The webcomics blog about webcomics


Changes coming at us, changes from the past writ down so we don’t forget them. Let’s do this thing.

  • It’s a bittersweet thing, to see a webcomic wrap up; on the one hand, it’s a triumphant message, as the creator intended, an underline on a section of life concluded and new adventures begun. On the other hand, my Mondays will be less joyous without Angela Melick’s Wasted Talent cluing me in as to what’s happening in Vancouver, in bikes, in swords, in engineering, in battles for thermostatic supremacy, and in general in her life. I’m grateful for all that she chose to share over the past

    Eleven years, five books. A degree, two co-op jobs and three career jobs, five residences, a marriage and half a dozen broken bones.

    She left out swords, but I’ll take it as well as congratulate Melick on her constant growth and reinvention as a person, as well as her last-two–WT-books Kickstarter (which wraps up in about 30 hours as I write, this, and which just hit the final stretch goal of CAN$60,000 of a CAN$33,000 goal). Look kindly on us from your bike orbiting in the sky¹; thank you for always using your powers for good and for awesome.

  • Know who pretty much invented the reinvention game? Actually, that’s not quite right; Fitzgerald was wrong about their being no second acts² and plenty of people make their livings from constant reinvention — your Madonnas, your Ladies Gaga, etc. But one person invented becoming other people so thoroughly, and switching identities back and forth like your or I would switch clothing³, befuddling and bewildering all who observed from near and far.

    I speak, of course, of the dearly missed (although I suspect nobody 100% truly believes he’s dead, even if most of us are 99.997% sure) Andrew G “Andy” Kaufman. Much has been written about him, many stories have been told by people that knew him, and there’s about to be one more. And who better to tell the story of the self-proclaimed Inter-Gender Wrestling Champion of the World and Fred Blassie interlocutor than wrestling superfan Box Brown?

    In fact, it’s such a great idea that they officially announced it today, in Playboy magazine, no less:

    [W]e’re proud to announce the release, in February 2018, of a graphic novel that revisits Kaufman’s brilliant and tragically short career—a career that thrived audience discomfort, confusion and anger, delivered by a man whose death at 35 is still viewed by some as an extremely slow-burning hoax.

    Author and artist Box Brown, whose book Tetris: The Games People Play came out earlier this year, returns to the biographical chops he displayed in his best-selling book Andre the Giant: Life and Legend.

    Two quick notes:

    1. Although the announcement was in Playboy, the book is from Brown’s regular publisher, :01 Books
    2. In case you’re at work and the filters don’t let you click through to the story (and excerpt pages), point out that Playboy has been SFW for nine months now.

    Some of you (including Brown himself) may be too young to remember Kaufman on Saturday Night Live or Late Night With David Letterman and only experienced him secondhand. Take it from those of us that remember — Kaufman was as weird as you’ve heard and weirder still. It suffused him, it ran from every pore in his body. Crispin Glover on his most bizarre day looked flat out fucking normal next to the living contradiction of Andy Kaufman; he contained more lives running simultaneously than anybody before or since.

    Is This Guy For Real?, written and illustrated by Box Brown, will be released in 2018. Pricing and exact date to be announced.

Spam of the day:

Thinking about retirement? Let us help.

Godsdammit, people — I’m old, but I’m not that old. Stay off my inbox’s lawn.

¹ Anybody who can achieve escape velocity (approximately 11.2km/sec) on bicycle clearly has powers that dwarf those of mere mortals.

² Then again, I think he was wrong about most things, his writing ability chief among them. Yeah, that’s right, F Scott Fitzgerald is a hack, his books suck, fight me.

³ There’s probably a Final Fantasy game mechanic that resembles taking off one life and putting on another.

What The Kid(s) In Your Life Are Going To Be Reading

Sometimes, panels don’t lend themselves to traditional write-ups (or, at least not write-ups as I do them; everybody’s got their own style, after all), and the preview of all-ages comics from Scholastic/Graphix is a prime example. It wasn’t so much a discussion as an opportunity to talk about what Graphix has coming up in the near future, with creators talking about their current/forthcoming projects. Thus, the disclaimer I normally start with on these panel recaps is missing, since there’s not so much the opportunity to confuse quotes with paraphrases. Okay, there’s one quote coming up, you’ll know it when you see it.

Instead, I’m going to talk about some of the work that was previewed, with little things that caught my eye. For example, Jim Benton is half graphic novelist, half IP licensing machine, and Catwad straddles that line. Benton actually first came up with Catwad years ago, but similarities to a slightly more recent cat with grumpy tendencies¹.

Tui Sutherland talked about the process of adapting her book series, Wings Of Fire (thirteen books and counting!) to graphic novels (third one coming soon). Particularly, she’d like to note that while it’s all very easy to describe an arena full of dragon-type beings as far as the eye can see, it’s quite another to expect Mike Holmes to draw that over and over (Sutherland: Sorry, Mike!). And since I don’t see her credited on the series page (or even on the covers, for goodness sake), I’ll note that the colorist is Maarta Laiho, who has her own challenges — rainforests, chameleonic dragons who change color, leading to completely different colors from panel to panel — and deserves a bit of recognition here.

Jon J Muth’s adaptation of The Seventh Voyage by Stanislaw Lem was included in the giveaway bag at the Scholastic party on Thursday night, so I can tell you that it’s smart, charming, funny, and very, very different from any other graphic novel you’ve read or are going to read this year. Lem’s ability to lambaste Poland’s political institutions and society without running afoul of governmental authorities is legendary, and you’ll see a prime example of his skill as Ijon Tichy struggles to resolve a life-or-death situation despite the interference of a bureaucracy of himself² doing its damndest to prevent anything from actually happening. And the space suit³ is hilarious.

Raina Telgemeier let her audience know that Guts is different than her previous work (her exact words were Wake up, ’cause we’re going to talk about anxiety!), but in a way that let them know that’s okay. That she had a hard time dealing with the stressors in her life at their age, and sometimes still has those feelings, but she got help. And if they feel overwhelmed and anxious, they can get help, too. She’s really our best ambassador to the middle grades, the one that remembers what that time was like and can converse with those who live their in terms of their own experiences. As I told her when I got to read an advance copy back in April, I wanted very much to travel back in time and hug Young Raina and tell her it would be okay.

The only question I noted was when a girl, about ten years old, came to the mic to ask Miss Raina, what happened to Amara’s snake? Readers of Sisters may recall that Raina’s younger sister had a snake who got loose and lost, only to be found six months later under the seats in the minivan (or at least, a snake similar enough to the one that was lost as to make no difference). In the meantime, their mom had gotten Amara another snake and when that one got loose, Raina said I left the house. It was time for college, but the snake was definitely part of the decision. Like I said, she know how to speak Middle Grader.

Release dates:

Spam of the day:

I reaiiy need to find a friend with benefits.

Yep, this is wholly appropriate for a post discussing all-ages comics. Yeesh.

¹ Who, it could be argued, primarily went viral because of a mash-up with a Kate Beaton punchline. Speaking of Beaton, she’s got a new diary comic up, featuring doggo Agnes with a supporting appearance by daughter Mary Lou. It’s a treat.

² Or, more precisely, himselves, as they are all time-displaced instances of Ijon Tichy thrown together and forced to try and cooperate.

³ Baggy, shapeless, five sizes too large at the very least, stubby-legged, and featuring an umbilical attached in the middle of a buttoned-up buttflap.

This Is New — An Afternoon Drive Home That Doesn’t Involve I-95

Instead, I get to make my way home from the Navy base I’ve been on all week; a Navy base in the center of Pennsylvania, not even on a river or lake. I don’t makes ’em up, folks, I just reports ’em.

In the meantime, please enjoy the news that Comic Chameleon — the mobile webcomics aggregator that actually works with and pays creators — has updated. You can history of CC by searching on chameleon and browsing back through six or so years of posts; my favorite part was when creator Bernie Hou was able to provide Danielle Corsetto with all the alt-text for Girls With Slingshots following a site hack¹.

Anyway, those using Comic Chameleon on iOS have a new version (with Android hopefully on the way), with improvements and fixes. If it’s been a while since you fired it up, give it another try. Then come back here and read Scott McCloud’s thoughts on comics navigation online/on mobile and just contemplate the nature of comics for a while. I’ll be driving home while you do.

Spam of the day:

Good afternoon. It’s hard for me to navigate the site, could you help me find it? Here, little place, I have everything I need written on the plate here is the link. I really look forward to hearing from you. Bill Rogers [link redacted]

Is it Bill Rogers, or is it Alfred Plono, which is who the post claims to be from? Try harder, spammer scum.

¹ Reminder: back up your stuff in multiple, mutually-separated places. Test your backups. Document your process.

Pretty, Pretty, And Noooooo

Let’s take them each in turn, shall we?

  • Pretty! The Perry Bible Followship may only update very occasionally, but it would be a mistake to ever count Nicholas Gurewitch out; he’s always got something intriguing cooking in his brainmeats, and just the other day we saw the most recent creation reach fruition.

    Notes on a Case of Melancholia, Or: A Little Death is an Edward Goreyesque book, mostly silent, about a Death working through things with his¹ shrink. Readers with long memories may recall that this book was the subject of a Kickstarter ’bout two and a half years back², which was to have been fulfilled ’bout two years ago.

    Better late than never, though, and given the detail in the art, I can see how 48 pages worth could take longer than anticipated. US$25, limit one per person, domestic orders only for the moment, please. If you missed out on the Kickstart, this is your chance to get a copy (not as fancy as the Kickstarter version, but you haven’t been waiting for years, so suck it up).

  • Pretty! The Nib has gone through a lot since its launch: key player in the current iterations of This Is Fine and Pepe The Frog³, critically-acclaimed book (and calendar) publisher, a slew of awards for its contributors, and the odd hiatus or two. Latest adventure: an animated series, the first episode of which dropped today. Four comics by Jen Sorensen (Trump and various Sergeis in the Oval Office with the nuclear football), editor Matt Bors (snotty know-it-all and how not to get shot for being black), and associate editor Matt Lubchansky (where Trump’s hairpiece comes from … it ain’t pretty) round out this iteration, with more to come. I know I said Pretty! up top, but you know what? close ups of Donald Trump in cartoon form are kind of horrifying, which is probably the point. Well done, The Nib.
  • Noooooo! Okay, if you are not current on Stand Still, Stay Silent, maybe go away and get caught up. Minna Sundberg has never been sentimental about her post-apocalyptic story … the characters who’ve stepped into the Silent World have succeeded so far on dumb luck as much as anything, and even the people that conceived of their mission figured it was a longshot that would end up killing everybody involved. Heck, the prologue started by killing nearly everybody except five small casts of characters, along with the majority of the world; post-apocalypse was never going to be a cheery place.

    But Tuuri is so cheerful, so calmly competent, and it’s been so many strips from her possible contamination that it looked like she’d be … not okay, probably go back home and have occasional nightmares forever, but not this. Kitty can tell she’s infected and halfway to horribly mutated. The signs are there. She can hear the voices of the horrors as they reach out to claim her.

    The best scientists left in the known world have spent 75 years trying to come up with a treatment or vaccine, to no avail. Barring a miracle from the realm of gods and spirits, we’ve reached the point in the zombie movie where the protagonists have to kill their friend. It’s terrible, and the terror we feel reading is earned honestly instead of a cheap twist. It’s great storytelling and I hate it simultaneously. Go as peacefully as you can in the face of this abomination, Tuuri. We’ll miss you.

Spam of the day:

This chic style chameleon will go from elegant to edgy with a simple outfit swap. All prices reflect additional savings. This offer is not retroactive.

Trying to figure out if there’s anything in the world I want less than knockoff handbags allegedly designed by a sarcastic human tangerine

¹ Based on the description; personally, I think that capital-d Death transcends the biological concepts of gender, but that may be one of the things a personification of a primal and eternal force needs to work out with their shrink.

² Disclaimer: I had to go look it up, it was so long ago.

³ Respectively, no, it’s not, and he’s dead, Jim.

No Foolin’

Okay, there’s a lot of nonsense out on the interwubs today, and plus I have been wanting to drink beer a dentist appointment in a little while, so let’s just do this quickly and retreat from the very clever funsters¹.

Okay, you got me, there was a Lirpa Loof gag that amused me, one that got me good², and I’m half-conviced that the lack of a new xkcd today will reveal itself later as some elaborate hoax or another. But one thing isn’t a gag and I think you should check it out.

Bernie Hou is the creator of the long-hiatused Alien Love Predator, a comic about which I wrote a piece that I still really like³. More recently, he’s been the driving force behind Comics Chameleon, and he’s been away from making his own comics for entirely too long.

Until today:

Hey! I’m drawing a brand new comic, it’s all about sports. Just in time for the new sports games. Check it out at

Actually, Sports Happen has single-panel sports-themed strips from April of 2014, plus four (much more polished) new ones to kick-start an archive; no mention yet as to update schedule, but I imagine it will be more frequent in the periods of time when Sport Happen, which we seem to be in right now. I don’t really follow sports (other than to be enraged at the manner in which US Soccer is treating the women’s national team — seriously, the men fly business class and the women fly coach?), but you don’t need to be up on sports to understand that statistics and biometrics are not always good things.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Sports Happen, and those of you that like sport mixed with your comics? This is your new best friend, especially seeing as how your alternative is Gil freakin’ Thorpe. Welcome back to the cartooning game, Bernie; it’s good to have you around again.

Spam of the day:

Bosley — Yes! Financing is Available

I don’t know how to break this to you, spammers purporting to be a hair-restoration clinic/service, but I have a head of rich, luxurious hair with nary a sign of receding or thinning. Seriously, my new barber4 complains about how much of it there is. Oh, and I notice that your return address is the same as the sender of other spams regarding liposuction, Russian mail-order brides, the importance of buying gold before the world goes to hell, tactical flashlights, and stool softeners. Heck of a wide range of business interests you got there.

¹ I hope I don’t need to remind you of the failure mode of clever.

² Turning my entirely justified despising of the entire Internet of Things against me? Darn you, Jam!

³ You know that loathing that artists have looking at their old work? Writers are the same reading their old stuff. I like this ALP review, my review of the first Dinosaur Comics book made up entirely of Dinosaur Comics quotes, the year MoCCA Fest almost burned down and that’s it. I’m a total hack.

4 I’ve spent much of the past two years trying to settle on a new barber, on account of the guy I went to for 28 years — a Sicilian gentleman with monstrous hands named Luigi; his shop was strictly first-come, first-served, and was a microcosm of everybody from kids getting their first trim to local politicians to wannabe mobbed-up guys from ten towns north — died at the age of nearly 80. He (without a trace of malice and no little irony) always called me Big Guy and we usually talked about his koi pond when I was in the chair. He had a major grudge against the herons that treated it as a snack bar. Requiscat in pace, Lou.

Counting Down To The C&D From DordMart

A story making the rounds about possibly finding evidence of constructed objects around a distant star has already prompted a thousand SF story hooks, but only one of them is in the hands of a man not afraid to get a .horse domain. I welcome you all to:, long may the conversation run.

In other news:

  • It’s been about a year since the crowdfunding for an Android version of Comic Chameleon, the mobile webcomic integrator that a) doesn’t suck and b) isn’t a scraper because c) it’s done with the permission of the creators and thus d) pays them. I got to play with a beta version a while back (it was a different phone on a very old release of Android and had some quirks, but was basically solid), and now you can play with the official thing, because Comic Chameleon for Android drops in the Google Play store today.

    I’m really looking forward to digging in with an up to date phone and seeing how it does. Should make getting out of bed in the morning much easier. Thanks to Bernie Hou (of Alien Loves Predator, topic of one of my favorite pieces I’ve written here at Fleen) and his team for all the hard work.

  • The National Book Award finalists were announced on NPR’s Morning Edition today, and I was particularly thrilled to hear one shortlist nominee in particular: Nimona not only got mentioned, but was one of the few books that came in for a full discussion from an impromptu panel.

    Unlike NPR’s Glen Weldon, I had no qualms about how it would translate from web to print, but like him and NPR’s Barrie Hardymon, I’m thrilled by its inclusion, and by the depth of Nimona’s story re: how girls get treated. Here’s hoping that Noelle Stevenson gets to give a little speech in a few weeks, and here’s hoping even more she closes with I’M A SHARK AAAAHH.

  • Delilah Dirk is making her return, and she’s starting in webcomic form. In the run-up to next year’s print release, the first 90 pages will be serialized online, starting from chapter one, oh, today-ish.

    Four pages a week from Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling will go up until March, then we get to read the rest of the story in a glorious single chunk when we all go buy it. We’re all going to go buy it, right? Damn right we are. Tony Cliff’s lost none of his storytelling chops since the release of Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, and now we all get to enjoy them together.

  • Apropos of nothing: that time Emperor Palpatine and Sauron met to bitch about their enemies and deaths. It’s hilarious.

Spam of the day:

You’re so cute.

Damn right I am. I’m friggin’ adorable.


Your attention please. Please yell if you are paying attention.

  • Re: the best thing that you will read today, courtesy of Shaenon Garrity, Queen Of All That Is Rad, a curious and quiet tale regarding how ladies interact with gaming culture. In the event that you think that this is not the best thing that you will (or have) read today, please go back and re-read carefully and I think you will find the source of your error. There are so many wonderful little details in Scores & Scandals that I can’t count them all.
  • Re: yesterday’s posting regarding the Chomic Chameleon Chichstarter¹, the campaign launched about an hour ago (as this is being written) and may be found here.
  • Re: webcomickers and Adventure Time, there are two big things happening come January. The storied team of Ryan North, Shelli Paroline, and Braden Lamb will be stepping down from the book that launched BOOM! Studios’ foray into Cartoon Network tie-in comics, Adventure Time.

    By that time, the North/Paroline/Lamb team will have produced 35 issues (or seven arcs + seven one-shot issues) over the space of three years, and have garnered signinificant acclaim, including the stray Eisner Award. Per North, it was a planned exit, with the creative team ready to move on to other projects (at the recent SPX show, Lamb told me that he and Paroline were pitching their own story ideas for new comics).

    Big shoes to fill², but BOOM! have found perhaps the best possible replacements on the book in the personages of Christopher Hastings on words and Zach Sterling on art. Sterling’s no stranger to Adventure Time, having partnered with Danielle Corsetto and Kate Leth on AT original graphic novels, and Hastings is not only a funny guy who knows how to write funny comic books, he’s partnered up with North on several projects and will be able to blend his authorial voice with that of the Toronto Man-Mountain to the point that the transition should be largely seamless.

    This is not to say that Hastings should spend his time on Adventure Time emulating North, merely that it won’t be a jarring shift from one writing style to the next. Honestly, I can’t think of a better team to take over the flagship comic.

  • All of that would probably qualify as the best Adventure Time-related news of the month, except for the part where BOOM! also announced that Meredith Gran would be returning to write a second Marceline miniseries. Marceline and the Scream Queens, for me at least, ranks as the definitive exploration of the vampire queen’s personality and nature, and seeing Gran return to the character for six more issues makes me giddy. And that’s before I found out that the new series (titled Marceline Gone Adrift) is essentially the adventures of Marceline and Prubs in space. This time around Gran will be leaving the art duties to Carey Pietsch, whose portfolio gives me great confidence that she’ll do a fantastic job.
  • Still not quite done with webcomickers and BOOM! books at the start of 2015. Jim Zub (who else?) had some news to share yesterday:

    MUNCHKIN #1 arrives in January from @boomstudios and I’m writing back-up stories. :) @muskrat_john @SJGames

    Oh dear glob. Zub’s not one for excessive mayhem in his gaming comics because he’s mindful that they should be at least vaguely acceptable for all ages, but in the cartoonishly excessive world of Munchkin? And in backup stories, where all the rules are a bit looser? He’s gonna run riot and it’s gonna be hilarious.

  • Re: my earlier assessment of what’s going on in Drive. Okay, so the latest update mentions dropships with “interstellars in orbit”, so we don’t know from the visuals here about rings, which was my original contention. But we’ve seen Vinn ships before — no ring. And the possibility of the Vinn getting Continuum technology (which the Makers regard as holy) without the Continuum objecting? I still think we’ve got more than one method of superlight travel, which in the case of the Vinn could have been developed by any of the 14 constituent species. All of which is to say Goddammit Dave, if you kill off Nosh I’m going to be very, very cross with you.

Not spam of the day:
I just wanted to bring to your attention a comment regarding yesterday’s spam of the day:

For the record and from a born spanish speaker: that spam’s line makes absolutely no sense.

Román, thanks for confirming what I suspected. Good to know that spammers are illiterate in more than just English!

¹ Sorry, couldn’t resist.

² In North’s case, literally … I seem to recall he has something like size 15 feet.

It Is Apparently Kickstarter Day

There are several projects that I feel you should pay attention to, in no particular order.

  • First of all, recent Atlanta-to-Stumptown transplant Jennie “It’s Not Satanic Porn” Breeden¹ has returned to the Kickstarter well to finish off her doll line; about this time last year she made plush versions of two of the three voices in her head: the Devil Girl and Angel Girl as a stretch goal. The campaign fell just shy of creating the Pretty Princess as a final stretch goal, but people have apparently been hounding her mercilessly, for lo the Pretty Princess Plush now springs fully from Breeden’s skull (like unto Athena from the brow of Zeus), sitting about a third of the way to success with four weeks to go. Completists, take note.
  • One may have noticed that I didn’t make a prediction about where the Pretty Princess KS will end up; I’ve come to the conclusion that the Fleen Funding Formula really doesn’t work well with fewer than a couple hundred backers, and the PPKS is in the 130s as we speak. While I think it’s very likely that Breeden’s fanbase (which is loyal in a brutally efficient manner) will not let the campaign falter I cannot predict where the final tally will go. Heck, my ballpark estimate for the Stand Still, Stay Silent book 1 campaign was some US$50K short (in this case, that was about a 40% underestimation), although in my defense it was on Indiegogo and thus didn’t show up on Kicktraq, the basis of the FFF. What I am saying here is congratulations, Minna Sundberg, and I can’t wait to get my copy.
  • I can predict where the next campaign will end up, though: very, very high. Gigi DG has also gone to the crowdfunding platform to make a third thing; in this case, a third print collection of the wholly delightful Cucumber Quest. With a launch less than 24 hours ago and more than 500 backers driving the total to nearly 200% of goal with more than a month to go, Ms DG’s US$20K target is likely to hit a 5x to 6x overfunding. Call it US$150K +/- US$25K; given that the last two Kickstarters for CQ books have achieved, respectively, 645% and 627% of goal, I’d say she’s got a pretty good likelihood of her previous readers sticking around.
  • For going on two years, Comic Chameleon has been bringing webcomics to the mobile masses with the full support of creators; coincidentally, we’ve seen far fewer scrapers since CC’s beta was announced at the end of 2012 and formally launched (of iOs devices) in May of 2013. At the time, I noted that I’m an Android guy and thus don’t get to share in the phone-based goodness, a situation that economics did not off an easy remedy for.

    Until tomorrow. From Comic Chameleon principal (and erstwhile Alien Loves Predator photochronicler) Bernie Hou:

    The time has come to make Comic Chameleon available for your phone! [O]ur Kickstarter campaign to fund the Android version of our app [is] launching this Thursday

    The sharp-eyed among you may notice some elided content in that quote, which was necessary to chop it into a grammatically sound form because I took out some stuff I wanted to address here. Namely, that Hou (knowing as he did that I’m an Android guy) has sent along an alpha version of the app for me to play with and report back on. Work has kept me from doing so yet today, but I will be doing so at the first opportunity, and given the generally happy reviews of the CC userbase on the iDevice platform(s), I expect it (once the inevitable early bugs are identified and squashed) to make the Googleheads as happy as the Jobsters. Keep your eyes on Kickstrater tomorrow, and let’s get that sumbitch funded.

El spam del día:

Me gusta el artículo, la mente es muy clara, yo también hago eso, gracias.

No es nada.

¹ Plain ol’ non-Satanic porn by Ms Breeden is another thing altogether (that link is relatively safe for work).

My Kingdom For Working AC

We are on Day Two of at least three days of 91F (33C) weather, the air conditioning is out, and the afternoon sun is just starting to crank up the joules. Somebody kill me, or at least send me a bucket full of cold I can pour on me and my dog. That’s right, I want a bucket of pure, uncut, essence-of-cold. And yes, I’m well aware there’s no such thing as cold, only heat and less heat. What you’re overlooking is the fact that I don’t care so kindly rework the laws of physics and get me some cold, please.

  • You know who is, right about now, absolutely horrified by that whole bucket of cold thing? Dante Shepherd, professor of Chemical Engineering, thermodynamicist-at-large, educational innovator, and itinerant webcomicker. Today marks five years of Shepherd’s dailyish Surviving The World¹, and on top of that he’s got some exciting announcements:

    Many of you have asked for a collection of STW comics for a while now, so in response, with the help of Topatoco and Make That Thing, sometime next week will see the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to help make STW page-a-day calendars! … [H]ere’s a potential example of the final product.

    Just as many of you have asked for an app for STW for years, so I’m also happy to announce that starting Monday, STW will be available through the Comic Chameleon app!

    What? You want yet one more announcement? OK, OK – based on requests, I’ll bring back recitations² sometime soon, too.

    We at Fleen congratulate Shepherd on his achievements, his future plans, and hopes sincerely he doesn’t apply that mallet to our heads for the whole bucket of cold thing. We at Fleen are very, very sorry.

  • In our discussion of Shaenon Garrity’s imminent wrap-up of Narbonic reruns yesterday, we inexcusably neglected to mention that Garrity will still be doing two actively-updating webcomics for the forseeable future. Skin Horse (co-written with Jeffrey Wells) just gets weirder and more loopy as it careens from classic children’s literature reference to classic children’s literature reference³ with no sign of end in sight.

    And although it will be, by design, a limited affair, Garrity’s Monster of the Week has, over the past not-quite-year, brilliantly deconstructed most of the first two seasons of The X-Files, which means two very important things:

    1. Garrity’s got three episodes to the end of season 2 (plus one season-ending recap), and four weeks to her one year anniversary, so let’s call it two seasons per year. At this rate, we’ll get another three and a half years of what is this crap Scully and sexy, sexy Skinner. Also, mites and annoyed Shaenon.
    2. On 19 July, the Friday of SDCC week, we will be Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose and on 8 November we will get Jose Chung’s From Outer Space, the two greatest episodes of The X-Files ever and I’ll fight any man-jack that says different.
  • The latest episode of Strip Search put the four remaining Artists through contract hell and — spolier alert! — Robert Khoo enjoyed himself entirely too much, cranking the charm, the smarm, and the hostility up to eleven while trying to fast-talk the Artists into thinking that his very sticky contract is a good thing for them because they’re friends. No kidding, I would watch an entire season of Robert doling out the passive aggression.

    But even above its entertainment value, episode #27 is valuable because it emphasized the importance of not letting yourself get screwed, which even veterans can have problems with4.

    By coincidence, today also marked the release of the latest posting at Work Made For Hire, which presented a brilliant technique for directing a negotiation on contractual points that everybody who freelances needs to read right now. Key point:

    The difference between what Dylan [Meconis] and I asked Lo was that when Dylan talked to him, he was given the power to make a very specific choice, and both options were something Dylan wanted him to do.

    Guys, I’m not a freelancer and I intend to use “The Babysitting Question” in my life every chance I get from now on. It’s brilliant.

¹ To be precise, today is StL #1773 and in the past five years there have been 1826 days what with the leap year and all, meaning that Shepherd comes up 53 strips short of “daily”, or just over one missing day every five weeks. I think we can count this as “daily”.

² The recitations, of which there have been 100, are answers to specific questions sent to Shepherd. Since there have been 100 of them, that means he’s really done 1873 updates in 1826 days, or an average of one extra strip every five weeks. So really we can call StL daily-plus.

³ I’m still holding out for some Purple Crayon.

4 It may have just been the editing, but in the episode as streamed, only two of the Artists brought up the idea of having a lawyer review the contract, and only one did so right at the beginning to put Robert on notice; I was hoping it would be all four.


So I’ve been away for a bit, as mentioned last week. For those who were wondering, being married for twenty years and then getting to throw a party for your friends is sort of awesome. But I’m back now, and it seems not a moment too soon, as things are beginning to pile up around here.

  • I’d planned on coming back to bloggening today, and even if I hadn’t I would have had to after seeing a blip in my twitterstream last night, the first in 18 months or so from Allie Brosh who is sublimely wonderful and had fallen entirely out of public view. It happens, and in her case, Ms Brosh has shared why it happened and done so in a way that’s honest and brave and makes me want to punch capital-D Depression right in the neck.

    I don’t know if her words+pictures today have helped more people with depression or without — being able to recognize when somebody you know is suffering and being able to help is not a skill that’s widely taught just yet, but damn if this comic isn’t a tremendous first stride. Read it, think about it, go be a shriveled piece of corn for somebody that needs it.

  • Also dropping today is the latest Jim Zub project; while he was famously jerked around by DC Comics earlier this year, he was also classy as hell about the whole thing. I’m going to ascribe his newest news to that classy-as-hellness, because I’m not certain that anybody at DC has two functioning neurons to rub together, but they probably recognize kind behavior¹. In any event, Mr Zub is responsible for the writerly portion of a two-part Batman story in a digital-first anthology series, with Part One appearing on devices today and part two next Thursday, 16 May. My only quibble with Zub’s entirely understandable enthusiasm is when he says:

    My first published superhero story and first published DC Comics work, Legends of the Dark Knight #49, has been released on digital and mobile platforms and it’s only 99 cents!

    That’s because every time Zub shares his wisdom on making comics and making it in comics (start here, look to the sidebar that says “Tutorials” and don’t stop so long as there are still links to follow), he is himself a goddamn superhero to everybody that loves comics, and don’t you forget it, Zub.

Various new things were introduced while I was gone:

  • Comic Chameleon, long awaited, has seen its official launch, meaning that you can download it to your iDevice now and start reading webcomics for free, and with the cooperation of their creators. Well done Bernie Hou and the entire Comic Chameleon team; once I get my Android version you’ll escalate all the way to “Attaboy” status.
  • Dante Shepherd, this blog’s favorite Chemical Engineer², has launched a new undertaking and it’s not the second comic (provisionally dubbed PhD Unknown) that’s been hinted at for a few months now. That’s cool, we at Fleen would rather wait until it was done cooking to Shepherd (and art collaborator Joan Cooke)’s standards.

    No, what Shepherd announced was a new initiative to promote interest in and understanding of STEM topics by K-12 educators, who will presumably share their knowledge and enthusiasm with the various rugrats budding scholars who will form the technological basis of future generations. If you happen to know anybody that teaches K-12, do everybody a favor and point ’em towards Science The World so we can start building a smarter tomorrow.

  • Kickstarts have also been underway, with campaigns set for the second volume of The Bear (including a webcomicky presentation of Volume 1 at, as promised recently), the second volume of Dumbing of Age, the first volume of Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether, and the revival of the Penny Arcade Downloadable Content podcast.
  • That last one has been getting a bunch of (to my mind, ill-informed) pushback, on the grounds that podcasts don’t cost anything and therefore it’s a big scam. Au contraire, mon frère, podcasts do cost something; they cost time, which if Mike Krahulik, Jerry Holkins, and others at Penny Arcade Industries take, they won’t be spending on other things that will generate money.

    Could Jerry and Mike do the podcast without impacting their lavish, Russian mafia-like lifestyles? Probably, but they aren’t just supporting themselves — their efforts are what make payroll for more than a dozen people, and with that kind of responsibility comes Robert Khoo’s responsibility to say, We have to find a way to make it pay. Me, I’m just interested to see if they set the all-time record for highest percentage funding in Kickstarter history, which as of this writing is at an astonishing 570,000% of goal. Okay, granted, that was a ten dollar goal, but let’s not lose sight of the distractingly-large number.

¹ Much in the way that my dog will be your very best friend if you offer her a treat, but shies away from small children that haven’t learned how to pet gently.

² In keeping with tribal custom, all specific engineering disciplines are capitalized here at Fleen, in acknowledgment of the skills, knowledge, and hard work of those who practice our peculiar intersection of design, intuition, math, science, the right-hand rule³, and blowin’ shit up. Respect.

³ AKA, The engineering gang sign.