The webcomics blog about webcomics

Grab Bag Before The Holiday

We are heading towards the first pie-centered coma of the holiday season¹ and between the actual holiday, travel, and a day off to celebrate Rosenbergmas² on Friday, I’m giving you a bunch of stuff now and won’t guarantee any more posts before Monday.

Spam of the day:

See what secret gift did you got

Oh very nice, fake Victoria’s Secret you get a free gift spam — you put up a link that reads Report Spam in your email that goes to exactly the same address as the attempt to get me to click on whatever crapware you’re trying to install on my computer. That’s pure bloody evil.

¹ Yes, yes, I know that Our Friends To The North celebrated Thanksgiving six weeks ago, but we all know when Thanksgiving really happens.

² In addition to the usual disclaimer that Jon Rosenberg owns my actual soul, one must make an annual notification that he and I share a birthday, along with at a Song Dynasty Emperor, the guy who invented the proper temperature scale, the founder of Panasonic, a puppet wrangler, a martyr to democracy, a martial arts master, a guitar master, an Oscar-winning director, an actor mostly known by one of his character’s names, a Science Guy, a goddamn genius taken from us too soon, fuck cancer, the voice of Brak, at least four rap artists, another actor mostly known by one of his character’s names, two porn stars, and Kim Pine.

I guess people just like screwin’ in early February.

Welcome Return And Awesome Books

Some things are just unforgivable, Blake. Good thing Ted, Dee, and Vachel love you. PS: Welcome back, I will enjoy reading your new adventures twice a week.

On the three-fold Kickstarter path:

  • The new Cautionary Tales anthology from Kel McDonald is kicking; as noted in the past, each CT volume takes a continent as its source of inspiration, and for volume 3 we’ve made it to Asia. I knew this one was coming sooner rather than later, as Carla Speed McNeil mentioned her contribution when I spoke to her at NYCC.

    That, naturally, makes me think of the NYCC three years back when McDonald first shared the idea for Cautionary Tales and we speculated on what volume 7 — Antarctica — would be like. It’ll be a few years before we see it, though, so in the meantime enjoy the creators joining McDonald and McNeil, like Meredith McClaren, Randy McMilholland & Andrew McSides, EK McWeaver, Gene McYang¹, Blue McDelliquanti, Nina McMatsumoto, and Mcmany Mcmore. These anthologies are always a treat, so jump on that.

  • Speaking of Kickstarter, Evan Dahm launched the Kickstarter for the second volume of Vattu (Vattu 2? Vatutu?), The Sword and the Sacrament. There may be no better mythology-heavy storyteller in webcomics than Dahm, and the history of Vattu and her adventures in the wide world (in ways both within out out of her control) keeps getting broader, deeper, and more satisfying. Almost any of the side characters could be the lead in another series², and Dahm’s physical books have a tangible beauty that match the story. Get in on this one immediately.
  • Last 24 hours for the Kickstarter of Zach Weinersmith’s religion-themed comics. It looks like it might fund under my prediction, which means it will merely be in the US$350K range and be his second-highest-funded project. I’m sure he’s crying all the way to self-publishing success.

Spam of the day:

Your husband has it all until now (the only guide to build anything from wood)

Curiously for a spam-filtered communiqué, this is describing actual wood and concerns itself with carpentry. It’s not about the sort of wood that you might be concerned your husband has had until now and presently is presumably lacking.

¹ A Monkey King story!

² I’d love to see Junti’s story, showing her intersections with Vattu from her POV. Or Shezek and his brother, or Emperor Arrius as a young hothead, or the War-Man, or, or, or.

New SSID: Virus-Ridden Contagion Box

I have obtained a new WiFi modem, and things appear to be better than they were for the past couple of days. I’m still nailing everything down and figuring out how to secure stuff. If, uh, you’re hanging around outside my house, please don’t steal my bandwidth, ‘kay?

  • We’re getting close to the release of Randal Munroe’s Thing Explainer and its attendant book tour. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make the New York event on 24 November (EMS duty night; trying to swap nights during Thanksgiving week is pretty much impossible), so I’ll just offer him my congratulations now. Condolences also, as I see his next event will be Monday the 30th, which means he’ll be traveling during the single busiest travel weekend of the year¹.

    He’ll bounce down the left coast the first week of December, then do a vertical shot up the Central Time Zone (including a stop in Houston, where I hope he’ll get to visit the Christopher C Kraft Jr Mission Control Center, then a shift eastward to Toronto before heading home. It’ll be a whirlwind of fun, and with any luck, Munroe will manage to conduct himself for those two weeks using only the ten-hundred most common words in English. I understand that after about the first week of a book tour, longer words mostly go away on their own.

    In case that doesn’t make you want to buy his book/attend his tour, consider the video that Munroe made that explains how to be an astronaut (How To Go To Space), endorsed by no less a space-goer² than Commander Hadfield.

  • Shifting gears now, I’m looking over an email I got a couple of weeks ago, but haven’t had a chance to work into a post before now. That’s the way it is when stories break, other things get pushed back a day, then another, and so on. In this case, it’s from Douglas Wilson, Manchester animator and webcomicker, regarding a Kickstarter for a print collection of his comics.

    It’s not going well, with five days remaining out of a thirty day campaign, and about 8% raised. Not 8% to go, mind, but 8% total. And I’m not sure why that is.

    It appears that Wilson did everything he was supposed to — has the material already produced, set a modest goal (£3000, or about US$4600), he’s got existing sales channels which presumably produce sales, which means he has an audience. He’s pushed the Kickstarter on his own site, and sent out announcements to the likes of me³ (and it’s a better press release than I usually get). I think it’s just a matter of having people that read his strip, like it well enough, but it’s not their absolute favorite (or second, or third) and thus something they want to drop £15 to £30 on to get a book.

    And that’s okay.

    Kickstarter has produced so many successful projects in absolute terms that we forget that that average fail-to-fund rate is about 50% (if I recall correctly from the last time I saw Cindy Au, director of Community Relations for Kickstarter; I also recall it’s a little better than that for comics). Kickstarter’s not a guarantee, and that is actually a very good thing.

    Because in the years Before Kickstarter, your alternative was to scrape together a bunch of money, make your thing, and then hope to hell it sold because if it didn’t, you were out a bunch of time and money. I feel bad for Wilson that this project isn’t going to happen (at least, not at this time). I think I’d feel worse for him if he’d sunk that three grand into books and sold … looks like eleven print copies, and one more PDF.

    I don’t want to make this sound too rosy — five days from now is going to suck for Wilson, but that’s a lot better than sucks, plus the car doesn’t get fixed, and the thermostat stays lower all winter, and the shoes don’t get replaced.

    Failure is where we learn. Given the lack of psychotic whining one often sees from deluded would-be Kickstarter moguls whose dreams don’t pan out I’ve seen from Wilson, I think he’s taking a reality-based approach to this entire thing.

    Maybe he learns that this readers lied when they said they wanted a book. Maybe he learns that his sales don’t extrapolate. Maybe he learns that a different approach to monetizing his strip is necessary. Maybe he learns that it’s not going to monetize and that time/effort are better spent elsewhere. I’m pretty sure he learns something, and it’s not too expensive a lesson.

    I’m sorry it didn’t work out for him, but I’m not sorry that the costs of this failure are bearable. Here’s hoping it goes better next time.

Spam of the day:
Okay, this is a new one — I got a text message through an email relay, which consists solely of a picture of a business card. That card is for “NJ’s Largest Adult Entertainer”, which appears to be an agency that supplies bachelor parties with naked ladies. The card promises 23 Years Of Excellence, and the name on the card reads:

A/K/A Dr. Love

It’s … it’s beautiful.

¹ So will I; the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I get to fly on the busiest travel day of the year to the busiest airport in the world. Yay.

² Also a noted moustache-haver.

³ I’m not sure how many people ran those announcements, and honestly I’m not sure that running those makes a huge difference.

Finding New Things

Lots of stuff going on today. What shall we go to first?

  • Thought Bubble is one of those comics festivals that I really need to get to some day; events have been happening around Leeds for the week, and the creators-meet-fans part happens this weekend. Guests include Kate Beaton (who, according to the Twitter machine, is presently hanging about historical Viking sites, and may never leave them), Noelle Stevenson, John Allison (possessor of the greatest show banner of all time; unobstructed view of the image here), Gemma Correll, Darryl Cunningham, Nicholas Gurewitch, and Kate Leth.

    Exhibitors are listed in a fashion I’ve not seen before: by physical location (TB splits its exhibitors up across several venues), and then by a small image representative of a creator’s work, by property name (not all of which are spelled out). Thus, one may see that the New Dock Hall has an image for Gunnerkrigg Court (captioned, in case you didn’t recognize Coyote), and one may presume Tom Siddell will be there (along with Phillipa Rice and Retrofit Comics).

    This method has a lot of browsability — rather than look for names one is familiar with, you look for art that appeals and then figure out who it may be that creates it. It’s a little less helpful if the display image is atypical for a creator’s work, or if you want to quickly determine who will be there, but for promoting serendipity, it’s pretty great. But it means that I have a harder time recommending specific creators, so maybe next year TB could also provide the traditional alphabetical list? In any event, the creators to be found at the Royal Armouries Hall include Monica Gallagher, Isabel Melançon & Megan Lavey-Heaton; over at the TB Marquee you’ll find Emma Vieceli and Elaine Will.

    Two final thoughts: One, there are many more creators in each of those venues; two, I find it interesting that having to click on art samples that appealed and knowing nothing of the creators until I did, I appear to have discovered almost exclusively the work of women. Dudes, you got to up your game.

  • Speaking of Gemma Correll, I now have in my hands the very handsome Eat More Comics, with cover by Correll. I expect that I’m going to love about 80% of what’s inside, loathe about 7%, and like the remainder well enough. That’s actually what I thought was the chief strength of The Nib — editor Matt Bors didn’t seek to have just one point of view. By casting his net wide, I found stuff I never would have otherwise, including stuff I found horrible. It was an anechoic chamber for editorial opinion.

Spam of the day:

F3CkBuddyAlert my username is Volup2us Kisees :)

I’m not sure what kisees means, but I think it costs and extra fifty.

Rassa-Frassin’ DSL Goin’ Out

All of a sudden, no network at home for any of the devices, wired or WiFi; reboot the modem, it would come back for about 30 seconds and then disappear. This sort of thing has happened four times in the past, and it’s always been traced to somebody in billing at my DSL provider¹ deciding to switch me to a different circuit further away from my house and crapifying my signal.

Today, however, the tech support drone decides it’s my modem and I need a new one. This declaration came:

  1. Just as my signal cleared up and got stable again, which coincided with
  2. Me finishing describing my problem, and
  3. Reading off the serial number of my modem, which to be fair is sorta old

So I’m gonna get a new modem because it’s probably time and a new one hopefully has a more securely patched chipset inside.

But I’m still pissed off because tech support drone told me he could offer me a US$20 discount on a $US59.99 modem, for a total of US$49.99. I pointed out his math was dodgy. He told me he could give me another discount on a different network plan. I used some bad words internally and told him to just send me the damn thing. No email confirming the order yet either, which absolutely guaranteed means he spelled my name wrong in the email address.

How’s your day going? Let’s talk about something more pleasant.

We mentioned the somewhat circuitous nature of film options last week in the context of Ursula Vernon² and Hamster Princess, noting that just because an option’s been obtained doesn’t mean anything is happening soon. I think the land speed record for option ==> movie in comic land is Scott Pilgrim, and even that took about 3-4 years³. I bring this all up because of some immensely good news that broke yesterday:

Looks like the news is out: Amulet will be a live-action movie, hopefully a series. Looking forward to this. …

Firstly, there couldn’t be a better property to make a movie out of than Amulet, and live action is going to rule; congrats to Kazu Kibuishi and all his collaborators. Secondly, this did not happen overnight. One may recall (if one has a sufficient memory) that the option for Amulet was first obtained in 2008 (when the plan was for Will Smith to produce and his kids to star).

The Deadline story describes this in terms of X will happen, but so did the Variety story from 2008, so either this is Amulet moving to the next stage of production (which may falter or progress, we’ll all see together), or maybe it’s not closer to being a movie than it was eight and a half years ago. It’s definitely a paycheck for Kibuishi (the 2008 announcement was at Warner Bros and this one is at Fox, so the old option expired, a new one was obtained, and Kazu gets to do the I got paid twice happy dance), so that’s all right.

Thirdly, note the use of the word franchise in that story; with the right cast, the right director, and the right vision, this could be the next Harry Potter. That being said, if some studio dipshit decides that a girl can’t be the central character and changes Emily to a boy, I’m burning down Hollywood, so you best respect the source material, Fox. I’ve got my eye on you. In the meantime, I’ll be over here waiting for the seventh volume of Amulet, due in Feburary.

Okay, going to wrap it here, on the off chance that my network gets stupid again. See you tomorrow, I hope.

Spam of the day:

Predicted In The Sacred Book of Revelation – Obama’s Deadly Curse The massive downfall that willwipe out 49 out of 50 American states … And unfortunately you won’t make it out alive, because what’s coming has the devil sign on it.

Since I won’t make it out alive, I suppose I’ll spend my time wondering which is the heaven-blessed 50th state that survives. I hope it’s something completely unexpected, like Rhode Island, or maybe just the upper peninsula of Michigan.

¹ Rhymes with Morizon.

² Reminder: I loves me some Digger

³ Unless you want to count The Martian as comic land due to Any Weir’s history as a webcomicker. Bit of a stretch, actually.

In Which I Must Disagree With Ryan North

In all other respects I generally agree with him, but I am firm in this: feta is gross and its presence on an otherwise-delicious pizza is just wrong. I’m getting ahead of myself, we’ll come to that bit later.

  • It’s been maybe six weeks since David Morgan-Mar (PhD, LEGO®©™etc and semi-pro Mr Bean impersonator) announced that he was taking legal advice to determine if it would be possible to produce a printed version of Irregular Webcomic without running afoul of the LEGO corporate behemoth. It appears that the answer was affirmative, given the announcement today:

    I have started work to have collections of Irregular Webcomic! strips printed in book format, for purchase.

    Boom. That’s the sound of perhaps the longest-running webcomic without a print collection (going on thirteen years old) giving its readers what they want. Given a deep archive filled with interleaved storylines, Morgan-Mar opted out of the sequential approach, and will be going with a themed collection:

    The first book will collect all of the Fantasy theme strips up to the hiatus period which began with strip #3198. By my count, that’s 504 strips. With some bonus material, we’re estimating about 140 pages.

    Smart move, by the way — grabbing the first 500 or so strips in IW history would require readers to hop between fourteen different storylines, and not get much resolution on any of them. Also, I’ll note that the Fantasy theme probably makes the least use of actual LEGO assets¹ (other than the Me theme), as the main characters are painted RPG miniatures and not LEGO minifigs; the branded building bricks are used more for backgrounds, props, sets, and side characters. Having less prominent LEGO stuff in the LEGO-themed comic is probably a safe move from a legal standpoint, at least to start.

    Morgan-Mar is presently working with the wonderful folks at Make That Thing, with plans to launch the requisite Kickstarter around the first of the year so as to avoid the holiday confusion (not to mention the tax implications of making a bunch of money in 2015 but not spending it until 2016). I’ll keep you appraised of any future developments, but I will say that this exciting news. Very exciting.

  • Speaking of unreasonably large Kickstarted books from longtime webcomickers, Ryan North officially finished the last stretch goal of the To Be Or Not To Be campaign: he made a pizza that looked like Kate Beaton’s Hamlet portrait and ate it. And then, because he is a Ryan-sized man and has prodigious hunger, he also made one that looked like Beaton’s Ophelia and then ate it, too.

    There was a third pizza².

    This third pie resembled Beaton’s take on Juliet, and with that, North announced the sequel to TBONTB, the long-rumo[u]red Romeo and/or Juliet. Key points: the book will not be crowdfunded, but rather published by Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin. As a result, a hard release date can be promised (7 June 2016), the book is in a final form (no stretch goals), and will feature 400 pages and (by my count) ninety friggin’ artists providing illustrations. I ain’t typing out the list but you can find a copy/paste of it below the cut.

    Oh, and let me point out this one line near the bottom of the announcement:

    I can’t say more about the book JUST YET, but I will say this: as someone who has backed the original Kickstarter and is also awesome, be sure to hold on to your preorder email receipt. For SURPRISES :0 [emphasis original]

    Done, and done!

  • Still on Kickstarted books, the TJ & Amal omnibus got a nice writeup today at The AV Club, and not to do with Kickstarted books at all, yesterday’s Nick Trujillo news has revealed itself: Glitched is running as a Twitter account, and appears to make use of the new polling feature. IN-teresting.

Spam of the day:

You have missed messages vindication Cordially Skype+ service

Weird, it’s almost like I’m being invited to click on links of unknown provenance by services that I don’t use.

¹ Or maybe the Space theme, for similar reasons.

² cf: Ryan-sized man.


Books, Art, And A Disturbing Mental Image

Lots of book news today at Fleen Central. Let’s get stuck in.

  • Okay, big disclaimer up front: KB Spangler is a great friend of mine, I did the foreword for the first collection of her comic, and I’ve been an alpha reader of each of her novels, so take what I’m about to say with however large a grain of salt as you think it deserves.

    Her latest novel, Greek Key releases today in paperback and various electronic formats, and it is friggin’ fantastic — hardly a surprise, given her prodigious skills as a professional editor. She’s got a sharp way with words, the ability to make sudden plot twists look obvious in retrospect, and a completely new take on the myth of Helen of Troy that took my breath away¹.

    If you read her webcomic, this story will fill in bits of the underlying mythology in ways that you will appreciate; if you don’t read her webcomic², everything you need to know will be recapped for you in a natural way and you’ll enjoy a damn good story on its own. Get on this one now.

  • Not released, but well into the print pipeline, Ananth Hirsh was kind enough to share pages from the proofs of Lucky Penny over on his Tumblr. There’s cover shots, under the dustjacket of the hardcover shots, interior pages with new shading shots, and even some wet proof shots. This is gonna be one prettybook.
  • Just starting its journey to print, the new edition of Shadoweyes by Sophie Campbell (known these days for her work on the comic of Jem & the Holograms) is now Kickstarting under the auspices of Iron Circus Comics, aka kicker-of-all-asses [C] Spike [Trotman]. Slave Labor Graphics published an earlier edition way back in 2010, but this one will be nearly twice as long and in color, so even those that are familiar with the story will likely want to check it out with an eye towards ordering.

    This’ll be the third Kickstart of the year³ for Spike and the fourth of the past year (Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here wrapped in mid-December 2014), with two more due before the end of the the year. That’s a level of work that would kill most people, but Spike is not most people — she’s the people that was always told that she couldn’t make comics the way she was, and couldn’t make a living doing the things she was doing, and decided to the best way to get the naysayers to shut the hell up forever would be to work hard and just friggin’ do those things.

    Naturally, those people now all bitch and moan that she’s somehow cheating, because it’s obvious that you can’t possibly succeed the way she has. Here’s a quick note for the bitchers and moaner — keep it up. Spike finds your anguish to be absolutely delicious.

    Anyway, Shadoweyes is just shy of 50% of the way to goal just shy of 23 hours after launch; the early bird rewards are all gone, but there’s plenty of comic goodness still to be had.

  • The greatest art hunt in comics kicks off on Monday, taking place across a week, 19 cities, and five countries as Scott C celebrates the debut of the latest Great Showdowns collection by hiding (or arranging the hiding of) small paintings inspired by popular films in locations where the films took place, starting Monday 2 November and ending Sunday 8 November.

    Announcements as to which scenes are depicted (and thus which location to search) will be made on io9 on Monday, Slashfilm the rest of the week, as well as at Great Showdowns (and presumably C’s twitterfeed). Keep your eyes on the sites and then get searching!

Spam of the day:

The Best of: Sexy Fish

Thought I’d left something out from the headline, didn’t you?

¹ She’s also big into footnotes. I’m telling you, she’s the whole package.

² Also, what the hell is wrong with you?

³ Following TJ & Amal omnibus (now nearing the end of fulfillment) and New World (which suffered from the bane of anthologies — late submissions — but will be shipping in the coming weeks).

Horrorshow, Literally

For those with lesser tolerances for the spooky stuff, things become less scarifying as you read down.

  • Kris Straub is, as I write this, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, headed towards Melbourne and the about-to-occur PAX iteration therein. He’s also just left behind what I an assume is the leading edge of entirely deserved praise for the best contribution to the spirit of the spooky season I’ve seen this year, in the form of a few wobbly images, a couple dozen lines of text, and some deeply unsettling ambient sounds.

    The overnight crew at Channel 58 is not having a good night; something odd is going on, it may well be affecting the entire world and we see only the most local interpretation of events that may be beyond rational comprehension. The … the changes happen in front of us, as two entirely distinct interpretations of what it means to be safe and whole compete for the attention of a vanishingly small audience; those who are asleep are either safe or beyond help, and none of us knows which.

    Straub’s a master of showing no more than is absolutely necessary to get across his message, and this particular nightmare says/shows far less than it could, to terrific — I use that word in its most precise sense — effect. The questions that flood us over the course of a few minutes are more frightening than anything we could have been told/shown; Straub’s made our own imaginations an active co-conspirator in the scares. — both address and, presumably, title — is the most disturbing thing I’ve seen in the past three years not drawn by Emily Carroll, and a perfect tonal match for her work. It’s exactly what this Halloween season — what every Halloween season — needs to achieve maximum creepitude. Bravo.

  • For those not yet sufficiently creeped out, may I point you towards a new project? Adam Tierney (words) and Matthieu Cousin (pictures) have a Kickstarter up for a clever book that you can share with young ‘uns that enjoy the spine-shiver of a good, safe scare. Specifically, they’re putting together an A-to-Z book of 26 one-page illustrations and 26 one-page stories dealing with 26 phobias.

    Afraid of Everything calls to mind an old Peanuts punchline , and you can get a good feel for just how wide-ranging those fears can be by checking out a free 10 page/5 fear preview. The phobic panopticon has cleared a bit more than 50% in its first five days, and is well on track to clear its (exceedingly modest) US$6000 goal in the four weeks remaining. Check ‘er out.

  • Ryan Estrada’s Broken Telephone has been mentioned on this page previously, and as the six-interwoven-stories-with-eighteen-creative-teams epic approaches the 2/3s point of its yearlong run, it’s been catching more attention. Today, for instance, it’s the lead comic in The AV Club’s weekly comic roundup, in the company of the likes of the latest :01 Books entry and Usagi freakin’ Yojimbo. If you haven’t been reading Broken Telephone, you should be, and now it’s not just me that’s telling you that.

Spam of the day:

Hey! New message, please read.
El software de antivirus Avast ha analizado este correo electrónico en busca de virus.

Oh! Well, if you tell me that an antivirus program has scanned your spam email and the link you’re sending is http://[redacted].com/safe, then of course it must be fine for me to click through!

A Week In And Running Low On Stretch Goals

I mean, it’s not like anybody thought that Zach Weinersmith would have trouble meeting at US$15K Kickstarter goal, seeing as how his previous projects have funded at levels ranging from US$47,000 (of a US$20K goal) to US$384,000 (of a US$30K goal). I’m not sure that I expected to see Religion: Ruining Everything Since 4004 BC become his third-most funded project before the 30 hour mark, or be on pace to obliterate all prior records, as the Fleen Funding Formula Mark II puts Religion at US$480K to US$720K final funding.

To put that in perspective, it’s potentially twice the take for his second-highest funded previous project, Science: Ruining Everything Since 1543; it’s also well above current top funder Augie and the Green Knight. Heck, even it if continues at its current long tail rate of “only” about US$7K/day, you’re looking at a total of US$356K, or just about midway between Science and Augie.

Since the only question is how incredibly overfunded Religion will be, maybe I should direct your attention to some of the other webcomics Kickstarts that are currently running? As of this writing, Lunarbaboon vol 2 is at 340% of goal with three weeks to go, but the fifth volume of Spinnerette is still a couple thousand shy (although with three weeks to go, it seems pretty safe).

Significantly, the tenth-anniversary edition of SPQR Blues (think Bite Me, but imperial Rome instead of revolutionary France) is sitting at an even US$5000 of a very modest US$8500 goal with only 11 days to go. If you were ever going to take a leap of faith into a webcomic that you weren’t familiar with on my say-so, this would be the one.

Spam of the day:

Breast Reduction Information

First it was the breast enhancement, then bras, now reduction? Make up your mind, spammers! Also, still a cishet dude.

Back From Pondering Drive … For Now

Okay, so yesterday I promised you other stuff, and now we get to it. Hooray for kept promises!

  • Via Meredith Gran, news that Image will be comprehensively reprinting Octopus pie:

    Image will be collecting the whole OP series starting next year. Out of print material returns! New and never printed comics… IN PRINT

    Specifically, volume 1 will hit in January (a retitled and newly covered edition of the first comprehensive collection, the sadly out of print There Are No Stars In Brooklyn), to be followed by the subsequent collections Listen At Home and Dead Forever, and then on to new stories! No word yet about the release schedule, but I’m already clearing room on my bookshelf for the future volume 4.

  • Meanwhile, Oni Press announced the long-anticipated Lucky Penny collection from Yuko Ota and Ananth Hirsh (serialized from February of 2012 through March of 2015, a timeframe including multiple bouts of near-crippling repetitive stress injuries for Ota). Readers may recall that Ota & Hirsh Kickstarted Lucky Penny so that they could have a stock of the book in addition to what Oni would make, an unusual creator/publisher/crowdfunding partnership that I expect to see more of. The KS version of LP is due in December, and the Oni release is due for March.

    But that’s not all that Oni announced — KC Green’s also part of the press release, as the last long storyline from Gunshow, Graveyard Quest (omitted from the last Gunshow print collection) will also be published in March of 2016. Graveyard Quest is probably the best longform story Green’s ever done, surpassing The Anime Club in depth, and even The Dog’s Sins in terms of unsettling feelings — not from spookyness or unnaturalness, but from the unresolved, heartfelt unease that can only occur in families in crisis.

  • Lastly, I want to recommend to you a piece that’s about a week and a half old, but made it way around the technical corners of the web yesterday, and not just because it contains the entirely amazing sentence I worry about Jeff Bezos’ bizarre obsession with dinosaur sex. That line was uttered by Matthew Prince, head of Cloudflare, the DSN and web security company. He was talking about Amazon chief Bezos and the recent ban on e-books containing weird human/dinosaur (or human/monster, or human/whatever) erotica, which has proved oddly lucrative for certain creators, and thus also for Amazon. Amazon don’t do nuthin’ that doesn’t make money, so banning an entire category of books that a) sell and b) give Amazon a cut means that somebody at the top (hi, Jeff!) has a serious beef with people gettin’ it on ceratopsians¹.

    It’s all very amusing, but it masks a more serious problem; part of the whisk[e]y-fueled chat I had with Brad Guigar concerned what happens if (when?) porn becomes so prevalent on Patreon that credit card processors automatically start charging the higher transaction fees that they level on adult material? What happens if the entire site gets cut off from the financial system altogether? Visa and Mastercard have, multiple times in the past, cut off merchants whose business was insufficiently family-friendly rather than be accused of catering to the porn industry.

    There’s also pretty concrete evidence that the Justice Department (or at least the offices of the local US Attorney) have leaned on banks to close the accounts of smut producers (usually small, sometimes essentially individuals) under the authority of laws meant to fight financial crimes and the funding of terrorism. Not to speak for Josh Lesnick, but I’d imagine the biggest headache that Slipshine [NSFW, obvs] has is keeping a payment processor that doesn’t decide to yank his merchant account because somebody has to think of the children.

    We think of webcomics has having evaded gatekeepers, and on a content/editorial basis, it absolutely has. But in trying to make that independent effort a proper business, one must engage in a system that is entirely one-sided. Run afoul of one person at Chase or Bank of America and you’re frozen out; they’ll never take on a major corporate creator of inferior smut (cable and dish companies make a lot of damn money off of naughty pay-per-view; so does every hotel chain other than Hilton, who are weaning themselves off the grumble flicks), but they’ll freeze out anybody that attracts enough attention from a loud enough pressure group.

    Which is why the interview with Prince is important. With the continued concentration of information services into the hands of fewer and fewer providers, the possibility of getting strong-armed by somebody that doesn’t like your personal aesthetic is something we’re going to have to be increasingly cognizant of.

Spam of the day:

I’ve been wanting you inside me since I saw your pictures. Can you please message me so we can hang out this weekend?

Sorry, I think you meant to send this to the Triceratops with the very similar email address.

¹ I almost wrote women instead of people, but there’s plenty of gay dinosmut as well, although does anything on the hetero/homo axis make sense when you’re talking about different species?