The webcomics blog about webcomics

Voicelack Impacts Continue

A bit after I wrote about my vocal woes on Friday, I lost my ability to speak entirely; for the record, that’s not previously happened in more than 25 years of teaching, and with some of the week’s class yet to be covered, created a dilemma.

The weekend involved a lot of warm salt-water gargling, hot toddies, tea with diabetes-inducing amounts of honey, and thanks to the world’s best PA (other people may like their doctor, I love the PA at my doctor’s practice), a course of steroids¹ that have brought me back to a croaking level.

However, finding ways to make up the interrupted class on Friday have taken all my spare time today in/around my current class, and so I once again must prevail on your kindness to allow for a brief post. But thanks to Brian The War Moth (most recently seen here), I do have something cool to point you at: 3-D extrapolations of comic strips, one fairly simple art-wise, but showing a nice responsiveness to dragging around, and one expanded from a Calvin and Hobbes strip.

Just drag them slowly if you don’t want to get a sense of vertigo.


Spam of the day:

We have received a notice that you are about to miss a student loan payment.

Mother-bitches, I paid off my student loans in 1996, seventeen friggin’ years early. You ain’t received shit.

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¹ Running down the list of possible side-effects, she didn’t say that I’d get even one of uncontrolled muscular development, rage fits, or shrunken gonads. Popular media has lied to me yet again.

Family

There’s something about the depths of winter, the short days, that makes us seek out family; for some it’s a matter of travel, for some the journey is longer. For nearly all of us, it’s where our strength and hope reside.

  • Longtime readers of this page may recall that Brian Warmoth¹ and Rick Marshall² were a couple of guys that Megan Fox Tits Wolverine magazine put on the webomics beat back when they still had a magazine and weren’t busy screwing up their business of comics conventions with penny-ante grifting. Instead, MFTW just criminally underpaid a bunch of writers (of whom Warmoth and Marshall were the most prolific) to build up the magazine’s web presence and then fired them unceremoniously, taking down their stories in the process.

    Both Marshall and Warmoth landed on their feet, though, and have done well for themselves in the intervening years. In Warmoth’s case, very well as of this weekend, as he and his wife, Julia, welcomed their first child into the world — an act of profound optimism in the best of times — at their home in the Bay Area.

    Brian’s one of the sweetest, most genuine guys you’ll ever meet, and the rarest of things in the digital media age: a damned skilled editor who can bring out the best words from his writers, while building up audiences in niche media. I’ve seen the photos and while they aren’t mine to share (nor are the specific details), take it from me that Young Master Warmoth is adorable, and will undoubtedly grow to make his parents proud. Fleen congratulates the newly-expanded family, and wishes them all the best (along with a few uninterrupted nights of sleep).

  • But when anybody in webcomics mentions the word family, it’s pretty likely that one idea springs to mind: Kate Beaton is visiting her parents, and at least some of her sisters will be there with their families, and the Best Comics Ever will come about as a result. And that’s pretty much what happened from yesterday, as Beaton made her way to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia from her writerly stomping grounds in Newfoundland. There’s Mom, and Da, and Agnes, of course. Everybody loves Agnes.

    And then Kate shared something more; it was low key and undramatic, as befits the folk of Cape Breton who (one would believe from Beaton’s comics) hate more than anything else the possibility of Making A Fuss. Kate’s sister Becky warned her to be ready, and she reached up and removed her hair. It’s not hair, you realize, it’s a wig and she’s bald underneath. She’s chemo bald and that means … oh, no.

    Here’s the thing — we don’t know Becky; Kate has been extraordinarily generous in sharing her life, and all the Beatons have been willing to be part of that sharing. I can’t imagine that Kate would have done that without Becky’s express permission and it feels real even though we don’t know them because Kate’s always made them feel like they’re right there, we can touch them they’re so close.

    And I don’t know you, Becky Beaton, or Kate’s other sisters, or her parents, or Agnes, or any of the extended clan in Cape Breton³, but I wish I did. I want you to know that everybody that reads Kate’s comics (especially the silly, ordinary family comics) considers every Beaton to be The Best. Love and strength to you, and your family, and laughter too, because that’s pretty much what all the comics since have been about. When there’s laughter in the Beaton household, there’s no room for Fuss.


Spam of the day:

Why Your Soreness is Caused by “Dry Joints”

Are you talking about the solder thing, because that would be the best spam logic leap ever.

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¹ Shown here, right.

² Will, and Holly, shown here, center right in khaki.

³ Well, except for her relative Jeff Smith.

This Must Be Irritation Day In New York

The line at the cupcake place is down the block and around the corner, and Fashion Week is kicking in across the street (complete with the still-unaired Project Runway finalists … how are they going to keep the lid on this one?), bringing with it the hordes of snootistas that reek of too much money and other people’s labor. But there’s still things to be happy about — for example, I get Monday off work. In other news:

  • Via ¡Journalista!, coverage of the Intellectual Property panel at NYCC that I didn’t get to attend; the recap goes heavy on copyright and trademark, and it good reading.
  • Newly re-indyfied Steven Cloud hits the reading stage tonight for a talk about comics with Ted Rall and Stephanie McMillan at Blue Stockings bookstore tonight at 7pm. I know we mentioned this one about two weeks ago, but just in case you forgot with all the Valentines Day/Fashion Week hoopla. You can recognize Steven by his magnificent beard.
  • Lost in the shuffle: interviews with Norm Feuti (by Tom Mason) and Brendan McGinley (by Brian Warmoth).
  • As of this writing, Kiva Team Webcomics is eight days old; it is large (in terms of members) than Germany, Sweden, Japan, or France. It has contributed more money than Brazil, Lebanon, Austria, or Democrats (US). And for all teams created in the last eight days, Team Webcomics exceeds the monetary donations of the next-most-generous team by $7700. Keep up the momentum, guys.
  • In response to our question about preserving clusters of exhibitors in their new venue, MoCCA replied that they’ll try to honor requests for booth proximity, but it will naturally be impossible to guarantee the same layouts in a very differently-shaped space. So if you want to show at MoCCA and be near the other webcomickers, be sure to request it on the reservation form.

Prewritten For Your Convenience

By the time you read this, I’ll already be at the Javits Center, trying to make myself useful. Should my fan wish to find me, I’m most likely helping out at the Dumbrella booth, or the Studio Foglio booth (who were suddenly short-handed, and desperate enough to take up my offer of free labor).

  • You know who else will be at NYCC, but not in a fixed location? Rosscott, of The System, who coincidentally is the subject of Brian Warmoth’s latest CBR interview.
  • Hey kids, have you heard about Kiva? Long story short, it’s a microlending site that allows you to help entrepreneurs in some of the world’s less well-off corners. It’s best to go in thinking, Hmm, I can spare ten bucks towards what sounds like a worthy project, and I’ll probably never see that money again. Then you’ll be surprised, because there’s about a 97.5% chance you’ll get your money back with interest.

    So why bring this up? Like many collective endeavors on the internet (lookin’ at you, distributed computing to cure disease!), Kiva allows you to form teams, such as the webcomics team just formed by Zach Weiner and Ryan North. Zach and Ryan assure me all are welcome.

  • Tangentially webcomics: From Heidi over at The Beat comes word that Bloom County is getting a comprehensive reprinting. Were I to take my old Billy & The Boingers square flexi-record of U Stink But I ♥ U and fling it frisbee-like into any random gathering of webcomickers, 83.5% of the corneas I scratched would belong to somebody who was inspired to be a cartoonist by reading Berke Breathed’s work in bygone days of youth. Not that I would do so ’cause damn, it’s the only record I still own and I ain’t wanna get it all scratched up.

New Collaborations And Old

We at Fleen have noted in the past that Brian Warmoth, Friend of Webcomics, deserves better than the [web]comics industry has given to him. It’s not as good as a permanent gig, but Comic Book Resources has arranged with the War Moth to do a series of interviews with webcomickers expected to make a splash in 2009 — first one’s up now, and I’m going to just blindly recommend you read all of them as they come out. He’s that good.

  • Not quite webcomics, but have you seen the latest Scott Pilgrim movie news? Freakin’ Superman is going to be Evil Ex-Boyfriend #3 (with super vegan powers, and we can only hope a cameo by webcomickers).
  • Somebody will have to check me on this, but I think that Tales of Marga, over at Graphic Smash, just set the record for the longest middle-of-the-story hiatus. New story page today, we’re back! splash page this past Sunday, and previous story page … Wednesday, 25 July 2007. Welcome back to the game, Thor Thorvaldson Jr.
  • Two words for you: Bobby. Crosby. He can be a bit … forceful in his opinions; polarizing, even. But dang if the guy doesn’t know how to pick exactly the right artist to work on his various projects.

    Owen Gieni, Remy Mokhtar, and Tiger Claw couldn’t have artistic styles more different from one another if they tried (heck, Gieni alone has more divergent styles than you can shake a stick at), but then Last Blood, Marry Me, and +EV are very different stories that require very different art styles. To that list of successful collaborations we may now add (thanks to alert reader Román Sánchez, who pointed me towards it) Dreamless, with art by the incomparable Sarah Ellerton. With fewer than half a dozen pages, I can’t tell you much about Dreamless except that it’s got me kind of hooked. I don’t like to make statements so early in a strip’s lifespan, but I have a good feeling about this one.

    I should also note that Crosby is still looking for artists to collaborate with in 2009 — and he’s paying. The terms aren’t fully disclosed (and as always, consider carefully what you’re signing with the assistance of competent counsel), but if you were ever wanting to do webcomics work with a short-term goal of getting into print, there ’tis.

    Keep in mind, this is work for hire: the stories are part of Crosby’s sandbox, and playing with them is going to mean following his rules. But on the other hand, to do so doesn’t require you to, say, bring original IP to the table and assign many of the rights away. And hey, at Crosby’s promised rate of at least $15/page (plus a cut of future profits, terms not disclosed), one of his 100-or-so-pages stories comes to a payout on the same order of magnitude as what a Zuda winner would get. Intriguing, yes?

Ah, Wednesday, You Kill Me Sometimes

Eight years? Yep. Little Gamers isn’t so little anymore.

  • Will somebody please give Brian Warmoth, Friend of Webcomics, a break?

    CBR News has confirmed that Devil’s Due Publishing, the home of Tim Seeley’s “Hack/Slash” and Milo Ventimiglia’s “Rest,” among other titles, laid off two employees today: editor Cody DeMatteis and Marketing Manager Brian Warmoth.

    Warmoth, you will recall, fled Wizard online (no link because they piss me off) scarce 11 months ago, and like fellow FoW Rick Marshall, has been both searching for and deserving of a permanent, long-term position in comics. If you know of any such, drop us a line and we’ll see that he gets it.

  • Is it just me, or is Project Wonderful (even in these dread economic times) expanding its pool of advertisers? From the beginning, the users of PW (both those placing ads and those providing space) have been almost exclusively associated with [web]comics. As a result, there is a certain amount of monetary recycling within our semi-dysfunctional humble li’l community but relatively little cash brought in from “outside”.

    But of late, we seem to have been more broadly discovered by those wishing to vend to the sort that would frequent comicdom — for example, Sore Thumbs presently is seen as a good venue to advertise naughty ladies that want to meet you. Hey, as long as webcomics is getting paid, I have no problem with this.

  • Finally: horrotacular photowork from Paul Taylor — a model, a camera, and bingo! His demon characters spring to creepifying life. Yikes.

Wheels

You may recall that two of the best friends that captial-w Webcomics ever picked up are Brian Warmoth (please, somebody draw me a picture of a moth geared out for WAR) and Rick Marshall “Will and Holly” — a year ago, they were well into their mission to de-suckify the Wizard website, in part with a series of terrific interviews with various webcomickers known as Cursory Conversations.

You may note that there is no link attached to “Cursory Conversations”; this is because the entire archive mysteriously disappeared from Wizard‘s website not long after Wizard decided Warmoth and Marshall did their jobs really well and therefore their services were no longer required.

So imagine my amusement when I was informed that Wizard has a) discovered webcomics; b) yesterday inaugurated a new series of micro-interviews with creators; and c) decided to start with the same creators that Warmoth started with a year ago.

No link, just enjoy the unintentional hilarity of Maxim-lite reinventing a wheel it already created. Meanwhile, be aware that Marshall not only interviews webcomickers at ComicMix, he also does a weekly webcomics news roundup. Now if there could be direct links to those two categories, I’d be really happy; I might even cut back on the Sleestak gags (do yourself a favor and don’t follow the Urban Dictionary link).

NYCC Report

Lots of stuff happened over the weekend, which is largely still a blur to me. As mentioned last week, I moderated Webcomics: Threat or Menace? on Saturday, during which I was so intent on not sucking that I didn’t really store any of it in long-term memory. Rick Marshall from ComicMix was in the audience and has promised a write-up, but if anybody happened to record it, let us know. For the record, The Frontingest Man Alive said that I didn’t suck, so yay.

The panel consisted of Rich Stevens, Robert Khoo, Richard Brunning (Senior VP — Creative Director for DC) and Jeremy Ross (Director, New Product Development for Tokyopop); Brunning and Ross were very nice guys, not taking the “webcomics are evil” tack that the session description promised (found here), and Rich and Robert were very good about not claiming that webcomics would eat the firstborn children of the dead-tree publishers. We never did get a consensus on threat or menace, but seemed to agree that media are all shifting towards a long-tail, some-degree-of-free, and the old and new schools are going to have to meet in the middle. For more on this topic, come back tomorrow for an interview I did with Joey Manley and John Boeck on where ComicSpace is headed, six months after the big merge.

And on the off change that Jeremy Ross is reading this: you guys really need to get the rights to Kimagure Orange Road. .

Others seen around the con: Brian Warmoth, Scott McCloud, Jennifer Babcock (who did a terrific job with the How to Make Webcomics panel on Kids Day), DJ Coffman, Brad Guigar, Ryan Sohmer (who risked a savage beating by defying the convention center union guys who wanted like 85 friggin’ dollars to plug in a light fixture), Chris Hastings, Raina Telgemeier, a healthy-looking Dave Roman, (Dave and Raina did about 83 sessions between the two of them, including a very noisy Avatar:The Last Airbender session that sounded really good through the walls and totally didn’t drown out my session, not that I am bitter), and the Jellabalicious Keen Soo. I was pleased beyond measure to finally make the acquaintance of Amy Kim Ganter and Kazu Kibuishi, and I understand that the inimitable Jonathan Coulton was at the show, but I missed him. If anybody knows JoCo, kindly ask him this for me — What’s Soterios Johnson really like? Besides dreamy, of course.

Finally, Fleen announces the Webcomics Partner of the Year Award to Caroline Guigar, who figured out that Brad was running out of books, and wrangled two toddlers and several boxes, sending replenisment stock on a Greyhound so that Brad would have something to sell on Sunday. If you want to succeed in webcomics, I strongly advise you to find somebody that supportive to help you.

Now That’s Just Lame. Oh, Wait, Wizard. Gotcha.

From The Dreamcrusher, news that Wizard (no link, because they’re pissing me off) has gone and dropped the entire archive of Brian Warmoth’s Cursory Conversations. A Google search shows portions of four interviews still kicking, but it’s just a matter of time before they get aged out of cache. After that, it’s the Wayback Machine, or pretend that they never existed; for bonus points, guess which approach Wizard is taking. Fleen is conferring with Warmoth to determine if he can legally provide us with copies of the interviews; if so, we will host them.

Following up on the Jess Fink story from last week, Rachel suggests in our comments section that Hot Topic is handling the issue. Fink, however, reports less progress as of last night:

I FINALLY got an email back from Hot Topic but it basically says “we are forwarding this email to someone else, thanks for saying a thing!”
While other people who are not me seem to get more substantial responses.

Make of that what you will.

In short bits:

Let’s Play Catch-Up, Shall We?

Catching up first with a friend of webcomics in general, and Fleen in particular: Rick Marshall — who along with Brian Warmoth successfully de-suckified Wizard‘s website and was dejobbed for his trouble — has landed at ComicMix, where he is contributing up a storm and taking on the position of Online Managing Editor. Heidi’s got the press release, we’ve got the good wishes, and Esbat apparently got the Marshall genetic legacy. I think that’s what they call win-win-win-win.

Catching up with other news:

  • Greg Carter reminds all and sundry that Atlanta Comix Expo is this weekend, and he and Gina Biggs will be representin’ webcomics there, and conjunction with Dark Horse releasing the second graphic novel of Biggs’s Red String. And in a rather generous act, Carter also reminds us that also this weekend, two states to the north, Jennie Breeden and a mess of other webcomickers will be at What the Hell? Con this weekend with a ton of other webcomickers; look for strips including Carter, Biggs & Breeden doing con prep to show up at the site of Satanic Porn soon.
  • Lori Henderson of the Manga Village portion of Comics Village would like you to know that there’s a competition on. You (yes, you!) could see your manga-style webcomic published online and in print, including distribution to UK bookstores, and through Diamond. Details here.
  • I’ve been seeing lots of links around webcomicdom pointing back to The Scienteers in the past month or so. There’s a reason for this: the people that do the scienting have decided to merge the idea of webcomics collective with the idea of webcomics news site, with a particular emphasis on exposing little-known creations. Want some exposure? Send ’em announcements & news, and submit comics to be run on their website. Details on submitting news and comics here and here. Bonus points for especially good scientication.