The webcomics blog about webcomics

Supernatural And/Or Spooky

It is the Friday before a long weekend and I have far to travel. Let’s do this.

  • I read Wayward #1 by Jim Zub and Steve Cummings yesterday; my thoughts on the story were shared here last month, as Zub was kind enough to send me a preview PDF, so I’ll just add one thought. Namely, reading this story on paper makes it even better. Yeah, yeah, digital distribution is the future of comics and it would solve my bookshelf space problem, but some things you just need to have the sensation of flipping pages. I look forward to many months of traditional Japanese monsters getting their asses kicked by teen girls.
  • Also mentioned last month; Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods, which it took me forever to find a copy of. It was worth every bit of the wait, however, as Carroll weaves five tales of … I know the usual word there is terror, but that’s not quite the right word. Terror jumps out at you and screams boogedy-boogedy, jumps up your heart rate and makes you scream, but relies on that suddenness, that shock to gets its scares. Carroll’s stories are instead built on a foundation of unsettlement, as things seem a little wrong, then a little more, and pretty soon you can’t tell when things weren’t wrong and just the act of trying to get back to where they are un-wrong seems impossible and futile.

    And that’s a more scarifying, a more legitimately I have to put this book down right now or I will never sleep again-inducing way of telling stories than any attempt by mere terror. Carroll starts firmly in the pre-industrial past, where the wrong things are safely in the deep dark woods, feared by the primitive and ignorant, and nobody today could fall afoul of such imaginary beasties, ha ha. But with each story, the clothes are little less simple, the homes a little less anachronistic, the language a little more modern and holy crap the last story is all the way in the 20th century and there are cars and doctors and flappers and shit, shit, shit those beasties and haunts have persisted until the present day and that means they could be

    right here

    in the room

    with

    me.

    That’s why Through The Woods is the most frightening book I’ve ever read, the delicious kind of scares that settle into your brain and take up housekeeping, the ones that make you reflect on your life and resolve to be a much better person because none of the protagonists of her five stories was horrible (okay, the guy who killed his brother in a jealous fit) and look how they ended up. If I’m good enough that won’t happen to me.

    Maybe.

  • Good news that doesn’t involve existential dread! Noelle Stevenson’s Lumberjanes is described in the house ads of this week’s BOOM! Studios comics as no longer being an eight-issue limited series, but rather an ongoing series. Well done, Team Lumberjanes!
  • Your semiregular reminder: Ryan North never forgets. NEVER.

Spam of the day:

Greetings from {Idaho|Carolina|Ohio|Colorado|Florida|Losangeles|California}! I’m {bored to tears|bored to death|bored} at work so I decided to {check out|browse} your {site|website|blog} on my iphone during lunch break. Just wanted to {tell you|mention|say} keep up the {fantastic|excellent|great|good} {job|work}!

This is excellent — somebody forgot to run the script that turns a Mad Libs-style template into a pseudo-unique blogspam message, and sent the entire damn thing to me. It’s 2800 words long and totally not suspicious in the least!

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¹ You see the book credited everywhere as “Jim Zub’s Wayward“, but Zub is a classy guy and insists that we acknowledge artist Cummings’s contributions, to the point of calling him his co-creator.

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.

Available Now At Fine Stores And/Or Computers Everywhere

There is so much good stuff available today, it’s almost embarrassing. I honestly don’t know where to start.

  • Out today! Raina Telgemeier has dominated the New York Times bestseller charts for graphic novels with Smile and Drama, and since the Smile sequel Sisters hits today, the only questions to be asked are How long will she stay at #1? and Will she manage the trifecta of Drama coming back to the list? (Smile hasn’t left in more than two years), and Will she pull off the trick of holding the first three positions simultaneously?

    My predictions: At least a month, Probably, and I’d bet ten bucks on it.

  • Out today! But it won’t be a sure thing that I win that ten bucks, because Telgemeier’s Scholastic imprint-mate, Kazu Kibuishi also releases Amulet 6 today. It’s been a long time coming too, what with Kibuishi’s illness in 2012¹, and illustrating the 15th anniversary Harry Potter covers last year, so expect a mountain of demand at bookstores and libraries. Kibuishi and Telgemeier are about to make third quarter very, very lucrative for their publisher.
  • Out today! Scott C has his newest book (his first solo kids book, if memory serves) releasing today, which means you need to make with some hugs. You can, as Mr C observes, hug the person to your left, your right, in front of you, or just the air. Give it a try! And don’t miss out on the HUG A BOOK WEEK events coming up starting on 6 September — hugs, signings, hugsercise, parties, hug obstacle courses, exhibitions, hugs, pizza, and hugs are on deck, with info available at HUGMACHINEBOOK.com. Just keep ‘em little kid-style hugs, not creepy congoer-style, and we’ll be good.
  • Out today! MC Frontalot isn’t a webcomicker, but he’s practically a webcomics character (have you seen the covers of his CDs?). Question Bedtime releases today, with phat [nursery] rhymes for all ages. It’s like a regular rap album, but no need to be concerned if your mom hears you playing it for your niece and nephew.
  • Not specific to today but what the heck! David “Mr Anthology” Malki ! has written a piece in a new anthology of fiction, one that has unlikely and/or hazardous Kickstarters as its unifying theme. HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! & Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects has a ton o’ contributors and is available for your Kindle or Kindle equivalent now. Read it, but don’t get any funny ideas, you.

Spam of the day:
None today; I’m in too good a mood to spoil it.

_______________
¹ Bacterial meningitis, the effects of which lingered and robbed him of months of productive time. Speaking with him last year, he told me how recovering necessitated a completely different approach to writing, and that the Harry Potter covers gave him the time to rewire his brain. My suspicion is we’re going to see his new, more structured process of writing results in a tighter, more cohesive story … and Amulets 1-5 were already damn strong on the story end.

Depths

You do not even want to know what kinds of alligators I’m up to my ass in today. I’m not sure that sentence is grammatically possible, but I don’t care — that’s how today is going. I know that I punted on Friday (for the very best of reasons, and the wedding went off great, thanks for asking), so I feel terrible about going brief today, but that’s the way it’s going to be.

KC Green is rightly lauded for the immense quality of his comics — particularly the anarchic nature of his writing — but I don’t think he’s gotten enough credit for the emotional heft that he can bring to his work. Yeah, Mort’s prone to blowing up and acting like an enormous dick, but for for every strip of Mort being Mort, there’s usually a quieter moment of showing the hurt inside. We had a great example of this in The Dog’s Sins (later added to Gunshow as update #700), and he’s done even better in today’s (nearly final) update of Graveyard Quest. All the resentment and hurt that our nameless hero has been through, all the travail and betrayal and woe, all the righteous anger he feels … it just sort of goes out of the room when he finds the one who started him down that path of pain is hurting just as badly as he is.

It’s powerful and powerfully unexpected; Green may get extra mileage out of these (entirely earned) emotional moments due to his work often shying away from inner turmoil in favor of outer turmoil¹ (there’s a lot of resentment and seething outrage, but not the sense of emotional hurt). I suspect that below the slapsticky elements of BACK, we’ll see some similar depth. It’s damn good stuff, and it’s terrific to see Green exploring this side of his storytelling. In any event, if you haven’t been reading Graveyard Quest, now is an excellent time to do so, as it’s just Wednesday and Friday left.


Spam of the day:

Nowadays, the cargo handling capacity of the waterway is four times as much as that of the Beijing-Shanghai Railway, according to Tong Mingkang, deputy director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

I had no idea; I mean, maybe twice the capacity of the Beijing-Shanghai Railway, but four times? Amazing!

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¹ E.g.: Who stole the carrots, what’s wrong with my ass, why are you being a dick, etc

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.

Time To Return The Favor

This page has, on several occasions, seen fit to mention one Philip ‘Frumph’ Hofer and his tireless work building infrastructure tools for webcomics. He’s responsible for the WordPress theme ComicPress and the WordPress plug-in Comic Easel, as well as tirelessly monitoring social media for hints of webcomickers with site troubles. Say his name and he appears, offering insight and assistance, sometimes before you even realize he was there. Accept his help and prod him enough, Hofer might allow in an oblique way that he takes donations and is available for hire, but he has never in my experience said I know how to fix your problems if you give me money.

I’ve wondered in the past how he can be available pert-near all hours of the day and how he can afford to give away so much knowledge and so many tools but never dug into the topic; I suspect that many other people who’ve had his assistance likewise counted themselves lucky without investigating. As it turns out, Hofer could use your help:

On Sunday the 17th of August my son and his friend were in my car; a ’96 Ford Explorer XLT; and unfortunately got into an accident, my truck flipped over several times. Much thanks to the strength and durability and weight of the truck my son and his friend walked away from the accident. My boy only had some minor injuries, head cuncussion and a chunk of skin off his leg. The friend had no physical injuries.

I am looking to replace it and I don’t have the funds to do so; so I need some help.

I would like to have the transportation to get to the doctor’s and other important appointments.

Hofer goes on to inform us that he’s looking to replace the vehicle with something comparable, and thus is asking for very little, with the aim of getting another 18 year old car:

That ’96 ford was only worth around $2200, I want to replace it with near the exact same thing because it is such a great truck to drive; mainly for peace of mind on how sturdy it is.

He also shares a bit that answers the questions that I never asked:

I’m not a complete sob story though — I like to think I’m not at least; I pay back everyone and everything that comes my way by helping others. The way I do that is by contributing my days writing and supporting software for artists and authors to put their works on the internet, which is available for free to download as a plugin for the WordPress platform. I spend my days supporting those artists; I receive close to a hundred or so tech support emails daily and am avid on Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else I can to be available to help people out in anyways possible. I rarely ever ask for any donation for what I provide and even then it’s at such a low cost to allow those people to be able to afford work that companies would charge them thousands of dollars for.

How can I spend my days doing this? I am disabled, on SSI. I have had trouble getting a good job that would cater to my disability. As you can realize that every cent that comes in goes to just living expenses and nothing is ever able to be saved to be able to get a new car, wish it was different; but this is the way it is. So I spend my days helping others.

Here’s a thought — if you have used Hofer’s tools, if he’s ever given a quick answer on Twitter, or a longer one by email, or especially if he’s taken the time to fix things, howsabout kicking him a few bucks? I did last summer when Fleen shifted hosting and had WordPress issues, and in the year since I’ve had time to reflect on how I undervalued Hofer’s time, so I’m kicking in some more as soon as I finish writing this.

I won’t make any specific recommendation as to what you think his time is worth, but I’ll make this suggestion: how long did you try to resolve your issue before he gave you the point in the right direction? How much time do you think you saved as a result? How much do you value your time?

If you use ComicPress or Comic Easel, just make it a flat five or ten bucks. If you have a copy of Brad Guigar’s The Webcomics Handbook and enjoyed the sections on hosting and Comic Easel (and customizing Comic Easel), maybe that would be worth something to him as well.

Hofer may want to get another 18 year old car, but just maybe we can get him enough money that he can afford one that is just a solid, but has more modern safety features inside. And if the funding link closes because the goal is met, there’s still his page and the donation link over the left. He’s been giving to the community without end for years now, and it’s time we did the same for him.


Spam of the day:

You will not be able to understand why when you might be writing because you could not even know what Urdu poetry really is inside
the first place.

You got me, Sparky — I have little understanding of the nuances of Urdu poetry. I will try to remedy that for the next time we talk.

From The Far-Flung Corners Of The Commonwealth

Readers of this page will have long since recognized the esteem in which we at Fleen hold David Morgan-Mar of Irregular Webcomic and many, many, many other endeavours (especially, for the purposes of this discussion, mezzacotta, about which more momemtarily).

Those in the know will remember that Morgan-Mar (perhaps I should say Doctor Morgan-Mar, as he is part of a proud tradition of STEM PhD-holding webcomickers) does not make comics as anything other than a hobby; he works in optics research for a division of Canon (all the more surprising given that he may be responsible for more pages of webcomics of anybody this side of Andrew Hussie, especially considering mezzacotta, which I promise we’re about to get to). We typically don’t see Morgan-Mar on this side of the Pacific Ocean (or the equator, for that matter), except for his occasional attendance at a scientific conference, which he was coincidentally doing in the immediate past.

When he returned from the annual SIGGRAPH, Morgan-Mar responded to an email that I’d sent him on an unrelated topic (wine, to be specific), and he had some interesting observations about the overlap of the conference and webcomics. I found his experiences to be fascinating and I’m sharing them with you; lagies and jenglefenz¹, please welcome David-Morgan Mar. Yaaaay!

There was a talk by Ozge Samanci (who you’ve mentioned on Fleen: http://fleen.com/archives/2007/10/17/online-comic-webcomic-survey-says/²) titled “Impact of Digital Media on Comics”, which of course I attended. It wasn’t really about webcomics per se, but rather a Scott McCloud-esque survey of what new things the digital presentation format can bring to comics. Looking at my scribbled notes:

Digital media can give 4 things to comics:

  • Procedural — you can generate content computationally.
  • Participatory — you can interact with the viewer.
  • Encyclopaedic — you can segment and categorise ad infinitum.
  • Spatial — you can play tricks with the spatial layout.

She showed examples of some comics with looping animations in each frame — each individual animation does not progress the story, it only provides atmosphere for the short segment of time captured in the panel, so it remains a comic rather than becoming a work of animation.

She said in 2014 there are still no true examples of McCloud’s infinite canvas, only approximations which fall short of the true potential. (xkcd came up as an example.) A true infinite canvas comic, she said, would need to be procedurally generated, so you could really scroll *anywhere*. I actually talked to her afterwards about mezzacotta, which is procedurally generated and offers an almost-infinite scope temporally with its archives. She wasn’t aware of it and said she’d include it in future revisions of this talk!

She talked about geocomics — making a comic readable via GPS coordinates, where you physically have to travel to certain locations to see given panels. She mentioned using the digital presentation to provide film-like effects such as panning and zooming for the viewer within a comic panel. She talked about engaging the reader as a character within the comic, letting them interact with the other characters. Or control the presentation of the panels, by allowing the reader to stretch the frame borders, for example.

She concluded by saying that webcomics pretty much haven’t really explored all of the possibilities of the medium yet, and there’s a very long way to go. The problem as she sees it is not the conceptualising, but the executation — you need an artist and a good programmer to collaborate (or be the same person).

After the talk I also mentioned to her my attempt to make a collaborative multi-stream branching comic with Infinity on 30 Credits a Day, and she said the problem with collaborative comics is always lack of participation. (Too true!)³

Anyway, it was plenty of food for thought.

On another minor note, in the interactive exhibitions there was a gadget someone had designed to provide haptic user feedback through an airbrush — to allow the roughest amateurs to paint desired works of art. They let you try the airbrush, and pulled up a stencil on a computer which guided the feedback system. They had a collection of several stencil shapes for people to use, most of them rather anonymous animals shapes, but one of them was a very familiar looking T. rex.

Many thanks to David Morgan-Mar for the info, and for the use of the photos.


Spam of the day:

Is your website about generating traffic from top of the page postings no matter quality with the content when you are ad supported. Things can be extremely starting to heat up since pre-season games are simply weeks away. … Think about the non native one who learns English language but can not utilize it properly and does some hilarious errors which will change the meanings of entire statement.

Believe me, it’s tough to not think about the non native one who learns English language but can not utilize it properly and does some hilarious errors which will change the meanings of entire statement.

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¹ For some reason, I only ever think of that gag when I’m writing about David Morgan-Mar. I don’t know if he’s an especially big fan of The Muppet Show, Harry Belafonte, or Mister The Frog in general, but given that all right-thinking people are, it’s probably pretty likely.

² Editor’s note: want to swell my head way the heck up? Report on something fascinating and relate it to something I wrote. I have such a grin on my face right now.

³ Or perhaps too much; Hussie famously relied upon reader input to determine the action in the next update of Homestuck for a good long while, but ultimately turned away from it due to it being too difficult to tell the story he had in mind. I almost said a logical story, but just as there are different algebras, there are different logics, and Andrew Hussie’s logic does not always resemble our Earth-logic.

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.


Spam of the day:

At the completion on this meeting, the student
should submit a memo to committee members summarizing that which was agreed upon during the meeting.
Your way with words-at all will not impeded by whatever method you choose to use.

Your command of language is such that I will absolutely take your guidance in trying to obtain a graduate degree. Honest.

Weekend Ho!

That is, I’m looking forward to the weekend, much like Calvin’s Yukon Ho!; I am not referring to anybody as a ho, for the weekend or otherwise.

  • 9000-plus miles¹, dozens of personal appearances, six weeks of excellent guest strips, and at long last Danielle Corsetto can sleep in her own bed tonight. What did we learn?
    • Danielle Corsetto is such a webcomics machine that she needed four assistants to keep up with her in various parts of the trip.
    • Had she not engaged in careful planning, the entire back third of the tour would have been without books; she sold so strongly in the first couple of weeks, she had to make emergency shipments of fresh stock ahead. As it turned out, she didn’t do much re-packing of the car after any of her signings.
    • When it comes to her characters, people want more Thea and Mimi (stars of two guest weeks); me, I was hoping for some quality Clarice and Joshua time, but maybe now that Danielle’s back. Also, Hazel’s mom is badass.
    • Whatever needs to happen in order to incorporate these guest weeks in a future print collection must be done. Hold a Kickstarter to pay the guest artists more for the reprint rights, I’ll chip in. These were wonderful.
  • It’s been a damn busy time for Dean Trippe for the past year or so; Something Terrible changed the direction of his life (and that of many, many other people), and it must have produced an intense desire in him to get the print version exactly right. Looks like he’s finally satisfied that the epilogue will meet his exceedingly high standard:

    Thanks for all your patience and support this year. It’s been great, and terrible, and up-lifting, and soul-crushing, and all of it has been worth every minute to connect with other Batfans and fellow survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. Remember I said to watch for my signal? This is it. Let everyone know. It’s time.

    For those of you who didn’t get in on the Kickstarter, you can order a copy of Something Terrible in hardback, and if you weren’t among the (criminally small) audience at Trippe’s San Diego panel, you can listen to it now. Oh, and Eisner nominating committee for next year that has yet to be named? Don’t repeat the oversight of not nominating Trippe for Best Digital Comic this year. He’ll be eligible in whichever print categories and he damn well deserves the recognition.

  • Randall Munroe’s forthcoming What If? print collection, reviewed by Jorge Cham for American Scientist. Despite the title of the review, I encourage any and all curious individuals to try to replicate Munroe’s work, just way the hell away from me since most of them seem to result in the erasure of a significant percentage of the Earth, or Earth’s population.

Spam of the day:

The coal that you just use in your backyard for barbeque performs far more important functions such as generating electricity for individuals in thermal power plants.

Charcoal and coal are not the same thing, by a factor of a couple of million years. Hey, Randall, care to explain the difference to this bozo?

_______________
¹ Or pert-near 15,000 kilometers, if you use proper units.