The webcomics blog about webcomics

Attention, Dudes

And we’ll get to those things, but before we talk about the other items — before you’re allowed to scroll down, and no cheating because I’ll know — all dudes¹ are required to follow this link and read what’s there. No commenting on this topic is allowed, dudes; if you feel an overwhelming compulsion to say something, let it be some variation on Thank you, Julia Wertz, I think I understand better now. Because goddammit, there is way too much garbage person behavior going around and we all need to do better.
NB: Wertz’s site has been getting hammered, so if you can’t get through, try Tumblr.

  • It’s becoming an annual tradition with me that I see the inimitable Scott C at New York Comic Con and buy his latest book; this year will be no exception as the new Great Showdowns collection released today. Pick one up from Mr C in Artists Alley (table N5) if you’re going to be at NYCC, or from your nearest purveyor of quality amusements if not.
  • Speaking of comics in print (and also e-publishing), Jim Zub² is back with the latest of his self-evaluations of the world of the creator-owned comics bid’ness, this time with an analysis of the sales of Wayward (presently between story arcs) to date. I really like the discussion of how Wayward is doing in trade sales, as Zub gave me the short version when we spoke at TopatoCon:

    Image showed a lot of faith in Wayward and printed enough copies of trade paperback #1 for two years. We sold half of the inventory in the first five months.

    He also notes how the recent conclusion of Skullkickers brings a new dimension to future sales analyses — how an entirely finished series continues, or tails off, or becomes backlisted. Nobody works harder to put out amazingly good comics than Zub, and nobody thinks more about how to do all aspects of the business better. Keep an eye on future installments of his tutorials, they are beyond value and he’s giving them away for free.

  • Speaking of comics in e-publishing, Meredith Gran worked her tail off in the weeks leading up to her own wedding to put together a new mini comic, and now that she has the opportunity to breathe again, it’s up on Gumroad. Backstory! Hanna! Character development! Only five bucks! Go get it!
  • Still with the comics, Steve Troop decided to embrace the madness of 24 Hour Comics (which you can read now, or on the Melonpool site from Saturday), and Randy Milholland has decided to jump into the Patreon pool with both feet. You can find him on the Patreon site as choochoobear (naturally), and he has gathered a modest (but generous) following in the hours since.
  • Finally, one may note that today is the birthday of Ananth Hirsh — storyteller, fashion icon, gentleman about town — and known kingmaker George Rohac is already angling to make this a more Ananthariffic world:

    It is @ananthymous’s birthday, which means he is one year closer to his ultimate run for presidency.

    I, for one, welcome his inevitable cruel (but fair) tyranny.

Spam of the day:

Get Bigger Breasts without Surgery! $15 Off

Well done, spammers, determining that I was well and truly sick of offers to buy boner pills. However, I don’t really think I need bigger, firmer breasts, with or without surgery, so … yeah.

¹ Sadly, there is no need for ladies to do so, as they already know everything there.

² Never play against this man in We Didn’t Playtest This At All, it’ll end in tears. For that matter, don’t play him at Skull either, as he will attempt to set up residence inside your brain and likely succeed.

Crisis Mitigation In Progress; Civilization To Rebuild

While Achwood remains down as of this writing, it appears that the worst fears of last week were not realized. Achewood is on its way back:

Achewood will be down for the weekend while we fix big old computer problems. I’m sorry for the absence.

Rioters and looters are urged to cease their devastation and return to their former lives as productive members of society. In other news:

  • The Cartoon Art Museum may have lost its gallery space, but that doesn’t mean it’s closed its metaphorical doors. Although the news reached us too late to make it about a future event, CAM participated in the Alternative Press Expo this past weekend in the San Jose Convention Center. Two panels were presented by CAM’s Andrew Farago and Nina Kester, as well as the usual booth-based outreach and fundraising. Expect to see a wide-ranging presence of CAM at various shows, keeping up the mission while trying to find a place outside The Mission¹.
  • Progress report, and a happy story of a Kickstart gone so very, very right. Readers of this page will recall that Oh Joy, Sex Toy totally rules, and that also the second annual print collection was crowdfunded to great success back in June, with books expected to be shipped to backers in November.

    Yeah, didn’t work out that way. On account of pretty much every book was already in transit by the last week of September, and OJSTv2 is now available for purchase by the general public via fine merchateers TopatoCo. XX half of the OJST team “Hurricane Erika” Moen rose from her sick bed long enough to send me some excerpts and let me tell you — she and co-conspirator Matt Nolan have hit the sweet spot² of mixing informative, sexy, funny, sexy, engaging, and sexy all into a big ball o’ fun. Sexy, sexy fun.

    Moen and Nolan are just two of the many contributors, what with the many guest strips they’ve run (and, as discussed previously, paid for at a more than fair rate which was retroactively increased) over the year of the collection. Nearly a third of OJSTv2 is by guest contributors, throwing in exciting change-ups from the usual look and feel of the strip. It’s a hell of a bargain (wholesale rates available, even!), and I recommend it to you quite heartily.

Confidential to Mer And Mike On Lawn Guy Land — So happy for you guys. Wrap yourselves up in joy and never emerge.

Spam of the day:

Amazing Opportunity to be Included In Women of Distinction Magazine!

Got some bad news for you there, Sparky.

¹ Because their gallery space was in San Francisco’s Mission District, or The Mission, and they got priced out because it’s all expensive there now and look it was clever, okay? Sheesh.

² So to speak.


I don’t want to panic anybody, but yesterday was the 14th anniversary of Philippe standing on it and today the site appears to have gone the way of a dude in the bead shop. The archive appears to believe it is in the early days of Unix.

The timing of these two events — anniversary and complete archive loss — hints that this is perhaps a piece of performance art, a hearty jape from Chris Onstad to all of us? Ha, ha, sure got us, Chris Onstad! And I would never suggest for a moment that you are obligated to maintain something you’ve (perhaps) moved on from at your own expense, so if you need some cash money to pay for hosting, I’m willing to kick in to preserve this important cultural legacy for future generations.

Citizens are urged to remain calm until the situation become more clear. In the meantime, I’ll be over at the Wayback Machine.

NYCC Panels And More

Before we get to the NYCC stuff that happens next week (assuming Hurricane Joaquin doesn’t ruin everything), everybody knows that Patreon announced a security breach, right? If not, Brad Guigar has a decent summary up at Webcomics Dot Com. From what’s been announced so far, this doesn’t seem to be a big deal, but I’m always reluctant to sign on to anything that says all … information remain[s] safely encrypted without further details of how that’s been determined. Could have been worse, never a bad idea to change passwords, and let this be a lesson: don’t leave dev sites publicly available.

Thanks very much to Heidi Mac, on account of she’s got an actual readable, searchable text dump of the NYCC panel offerings, which makes looking for things of interest a damn sight easier than it is on the actual NYCC webpage. It’s just a quick runthrough, but things you might want to look at include:

Content Literacy: Teaching STEM with Comics
Thursday, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Room 1A05

Can’t argue when your panel includes MK Reed and Maris Wicks, who’ve done great STEMmy books for :01. Here’s hoping that next year, the STEM comics that Dante Shepherd has gotten a grant to produce will include him on the panel.

Kickstarter 101: An Intro to Funding Your Dream Comics Project
Friday, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM, Room 1A24

Kickstarter 201: The Pros Reveal Their Secrets
Friday, 2:45 PM – 3:45 PM, Room 1A24

Back-to-back sessions; I’m kind of more interested in the first, as it’s got indy creators who’ve never worked for a major publisher (like Molly Ostertag). I still maintain that any such panel(s) without George or Spike is inherently lacking.

Camp Out with Lumberjanes!
Friday, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM, Room 1A24

It’s got Noelle Stevenson, Raina Telgemeier, and Shannon Watters talking about hardcore lady types. Why the heck would you miss this? Personally, it’s because I’ll be on a plane home from Atlanta and won’t get to see anything on Thursday or Friday, but get your butts here, people!

The Cyanide and Happiness Group Sketch Jam Panel
Saturday, 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Room 1A10

You won’t need to get your butts here; plenty will be drawn for you.

Goosebumps & The Baby-Sitters Club Revisited: A Conversation with R.L. Stine, Ann M. Martin, Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman
Sunday, 10:45 AM – 11:30 AM, Room 1A10

Ann M. Martin (Baby-Sitters Club series) and RL Stine (Goosebumps series) talking to Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier? This is every series book you read as a kid, and every series book your kid is reading, all in one place.

And if that’s not enough for you, please search out the likes of Carla Speed McNeill (Artists Alley, B4), Comic Bento (aka the Blind Ferret folks, 2345), the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (1764), Cyanide & Happiness (2247), the First Law of Mad Science (1046), :01 Books (2237), the Hero Initiative (Artists Alley, N104), Jim Zub (Artists Alley, X3), Katie Cook (Artists Alley, C10), Scott C (Artists Alley, N5), and, oddly enough, The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore (Artists Alley, NC132).

Spam of the day:

Hours left! Warehouse Sale Can’t see images? Click here

That link leads to a site literally called and you want me to click it? Nnnnnnoooope.

Fable Comics Blogtour: The Boy Who Cried Wolf

As was mentioned previously, Fleen today participates in the blogtour for Fable Comics from :01 Books; for those of you that have been following the tour¹ for the past ten days, know that we’re only about a third of the way through the book, and there’s plenty more to come. But in today’s installment we look at the well-known (perhaps the best known of all the fables, anywhere, ever) The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and we consider a question that has perhaps never been asked of a fable before.

Namely, Is there anybody that works as much emotional heft into as few lines as Jaime Hernandez?

Check out the first bit of action in the brief story [click to embiggen]: the colors are flat and contrasting, the clothes and sky and grass as simple as could be, but the faces in in panel one! An extra bit of wobble in a line turns a mouth to a panicked rictus, a few droplets of sweat and slight shifts of posture into crouches turns villagers into men prepared to give their lives to preserve their families and flocks from danger.

Panel two’s simple shrug couldn’t be simpler, the face couldn’t contain fewer details and still be a face, and yet they tell us everything about that shepherd boy. Maybe, just maybe, it was sheer boredom and not malice that prompted the first cry of wolf!, and panel three still leaves him the possibility of knocking off the nonsense. Panel four, he’s edging up to the line of no return.

Panel five. Bam. He’s lost whatever moral struggle he had and gone over to the dark side.

We know what happens next — a repeat, false contrition (I think it might have been real a few panels ago, but now it’s not), and then the inevitable occurs. Enter wolf, stage right [click to embiggen] and it’s suddenly chaos, frantic motion, a Chuck Jones cartoon, all flailing limbs and speed lines. The wolf is a black amorph, all curves when sneaking, limbs not even in view when running flat out, the space of a panel too small to contain his swift traverse. It’s only when the wolf plummets over the cliff that it appears as creature and not force of nature.

And then it wraps up [click to embiggen], with the sure knowledge that nobody will ever believe anything he says again, not even hello, all tied up not in the protestations of panels two, three, and four, but in the slump of shoulders in the final panel [click to embiggen]. Six pages, a handful of drawings per page, as little detail as humanly possible. There are very few pixels in these images, very little actual signal, and the message comes through loud and clear. And that, my friends, is why Jaime Hernandez is (and always will be) a national treasure.

Fleen thanks Gina Gagliano at :01 for the review copy of Fable Comics, and for the high resolution artwork included today.

Spam of the day:

Subject: There’s a new message

Man, even if your “message” didn’t consist solely of a link to an obviously bogus site, you think I would actually respond to LinkedIn? They’re the biggest spammers on the planet.

¹ Not unlike following The Dead, only with fewer hippies.

Man, I Don’t Even KNOW What Has Happened These Last Few Days

[Imagine a picture of the SuperBloodMoon here, as twenty assorted webcomics types recreate Wondermark #302]

It’s kind of freeing, being off Twitter almost entirely for half a week; there was just no time to look at the phone. So, final photos from TopatoCon 2015 (the first of its name), then the drive home, then back to work tomorrow¹.

  • The day started early when Webcomics Own Angel of Mercy and Carbs brought donuts. Amazing, amazing donuts, including gluten-free, and the Secret Donut which appeared to have been carved directly from a half-kilo lump of pure chocolate, then rolled in chocolate chips.
  • The only session I got to sit in was Go Away, Sea Lions!, as David Malki ! spoke with Spike and Randy Milholland about how not to be a dick on the internet. Good stories, good laughs, good lessons, good questions from a smart audience. Like the other panels in room one (like Stacy King’s discussion of Tokyo fashion, Emily Nagoski’s roundtable on ladies, sexual pleasure, and comics that mix the two, and the cocktail competition I hosted), it should be on YouTube in the near future.
  • As was foretold in prophecy, Karla Pacheco and Jeph Jacques are actually MasterBlaster.
  • The residents of the haunted AirBnB (Tom & Sara McHenry, Ferocious J[on Sung], Becky Dreistadt & Frank Gibson, David Malki !, Tyler Hutchison, possibly others) hosted a weenie roast under the SuperBloodMoon. A new cult was birthed, and there were also s’mores. Ia! Ia!

Okay, got to check out and eat something before I drop. Come to the next TopatoCon, and if it looked like fun, please drop a note to showrunners Holly Rowland and Sara McHenry (you can read both through Make That Thing) and tell them what a great job they did because they can’t be told that enough times.

¹ Note: work tomorrow means flying to Dallas, so there may be an abbreviated post then.

Somehow I Ran Around More Than San Diego

I’m just going to refer you to the #TopatoCon social media tag because holy crap, I’m tired today.

Okay, part of that is probably because Stacy King, Andrew Wheeler, and Jim Zub enticed me, Ferocious J, and Dante Shepherd to stay up past midnight playing tabletop games which tested the limits of friendship. Part of it was probably from helping the aforementioned Dr Shepherd and Maki Naro run science experiments on alive humans, or my extensive time in the TopatoCo Merchateria with the redoubtable Ms Smith and the entirely doubtable Mr J. Part of it was probably just the energy in the exhibit hall, where people just seemed to be enjoying themselves.

And part of it is probably because the cocktail competition 86’d! with Holly Rowland, Holly Black, Frank Gibson, Katie Donnelly (contestants), Kaliis Smith, Eric Churchill, and Karl Pacheco (judges) that I hosted drew an enormous crowd that seemed to enjoy itself (too busy to take pictures, but video coming soon). Hollys Black and Rowland made it to the finish, prompting the crowd to break into a spontaneous cheer of Hol-ly! Hol-ly! Hol-ly! before Ms Black took the crown. We have got to do this again next year.

But mostly it’s probably because the best idea of TopatoCon is also the most dangerous: there’s a bar and I had an excellent bottle of scotch to share.

Please enjoy these photos:

Now I’ve got to scrub the filth from my carcass and return for Day Two. I am as nontheist as they come, but friends … pray for me.

Call Sign: Med/Stache

Hey, Gary asked TopatoCo President For Life Jeffrey Rowland, you want a walkie-talkie? It was a bit before 10:00am the day before the inaugural TopatoCon and I was there to help. I wasn’t sure I needed a walkie-talkie, but then he added You get an ear-piece with that. Sold. Three minutes later, I have a small speaker in my ear and a radio nestled in the small of my back, looking like the world’s least likely Secret Service agent on detail, except for the talking into the sleeves thing.

Not gonna lie, once I got the volume worked out to a comfortable level, it proved to be a lifesaver, as setup would take me up and down the length of the Eastworks building multiple times an hour, and finding the organizers to clarify a decision or get an assignment would have been nigh impossible otherwise. I dropped my trauma bag at the just-arranged registration desk — the closest thing to a central location — and hopped on the air: Med/Stache to all stations. Report all injuries to me, no matter how minor; thankfully, none needed to be.

And there was potential — a few dozen eight-foot tables got wheeled around, and a few hundred chairs. There were heavy-ass platform risers, toxic fume-laden spray adhesives, random bits of architecture with random bolts sticking out at odd angles, a ton or so of merch to deliver to tables — but each item was dealt with by a crew of a dozen or so volunteers. The main exhibit hall transformed itself over the course of a couple of hours while the Eastworks staff unpacked a significant shipment of booze for Topato’s Bar. A little after noon, the hall was ready for the first exhibitors to start setting up under the watchful eye of Chief of Security Special Agent Fox Mulder.

Showrunner Holly Rowland was everywhere, passing out assignments and indicating how things should be arranged. Showrunner Sara McHenry was running logistics from a command bunker in the basement, ably assisted by husband and MRA-bane Tom McHenry¹. BabyBird (formerly StinkBot), SparkleDog, and PizzaVessel wrangled the intake and outflow of volunteers.

Radio calls went out from Ferocious J and Agent Paperklip and things happened: goods bedecked tables in the TopatoCo pop-up store, dollies wheeled infrastructure out of the way, signage went up, airport runs occurred. Easthampton held its breath, waiting for a sign, a signal, anything to indicate that the attempts to beat chaos into order were bearing fruit. The portents were uncertain, but all remained cautiously optimistic.

And so stands the long hallway on this crisp autumn night. There will be the last-minute flurry of table setup from the late-arriving exhibitors, but all that needs to happen to make the show itself launch waits in watchful readiness. Eleven hours and forty-six minutes from now, the doors open.



Med/Stache to all stations — sleep well and be ready to dig deep tomorrow. It’s gonna be an adventure.

Spam of the day:


You know, you might get my immediate attention on your proposal if you actually included the damn things in your spam. Oh, well. Sucks to be you, what with not getting my immediate attenntion on your proposal and all.

¹ My plan is to find every fedora-wearing MRA/PUA/MGTOW type in the Pioneer Valley and show them that photo so their heads will go sploosh.

Travel Day

On my way to TopatoCon. See you there? I’ll be working the TopatoCo pop-up shop (next to the Marketplace entrance on the map, near panel rooms 2 & 3) most of the time, but I’ll be attending some panels (Science the World with Dante Shepherd and Maki Naro, Saturday at 1:30; Go Away, Sea Lions with David Malki !, Kate Leth, Spike, and Randy Milholland; Sunday at 2:00), and I’ll be hosting one (86’d! with Frank Gibson, Holly Black, and Holly Rowland; Saturday at 5:00).

Spam of the day:

Touche. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the good effort.

Will do.

Twenty Eight Hours Down, Unknown Number To Go

Computering issues (damn you, Windows 8.1, damn you right in the ear-hole) continue from yesterday. The data transfer process has been running for more than 24 hours, with the progress meter around 97% done for at least 20 hours of that time. Since I went to bed, the meter hasn’t budged despite the fact that the the total number of restored files has gone up at least 15%. I literally have no idea how much work is yet to be done¹, and I can’t just let the process run over the weekend because it requires access to a VPN lease that expires every 24 hours.

So I’m not able to do much with the network connection right now, you understand. And that situation may not resolve itself before I have to leave tomorrow for *hampton.

So let me point you towards the preparations that are occurring as I type:

They’re delivering the tables and chairs for TopatoCon! It just got REAL

OK here we go²

The programs for @TopatoCon2015 are HERE and they’re beautiful! Cover art by @catiemonster! #TopatoCon2015

Best start heading towards Massachusetts now, seeing as how the Pope is gonna have the area between DC and New York all tied up.

Spam of the day:

You’re giving your body what it needs to bee hasppy and hesalthy living blogs canada

This sounds like an ad for Brawndo.

¹ Not exactly true; the original data transfer set identified itself as having 14461 files, 12.73GB. The progress meter tells me it is presently on file number 37798, which makes very little sense to me.

² Glad to see you got home safely, Jeffrey, and I was very sorry to hear about the TopatoCo