The webcomics blog about webcomics

Annnnnd Mic Drop

This day in Great Outdoor Fight history: Still waiting for the Fight to start; things really kick in tomorrow, though.

  • Ordinarily, I’d have run the story that linked to the art as the first item, but this is too big to go anyplace but the lead slot; I trust that Kate will understand. Re: our call two days ago for book purchasers to push Raina Telgemeier from holding 60% of the New York Times Best Seller List to 70%; that didn’t take long. Thanks, book purchasers! Now hold on until Ghosts comes out and make it 80%!
  • Now then: Kate Beaton, who all right-thinking folk regard as a treasure and one of the very best creators in both comics, and in any creative medium from the Great White North. Beaton was tapped to provide a show poster for TCAF, and it’s a beaut. More than all the geekly references, it’s also terrific because the message could not be any more clear: TCAF¹ is for everyone. Be sure to thank Beaton when you see her at the Toronto Reference Library on the 14th & 15th of May.
  • I got a press release and some sample pages from a guy named Derrick Johnson recently, and I wasn’t going to do much with it — another first release of a webcomic in print form, I see those literally every day, and mention only the ones that grab me in the eyeballs and don’t let go. But something about Johnson’s missive did grab me, and I wasn’t sure exactly what for a couple of minutes. Then it hit me:

    I’m a comics creator, that posted comics regularly to my website for a 4 year period in 2007-10. After a long hiatus, I decided to collect the best strips from that time and self-publish a book, The Best of Colored Comics, Volume 1.

    Everybody catch that? 2007-10. Comics creators (like artistic types of all sorts) that I know have a definite tendency to be their own worst critics. The most well-balanced of them can stand to look at their most recent work without berating themselves, but maybe on an 18 month rotating cycle. That is, today’s work is pretty okay, anything from last year is barely adequate, and older than 18 months is fit only to be burned. Of course, 18 months from now, today’s work will fall firmly into the burn category. Thus does skill push itself to improve, on the back of total neuroticism.

    So to read that Johnson worked at Colored Comics for four years, then to set it aside for five with plans to print, then to resume? That’s an act of supreme bravery. The samples that Johnson sent along, I can tell which are older and which are more recent; the new comics on the site reveal that regularly updating or no, Johnson’s been practicing and improving. I can’t imagine what it was like to go through work almost a decade old to prepare it for print, but it’s the most self-challenging and fundamentally optimistic act I’ve seen in quite a while.

    Confidence is a major part of creativity, the feeling that putting a part of yourself out there won’t come back to bite you in the ass, that the random cruelties of a thousand internet griefers won’t drag you down. So yeah — if you’re looking for what early work (that improves as you read it, and gets better still past the end) looks like, Derrick Johnson’s your guy. Here’s hoping he continues to develop without falling to the 18 month neurosis, because I want to see just how good he gets. The Best of Colored Comics, volume 1 is US$15 from Johnson, and pay what you want at Gumroad. Check ‘er out.

  • Oh, and 4000 is a hell of a big number, minus maybe a couple dozen guest strips, plus more than 700 for the newspapers. Happy Big Round Number Day, Rich Stevens. You’re a goddamn inspiration.

Spam of the day:

Discount COSTC0 MEMBERSHIPS

So I’ve gone from being on the sexy MILFs spam list to the bootleg warehouse-club membership spam list? Guess it’s just a matter of time before I end up on the oatmeal-and-diabetes-meds spam list, then the prepaid funeral services spam list. Welp, it was nice knowing you.

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¹ Indeed, comics, and nerdery, and all fandoms you can think of.

A Contest That Doesn’t Suck

This day in Great Outdoor Fight history: No strip; I suspect that SoRod is napping while Beef makes plans.

  • We have mentioned several times the fact that Yuko Ota & Ananth Hirsh’s Lucky Penny (long delayed by repetitive stress injuries in Ota’s drawing hand … so she taught herself to draw with the other muthascratchin’ hand) is approaching publication. Should be here next month from the good folks at Oni Press), and to celebrate, there’s a contest that could net you three (three!) copies of Lucky Penny, if you’re funny enough:

    Make up a steamy romance novel for Penny to read for a chance to win copies of Lucky Penny! #LuckyPennyPicks

    See, Penny reads terrible-slash-awesome sounding romance novels (excerpts of which have been shared), and if you come up with the best title for a novel out of Penny’s collection between now and Sunday (Valentine’s Day!) at 11:59pm PST, you could get a copy of the standard edition of Lucky Penny, plus copies of the Kickstarter-exclusive softcover and hardcover editions. Details at the Oni blog, along with the rest of the rules. Think up your best romance novel title (nothing too creepy or rude but definitely suggestive would be my advice) and good luck to all.

  • The Cartoon Art Museum continues its traveling roadshow of events while it is between permanent locations; as in the past several months, the Third Thursday of February (that would be the 18th) will see CAM set up in the new location of the American Bookbinders Museum at 355 Clementina Street in San Francisco. Fun starts at 5:30pm and runs until 8:00pm, and will feature live art demos, trivia, food & drink, and is free and open to the public. Creators on hand this month will be Myisha Haynes, Melissa Pagluica, and Liz Mayorga. Check out their work — lots of great looking stuff there.

Spam of the day:

Breaking Story: Trump has been taking a ‘smart pill’ – you have to read this..

If this is Trump on smart pills, I don’t want to see what he’s like when he runs out.

Busy Day

This day in Great Outdoor Fight history: No strip; Beef is undoubtedly deciding who among the gathering hordes will be invited to roll with Son of Rodney.

So much going on, I barely know where to start. Let’s just go in the order of when I scribbled notes to myself.

  • Longtime Friend o’ Fleen Eben Burgoon started in [web]comickry with spy spoof Eben07, then moved onto action-adventure spoof B-Squad (and, almost uniquely among creators, managed to repurpose a failed Kickstart into success with the first volume). He’s back with more weird deconstruction of the ragtag-team concept as B-Squad volume 2 launched on the ‘starter yesterday. I was going to write about it yesterday, but honestly when C&H dropped their immediately megasuccessful card game¹ on the world, any other new Kickstart was just gonna be overshadowed and so I pushed back a day.

    And B-Squad didn’t deserve that, so here we are today. One day in, 38 to go, sitting at about 16% of goal, as Burgoon pairs up with five artists to tell five stories and also deal with the worst writing constraint in history: each story, at least one character is going to kick it, as determined by a die roll that Burgoon must then adapt to. They say that writing is about killing your darlings, but what if you put work and love into a character and then the die says they gotta, well, die? Help make it all a bit less painful for Burgoon by at least making financially worthwhile for the creators to deal with the challenge and heartbreak.

  • The ongoing endeavour that is trying to figure out who the heck gets a table at SPX hits a significant date soon; the curated portion of the floor is being allocated, and soon the showrunners will know exactly how many spots will go into the table lottery. Want to exhibit but not specifically invited? Check it:

    On February 12, 2016, the lottery registration will become available and the lottery registration period will last between February 12 and February 26, 2016.

    The lottery registration will take place through a web page on the SPXPO.com website. We will provide basic instructions on this page that can also be viewed in the FAQ section below.

    Each lottery registrant will receive an e-mail containing their own randomly generated 6-digit number that you will receive within 48 hours of registering for the lottery.

    Once the lottery registration period is completed on February 26, 2016, we will have a digital coin flipper to determine whether we sort the random numbers by ascending or descending order. The lottery registrant list will then be sorted by random number according to the coin flip, and those tables above the capacity threshold will be selected to exhibit at SPX 2016. The order of the tables below the capacity threshold will determine the wait list. [emphasis original]

    Got that? Friday is the day to start looking at the website for lottery applications. This is a much better system than the frantic rush to apply that SPX used before the lottery system, meaning that timestamps and postmarks and checks received don’t determine who gets in. Two weeks, same chance whenever you apply, and hope to see you in September.

  • For those wondering, Queen of Comictopia Raina Telgemeier has topped off a recent move back to San Francisco with the release of the fourth of her newly-colored Baby Sitters Club adaptations and whaddaya know, it’s entered the New York Times Best Seller List in its first week. In slot #1. With five other books (Smile, Drama, Sisters, and two other BSC volumes) in slots 2, 5, 7, 8, and 9. Okay, book purchasers, let’s get that last BSC book on the list so that Telgemeier can have 70% of it to herself (until Ghosts comes out and she hits 80%). It’s her world, comics, we may as well acknowledge it.
  • The Nib, lost to a reorg at Medium, has pretty much been Matt Bors’s singular focus for the past eight months or so. First it was the Kickstart to reprint the best of the site, and much of the time since has been dedicated to finding a new home for editorial cartooning on the web that pays. Good news dropping this morning, then:

    First Look Media today announced that they have partnered with award winning cartoonist Matt Bors on his irreverent comics publication, The Nib. Formerly part of the online platform Medium, The Nib will re-launch this summer through First Look Media as an independent daily publication and online newsletter.

    Great news, in fact, but why do I recognize that name, First Look Media?

    Bors will remain editor of The Nib as it joins First Look Media’s family of media properties including The Intercept, reported.ly, and Field of Vision.

    Ohhhh, right, The Intercept — that’s Greg Greenwald and Laura Poitras, the people that brought Edward Snowden’s leaks to light. Damn, this is going to be a match made in heaven, with adversarial journalism committed in both words and pictures. It’ll have been a year spent Nibless, but before long we’re going to have voices back that we haven’t seen as much lately, in one place, both delighting and enraging me, and (most importantly) getting paid. That’ll do, Matt. That’ll do.


Spam of the day:

say hello to these naughty and wild milfs

Why, for the love of all that you might find holy, why would you send me a spam trying to intrigue me on a sexual basis and then write that spam in ficking Comic Sans?

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¹ As of this writing, above US$400K on a US$10K goal, with more than 8700 backers. The FFFmk2 predicts a final funding in the US$1.5million (plus or minus call it US$300K) range, which would be frankly insane if not for the example of Exploding Kittens last year.

Blasts, Pasts, And Saint Groundhog’s Day

But first, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin in yesterday’s comments, not so much for his Angoulême take (which is, as usual, cogent and worth your while) as for his excellent lesson in how to curse in French. I suspect that by the end of calendar year 2016, we’ll be able to drop some really creative vulgarity in the most beautiful of languages.

Looking back in history, then:

  • One day in 2012, Shaenon Garrity (Funk Queen of the Great Bay Area and Tiki Mistress Extraordinaire) embarked upon one of the greatest projects in the history of webomics: an epsiode-by-episode recapping of The X-Files in comic form. Skinner’s mighty fist! Bees! Mites! Autoerotic asphyixiation! Monster of the Week had it all. Then, after season 4 (which meant we got to see the single best hour of ’90s, Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’ in season 3), concerns like giving birth to an alive human child took precedence and the recaps sadly went on hiatus.

    She’s held out the possibility of return, contingent on you people giving more to her Patreon, but unless that happens, the season 4 summary of June 2014 will be where we leave Mulder and Scully and sexy shirtless Skinner.

    Until today.

    With the return of The X-Files, Garrity has felt the siren song of unresolved sexual tension, aliens, and exactly what Scully’s been up to (wine and binging Parks & Rec), and has made with the recaps for Season X. Well, recap, singular, so far. She’ll get to the others, I mean she’s still got that kid to look out for¹.

  • A little further back — a little after this here blog was getting off the ground, in the February that we first met Envelópe Martinez², a small upstart publisher called :01 Books was just getting started. 157 books later, :01 is now 10, and they’re marking the anniversary year with Happenings. Watch for authors to be on the road, interviews in public places, and every time National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang makes an appearance, keep in mind that he’s been :01 since the start.

    You’ll find people posing with their favorite :01 Books selections on the Twitter machine under #10yearsof01, and you’ll find we at Fleen talking about :01’s many offerings throughout the year. Which, uh we would have done anyway. Happy tenth, :01, and here’s to many more!

  • And further back still. Yesterday marked 25 years to the day that I met my wife; today marks 25 years since the day that involved overlong and not necessarily great movies, my introduction to collegiate hockey, an unplanned side-trip (or kidnapping, in certain senses of the word) to the sovereign nation of Canada, and hassles with US Customs on the way back. With that as arguably our first date, it’s no surprise that I haven’t been able to match up with any others since.

    It is solely by her infinite forbearance and patience that I have the time to engage in this weird, obsessive hobby and pseudojournalistic hackery. If you ever see her about, thank her if you find what I do worth your time. And if you don’t, thank her anyway, because she’s the best human being.


Spam of the day:

Breaking Story: Trump has a pill for America – you have to read this..

Let me guess — contact a doctor if your election rallies last more than four hours?

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¹ Confidential to FQ in the BA: after taking your child for smallpox and other vaccines, be sure to remove the alien tracking device!

² Is there an interest in a Ten Years Ago At The Great Outdoor Fight runner here at Fleen? For example, we are now at ten years, one week, and one day since we first heard tell of Ramses Luther and the GOF, ten years and six days since we saw a grainy photo of The Man With The Blood On His Hands, and we are but one day from the tenth anniversary of sass in the main and the dire fates of Carl Veldt Grimps and Fancy Mark Clancy.

I think I just answered my own question.

Google Translate Tells Me That The Appropriate Phrasing Is Tu Me Baise Plaisantez?

But I haven’t studied French since high school and we never got to the rude words so I’m trusting them on this one. But I digress.

  • The FIBD in Angoulême apparently decided that all of the idiocy it went through in the runup to this year’s festival wasn’t enough, and decided that as long as there are pooches to screw the by par Dieu, they were gonna screw ’em. It seems ridiculous to say, but the big awards ceremony at Angoulême kicked off by presenting fake awards to unsuspecting creators and then pulling the metaphorical rug out from under them because … comics?

    The invaluable Brigid Alverson¹ has the best summary of the events, including a reasonably heartfelt apology from the host who perpetrated the cruelty, and the quote from FIBD president Franck “there are no notable women in the history of comics” Bondoux declaring that the conteremps is all our fault because they got caught being enormous dicks instead of being able to pretend it didn’t happen². Oh, wait, I was paraphrasing … the actual wording was The problem is the dictatorship of the tweet.

    No kidding, I’m wondering who in the world of comics will be willing to show up next year. The only thing I can see that will prevent name creators from abandoning Angoulême in droves is for Bondoux and his entire staff to be replaced (bitterly complaining, of course, that nobody can take a goddamned joke). I’ve always wanted to see the FIBD in person, but now you couldn’t pay me to go.

  • While we’re in Europe: Rene Engström has been largely absent from webcomics for a number of years; Sofa Rap Art got taken down a while back due to the intervention of evil scammers, and last we heard from her and partner Rasmus Gran, they were expecting a child. Engström’s telling us what having a toddler around is like in her Hourly Comics today (starting here), and we have news that her most famous comics work is on its way back:

    Starting on the 4th of February, 6 years to the day the series first ended, I will be republishing Anders Loves Maria with both old and new content.

    The schedule will be roughly 1-2 pages per week initially.

    New ALM, y’all. Read it again for the first time, hooray!

  • Speaking of February anniversaries:

    .@dinosaurcomics is 13 years old today! I HAVE A TEEN.

    IF YOU HAD REPRODUCTIVE SEX WHEN I STARTED MY COMIC YOU COULD ALMOST HAVE A TEEN TOO

    Congratulations on your strip anniversary Ryan and also for not making the passage of time seem creepy at all!

  • And to finish things up, the inimitable Dante Shepherd (so don’t even try imit him!) has taught me about a concept that kept me from ever taking a second class in thermodynamics back in my college days³, one that befuddles the bejabbers out of more than a few baby engineers: fugacity.

    His latest science comic is the one that gave him the idea for a series of scientific-concept comics in the first place, the reason that he went out and got a grant to produce ’em, so it’s kind of a big deal. Hey, Dante, let me know if you want to get around to talking about Nyquist’s ratio or Shannon’s Figure 1 for the next set of science comics. They can’t all be about smelly stuff in tanks and columns.


Spam of the day:

Our processing center is waiting for your response

A response on a VA loan that I don’t have because I wasn’t ever in the military? Yeah, you’re gonna be waiting a while longer.

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¹ Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin has yet to check in, and we’ve been asking him to deal with a lot of complete and utter stupidity and I completely understand if he wants to give this one a miss in the interests of mental health.

² As I said, my high school French is rusty, but I can make out the meaning of Bondoux insisting on le droit à l’impertinence.

³ Aside from the fact that electrical engineers were only required to take one thermo class, and one fluid dynamics class, and there’s no rational reason to take any more of either. I bet he hasn’t taken even one class in communications systems, so he shouldn’t be getting too full of himself.

Turns Out They Don’t Work On Snow

I would have been willing to spend two or even three of my Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys coins but it turns out blizzards (70.3 cm of snow!) don’t work that way. My spine and I are going back to bed as soon as we’re done here.

  • Scott McCloud will be teaching a two day class on comics at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art on 20 – 21 February (that’s a Saturday and Sunday) in Van Nuys, California. It’s US$495 for the course, but it’s probably equivalent to at least a semester’s worth of classes at Art School™ if you want to make comics, so jump on that.
  • First noted during the blizzard thanks to the work of Fleen Senior French Correspodent Pierre Lebeaupin, cartoonist extraordinaire Boulet had released a do-it-yourself avatar-o-matic, the products of which I’m already starting to see pop up on Twitter. I’ma have to play around with this.

    FSFC Lebeaupin is also staying on top of the ongoing Angoulême story, and we’ll be looking to him for his reactions on the eventual winner of the Grad Prix, and whether or not the voters take the opportunity to leave off for a year.

  • This makes so much sense I’m surprised it didn’t happen before today: Angela Melick, engineer and cartoonist, now has a Patreon. Jam’s one of the best — do support her.
  • Of course Jim Zub is announcing another series that he’ll be writing for Marvel (Thunderbolts this time). It’s what he does.
  • Diana Nock (of Intrepid Girlbot fame) is launching a new webcomic, Wonderlust, today-ish, with five pages, so be sure to scroll back to the beginning. It’s too soon to make a recommendation, but Nock’s past work makes this worth a look.
  • There’s a new Science Comic from Dante Shepherd, this one illustrated by Matt Lubchanksy on the topic of heat exchangers.


Spam of the day:
So, you guys know that I’ve been in an ongoing dispute with Verizon, which is why it’s especially amusing that they sent this:

Jonas is coming, are you ready?
The most common storm-related occurance is a power outage which can affect your Fios® by Verizon services.

Consider:

  1. I don’t have FIOS. They know this, despite the fact that they’ve been trying to upsell me FIOS in lieu of fixing my DSL, and oh yeah — FIOS is available in my area.
  2. They sent this oh-so-helpful prep email approximately 03:11 on Sunday, after the snow had been stopped for some six hours.
  3. They sent it again twelve hours later.

So in addition to an ongoing dispute, Verizon apparently believes I have the ability to go back in time by 36 – 48 hours.

Revisiting Some People We’ve Seen Before

But first, everybody knows that there’s a new Emily Carroll cartoon today, yes? I swear, each story that she puts out is somehow creepier than the one before, and Some Other Animal’s Meat is no exception. She gets more mileage out of one slightly wobbly line, one miniscule suggestion that Something Is Slightly Off (leading to the inevitable truth that Something Is Seriously Off And We’re All Screwed And/Or Doomed) than other horroristas get out of entire novels. 10/10 would be scared witless again.

  • It has been about ten months since we pointed you to the fact that Boum was translating her La Petite Révolution into English and running it two pages per week as a webcomic. A Small Revolution had its big gut-punch climax a couple of days back, but today is the day that it wraps up. There’s been plenty of downs and precious few ups along the way, but there’s an odd potential for hope at the end of the tale.

    Revolutions lead to struggle and strife and sacrifice and disquiet¹, trees watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants; yet this particular watering might just lead to a society where just waterings are no longer necessary². Maybe all that happened was one sufferer exacted a price from those that made her suffer. Read the whole thing through.

  • The Cartoon Art Musuem continues their cartoonist-in-residence program, as well as their new event-hosting partnership with the FLAX art & design retail concern at their location in the Fort Mason Center for Art & Culture. Specifically, they will be hosting Matt Harding on Saturday, 13 February, from 1:00pm to 3:00pm; the event is free and open to the public, and further details may be found here.
  • It’s been a year since Exploding Kittens launched its Kickstarter campaign that became one of the biggest crowdfund deals ever. Not much you can do to surpass that, so why not try? Today marks the launch (iPhone only, booo) of the slightly modified³ Exploding Kittens play-against-your-friends app, with all in-game purchases discounted down to zero for the next four days or so.

    The only way I can think to damage your friendships more than playing Exploding Kittens would be to do so on an app, or to take up Scrabble. Those of you with iDevices, give ‘er a look while those of us with Androids look on sorrowfully from outside in the cold and snow where we’ll die of misery. Have fun without us!


Spam of the day:

Directory of engineering programs available here! Start your search to earn a degree!

I’ve had an engineering degree for more than 25 years, Bunky.

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¹ And they aren’t revolutions until they do; cf: John Adams, on the Congress’s argument as to whether or not to be so rude as to refer to George III as a tyrant, This is a revolution, dammit! We’re going to have to offend somebody!

² I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Painting and Poetry Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine. John Adams, in a letter to Abigail Adams, 12 May 1780

³ It lacks NOPE! functionality, booo.

Northerly Cons

It’s a good day for those of you that travel to the northerly climes for comics conventions featuring indy-type creators, and are interested in discovering exactly who the guests of such cons would be. Let’s take ’em from North to South, earlier to later, and smaller to larger.


Spam of the day:

Your life is at stake: I’m Offering you My special ritual to remove the negative energetic vibration in your home — Adrian Medium – Mentalist – Master Hypnotist – Prophetic Expert

Can you tell what I’m thinking at you right now, Adrian? Here’s a hint: it starts g-o-a-t-s-e.

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¹ Beaton’s travel distance from Nova Scotia to Juneau will be approximately 5000 km, greater than the distance to London, Madrid, Havana, or Mexico City.

Aaaannnd We’re Back

Sorry about that — the hosting facility that brings you Fleen was down from approximately 23:30 14 January (last Thursday) until 20:30 15 January (last Friday), and thus we weren’t able to update on Friday. It also appears that when the server came back, Thursday’s update was lost, meaning that news relating to my holy book, Abby Howard, the Cartoon Art Museum, and multiple creators whose comics are coming to film would be lost to the ages.

Except for VaultPress. Their service pings this page pretty much continuously, and when there are changes they are automatically recorded. It was the work of a moment to find the backup taken after Thursday’s update and to restore it to its proper place¹. Heck, as I am writing this the restored site and the draft that I am partway through writing are being backed up in case anything goes wrong again.

Honestly, if you run a WordPress install of any kind, you really should be using VaultPress (their simplest plans are five bucks a month; I pay ’em more for a greater degree of confidence and automation). They don’t pay me to say that, I just think that they’re a damn good service and worth every penny they charge.

  • Professional terrible person Karla Pacheco (she’s a lot of fun to drink with!) has a lot of irons in various fires: the most inappropriate children’s book ever, naughty, naughty pirates, and a vagabond lifestyle of boats and comics. In keeping her fans (I know! crazy!) up with the latter, she posted her convention schedule for 2016 and inadvertently let us all in on a key piece of information: TopatoCon 2016 will take place 22-23 October. Seriously, she even scooped TopatoCon’s own site on that one. Start making your plans for *hampton, MA in late October — the cocktail competition we had was such a hit, we’re sure to do a repeat variation of some kind.
  • We mentioned the Penny Arcade Kickstart to fund a live-action webseries of Automata, and in what’s nearly world lans speed record time for the entertainment industy², filming has gotten underway and they’ve shared with us costumed photos of their leads with bios.

    Given a series length of five episodes each at 10 – 12 minutes, principal filming may well be done in a week or so (it probably depends on complexity of locations and set dressing as much as anything). Then the long process of post-production and effects generation starts, but I’m guessing they may have rough footage to share at PAX South later this month and possibly a finished episode or two by PAX East in the spring.

  • The National Cartoonists Society is soliciting nominations for its various division awards, including (for the fifth year) those in the webcomics sphere. Deadline for nomination is 7 February and in the interests of disclosure I’m part of the consulting committee again this year and will be doing my best to make sure that the best work of the past year makes it to the final ballot.

    Like any institutional awards structure, the NCS division awards are not always going to go to what I personally think is the best work, and no winner is going to satisfy everybody (unless we manage to find the webcomics equivalent of Mad Max: Fury Road), but the odds are better when you participate. So if you can think of longform or shortform webcomics that did stellar work in calendar year 2015 that you think I might not have otherwise noticed, make with the comments.

For reals though, back up your shit³. Like, today.


Spams of the day:
Three messages, all coming from the same source (or at least, all claiming the same, likely bogus, contact address to stop being emailed, ha ha ha):

Is alcohol affecting your life? Search for rehab centers here
Senior Independent-Living May Be The Right Choice-For You
Are you in need of – treatment for an addiction

So apparently I’m in the throes of alcohol use disorder and need treatment and/or a stint in a rehab center, preferably one catering to still-active senior citizens. I can’t wait to figure out what combination of click-tracking led them to that conclusion, but it’s probably somehow Facebook’s fault. Fucking Facebook.
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¹ Okay, it took a moment to find the appropriate backup, about 15 minutes to completely restore the site to the appropriate point in time, and about 2 minutes more to fix the header image.

² Seriously, if this was done through the Hollywood studio system, midlevel executives would still be holding cocaine-and-hookers “meetings” to figure out exactly how much they could pad the production budget to cover cocaine and hookers.

³ To quote the oh-so-quotable R Stevens: I named my hard drive DAT ASS so I remember to always back it up.

Holy Book

What’s this package with no return address and a mess of British stamps on it?, I asked myself. One quick rip of the opening strip later, I had an answer: my personal philosophy encapsulating notebook, courtesy of Stefan Johnson’s Book Block Kickstarter campaign; a bit late, but absolutely exactly what I wanted in all of its Figure 1 glory. This is enough to make me carry a sketchbook to conventions again.

And, per the letter included with the delivery, the Book Block team are gearing up to launch a commercial upload/customization service in the coming months; keep your eyes on www.bookblock.com in the near future if you want to get in on it.

  • I realize that January is not, traditionally speaking, an especially spooky time of year (Straubian efforts notwithstanding), but there’s a nice bit of info for those of you that are interested in good, hearty scares. Namely: Abby Howard (whose The Last Halloween just pulled an eleventh-hour reversal on us and now I have no idea where the story is going, in the best possible manner) has announced a new website for her short horror projects, which makes it easy to find some really great work. Bookmark Terror Town to get your short- to mid-length startles on, which so far has features Howard teaming up with writers.

    I love Howard’s take on what’s truly scary, but seeing her work in somebody else’s voice makes it somehow even more unsettling — I’ve perhaps gotten used to how Howard would develop a scene and to see her pictures following a different pace and progression makes everything more a surprise. And you can purchase these comics for your very own in both digital and physical forms, so you’re helping Abby make a living being Abby, which is the very best thing you can do. Check ‘er out.

  • The Verge has a nice roundup of upcoming comics adaptations to film and/or TV, as compiled by one of my favorite former writers at The AV Club, Tasha Robinson. Of particular interest to those of us that dig the web-slash-indy comics scene: Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet¹, Ursula Vernon’s Castle Hangnail², Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor³, Jeff Smith’s RASL4, and the omnipresent Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona5.
  • Continuing their involvement with the community while awaiting a new home, San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum is about to have the first of a traveling series of events to be held on the third Thursday of the month, hosted each time at a different Bay Area museum. The inaugural Traveling Third Thursday will be next week, 21 January, at the Museum of the African Diaspora in Yerba Buena.

    The program runs from 5:00pm to 8:00pm, and is free and open to the public. This first event will feature Ajuan Mance, CM Campbell, and Myisha Haynes; those attending can pick up a wristband at MoAD good for all-night happy hours at area bars and restaurants. For info on events in the coming months, visit thirdthursdaysf.wordpress.com.


Spam of the day:

It will flop out of his pants and into you

Oooo, floppy. That’s not half-hearted and mediocre at all!

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¹ With book 7 getting ready to release, this one’s got franchise written all over it.

² From her kids-lit career as opposed to her webcomics career, but man it would be great to get a Digger adaptation.

³ That’s gonna take an SFX budget and a half.

4 I love RASL but where the heck is our BONE movie Hollywood do you hate making money or something.

5 About which enough good can never be said.