Well, there’s another San Diego Comic-Con come and gone … some planned things didn’t happen as I wished, some unplanned things popped themselves up, and a whole lotta people came and went. Let’s do our last wrap up (and there may not be a posting as such tomorrow, seeing as how I haven’t really read any webcomics since last Tuesday, but you’re still up a couple posts so that’s all right).
- Continuing on from yesterday’s rushed-for-press-time missive, I got a chance to head over to the IDW booth and ask about the Bat Boy thing. I spoke with Chris Ryall, publisher and editor-in-chief, who described himself as a big fan of the Peter Bagge/Danielle Corsetto Bat Boy strip that ran in the late, lamented Weekly World News (a fan to the extent that Ryall had purchased two of Bagge’s originals the week before). Ryall said that he wanted to shift the pretty whimsical strip (where, among other things, Bat Boy was President of the United States) into a more traditional comic book type universe.
But, and this is the important part, Ryall wants more people to see the original strips, and wants to run them as a backup feature — he’d been talking with Bagge about this but hadn’t obtained Corsetto’s contact information, which I was happy to supply. Danielle, if you don’t hear from him after the Con rush settles, drop me an email and I’ll make sure you crazy kids get your heads together.
- Changes at Keenspot are in the air. Rumors were travelling the show floor that John Troutman had either precipitously left, or been asked to leave, Keenspot; the circumstances described in the stories varied, but agreed that it came down to an It’s personal situation. We at Fleen haven’t had a chance to speak with Troutman directly for his side of the story (and will endeavour to do so), but when contacted for comment Keenspot CEO Chris Crosby provided the following:
John Troutman’s Keenspot membership has been terminated, but we have no comment on the matter otherwise and wish John the best of luck.
Take that as you will; as of this writing, Troutman’s Flat Feet and High Heels is still linked on the main Keen page, and in fact was highlighted in the spotlight position at the top of the page when I browsed there a moment ago. I was unable to make it to the Keenspot panel yesterday, so I don’t know if the Troutman issue was brought up; when asked prior to the panel if there were any big announcements planned, Keenspot’s Bobby Crosby hinted at the possibility of more Hollywood deals but wouldn’t make any definitive declarations. Anybody with first-hand reports of the panel is invited to chime in below; please don’t bring any Well, I heard from my friend that he heard from a guy at a booth that he heard from a passing cosplayer … “facts”.
- Paul Taylor’s sculptors brought some stock of the one-run-only Monica statue over to the Blank Label booth. It’s a lovely piece of work, Taylor was clearly thrilled with the outcome (and I’m sure he’d love to have a Shelly sculpture to go with it, so make with the pre-orders). The other person impressed: David Willis, who’s decided to do his own Shortpacked figure(s) with Patch Together. First up: Amber. Question I forgot to ask: corset version or non-corset version?
- The Zudapanel kicked off yesterday with a bang — it was standing-room only (with a posted capacity of 403), and the panelists were taking questions both from the floor and via Twitter (cool idea, but a little wonky in practice — Ron Perazza (
directorVP of Creative Services at DC … unless his title’s changed in which case let me know, Ronthanks, Laura!) told me afterwards that trying to keep up with the conversation/questions on the handheld while also speaking/paying attention to the conversation was more awkward than anticipated. I missed the first half and the explanations of how the panel would run, which means there was only about 15 minutes left before I was really up to speed as to the mechanics of the session, and I’m not able to fairly comment on the whole thing.
I’ll say this — that portion of the panel that I did see didn’t really change my mind about Zuda and its operations; I think that the service is a corporate version of an independent production model, and philosophically I prefer the indy approach. It’s not that Perazza, or Kwanza Johnson, or David Gallaher, or any of the other people I’ve met from the Zudaworld are bad or wrong people — as I’ve written before, they’ve been unfailingly polite to me in all our dealings, especially given the skeptical approach I’ve taken to their production model. It comes down to the fact that we have different mental definitions of the word webcomics.
This is not a problem unique to this discussion — any time I’m contacted by somebody wanting a quote, a primer, or an interview about webcomics, the first thing I have to do is try to come up with a working definition of “webcomics”, and I’ve had a hell of a time developing one that’s both consistent and practical. Hell, last night David Malki ! told me that he hates the word (and even the word comics) so much that we should stop using it. His suggestion: Electric Joy. I think that if we were to come up with a new word, we need to find one that doesn’t invoke mental images of AC-to-DC power supplies and safe words, but hey — that’s just me.
But getting back to the point, I think we need to have a broader discussion one of these years on the relative merits of the independent model (the creator must really do all the ancillary jobs) vs the syndicate model (all that grunt work done for you, but at a significant cost in rights, and the web is viewed fundamentally as a place to content locked away) vs the Zudamodel (embracing the web, but still functioning as a publisher). For now, you can decide for yourself — the entire discussion was recorded for podcast (which should be over here sometime today), and the Twitter conversation is right there at hashtag #makecomics (Perazza and the other panelists were going to continue to answer questions via Twitter after the session ended, so there’s quite a lot there).
Up today: the long haul that starts at the airport. On the other hand, I managed to get everything packed up, so no box o’ books to ship home, hooray.
Photos: Some catching up to do, so these go back a couple of days. On the floor one might have seen the coolest mobility scooter ever, the saddest clown in the world, and the awesomest fan gift in history (I’m told the guy who made that little clank is approaching retirement and will thus have lots more time to play in his metal shop … I shudder to think what he’ll come up with next; I mean, I like Phil a lot, he’s a terrific guy, but I don’t want him to have a death ray or anything).
Lots of Venture Bros cosplay, with Dr Mrs The Monarch being popular this year (saw another with an absolutely perfect costume, but as casually walking by the booth she was in prompted her to try very hard to sell me a calendar of cosplay fetish photos, I opted against snapping a pic and for moving along as politely as possible; for reference, showing me a photo of a zombified naughty schoolgirl in a total of 18 square inches of fabric and exclaiming, And this is my little sister! is a tad bit creepy). Also slightly disturbing, the pair of cosplayers who appeared to be a couple that were dressed (just about perfectly, I might add) as Dr Orpheus and his daughter Triana (pictured here with the life model for Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose … somebody ask Chris Sims to analyze that one, ’cause I ain’t going near it).
For reference, the Dumbrella Hobo Party booth accepted foodstuffs in exchange for goods (the guy that brought these obtained stickers). Also: orphans, but making change was really messy. We weren’t able to get Iron Chef Sakai to do anything with the beans, but we tried. And there was some adorable animation at Top Chef, as Owly and Wormy went looking for lunch.
That’s it. See you next year.