The webcomics blog about webcomics

Languagebending

I have an entirely rhetorical question for you, and by “you”, I mean “you individually and in particular”, not some more abstract “you”: Do you like it when language is bent into patterns that delight and entertain? Because I have something that you will want to see: an 80,000 word book written by master languagebender Ryan North re-envisioning Hamlet as a choosable-path adventure, which has (predictably) surpassed its Kickstarter goal in about three hours.

I should pause here a moment to issue a disclaimer — Ryan asked me proofread a near-final version of To Be Or Not To Be: A Choice-Filled Adventure By Ryan North And Also William Shakespeare Too, which I gladly did, and so I’ve had the opportunity to read through the entire thing.

I also played through every single story node for both Ophelia (who kicks ass and does not resemble the inertial doormat that Shakespeare portrayed) and Hamlet’s dad, King Hamlet Sr (who dies on the first page and must play as a ghost and that is awesome). I did not play through every story node for Hamlet because I have always felt that Hamlet is a CHUMP and I do not traffic in CHUMPS but I’ve read enough of his story paths to see that North does manage to DECHUMPIFY him in some of the paths so that’s good.

True to form, Ryan North has put together an amazing Kickstarter campaign (including what may be the definitive Kickstarter video which is itself choosable-path) featuring awesome backer rewards, including visualizations of the story structure which is a thing of mathematical beauty and intricate, interwoven geometries. Speaking of interwoven geometries, should you read your way through TBONTB:ACFABRNAAWST, keep a chessboard handy; no spoilers, but let’s just say that I would have died fewer embarrassing deaths had I not been trying to keep a chess game straight in my head.

Speaking of those embarrassing deaths, 30 of them are illustrated by the finest creators in webcomics today, and further funds raised only increase the number of illustrations until all 110 deaths get pictures. The full set of illustrations happens at US$50,000 and given that Ryan is already north¹ of US$25,000 about four hours into this thing, that’s a certainty. The only question is how long it takes to get to US$70,000 and the audiobook, and to US$100,000 and the sequel, which I hope concerns Ophelia branching out from boring pre-Renaissance Denmark into other times and places and maybe wrestling dinosaurs.

Guys, I am excited for this project to come to fruition and I’ve already read it so it contains no more surprises for me, but every one of you (yes, you) that reads TBONTB:ACFABRNAAWST has delightful hours of delight in front of you, so get in on this while you can and thank Ryan North for the herculean labors of the past year, secretly and carefully bending language into its most perfect form.

Oh, and for those of you wavering, the early adopters have got your back — every US$5000 raised above the initial US$20,000 goal reveals another story page and a choice, to be decided by backer voting. Thanks to Update #1 voting, it appears that we will get to read the book’s acknowledgments, which SPOILER ALERT could lead to a page where YOU GET TO BE RYAN NORTH.

If you are awesome enough to support TBONTB:ACFABRNAAWST click here. If you are so CHUMPY to make Hamlet himself look like somebody who is NOT A CHUMP AT ALL, I don’t know, maybe go look at pictures of cats on the internet? I mean, that’s nice and all, and your CHUMPNESS doesn’t make you a bad person or anything. Just … let’s not talk about this possible choice anymore and we are still friends.

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¹ Ha, ha.

Friday Of A Holiday Weekend …

… and I-95, aka The Devil’s Own Intestinal Tract, sits between me and home. Let’s get this done.

For those of you on the far side of the continent from I-95, there’s a few things you should be aware of. Friend Of Fleen Since Small Times Eben Burgoon has sent details of upcoming comicsy events in the Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Yuba City, CA–NV Combined Statistical Area that are coming up, and heck if that’s not the kind of thing we look forward to on these pre-holiday/I-95 Fridays.

First up, the Crocker Art Museum will be hosting ArtMix|CrockerCon on Thursday, 12 September from 6:00pm to 9:30pm. An like-named exhibition of student & community comics work is presently running, and will stay up until 22 September. US$10 for Crocker members (with some membership levels free), US$20 for nonmembers.

And for those of you looking to learn, or at least to dump your kids somewhere for a few hours that won’t get Child Protective Services on your case, Burgoon will be teaching an after school workshop at the Verge Center For The Arts starting next Wednesday, 4 September. Tuition is US$105 for the public, US$95 for Verge members (which includes CrockerCon admission), and the class is intended for kids 10 – 15 years old. Class runs from 5:00pm to 7:30pm on 4, 18, and 25 September, and 2 October, and I’ma say that registration in advance is strongly recommended.

Check out Burgoon’s current Burgooning at @Burgooneytunes on The Grams, and I’ll see you next week if I ever get home.


Spam of the day:

You have received a messacie from Tori. All our members are looking for fun and often send sexy photos. Are you okay with seeing sexy photos?

I’m not sure what people who send messacies consider sexy. Little scared to ask, actually.

Everybody Come Down Bethesda Way

One of the things I love about the SPX exhibitor listing is that it’s geographic in nature rather than alphabetical by name. You can see who’s near who, and plan out which of the blobby pods you want to hit first (even though the floor is small enough that you can see everybody pretty easily). Here, then are the folks we at Fleen noticed on the 650+ deep exhibitor list, which was due for final update today.

Pod A
Britt Sabo (A5B), Collen AF Venable (A9), and onetime Fleen scribe Anne Thalheimer (A11B).

Pod B
Kevin Czap and the associated Czap Books folks (B4B), Ananth Hirsch and Yuko Ota along with George Rohac (B9; I wonder who they had to bribe to get that table spot).

Pod C
Lauren Davis (C3); I’m not saying Pod C is a bad place, just that I didn’t recognize names.

Pod D
D1 Ben Sears (D1), Eric Colossal and Jess Fink (D2), Megan Rose Gedris (D4A), Becky Dreistadt and Frank Gibson (D9), and Gigi DG (D12A).

Pod E
Keith Knight (also the Ignatz MC, E1), Beth Barnett (E4A), Mike Holmes (E5B), Ben Passmore (E10B), Darryl Ayo Brathwaite (E10B), Ronald Wimberly (E12A)

Pod F
MK Reed (F1), Paulina and Savanna Ganucheau (F8), and Bianca Xunise (F12A).

Pod G
NBM Graphic Novels, including Jessica Abel (G1-2).

Pod H
Sara and Tom McHenry (H12), and Evan Dahm (H14).

Pod I
Shing Yin Khor (I4A), Julia Gfröer (I5B), Sarah Horrocks (I6A), Katie Skelly (I6B), Tony Breed (I7A), Monica Gallagher (I8), Penina Gal and Radiator Comics (I9), and Carta Monir and Diskette Press (I14).

Pod J
Maia Kobabe (J4B), Emi Gennis (J5B), and Kory Bing (J10).

Pod K
Carla Speed McNeil (K1), Gemma Correll (K2), Audrey and Jamie Noguchi (K9), and Drew Weing (K10-11).

Pod L
Retrofit Comics (L2), Danielle Corsetto (L8), Eleri Harris, Matt Bors, Matt Lubchansky, and Sarah Mirk, which is to say, The Nib (L9).

Pod M
Annie Koyama and Koyama Press, including Connor Willumsen, Daniel Nishio, Ed Kanerva, and Emily Carroll (M1-2).

Pod N
Dustin Harbin but not his bike (N2), and Secret Acres (N3-4).

Left Side Wall
Drawn & Quarterly including Ebony Flowers, Eleanor Davis, Kevin Huizenga, and Sylvia Nickerson (W1-4), Jessica Trevino (W7A), ShortBox (W8), Carey Pietsch (W9A), Cathy G Johnson (W9B), and Meredith Gran (W10A).

Back Wall
Hope Nicholson (W19), Self Made Hero including Sam Humphrey (W23-24), Mari Naomi (W27A), Box Brown (W27B), Kori Michele Handwerker and Melanie Gillman (W30), TopatoCo featuring Abby Howard, Chris Yates, Elliot Jasper, Holly Rowland, KC Green, and Tom Siddell (W31-33), Out Of Step Arts featuring Rebecca Kirby, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, and Venesa Del Ray (W38-39).

Right Side Wall
Alison Wilgus (W41), and Fantagraphics featuring Jaime Hernandez (W50-54).

Front Wall
Top Shelf including James Kochalka, Kim Dwinell, Leigh Walton, and MK Reed (W56-59), Ru Xu (W60A), Natalie Riess (W60B), a contingent of Danish comic book artists (W68-69), Steenz (W71A), Blue Delliquanti (W71B), Iron Circus including Amanda Lafrenais and C Spike Trotman (W72-73), Lucy Knisley (W75), and the CBLDF including Alex Cox, Chris Ware, and Raina Telgemeier (W80-83).

As always, I very possibly missed you or your favorite; drop us an email and we’ll update.

The Small Press Expo runs Saturday, 14 September (11:00am-7:00pm) and Sunday, 15 September (noon-6:00pm) at the Bethesda Marriott North in Bethesda, Maryland.


Spam of the day:
Your very own portable oxygen concentrator
I do not suffer from CHF or other respiratory conditions, and besides, I can get the pure stuff in the green cylinders. It’s good for hangovers.

Delicious, Delicious CAKE

Hey, are you gonna be in the city of Chicago this weekend? I mean, everybody in the midwest is dodging persistent rain, tornadoes, floods, and general End Times events, but if you’re in Chicago you can at least enjoy the last days of Earth with comics at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, Saturday and Sunday, 1 & 2 June, from 11:00am to 6:00pm at the Billie Jean King Recreation Center (the third floor of Center on Halsted¹), 3656 N Halsted Street. It’s free to the public, got a humane scale of exhibitors (one big room plus a hallway entrance, an even 100 tables if my count is right), and an emphasis on the comics part of comics.

Special Guests will include Nicholas Gurewitch, Ben Passmore, Whit Taylor, and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell. Exhibitors draw heavily from the middle of the country, and will include Ben Sears, Biance Xunise, Blue Delliquanti, Cathy G Johnson, Iron Circus², John Porcellino, Katie Schenkel, Chris Grady, Patrick Lay, Sage Coffey, Sarah Becan, Tess Eneli Reid, Tom McHenry, and Tony Breed

I didn’t include table numbers because come on — just walk around the room.

Programming is heavily tilted towards the Special Guests — I don’t think there’s a panel until Sunday that features a panelist that’s not a Special Guest. Ones that caught my eye include:

  • The Occult In Comics; Saturday, 11:30am-12:30pm; with Corinne Halbert, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, Anders Nilsen, and Isabella Rotman, moderated by Anya Davidson.
  • Looks Good Enough To Eat: Drawing Food and Recipe Comics (workshop); Saturday, 11:30am-12:30pm; with Sarah Becan.
  • The Idea Kitchen (workshop); Saturday, 1:00-2:00pm; with Nicholas Gurewitch and Jackie Davis.
  • Graphic Medicine: Comics as Treatment; Sunday, 1:00pm-2:00pm; with Whit Taylor, Sage Coffey, Bianca Xunise, and Vreni, moderated by Kevin Budnik.
  • Storytelling Flow (workshop); Sunday, 3:00pm-4:00pm; with Tom Hart.

The panel room is apparently the theater off the entrance, but no indication where the workshops are.

CAKE is accessible by the El (Red line to Addison), the #8 Halsted bus, the #22 Clark bus, #36 Broadway bus, or #152 Addison bus. Head for the corner of Halsted and Waveland, and look for the Whole Foods; Center On Halsted shares the block and is just to the north.


Spam of the day:

Live Chat with Asian Women VIEW HER SEXY PHOTOS

Dude, don’t yell. Sheesh.

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¹ Oddly, Center On Halsted’s events calendar doesn’t make mention of CAKE, but it’s there.

² It doesn’t specifically say that C Spike Trotman will be there but come on … it’s right down the street for her.

Getting Excited For TCAF? You Should Be

Since we spoke last week, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival has announced a slew of new guests, and I’ve gone through the exhibitor’s list to see who-all is gonna be there. Strap in, there’s a lot to see.

On the Featured International Guest list, TCAF have announced Brazilian twin superstars Gabriel Bá & Fábio Moon, Daria Bogdanska, Alexandre Clerisse, Aimee de Jongh, Keiron Gillen, Stephanie Hans, Nora Krug, and Jamie McKelvie. The Featured Kids Guests are yet to be announced (apart from the previously-announced Lucy Knisley).

Exhibitors on the floors of the TRC will include Boum, Tony Cliff, Danielle Corsetto, Evan Dahm, Blue Delliquanti, Megan Rose Gedris, Maddi Gonzalez, Meredith Gran, Mike Holmes, Kat Leyh, Sam Logan, Mike Maihack, Phil McAndrew, Rosemary Mosco, Shan Murphy, Maki Naro, Ryan North, Sarah Winifred Searle, Ben Sears, Jason Viola, EK Weaver, Alison Wilgus, David Willis, Tory Woollcott, Sophie Yanow, and the terminally-named Jim Zub¹. The list is being added to, and we’ll let you know of who else we notice from time to time.

And you’ll probably find more people you like by checking out the publishers who’ll be on hand, including Cloudscape Comics, Creators For Creators², :01 Books, Iron Circus Comics, Koyama Press, The Nib, Oni Press, Retrofit Comics, and Shortbox³. As we get word of what creators will be with publishers, we’ll let you know.

As a reminder, TCAF will take place Saturday & Sunday, 11 & 12 May, from 9:00am (Saturday)/10:00am (Sunday) until 5:00pm, at the Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street. Attendance is free to all events, but some Junji Ito events will require tickets (details TBA).


Spam of the day:

12,000 “Perfect” Shed Plans only for you

While I do have a moustache that, all modesty aside, is pretty impressive, I am neither Ron Swanson nor Nick Offerman. I have no use for your shed plans.

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¹ Rumo[u]rs that Chip Zdarsky will sneak into TCAF to do violence upon Mr Zub so that he may be the last-named comics artist are unconfirmed at press time.

² Not really a publisher, but they’ll be there and that’s cool.

³ Ditto.

As Was Foretold: Burgooning Our Way Into 2019

Know who we haven’t heard from in a while? Eben Burgoon. Longtime readers may recall that through the first half of Fleen’s history, we frequently noted happenings in Burgoon’s spy spoof, Eben07, in an appropriately purple prose. Then Burgoon and his compatriots moved onto B-Squad and he even gave me beer themed to his webcomic.

Burgoon’s been doing workshops and Maker Faires from Northern California (his normal stomping grounds) to as far away as Vilnius, Lithuania (no, really), the breadth of which made me wonder if he’d really gotten all that spycraft and secret mission tendency out of his system. Apparently not; Burgoon’s partnering with Starburns Industries to bring B-Squad back:

Starburns Industries Press sets its eyes on remastering an independent series, B-Squad, from indie darling author Eben Burgoon and a rotating roster illustrators and artists that change issue to issue.

B-Squad shares the ridiculous and dangerous missions of an expendable team of misfit mercenaries ranging from pop-culture riffs to cut from whole cloth oddballs. The bargain-bin commandos tackle leftover assignments of other more respected mercenary groups. SBI Press’s run begins with a remaster of the series debut Conspiracy in Cambodia, originally independently published in 2013, written by Burgoon and illustrated by Lauren Monardo.

In the spirit of a Saturday morning cartoon block, each B-Squad book serves as home for brand new tangential comics like [B-Squad illustrator Michael] Calero’s Monster Safari” and Burgoon’s newest creation about six-inch tall wizards trapped in the fast-food culture of a remote truck stop titled Tiny Wizards.

The remastered books are rounded out with activities, puzzles, and bonus content in homage to dentist office staples like Highlights magazine and ZooBooks.

No word as to whether or not the remastered B-Squad will feature Goofus and/or Gallant. You (where you is taken to mean folks in/around the Sacramento, California area) can ask him at the next workshop he’ll be running, on three Tuesdays in February (12th, 19th, 26th), at the Crocker Art Museum.


Spam of the day:

Account Name : ANDREW FARRINGTON
Account Number : [redacted]
IMPORTANT – YOUR PAYMENT CARD IS NEARING ITS EXPIRY DATE

Weird, why would you send something for Andrew Farrington to me? Then again, this might not be spam, but the latest in a long line of Other Garies Tyrrell sending their emails my way. Usually that’s easy to clear up, but I’ve had to resort to using the British tech press to shame Ryanair over their persistent screwups. Fun!

Fleen Book Corner: Delilah Dirk And The Pillars Of Hercules

I neglected to note that yesterday was Amuletmas, the day that Kazu Kibuishi’s many readers have been waiting for anxiously for going on two years. Yesterday was the release of the eighth Amulet book, Supernova, picking up at the biggest cliffhanger of the series, setting up the big finish in (the still in the planning stages) book 9. Fantasy becomes sci-fi! Space! The darkest hour with a protagonist fallen to the dark influences of the Big Bad! I’ll be picking up a copy as soon as humanly possible, and reporting back.

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Not released this week, or even all that recently, the focus of today’s post is Delilah Dirk And The Pillars Of Hercules, third in that series, by Tony Cliff. As always, we at Fleen would like to thank :01 Books for providing a review copy.

TPOH is a slightly odd read; what I mean by that is it doesn’t follow what we expect from a third book in a series. So many books are conceived of and sold explicitly as trilogies — thanks, Tolkien — that we expect the books to perhaps work more as parts of that larger arc of story and less as standalone efforts. Sometimes the books really do stand on their own while also functioning as parts of the whole (Ben Hatke’s Zita The Spacegirl and Faith Erin Hicks’s The Nameless City are good examples), sometimes they form multitrilogies (such as Amulet, and, I suspect, Cleopatra In Space by Mike Maihack).

But Miss Dirk and her faithful companion Mr Selim have an entirely different feel. The books definitely form a sequence, but there’s no feeling of beginning, middle, end. If Cliff had released the second book first, then the first as a flashback, then the third, they would not lose anything for the jumbling. Perhaps appropriate to the time they take place in — Europe and the Mediterranean slightly post-Napolean, with England and France vying for influence and enough unexplored places that adventurers need not follow set paths — there’s a sense of loose connection.

The best analogy I can think of is Dickens wrote a bunch of stories that did not connect to each other, but which take place in the same world. There’s no doubt in my mind that young Ebenezer Scrooge lived in one of the Two Cities, but cared not a whit what was happening in the other. The connections are of sensibility, not plot. One story tells what happens to other people, in a different place, at a different time, but in the same world. Their individual stories are the point, not how they cross over.

Which is why I see TPOH less as a sequel, and more as a continuation of a story that’s not really dependent on what came before. Oh, sure, the second book (The King’s Shilling) introduced the best kind of antagonist — the bullheaded jerk who gets shown up and rather than take the L, doubles down every possible chance, abandoning all reason, assuming his nemesis is as obsessed with him as he is with them — but if he’d shown up for the first time in TPOH with a half-page aside about how he’d been a thorn in Miss Dirk’s side ever since that earlier conflict a few years ago, nothing would be lost. The first book (The Turkish Lieutenant) is wide-ranging heist and condequences, the second is a prodigal returns home story mixed with a jerk who just won’t let a minor insult go, the third is part archeology (and dealing with insufferable patrons) and part revenge story. What they have in common is the setting, the timeframe, and the two protagonists.

Then again, Miss Dirk would probably say protagonist and sidekick.

Mr Selim — less sidekick, more voice of reason when Miss Dirk is taken by flights of fancy, desire to kick and ass that desperately needs it, or is just being reckless because she can — really comes into his own in this book. He’s gone from inciting McGuffin in book one (he’s the titular Turkish Lieutenant) that kicks off the plot to almost-but-not-quite-acknowledged equal (especially after book 2, when even Delilah’s disapproving family determined that nobody can make the tea quite like he can). There’s a meeting of the minds here, and they come to a new stage in their relationship.

That word is fraught, and what they have barely recognizable by its modern connotations. They’re traveling companions, they’re becoming friends¹, the respect is deepened, and it’s possibly become an always-will-be chaste life partnership in that neither will ever really be happy without the other, but it’s not a romance. You’d have to use a language other than English, which has multiple words for different kinds of love, to truly describe them. Not quite brotherly-sisterly², more than traveling companions, definitely not getting
(as Ray Smuckles would have it) mad rutty. It’s platonic, in both the sense that there’s no erotic feelings, but also in the sense that this is an ideal for respectful partnerships. They complete each other.

And so the adventure itself almost doesn’t matter. Oh, there’s derring-do and comeuppance and you’ll boo and hiss the villainous turns, fear not. This book doesn’t feel like a wrap-up any more than it feels like a beginning or middle. It’s all happening now, there have been adventures before, there will be adventures hence, and we’ll read some of them and others we won’t as Delilah Dirk and Erdemoglu Selim spend their days at adventure, forever.


Spam of the day:

Formuláře Google

Huh. A countdown timer letting me know that my very special opportunity (in Russian) will expire in 22:15:30. Weirdly, every time I open the email, it starts over again. Odd, that.

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¹ Miss Dirk has always been a bit haughty towards Mr Selim.

² But if it were, it would definitely somewhat staid older brother being run over by a wild younger sister.

A Finer World

Because when it comes down to it, there’s people out there trying to improve things, and we can all help in our own way.

  • It took about two weeks, but there it is — the fundraising site that lets all of us get in on the defense of eleven creators (and one small publisher) from the SLAPP brought by Cody Pickrodt. When it started making the rounds of social media yesterday, I saw one of the principals say that of the US$20,000 given by SPX so far, fully 15 grand has already been spent on lawyers. It was enough to provide a response and avoid a default judgment, but not enough to make a proper fight of it.

    But US$46,320 (as of this writing)? That’s enough to make a quick-payoff-seeking lawyer think twice about opportunity costs and marginal gains. It’s not enough for a protracted legal contest, but it’s enough to alter the math for the opposing side. Those of you heading to SPX this weekend, I’m sure there will be donation buckets around. Got leftover singles after making your purchases? Better to give ’em to the cause than to let them get sweaty and crumpled in your pocket¹. I won’t be able to join you at the show², but I’ve donated and I invite you to join me in that.

  • Meanwhile, you know how you can hang out with friends for upwards of a week at a time and know that they’re working on something, but they don’t let on exactly what? Rich Stevens and Jason Alderman have more than one secret project cooking, but one is no longer secret. Behold: a 50-state (plus DC) map of the country with voting information for each provided in comic form.

    Choose a state from the drop-down, or just hover over to see which of your favorite comics artists worked on which political territory. Read, get a wry chuckle (hopefully) or a dry, bitter laugh to keep away the screaming (all too often), then follow the links to check your registration and make plans to friggin’ vote.


Spam of the day:

How 71-year-old Kevin Cured His ED

Why.

Just, why?
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¹ Mostly directed at dudes, since ladies are often not given the courtesy of pockets. Also, ew.

² I was gonna say Tell ____ I said hi and give a list of folks who are gonna be there, but then I realized that it would basically be the entire exhibitor list. So whoever³ you see, tell them I said hi, and I’m sorry I can’t be there.

³ Okay, fine, say hi to MollyAbbyHollyMeredithKCShingYukoMakiMikeEvanAnanthSaraBrittColleenAnneBenJamieGeorgeWhitCareyRonKoryFrankGaleTanekaDer-shingBeckyBenKatMKDrewDustinCarlaLonnieSpikeCartaMagnoliaSophieGinaNgoziOthermollyAlexTomJessEricDanielleChrisKateMattOthermattRosemaryOtherchrisMonicaAmandaBlueandGeorge.

Great Quotes For A Tuesday

Let’s just dive in, shall we?

MARCH:A Graphic History of the Civil Rights Movement By Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
Cartoon Art Museum exhibition: February 1 – June 19, 2018
Reception with Artist Nate Powell Friday, February 9, 2018

— Andrew Farago, Cartoon Art Museum curator

There are few works of graphic fiction more historically important right now than the March trilogy, and it’s entirely right and proper that the Cartoon Art Museum will be kicking off Black History Month with a tribute to the book. Lewis, Aydin, and Powell are treasures.

By this time next month I will either be happily chugging away, drawing An Embarrassment of Witches pages or I will be trudging through a grim, apocalyptic landscape fighting other plague-survivors over post-dated cans of spam. Hopefully the former.

Sophie Goldstein

Sophie Goldstein is the creator of multiple amazing comic stories (not least being her collaboration with Jenn Jordan on Darwin Carmichael Is Going To Hell), so the news that she’s about to break ground on a 200 page graphic novel is welcome, to say the least. Good luck with the book, Sophie, and good luck fighting off the sickness that everybody seems to have right about now.

Starburns Industries Press, the publishing arm of Starburns Industries (the minds behind Rick & Morty, Community, Anomolisa and so much more) are calling for scary stories written by children aged 12 and under!
As a partnering editor for this project, I’m happy to offer mentoring and advice to any young imaginations looking to submit to this paid writing opportunity! [emphasis original]

Eben Burgoon, onetime man of mystery, alltimes man of comics

If the opportunity of working with a Starburns-associated title wasn’t enough, I think the notion that it’s a paid gig should put things over the top. More information here about submitting stories to the anthology. Again, this is for writers 12 and under, so pass it along to any budding writers you know (who, if they are reading this post themselves, are about to commit the next sentence to memory for future use).

Diamond can suck my taint.

C Spike Trotman on the least-loved monopoly in comics

Mostly, I just think that anybody that uses the construction verb my taint (for example, noted First Amendment attorney Ken White is known for his motto snort my taint) should be quoted as often and widely as possible. The fact that it’s Spike talking about how Diamond routinely ignores small press and independent comics that could have seen significant sales success and how much she wants them to notice her¹ is hilarious (as is the descriptor of the quote — a dulcet lilt).

The additional fact that it’s in a Vulture article about multiple companies and individuals breaking the comics industry mold of catering to middle aged cishet white dude cape fans is a delight. Give ‘er a read, and be sure to spare a little sympathy for the poor, neglected CWDCF at your local comics shop who isn’t 100% the center of attention any longer.

Like maybe a taint-suck’s worth.


Spam of they day:

Invokana Users Who Lost Toes, Feet or Legs May Have Legal Recourse

The text of this one reads like I should be checking my lower half and counting my toes, feet, and legs to make sure I haven’t suddenly come up short and didn’t realize.

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¹ For those not familiar, Spike is the least likely person in history to worry about whether or not sempai will notice her.

Re: Releases, Returns, Rewards

Where to start, where to start, on this drear and wet Tuesday (there are worse things, certainly), oh but where to start?

  • How about here: KB “Otter” Spangler is perhaps the person I’ve met via webomics who has had the greatest influence on me; she was the first to ask me to contribute to a print collection (the forward here), the first to threaten me with horrific violence, in many circumstances has been the first to console me on loss, congratulate me on good fortune, smack me when I need it, and generally be the retroactive weirdo best friend from high school that movies and TV tell you you’re supposed to have¹. She also weathers house-related horrors that would crush an ordinary human.

    I’ve been an early reader/kibitzer on each of her novels, and on occasion my nitpicking has been mildly helpful (or at least not actively detrimental). That habit continued with the latest novel — the fourth (of seven) in her Rachel Peng series — which is out today; my involvement in the creation of this latest book may affect my impartiality, so take it with a grain of salt when I tell you that I love her words², unabashedly, and want the entire world to enjoy them.

    Said latest book — Brute Force, available today in a variety of formats — has been somewhat delayed by actual life catching up to what’s supposed to be a contemporary slightly SF plotline, where technology, media, sociopaths, nationalists, and authoritarians blend in ways that society and rules couldn’t predict³. Bad situations and poor alternatives lead to sometimes terrible decisions, and consequences echo both to early books and are left to be resolved in later. There are also dick jokes.

  • In other news:

  • Holy glob, KC Green warned us he was taking a week off of He Is A Good Boy to catch up with other things, but never hinted it was to drop a new chapter of Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio on us! Oh, Pinocchio, will you ever stop making bad decisions?
  • Interesting! Kel McDonald has a new Kickstart going — nothing unusual there, this is her tenth after all — with a couple of interesting things I’ve not seen before: a) She’s working with an art team instead of drawing things herself with Kara Leopold on pictures and Whitney Cogar providing colors; b) And this is the really interesting part, the rewards for this campaign are entirely digital.

    [Super]Natural Attraction is described as a digital comic series, with the US$5000 goal dedicated to paying Cogar and Leopold for the first 22 page chapter of the story; each additional five grand will provide for another chapter, with ten chapters agreed to by the creative team. With nothing to ship, nothing to manufacture, and the high-tier rewards adding in PDFs of McDonald’s earlier work, this is as close to a no-risk situation for a creator as ever I’ve seen. It’ll be interesting to watch if other creators get on the digital-only bandwagon, and if Luddite obsessive dead-tree collectors (cough, cough) can ever be convinced to join up. If nothing else, it makes the reward structure far more affordable for backers.

Updating the charity contributions matching drive: we have our first suggestion for an improved name for this thing. The Fleen Future Fighters Fund is much better than my initial thought (Welcome To Screwtrumpistan4, Population: Us). Anybody else want to chime in?


Spam of the day:

Are you tired of battling the look of the belly bulge and/or muffin top?

AM I? Oh, boy, tell me more about this amazing camisole/bra combo!

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¹ Her love of bad movies is so legendary, I made her a plush sharktopus for her birthday. It was supposed to be for her wedding, but you now how long it takes to sew tentacles on a plush shark?

² Not her writing, mind, but her words. What she does it beyond the mechanical act of arranging words in a particular order according to rules of grammar and syntax; she is closer to retaining the power and might of capital-w Words like might be found in some great wizard tapping into forces primordial and/or primeval. I love your words is a nearly unique sentiment, one that I’ve only ever expressed to one other person, who likewise languagebends in ways that make me swoon.

³ I know, far-fetched, right? Leave out the one bit of implausible technology and the rest is still so improbable it would never happen.

4 With a node to KB Spangler of A Girl And Her Fed, which nicely brings us full circle.