The webcomics blog about webcomics

I Am Puzzled

No image up top; it’ll ruin the surprise.

Let’s get something out of the way: I am not about to argue that if you disagree with me about a piece of culture — a movie, a book, a TV show — that the fact of our disagreement means that you are irrevocably stupid and dumb and wrong. Indeed, the most valuable movie critic I’ve ever read was a woman in the local newspaper <cough, mummble years ago, cough> with whom I regularly disagreed, but did so in a wholly predictable manner, meaning that I could estimate to a high degree of precision how much I would like a movie based on how much she did or did not. That’s some primo information, y’all.

What I’m puzzled by today is a review of Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor (of which much has been written on this page and elsewhere) at The AV Club, whose writers I normally find well-mappable and usefully predictable (in the sense that I can predict my own likelihood of enjoyment from theirs). It’s a pretty mediocre, verging on bad review; I’ve seen less-than-laudatory reviews of The Sculptor, but this one seems to be … mean spirited? It’s drawing inference and intent that I don’t think are accurate in anything but a most cursory read, seems to be unable to separate the creator from the character, and particularly seems insulted that The Sculptor mentions Jeff Koons in a cursory way that is not a big, sloppy blowjob.

I can’t recall the last time that even a novice creators still learning their way around a craft was treated as shabbily as in this conclusion:

A few fantasy bits are cribbed from a photocopy of Neil Gaiman’s plumber’s cousin’s Sandman fan-fic¹. There’s even an angry Russian landlord with mob connections. Is there a word for when talented artists succeed in proving to the world in the most embarrassing and sincere way possible that they have absolutely nothing left to say?

Like I said — puzzling.


Spam of the day:

??????????????????????????????????????

My thoughts exactly.

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¹ One must note that among those that disagree would be Neil Gaiman.

Want To See Something Cool?

NEVER gonna get tired of using this image. All hail Raina.

Over at The Beat, Heidi Mac does a nice piece on the year-end graphic novel sales figures compiled by retailer Brian Hibbs and something awesome jumps out right at the top of the list (of which the ten highest are shown here):

176,197 — SISTERS
152,220 — TALES FROM A NOT SO FABULOUS LIFE
150,523 — SMILE
129,679 — HYPERBOLE AND A HALF
94,152 — DRAMA
84,707 — BIG NATE GRT MINDS THINK ALIKE
83,639 — STAR WARS JEDI ACADEMY
78,132 — STAR WARS JEDI ACADEMY RETURN
74,581 — DORK DIARIES OMG ALL ABOUT ME
72,520 — CANT WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING M

Several somethings, actually. First, Raina Telgemeier absolutely dominated GN sales in 2014. Second, keep in mind that Sisters wasn’t released until the last week of August, meaning it was only on sale for about a third of the year; a full-year sales figure would be likely above 500,000 copies. But Gary I hear you cry wouldn’t sales taper off after everybody bought the book?

Third thing: the #3 best selling GN of the year was Smile¹, perennial New York Times bestseller; if she can sustain that kind of interest across five years, Sisters could continue to sell across one. And what’s that at #5? Drama, which came back onto the bestseller list because a new cohort of readers is discovering Telgemeier’s work and seeking it out. If Sisters had released earlier, there would have been a bump on Drama as well.

Yes, this is all based on Bookscan from Nielsen, and it doesn’t cover everything, and the actual sales numbers are estimates² and yadda, yadda. Take all the friction points into account, and the story of one young girl who a) got her teeth knocked out; and b) learned to have a relationship with her younger sister sold twice as many copies as the largest, most globally-dominant IP factory in history; Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, the Avengers, and all the rest aren’t even in the same league as a 10 to 14 year old with braces from San Francisco. It was the Year of Raina, and I’ll fight any man-jack of you that says different.

Also awesome:


Spam of the day:

APPRENEZ A PIRATER LE COMPTE ET LE MOT DE PASSE

Man, I wish that Google Translate could come up with an acceptable French phrasing for snort my taint (all credit to the inestimable Ken White).

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¹ As it turns out, today is Smile day, 26 years to the day since Raina knocked out her teeth.

² Come to think of it, I wonder how these numbers account for the Sisters/Smile combo box set? One copy of each sold, or does it show up under another line item further down the list?

³ One of three that I hear regularly given the title, the other two being The Great Gatsby (which I loathe) and Tom Sawyer (which is terrific and I guess means the designation of Definitive American Novel has at least a one-in-three hit rate).

Welcome Returns

  • Kickstarter’s back! That’s not the odd part, that sound of a million webcomickers sighing in relief. What’s odd is the progression I’m seeing on the TJ & Amal Omnibus, which I promised a prediction based on the Fleen Funding Formula (mark 2) today.

    I’ve been refining this thing through several revisions, and I think the current model based on the Kicktraq trend value at the 24 – 30 hour mark is as accurate as anything is going to be. I had to come up with the limitation that it’s not appropriate for low backer counts (under 200 in that 24 – 30 hour period, it just doesn’t work), and I think that TJ & Amal and another recent campaign are going to cause me to find some new limits.

    In the case of TJ & Amal, that’s a hell of a drop-off from day one to day two; granted, some of that is undoubtedly due to the Kickstarter outage yesterday, but still. In campaigns where the FFFmk2 has worked well, there’s a day two drop off that ranges from slight (ex: here and here) to about a third (ex: here or here). Where the dropoff is more severe, the formula doesn’t work well.

    Which brings us to TJ & Amal, where numbers have dropped heavily from day one (day two: barely 15% of day one) and new funding has essentially bottomed out. My thought process is as follows:

    • The TJ & Amal campaign launched as close to midnight EST, meaning day one was a full 24 hours. Had it launched later in the day, there may have been a more equitable division between the first two days; at 13 hours, it was at about U$29K, which would have made the day 1/day 2 split closer to 66%/33%. Still a steep drop, but not the 85%/15% split we saw.
    • But even that drop would have put this campaign at the outer band of confidence in the formula. I think we may have seen an unusually-strong early response, due to the limited nature of one of the rewards (creator EK Weaver is printing 750 copies of an epilogue for the strip; this likely provided an incentive for most everybody that might have backed gradually over the 30 day campaign to get in early and ensure they’d get a copy).
    • TJ & Amal doesn’t just have fans, it has superfans; my impression is that there aren’t any casual readers of this strip. It’s your absolute favorite, or you were never going to buy the collection anyway.

    Which I think is going to add another usability limitation on the FFFmk2: An excessive day two drop (let’s say more than 50%) will make it non-predictive. I suspect at this point that TJ & Amal will creep up slightly, maybe adding another US$10K to its present total of US$45K, but not cracking the range of US$175K +/- 35K that the math would have indicated.

    Then again, it may get a weird late bump and meet the predicated range after all, but what I’ll really need are another dozen or so campaigns that meet the 200 backer limit, have day 2 totals under 50% of day 1, and the classic Kickstarter bowl-shaped progress curve. I don’t know what I’m going to do with multi-peak campaigns¹, and other such strange curves.

    And as long as we’re on the topic, I’m not sure what to do with the Camp Weedonwantcha campaign: it launched just before the Kickstarter outage — no doubt affecting day 1 totals — and the day 2 totals are not likely to get above the 50% threshold. Then again, the Penny Arcade marketing machine has not yet been fully brought to bear, so while we could have another strange curve ahead of us, I think this one will be explained more by super-high tiers getting snapped up.

    As of this writing, Katie Rice has 10 (of 20 max) backers at the US$250 level, 5 (of 5 max) at the US$500 level, and 3 (of 5 max) at the US$1000 level. Fewer than 5% of her backers acted quickly to get those high-value rewards, and contributed a full 26% of her funding total; that skew can’t be maintained, which means I may need to add a consideration for super-high tiers to the formula. It’s getting tougher and tougher to come up with a single calculation to predict Kickstarter success, but hey — all of these projects met their goals several times over, and that’s something to celebrate right there.

  • Also something to celebrate? The long-awaited return of the Goats website, with strips running from November 2003 to April 2010, six and a half years of glorious madness rescued from the aether, missing only the story guide I penned for Jon Rosenberg about the time he bought my soul. And just in case you wonder if Goats is still relevant, given that the last of the 1100+ strips here is nearly five years old, I will point out that just last week I saw a Republicans for Voldemort bumper sticker in the wild.

    And remember: the appearance of this revived website — like unto the breaking of the seven seals the the blowing of the final trump — is the harbinger of a resurgence in the very finest of beer-driven webcomics². Five years of bouncing around the multiverse won’t have made the story that Rosenberg still wants to finish any less weird. The End Times are a’coming³, and we get to go along for the ride. Testify.


Spam of the day:

… I am the sales manager at ******* Marketing. I was just looking at your Fleen: Try Our Thick, Creamy Shakes » I Would Vote For History’s Greatest Villain¹ If She Could Break The Spine Of This Winter website and see that your site has the potential to get a lot of visitors.

Wow. Wow. That was just pathetic. Try again.

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¹ See also: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which would have been predicated to hit US$32.5K +/- 6.5K, and actually achieved US$61K thanks to a last-week surge. Multi-peak campaigns play hell with the predictions.

² And in case you’re wondering where the black and white strips back to 1997 are, they’re still there at the Wayback Machine. Start here.

³ Okay, fine, The End Times were a’coming in the past and must have been successfully averted because check it out: we’re still here!, is that better? Rosenberg can still tell the story of how the end of the universe was resolved. Sheesh.

Well, This Is Unfortunate

There were going to be some Kickstarter stories — like the launch of a campaign to fund Camp Weedonwantcha’s first print collection, or the FFFmk2 on the TJ & Amal Omnibus — but it appears that Kickstarter itself is having a bit of a wobbly.

It’s not clear at this time how the failure of access is going to affect projects; TJ & Amal has a project page that loads very slowly, but shows no activity (likewise, the Kicktraq page countdown timer is stuck at 28 days, 9 hours, 53 minutes), the Camp page doesn’t want to load at all, and I’ve had no luck connecting to my account’s current activity. My best guess is that KS will offer to extend all campaigns by an amount of time equal to the outage, but that’s just a guess. Likewise, the cause of the outage is not known publicly at this time, but I think we all know it’s due to too many awesome ladies making webcomics collections.

  • So what can we talk about today? How about an already-funded project that was on a different site? The first collection of Stand Still, Stay Silent funded out in October, and it was known that the books would not be shipping for a while because they would be including Chapter 4, which Minna Sundberg didn’t complete until the end of November. As it turns out, the books are going to be a bit later than originally expected, for the very best of reasons:

    I didn’t want to promise anything until I knew just how long chapter 5 would end up being, because if it ran too long I simply couldn’t include it due to the added weight/shipping cost. But now I know the final page count, and with the book clocking out at around 320 pages (instead of the previous 260) I have made the informed decision to throw in this fifth chapter too.

    So instead of a 260+ page book, Sundberg is giving us a 320+ page book, making your contribution a full 25% more valuable. Yay!

  • I don’t want to get anybody’s hopes up, but there have been two updates to Boy On A Stick And Slither this week, on Monday and today. I am cautiously optimistically that these strips — apparently the first since the June of 2011 — represent a return of Steven Cloud to cartooning, and as such I’m removing the indefinite hiatus annotation from the blogroll over there to the right. Everybody feel good for Cloudy!

Spam of the day:

Monoplex lignarius is a species of predatory sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Ranellidae

Congratulations, random spammer! You have lifted text from perhaps the most content-free Wikipedia page ever, lacking even basic copy for nearly four years.

Y’all Sure Are Upholding Roddenberry’s Vision Of A Better Society, Good Job

That's the problem with past representations of the future -- they rarely age well.

Apart from the garbage people coming up from out of the floorboards to tell Jon Rosenberg that he’s a blasphemer, heretic, apostate, and filthy SJW¹ for his extremely mild jab at Star Trek, is it a good day to for good news about webcomics creators? I believe that yes, yes it is.

  • For starters, the invaluable Jim Zub has posted another in his series of studies of the economics of creator-owned comics; the key takeaway from this one is how much the market has changed in the couple of years that he’s been sharing data. Zub’s gracious enough to talk about the work that Image (his publisher for creator-owned work) has put into building up the market, identifying it as the second of six key factors for the relatively greater success of Wayward over Skullkickers.

    In fact, if we take the ordering of his factors as significant, he cites Image as being more important than his own efforts in three areas: his higher career profile, retailer outreach, and press outreach. I think he’s being too modest here, as even the best company — and by all indicators Zub clearly thinks of Image as being a near-ideal fit for him — will never care about your career success more than you do. Choosing to work with Image is one of many things that Zub has done right, and I am hammering on this point because I don’t want (and I suspect strong that Zub doesn’t either) anybody to read his piece and conclude The secret to success is getting in at Image.

    It’s not. The secret to success is hard work, improving skills, becoming a known quantity (not the least, becoming known for meeting deadlines and publication dates), and a hell of a lot of luck. If the secret to success was landing at Image, we’d have seen issue #2 of Nonplayer by now. The success of Zub in comics is 90% attributable to Zub; or as he puts it for those who read the entire thing:

    In the end, I think that’s what creator-owned comics are all about – charting your own destiny and growing creatively with each new project.

  • Speaking of building success on past success, Spike is doing well with her plan to turn Iron Circus Comics from the company that publishes her comics and the anthologies that she leads into a publisher of other creators. Case in point: the Kickstarter for ICC’s first non-Spike project, an omnibus edition of The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal by EK Weaver, has been … well, let’s let Spike tell us in real time:

    the TJ & A omnibus Kickstarter project will launch in five minutes! Just putting in the media credits.

    Jesus Christ Whisper Grass [a 20-backer limited reward at the US$75 level] didn’t last FIVE MINTUES

    Jesus it’s at over 5k and I haven’t even told tumblr yet

    LET ME FINISH MY TUMBLR POST YOU ANIMALS

    Four backer levels sold out within a half-hour of a Kickstarter’s launch” is a new record for me.

    50% funded in an hour good lord

    This Kickstarter is funding faster than the original Smut Peddler KS!

    DING. 100% OF GOAL IN SIX HOURS.

    Please note: this campaign launched at midnight East Coast time, and funded entirely by 6:00am; a lot of people went to bed before funding launched and woke up to find it already over goal. As of this writing, some 13 hours after launch, the omnibus is sitting at a hair under US$29K (call it 156% of goal) and 565 backers. Yeah, it’s not going to be the next Exploding Kittens², but come back tomorrow and we’ll see what the Fleen Funding Formula (mark 2)³ has to say.

  • How about a simple story, something with no math or numbers? The Bram Stoker Awards (from the Horror Writers Association) have announced their nominees for 2014, and in the comics category (or more officially, Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel) we find one web/indy creator competing against the likes of Joe Hill and Paul Tobin. I speak, naturally, of Emily Carroll, recognized for Through The Woods, described on this site as the most frightening book I’ve ever read, and for good reason, too.

    Here’s hoping that the HWA members are diligent about reading the nominated works and here’s hoping that Carroll wins, because if there’s something out there more spooktastic than Through The Woods I’m not sure I want to know about it. We’ll find out on Saturday, 9 May, when the Bram Stoker Awards are handed out in conjunction with the World Horror Convention in Atlanta. Try to remain calm until then, and remember — there are things that lurk under the bed, in the closet, and behind the walls.


Spam of the day:

This is the place where I started out also it would have been a great start for you as well.

Yes! All my efforts have come to fruition, people are starting here and then going out into the world to spread my word.

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¹ Social Jew Warrior.

² That already launched today: the new version of the Pebble Watch, which is at $4.5million (or #8 most-funded of all time) and climbing a few hours in. In a month, we seem certain to have a new #1, although the relatively high price of entry means it probably won’t displace the Kittens from most-backed.

³ Which, because I just realized I never followed up on my prediction for funding: Exploding Kittens closed with US$8.782 million in funding, just inside the range of US$6 to 9 million that the FFFmk2 gave us. As a reminder, the FFFmk2 states you take the Predicted Value of a project at the 24-30 hour mark from Kicktraq and call that PV. The range at close will be PV/4 +/- PV/20, but has only shown to be valid for project with at least 200 backers at calculation time.

Yes, something like Exploding Kittens produces a fairly wide range, but US$7.5 million +/- US$1.5 million is as tight as we can make it with current Day One technology.

Wow. Just Wow.

When I pointed out yesterday that it was possible for Exploding Kittens to pick up some US$600K in seven hours to become the #3 most funded Kickstarter of all time, I wasn’t entirely convinced. But there it is¹, and with just shy of 220,000 backers (Heck there were more than 200,000 in one reward tier) it has set a support record that is not likely to be broken for a long damn time. Now let’s just hope it’s as fun to play as we’re all betting.

But first, let’s let the team of principals — Elan Lee, Matthew Inman, and Shane Small — have the weekend to not think about this project, its enormous community, and the immense task they’ve taken on of making sure everybody’s happy². Lee estimates that will take him the next two years.

  • Hey look at that — the Nebula Award nominations are out and Ursula Vernon recognized the Short Story category for Jackalope Wives, a cracker of a tale about skin-walking and Vernon’s latest excellent take on a feisty wise old woman (cross reference here). I haven’t read the other nominees in the category so I can’t say that Jackalope Wives is the best story in the bunch, but it is damn good and worthy of your time.
  • Uh-oh. Howard³ is planning something. Take care around your wallets, whatever he makes is going to look alway appealing, and it’ll no doubt regular readers & book buyers to make new purchases, and then he’ll do the I got paid three times dance. Last time that happened, I had to buy him a smoothie while we dodged a massive zombie walk snarling the Gaslamp district of San Diego.

Spam of the day:

Online Married Ladies Seek Immediate Offline Boinking*.

I do not want to know what kind of clarification is hiding in that footnote.

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¹ And there’s still a week or so before the final figure gets adjusted due to failed payments.

² Which may be considerable. How many people in the world do you figure are complete and utter dicks about the smallest things, the ones who will complain and whine and make your life miserable, particularly if they figure that you’re faceless and remote and have infinite resources and why are you oppressing them? One in a thousand? One in two thousand?

By those extremely optimistic projections, Lee & Company will have to deal with literally hundreds of miserable sumbitches on the internet. Delivery delayed by a day? Box a little dented? Color scheme not perfectly as imagined? They’re going to be dealing with that for potentially years, so it is my sincere hope that the EK team spends at least 10% of the funds raised on whatever they find pleasurable and distracting.

³ Evil twin, etc.

Developing Stories

It’s Thursday. We could all use a little uplift today, so let’s look at some critical and popular successes.

  • Following up on yesterday’s story about The Sculptor becoming a movie, we have the closest thing we’re going to get to an insider view of what happens when your creative child gets adopted by the studio system.

    Lucy Bellwood has a unique point of view on Hollywood — her mother is a script analyst, and her father one the screenwriters of Highlander¹, so she can tell you from long experience what Hollywood bought your thing and now it’s going to be a movie! is like, and she shares it in comic form at The Nib. It’s not pretty.

    Don’t get me wrong; should a movie of The Sculptor actually ever be made — and that’s years down the road at the very least — I will be there on opening night, happy to see what got made. But unlike a big-screen version of characters defined with broad strokes and a few zillion plotlines to mine (see: any superhero movie), a story with a beginning, middle, and end is far more likely to end up significantly changed². I’m cautiously optimistic, and overwhelmingly glad that the movie version won’t ever cause the print copy to disappear from my bookshelf.

  • In about eight hours, we’ll find out exactly how huge a success the Exploding Kittens Kickstarter has been. As of this writing, they are probably going to cross the US$8 million mark in the next hour, and are about 500 backers from the 200,000 threshold. To put those numbers in perspective no wait scratch that, in the time I took to write that sentence things have changed. Literally in the two minutes that I looked away from the campaign page, the funding level jumped by about US$40,000 and the backer level by more than 800. They’re now over eight actual megabucks and 200K backers.

    To again attempt to put that in perspective, Exploding Kittens has the #4 all-time highest funds raised record on Kickstarter (and it’s not inconceivable it might raise the US$600K to become #3) and is by far the most-backed project ever. Right now, Exploding Kittens has eclipsed the Reading Rainbow (formerly #1) backer count by not quite 95,000 people, and has an even shot of outright doubling the onetime record.

    Here’s hoping that whole West Coast port-worker slowdown thing is resolved by the time that Exploding Kittens gets put on a container ship (I am presuming it will be printed in China, but with this kind of money, stateside manufacture might actually be economically possible), because otherwise a few hundred thousand pissed-off nerds are gonna be looking for some longshoremen and stevedores to beat up until their rewards fall out.


Spam of the day:

Oprah prevents carbs

I’m speechless. Who knew that Oprah could operate at a metabolic level?

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¹ The good one. Also, sadly, the sequel which was … yeesh, not good.

² Please, and I say this as somebody who enjoys his movies for what they are, don’t let Peter Jackson anywhere near The Sculptor.

The Solution For Technical Problems? Guigar

So what you don’t know is that yesterday, Fleen’s back end was acting the hell up. Some combination of MySQL and WordPress decided it just really didn’t like the post I was working on, and it fought me at every turn. And by fought me I mean ten minutes to save a draft and spontaneously stop responding and lose all the changes. Today, by contrast, is running perfectly smooth and normal, which I can only attribute to the prevalence of Brad Guigar in today’s post; around Brad, comics spontaneously behave.

Brad! We’re a couple of days late, but we at Fleen would be remiss if we didn’t note that this past weekend, Brad Guigar marked his fifteenth anniversary of daily cartooning, having produced a total of:

1,471 Greystone Inn comic strips, 2,943* Evil Incs 410 Courting Disasters and 95 Phables. (And 163* Tales from the Con comics, which I write for Emerald City Comicon.) (emphasis original)

Or a bit more than 5000, if you’re into aggregates. Oh also three books on cartooning, an Eisner nomination, and a couple hundred hours of at least four different podcasts, a school full of students that will kill and destroy in his name revere him as a mentor, and the most infamous laugh in history. Not bad for such a young guy.

Brad! So where do you go after accomplishing all that? You go to the place where you launch two more comics, because of course you do. Previously available only to supporters of his Patreon (who still get first dibs), everybody can now read Arch Bros (based on his sons, one of whom thinks he’s a superhero, and the other thinks he’s a supervillain) and single-panel gag comics/sketches at the revamped Guigar.com, which also serves as your source for All Things Brad.

Brad! Guigar’s also a tastemaker and trendsetter. Case in point — his new colorist Alex Heberling, who’s been knocking it out of the park with her work on Evil, Inc these past few weeks. Please don’t misinterpret me and ascribe her success and skill to Guigar, but let’s acknowledge that the guy has an eye for talent and that paying gig is only helping Heberling in terms of career and public profile. Oh, and in case you weren’t paying attention when Guigar was telling you, Heberling’s Kickstarter campaign for the first print collection of her webcomic, The Hues, is about to end. You’ve got about two hours to get in on it.

Brad! So we talked about what Gumroad is doing for its clients in re: VATMOSS last week. But it’s simply not enough for Brad Guigar to point out what one company is doing … he went out and figured out the responses of seven different delivery vendors to the VATMOSS challenge, letting you know who’s doing a good job and who isn’t. The report is behind the subscription wall at Webcomics Dot Com, but I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Guigar found Gumroad’s response as impressive as I did. You’ll have to purchase access to determine who else is doing well and who isn’t, but if you hope to sell e-goods to the EU, the US$5 month’s trial is a pretty good deal.

Curiously, not Brad! Yes, even on a Bradarrific day, there will be some news that’s not Guigar-related. Today, that would be the announcement of the first tranche of special guests at this year’s TCAF, a list which includes Charles Burns, Eleanor Davis, Gurihiru, Lucy Knisley, Scott McCloud, Barbara Stok, Jillian Tamaki, and Chip Zdarsky. Keep in mind that about 300 more creators from around the world will be at TCAF, a list of which will be found here.


Spam of the day:

I got an Appletini and the hubby coffee.

Of all the things that I have no interest in, alleged weight-loss tips from R-----l R-y is at the very top of the list.

I Would Vote For History’s Greatest Villain¹ If She Could Break The Spine Of This Winter

It’s cold, it’s going to snow at least once more this week, and New England has turned into Ice Station Zero.

  • I could have used a different reference in footnote #1 (and a different image for the header of the post), but R Stevens hasn’t (as I write this) yet gotten around to President #39 in his Pixel Presidents series, updating now on his Tumblr. They go up in batches of six or so at a time, at about one minute intervals, because how else are you going to kill time when you’re on hold with the cable company?
  • Which bit of inevitable news should we go with first? That the Exploding Kittens Kickstarter met its 30-cheevo stretch goal and can only drum up further excitement by declaring virtual and IRL party events for the next three days? Or that Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List for hardcover graphic novels²?
  • Actually, I think one other thing was more inevitable: when waiting to enter the McCloud talk at the 92nd Street Y a couple weeks back, and talking with Raina Telgemeier, she told me that she fully expected McCloud to knock her out of her spot on the Times Best Sellers List.

    He didn’t, due largely to the fact that Telgemeier is on the softcover list, but I am not sure he would have if they were on the same list. Significantly, Telgemeier regained her clean sweep of slots 1, 2, and 3. Even more interesting, Drama is in the top slot, presumably because all of the readers that tore through Smile and its sequel Sisters are now digging through the back catalog for anything Raina-related. What with the newly colored editions of the Baby Sitters Club books about to release, it’s a very good time to be Raina Telgemeier.

  • Speaking of McCloud and Telgemeier, they will be among the Guests of Honor at this year’s MoCCA Fest, just about two months from now, presuming we haven’t all frozen to death by then. The Society of Illustrators have celebrated by releasing the main visual for this year’s event, by Eleanor Davis. I maintain that MoCCA is one of the great bargains in comics shows, costing a whopping $5/day at the door and existing on a scale that allows you to see everything without feeling homicidal.
  • Finally, let us take a moment to reflect on those that perhaps have a harder time with the cold than we do. I am thinking here of ectotherms, particularly snakes, and most particularly one snake that’s trying to find her way in the world:

    New chapter of my webcomic, THE WHITE SNAKE! http://jenwang.net/whitesnake/

    One of the things I love about The White Snake is that it releases a chapter at a time; getting 20 – 24 pages of story in a chunk is much more satisfying than two pages a week over a period of months. It has been a while since we met Lily, so maybe go back and refresh on Chapter One before moving on to Chapter Two.


Spam of the day:

Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I to find It really useful & it helped me out a lot.

Happy to be of service.

________________
¹ Jodie Foster.

² Despite the art being merely serviceable, as judged by this guy who is the walking embodiment of the New Yorker substitute cartoon punchline.

Returns And Launches

Apropos of nothing, there is apparently a DJ-type guy named Diplo (I’d never heard of him before) who has apparently lifted art from Rebecca Mock, and when called on it proved himself to be human garbage. Just putting that out there.

  • I believe that I’m on record as finding Scott C’s work whimsical and wonderful, and I particularly love how he can made anything adorable. Consider: instead of the lifeless reanimated husks of Zombie In Love scaring the bejabbers out of its very young intended audience, it is charming and happy-making. That’s a heck of a trick to pull off, and one that should not be limited to 32 pages. Luckily, it no longer is:

    You’ve already seen the book, but here is an official announcement for the new Zombie in Love 2 +1!

    Ready to read something adorable?

    Mortimer and Mildred are back with the sequel book called Zombie in Love 2 +1! It follows the young couple as they journey into parenthood! A brand new human baby is left on their doorstep and they must learn to care for him. They discover quickly that human babies are not into zombie stuff. Parenthood can be a struggle normally, so you can imagine how tough it is for these two zombie parents to care for a human baby. I mean, just imagine! And guess what? All your other friends are in this book, the zombie dog, the worms, even a new zombie cat. You’ll probably love it.

    I’ma go out on a limb and guess that Mr C is right and you probably will love it. I still can’t get over that line about shrieking lullabies.

  • I wasn’t going to mention the whole Scribd thing for a couple of reasons:
    1. I have never trusted media that I don’t own¹, although I suppose a library access via subscription model is much less likely to hit my paranoia than the pay for it and download stuff that we can take if we want model
    2. I am innately suspicious of sites that offer no functionality unless I enable JavaScript²; seriously, you can’t so much as read a description of Scribd’s comics offerings without allowing scripting
    3. I’m not that interested in the vast back catalogs of print comics when there are so many good new comics (in print and not) coming out now
    4. I absolutely despise this whole tech industry thing of making up a word by randomly leaving out an letter; I’m not on Tumblr, either

    But gosh darnit, it seems like there are webcomics angles to consider, one of which is possibly why I haven’t been able to enjoy one of my favorite webcomics for months and months:

    At last I can reveal what I’ve been doing the past few months: curating the amazing new comics section at @Scribd!

    This is mixed news for me. One the one hand, I am not going to be a subScribder to this service for the reasons listed above. On the other hand Shaenon Garrity has pointed me to some damn good comics in the past, on account of our tastes track each other by about 70%, meaning I can innately trust her and she’ll still surprise me with stuff I wouldn’t have looked at before. Her palette for completely bonkers off the wall concepts (like, say, a 26 volume manga fighting series about the cut-throat world of competitive bread baking) is unmatched and has brought me much pleasure. Not buying into Scribd means I may be missing out on stuff I’d really like.

    But mostly importantly, I’d figured that Shaenon Garrity’s stellar X-Files recap comics were on hiatus still due to the challenges of raising her new son; it seems she’s been at work for a chunk of time, which means that now that Scribd’s comics service has launched, she might be able to get back to Mulder³ and Scully and Skinner’s Righteous Fists of Rage. Here’s hoping, at least.

  • Actually, one other reason to maybe hold back on Scribd, this one from the keenest mind in webcomics:

    Warning: Do NOT sign up for Scribd for its comics if you have a Kindle Fire! Every title I clicked so far is “not available for this device”

    Which is odd, considering that Scribd supports the Kindle Fire, albeit with a specific installation. Anyway, Kindle Fire owners emptor, I guess.

    Update to add: Brad Guigar has retracted his caution.

  • For those of you that keep track of these things, a card game that nobody has played yet is on the verge of raising US$6 million and having 150,000 backers and is now the fifth most-funded project in Kickstarter’s history. With eight days to go, it seems certain to move into the #4 slot. Yikes.

Spam of the day:

Hello. And Bye.

Not much to add, really.

_______________
¹ And yes, this means that I don’t have Netflix.

² Which, in terms of widespread crappy technology that opens up my computer to drive-by infections, is second only to Flash.

³ As I am finishing this post, David Duchovny is coming on the radio, being introduced by Leonard Lopate as I type this sentence. Spooooky.