The webcomics blog about webcomics

Let’s Minimize The Potential For Further Losses

Mostly about books, today. Mostly.

  • I have a correction to make; yesterday I made mention of the new Girl Genius Kickstarter campaign, which I said had launched overnight. From looking at the Kicktraq data, it appears that it actually launched ten days prior, and the Foglios were unusually quiet about it; the soft launch ended when they messaged backers of prior Kickstarter campaigns, and what I thought was a hundred grand of progress in a day was actually the result of a week and a half. The soft launch also produced the weirdest funding trendline I’ve ever seen, along with a multi-peak daily data graph. Regardless, they’re well over goal, have maxed out the stretch goals, and there’s a mention of new ones coming soon.

    Soft launches, man. Confusing.

  • Speaking of Kickstarts, I am surprised to see that The Best Book has moved from a small but respectable 6% funded day-after-launch (15 April, as discussed here) to a not very encouraging 15% funded a week in. Guys. A Paul Southworth-illustrated kids book about the joys of reading is in danger of not funding and I feel this is partially my fault for not hyping it sufficiently.

    Consider it hyped, and consider this a call to action — the youngest readers (slash-listeners, since this is pitched at the real young’uns) will not discover a love of books on their own; they must be taught and trained and raised right and if this book doesn’t succeed, every single one of you will be contributing to the future decline of reading. Get backing, get talking.

  • From the That’s A Relief department: Ursula Vernon and her travel companions have returned from their sojourn in Africa, with magnificent animals seen, adventure embedded firmly in brains for eventual sharing, and the Life List just a wee bit longer¹. What struck me about Vernon’s first writeup of the experience (apart from the fact that the well known Weirdness Field that surrounds her did not result in her being named Queen of the Were-aardvarks or some such) is a discussion she had with her guide about the hegemony of language:

    “There is no word,” he explained. “Not in Setswana. We say water bird, but then we use the English, kingfisher.”

    “Oh,” I said again. “There isn’t a word. Okay.”

    He frowned down at the paper. “Ah … there is a book. In eighteen-hundred, a man went all around Botswana and collected all the Setswana words. If you look in that book, there may be a word. But we do not know the word now. It is …” He trailed off, waving the tip of the pen in that I-am-trying-to-think-of-a-word motion (which may not be completely universal, but seems to hold up pretty well between Botswana and here.)

    “Lost?” I suggested after a minute.

    “Lost. Yes. There was a word, I think. It is lost.” He handed me back the paper.

    I felt a pang of guilt, as if my native language was a dog that had bitten his. English sheds words constantly, of course, but usually not to replace them with someone else’s. And Setswana is a language with many, many native speakers — Wikipedia says over five million — and on no one’s list of endangered languages. Many of the parks were named in Setswana, and he’d told us both the common Setswana names of animals and sometimes the word in the regional dialect. But here I’d stumbled onto a word that had simply slipped away and been replaced by English.

    If that bit of sic transit gloria mundi is too much to contemplate, Vernon’s latest middle-grades book — Castle Hangnail — is out today, and thus you may cheer yourself up with a copy of that.

  • Finally, happy birthday to two of the most original, relentlessly cheerful gentlemen in webcomics or any other endeavour: Chris Yates and Frank Gibson were both born this day, and that makes this a Good Day.

Spam of the day:

if you decide on the wrong people or company to help you out in loan mod, you happen to be putting your loan along with your you will find greater danger.

Why yes complete stranger with a partial command of the language of international finance, I would very much like to trust you with a high-value loan modification. In other news, deposed Nigerian princes like me.

¹ And by wee bit, I mean 154 new birds.

They Want What In How Many Days?

Answer: seven days of class material in five days. One may understand that I’ll be somewhat … brief this week.

  • New TopatoCon announcement du jour: Dante Shepherd, imitator of raptors¹, wielder of mallets, teacher of the young, record-holder for chalk concentration in the blood of an alive human. Be sure to shout Woo, Yankees! when you see him.
  • New Kickstarter for Girl Genius went up in the wee hours, already sitting at 155% of its US$60,000 goal and less than US$250 from its last stretch goal. Good thing too, as it’s only running for eleven days. Of perhaps equal interest is the fact that while this is the 14th (!) volume of Agatha Heterodyne’s adventures, Pr & Pr Foglio have created a story break to serve as a jumping-on point and renumbered back down to one — the better to not scare off new readers, presumably. We’ll see over the next few years if that worked in their favor but whatever — I cleared space on my bookshelves for up to 25 Girl Genius collections years ago.
  • It appears that the indications we had on Friday that the contact form isn’t working have been borne out — Steve Troop dropped into the comments to let us know that he also had a no-result experience. It’s on my list of things to do, but for the meantime I’ll put a note on the contact page. Thanks for letting me know.

Spam of the day:

Woman of Alien [emphasis original]

I’m not sure what this one is getting at? Are they trying to sell me alien women? Or do the aliens — perhaps from Mars? — need women? Help me out here.

¹ Now we need to have a Science And YOU! presentation at TopatoCon, where Shepherd can share the stage with Randall Munroe, who has a well-known fear of raptors; put Munroe on a treadmill with Shepherd hissing behind him, we can power the entire venue.


Future Books For The Kid(s) In Your Life

Two of them, in fact, and I think it will be fairly obvious why I recommend both of them even though neither yet exists in a tangible form for me to read.

  • Firstly, you have The Best Book, presently Kickstartering, from Barnes, Ambaum, and Southworth. It’s about books, the fact that everybody can have their own idea of what the best book is, and how reading is its own reward. From the little we know now, it won’t take the approach of hitting a kid over the head with the idea that BOOKS ARE GOOD YOU SHOULD READ THEM; instead, it just presents the idea that everybody in the family reading something (and feeling passionate about it) is normal, ordinary, to be expected.

    It’s a good situation to emulate, and we’ll all get to do so provided the Kickstart (presently sitting around 7% funded after a day) succeeds. Actually, let’s get it considerably past the “success” point, as stretch goals will involve getting copies and supplemental material in the hands of libraries.

  • Secondly, you have the next (that would be third) book in James Kochalka’s Glorkian Warrior series, following 2014’s The Glorkian Warrior Delivers A Pizza and The Glorkian Warrior Eats Adventure Pie from last month. Kochalka being Kochalka, :01 Books being the publisher, and the first two being (in my opinion, based on review copies thoughtfully supplie by :01) excellent kid-amusers, I would have suspected that a third story (due in March of 2016) would be excellent under any circumstances.

    Given that I’ve learned that the third volume is titled The Glorkian Warrior and the Mustache of Destiny, I now have no doubts. Forward, my moustachey siblings, forward to destiny, and let’s hope some kids decide to emulate the heck out of us.

Spam of the day:

If you are from one of those royal families of the Middle East, then this discussion is going to be of no interest for you.

Damn! You discovered my secret!

MoCCA 2015

Although I was only able to attend on Saturday, I’m prepared to call MoCCA Festival 2015 a success: the new venue was airy and light-filled (if a bit daunting), the location of the panel discussions was fancy — schmancy, even — and the weather was beautiful. Okay, that last one wasn’t up to the Society of Illustrators, but it was a bit of good luck, as the exhibit venue and the panel locale were about five minutes walk apart and if it had been an April-in-New York spitty, squally, rainy day, that would have been a miserable five minutes.

Center 548, the replacement for the Armory of the past four-five years, is arranged vertically rather than horizontally; in practice this means a few things:

  • There was one hell of a steep, narrow staircase to navigate as soon as you enter to get up to the second through fourth floors
  • The crowds marginally thinned out as you went upwards¹
  • I’m told there was a rooftop lounge, which I never found but many I’m envious of those that did

Along with the aforementioned light and windows and blue skies; it felt old and new simultaneously inside, not unlike the onetime location of the Puck Building (presently spending its day as an REI store and a bunch of Starbuckses).

The High Line Hotel (formerly some famous dude’s home, laid out like an Ivy League quad with courtyards and vaguely connected subsections and echoing staircases that feel like they should be in a cathedral) hosted the panels in a pair of rooms that featured stylish, minimal decor (I felt like I was in a very tasteful Scandinavian loft apartment) with enormous stained-glass windows; okay, they were covered by shades, but they were still stained glass.

Accenting the Chelsea vibe, the courtyard entrance of the hotel was hosting a small marketplace aimed at fashionable dogs and the people that care for them, so there were corgis in tutus and handbag foofoo pooches to add a little color.

Oh, and there were comics, too.

  • Evan Dahm and I discussed what classics he might work on after Moby-Dick (as I got to thumb through a sample copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), and he allowed that he’d like to tackle The Illiad and The Odyssey as a two-volume box set some day.
  • Bill Roundy and I discussed the best neighborhood in Brooklyn for bars with outrageously creative drinks-mixers, as he had a half-dozen volumes of his Bar Scrawl minis to choose from, each covering a neighborhood and a dozen or more bars in more-or-less a straight line walking. He’s begun to look at the history of particular drinks and had an eight-pager about the first of them: the Floradora. He may have offered to make me one on the spot, and I may have enjoyed the hell out of it. With any luck, he’ll do one history per month.
  • Raina Telgemeier (unsurprisingly) and Scott McCloud (only marginally less so) had fans in the sub-teen age range that waited through hour-long Qs and As to talk to them — the next generation of comics is in good hands.
  • Tom Siddell and Magnolia Porter tabling together is remarkably convenient if you want to talk to the greatest concentration of webcomics talent without having to walk any further than absolutely necessary; as mentioned previously, both are on career-best streaks right now, both are sending characters in new directions that will change their respective statuses quo, and both are (fortunately) getting more positive feedback than negative for their choices.
  • I was lucky to make the acquaintance of Carey Pietsch, who is illustrating from Meredith Gran&rsquo’s scripts for the newest Marceline miniseries from Boom!; as I told her, I love Gran’s words and pictures, but I think that writing for another artist (and doing so in a way that shows off her strengths), I think that she’s sharpened her writing skills even further. They’re a good creative team, and I’d be interested to see them collaborate again in the future on a story that they own.
  • It is impossible to get past the adoring crowds to Scott C; dude was swamped every time I went by.

The only real negative I can think of is that the floor was pretty loud; the Armory had that problem too, but it was greatly improved the last couple of years when tall drapes were put behind tables to cut down on echo. Drop those into Center 548² and I think you’ve got a great MoCCA Fest venue for the foreseeable future.

The MoCCA Festival was on shaky ground for a couple of years, but since the SoI took over, it seems to be assured of a successful future; I’m not sure how you can do everything that they do with a door price of five dollars, but I’m impressed that they do. See you there next year.

Spam of the day:

Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is

You lie. It’s been mathematically proved that nobody ever owned a Zune.

¹ This may have been an illusion, as it appeared the aisles were narrower on the second floor than the third and fourth — presumably to make room for the food service and Wacom lounge. Speaking of which, the food service was tasty, plentifully-supplied, and fast, but there needed to be places to sit and eat. Had I known about the rooftop lounge, that would have been a different story.

² Also find a way to completely retrofit staircases that are less vertiginous; easy, right?

Maybe I’ll Just Keep A Running List Here

The fine folks at TopatoCon keep adding names to their exhibitor list, about one a day. Since we last mentioned KC Green, Jeph Jacques, Jess Fink, and Tom Siddell, the poisonous space-potato has added Rosemary Mosco of Bird and Moon and Kate Leth of almost everything. More guests to be announced until the total hits 70 or so.

The rest of today is about Kickstarter and Kickstarts.

  • David McGuire has had some ups and downs over the past day or so; he funded out with three days to spare and announced some stretch goals, then a high-value backer dropped a pledge and knocked him back below the threshold of success, from which he is now separated by just under US$100 and two days. He’s going to make goal, but this situation sparked a bit of memory for me.

    You may recall the Kickstarter backer-scammer of 18 months ago¹, whereby an individual (probably more than one on a site as broad as Kickstarter) made a series of top-tier pledges and then disputed charges with Amazon after rewards had started shipping. While I don’t think that McGuire has been intentionally messed with (personal finances change, after all), I have heard stories of groups of griefers that pledge to campaigns and cancel immediately before close. It’s bad enough if they cause a campaign to fail just to screw with somebody, but it could actually be worse if a campaign just barely succeeded — a creator may have placed orders for merchandise with the expectation of it being paid for, and be stuck with unneeded inventory and overly-large invoices to pay.

    So I guess I’m back to a couple of stray thoughts I had back in November of 2013 — Kickstarter should look at allowing campaign owners to set a threshold above which backers need to be approved, or to make available escrow services. The first is probably easier than the second, and while aimed at those with larceny in their hearts, these approaches would also help to prevent those who are “merely” setting out to spread misery for the lulz. Heaven (and the Uniform Commercial Code) help the next Kickstart campaign that GamerGate (and its similar, noxious offspring in other media) decides to make into its latest chew-toy.

  • The Dumbing of Age book 4 Kickstart had a great first day and is settling into the long tail phase — although with a second-day drop of more than 50%, the FFFmk2 is of less value than normal², adjusted for the fact that it launched right at midnight and so the drop is exaggerated — and that means it’s time for a predication. The math indicates US$132.5K +/- 26.5, or a range of US$106K to US$159K. Based on the trend of the previous DoA books, I think that US$90K +/- say US$10K is more likely. Give me another ten or so Kickstarts with a steep second day drop and we’ll have a better model.
  • Today’s Kickstarter that you should check out (by way of a tweet my wife saw): a travelogue of Iceland by Lonnie Mann, with a cover blurb from Lucy Knisley³ who pretty much epitomizes the travelogue comic. It looks really good, and has all the hallmarks of a success: the work has already been published as minicomics; a printer is lined up; Mann has backed many, many Kickstarters in the past and obviously isn’t looking to tap into the magic free money machine without a clue. Give this one a good look.

Spam of the day:

Dear Gary – Thank you for your kind support and stellar coverage of our growing list of clients. It’s been slightly over a full year since I formed our small PR and marketing agency and it’s been an amazing ride that I could not have undertaken without your generous support and kind words. Truly, you are the best!

I’ve never heard of you, you’ve never emailed me before, and I’ve certainly never covered your clients. You’re … you’re not very good at this, are you?

¹ Which — small world! — featured Alex Heberling, now colorist for Brad Guigar’s Evil, Inc, whose latest Kickstart appears to not have been plagued by a complete and utter dick.

² See the TJ & Amal Omnibus, which had the flattest long tail I’ve ever seen, where the FFFmk2 would have predicted US$175K +/- 35K, which I eyeballed down to maybe US$55K, and actually did US$65K. I need more data!

³ Holy crap you guys — just as I was typing Lucy Knisley’s name, Terry Gross said her name on the radio. Timing! She’s running an interview with her right now which isn’t available online yet, but probably will be tomorrow at this address.

Excellent Things Abound Today

Today is 7 April 2105, and as such marks one year since the last update of Achewood. I do not say this to shame Chris Onstad; as well established precedent clearly tells us, Chris Onstad is not my bitch and we will get more Achewoods when he is good and ready¹. I do so merely to point out that we have reached the fallow point where Achewood gets designated in the blogroll as being on hiatus, and to remind all readers that far from being dead, RSS is a wonderful thing.

Spam of the day:

We used some lube and it reached places I never experienced before. Renee says sometimes we treat our pets better than our mates: “You speak sweetly to your dog or cat, you pet them, you touch them, you feed them, and you walk them.

Wow. Tying into two different items that I wrote about today? Is this great spam or the greatest spam?

¹ And we’ll like it.

² Best anniversary gift ever?

Things To Look Forward To

Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m late. Let’s do this.

  • Evan Dahm’s got me convinced that I’ll need a copy of his Moby-Dick Illustrated. His first chapter illustration has the feel of a woodcut crossed with an engraving, and a brooding, heavy quality that pervades the atmosphere in the same way that lightness and hope suffused his Wonderful Wizard of Oz drawings. I never had much desire to read Moby-Dick, but if it inspired work like this, I’ll need to give it a fair try.
  • MoCCA Fest will be having a dedicated lounge for special sponsor Wacom, all day both days of the show. You’ll be abe to see (and play with!) Wacom’s various products, and there will be five demos spread across the two days from a variety of well-known artists.
  • Abby Howard started her webcomicking with a vaguely autobio strip, broke through to a wider audience on Strip Search, and parlayed that into a hell of big Kickstart for The Last Halloween, which continues to delight and startle. She’s turning full circle back to that vaguely autobio¹ strip and Junior Scientist Power Hour will collect the best strips since its launch into a 200 page book, provided the funding goal is reached oh who am I kidding, it’s Abby, people love Abby, she’s going to crush this.

    Since it’s not an every-strip-reprint project, I can only hope that my personal favorites of her strips — Sadness Brownies, Creepy Dog — will be included. An added bonus in some tiers will be Junior Paleontologist Power Hour, which could be an expanded version of the early strip of the same name, the more recent five-part maxi-series How To Dig Up Dinosaurs, or some combo platter of the two. Regardless, I’m in, because Abby loves dinosaurs makes good comics about them.

Spam of the day:

This design is incredible! You obviously know how to keep a rezder entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I waas almost moved to start myy own blolg (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantaetic

Sir or Madam, I believe that you may not be perceiving reality as it actually is. Please check that you are in a safe space, and call for medical assistance.

¹ Does anybody believe that 80s Tom Hanks really lives in a hole in her bedroom? Actually, now that I think of it, it is entirely possible.

Various Newses And Miscellany

No common theme today, just a bunch of different stuff.

  • Let’s start by talking about a new comics that’s going to launch tomorrow; longtime readers of this page know that I rarely pay attention to brand-new webcomics, preferring to see a body of work before deciding if I like it or not. The exception is for established creators whose work is already well-regarded … especially if those creators have a history of making different kinds of comics over time. It’s hard to think of a single creator that made more different kinds of comics (with the common thread: Damn Good) than KC Green, so news of a new ongoing strip? I’m there:

    Tomorrow I have a new comic dropping it’s pants to show the world what its made of. It’s called “He is a Good Boy” and you can follow it on tumblr at this address. There is an actual website, but I won’t be announcing that til tomorrow when it is officially “launched.” But there is a website, this I promise. No april foolin’. Tomorrow.

    Even better, Green showed us all some love with more work dropping early:

    So like tomorrow’s pretty full w/ my new comic “He is a Good Boy” dropping and stuff. I don’t want BACK to get overlooked.

    so have a new BACK…….. TODAY

    I’m excited to read BACK today, I’m excited to see He Is A Good Boy tomorrow, I’m just generally excited. Everybody say nice things about KC.

  • Speaking of new comics, John Allison appears to have settled on a model of let’s do distinct stories from around Tackleford in bursts of a month or two instead of half a year, following on the maybe-last-ever Bobbins story with next week’s launch (ha, ha) of a Charlotte & Shauna story … in space. Add to this last week’s print-comic Giant Days #1 (of 6) and I think that Allison may be on to something: 75 – 100 pages in a story, long enough to develop a plot, short enough to not get bored or bogged down. I think the coming months (and years) are going to be his best yet.
  • Back in November we mentioned that Eric Colossal’s Rutabaga would be getting the book treatment. Know what came out today? Rutabaga: The Adventure Chef (book 1 of hopefully many), in glorious color. You can enjoy a preview of the book starting here and compare to the original black & white starting here; I think you will agree that the color looks great, and resolve to get copies for both yourself and younger readers of your acquaintance.
  • Attention pros: Harvey Award nominations are now open, with just about every single one of you eligible for something or other. Fill out the form, return it by 11 May, don’t be shy about promoting your work. Worst that happens? Nothing — in which case, your self-promotion didn’t result in embarrassing attention. Best that happens? You get recognized for your work and hopefully get over feeling excessively modest. Go. Promote.
  • Final word today is given to David Morgan-Mar (PhD, LEGO®©™etc and semi-pro Mr Bean impersonator), on the value of creating webcomic after webcomic, strip after strip (see footnote 3), with no intention of ever making it a career:

    The non-monetary reward? Making something, and touching people’s lives.


Spam of the day:

Protect and Beautify Your Garage Floor

I don’t normally think of my garage floor (which is made of poured concrete) as either needing protection or possessing the quality of beauty. Did I miss a day in Intro to Homeownership?

Squirrels, Man. Friggin’ Squirrels

Let’s find some things to talk about that don’t involve the little fluff-tailed bastards.

  • Apropos of it always being a good time to keep an eye on the current goings-on around George, this note from George Rohac:

    Huh, wasn’t even paying attention – Crowdfunding Projects I’ve advised or worked on cracked 10,000,000 cumulative total.

    That would be ten million dollars, in case it wasn’t clear … United States cash money dollars. Perhaps more impressively, George has shepherded (by my count) some 30 projects to successful completion, as he is a man who brooks no nonsense, a man before whom logistical roadblocks evaporate, a man who considers reward fulfillment at the promised to time to late, and reward fulfillment a month prior to promised time to be on time. I would very much like to see George and Spike combine their powers to produce a Kickstarter guide that incorporates wisdom from the both of them¹.

  • Apropos of the fact that art thieves suck, Gemma Correll reports that multiple retailers have nothing better to do than steal her designs. This is a repeating story, one I can’t even run every time it crops us because it crops up so damn frequently, but this is the first time I’ve noticed Correll getting hosed and I am more than willing to call out the likes of Yes Style [no link, they suck] and Light In The Box [ditto]. Actually, no, let me provide one link for each of them: Yes Style’s CEO can be reached here, and Light In The Box’s investor relations officer² can be reached here. Be polite, but make your irritation known.
  • Apropos of the fact that his Wonderful Wizard of Oz adaptation is on the verge of shipping³, news of the start of Evan Dahm’s next classic illustration project starting imminently:

    Moby-Dick illustrations start on April 1

    I kind of want Dahm to become a one-man, latter-day Classics Illustrated shop. I want a shelf full of handsome hardcovers of the greats of literature, with the exception that if he decides to illustrate The Great Gatsby I will opt out because I hate, hate, hate that book.

Spam of the day:

A Newly Released NASA Study Details Exactly How to Kill from All Types of Diabetes

I suspect that you do not know what NASA does, or hope that I do not. Either way, screw you.

¹ Then again, I don’t want George to lose his powers by sharing them too widely. There’s a fine balance to be followed here.

² Because I can’t find another way to contact them unless you have an order number, the cowards.

³ Not due until May 2015; cf: George, above.

Again With Toronto

I got more comments on the post last week where I mused on the lack of a single, highly-visible song with which one might reference the grand T-Dot than any other recent topic. And here we are again with the news coming from that noblest of cities.

  • To start with, you got your Chris Butcher, retailer, showrunner, relentless promoter and lover of comics and those that make them, and real-life counterpart to the best character in Scott Pilgrim’s world. He’s been a major force in Toronto becoming a center for the comic arts, and it seems that scarcely a week goes by that he doesn’t get to announce something cool. Today, it’s the TCAF pop-up shop in the Toronto Reference Library, launched for the most recent year-end holiday season, with the promise of converting to an ongoing retail endeavour. Today, that conversion comes true:

    The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is thrilled to announce that its festival shop is here to stay for the foreseeable future! Located inside Toronto Reference Library at 789 Yonge Street, we’re pleased to announce that the shop has been newly rebranded as Page & Panel: The TCAF Shop (with a spiffy new logo design by illustrator Chip Zdarsky), and the store will continue bringing the very best of comics, graphic novels, art, design objects and book culture merchandise to Toronto.

    [Please note that the logo mentioned does not feature even one set of genitals.]

    Page & Panel already has author events planned for tonight (for Toronto anthology comic Monstrosity 2), 30 March (Carson Ellis), and 1 April (Jim Zub), as well as exclusive merch from local creators like Kate Beaton¹ and John Martz. Congrats to everybody at TCAF and TRL for making this happen.

  • Staying in Hogtown and speaking of Jim Zub, everybody knows that like every week is Jim Zub week down at the comics shop, but there’s a special coinciding of Zub-owned comics coming next week. 25 March is when we’ll see the release of both the first issue of the last Skulllkickers (aka the series that really launched Zub’s current career trajectory) story arc, and the first issue of the second Wayward (aka the series that took all the hard work that Zub’s put in since Skullkickers #1 and bumped it up even higher) story arc, along with the trade paperback of the first Wayward trade collection. While it seems the dude’s got comics coming out all the damn time, I’m declaring next Wednesday to be Zubday.
  • And rounding out our tour of The Big Smoke, Ryan North² has some news for us today regarding the interactive game version of To Be Or Not To Be:


    There’s now an Android and iOS version of this game, out THIS VERY DAY??

    Yesssssss it is a FACT

    I believe that this means that every single possible vector for distributing North’s CYOA version of Hamlet is now covered. If you don’t own at least one, there is something distinctly wrong with you.

Spam of the day:

Going time for the furnishings shop in Gloucester example

I am utterly unable to parse what this was meant to convey.

¹ Speaking of whom, Beaton is back in The Queen City after her book-promotion trip to Germany which she has comic-chronicled here and here. They aren’t trip-home-to-see-the-family comics, but if you’ve ever wondered about medieval German torture devices designed to wreck your butthole at 9:00am on a Sunday morning — and I sincerely hope that you have — then these will be right up your alley.

So to speak.

² AKA The Toronto Man-Mountain, AKA He Who Has Returned, AKA Lord of Castle North.