I love it when creative types are creative in more than one way, and I mean that as sincerely as I’ve ever meant anything in my life. Case in point: Andy Bell has more creatures, critters, robots, and things in his head than he can reasonably contain, and within the room I presently occupy, I see them in the form of vinyl toys, paintings, stickers and printed books. Were I to move to the kitchen and open the freezer, I’d see them in the form of ice cubes; somewhere upstairs is a zipper pull shaped like meat, and there are also sculptures and plushes and things that I don’t own. Specialization is for insects.
- But, Gary, I hear you cry, that’s one webcomicker type that works in multiple interesting ways. Who else? Glad you asked me, Sparky; how about Jeph Jacques, one of the proverbial¹ giants of webcomics, has launched a project close to his heart: a Kickstarter to record his next Deathmøle album in an actual studio, leading to CDs and possibly vinyl.
The Permanence campaign cleared goal in an entirely predictable 2.5 hours, no surprise there — until you consider that it launched in the dead of night when not so many people were paying attention, and that 2.5 hour mark was at approximately 2:15am. In the twelve hours since, the project has closed in on spitting distance of US$25,000 and is well on track for six digits of total given that there’s still 29 and a half days to go. Heck, even if metal’s not your thing, check it out just for the names of the backer tiers, and keep an eye out for stretch goals once Jacques has a chance to think them up.
- Okay, that’s two. What else you got? How about voice acting, a topic that is near and dear to my heart? I trust that you have all seen Natasha Allegri’s complete Bee and PuppyCat, yes? And you noticed Wallace, right? And you noticed that Wallace was voiced by Frank “Becky and Frank” Gibson, right? This makes our Frank the sixth (and possibly best) Frank Gibson at IMDB, officially qualifies him for a Bacon Number of 3 (via Tom Kenny), and makes him entertainment industry royalty. Yay, Frank.
- These examples are somewhat obvious, Gary; can’t you come up with something that stretches the idea a little? Straight to the breaking point, if you like. Look, merch design is a part of the webcomickin’ game, and thus the push of Penny Arcade into the world of cloisonné pins is just another bit of merch. Except what they’re making isn’t just merch, it’s a social ecosystem with rules, artistic and business partners, and a touch of fanaticism for good measure:
If you have pins from a previous show (Boston or Australia) you should bring them [to PAX Prime] to trade or just to show off. I saw a guy in Australia holding a cardboard sign on the last day that said “Will trade dignity for PAX East pins!” If you do have some pins from another show to trade I can promise you they will be like gold at Prime.
Like a lot of social ecosystems, I’m not sure that I want to get in on this one — I have enough completist tendencies that the “Gotta catch ‘em all” impulse would likely become dangerous to my sanity, my wallet, or both. However, I will state here and now that anybody cared to set me up with a Robert Khoo and/or Brian Sunter, that would be awesome. No particular reason, nope. Definitely not a secret shrine in my basement, no way. Honest.
- Finally, if you want to get a good idea of what kind of multi-modal² creativity exists/mutates/is possible in webcomicking and beyond, the annual symposium³ to such ideas will be kicking off in the DC Beltway ‘burbs the weekend after next. Intervention is back for its fourth iteration, having hit that self-sustaining point far quicker than is usual for the smaller-scale, single-hotel type shows.
The guests and programming are eclectic, the participants range from audience to enthusiasts to major pros, and the cross-pollination of creative energies are going to be considerable. For those looking to step into other areas of creative expression, it ought to be of considerable interest.
¹ Literal as well. How large is Jeph Jacques? In that photo at the top of the page, the Cintiq in the foreground is the new 57 inch prototype.
² Oof, what a horrible word. Sorry for that.
³ In the original sense of the word: drinking party.