The webcomics blog about webcomics

The Long And Short Of It

So Saturday had some stuff going on, huh? The Steven Universe movie announcement (cough, cough, scoop here) caught everybody by surprise; I think there’s been more leaks from the Mueller investigation than there were around the movie news. The day started with the Eisner news from the the night before and ended with the news from the Prism Awards¹. The folks at Prism are presumably enjoyed a well-deserved sleep-in today as their website isn’t yet updated with the winners, but Andrew Farago of the Cartoon Art Museum tweeted a list of winners, which included Molly Ostertag’s The Witch Boy for Mainstream Comics and Graphic Novels, and Blue Delliquanti’s O Human Star³ for Webcomic.

In between, you had things like Scott McCloud talking about the twenty-fifth anniversary of Understanding Comics, which means there’s a significant number of significant talents in comics (say, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, who I got to catch up with, and who remains a delight) who not only don’t remember a world without Understanding Comics, they’ve never lived in a world where it didn’t exist. As you might expect, that discussion involved a lot of pictures and words and will take a while to write up². It’ll be worth it, I promise. I’m also working on a recap of the presentation given by Mark Siegel of :01 Books on how comics and graphic novels came to be what he terms The New Mainstream. Good stuff.

Oh, yes, and Shing Yin Khor now has the best challenge in comics and/or power tools history in front of her: how to disassemble an Eisner award trophy³. It was pretty easy to take apart the brick that represented the Ignatz Award for the Elements anthology and distribute the pieces to the many contributors; scroll through Khor’s Twitter and I believe you’ll find pictures of her with the sledgehammer used. But the Eisner will take some planning and possibly a Dremel. I think the coolest approach would be to take slices from the globe, leaving a Death Star II effect, but I’m certain we’ll get to see the end result soon enough.

Speaking of Khor, on the occasion of a Comics Camp mini-reunion last night, I fulfilled one of my impromptu goals for the week and captured a photo of that included both the Sawdust Bear and the Toronto Man-Mountain. The original photo is up top, but using extremely high-tech, computer, zoom in on sector 7 and enhancement, we at Fleen have extrapolated what the remainder of the scene may have looked like, which you may find here.

Cosplay included some deep cuts; the most mainstream was San from Princess Mononoke, and I also caught Assassin Bug (look him up, kids; all the *pool characters owe a narrative debt to AB), and this one pleasant fellow with a moustache (yes!) who talked to us a bit about the importance of sunscreen and left his card when he moved on. Nice guy.

Panels to keep an eye on today include:
1, 2, 3, . . . 20?! How To Create (And Survive) A Successful Graphic Novel Series with Jennifer and Matthew Holm, Raina Telgemeier, Molly Ostertag, and Dr Rose Brock of Sam Houston State University. Room 11 at 1:00.

Comics Of The Internet: The Memes, The Myths, The Legends with Matt Kolowski and Kiersten Wing from comiXology, Hope Nicholson, Megan Kearney, Nick Franco, and David Malki !. I suspect this will heavily reference the one comiXology title that got announced t’other day about webcomics gone viral. Room 29AB at 2:00pm — 3:00pm.

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¹ Which shares its name with way too many awards — in photonics, PR strategy and campaigns, Greater Boston-area building trades, medical-surgical nursing, Colorado social impact, and paranormal romance writing are just on the first page of the Google search.

² Much like McCloud describes his next book, as having to research a very long book so I can write a short book, I suspect that I will have to come up with a lot of words to condense down to a readable length. Might not happen until the flight home, but then again I’ll probably spend it catching up on sleep and my knitting.

³ Which, bee-tee-dubs, McCloud confirmed a suspicion of mine: the globe of the trophy is based on page 3 of Understanding Comics.

Counting Down To The Holiday

Okay so our Friends To The North celebrated their big holiday already, and we here in ‘Merika won’t until tomorrow, but the holiday doldrums are well upon us. Not much going on, but there is one thing to keep an eye out for in the coming weeks:

On July 17 we’re Kickstarting The Nib Magazine, a 100 page print quarterly. The first four issues — Death, Family, Empire and Scams — have been in the works all year and we will hit send to the printer the second it’s funded.

All new comics every issue — journalism, strips, Nib crew, Intercept journalists, names from mainstream comics. I can’t wait to drop who is on board.

That from The Nib editor and driving force Matt Bors, who’s shepherded the editorial/reportage comics site from (intermittently neglected) Medium section to big-ass book to recurring calendar to animated series, the contributors to which keep showing up in consideration of various awards.

You’ve got two weeks notice. Be prepared.

And I just realized that I haven’t discussed this year’s Eisner nominations, on account of they came out while I was at Camp. As we’ve seen in the past forever or so, the distinctions between Best Digital Comic and Best Webcomic are confusing and/or confused, and which are described as:

For the Best Digital Comic category, works must be longform — that is, comparable to comic books or graphic novels in storytelling or length. Webcomics similar to daily newspaper strips, for example, would not be eligible. Digital comics should have a unique URL, be part of a webcomics site, or otherwise stand alone (not be part of a blog, for instance).

So webcomics are defined by what they aren’t rather than by what they are, but for the most part they’ve come to largely be creator-owned work without publisher gatekeeping (although there are a couple of fascinating exceptions in the Best Webcomic Category. This year’s nominees are:

Best Digital Comic

  • Bandette, by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover (Monkeybrain/comiXology)
  • Barrier, by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin (Panel Syndicate)
  • The Carpet Merchant of Konstaniniyya, by Reimena Yee (reimenayee.com/the-carpet-merchant)
  • Contact High, by James F. Wright and Josh Eckert (gumroad.com/l/YnxSm)
  • Harvey Kurtzman’s Marley’s Ghost, by Harvey Kurtzman, Josh O’Neill, Shannon Wheeler, and Gideon Kendall (comiXology Originals/Kitchen, Lind & Associates)
  • Quince, by Sebastian Kadlecik, Kit Steinkellner, and Emma Steinkellner, translated by Valeria Tranier (Fanbase Press/comiXology)

Best Webcomic

I’ll go out on a limb and say that Carpenter & Powell, and Halpern & Sloan were doing Work For Hire; I’ll also note that O’Neill’s The Tea Dragon Society is functionally indistinct from what the Eisners call a Digital Comic — to the extent that she and it are also nominated in the category of Best Publication for Kids (ages 9–12).

Outside the immediately applicable categories, you’ll find Giant Days (John Allison, Max Sarin, and Liz Fleming) nominated as Best Continuing Series, Spinning (Tillie Walden) in both Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17) and Best Reality-Based Work, What Is Left (Rosemary Valero-O’Connell) in both Best Single Issue/One-Shot and Best Coloring, and Elements: Fire (edited by Taneka Stotts) in Best Anthology¹.

The Eisner Awards will be presented on Friday, 20 July, as part of San Diego Comic Con. Best of luck to all the nominees.


Spam of the day:

Only here the choice of young girls for every unique guy and completely free! They are wettest slaves, they will and want implement everything you command !

I’ve often wondered if there was some way to make Russian mail-order bride spam not the ickiest thing in the spam filters, and … ick. Just ick.

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¹ Presumably, if it wins, Stotts will have Shing Yin Khor devise some means of breaking up the statue into components that can be distributed to the contributors.

It’s Like Saturday In San Diego In Here

Okay, it was Saturday, but Hell’s Kitchen by the Intrepid in a early April is a far cry from SDCC. Mark Siegel of :01 Books was the one that drew the comparison (at least, I think that’s what he said; as I’ve mentioned previously, he is a soft-spoken man and it was noisy), and he’d know.

He’d best get used to Saturday at San Diego bumping up a notch or two, as they’ll be doing in-booth events this year with various McElroys to celebrate the launch of The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins at San Diego, and that fandom is tenacious¹. Hardcore fandom is something I haven’t seen at MoCCA Fest since, I dunno, the last time Kate Beaton was there?

  • In addition to running a rapidly-expanding empire, Siegel was previewing his own work as well; the 5 Worlds series debuted last year about a month after MoCCA, and this year book two will do the same. I complimented Siegel on the unexpected turn at the end of Book 1 (let’s say that it’s unusual to have the I am your father-level reveal at the start of your five-part saga instead of at the two-thirds mark to set up the end); I wondered how you keep building on a situation like that. He’s got a plan, though, and we’ll see how it turns out on 8 May.
  • Meanwhile, :01’s executive editor Callista Brill was more than happy to talk about the process of ramping up new people, of releasing twice as many books as two years ago², and making sure things don’t get missed. We talked about my concerns regarding The Prince And The Dressmaker and she confirmed what I’d suspected — writer/artist Jen Wang had no idea about the history of Leopold II and the editorial pass missed it.

    It’ll be addressed in future printings, but I want to acknowledge that Brill didn’t try to underplay or deny the mistake; they made it, they own, they’re fixing it in future printings, and it’s still likely that very, very few people would have ever noticed it. Some things you do because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of how much it could fly under the radar. Everybody over there is good people.

  • Good people work with good people, too. Be Prepared from Vera Brosgol debuts in a few weeks, everybody’s excited for Island Book by Evan Dahm (not tabling for the first time in forever) and Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me (which Rosemary Valero-O’Connell is illustrating for Mariko Tamaki’s words), not to mention the long-awaited Zita The Spacegirl/Might Jack crossover from Ben Hatke.

    And in addition to those? Nearly 30 more books between now and the end of calendar year 2018. All Summer Long by Hope Larson, the final Hidden City book by Faith Erin Hicks, the third Delilah Dirk from Tony Cliff, four Science Comics books, On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden, two more Cucumber Quest books from Gigi DG, sequels to The Spill Zone and Walker Bean and Margo Maloo, a true tale of the Rwandan genocide, the wrap-up of the Secret Coders series … it’s going to be a busy time, so clear some space on your shelves.

  • And since we mentioned Valero-O’Connell, she’s been busy for the last two years, which was where she picked up the Laura Dean job; she’s got her own graphic novels to come after (the first being an expansion of her thesis comic, Black Sun Rising), she sold out of her absolutely breathtaking mini from Zainab Akhtar’s Shortbox curation, What Is Left³. It’s been a wild ride since she was wearing bobcat-jaw earrings and trying to get college done. She was unbelievably skilled that day I first met her, she’s gotten better in the time since, and she’s only going to keep improving. I can’t wait to see what she’s like in ten years.

And somewhere on the floor, there’s the next Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, the next Carey Pietsch, the next George O’Conner, Rebecca Mock, the next Leguizamo, Neufeld, Powell, Hernandez … probably the next Ngozi Ukazu, to be honest, as the women creators behind the table are definitely outnumbering the dudes, and the white faces are not the overwhelming majority anymore. The future of comics — creators and readers both — is more female, more brown, more queer, more different than it’s ever been before, and it’s about godsdamned time.

See you there next spring. I’ll be the guy with the moustache.


Spams of the day:

ASIAN LOVE IS WAITING FOR YOU

~and~

Meet Hottest Russian Beauties

These are from different spam factories, but they have remarkably similar schticks. Apparently, if you are a {Russian | Asian} mail-order bride and are 24 years old, you like dancing and having Pets [sic]; if you’re 26, you like sport and sprits [sic]; if you’re 29 you like workout and shopping [again, sic]. Oh, and you’re definitely named Salome, Nana, Karina, or Victoria. It’s like there’s a template out there that gets chesty stock photos stuck into it.

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¹ As it was, a giveaway of a few dozen galleys signed by artist Carey Pietsch caused an aisle-clogging knot easily equivalent to that a day earlier for the Check, Please! giveaway. A’course, Ngozi Ukazu wasn’t at MoCCA and so that crowd dispersed rapidly.

² Granted, they’ve got about three times the staff, but getting them up to speed means that the extra hands can actually be a detriment until they find their feet. Also, they were viciously overworked before the expansion, and the up-staffing means that they are now merely overworked in the ordinary sense. Some day, they may get down to non-crazy-person levels of work:hours in the day.

³ I made a point of putting a copy in front of comics power agent Judy Hansen, and rumor has it Mike Mignola had effusive praise for it.

Festival Friday

The header image is apropos of nothing, except that Kendra Wells has been killing it at The Nib lately, and that there’s something refreshingly hilarious about a pop song called Obstruct My Justice.

It’s spring time (the snow from the Nor’easter two days back is melting and everything!) and that means comics festival time. In case you hadn’t seen, both MoCCA Fest and TCAF have new information up for your perusal.

  • First up: MoCCA (7 and 8 April, at the Metropolitan West event space, next to the Intrepid Museum) has schedules of events (which will take place a skant two blocks away, at the Ink 48 hotel), with six panels on Saturday and six more on Sunday.

    The big draws look to be the retrospective on creating March with co-author Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell (Saturday at 3:30pm in the Garamond Room), the Jaime Hernandez spotlight (Sunday at 12:30pm, Garamond Room), and the Mike Mignola Q&A (3:30pm, Garamond again). It’s not like what’s happening in the Helvetica Room is bad, it’s just these three caught my eye.

    Oh, and I’m not sure if I mentioned that featured guests for MoCCA, but they include webcomicker Rebecca Mock (who also designed the badges this year) and The Nib cartoonist Ann Telnaes (who also draws for other places, like The Washington Post). Exhibitors that caught my eye include Alisa Harris (A119 A), Carey Pietsch (H255), Christian Blaza (H264), Corey Chrapuch (H230), Josh Neufeld (I270 A), Julia Gfrörer (E183 A), Ken Wong (G242), Laura Ķeniņš (E179), Madeline Zuluaga (F231), Pénélope Bagieu (no table listed, but I’ll bet she’s hanging out with the cool folks at :01 Books, E162), Priya Huq (H263 B), Robyn Chapman (E170), Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (J286), and Sara Varon (D155 B). Did I miss anybody? Let me know!

  • For those not all festival’ed out, TCAF will run 12 and 13 May, centered on the Toronto Reference Library, but spilling out into the surrounding neighborhood for a event that’s become more and more citywide. They’ve also done us the favor of putting all their exhibitors on one fast-loading page. However, the fast-loading page doesn’t allow you to click links into new tabs or copy link addresses, so there’s no quick way of including websites for folks. I know, but you think I have these all memorized?

    Anyways, you’ll see Lucy Bellwood, Boum, Tony Breed, Vera Brosgol, Emily Carroll, Cecil Castellucci, Danielle Corsetto, Becky Dreistadt & Frank Gibson, Melanie Gillman, Sophie Goldstein, KC Green, Nicholas Gurewitch, Kori Michele Handwerker, Dustin Harbin, Myisha Haynes, Ananth Hirsh & Yuko Ota, Abby Howard, C Spike Trotman, Jeph Jacques, Shing Yin Khor, Hope Larson, Kel McDonald, Sara & Tom McHenry, Rebecca Mock, Sfé Monster, Molly Ostertag, Ben Passmore, Katie Shanahan, Whit Taylor, Jen Wang, Ron Wimberly, and the zubiquitous Jim Zub. You should be able to find their sites pretty easily.


Spam of the day:

Congratulations, You’ve Been Considered for Inclusion…

They still do Who’s Who type scams? Man, that takes me back. I remember getting actual postcards back in like high school talking about the importance of being listed in such a prestigious personal branding vehicle. Got some sour news for you, Jack — you weren’t getting my US$39.95¹ back then, you ain’t getting squat from me now.

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¹ US$95.74 in constant dollars.

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.

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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.

Snowpacalypse Now

As I’m sure you’re hearing already, the I95 corridor from somewhere south of Philadelphia to roughly Boston is about to get hit with blizzard conditions and somewhere in the vicinity of 40-60 cm of snow, depending. The National Weather Service has, over the past six hours or so, revised the start time of the storm in my area earlier by an hour, the extended the duration by an hour, and upped the predicted snowfall from about 35 cm to just shy of 50 cm. Considering that until about five hours from now, this was the winter that wasn’t, I ain’t real pleased with this Ides Of March Snowy Crotchkick™.

So what I’m saying is, don’t expect much from me tomorrow; I’ve still got to work (from home, thankfully) during the day, then somehow dig myself out and engage in my regular Tuesday night EMT duty afterwards. It’s gonna be … what’s the word that means the complete and total opposite of fun? That.

So in my absence (on account of I can’t guarantee power or internet will hold up here in the weather conditions we’re about to see), please spend an extra day enjoying this excellent set of suggestions from Zainab Akhtar (if you don’t know her writings on comics, you really should; she’s incredibly smart and insightful) at The AV Club on women in comics you should be paying attention to.

I would be pointing you towards this even if the first name on the list wasn’t Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, who readers of this page may recall I’ve been incessantly yapping about for the past year. The fact that Akhtar shares my views on Valero-O’Connell’s work is tremendously heartening, because any time I find I share her views on comics I’m invariably doing something right, and whenever we disagree I wonder what I’ve overlooked and/or where I’m wrong.

Oh, and for everybody that’s publicly wondering why the list doesn’t include (choose as you wish) Kate Beaton, Hope Larson, Faith Erin Hicks, Raina Telgemeier, Meredith Gran, Jen Wang, Noelle Stevenson, or any one of dozens of other creators, it was meant to spread word of those that are less established in the market and minds of comics readers. The focus isn’t on the big names, it’s those that are on their way towards joining the big names. And honestly: finding new, exiting talent is even better than having your existing tastes validated; it’s even better than having my existing tastes validated.

Okay, see you tomorrow if possible. If not, after the dig-out is complete.


Spam of the day:

Morgan Freemans Pain Relief Cure

Huh. You claim that this miracle cure (whose name strongly suggests that it’s pure, uncut weed oil) is from Morgan Freeman, but you’ve provided a picture of Montel Williams as your celebrity endorser. You think that Morgan Freeman is Montel Williams? Don’t you ever lie to Morgan Freeman like he’s Montel Williams. He is not Montel Williams. He is not Montel Williams!¹

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¹ That one’s for you, BgP.

And The Next Comics Event Is …

Man, Becky Cloonan's good. This is so pretty.

Yeah, yeah, I know everybody’s living it up in Seattle, what with the many, many webcomickers and Ass Swordsman Tetsuo sketches and all, but have you considered the fact that we’re just a month away from MoCCA Festival 2017 in New York City?

The weekend of 1-2 April, from 11:00am to 6:00pm is when, the Metropolitan West event venue (mere steps from an actual damn aircraft carrier with an actual damn space shuttle) is where¹ — a venue with some pretty decent food options, bee-tee-dubs — at a cost of five friggin’ dollars a day. For that you’ll get the best comics artists on the coast (always a well-curated mix of familiar standbys and new talent²), and Guests of Honor including Cliff Chiang, Becky Cloonan, David Lloyd, Blutch, Drew Freidman, and some guy named Gene Yang who’s supposed to be a genius or something.

Programming’s not been announced yet, but traditionally MoCCA have GoH spotlights, some smart people doing profile-type interviews, and no conflicts — every panel runs in a unique timeslot to avoid having to choose who to see talk at a given time. It’s usually six or so panels on each of the two days, meaning the only thing keeping you from seeing every panel is how much time you want to spend on the show floor.

Webcomicky types due to table at MoCCA include Bill Roundy, Carey Pietsch, Evan Dahm, Josh Neufeld, Julia Gfrorër, and slates of creators from :01 Books, the Center for Cartoon Studies, and Top Shelf/IDW.

As a bonus, the Festival will almost certainly not catch fire. I’ll see you there — I’ll be the guy with the notebook and the moustache.


Spam of the day:

XXX__PPOORRNN WATCH HER GET F**CKED IN THE A$$

I’m not sure I understand the gist of your offering. It’s mysterious and too subtle to be understood.

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¹ Sessions will be held in the nearby — and gorgeous — Ink48 hotel, 11th & 48th.

² I met nascent superstar Rosemary Valero-O’Connell there last year, let’s not forget.

Now Is When We Get To Decide Who We Are

Be like Fred.

Things in these (for the moment) United States are getting weird, I wrote to a friend presently traveling overseas, and not the good kind of weird. The least qualified person imaginable for the job of Most Powerful Person In The World appears to be getting more and more unhinged, and we’re possibly less than a week from his hiding under the covers in his special blankey with only people that tell him he’s great allowed in the room.

Traditionally, that stage worked out great for the madder Roman emperors.

I’m thrilled to see that particularly the webcomics community has come together to support those who are, by definition, the most vulnerable in our society: refugees that the regime thought they could beat up on for quickie points among its base; immigrants, some living here for decades, cruelly and intentionally equated with enemies of the state¹; and everybody else caught up in the capricious, arbitrary enforcement actions at our borders².

For those who needed a break from the weekend new, the situation was explained nicely by Sarah Glidden, and since Saturday we’ve seen members of our community at protests and standing witness in airports, and more than a few that are (or have been) trading art for donations to organizations like CAIR and the ACLU.

The responses have been overwhelming; to cite a single case, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (whom you may recall is the new favorite artist of we at Fleen) announced yesterday that she’d give original drawings in exchange for US$20+ donations to organizations defending others. Today she had to put a pause on the offer because in a day, her fans have donated more than US$3000 and time has become a limiting factor.

Others that have made offers, some still open, some finished (for now) include:

That’s just what I remembered reading at some point in the past 48 hours and could find quickly; there’s plenty more out there. And if you doubt that you could have that kind of impact, a hack web pseudojournalist matched $US7800 earlier this month and that guy’s terrible. The collective effort is tremendous — the numbers can’t keep up, but it appears that the ACLU’s average annual online funding was exceeded by a factor of four times in 48 hours this weekend.

We made that happen. You made that happen. And on Fred Korematsu’s birthday, no less.

Fight’s not over, not by a long shot; but in all honesty, I feel more hopeful today than I have for some time. A voice is building across the country and it is saying No. You will not drag us back decades. You will not prey upon the vulnerable. The words we founded our nation on apply to all of us, not just those that have always been privileged. We have distance to go, yes we do, but today the road seems a little gentler and the way a little easier because we are sharing the burden.

One final thought, and I have never been more sure of anything in my life: everybody working together to make this a fairer, kinder, better country and world?

Mr Rogers would have been proud of you.

Also, T-Rex has invented a religion based on dogs and that’s almost as good as Mr Rogers.


Spam of the day:

Gtyrrell Notice N15499

Yeah, no, I don’t believe that FedEx is in the secure electronic message delivery business, so I ain’t clicking on that link. But, wait, what’s that say?

From: Nerys

OMG, is that you, Major Kira? Did you bring the Reliant back via the Orb of Time? Are you the time travelers here to fix the timeline? Hooray!

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¹ I read yesterday of an Iranian-American permanent resident held at the border; his citizenship ceremony was (hopefully still is) scheduled for two weeks from now.

² I read today of a scientist, a Danish citizen by birth, who’s been barred from the US because he performs archeological digs in Iraq. Clearly, a threat to our way of life.

Doing Good

So the questions have been coming, and I’m getting ready to announce the structure of my matching-gifts against totalitarianism (better name needed), but in the meantime literally more people than I can count are doing similar things. Let’s do a rundown:

There are more, more than I can keep up with. It’s trying times, but we’re holding the line and will continue to do so. These organizations are established, scrappy fighters, and are going to shove a full dose of be a goddamn human and not a monster, you dicks where it’ll do the most good. I am proud of our weird little community.


Spam of the day:

[not in English]

I’m certain that it’s completely a coincidence that the amount of Russian-language spam I’ve received since the election has exploded.

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¹ Obligatory disclaimer: I loves me some Digger. You just know that wombats don’t put up with any fascist nonsense; they meet oppression with pragmatism and pickaxes. Remember Tunnel Seventeen!

Endings, Beginnings


End of the week at long last, and it can’t come soon enough. Let’s do this.

  • It’s been long suspected in corners and cafes here at Fleen Central, but one of the old school webcomics artists, who in recent times has been an away-from-the-web artist more than anything, has made it official. Exploding Dog by Sam Brown¹ has been around for a long time — the images were iconic, and in at least one case, landed in other fertile soil. He’s been away from the convention scene for a long time but still making drawings based on text sent to him; however, nothing lasts forever:

    I’ve not answered that question yet. Explodingdog.com is no longer the path I’m walking down. I haven’t updated it since 2015 and have been wondering away. I feel like the old me sat down on a rock to rest. I never planned on going as long as I have and it was made for a different time. Maybe if the weather changes I’ll loop back to it.

    I’m not sure what I’m doing. The new me is moving forward.

    I’m still drawing and will put drawings here at draw.buildingaworld.com along with some projects that wouldn’t fit in at Explodingdog.com This is a fresh start. I needed a fresh start. I’d like to reflect and write up a “What Explodingdog meant to me” post. Right now I’m not reflecting well.

    Thanks for reminding me to say goodbye to the old me and not just walk away.

    The art, the vision, the drive go on, even if the address is different. Exploding Dog is dead, long live Building A World.

  • And on the Beginnings side of the spectrum, this is your periodic reminder that Rosemary Valero-O’Connell is one hell of an artist, one that you should be paying attention to. This message is brought to you on the occasion of her twenty-second birthday, which will no doubt cause one of two reactions: Wow, she’s so good, I can’t wait to see what she’s like in ____ years! or How the hell is she so good and so young oh glob I’m old and I suck. I can assure you that it is possible to hold both thoughts simultaneously.

    In all seriousness, Ms Valero-O’Connell is absolutely somebody you should be following now, in advance of her major work appearing (that would be illustrating Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, written by Mariko Tamaki, due in 2018; plus whatever she comes up with on her own afterwards). Get used to seeing her name, get used to seeing her work; in a comics future that includes names like Brosgol, Gran, Hicks, Larson, Meconis, Mock, Stevenson, Telgemeier, Wang, Williams, and many more, Valero-O’Connell is going to more than hold her own. Happy Birthday, Rosemary. Hi. Hello.


Spam of the day:

Important Information Regarding Medicare

Jumped-up Jesus on a pogo stick, who do I have to kill in Junk Mail Central to get them to realize I’m nowhere near Medicare age? It’s not just email spammers, I get this shit constantly mailed to my house. I blame the AARP and the time they thought I was 50 when I was 32. Sonsabitches sold my name on a list and now they think I’m 65. Time for a rampage.

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¹ A nom du internet.