The webcomics blog about webcomics

A Trio Of Terrific Comicmongers, With Bonus Guigar

Because honestly, if you’re writing about [web]comics and can’t find a way to fit Brad Guigar in there somewhere, you aren’t trying very hard.

  • Chris Yates was at SPX and yet I didn’t mention him yesterday — oversight, or planned thing? In all honesty, a little of both, but mostly I wanted to run that photo up there on a day when nothing else would detract from it. Like all of Yates’s work, this Aku Baffler! is a gorgeous, precise piece of work, and I wanted to share it with you.

    You can catch up with Mr Yates as his peregrinations take him up the east coast towards Queens, and the World Maker Faire therein this weekend. People that Make¹ stuff always dig Yates, so if you want a shot at some of his best work, you’ll have to make² your way to the bedroom borough and check out the scrollsaw work.

  • Speaking of Aku, Jim Zub not only continues work on Samurai Jack and a zillion other comics, he was also in Maryland this past weekend, although over on the coastal part. He and Chart Polski were in Annapolis brimping their way through an in-store signing of their latest work; it would have been nice to see them in Bethesda, but they were on a whirlwind fast-turnaround schedule.

    Nevertheless, in that time, Mr Zub found the time to put me on the distribution list for a preview of his forthcoming official Dungeons & Dragons tie-in comic, Legends of Baldur’s Gate, which I loved and will be buying when it releases next month. It’s got that trademark Zub flair for mixing the right amount of humo[u]r and ridiculousness with solid fantasy, but the real thing that caught me was the essay at the back of the issue which I will now quote from:

    Jim Zub the storyteller exists because of Dungeons & Dragons, the game.

    Right from the start, I could tell this wasn’t like any other game I’d ever played before. No cards, no board, no limits. No matter how young or small I was in real life I could create a character just as capable as the adults I was playing with. The Dungeon Master asked us what we were doing and my decisions, along with nerve-wracking rolls of the dice, had as much value as anyone else’s at the table.

    If I did something memorable, the group would laugh and I got to feel like one of the grown-ups. Unexpected banter, battle cries, one-liners — I wanted to entertain everyone and make sure my character left an impression.

    As the years went by, I grew up and roleplaying games grew with me. I moved behind the DM screen and started building grand adventures for my friends to quest through. Drama, plot, dialogue, pacing — all those core creative skills were honed by sitting around the gaming table using my imagination.

    Getting the chance to tell a Dungeons & Dragons story as part of the game’s 40th anniversary, carving out a new chapter in the fabled city of Baldur’s Gate … it’s wonderful, ridiculous, and surreal all at the same time. Somewhere inside of me there’s an 8-year old Li’l Zub screaming with joy as he runs around the house pretending he’s kicking skeletons in the face.

    When issue #1 releases, take the time to read the entire thing; it’s as loving a paean to the twin values of imagination and play as ever I can recall. Also, I now want to see an Adventures of Li’l Zub backup strip in this book. Bonus points if we can get Chris Eliopoulos or Skottie Young to draw it.

  • Also not at SPX, because he was busy leading a Shakespeare Festival? Ryan Estrada. But that’s okay, he’s made up for it by teaching us to read another foreign language as part of his Gimme Five project. This time, he’s teamed up with Peter Starr Northrop so that we can all Learn To Read Russian In 15 Minutes and you know what? It works. I may not have any idea what the words mean, but I can now read Спокойной ночй, Gracie³ without too much difficulty. Okay, my accent needs work, but it’s a start.

Spam of the day:
Still nothing good. I am not necessarily upset by this turn of events.

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¹ … people … are the luckiest people in the worrrrrllllld.

Sorry.

² So to speak.

³ This gag courtesy of Brad Guigar’s failure to get a reaction from his students today despite dropping some classic laugh-chuckles on them. Kids these days., which I loved and will be buying when it releases next month.

Upliftin’ Frolic And Cavortment

SPX is done for another year, and it’s pretty safe to say that everybody who attended is looking forward to next year with the most baited of breath. It’s a show that’s just the right size, in that you can see everything in a few hours, but also spend the entire weekend in deep dives if that’s what you want. I didn’t have the entire weekend, alas, but I did manage to see the show floor on Saturday and have no regret except not being able to spend more time with everybody¹. Thoughts as they occur to me:

  • Congratulations to the Ignatz Award winners², and may I note that unlike every other awards program of the year, I have a good record picking Ignatz winners. Particular congrats to Evan Dahm, Meredith Gran, Sophie Goldstein, Robert Kirby, and Jason Shiga, who appeared on my ballot³, as well as all the other winners.
  • Speaking of Evan Dahm, he tells me that he’ll be launching his illustrated Oz book on Kickstarter in the near term, near enough to have the printer order submitted by end of the year. My only desire for this is that he offer a two-book bundle reward tier, as I need a copy, and I have a niece and nephew who will also need one.
  • I spoke to both KC Green and Anthony Clark, and somehow managed to completely space on talking about BACK, which makes me an idiot because I love BACK. I did manage to talk to Christopher Hastings about how his involvement in improv and sketch comedy is improving his comic writing and vice versa, but neglected to ask if he has any more major comic book writing gigs coming out soon, given that he’s become Marvel’s go-to guy for the slightly wacky story niche. In each case, I choose to blame the fact that I didn’t want to block the table from people that wanted to talk to these fine gentlemen and buy their wares. That is my story and I’m sticking to it.
  • Speaking of Green, and similar to Dahm’s Oz project, did you see that he (Green) launched an adaptation of Pinocchio today? That is to say, the original story by Carlo Collodi, not the Disney version. In case you’ve never been exposed to the original version, The Talking Cricket (il Grillo Parlante) tries to advise Pinocchio and is squished for his troubles, returning as an advice-spewing ghost, whereas his American counterpart Jiminy not only lived all the way through, he got the good song. Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio runs M-W-F, with Gunshow shifting to T-Th for the duration. Five days a week of KC Green comics is like a fairytale.
  • Speaking of il Grillo Parlante, that’s been the name of the current story arc over at Skin Horse, where a series of guest artists have filled in for most of the summer for new mom/Radness Queen of Webcomics Shaenon Garrity. Garrity’s returned today to wrap up the last week of the arc, which gives me hope that we may also see the return of Monster of the Week.

Right, SPX. Got distracted for a minute there.

  • Becky Dreistadt and Frank Gibson are super excited for their Capture Creatures series, coming in November from BOOM!
  • Dean Trippe tells me that the print version of Something Terrible is with the book designer as we speak.
  • Tom McHenry, whom I’d never met in person before, is a far more normal person that I would expect to ask people what they named their horses and get excited when I ‘fessed up that my horse was named Buttplumber.
  • Carla Speed McNeil viciously underprices her original pages. I came home with three — two of them from the just-released Third World collection, which I have been obsessively reading and re-reading for the ten days or so since I picked it up — and I seriously considered taking out a second mortgage in order to buy the entire bin she had on her table. If you are not reading FINDER you are missing out.
  • SPX remains a readers con, with multiple creators (among them Dahm, Jon Rosenberg, and Spike) expressing delight on social media at how much less stock they took home than they brought. Spike, in particular, was essentially sold out on Saturday, some hours after she promised me that she’s getting back to Templar this month, dammit.
  • Power couples: Yuko Ota and Ananth Panagariya are maybe the living embodiment of Zen patience. Ota’s well-documented wrist difficulties4 are keeping her from drawing (or even signing!) at present, but they are dealing with the situation with admirable calm and equanimity. They shared booth space with Tom Siddell and Magnolia Porter, both of whom are presently doing the best work of their respective careers, and the latter of which was presented with a fan-made, near life-size plush of her character Rixis.

    They were directly across the aisle from Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman, who are gearing up for the Princeton Book Festival next Saturday. Telgemeier was sporting a wrist brace which she assured me was precautionary: the last time she went on book tour (as she is now), she went to the National Book Festival (as she just did) and signed about a thousand books in a short period of time and blew out her wrist and then had to go home and draw a book (which became Sisters). Here’s hoping the precautions work, but at least for now she and Ota get to be wrist-brace superhero buddies.

    Meanwhile, creator duo Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline — so well known for their collaborations with Ryan North — have the time now that Midas Flesh has wrapped to put together their own story and series pitches. With any luck, in a year or so we may see something that they’ve written as well as drawn, and in the meantime they remain busy. Busy’s good.

  • Kel McDonald is having a blast working with Dark Horse on the Misfits of Avalon print collections (the first of which is out next month), and remains her usual, unflappable, hyperorganized self. How organized? She won’t be putting up the Kickstarter for the next Cautionary Fables anthology until the end of 2015, and she’s already got her contributors on lockdown more than a year in advance. Somebody come up with a planning calendar app and get McDonald to endorse it.
  • Tony Breed, by all accounts, KILLED it in the DJ booth at the SPX post-Ignatz dance party/prom. I’d never met him before and he struck me as an amazing nice guy. I picked up a copy of his mini of recipes in comic form, which makes me wish that Recipe Comix was still a thing oh wait look, it is. Also amazingly nice: Jess Fink, who in a just world would be in the midst of a bidding war from competing publishers for the soon-to-finish Chester XYV 5000: Isabelle and George. I am an entirely straight dude, and yet I had to tell Fink how thrilled I am to see that those two dudes are about to get down to some serious gettin’ it on. I think it’s my innate desire for George and Robert to get a happy ending, so to speak.
  • I know I’m forgetting people; mea maxima culpa.
  • New To Be or Not To Be artist signatures obtained count: 25.

Spam of the day:

Nuthin’ good. Sorry.

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¹ That, and I completely lost track of time and missed Raina Telgemeier’s spotlight panel.

² I was already driving home by the time the awards got underway, so Heidi Mac’s writeup was invaluable to me.

³ To be clear, I voted for Shiga for Outstanding Series (which he won) and not for Outstanding Online Comic (which Dahm took), and I voted for Goldsteinn for both Outstanding Minicomic (which she won) and also Outstanding Artist (which went to Sam Bosma, which you can’t really argue with). Likewise, while I backed Gene Yang’s Boxers & Saints for Outstanding Graphic Novel, you can’t really get upset with that one being won by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki for This One Summer.

4 Taking advantage of the fact that I am totally ordained, I attempted a faith healing of Ota’s wrist. I don’t think it worked, despite invoking the spirits of Kirby and Herriman.

Transit Day

Much of [web]comics is on the move today, heading to sunny Pismo Beach and all the clams you can eat Bethesda, Maryland and SPX. Me, I’ll be driving down for the day tomorrow, waaay too early, so if you see me on the floor and I don’t recognize you, my apologies.

Meanwhile, on the far side of the globe, Ryan Estrada reports that tomorrow morning (which may be about now, given time zones) that he will be (already is?) the MC of the inaugural Busan International Shakespeare Festival, with twelve teams of performers from around the world. It’s all thanks to a group of expats in Busan that love Shakespeare, and who may be the same group of crazies (or at least significantly overlap with them) that put on the live-action Choose Your Own Hamlet as part of Ryan North’s Krazyass Kickstarter.

So what I’m saying is, wherever you are in the world, there is entertainment to be had this weekend so get on that.


Spam of the day:

That is a good tip especially tto those new to the blogosphere.
Brief but very accurte info… Appreciate your sharing this one.

I’m not sure, but I think the first line and second line each form a haiku. I guess it depends on how many syllables are in accurte [sic].

Diesem Fetten Fliessenden Sofa

Almost everybody’s busy with the Apple product announcements going on today, so it’s a boring day for me; I mean, the only Apple product I own is a second-generation Nano that’s still got the Stuff Sucks Gelaskin wrap on it. Let’s see what’s happening within webcomicdom.

  • In case you hadn’t heard, David Malki ! has a sofa that needs a good home. Okay, fine, he’s calling it a couch, but if we call it a sofa, we can make the obligatory Zappa reference.
  • There are few people who have done as many different types of comics as Dylan Meconis, and there are even fewer people that I could stand to be stranded on a desert island with. She’s got an amazing line, a keen sense of story (whether serious or comedic, short form or long), and is just a little bit evil¹; she also knows more about Star Trek than you do, just deal with it. Today’s her birthday, which means I get to appreciate her even more than normal. Happy Birthday, Dylan!
  • Going to SPX this weekend? One of the issues that has dogged the show since its move from downtown Bethesda to the northern, highway-ish reaches of town has been the relative lack of food options within easy distance of the convention hotel². It’s not really that there’s no food to be had, but it is spread across a divided road and a bunch of strip-malls; as a result, it was a delight to see the official SPX tweet-feed contribute to the likelihood that attendees and exhibitors might end up well fed:

    The amazingly talented @yaoxiaoart did us a huge solid this year. She created a beautiful food map for SPX! pic.twitter.com/4nGX5RESMW

    It’s less “map” (in that it’s not a representation of places and their locations relative to landmarks) and more “illustrated guide”, but it’s still wonderful. Click through to help make your plans.

  • Ron Perazza has been involved in comics, particularly the digital/webcomics-adjacent end of them, for a long time. He was the driving force behind DC’s Zuda, and if that was an imperfect experiment, it was a case of a large publisher trying something at least. He also involved himself in the production end of things at Marvel in the wake of the Zudaplosion and shakeups at DC, and has continuously — I believe, at least — been trying to find ways to bring major publishers into closer accord with independent creators, without screwing them.

    Today, he takes that (largely self-defined) mission to a place where it might actually take root:

    So this is new. I left Marvel. Today was my first day as Creative Director for Amazon Publishing. I’m pretty excited about the whole thing.

    Watch this closely; particularly, keep an eye on to whatever degree Perazza can influence how Amazon runs comiXology. Good luck with the new gig, Ron — do good work, and we in New Jersey are sorry to see you decamp to sunnier climes³.

  • Seriously, it’s a nice sofa, and there’s totally a map under the right-hand cushion that leads to pirate treasure.

Spam of the day:

In just a week you will reduce 4″ guaranteed.

I’d think less of this if it weren’t from the same people trying to sell me other stuff to add 4″ guaranteed.

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¹ She may have encouraged me to take a picture in front of a Portland food truck pod to send to Rich Stevens knowing that it would evoke massive feelings of envy in him. She’s the devil in my ear, whispering to me that I should live my life in the most amusing fashion possible.

² This is almost an unfair complaint, as downtown Bethesda is practically wall-to-wall restaurants, with representatives of just about every world cuisine imaginable. I surmise this has to do with the proximity to Washington, DC, and the many embassies therein; if you’re tired of cooking for the ambassador and want to take a whack at running your own place, the town is full of diners that readily accept new national dishes.

³ That is purely a metaphorical statement; today it appears to be sunny in Seattle and it is cloudy in New Jersey; I gather that much of the year it is suicidally drizzly in the Pacific Northwest.

Still Waiting On The Official Site

This just in: my dog is ridiculous. Dude was just napping like that all afternoon until the sleep wore him out and he flopped his legs over onto the floor without otherwise moving. I’m not entirely sure, but I think he might have modeled for the Spider-Woman cover that everybody finds ridiculous.

  • The Harvey Awards have always been the comics awards that are the most insider-basebally, what with the voting being restricted to the pool of comics professionals. For whatever reason, they’ve also had an an occasional tendency to be somewhat lackadaisical about distributing information once the ballots are in — they were given out over the weekend at Baltimore Comic Con and there still isn’t an update at the Harveys official website to indicate winners¹. As such, I’m basing my information on that supplied by Heidi Mac on Saturday night.

    Best Online Comics Work went to Mike Norton for Battlepug, which he also won last year², in addition to the Eisner in 2012; although I would have given the nod to Gunnerkrigg Court, it appears that Norton’s peers regard him highly. Either that, or webcomickers don’t vote in the Harveys.

    There was also a run of Canadian webcomics (or webcomics-adjacent) winners, as Ryan “Muscles” North took the Special Award for Humor in Comics for Adventure Time, which book was also the winner for Best Original Graphic Publication For Younger Readers (which it also won last year), and Chort Zubaz was recognized as Most Promising New Talent³, as well as being co-recipient of the award for Best New Series on Sex Criminals.

    Adding in the Humor in Comics recognition for Kate Beaton in 2012, and for Bryan Lee O’Malley in 2010, there’s a strong argument to be made that the category should in future years just be renamed Funny Person That’s Essentially From Toronto4 (a distinction that would preserve Jim Zub‘s shot at the trophy next year). Fleen congratulates all the winners.

  • Fleen also reminds all attendees of SPX this coming weekend that they get to vote on the Ignatzes (Ignatzen?). Since it looks like I’ll be driving down for the day, I’m throwing my vote for Outstanding Online Comic to Evan Dahm, Outstanding Graphic Novel to Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang, Outstanding Story to Meredith Gran for Brownout Biscuit. Those were some tough decisions, what with the likes of Jason Shiga’s Demon, and This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki and more.
  • In other news: It’s official now, can’t go back on it, The Sculptor is on its way and nothing short of the destruction of all life on Earth will prevent it from ending up in my hands, dammit.

Maybe spam of the day:

Out of curiosity, where would you get medical grade superglue? I’ve used the normal stuff in a pinch before, I’d be more comfortable with something designed for the purpose. Is there a store you’d recommend getting it at?

It got caught in the moderation filters, but on the other hand it’s not trying to sell anything, is rather specific to something I wrote, and reads like it was written by a human, so I’m giving this one the benefit of the doubt.

I didn’t have any medical grade superglue, since it’s a by-prescription device, so I had the sticky stuff applied by the Emergency Department of my local hospital. Also, given that the medical device in question is prescribed, I’d trust any place that’s offering it for sale about as much as I’d trust places selling boner pills.

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¹ For that matter, the list of Previous Awards & Nominees stops in 2011; there’s nothing listed for 2012, and while the ballot for 2013 is present, no list of winner will be found there.

² The Harveys have a habit of repeat winners in the category, with Perry Bible Fellowship winning in 2007 and 2008, and Hark! A Vagrant in 2011 and 2012.

³ Despite not being new to the game at all, what with having his own convention and all. Odd award, that one.

4 For the current decade, Toronto has apparently been the locus of funny comics, with a quick detour to New Zealand/UK for Roger Langridge in 2011. Apparently, in the modern world, comics spells humor with an extra “u”.

Don’t Ask How I Know What Size Shirt My Dog Wears

It’s a quiet time in Webcomicstan, possibly related to the imminent long weekend (with its attendant influx of creators to opposite ends of the continent, what with PAX Prime and Dragon Con kicking off tomorrow), along with a dash of end of summer doldrums. Nothing deep today, just some quick bits to amuse on a Thursday afternoon.

  • We’ve mentioned Evan Dahm’s illustrated The Wonderful Wizard of Oz project a number of times since he launched it about a year ago; it’s not ready for print, but he may be getting close, seeing as how he’s noodling around with cover ideas. We’ve seen a good number of Winkieland illustrations of late, and if my memory of the original book serves, after returning from Winkieland, Dorothy et. al. made a trip down south (I forget if that’s the land of the Gilikins or the Quadlings), so maybe we’ll get to see another color scheme after Winkie yellow and Munchkin blue. In any event, I want this book.
  • Sometimes, you can only respond to bad times with a deeply stupid (to the point of brilliance) idea:

    It has been a shitty month, so I’m making a #BUTTS t-shirt for fun. Blame Candice!

    One week run, ends Sept. 5.

    From Rich Stevens, as if there could be any doubt. If he actually makes a canine version (you just have to move the design to the back so it’s visible), I am so getting one for my hound (who, as it turns out, can wear a human t-shirt in the medium-large size range, just saying).

  • A final comment on the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story recently won by Randall Munroe for the xkcd creation¹ entitled Time was offered up by the son and former scion of nominees Phil & Kaja Foglio²:

    Aw, don’t worry Mom & Dad — if you had to lose to somebody at least you know it was somebody better than you!

    Ouch. I have met Young Master Foglio³ and I didn’t know he had this level of snark in him. Naturally, I also know Somewhat Older Master Foglio and I entirely believe he has this level of snark in him:

    You are now out of the will, me laddo.

    Tough break, kid. Maybe Munroe will adopt you?


Spam of the day:

In that case, you might have ‘introduced’ Henry’s bar towards the reader from the gunman’s eyes –- it could be new to him and you’ll be able to bet he can be looking around pretty carefully.

Congratulations, this is the single least sensical blogspammer text I’ve yet encountered. You can pick up your trophy in Hell.

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¹ To call it an update feels too limiting.

² Cheyenne Wright was also part of the nominated team, but as he lacks a familial relationship to the young man in question, he is the immediate subject of this discussion).

³ It occurs to me that I don’t know if his parents have referred to him by name on the wild interwubs, and so I’m omitting that detail here. He’s pretty easy to spot though — find the Girl Genius booth at a show, look for the young’un that looks exactly like Phil Foglio must have looked at age 12 or so, and that’s him.

Pruning

It didn’t finish where it started (or maybe it did, and wandered in the middle), but “Hurricane” Erika Moen went into deep Twitter musing mode last night, touching on the practical question of how much you can keep in print, and the more philosophical question of what it’s like to have your work visible. The former started simply:

Looking over the inventory we have left of the DAR! books, just down to several boxes of each.

I think I’m gunna have a final “get ‘em while you can!” sale and then discontinue selling them online, sell the remaining copies at cons.

Ideally I’d like to collect everything into one giant uber book, but I’ve got so much going on that I don’t know when I can make it happen.

Stick around long enough, that’s a question you’re always going to have to ponder: when to let things go out of print? Ask Mr Kellett or Mr Guigar about their ever-growing sets of books and how much fun it is to keep them all in inventory and truck ‘em to a show. After all, if you’ve got books 4 – 8, who’s going to buy them if they don’t already have books 1 – 3?¹ Heck, Mr Kurtz put together one enormous digest and let all the constituent books go out of print years ago. But then Moen’s musings took a turn:

If 20-year-old me could have seen that 31-year-old me would still be selling actual BOOKS with ISBN #s of my inane journal scribblings…

The first thing cartoonists always ask me is how to get a bigger audience, how to get people reading their stuff.

It’s like DUDE, enjoy your anonymity while you have it! Get all your stupid and bad comics out of your system now while no one’s watching!

Enjoy figuring
out how you tell tell stories. Make totally pointless, self-indulgent work. Find your voice while no one’s paying attention.

Because then
when people do notice you, you’re not given any leeway. You’ve got standards you have to live up to, judgement to shoulder.

Once people start paying attention and ripping you to shreds for every single word and line you make, creating is not so spontaneous anymore

You don’t
just BAM make a comic, you’ve gotta analyze every possible angle it could get attacked from & decide in advance if it’s worth it.

Heady stuff for the early morning hours, and it shifted again to a monologue on how permanent work should be:

I don’t know where I’m going with this. 20yo me just never imagined that people would buy collections of my angsty scribbles a decade later.

I guess that’s why I’m ok with letting the DAR! books go out of print for a while. My work is so intentional and thought-out now, …

…but back then I was just farting out comics without any forethought at all. Just: BAM! I had a thought? MAKE IT A COMIC.

It’s kind of a relief to think that the 20yo version of myself can go in hibernation for a while and just let me be a 31yo for a while.

The nice
thing about keeping a journal webcomic is that you have this specific time of your life frozen in amber.
The bad thing about keeping a journal webcomic is that YOUR DUMBASS KID SELF IS FOREVER PRESERVED IN AMBER FOR ALL TO SEE 4 EVER.

But she brought it back around to the starting point and stuck the landing:

Anyway, so I guess this is my unplanned, soft announcement that I’m discontinuing online DAR! book sales Sept 30th http://erikamoen.myshopify.com

So go get your DAR! books while you can. And for the record, I like Moen’s thought-out work as well as what she considers (I don’t) to be “farted out”. Oh, and if you weren’t smart enough to get in on the Oh Joy Sex Toy Book-Kicker, she’ll have those up for regular purchase soon. In the meantime, check out her advice for gettin’ you a threeway. If anybody manages that because of Moen’s advice, she will be my hero even more than she already is.

Oh, and for those heading to suburban Maryland next month for SPX, they’ve announced their programming; as usual, it’s a highly-curated, quality-over-quantity slate (one program at a time, at hourly intervals, for thirteen total presentations), with a Q&A spotlight on Raina Telgemeier on Saturday at 1:00pm. If I make it down there, I want to ask Raina if her publishers buy her an ice cream cone for each week one of her books sits on the Times graphic novel bestseller lists. If they don’t, they damn well should.


Spam of the day:

There are numerous other varieties of business letters with each possessing its significance and relevance within the association held between diverse parties.

That’s … that’s almost recognizable English. Good job, blogspammer(s)!

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¹ I despair to think of what Professor[essa]s Foglio will do, what with more than a dozen Girl Genius books in print, and the story only about halfway done. They’ve made comments about starting over again from Book #1 for the second half of the story so as not to scare away customers.

Dearly Beloved

This is going to be brief, and there will likely be no posting tomorrow, as I am on final approach to something I’ve been looking forward to for some months now. Tomorrow evening, I’ll be officiating at the wedding of friends, because I am totally a member of the clergy in a completely actual religion and the state of New Jersey (in its wisdom) does not judge the validity of ordinations¹.

So a lot of the time between now and then is being spent going over stuff in my head, so I don’t screw things up; thus, two quick callbacks and I’ll go back to prepping my homily and making sure my vestments are crisply pressed and in order. Also, for reasons that I can’t go into right now, I have to buy a pineapple².

  • Firstly, there are more installments of the Becky and Phil discussion at Benign Kingdom. Lo, gaze upon Part Three and also upon Part Four, and feel the stirrings of blessedness within you.
  • Secondly, a reminder that Kristen Siebecker’s August wine class is coming up next week and given that it’s the last week of summer vacation before everybody comes back to town, there’s plenty of room. You get 10% off with the discount code EMAIL10, but overdrink not wine nor strong drink thou, lest the inside of your skull smite thee the next day.

Spam of the day:

Whenever you get bored along with your writing, think about every one of the rewards of your graduate education.

Because I was stupid enough to attempt studies in two entirely unrelated fields (Electrical Engineering and History, because apparently I hated joy in my life), my graduate education’s “rewards” involved wrangling two advisors that neither spoke each other’s language, nor had much regard for each other’s fields. I can, however, talk endlessly about how independent systems on different technical standards (think power grid or local telephone exchanges) evolved and found ways to become interconnected wholes, and also how fights between standards get settled (i.e.: AC vs DC, VHS vs Betamax, BluRay vs HD DVD). In modern times, the answer is almost always Whichever one doesn’t forbid porn.

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¹ Those that wish to debate whether or not I can perform my ministerial duties while being an atheist and also Jon Rosenberg is in possession of my soul may do so in the comments.

² That’s not code for anything, I have to buy an actual pineapple.

Awards Season

There’s an intersection of three different awards that include comics that have come together. Let’s take them in turn.

  • Last night at LonCon, they gave out the Hugos, as we noted in the recent past. I was hoping, but didn’t really think it would happen: the award for Best Graphic Story went to Randall Munroe for the xkcd update known as Time. Look at the other nominees: the latest Girl Genius chapter by Phil and Kaja Foglio with Cheyenne Wright (who won this category the first three years of its existence), a Doctor Who story by the author of the all-time favorite two-parter Human Nature/The Famiy of Blood, an adaptation of a George RR Martin story, and Saga, the most justly-celebrated comic on the shelves right now (and last year’s winner). And yet the winner was the one entry that could only exist in the digital realm — 3101 frames, released over a period of months. Well done, Randall.
  • The Harvey Awards are unique in that the electorate is made up not of a expert jury or whoever cares to attend a particular convention — these are voted on by working comics professionals, so we get to (in theory, at least) see what the people who make comics think are the best work of their peers. Final ballots (which can be submitted electronically) are due today, and if you make a webcomic you count as a member of the industry.

    The Best Online Comics Work category will choose between Mike Norton’s Battlepug (a previous Eisner winner), The Dreamer by Lora Innes, Tom Siddell’s Gunnerkrigg Court, JL8 by Yale Stewart, and Table Titans by Scott Kurtz, Mary Cagle, Steve Hamaker, and Brian Hurtt. Much as I like Table Titans (it’s probably going to be Kurtz’s career-best work), and despite terrific work from for years now, I think that Siddell is long overdue for recognition. A’course, I don’t get a vote, and those of you that do may we disagree. We’ll find out who gets the honor at Baltimore Comic Con, specifically on Saturday, 6 September.

  • A week later at SPX, the annual Ignatz Awards will present their ceremonial bricks, and the final ballot was released today. Given the focus of the Ignatz on indie comics, there’s a fair amount of overlap between those that might be considered purely webcomickers, and those that might be described as webcomics-adjacent. Nominees that caught my eye included a dual nod to Sophie Goldstein for Outstanding Artist (for multiple works including Darwin Carmichael is Going To Hell) and Outstanding Minicomic (for House of Women). Outstanding Graphic Novel is heavy on the :01 Books library, featuring Boxers & Saints and This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki.

    Outstanding Story nominees include Meredith Gran’s Octopus Pie story Brownout Biscuit (collected in Dead Forever). Jason Shiga has two nods for Demon, in Outstanding Series and Outstanding Online Comic, where he is joined by Anya Davidson’s Band For Life, Dane Martin’s Big Dogs At Nite, On Hiatus by Pete Toms, and Vattu by Evan Dahm. It looks like most categories will be tough for the SPX voters to decide, but given how much I love Darwin, Octopie, and Gran, I’m hoping that the Brooklyn-resident (formerly, in Goldstein’s case) contingent brings home the bricks.


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Arrivals

Oh, Mercy. Art by Twitter user Sheana Molloy, all rights respected.

The first notice came on Monday morning, and except for the expected news some seven hours later, details were thin. Had the Straubchild entered the world already, a world not ready for something so good, so pure? Signs pointed to yes, and while confirmation has not been made public, neither have the many, many expressions of congratulations been dismissed. It now being Wednesday, it seems safe to assume that Kris and Marlo have welcomed their first young’un into their lives, and may soon (give it a week or so) stop bursting into spontaneous, happy tears.

Welcome, little one. I wasn’t kidding when I said that you were too good for this weary, broken world; we’ll try to make it better by the time you’d notice. Try to give your parents the occasional full night’s sleep, and be sure to provide your dad with lots of creative juice. It’s a weird, wonderful thing, life, and welcome to it.

*****

Webcomickers not making their way towards Indianapolis for Gen Con¹ (a partial list of which may be found in yesterday’s post) may be instead making their ways to other shows happening in the immediate future.


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¹ So called because it originated in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin about the time I was born. It bounced around Wisconsin for a while and eventually settled in Indy.

² Where, I should note, webcomics compete against all other form of comics in the same category.

³ Not to be confused with the other Canadian Mike Holmes, the house builder on TV. I’m sure the comics Mike Holmes is plenty handy, and maybe the TV guy can draw, but they actually are two totally different dudes.