The webcomics blog about webcomics

Nearly Ready For San Diego. You?

Higher volumes of postings will kick in later this week; tomorrow will largely be taken up by travel, but expect at least some info regarding build-out and Preview Night on Wednesday, and then as many posts as make sense on Thursday through Sunday. Next Monday will also be a travel day, for what it’s worth.

In the meantime, if you could keep me from forgetting my phone charger/laptop power cord, and make sure I don’t miss the train to the airport tomorrow, that would be great. Travel safe, everybody that’s travelling, and have a good time everybody that’s not.

Personal goals this year:

  • Meet Gene Luen Yang and thank him for his work
  • At long last, meet Tom Spurgeon in person
  • Buy Jim Zub a drink
  • Find Chris Sims, give him five dollars

Spam of the day:

As tempting since it could be, it is financially irresponsible to borrow more cash than you’ll be able to afford to repay

This is surprisingly good advice; much like a broken clock being right twice a day (or Ross Douthat for once being merely inoffensive rather than his usual cranio-rectalized), spammers must have useful information once in a while.

No Time, Have To Get To The Airport

I just want to update my incomplete impressions of Seconds from yesterday, then I can start the mad dash of work and travel that will end sometime tomorrow morning when I fall exhausted into my bed.

  • Firstly, it was a deeply, deeply satisfying read. There was an obvious — almost trite — approach to a story about changing your own life that Bryan Lee O’Malley could have taken, and he didn’t. He produced a story that was genuine and moving but not maudlin, and he got there honestly. I will be reading it at least twice more in my immediate travels — and I suspect I will find more to like on each reading.
  • Secondsly, I neglected to fully mention O’Malley’s creative team, due to not having the book handy. Jason Fischer assisted on the art, Nathan Fairbairn handled colors, and the previously-mentioned Dustin Harbin lettered. They were all at the top of their respective games.

Okay, gotta bounce; irregular posting schedule for the next week-plus, as I navigate SDCC ’14.

Can’t Talk, Reading Seconds

I picked up Seconds yesterday at San Francisco’s famous Isotope Comics Lounge¹ and I have been gritting my teeth all day at work because I have to wait to read the last third of this book.

You guys, it’s so good. The narrative voice, the art, the story are all pulling me in, and while it contains the Scott Pilgrimesque conceit of introducing CHARACTER NAME (AGE IN YEARS) with captions, it cannot be said to be like Scott Pilgrim in any sense other than it’s masterful. It’s less hero’s journey and more learning the lesson that even when you stay in one place, you cannot screw with the fundamental laws of the universe, whether you understand them or not. If a somewhat disdainful (territorial, even) spirit that nobody else can see tells you not to do something? Don’t do it.

Also, the cameos are a kick. O’Malley and his creative collaborators² show up at a restaurant table at one point, as do Yuko, Ananth, and George³. I’m sure there are others that I’m missing. So now I’m going to finish up work, head back to the hotel, and read the crap out of the ending of Seconds and there is nothing you can do to stop me.

Spam of the day:

do you suffer crhonich renal problems

This spammer is way too interested in how and when I take a leak.

¹ Arriving, as luck would have it, about 15 minutes after the conclusion of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s signing there. Ah well, life and all that.

² It’s pretty easy to pick Dustin Harbin out of a lineup.

³ Fortunately, he did not stop smiling.

Lull Before The Nerdstorm

Did I use that title before? I feel like I may have but also don’t feel like checking. There are things happening in comics that, oddly, do not involve the imminent San Diego Comic Con.

  • If you read my review of the print collection Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell and thought Dang, I’ve got to get me that book!, I’ve got good news for you. Creators Sophie Goldstein and Jenn Jordan are having a book launch This Saturday, 19 July, at the highly-regarded Bergen Street Comics in Darwin’s own borough of Brooklyn. To add to the fun, they’re teaming up with fellow creator Jon Chad, who will be celebrating the launch of The Bad-ventures of Bobo Sadsack from Adhouse Books. The celebratin’ and launchin’ starts at 7:00pm, is free to attend, will have plenty of books for purchase and signing, and (based on past events at Bergen Street) may even feature snacks and drinks.
  • Speaking of drinks, there’s a new educated booze-up session from winemistress Kristen Siebecker for those that will be in New York City rather than San Diego, but it’s waitlisted. Lucky for you she’s got a second one coming up a month later, with an emphasis on organic and biodynamic wines that will complement the paleo diet. As usual, Siebecker has provided us with a discount code — EMAIL10 — for 10% off the costs of the class(es).
  • August is going to be celebratory at Portland’s own Excalibur Books & Comics, which will be celebrating 40 years in the funnybooks biz. There’s a sidewalk sale the weekend of 1 August, signings — featuring a slate of local comics talent, including about half of Periscope Studio, as well as webcomics types Mike Russell and Bill Mudron (who collaborated on the anniversary poster) — on Wednesdays the 6th, 13th, and 20th, a party on the 27th complete with cake, and a 50% off sale the weekend of the 29th. Lots of events, so lots can change in the meantime; check the link above for latest updates.
  • The Harvey Awards ballot for 2014 has been announced, and there are some names of note on it. Webcomics and webcomics-adjacent nominees include Steve Wands (Adventure Time) and Britt Wilson (Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake), both up for Best Letterer, Ryan North (Adventure Time) and Jim Zub (Skullkickers) for the Special Award for Humo[u]r in Comics, and Adventure Time for Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers. In the actual category for Best Online Comics Work you’ve got Mike Norton (Battlepug, which took the Eisner in 2012), Laura Innes (The Dreamer — also nominated in this category last year), Tom Siddell (Gunnerkrigg Court), Yale Stewart (JL8), and Scott Kurtz, Steve Hamaker, and Brian Hurtt (Table Titans).

    Also I should probably mention that serial reprobate (and thus webcomicky enough) Chip Zdarsky got tabbed for Most Promising New Talent for Sex Criminals, which also was nominated as Best New Series. Votes (from comics industry professionals) are due by 18 August, and the awards will be given out at Baltimore Comic-Con on Saturday, 6 September.

  • Okay, I lied — one bit about San Diego Comic Con. Pat Race of Alaska Robotics likes running, and he’d like some company, so the somethingth annual SDCC Completely Unofficial Fun 5K will be taking place at some point during the con. Tentatively, the plan is to start at 10:00am on Saturday morning on the bay side of the convention center, but if people want to finish (and shower) before the show opens, it may be started earlier. Check in with AKRobotics at booth 1134 to confirm time and location.

Spam of the day:

Punctuation simple plus are different. An example is usually”Manner” Regarding”Chanel, The brand are advised to get in line along side appears, And observe after a continual coupled every side of the back pack.

The irony of that quote being about punctuation is giving me a stroke.

Dropping Today

For more on the Pitch Drop Experiment, please refer to Maki Naro's comics. Photo by Flickr user Jamie Allen, used under a Creative Commons licsense  (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

So much good stuff coming out today (and soon), you guys.

  • The Shadow Hero drops today; I’m away from home without my review copy (thoughtfully provided by :01 Books) because I am a genius, so this is from memory. It’s partly a story set in the 1930s, and partly an exploration of an actual public domain character called The Green Turtle and what he could have been.

    The Green Turtle was probably the first Asian-American superhero; he appeared for a few issues during World War II, created by comics artist Chu Hing, whose publisher was adamant that the hero was Not Asian. So despite running around in China, fighting Japanese invaders, with an Asian boy sidekick (sigh, “Burma Boy”), The Green Turtle’s skin was always printed in a bright, garish, we-told-you-he-wasn’t-Asian pink, to make it clear just how Not Asian (i.e.: white) this character was. Writer Gene Luen Yang has rescued some of The Greet Turtle’s dignity, giving him a name (never revealed in the comic, thus Not Asian), a history, and even a reason for that super-pink Not Asian skin.

    Hank Chu doesn’t want to be a superhero in his pre-WWII west coast Chinatown; he doesn’t hear the call to destiny (well, he does eventually), he isn’t granted amazing powers by a fantastic being (okay, that happens too), but rather he is propelled into the hero biz by something bigger than himself, something that cannot be ignored or avoided. Namely, his mom.

    She’s decided Hank is going to be a hero, and she makes him a costume, thinks up a codename, drives him out at night to fight criminals, and goes around shoving him into handy chemical spills hoping to provoke powers. The only thing provoked is his skin reacts to moisture by turning bright pink, which actually serves to disguise him as he moves among the native and immigrant Chinese population. When his father is murdered by criminal gangs, he inherits the sponsorship of one of the great gods of ancient China and gains one very particular power, although it doesn’t prevent him from getting the crap kicked out of him.

    Hank’s enemies are the gangs, but also the systemic racism that keeps his family and community from full participation in society. It fits in well with Yang’s earlier examinations of what it means to be Chinese and Chinese-American; the art by Sonny Liew doesn’t look like Yang’s work on American Born Chinese or last year’s masterful Boxers & Saints, but it has a loose-limbed, somewhat goofy approach to character that Yang’s work is too restrained to achieve. If Yang is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon — all clean lines and everything perfectly composed and gorgeous — Liew is Kung Fu Hustle, all frenetic energy and over the top action. Together they’ve created a marvelous story that resonates for all the right reasons.

  • Today’s also the launch of Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods and Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds, both of which I will be obtaining at the first opportunity.
  • Not actually dropping for some weeks is Jim Zub’s Wayward, but he was kind enough to send me a review copy, and if there’s one thing you never have to ask me to do twice, it’s tear into a Zub-penned issue #1 despite the fact I know it will be frustrating as hell. Not because the story won’t be good, but because the man knows how to hook a reader, bring things to a proper level of excitement, and then stop the goddamn thing because he’s hit page count right on a point of high tension and now I’m going arrgh and counting the days until issue #2.

    For the record, Wayward #1 did all of that more efficiently than usual, because Zub not only created an initial set of characters, set up major plot points, and hinted at the major conflict of the series; he did do against a background of modern Tokyo in a way that deeply affected me. Flight to Narita followed train to city followed subway to neighborhood is trip I’ve taken, and the feeling you get when you finally reach that last kilometer of your journey, where the idea of Tokyo becomes the reality of Tokyo — Zub paces the slog of travel leading to the reveal masterfully, and he’s partnered with artists that can portray it.

    Combine that with something that often gets lots in Western comics set in Japan (in general) and Tokyo (in particular): the fact that the country and city are a place of contrasts. The highest-tech, most modern 22nd century district can suddenly turn to quiet local neighborhood of traditional shops and homes in the space of five minutes walk. The skyscrapers covered in LEDs have alcoves almost to narrow to stand in between them, where a rock draped in garlands sits. The rock is the home of a kami, it’s always been the home of a kami, people revere that kami and its rock, and the skyscrapers will just have to be built around them because the kami ain’t moving. This is the feel that Zub imbues in his Tokyo in Wayward and it’s pulled me in.

    As I write this, I’m sitting in an office building directly across the street from the Transamerica Pyramid, which I recently saw on fire after being punched by giant monsters in the new Godzilla. I require very little from such movies to be entertained — giant monsters need to punch each other and things need to get knocked down and that is deeply satisfying.

    Likewise, Zub has provided a fight scene here with one of Japan’s traditional monsters and he’s laid out the struggle in a way that’s easy to follow and perhaps more importantly, emphasizes the nonhuman nature of the monster. These are not just people with a strange shape and odd mannerisms; they carry themselves with an attitude that they are different from humans, better than humans, they saw the first humans pull themselves out of the muck and have little regard for humans. They are kappa¹ and kappa are better than humans and that characterization is as deeply satisfying as watching stompy monsters flatten a city. Also, Zub’s chosen to describe these particular kappa as distinctly ninja turtle-like, and thus it is hilarious when they get their asses handed to them by a pair of teen girls.

    What I am saying here is that Zub wrote this comic pretty much exactly for me, but it is crafted with his usual skill and flair, so you do not need to be me to find it well worth your time and money. Pre-order it today, read it next month, and share in my arrgh until we all get to read #2 together.

Spam of the day:

Nothing good today. I’ve been buried for a couple weeks, and today it’s nothing but long strings of question marks. Borrrrr-ing.

¹ I have a soft spot in my heart for kappa, as they were the first of Japan’s traditional yokai that I learned about. They are turtle-like, they must keep water in the bowl-like indentation on their foreheads or they will die, and they will drown humans to eat the inside of their rectum. However, they can be bribed with cucumbers, and if you get one to return your bow, their forhead-water will spill out and they will be helpless. There’s menace there, but ways to deal with the menace if you’re clever or prepared.

Satur-diddly And Also The Lord’s Day

I swear I came up with that title before I saw that the first panel listed on Saturday is for The Simpsons.

Saturday Programming
Cartoon Network: Steven Universe
10:00am — 11:00am, offsite

Well, sort of offsite; much like the STRIPPED screening at the Marriott, the Steven Universe panel (with series creator Rebecca Sugar and supervising director Ian Jones-Quartey¹ plus the voices of Steven, Steven’s dad, and all three gems) will be outside the convention center, but part of the show and thus require badged access. In this case, the Hilton Bayfront (that’s the one on the opposite side of the convention center from the Marriott, past the meadow where they line up the Hall H crowd for four days), in the Indigo Ballroom.

Writers Unite: Writing and Pitching Comic Stories
10:00am — 11:00am, Room 25ABC

If you can’t make it to the Bayfront Hilton, this session featuring the ubiquitous Jim Zub looks like a good alternative.

Diversity in Genre Lit
10:00am — 11:00am, Room 7AB

Okay, this is getting spooky; the even more ubiquitous (at least at this show) Gene Luen Yang will be on the panel here …

Avatar the Last Airbender: Legend and Legacy
10:30am — 11:30am, Room 24ABC

And, allegedly, here as well. Okay, at least this isn’t two sessions in exactly the same timeslot like yesterday, but given the distance he’d have to cover to get from 7AB to 24ABC, Yang couldn’t spend more than 20 minutes in the first if he wanted to make the start of the second. Does he know that he’s apparently being shuttled from panel room to panel room all weekend long without so much as a bathroom break? And will we see the ever-elusive triple booking to go with two (and counting) doubles? Let’s find out together!

Berkeley Breathed: The Last Comic-Con Panel!
12:00pm — 1:00pm, Room 9

Whoa. Breathed is almost as reclusive as Watterson. All these influencers on Generation Webcomics are coming out of their cloistered retirements.

Spotlight on Bryan Lee O’Malley
12:00pm — 1:00pm, Room 28DE

Everybody knows that Seconds is out this week, right?

We Are BOOM!
12:30pm — 1:30pm, Room 24ABC

The description starts with a blurb about a deal with 20th Century Fox, and a movie staring Denzel and Marky Mark, but I know I’m not the only one that thinks all of BOOM!s interesting stuff is coming on the all-ages end of things. To that end, I’ll note that Noelle Stevenson of Lumberjanes and the Frank half of Becky and Frank (of numerous Adventure Time backup stories and The Amazing World of Gumball) are the participants what caught my eye.

CBLDF: Banned Comics!
1:00pm — 2:00pm, Room 30CDE

Featuring Gene Luen Yang. I should get a running count of how many panels he’s on. I’m starting to think my kidding about him being held prisoner by the showrunners is more true than I meant it to be.

Spotlight on Lucy Knisley
2:00pm — 3:00pm, Room 28DE

Lucy Knisley is one of the very best creators we have, and the only one that makes me physically hungry reading her work.

30 Years of Usagi Yojimbo!
3:00pm — 4:00pm, Room 28DE

I am sometimes puzzled that you don’t see more written about Usagi Yojimbo until I realize that after three or four months you run out of ways to say Yep, Sakai put together another master class in comics storytelling, art, layout, and pacing. Uhhh-gain. He’s had a hell of a rough year, and I think everybody showing up to give the guy a little love would be an excellent thing.

Comics Journalism: The Hulk Takes a Butt Selfie and You Won’t Believe What Happens Next
6:00pm — 7:00pm, Room 23ABC

My nominee for best panel title of the show.

TeeFury-Practicing Nichecraft: Marketing & Brand Development for Independent Artists
6:30pm — 7:30pm, find it yourself

Seriously? They gave a self-promotion panel to frickin’ TeeFury? It is the end times.

Best and Worst Manga of 2014
7:00pm — 8:00pm, Room 23ABC

Props to my buddies Brigid Alverson, Christopher Butcher, and David Brothers (and also Deb Aoki, who I don’t know personally but whose writing I find smart and insightful) for sharing their wisdom so late in the day when by rights they should be at a bar enjoying a well-earned drink or eight.

Sunday Programming
Panels & Pictures
12:00pm — 1:00pm, Room 32AB

There’s some counter-intuitive staffing on this panel devoted to graphic novels for kids. Kazu Kibuishi, Raina Telgemeier, Mike Maihack, Sonny Liew (artist of The Shadow Hero, written by Gene Luen Yang, who will apparently be in a coma at this point since he’s not on the panel) all make sense … the curveball comes from the inclusion of Emily Carroll, whose work I absolutely adore, but never thought as for kids. Then again, kids love to have the bejabbers scared out of ‘em, so I can see them eating her stuff up. Well done, panel organizers!

All-Ages Comics Have Arrived
1:00pm — 2:00pm, Room 24ABC

Gene Luen Yang will be dragged from the medically-induced coma that he’s been in for the past twelve hours long enough to talk with the likes of Dave Roman, Ian McGinty, Dave Petersen, and moderator Shannon Watters.

Fund My Comic
2:00pm — 3:00pm, Room 29A

Everything I said about the Kickstarter panel on Thursday would also apply here, except they included Kel McDonald on this one. Still offering that dollar to successful crowdfunders to attend.

Keenspot 2014: Giant-Size Panel of Pure Weirdness
3:00pm — 4:00pm, Room 4

The blurb says this is the 14th year for the Keenspot panel and that sounds about right. What caught my attention was the inclusion of DJ Coffman, who we haven’t seen in the webcomics scene for some time. Interesting times we live in.

First Second in Conversation
3:30pm — 4:30pm, Room 26AB

Readers of this page know I stand second to no man in my admiration of :01 Books, and they’ve got four of their very best in conversation: Paul Pope, Faith Erin Hicks, Lucy Knisley, and the restless ghost of Gene Luen Yang. This is my fourth must-attend of the weekend, and if I’ve got my math right, Yang’s eighth panel of the show. If you see him on the floor, maybe pass him some snacks?

Spam of the day:

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You know how artificial language-construction systems are getting to the point where they can persuasively simulate like a 13 year old Ukrainian kid? Yeah, this was apparently written by a system that simulates a drunken libertarian brand marketer.

¹ I’ll give you a dollar if you ask him when RPG World is coming back.

Aw Man, I Left This Without A Title For More Than 48 Hours? I Suck

San Diego Comic Con programming continues its release, with Friday’s panels and things now up for your perusal. As always, the schedule may change over the next couple of weeks, so verify the schedule before sitting in line for 37 hours.

Friday Programming
Gender in Comics
10:00am — 11:00am, Room 4

Some very smart people on this panel, whose writings on the Venn diagram of gender and comics I enjoy a great deal, including Janelle Asselin, Andy Khouri, Jennifer de Guzman, and Laura Hudson.

Comics Arts Conference Session #5: Rescued by Batman: Finding Hope in Something Terrible
10:30am — 11:30am, Room 26AB

Dean Trippe talking about his experience with sexual abuse and how Batman saved him. My third must-attend of the show.

Origins of the Comic Strip: The Untold Story of Artists and Anarchy, 1895-1915
3:00pm — 4:00pm, Room 29A

Could be an interesting companion to the screening of STRIPPED later today.

Walking the Line: An Investigation into Alternative vs. Mainstream Comics and Beyond
3:00pm — 4:00pm, Room 28DE

Kazu Kibuishi and Gene Luen Yang will be part of the panel, moderated by the always-great Calvin Reid. But here’s the weird part:

Words and Pictures
3:00pm — 4:00pm, Room 9

Got that? Same time as the panel immediately above. Moderated by Lev Grossman of TIME magazine, it’s a murderer’s row of modern masters of graphic storytelling: Michael Cho, Faith Erin Hicks, Lucy Knisley, Jen Wang, and Gene Luen Yang¹.

Comic Book Entrepreneurs: The Business of Comics
6:00pm — 7:00pm, Room 9

Bunch of business types, but also Noelle Stevenson of Nimona and Lumberjanes.

6:10pm — 7:40pm, offsite

Well, half offiste; STRIPPED will be screening as part of the Comic Con International Independent Film Festival, which takes place at the Marriott next door to the convention center, in Hall 2. It’s still part of SDCC so you do need to be badged, it’s just not in the convention center. With another film starting immediately after, it doesn’t look like there’ll be time for a Q&A with filmmakers Freddave Kellett-Schroeder, but they’ll be at booth 1228 all show, so drop by there to pick up a copy or ask ‘em about focal length or whatever.

Okay, that’s it for now; as a quick note, I’ll be on Pacific Time next week, so look for updates to occur later than they normally do. Yep, work sends me to the Left Coast just before I have to fly there for the convention like three days after I get home. I am not going to know what damn time zone it is for weeks.

Spam of the day:

what does yolo swag mean

Let me Google that for you.

¹ Is Gene Yang able to be in two places at the same time? It might explain how he has the time to turn out so many graphic novels without seeming to rush or skimp on any of them.

I Knew There Was A Reason To Write Late Today

San Diego Comic Con programming started to drop today, with Thursday’s slate now available for your perusal. As usual, I’m listing out things that caught my eye; your mileage may vary.

Thursday Programming
Graphic Novel Programming at Your Library
10:00am — 11:00am, Room 23ABC

If you’ve been wanting to get your work into libraries, this is probably a good place to trawl for librarians.

Legends of TV Land
find it yourself

This is just to point out that Betty White now counts as valid topic for SDCC panel time. Look, I get it, she’s a treasure, but we’ve really jumped the sharknado on this one¹.

Under the Dome: Panel and Exclusive Sneak Preview
11:15am — 12:00pm, Ballroom 20

I am including this solely to make Jon Rosenberg’s head explode.

Welcome To Night Vale
12:00pm — 1:00pm, offsite

TopatoCo will be presenting a panel at the Geek and Sundry Lounge on 4th Ave in the Gaslamp, covering the secret history of one weird little town. As it’s offsite, no SDCC badge is needed.

Gene Luen Yang in Conversation with Scott McCloud
3:00pm — 4:00pm, Room 28DE

This is the first must-attend of the show for me. I’ve never met Yang, but I owe him many profuse thanks for his body of work.

NASA’s Next Giant Leap
3:00pm — 4:00pm, Room 6A

Okay, I’m not sure why Seth Green is moderating this one, but any panel with Buzz Frickn’ Aldrin and Bobak Frickin’ Ferdowsi² on it gets my attention. They may have undersized the room for this panel.

The Sergio & Mark Show
3:30pm — 4:30pm, Room 8

The two most consistently amusing people in comics.

How to Kickstart Your Dream Like a Pro
5:00pm — 6:00pm, Room 25ABC

Spike, Ryan North, David Malki !, Zach Weinersmith, Aaron Diaz, and George Rohac are, inexplicably, not on this panel (indeed, half of them won’t be at the show). However, I’ll give a dollar to each one of them that attends the panel to kibitz from the floor.

Understanding Stories: The Making of a Graphic Novel
5:00pm — 6:00pm, Room 7AB

McCloud again; hopefully includes previews of The Sculptor.

Cartoon Hangover: Bee and PuppyCat and Friends
5:30pm — 6:30pm, Room 6A

Natasha Allegri, Becky & Frank, Madeleine Flores, Allyn Rachel and Kent Osborne (voices of Bee and Deckard), and others. Second must-attend of the show for me.

Indie Comics Marketing & PR 101
6:30pm — 7:30pm, Room 8

Panelists from comiXology, BOOM!, and Fantagraphics. Could be some very worthwhile info at this one.

Spam of the day:

As explained NASA’s Glenn Research Center, the biggest market of gravity is “the average location with the weight from the object.

This spam may actually tie with this one:

how much is 100 grams in tablespoons

… in terms of fundamentally misunderstanding how basic concepts like mass, volume, and gravity work. Going to ask me how much time twelve parsecs is next?

¹ Sharknado 2, naturally, has its own panel on Thursday because of course it does.

² Who, let’s be clear, oversaw the most audacious landing in space exploration history before his 33rd birthday. Respect, my brother engineer.

One Done, Many Ongoing

The sun set on one Jim Zub project today, as the reboot of Makeshift Miracle (story, as always, by Zub, with redone art by Shun Hong Chan) reached its conclusion today. Now that the entire story is there, I hope that Zub will put the original back up, so we can compare the two versions, page by page. Zub may not like his original (and ten years less-assured) artwork for Makeshift Miracle, but I thought it had some real charm. An authentic this is coming from a singular POV and it different from other stories character, if you will.

Regardless, this is the Hardest Working Man In Comics, so he can’t wrap up a project (even one where most of the lifting was already done) without having new ones to take up every moment of his waking life. In addition to Skullkickers rampaging towards its fifth-arc conclusion¹, and Samurai Jack has been extended again², and nobody³ can find an issue of Figment #2, Zub will be launching another creator-owned series next month.

Here’s the deal: Zub has become a damn hot writer (for more different publishers than I can count) on all kinds of different stories (fantasy humor; all ages; character studies; licensed characters) and achieved some pretty broad name recognition over the past couple of years. He got there because he’s been working his ass off for the past decade, and honing his craft every. single. day.

Not everything he writes is to my liking4, but he has become a writer for whom it is always appropriate to give the benefit of the doubt. I will read at least issue #1 of anything Zub writes, and so far I’ve got about an 80% conversion rate to being an ongoing reader of whatever comes after #1. I didn’t need to be told that Wayward is getting compared to Buffy to make a mental note to put it on my pull list; the magic words were Written by Jim Zub.

I’m mentioning this because even though Zub’s got the magic touch, it’s possible to get caught short. Marvel is scrambling to take Figment back to press because the demand was far greater than retailers figured (cf: I can’t find a copy), and I have a feeling the same thing could happen to Wayward. If you like good comics, if you’re willing to bet the cost of one moderately fancy drink at Starbucks that it’ll be worth your while, now is the time to tell your local comic shop. New titles rarely get generously ordered (cf: once more, Figment), and the more demand that’s seen now, in advance of release, the greater chance we have of a) all getting a copy; b) Image sees the value in a creator-owned title, the economics of which are fraught with risk and fear.

I don’t ask y’all for much, and this is really for your benefit as much as it is for one of the most frighteningly-skilled writers in comics today. Check the previews and read what people who’ve seen advance copies have to say. Decide whether your money is better spent on yet another renumbering or line-wide crossover that will change everything (until next month) or something new. Then tell your local shop, I need a copy of Wayward when it launches. Do it for the children.

And just maybe, if Wayward hits big and Figment continues to grow and Samurai Jack becomes an ongoing, and skulls continue to be kicked … maybe Zub will let himself take a day off.


Spam of the day:

mean median mode and range

You may be a spammer trying to con people into buying counterfeit boner pills, but if you know statistics you’re still my people.

¹ And I can’t find the recently-released #28 anywhere, dammit.

² Remember, it was originally going to be a five-issue miniseries; it’s now going to at least issue #20.

³ Including me, again dammit. I’m not even entirely sure which nostalgic Disney property it’s based on, I’m buying this because Zub got me hooked and I want to see where it goes.

4 But that goes for all of the comics creators I follow, with the exceptions of Jeff Smith, Terry Moore, and Raina Telgemeier. Everything they write I love.

The Map Of The World

Well, it’s just about two weeks out from Preview Night and (as of this writing) we don’t have a definitive programming schedule for San Diego Comic Con 2014; despite this, there are hints leaking out here and there, such as Dean Trippe’s Something Terrible panel on Friday morning. But what we do have is an exhibitor list for the main floor, Small Press, and Artists Alley areas, which we at Fleen have broken down for your convenience.

Surprising nobody, the SDCC exhibit floor [PDF] remains unreasonably huge; good news, though — if you’ve been before, webcomickers and similar folks are mostly where you’ve found them in prior years. Please note that all the information given is what I could confirm at press time, and as more information becomes available I will update or correct this page.

On The Right Side
Let’s start over to the right side of the map, which is the side of the building away from the stadium parking lot where so much offsite stuff will be found. It looks like this:

The Webcomics, Small Press, and Independent Press Pavilions are all reasonably accessible from the “B” lobby. Let’s break ‘em down.

The Sexy Lagoon
Centered roughly on booth #1332, you’ll find a majority of the webcomickers who will be at the show within about a 1.5 aisle radius; some are slightly outside the orange area, but not too far.

:01 Books Booth 1323
Alaska Robotics
with Marian Call
Booth 1134
Blank Label Booth 1330
Blind Ferret Booth 1231
Cyanide & Happiness     Booth 1234
Dumbrella Booth 1335
Girl Genius Booth 1331
Monster Milk Booth 1232
Penny Arcade Booth 1334
PvP and Table Titans Booth 1235
Booth 1332
Sheldon and STRIPPED Booth 1228
The Oatmeal Booth 1021
TopatoCo Booth 1229
Two Lumps Booth 1230


Small Press Is The Best Press
Right by the Webcomics section is Small Press. Here you should find:

Bob the Angry Flower    Table K-16
Ben Costa Table O-07
Keith Knight Table K-15
Kel McDonald Table M-13
Wire Heads Table M-01

From the Small Press section, you’re close by:

Cartoon Art Musuem    Booth 1930
CBLDF Booth 1920
BOOM! Booth 2229
Oni Press Booth 1833
Bolt City/Gallery Nucleus Booth 2743


  • Gallery Nucleus/Bolt City will feature Kazu Kibuishi, and no doubt other arty types when they aren’t hanging out at Mondo down in booth 805.
  • No confirmation yet on which webcomickers will be at the BOOM! booth when, but I’d expect a pretty strong rotation.

Now head back toward the “B” Lobby into the Independent Press area and you’ll find Unshelved in Booth 2300. Head towards entrance B2 in particular and you’ll be right next to Axe Cop at Booth 1603.

Going back to that larger map of the northern half of the exhibit hall. Wedged in between the Marvel and Image megabooths you’ll find Keenspot in Booth 2635.

Down South
Two last places to mention, if you trek down to the southern (that’s the end closer to the Happiest Place On Earth¹) end of the hall:

Waaay down there, past all the art materials and vinyl toys and Copic markers, you’ll find Udon Entertainment (home of such worthies as Christopher Butcher and Jim Zub at Booth 4529); and The Hero Initiative at Booth 5003. One may also find Mr Zub in Artists Alley, table GG-06, or variously at the Dark Horse, IDW, Image, or Marvel booths; look for the Canadian-shaped blur and that will be him.

I don’t have a specific place to direct you like last year’s ShiftyLook (RIP) Arcade featuring Andrew Hussie, but I’m guessing that neither the Gaslamp Hilton terrace nor the massive parking lots within a kilometer of the convention center will be empty. I’ll add info to this page as I become aware of it. I’ll also update any info I get on people that are going to SDCC, but not necessarily boothing on their own.

Spam of the day:

does pizza go bad overnight

You shut your filthy mouth, pizza is never bad.

¹ Tijuana.