minute changes, and as others have noted, there are some interesting scheduling conflicts:

    @NY_Comic_Con has programmed @KodanshaUSA‘s panel against @shonenjump‘s, & the @FUNimation+Kodansha panel against @yenpress. Nice.

    And the Funimation and Vertical panels are also at the same time! Yay!

    I’ll do a thorough schedule-trawl and let you know what happens in webcomics world on the floor; if nothing else, you can meet/greet Maki Naro, Katie Rice, and Mac Schubert of Strip Search in the Artists Alley, as a result of having won reward challenge #4.

  • Speaking of big-city cons, Pittsburgh Comic Con kicks off a week from Friday, and you know who will be there, at the booth of Official Fleen-Approved Cool Place The Toonseum? Caroll Spinney. If you don’t recognize that name, perhaps you recognize his work in the personages of Mr Bird or Mr The Grouch? It’s Pittsburgh for crying out loud, the hometown of Mr Rogers, so take a cue from him and do the neighborly thing: if you’re at PCC, drop by the Toonseum booth and thank Spinney for his contributions to the world. If you don’t, I’m not mad, but I will be disappointed in you.
  • Speaking of museums and the weekend of the 28th, the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco will be participating in the Smithsonian magazine’s ninth annual Museum Day Live event:

    The Smithsonian magazine Museum Day is a nationwide event and offers free admission to any visitor and one guest with a Museum Day Live! Ticket to a participating museum or cultural institution.

    Inclusive by design, the event represents Smithsonian’s commitment to make learning and the spread of knowledge accessible to everyone, giving museums across all 50 states the opportunity to emulate the admission policy of the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. Last year’s event drew over 400,000 participants, and this year’s event expects record-high participation.

    The Museum Day Live! Ticket is available to download now at Visitors who present the Museum Day Live! Ticket will gain free entrance for themselves and one guest at participating venues for one day only.

    For those that don’t happen to be in San Francisco on the 28th, there will be plenty of other venues participating, so grab your tickets now (one per household, per email address, more information on the tickets page).