The webcomics blog about webcomics

Can’t Blame Morgan-Mar For Today

Again with the weeds, and tonight’s EMS duty night, so no chance of getting ahead. It’s almost like work takes up the whole day!

Items of note:

  • Benign Kingdom does the most beautiful art books in webcomics, and they are inexplicably at 70% funded with 7 days to go on the latest iteration of their art. Compare to earlier efforts, ranging from 121% to 937% of goal and ask yourself if you want this to be the project that fails. There’s loads of unproven creators biting off more than they can chew (or have the IP right for) to make up the approximately 50% of projects that fail. Let’s not see people who can actually fulfill wither on the vine.
  • Speaking of B9, one of the contributors this time around is Meredith Gran, and this is your periodic reminder that she continues to kill it on Octopus Pie, particularly with the quiet moments of self-revelation. This is one is so good, says so much in so few words (and fills in loads of characterization between the cracks of the last half-decade of story without ever resorting to exposition) that killing it seems too mild. Gran is laying waste to entire civilizations and salting the earth for all times lest enemies rise up to challenge her eternal rule.
  • Dante Shepherd¹ continues to spend that grant money in productive ways to teach large, complicated engineering ideas. See, I was an electrical engineer² in college, so what I know about chemists is that their building always had beakers that smelled funny, and what I know about the chemical engineers (such as Shepherd) is their building always had 500 liter tanks that smelled funny.

    So basically I am ignorant of what went on in those enormous arrays of pipes in the high-bay lab and now I know a bit more, thanks to him and Matt Lubchansky. Also cookies are involved somehow?

  • Speaking of [web]comics making their way through the development cycle of Hollywood, I see that Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet has taken one more step towards realization with the news that the executive producer of the current Star Trek TV efforts is taking over the scripting. Also I see that the reports are that Amulet was to star Will Smith’s kids, but now it’s not … did we know that? I’m not sure we knew that.
  • Let us finish, as is often the case, in the northern reaches of Webcomickia, which is to say, Canada. Ryan North has shared the news that his and Erica Henderson’s Squirrel Girl has new merch in the wild, and also the less-happy news Howard The Duck (written by fellow Torontonian Chip Zdarsky, drawn by Joe Quinones) will be coming to an end soon. It’s a shame, and I hope it doesn’t presage more cancellations of comics that are actually, you know, fun.

    At least we have some more good news from Canada, as it seems Blind Ferret is hiring. Supremo Ryan Sohmer is vocal about the often-dismal pay scales in comics, so you can bet the salary on this one doesn’t fall in the category of crap job you take to build up experience while eating ramen.


Spam of the day:

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Make regular deposits into an index fund that you leave the hell alone for 20-30 years? Oh, sorry, I see — fake gold futures from a crazy person that believes the Federal Reserve is illegal and that random punctuation in your name means you don’t have to pay taxes. Silly me.

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¹ Professor, bon vivant, man about town.

² AKA the best kind of engineer. Shepherd would probably dispute that, but I think we can agree that at least we aren’t civil engineers, ew.

Explain To Me How This Works

Irregular Webcomic creator David Morgan-Mar (PhD, LEGO®©™etc) had lunch with me on Saturday (a leisurely Belgian meal with some rather nice beer, and a long discussion of sport, American vs Australian politics¹, and radio astronomy), then immediately he headed to the airport and:

Straight off 24 hours of economy class flying, across 10 time zones, and do I go to sleep?
No, I draw comics!

Meanwhile I went home on a local train and decided it was too hot to mow the lawn. That, in turn, put me so far behind on things that needed doing over the weekend that just a tiny amount of friction in work today has put me solidly in the weeds, timewise. Lesson here: do not compare yourself to Australians, productivity-wise or any other wise; they are hardened in the crucible of a continent that wants to kill them and will beat you every time.

So if I’m to get anything written for you today, it needs must be brief:

Kris Straub’s Candle Cove — perhaps the ur-creepypasta — is, as we know, heading to TV as the first season of the Channel Zero anthology series. We also know that stories of this webcomic or that getting developed, or optioned, or whatever, frequently come to naught but a check (hopefully substantial) to the creator for the right to try to make something.

And sometimes they actually happen:

.@SyFy has cast Paul Schneider and Fiona Shaw in new horror anthology series #ChannelZero http://bit.ly/28IvZSX @nickantosca @Uptomyknees

Casting means that contracts exist, means that money is actually being spent, that it is almost certainly less risky to move forward and make a thing than to cut and run. Per the attached story at Variety, we can expect to see Candle Cove this fall — call it four to six months from now, hopefully in a suitably scarifying fashion. And that’s some pretty good news for a Monday, even one where I’m behind.


Spam of the day:

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While I have some of those problems, they are well controlled by this spray medicine I received from an actual doctor. Kindly keep your Roto-Rooterish body horror-inducing devices that they don’t want you to have.

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¹ I was aware that Australia is in election mode right now, and being a parliamentary country, will have the entire thing wrapped up quickly. I was not aware that the present government are such dicks that after the election they may provoke another legislative crisis which could cause them to have a second entire national election before we are done with our current campaign and hopefully see the back of what Charlie Pierce so aptly refers to as a vulgar talking yam.

Weeeeekend

But first, thanks to Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin for entertaining us all with lessons in effective French cursing during yesterday’s self-inflicted charlie-foxtrot.

Let’s do this.

  • Item! Ryan North has discovered that he is now a New York Times Best Selling Author in the category of Advice, How-to, and Miscellaneous¹. By the principle of transitive closure, this means that all of the artists who appear in the book are also now New York Times Best Sellers. Congrats, um, almost everybody Ryan knows! And in case that not enough major media domination for one day, please enjoy the audio of an interview that North did with NPR’s Scott Simon last weekend. It’s a hoot.
  • Item! Spike Trotman has shared with us the latest Iron Circus Book Pre-Announcement; we can expect these weekly for the next forever, and this week we find out about As The Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman, due in 2017. It’s a story of faith and skepticism, serialized online in gorgeous pencils.
  • Item! They don’t all work out. Dante Shepherd/Lucas Landherr put up a Kickstart last month to make the second iteration of calendars for his chalkboard-centered webcomic, Surviving The World. It failed to fund yesterday, reaching only about 53% of goal. Oddly, there are some numbers in the successful first calendar campaign and second that are virtually mirror images. See, calendar 1 had a goal (US$12K) that’s about the same as the amount raised for calendar 2 (US$13,891), whereas calendar 2 had a goal (US$26,000) that was about the same as the amount raised for calendar 1 (US$24,686). Increased costs necessitated a rough doubling of funding to make the project viable, but if he could raise more than US$24K three years, why could he only manage about half that today?

    Honestly, I think it’s a case of success breeding success. He crossed the goal line about a third of the way through the campaign in 2013, meaning that everybody knew it was going to happen, and there’s no sense of wasted effort to click a couple of times to back the project. Yes, I know, clicking a couple of times is hardly an effort, but we’re talking about perception here. By contrast, this campaign had a much higher goal and although the funding was a bit slower at the start of calendar 2 than it was for calendar 1, it wasn’t that far off. But having to make up twice as much money? I think it drove some people away because it looked tougher to reach.

    People like sure things, and had that dropoff not happened, I think that calendar 2 could have made it. It’s been a while since an established webcomic (particularly one with Make That Thing behind it) failed to fund, but realistically not every project is going to succeed. Nor should we take this as the start of a trend; right now it’s just one data point. Then again, there’s other projects out there which I would have thought would easily succeed (and in which I have pledges) that are still working towards funding, so maybe let’s try to reset our expectations towards the positive. They won’t succeed if they don’t fund, they won’t fund if people don’t think they’ll succeed, but the risk of trying is low so fund ’em if it’s in your budget. If you don’t, well it’s on you if the world economy collapses is all I’m saying.


Spam of the day:

Want a New T-Shirt?

I know literally every vendor of webcomics t-shirts. I think I’m good.

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¹ What? I mean seriously, what? Just put it in Paperback Trade Fiction where it belongs, New York Times. Although it’s probably pretty satisfying to be on the same list as The Food Lab, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, and that cleaning up for crazy people book.

Long Weekend Looming

I mean, for those of you in the US; others don’t celebrate Memorial Day on Monday and so this will serve as a reminder that there likely won’t a post on Monday, what with parades and cookouts and such.

  • Those others include Our Friends To The North, Canadians, such as the immensely skilled Tony Cliff¹, who got to share some good news yesterday:

    We’re delighted that Disney has bought the film rights for @TangoCharlie’s amazing DELILAH DIRK graphic novels: http://deadline.com/2016/05/delilah-dirk-and-the-turkish-leuitenant-graphic-novel-disney-movie-1201763479/ … !

    Here’s hoping that Disney don’t ignore the most important fact about Ms Dirk: she is no princess, or if one must treat her as such, she is of the self-rescuing type. Please, please, please don’t make the semi-enthusiastic (but mostly unflappable) Mr Selim the hero of the piece. It’s Delilah’s show, and while he’s no mere sidekick, he is definitely the junior partner in adventure. Thankfully, it’s planned to be live action, so there need not be an I Wish song up front for Delilah to lay out all her hopes and dreams.

    Congratulations to Tony Cliff and also to the movie-going girls of the world, who will hopefully soon have one more swashbuckling hero of their own to look up to (with the obligatory note that option does not necessarily mean gets made any time soon. We’re still waiting for BONE, for goodness sake, not to mention Amulet, Agnes Quill, Odd Jobs, Last Blood, The New Kid, and You Damn Kid. The options on Nimona and Castle Hangnail are too recent for anything to have happened yet).

  • Speaking of Memorial Day weekend, the National Cartoonists Society are having their annual meet-up/party, and around 30 hours from now we’ll know who this year’s honorees for webcomics will be. To refresh you, the nominees for Online Comic — Long Form are The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo (Drew Weing), Drive (Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett), and Octopus Pie (Meredith Gran, her second nomination in the five cycles the awards have been offered). The nominees for Online Comic — Short Form are Bouletcorp (Boulet), Kevin and Kell (Bill Holbrook), and Sheldon (LArDK, again).

    If I have my records right, only Meredith Gran and Vince Dorse have been nominated twice in the NCS Online — Long Form category, and Dorse has previously won² (and also isn’t nominated this year). The lesson seems clear: get two nominations in Long Form, and you win, so I’m going to preemptively congratulate Gran, while wishing all the nominees the best of luck.

  • Speaking of Dorse, his two nominations were for Untold Tales of Bigfoot, which has wrapped up its run as a webcomic and is seeking a new existence in print. You know where this is going — the Kickstarter’s been up for a couple of days, and while only about 100 people have gotten in while the gettin’s good, Dorse’s extremely modest goal of US$8000 means he’s more than halfway there with nearly a month to go. It’s really a neat story, check it out.

Spam of the day:

Strathmore Professional Network — Congratulations! You’ve been selected to Join

Join what? The Bristol Of The Month Club? I don’t actually draw comics, so that’s not the most … what? Oh, it’s a sleazy Who’s Who ripoff that will not only charge me money for the privilege of including it in an allegedly prestigious directory that nobody will ever see, but will also facilitate the theft of my identity? Yeah, no.

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¹ Also including Christopher Bird who commented on our story regarding his Patreon to correct our suppostings regarding the finances of Al’Rashad. Namely, he and illustrator Davinder Brar worked that project without pay, hoping for sales down the line. Fleen regrets the error.

² Interestingly, over Meredith Gran, the last time she was nominated.

You Can’t Spell Funding Without Fun!

Warning: we’re talking about the seamy underbelly of creativity today — finding the money to make things while simultaneously not starving to death in the gutter.

  • It looks like we’re getting Big Data after all! Well, okay, Ryan Estrada’s radioplay/podcast about the heist to steal the Keys To The Whole Internet was done, completed, finito, and when has that guy ever made a thing and not shared it? Regardless of the state of his crowdfunding campaign he was always going to release it, it was just a matter if he was going to so much as break even after a year and a half’s effort and thousands of dollars of upfront costs. That means we’re going to get stretch goals now, which … let’s just have Estrada tell us himself:

    Big Data is funded! I posted “stretch goals” that… let’s be honest here… are just stuff I’m doing no matter what. http://tinyurl.com/stretchability

    Free comics! More fancy voice talents! Estrada’s going to do more audio drama! The only question is are you going to toss him a couple bucks now, or after Big Data blows up into the next Serial?

  • Know who else doesn’t make things contingent on crowdfunding, he just goes out there and makes stuff and then engages in commerce to invite you to buy it? Howard Tayler, that’s who. Today marks the preorder availability of Schlock Mercenary book 12, including the chance to have a dapper man sketch in your copy of the book, with delivery expected in mere weeks.

    See, the drawback — to the extent that there is one — of crowdfunding is that you don’t have the money to produce the thing until the check clears, so even if the thing is already made and you’ve got handshakes with the manufacturer, you can’t sign the contract and say Go until they get paid, then you get on their schedule, then you wait … and that’s best case. Me, I’m guessing that Tayler¹ did a bunch of math, figured out what a print run should look like for immediate orders plus reasonable stock for the future, and that the presses are already whirring.

    That’s why you’ll get your book in July, which means it’s got to get here, and get sketched in, and sent out in five to nine weeks². That’s as close to instant gratification as you’re going to get in webcomics.

  • Speaking of instant gratification — sometimes how fast you get something is entirely up to the fans. Readers of this page will recall the high regard I have for Al’Rashad: City of Myths, as written by [comics commentator, Toronto politics observer, and lawyer] Christopher Bird and illustrated by Davinder Brar (illustration freelancer and teacher).

    It’s a damn good story, it’s nearly 300 pages long (serialized over about four years), and it’s just the first part of a trilogy. Thing is, lawyerin’ and teachin’ don’t leave a lot of time to make comics on the webcomics grind, particularly if it means (as it would for Brar) giving up freelance jobs to have the time to draw a comic that isn’t paying anything for years (if ever)4.

    Enter the Patreon to fund the production of Ra-Boka: Kingdom of the Bound (that would be the title of the second story). And, crucially, the funding goals start off modest, but as they increase they radically increase the pace of production. We’ve all seen Patreons that set goals of one extra comic a week or at least ten comics a month, but Bird & Brar³ start from a low target of $125 (I’m not sure if that’s US dollars, as Patreon is an American company, or Canadian, as Bird & Brar are strong and free), providing one page a month, to $2500 (three pages a week, 12 – 13 per month).

    It’s a hell of a range, and given that Ra-Boka is also projected to run nearly 300 pages, which means the story could take not quite 24 years to tell … or a year and a half. This is very much a case where a couple hundred people with a couple bucks each could make the difference between seeing a story on a schedule that would make even George RR Martin blanch (much less the third part of the trilogy) and seeing it unfold at warp speed before the last season of Game of Thrones hits.

    Time to dig in for that couple of bucks, kids — the first story was damn good (supra), you could see both Brar and Bird progressing in their craft during its run, so I expect the second (and third!) to be even better.


Spam of the day:

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This Program was held in Barcelona- Spain; Wherein your email address emerged as one of the online Winning emails in the 1st category and therefore attracted a cash award of EUR344,000.00 and a Mac laptop/iPhone.

Microsoft ran a sweepstakes and is giving out an iPhone? BALEETED.

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¹ By which I mean Howard’s wife Sandra, the logistics/business wrangler of TaylerCorp, and the one that makes sure that Art Boy gets all his stuff made and sent where it needs to go.

² Cue Dolley, Jane, and Lily. Dabney can eat it.

³ Together, they fight crime.

4 But Gary, I hear you cry, couldn’t Bird just pay Brar out of pocket like he must have for Al’Rashad, or like Estrada’s always doing? Yes, I suppose, but 1) Shut up, nobody is obligated to go into debt to entertain you for free; Estrada is unusually generous, but that does not create a binding precedent; 2) Bird’s got a wedding coming up and I doubt his fiancee is willing to serve guests pigs in blankets instead of a meal in order to make a comic for free reading on the internet; and 3) Seriously, if that’s the way you think, re-examine your priorities in life.

With Apologies For Brevity

Okay, so there’s a Family Emergency brewing, one that may necessitate my absence from El Blog for several days on little to no notice. This is to let you know that if I go silent for a bit, it was because of that and not anything you did, so don’t feel bad. It also means that while waiting for the proverbial shoe to fall, a lot of things are happening in Life, and my blogging time is limited. I thank you in advance for your understanding.

Today we are going to mention (briefly) a trio of Kickstarts.

  • Firstly, Ryan Estrada’s Big Data (cf: here) had gone up in an attempt to recoup Estrada’s expenses from making the audioplay (which will be released as a nine-part podcast, or all in one go if you back it). Now thing about this for a moment — Estrada’s already paid everybody associated with making Big Data, which means he’s taking a risk by putting up the campaign; if he doesn’t hit his goal of US$7500 (which will merely bring him back to a net loss of zero dollars), he gets nothing.

    The podcast is still done and paid for. It will release to the world whether he gets paid or not, and whether you pay him or not. The chief benefit of backing is you’ll get all nine hours in one go instead of listening week-to-week trying to solve the mystery like a chump. Okay, yeah, there are little bonuses where it can me implied that the whole mess of Big Data is your fault, but mostly it’s getting to listen early.

    And not cost Estrada a chunk o’ change. He could have put up a ten dollar goal and kept everything, even if it didn’t meet his outlay; instead, he’s putting a monumental amount of faith into the we like creative people community, willing to bet multiple thousands that you’ll come through. Make with the donating.

  • Secondly, Shaenon Garrity, Funk Queen of the East Bay and Yea, Even Unto The Far Antipodes, launched the Kickstart for the sixth (full color, this time) volume of Skin Horse. This one is gonna go by the numbers — launch one day, 150% funded the next, 39 days to go, you’ll get your stuff when she said because she is a goddamn professional and acts like one.
  • Thirdly, Irregular Webcomic. What the crap, man? Guy does a highly-loved comic for-friggin’-ever, finally get the ability to do a book, and with two and a half days left to do is just under 80% funded? This would be a damn good time for that end-of-campaign uptick to happen. If this falls short, the chance of ever getting other Irregular Webcomics volumes decreases by a nontrivial amount. Clutch time, people.

Spam of the day:

Reply to claim your FREE PANERA BREAD COUPONS worth
Let me stop you right there. Of all the corporate chain “food” that I won’t eat, I most won’t eat the utter garbage at Panera because their “bread” is a travesty. Fake, painted to look like it’s got color and crust, softer and blander than Wonder Bread; I’d literally rather eat the “bread” sticks from Olive frickin’ Garden. It’s in the name of your damn restaurant, it’s got to be not totally sucky and yet it is! Nooooo thank you.

Nonstop Creation Machines

I had decided on the title and theme of today’s post last night, and as I sat down today to pound the text into shape the news broke that Prince has died. I’m going to remember him primarily for two things: I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man, which is about as perfect a song as ever was, and his underrated ability to have fun at his own expense. I’m also telling the next two guys I talk about to goddamn take care of themselves, please.

  • Jim Zub is a guy who has spent the past decade or so making his way into the comics industry, and the thing about him that strikes me even more than the quality and breadth of his writing — which are both off the charts — is the fact that he’s always given more than he’s gotten. He is selfless and tireless in sharing his skills and wisdom, doing his level best to make it easier for the next generation of creators to find their way … an action that only makes his life harder, both for the effort it costs him now, and the competitors he’ll have to face down for jobs in the future.

    So imagine how much he’d be willing to share with people that are specifically paying him.

    Zub has, at long last, launched a Patreon but it’s kind of on the down-low right now, because there’s no other reason for it to have a paltry 35 backers and US$183 per month support level. The big thing you get for backing the Zubster? Full comic scripts and pitch documents, or as I like to call them, How To Be Zub 101. And considering that Zub is universally liked and respected, that’s a pretty good thing to be.

  • So Ryan Estrada sent me a link last night (my time; it would have been daylight in Korea, where he lives) and casually said I could have the exclusive. If you’ve been following his Twitterfeed for the past months, you know that he’s been heads-down on his latest project, an audio play with top-flight talent the names of which he promised would blow our minds. And you know what? He’s not lying.

    Big Data is the story of what happens if the keyholders who keep the internet working got attacked and subverted by a conspiracy of ne’er-do-wells who maybe aren’t all that organized or competent. It posits a world where the internet is dying, and the person who’s determined to get to the bottom of it decides to do so in the form of a podcast, tracing the story of What The Hell Happened, in a weird cross of Serial and whatever Alex Jones is blathering about now. It looks hilarious, and we’ll all get to see what the deal is (duration, full cast, etc) on Monday, when the Kickstarter launches.

    Oh, not the Kickstarter to make Big Data — it’s already been made, the talent’s been paid, it’s in the can and ready to go. And that talent includes people you just might have heard of like Paul F Tompkins, Cecil Baldwin, Kevin Allison, Jermaine Clement, and De Anne Dubin, with a theme by The Doubleclicks. When I asked Estrada how the hell he got these people (and more!) to participate¹, he gave a completely logical answer: I asked nicely, and paid them!

    Here’s the trailer; check the main site on 25 April to see the Kickstart details and learn how we can all get front-row seats to the informational apocalypse. Like all the best apocalypses, the important people will be there.


Spam of the day:

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and

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That’s a pair of damn near identical-looking emails you guys have sent me. Maybe don’t send them within 12 seconds of each other next time and I won’t notice.

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¹ Fun fact: about the time I was wondering how the hell Estrada got his cast, he was wondering how the hell I have a friend who’s actually an ICANN keyholder. She’s done the key-signing ceremony and tells me after a while it gets really boring, and since you’re in one hell of a Faraday cage, you can’t use your phone or post selfies or anything.

Weirdest thing? She’s not an internet hacker from small times — she’s an English major that wound up doing logistics and disaster recovery planning, which utilize her natural aptitudes for organization and yelling at people until they do things correctly². She’s a lot of fun at parties.

² Since the or else in her yelling promises grave physical harm and lasting emotional damage, she is a woman after may own system administrator’s heart. Look, I’m not saying that she once caused a troublemaker to get cavity searched, but I am saying that the belief that she would do such a thing if you pushed her has helped her compliance-with-procedure rates enormously.

Now With Added Me

Kind of all over the place today, from the serious and sincere to the … well, you’ll see in a moment.

  • Okay, real talk time. The Kickstart for the long-awaited first print collection of Irregular Webcomic followed a pretty standard steep start and long tail, but the tail has been lower than usual, and it’s starting to look like it’s going to be a near thing. 70% of the way there with about 72% of the campaign time gone means that the traditional spike upwards in the last week puts everything to rights, but creator David Morgan-Mar is unwilling to leave things to chance and is engaged in desperate measures: he’s added me as a backer reward.

    I will be in New York City on Saturday 18 June this year. With this reward you and one partner/friend can meet me over lunch, talk comics or whatever, and get some spur-of-the-moment hand scribbled comic art by me! I’ll also bring along some random physical goodies related to my comics to give to you! This reward is an approximately 2-hour lunch meeting, and you also get a printed copy of the book, a PDF copy, an MP3 of “It’s Quite Irregular”, and a set of postcards.

    Two backers plus two friends plus me makes 5 for lunch, and also joining us will be webcomic blogger Gary Tyrrell of Fleen.com. [emphasis mine]

    There’s already a pledge to meet up with Morgan-Mar in London later this year and I’ll be crushed — crushed! — to think that I’m not an equal draw. Also, it’s no secret that I want this campaign to succeed, but any rumo[u]rs going around that I will be engaging in “favors” for the pledgers are probably overblown. Probably. Only one way to find out!

  • For those who’ve been waiting patiently since January for the opportunity to join iPhone-havers and play Exploding Kittens on your Android phones, wait no more. Seemingly in dual celebration over this release and yesterday’s announcement of an Eisner nomination (his third or fourth, I think), Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman has been crushing all rivals in EK matches today.

    You probably can’t beat him (he’s been playing the game since long before anybody else in the world, remember), but if you want to try watch his twitterfeed for announcements of when he’s playing and the game code. Good luck (you won’t win).

  • Speaking of Eisner nominations, Iron Circus Comics President For Life¹ Spike Trotman has declared a day of jubilee to celebrate the fact that her very first solo artist project — EK Weaver’s TJ and Amal omnibus reprint — took a nomination for Best Graphic Album — Reprint. You can get the TJ and Amal omnibus from the Iron Circus shop for 15% off with the coupon code EISNERFYEAH. Go cash in, you lucky people.
  • Lastly, the sort of thing that I like to see because it has the potential to make people better, more thoughtful creators: KB Spangler of A Girl And Her Fed² has posted a piece on how she approached writing a character that started out minor and became a major part of her story mythos, and how she’s changed her approach after realizing that she was Doing It Wrong. Specifically, Spangler’s take on Rachel Peng’s arguably defining characteristic — her blindness — was initially done without (in retrospect, and certainly not from a point of malice) insufficient consideration of what being blind actually means.

    And before a theoretical subset of you start screaming about PC goons forcing a creator to change her story — honestly, if that’s your first thought, the door’s over there and don’t let it hit you — it’s not in response to anybody yelling at Spangler other than Spangler. It’s about having the honesty to assess when you have sufficient experience in a community/culture to represent it properly, and when you have to shift your approach because you realize you didn’t. As Spangler repeatedly states:

    I’m an asshole but I’m trying to do better

    The first part of that statement is a filthy lie, but the second part you can take to the bank. Even if you’re inadvertently an asshole (or not an asshole at all), you can always do better if you’re willing to admit there’s better to be done. Go read it and think about how to do better yourself; and if there’s better I can be doing, please let me know.


Spam of the day:

Join our professional network

No name for this professional network? Nice try, LinkedIn, but you ain’t getting your hooks in me!

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¹ And co-founder of Creators For Creators; application info coming in ten days.

² AKA my buddy Otter.

The Jaunty Tune Will Stay In Your Head, Too

This day in Great Outdoor Fight history: Ray is getting a bit full of himself with Beef and showing depths that, if not quite hidden, reveal insight into his heritage. Also, we learn all there is to know about Bob Raffles.

  • If I didn’t have a strict policy about what goes at the top of posts where there is an anniversary strip from the Great Outdoor Fight, I know for an absolute fact that today’s post would be the results of me playing around with my new favorite online toy. Which toy? I hear you ask — let’s let Kate Beaton fill you in:

    now you can actually play with my @TorontoComics paper doll! torontocomics.com/news/announcing-the-kate-beaton-digital-paper-doll/

    Yes! The delightful show poster that Beaton did for TCAF is now interactive, complete with music, encouraging voice-overs, and screenshot capability. And in case the pictures are just too darn small for you, creator (and TCAF staffer) Kim Hoang made a fullscreen version available at her site. Just don’t blame me if you’re playing dress-up for the rest of the day.

  • It’s Will Eisner Week, an annual recognition of the innumerable contributions made to comics by Will Eisner, timed to coincide with his 6 March birthday¹. Events are going on around the world between now and next Monday, and the good folks at the Cartoon Art Museum aren’t letting a little thing like a lack of gallery space keep from recognizing the master and his works. CAM invites you out to Mission: Comics and Art (2250 Mission Street, San Francisco) on Sunday for their celebration.

    The centerpiece of the event (which runs 2:00pm to 4:00pm) will be a panel discussion between prominent Bay Area creators Steve Englehart, Al Gordon, John Heebink, Mario Hernandez, and Steve Leialoha, free and open to the public. For those that might have favorite stories and characters created by these longtime pros, there will be a signing that follows immediately after. And heck, it’s The Mission, so I imagine people will be going for drinks after.


Spam of the day:

Prevent Your Fatal Heart Attack: Watch For These Signs

Sorry, but for some reason I don’t believe that “Princeton Health” (is that supposed to make me think you’re actually University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, or possibly Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, which is the fictional hosptial from House?) really has an email address at mkvtqh2.[redacted].xyz … call it a hunch. Try harder, spammers.

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¹ Eisner would have been 99 this year, which means you should start planning on how to celebrate his centenary next year, oh, now-ish.

Returns And Launches

What a week, what a week. Let’s recap the things that have happened and call it.

  • This day in Great Outdoor Fight history: No strip. Ray’s probably dealing with his hat guy to ensure he has the proper hat, and he and Beef are packing up the motorcycle and sidecar for the trip to The Acres.
  • The entirely delightful Rene Engström has, indeed, resurrected Anders Loves Maria with remastered art. Compare, if you will, the first two installments against the original version. There’s better pacing for the gag, better sense of space, better use of panel count and size to establish the time. There’s also — crucially — a shift from steam forming a heart in the original final panel to Maria looking gobsmacked. There’s an entirely different emotional payoff in this strip, a revision that could only come from a creator that is looking back with a better sense of who her characters are/were in hindsight, instead of just discovering them. I suspect the swing from idyllic love story to relationship trainwreck¹ and back again is going to have a different timbre (sometimes subtle, sometimes not) this time around. I’m looking forward to reading my favorite [SPOILER ALERT] ultimately heartbreaking story again for the first time.
  • Ian Jones-Quartey has been mentioned many times on this page; he is, perhaps, best known for his work on Steven Universe and other collaborations with Rebecca Sugar, but before that he did minis, animated and directed various shows (including The Venture Brothers and Adventure Time), did some kick-ass minicomics, and (oh yeah) a little thing called RPG World². He’s been back-and-forth with Cartoon Network with his own projects (such as Secret Mountain Fort Awesome), and reported been working on a secret project.

    That project has been revealed: CN has picked up his Lakewood Plaza Turbo not as a series, but as their first property outside of broadcast. Specifically, it’s the centerpiece of a mobile game, OK K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo, and the start of an ambitious new direction for the media empire. Now follow me on this: if you’re a network that’s taking a big gamble, making a move that has not been made before by any network, you are not going to make your first project (the one that determines whether or not this gamble goes forward) on somebody you don’t have total confidence in.

    And that confidence appears to have been well placed, as OKKO!LPT currently scoring ratings of 4.5/5.0 on both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. There’s probably no good way to determine how many times it’s been downloaded since launch yesterday, but given that the percentage of people that rate downloads is pretty low, having a few hundred (damn near universally positive) ratings in a day means it’s doing pretty well.

    This isn’t a one-off; it’s the start of a new business model for CN, and likely the start of a franchise for Jones-Quartey. Congrats to him, to his team, and to everybody that’s having fun beating stuff up in OKKO!LPT. And if you aren’t one of those people, let me point out that it’s free, so there’s nothing but download time keeping you from playing. You’re welcome.

  • In case you missed it, Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin continued his How to curse in French lessons in yesterday’s comments. Don’t say we never taught you anything worthwhile.

Spam of the day:

Your website has to be the elcoertnic Swiss army knife for this topic.

I’m putting that on my next round of business cards.

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¹ Go back through the first run of ALM writeups on this page and you’ll see I spent plenty of time sniffly over those two crazy kids, and plenty of time wanting to boot one or both of them in the skull for being so stupid and cruel. Usually Anders, though — I suspect this time around the motivations for his behavior will be a little more emotionally deep and little less just him being a dick.

² Reminder that you do not ask Jones-Quartey when RPG World is getting finished. Every time he’s asked, he pushes the return date back another month (current estimate: February 2038).