That sound you hear is merely the damp, disturbing rhonchi¹ that inhabit my lungs. Nevertheless I am again vertical and catching up on the wacky world of webcomickry because I love you people that much.
- Late last week, something new cropped up — on first glance, it looks similar to a webcomics scraper, but it isn’t. Henry Kuo has tread the middle ground between collecting webcomic content in one place, but not overharvesting and costing creators the ad revenue of eyeballs.
Kuo isn’t profiteering off other people’s work, isn’t stealing bandwidth, and is truly giving people a means to discover and follow webcomics they might not have found otherwise, making him the first person to actually do an unofficial app/site to benefit creators. His logic is nicely laid out here, but you may has well just dive in and enjoy the goodness that is Just The First Frame².
- Following up on a story that broke on a day that was busy with other content: Jim Zub‘s previous announcement of reviving old videogame IP as webcomics has launched, as Sky Kid joins Namco/Bandai properties such as Bravoman, Xevious, and Alien Confidential under the Shifty Look banner.
To be clear, the four properties (so far) are being comic-ized by both Zub’s UDON studio (Sky Kid and Bravoman), and by the entirely separate Cryptozoic studio (Xevious and Alien Confidential), and Z-Man is only working himself on Sky Kid. Nevertheless, it’s a kick in the nostalgia gland for people of certain ages and habits, and all four comics show a lot of early promise (keeping in mind that they’re each up to about two updates so far). Keep your eyes on ’em, they’re likely to be fun.
- We’ve previously established (in fact, on the same day as Zub’s Shifty Look announcement) that Angela “Jam” Melick is one of my favorite creators because of Reasons³. And we’ve previously established that her second Wasted Talent collection was imminent, which imminence is even more imminent than it was yesterday. That’s because earlier today, she announced that God willin’ and the creek don’t rise4, said books will go up for order on this Saturday, 17th March.
Melick’s run into the usual bumps and interruptions involved in book launch (and judging from some of her hedged statements on her site and Twitter, some more than usual bumps and interruptions were imposed upon her, but parties unknown but upon whom I wish fire and doom), but with any luck this weekend bumps and interruptions will learn that you do not screw with a woman that has her own construction-grade helmet and high-viz vest if you want to remain unscathed. The wrath of an engineer with scathe you right up.
- Finally, Real Life and Comics always interact; they can feed each other, and they can steal from each other, and for those that do them for funsies, it’s important to remember which of those things is the priority. Tony Piro’s been in that dance of priorities for a half-decade with more than 600 Calamities of Nature strips, and today he has to step away:
Today is my last update for Calamities of Nature. And I’ll be perfectly frank about the reasons. My full-time career is in academics, and I need to put everything I have into it if I’m going to have any chance of keeping it that way. As much as I love this comic, I can’t have it taking precious time away from my work. It’s time to move on.
I’m going to thank Piro for the time he took, for the remarkably clever (in a phsyics geek kind of way) punchlines, for the charts that were illuminating and challenging, and for a point of view that was uniquely his own, even while working in a format that was familiar. You gave us a lot of yourself, and we’ll miss the comics as well as the bits of you that you shared. I suspect that we may see one-offs in the future, but even if that never happens, thanks for what you created.
¹ At least it isn’t rales. Look ’em up, and give a listen if you dare.
² It’s pretty much exactly what is says on the box.
³ Engineers are a somewhat mysterious tribe, but we are generally a peaceful people.
4 As my great-grandmother used to say.