The webcomics blog about webcomics

NYCC: A Talk With George

Couple of quick notes for you before we get to the main discussion today. One, I’m on Pacific Time this week (and with intermittent internet access), so expect less-timely-than-usual postings. Two, congrats to webcomicky types Darryl Cunningham and John Allison for their nominations in the British Comics Awards (for Best Book and Best Comic, respectively), to be presented in a month’s time at Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds. Also thanks to the BCAs for pointing me towards Josceline Fenton, nominated for Best Comic for Hemlock, a webcomic with which I was not previously familiar. Fenton is also nominated as Emerging Talent for broader body of work, which is going to bear some examination in the very near future.

Okay: George (it is the general policy of this blog to refer to people by their full names on first reference, and to prefer family name thereafter, with first name used to make thing read well, but really — “George” is the only way to name this fine gentleman).

He doesn’t make himself the center of attention, but he’s a significant guy in the world of web/indy comics. When he’s not scouting for talent and finding people for projects at Oni, he’s the behind-the-scenes make-things-happen guy in the Benign Kingdom, and may understand Kickstarter better than Kickstarter does (I believe he may have been involved in more campaigns than anybody else on the planet at this point). But apart from the day job, the Kingdom appears to be his major avenue for world domination right now, so that’s what we talked about. With the second B9 collection getting ready to ship, I wanted to find out what the future directions for the Kingdom might be.

First of all, I have to change the terminology I’ve been using, because “B9.5” isn’t going to cut it much longer; it worked when there was an original book, then a second book, but plans are for two more artbook collections every year (Spring and Fall), so I’d be running out of decimals pretty quickly. Like the Fall 2012 collection, these new books will be:

  • collections of four artists
  • by invitation (please, no unsolicited submissions)
  • ongoing for the forseeable future

That last one is pretty important — the original four creators (Ota/Green/Dreistadt/Dahm) won’t be returning until 2014, which means that the intervening 18-24 months are already planned out and the respective details are already being worked out¹. George wouldn’t spill as to who the contributors to the 2013 books would be “until pen’s on paper”, but he was quite interested in knowing who I would want to see included. I dropped some names² on him, carefully looking for tells that I’d guessed correctly, but he gave away nothing.

More than just having a beautiful book of your best/favorite work, being in one of the biannual collections means that a creator is now “part of the Kingdom”, with the ability to do other projects that strike your fancy; the Kingdom means having a structure to arrange for the logistics of production and fulfillment, as well as serving as a guarantee of quality. As the number of projects from the Kingdom increases, expect to see an ever-wider audience that was not familiar with the creators in question³ to dominate the purchasing, based on a string of previous projects, each successful and full of positive feedback from backers.

These projects can be solo or in combination with other creators (George allowed that there will be an Exquisite Beast/Capture Creatures tandem project), and I can think of a few other projects that I’d love to see — I’ve mentioned more than once that Aaron Diaz should do an artbook of dinosaurs, and I all but begged Anthony Clark over the weekend to revive his collaboration with Emmy Cicierega, Laserpony Studios. Heck, while casually talking with Evan Dahm and Frank Gibson, we accidentally came up with an idea for a Kingdom book that would be awesome and unique and I’m not sure I should talk too much about it.

So there you are — the Kingdom is an ongoing concern, it will continue to expand as makes sense, it’s got a plan for convention appearances, and a store is on the way. The foundations are solid, in part because nothing (not even more Big Gay Ice Cream than you could eat in a lifetime) can distract George when he has a goal in mind. Also, never forget that he has the power to end the world, so let’s all make sure that he meets those goals — it’s safer for all concerned.

¹ One of the key things to realize about George: the man pays attention and has a plan at all times. The first B9 collection shipped a month early, and the only reason the second isn’t going out early is that a quality issue made the first printing unacceptable, causing a delay to merely “at the time we promised”. George is ready to go to press the day the Kickstarter ends, because he’s planned for submissions and layout before he announces the project.

² In no particular order (and keeping in mind that the goal of B9 is to provide a channel for creators to do artbooks separate from their usual work, so creators already working in an artbook mode like Scott C don’t really need the Kingdom): Carly Monardo, Dylan Meconis, Ursula Vernon, Erika Moen, Vera Brosgol, Emily Carroll, Karl Kerschl, Cameron Stewart, and man oh man I’d kill to see a book of Randy Milholland’s watercolors. I have no idea who on that list would have the time/inclination, but there you go — more than enough people for 2013 and beyond.

³ This is already occurring. The first B9 collection had about 20% of the backers come from Kickstarter itself rather than from the established audiences of the creators; for the second collection, it was over 60% from people searching out KS projects to back.

Miscellaneous Miscellany

Well, goodness, a whole bunch of stuff has occurred since last we spoke. Let’s look at just a few things, ‘kay?

  • This past Saturday saw the Harvey Awards handed out at New York Comic Con; you may recall that this year’s nomination slate was really very strong. While the official page hasn’t updated with the winners list yet, you can find the laureates around the web, say at Newsarama.

    The three categories that I was most invested in — the three categories where there really couldn’t be a bad choice to receive the statue — were Book Of The Year (Hey Kiddo by Jarrett J Krosoczka), Digital Book Of The Year (Check, Please by Ngozi Ukazu), and Best Children’s Or Young Adult Book¹ (Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell). The last of them, particularly, is going to run out of room on the cover for stickers proclaiming the Harvey and Ignatz wins, especially if it’s keeping some space for next year’s Eisners.

  • Saturday was also 24 Hour Comic Day, and while there are literally too many excellent works to point out, I would be remiss if I didn’t share a modern fairy tale by Melanie Gillman. A young woman feleing unloved in an arranged betrothal finds herself beseeching the Goddess Of Mishaps for help, and it’s damn near perfect.
  • Heidi Mac spent the morning at the ICv2 2019 Conference, held adjacent to NYCCC. You can find her livetweets via this search, but the one you want to pay attention to is this:

    The slide that shocked ComicsPRO showing size of manga and kids genres.
    #nycc2019 #icv22019 #nycc

    In case you don’t feel like zooming in, more than two-thirds of all comics sold fell into one of two categories: Juvenile Fiction (41%, think Raina and similar) and Manga (28%). Superheros were the third-largest market category, but they account for one comic sold out of every ten. This is why C Spike Trotman has been most vocal about the YA offerings from Iron Circus.

  • Finally, especially for those that perhaps over-indulged in 24HrCD or maybe are pushing it too hard for Inktober? Stretch.

Spam of the day:

15 Military Discounts Only Available To Those That Served Our Country

While it is true that I have, probably in the depths of the US Army Cadet Command at Fort Knox, a form 139-R from 1985 (enrolling me in ROTC so I could take two mandatory, 1-credit classes, which my college required instead of physical education), complete with an X in the box labeled I decline to state that I am not an conscientious objector and a strikethrough in the loyalty oath section, I cannot say that I served in any meaningful fashion as that concept is generally understood. But given that your email came from Hesse, Germany (from a domain registration that has existed for a whole 12 days), I’m going to doubly say that no, I haven’t served “our” country.

¹ Okay, one complaint — there’s a world of distance between children’s books and young adult books, leading to YA books that are distinctly at the upper end of the age range like Laura Dean, Hey, Kiddo, and On A Sunbeam contending with books intended for a much younger audience like Mr Wolf’s Class #2: Mystery Club (7-10) and New Kid (8-12). Yes, the over-proliferation of categories is, but maybe split this one into pre-teen and teens-plus?

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.

Now This Is Some Bullshit

This, in this particular circumstance, being a clearly full of crap website that’s selling simply dozens — dozens, I tell you! — of stolen TopatoCo t-shirts every day. A full of crap website that’s stolen not only the designs (which are sarcastic air quotes submitted to us by independent designers close sarcastic air quotes) but even the SKUs. They may or may not be associated with another full of crap website that appears to lay off the stolen webcomics designs but has lots of other stuff stolen too, like traditional Haida designs that non-Haida people don’t get to use or sell. And the most hilarious part? Their shitty knockoffs (if in fact they actually produce and send anything) are priced above the genuine articles.

Normally, I’d tell you to politely contact the full of crap website to very politely ask them what the fuck, but a) they’ve done their best to hide who they actually are (although it appears the possibly-associated second crappy website keeps an address in Delaware that coincidentally houses a consultancy that provides a incorporation services and possibly a mail drop), and b) Jeff Rowland is already on it, and c) they may have roused the wrath of R Stevens III, in which case I doubt you’ll even find DNA when he’s done with his vengeance.

So instead, how about we look at some shirts that are both official and original?

Spam of the day:

Big Ass-Photos – Free Huge Butt Porn, Big Booty Pics

Holy crap, this spam has adopted the [adjective] ass [noun] rule from xkcd #37.

¹ Unfortunately, the website doesn’t link the exhibitors to the floor map, and those that qualify as publishers (around the perimeter of the main floor) appear not to be listed on the site at present. But there will be several creators associated with George Rohac’s Creative Havoc, and given the likes of Iron Circus and Hiveworks are listed as Sponsors, I’d presume they have a presence as well.

Fortunately, the scale of the show is such that you probably won’t miss out on anybody, even if you didn’t specifically know they were going to be there. If the exhibitor info updates before the show, we’ll add to our listings here.


Things are afoot, my friends. They are footy. Footlike. Gotta keep on our toes.

  • It’s been just about a year since the ALA created a new round table dedicated to graphic novels, and that means that the annual conference in Washington, DC next week will likely see a larger contingent of comics folk than in the recent past.

    Taking a quick peek at the exhibitor list/floor plan, you’ve got Iron Circus (2108A), not far from Dark Horse (1915), and somewhere in the enormous mass of Penguin/Random House (the entire 1800-block) is Random House Graphic (Hi, Gina!). Finishing up over in the 1500-plus-or-minus zone you’ve got Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group (that’s :01 Books and allies, 1504 & 1505), Oni Press (1519), Drawn & Quarterly (1514), BOOM! Studios (1616, and spend a little less on your damn booth so you can pay your creators). Scholastic (1232 and 1233) is off on its own, and includes the Graphix imprint, which means Raina Telgemeier, Kazu Kibuishi, Baby Sitters Club, BONE, and I don’t know how many other mega-titles. Yen Press (1134) is ove there too, and I’ve probably missed a bunch.

    But the significant thing is, about 20 aisles west of Iron Circus, I’m noting an entire section given over to graphic novels and an Artist Alley (which I think is a new development). There you’ll find Ngozi Ukazu (3934), Yuko Ota & Ananth Hirsh (3936), Ru Xu (3938), Tess Stone (3940), Brian Clevinger (3951) — basically, the entire George Rohac lineup) — along with names such as Jim Rugg, Gene Ha, and Top Shelf/IDW.

    It’s into this new acknowledgment of the importance of comics in reading that Booklist, a publication of the ALA, will be letting everybody get back from Annual and then take a couple of weeks to sort through what they brought home before diving into a free two-part webinar on graphic novels. The first features BOOM!, Diamond distributors (ick), Image Comics, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Scholastic. It’ll be at 1:00pm CDT (GMT-05:00) on Tuesday, 9 July. Want to see where libraries are going with comics? Yeah, you do, because that’s the first step to getting yours included.

  • On the far side of the continent from Washington, DC you’ll find San Francisco and the Cartoon Art Museum. They’d like to remind you that one of their current exhibitions looks at teens and their teenness via the medium of comics. Specifically they’d like you to know that the selection of modern teen comics published by BOOM! Studios from the exhibition abstract includes originals from pencils to finished work:

    Before and after: ‘Giant Days’ (@lbtreiman, @smashpansy, @badmachinery) and ‘Lumberjanes’ (@BrooklynAAllen, @PencilCat, @Gingerhazing, @shanito) — now featured as part of our #teenage comics retrospective. @boomstudios @Lumberjanes

    Obligatory moment to note that Giant Days will be ending in just a few issues, sniff. But dang, Max Sarin can draw pretty pictures.

Spam of the day:


That superfluous exclamation makes me think you’re trying to reference the title of a Broadway musical. You know, Allllllllllzheimer’s, where the wait what was I saying?

Ask A Speculative Question, Get A Useful Answer

So yesterday I wondered in a footnote about the possible impacts of the looming Trade War With China on webcomics. Here’s the crux of what I said:

Thought that just occurred to me. What with the whole trade war with China stupidity going on now, we aren’t shipping as much stuff to China, we won’t be getting as much stuff from China, is this going to take container ship capacity away (as they’re redirected to other trade routes) or make it more plentiful/cheaper (as there may be an excess of space/ships)?

My thoughts were almost entirely in terms of the raw costs of container shipping; if we aren’t sending soybeans to Shanghai in the immediate term, will there be freshly unloaded ships waiting to be loaded up with stuff for the holiday selling season? Would things not specifically on the threatened tariffs list (which is a moving target, day to day) be impacted as collateral damage? I figured there was only one person to ask.

Readers of this page know the regard that we at Fleen have for George Rohac: slayer of problems, fixer of systems, arranger of logistics. He’s overseen maybe more Kickstarts than anybody else, to the point that they recognize him as an official Expert. He knows the sausage-making end of getting things made, especially via print. SO when I asked, I was unsurprised that he’s been thinking about it, but a bit surprised that he’s looking at things from another angle. To quote:

So for now, it isn’t hitting anything. But as with anything in the world of Trump, that could change on a dime. I haven’t seen/heard anything happening with regards to more frequent customs crackdowns, so right now its basically business as normal.

Not capacity/logistics, but the possibility of policy decisions mess with things. If the order comes down to make every Customs inspection of everything from China extra specific, time and costs (storage, brokerage, etc) go up.

That said I am encouraging people to just factor in an extra 25% as a trump tax in case stuff gets fucked. This I’d recommend regardless of where you’re manufacturing. Since he’s hitting Canada the plants people use in Montreal often could be hit, and also US plants that are part of global multinationals could wind up having trickle down cost increases.

Again, not the shipping end of things, but the possibility that Screamy Racist Orange Grandpa decides to suddenly slap worldwide tariffs on paper, or finished printed goods, or whatever. Planning ahead for extra costs also seems to be smart planning in that if you get hit with unexpected expenses, you’re covered; if you get lucky and the costs don’t materialize, you’ve suddenly got more money and that’s not a bad thing.

A quote will typically have a “price good until X date” so if you’re printing in that window, fine, if not, then build in buffer.

And here’s where George’s long experience with printing comes in — if your printing proposal doesn’t have a timeframe on the pricing, any unexpected costs could be passed along. The last thing you want is a profitable project suddenly turning into a break-even or money-losing project. If I were to summarize George’s answers, it would be Do your due diligence, get everything in writing, and assume your unexpected costs could be even greater than your past calculus. Much like planning now for the potential of a USPS shipping rated increase in six months¹, this is going to be a careful balancing of probabilities, optimism, and pessimism.

There will probably be people that offer to help cropping up in greater numbers than in the past, and it’ll be important to ensure that they know what they’re talking about before paying them money, or tying the success of your project to their supposed expertise. I’m not saying they have to have George-level experience², but I am saying that there’s a difference between a company that’s done this before and one that’s assuming it can do this³.

Just as for every Make That Thing there’s several dozen companies whose ability sits somewhere between aspirational and completely fictional, there are going to be newcomers and fly-by-night operators in this facilitation space. Choose carefully. Or, if we’re lucky, George (or somebody like him) will do some seminar-type training on how to navigate these challenges on your own. Like somebody that I just made up in my head once said, Trumpian chaos is just another way to say opportunity.

Spam of the day:

What Company is #1 Rated Overall for Home Security?

The answer suggested by this spam is bestcompany™, which appears to not be a home security company, but rather a directory of all kinds of companies. It’s some pretty mixed messaging

¹ Never mind what would happen if SROG’s stated intention to privatize the US Postal Service actually gains steam.

² Only George has George-level expertise, pretty much by definition.

³ Fun fact that came up in an unrelated conversation today; when you fly into Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, all the usual airport ads for car services, hotels, etc, are entirely replaced by ads for contract logistics and merch-management companies, whose entire pitch is Hire us if you want to be less screwed by Walmart. Some of them tout years or decades of experience navigating the Walmartian minefield and others … do not.

Remaking The World

Y’know, pretty damn soon it’ll be easier to talk about an area where comics — web and otherwise — and graphic novels aren’t making inroads instead of those where they are. Consider:

Down New Orleans way — and I’ve been to NOLA in the summer, so everybody there has my sympathies — the American Library Association Annual Conference is underway, and webcomickers are all over the damn place. Just from my sosh-meeds, I’ve noticed Hope Larson, Rosemary Mosco, George Rohac, Ngozi Ukazu, Vera Brosgol, Raina Telgemeier, Andy Runton, Melanie Gillman, the omnipresent C Spike Trotman, and the irreplaceable Gina Gagliano.

First observation: no disrespect to Rohac and Runton, who are both outstanding dudes, but it’s all well and meet that the ladies are dominating here. The books that the women present make (or facilitate the making of) are going to form the spine of a new canon.

Second observation: the universality of comics is not lost on the librarians (which, I would note, is a profession that skews heavily female), who are seeking out ways to bring comics into their collections. This year, the ALA approved the creation of a new round table dedicated to graphic novels, which is a significantly big deal.

The round tables produce research (don’t ever get in the way of a group of librarians who’re researching a topic) which results in best practices, standards, and guidelines for libraries everywhere. Need to figure out what to add to the stacks, how to organize it, how to get and keep the public’s interest? An ALA round table has probably figured it out.

They also provide legitimacy. It is, after all, the ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table that convened to present the Stonewall Book Awards earlier today¹, and Gillman was on hand for As The Crow Flies to be recognized as a Stonewall Honor Book — the only graphic novel so recognized.

Being recognized for one of the big literary awards can result in a demand for thousands or even tens of thousands of copies of a book. It conveys to the larger reading world that the book and/or creator is Serious Business, and it’s one of the reasons that Mark Siegel put get on the radar of the the literary awards on his to-do list when founding :01 Books. Siegel figured it would take 5-10 years, and they made it all the way to the National Book Awards 18 months later thanks to American Born Chinese by Gene Yang.

You remember Yang — two-time NBA nominee, Eisner winner, MacArthur laureate, and the fifth National Ambassador For Young People’s Literature², guiding force of the Reading Without Walls challenge? Guy’s probably done more to put books in the hands of kids than anybody else this side of Dolly Parton. And since he’s the sort of really smart, really engaged person that you want to represent reading, it’s no surprise that he’s been named the newest board member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:

“I’m so excited to be joining the board of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund,” Gene Yang says. “Like many people, I’ve found it more and more difficult to wrap my head around issues of free speech because of recent news events. However, I still believe that, to borrow a phrase from poet Liu Xiaobo, free expression is the mother of truth. The CBLDF has been at the forefront of these issues for many years now, which makes our work more important than ever.”

Some of you just went to look up Liu Xiaobo, because that’s what Yang does — make you go learn stuff. Between the librarians and the creators, I’m going to say that the future of reading’s in good hands. Now let’s everybody get out there and make sure the eyes — and minds! — are open to follow where they lead.

Spam of the day:

Contact me today if you are considering buying, selling, or just want to know more about market conditions in your neighborhood. [links to multiple-million dollar homes in the Greater LA area]

My home has a wall-to-wall area of 130 square meters (not including hallways, stairs, etc), and is not in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, or Los Feliz. I suspect you meant to send this to somebody very different.

¹ To be completely clear, the awards were announced in January, but were presented today at the annual conference.

² Which I believe entitles him to be addressed as His/Your Excellency.

Hey. You. You’re Doing Okay.

Today’s post is brought to you by the idea that it’s gonna be okay. There is so much hate and stupidity in the world, but on Saturday I met a six week old kid that was absolutely adorable while I was riding in an elevator and he doesn’t know that there is all that hate and stupidity. With luck, we’ll make it a good deal less so by the time he can tell the difference.

  • On the list of difference makers: George Rohac, or as he is known in these parts, George. Not many people get to be mononymic — your Madonnas, your Barbras, your Beyoncés — and here at Fleen only two people have earned that status¹, and only one of them could post a tweet to a survey that asked for my real name, address, birthday, and a whole squatload more info, and I’d fill it out.

    It’s part brand research, part effort to understand people better, part feedback on how he (that would be George) can be a better person. It caused a lot of thinking on my part, and I don’t doubt it will do the same for you. Give George some info, you know he’ll do something amazing with it. It’s the least you can do — it’s his birthday².

  • One of the most important things that George ever did, bee-tee-dubs, was share a video about his challenges with mental illness; it’s not available any longer, but you can read what I wrote about it at the time. It was a hell of a lot less common, five-plus years ago, to make these kinds of public declarations. It let a lot of people know that they aren’t alone; this message is particularly important in the creative community, which seems to have more than its share of people shouting down the lies that their brains tell them.

    Every share of this nature — and here’s the latest I’ve seen — increases the chances that somebody else gets the help they need³. Help can mean a lot of things, and the webcomics community does an inordinate job of helping the creators they follow. Whether it’s sticking with creators during involuntary hiatuses, or readers coming together to increase support so that creators can take care of their families, I think there’s another benefit at play.

    For each person that we know (or “know”, in the sense that we know their work) and help, the thought pattern grows — why just these people? Why not everybody? It’s making the selfish and exploitative stand out as outliers as we do what we can. It’s a hopeful thing, to think we can turn that desire to help into permanent, structural mechanisms that will keep health crises from bankrupting entire families. I’m usually far more cynical than this, so enjoy it while it lasts.

  • And in case you’re worried about what your future brings, young people, Matt Boyd and Ian McConville have a thought for you today. And if it’s still a dread day for you, consider: after doing far better in his surgery last November than expected, Jon Rosenberg’s son Alec was told he didn’t need followup surgery the day before his birthday no less, and his dad is able to get comickin’ again. New SFAM, folks, with Jon at his Jonnest. If his curmudgeonly ways don’t make you smile today, wait until the next strip. He’ll definitely get you then.

Spam of the day:

My Name is Mr.Thomas Phaahla and I am writing to Introduce you and your Company to the Asia Pacific Investment Pte Ltd.(APIP) Debt/Loan Funding Platform.

Dude, you managed to spell your purported name three different ways. Try harder.

¹ After first reference so that any newbies have context. The other is Raina Telgemeier

² Just in case you were worried, George is the person least likely to demand a birthday present that turns him into a twisted shell of himself, warped by greed and evil, and tied up in the doom of the world. Second least likely would be, I dunno, Mr Rogers or Dolly Parton.

³ Not to mention the very key effect of normalizing treatment. As a tweet I saw over the weekend said, If you don’t have enough artisinal, handmade neurotransmitters, store-bought is fine.

Countdown To SPX

For those who were intrigued by the early descriptions of SPX panels, I should note that the programming schedule is now posted, with speakers including Jillian Tamaki, Eleanor Davis, Tillie Walden, Gene Yang, Keith Knight, and Shannon Wheeler.

Of those, Tamaki and Walden will have book debuts; it’s not listed on the site as a debut, but the English-language edition of Alex Alice’s Castle In The Stars: The Space Race of 1869¹ is on Tuesday and I say that’s close enough.

And then, of course, there are the many, many exhibitors who’ll be in the Marriott Bethesda North ballroom; in roughly geographic order, you should keep an eye out for:

Green Zone
Top Shelf (wall 64 to 67), Iron Circus Comics (wall 72 and 73), Kel McDonald (wall 74), Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota with George Rohac (wall 81), Ngozi Ukazu and Mad Rupert (wall 82), Ru Xu (wall 91A).

Blue Zone
Drawn & Quarterly (wall 1 to 4), Miss Lasko-Gross (table H10A), Whit Taylor (table H14B), Tony Breed (table I3B), Ross Nover (table I10), Natasha Petrovic (table J6), Adam Aylard, David Yoder, Joey Weiser, and Drew Weing, Eleanor Davis (tables K12 to 14), Cartozia Tales (table K8), Lucy Bellwood (table K9), Retrofit Comics (tables L2 and 3), Nilah Magruder (table L6), Shan Murphy (table L10B), Koyama Press (tables M1 and 2), Dustin Harbin (table M4), Carla Speed McNeil (table M7A), Sophie Yanow (table M12A), Toronto Comics Art Festival (table M14), MK Reed (table N1), Gemma Correll (table N2), Sophie Goldstein (N13B), Ed Luce (N14), Fantagraphics (wall 56 to 61).

Red Zone
School of Visual Arts (wall 7 to 8), Colleen Frakes (table B5), former Fleen scribe Anne Thalheimer (table B6A), Liz Pulido (table B8), Zach Morrison (table B11), Jamie Noguchi (table B9), Barry Deutsch (table C13), 2dcloud (tables D1 and 2), Evan Dahm (table D8), Becky Dreistadt and Frank Gibson (table D9), Penina Gal (table D13), Carolyn Belefski (table E4A), Carolyn Nowak (table E6), Carey Pietsch (table E7A), Natalie Riess (table E7B), The New York Review Of Books (table E13B), Liz Prince (table E14A), Falynn Koch and Tucker Waugh (table E14B), Rebecca Mock (table F3A), The Center For Cartoon Studies (table F4), NBM Comics (tables G1 and 2), Tillie Walden (table G3), Alex and Lindsay Small-Butera (table G4), Kori Michele Handwerker and Melanie Gillman (table G5), Adhouse Books (wall 53 to 55).

Yellow Zone
Sara & Tom McHenry (wall 25), Jess Fink and Eric Colossal (wall 28), Danielle Corsetto (wall 29), TopatoCo² (wall 31 to 33), The Nib (wall 34), Meredith Gran and Mike Holmes (wall 35A), Out Of Step Arts³ (wall 44 to 46).

The Small Press Expo runs on Saturday 16 September (11:00am to 7:00pm) and Sunday 17 September (noon to 6:00pm). Admission at the door is US$10 on Sunday, US$15 on Saturday, and US$20 for the weekend.

Spam of the day:

Search for the best gas cards Compare for the best features

What features? You put money on the card, you give it to somebody, they get that much gas. Done.

¹ Imagine a Miyazaki story with a male protagonist, set in Jules Verne’s Europe, against a backdrop of Prussia’s quest to unify all the German states under their banners (and the threat of an unstoppable fleet of near-space ships as the Romantic period wound down and the Belle Epoque got underway; also, Mad King Ludwig is in it).

It’s a lushly-painted story with a tight story that will be concluded in a second volume; the hdardcover itself is in the dimensions of a children’s book, but clocks in at 60 pages of gorgeous bandes dessinées. Get it for the airship fan you know.

² Including Kate Leth and Abby Howard

³ Including Andrew MacLean, Paul Maybury, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, and Neil Bramlette.

Small World

What’s that? Oh, just a story in Entertainment Weekly about Ngozi Ukazu signing representation with George Rohac, as :01 Books announces that Check, Please! will be published as a two-volume series. You know, just another Friday in Webcomicstan.

Key bits:

The first volume, which hits stores Fall 2018, will collect the first two “Years” of the comic, while the second will collect the latter two, and is set to be published in Fall 2019. Both books will feature extra content not included in the Kickstarter editions.

It’s not clear at the present time if Ukazu will run Kickstarter editions of Year Three and Year Four, or if by that time the first :01 volume will be so close that it’s not worth doing. Speaking as a reader for whom obsessive completionism is a lifestyle, I can see a demand for separate Y3 & Y4 editions that match on the bookshelf of existing readers, along with new readers jumping on the combo versions.

In any event, it’s kind of hard to imagine a combo platter of unstoppable awesomeness more inevitable than Ukazu + George + :01, and I am really interested to see what other self-published works :01 will snag up for new editions in the future. Unless I’m misremembering, this is the first case of non-French material that’s been obtained for republication rather than being commissioned as a new work. Very interesting.

Okay, enjoy the long weekend, Canadians (1 July) and Usians (4 July). Catch you next week.

Spam of the day:

CANNABIS GUMMIES Without a Prescription in All 50 States

Man, I can barely manage a handful of regular gummies without my teeth starting to ache. I ain’t going near gummies that will get me hepped up like I’m on goofballs.