The webcomics blog about webcomics

Old Familiar Faces

If you’re a reader of Randy Milholland’s Something*Positive (and if you aren’t, what the hell is wrong with you?), you may recognize that combination of words. Old Familiar Faces is the name that Milholland gives to miscellaneous strips, not following regular characters and plotlines, that he runs at the end of the calendar year or running over into the beginning of the next year — a palette cleanser of people we see only rarely¹ (and Silas). He’s done this thirteen times so far.

We’re about to hit fourteen:

S*P Year 14 will end Wednesday. Related, my comic will be 14 years old tomorrow.

If you’d told me back in the early days of 2002 (I started reading not long after Choo-Choo Bear was introduced; he’s now nearly 39 years old and still thriving) that Something*Positive would not only survive this long, but be the most heartfelt, heartbreaking, ideal example of what living, breathing (and sometimes dying) characters in a long-running comic could be, I wouldn’t have believed you. Surely not that marvelously nasty, sarcasm-laden bit of nihilistic joy and cruelty to all (friends and enemies alike, but especially friends).

But something happened along the way. It’s become a continuity strip of the sort that almost existed on the comics page. Mostly, continuity strips change very slowly, with every plotline essentially resetting back to baseline. Kids might be born, but they’ll take decades to age a year. You saw a more realistic approach to the passage of time in, say, For Better or For Worse, but the reset-to-baseline tendency was always going to win². Don’t even get me started on Funky Winkerbean³.

No, if there’s a predecessor to Something*Positive, it’s probably Doonesbury; characters we started with become less relevant each year, as their younger friends, new lovers, and children (some of which we’ve seen since birth) become the centers of story and strip. Only Uncle Duke and Choo-Choo Bear will always be there.

So happy early strippiversary, Randy; I’d guess that you didn’t think you’d still be doing this either. May your characters grow and change and live their lives (until they don’t) for exactly as long as you have these stories to tell.

Speaking of old familiar faces, KC Green dropped a bombshell on the world last night:

ah heck, heres da scoop: shmorky and i are making adult swim ID shorts out of old gunshow strips

just 10 right now including “this is fne” which is what they wanted first. short bumpers for tv and online

.@sashmorky is knockin em out of the park with animating them. and i got to work with @danasnyder for doing a voice also

I’ll let you guys in on a secret: I’ve seen one of these, the famous This Is Fine. I’ve see it with KC doing the voice on a scratch track, and Dana Snyder (Master Shake, Al the Alchemist) doing the final voice. It’s glorious work that Shmorky did on the animation, a perfect match to Green’s comic sensibilities.

Kudos to [adult swim] for seeking out the actual creator of This Is Fine instead of treating it as a spontaneously-generated meme that nobody originally thought up (maybe they could do dickbutt next). Further kudos for finding an animator that would do Green’s work justice. Can’t wait to see the other nine bumpers online, and on my electric teevee machine.

Spam of the day:

McDonalds releases a new healthier menu! Try it now with this $100 Gift!

I can’t even being to fathom what a hundo of McDonald’s foodlike product would look like. Pass.

¹ Consider the most recent OFF strip, wherein we re-meet a character we hadn’t seen since strip #2.

² Nobody escapes home and family and you will marry your high school sweetheart and/or buy the house you grew up in. Only roadside whores ever left town.

³ Wherein you will return to your hometown and stay in the high school orbit forever, or at least until you’ve passed your existential misery onto the next generation and die.

From cancer.

And Further Still

Continuing from yesterday, The AV Club has more comics that they want you to know about, this time of graphic novels, one-shots, and archive-style reprints.

Webcomics types recognized include Lucy Knisley (for Displacement), EK Weaver (for the omnibus edition of The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal, published by Spike’s Iron Circus Comics), Ron Wimberly (for Lighten Up, originally published at The Nib and reprinted in Eat More Comics), the various contributors to The Nib (for Eat More Comics, which some would consider redundant with the last item, but Wimberly’s piece was good enough to be called out on its own), Noelle Stevenson (for — do we really need to remind you? — Nimona), and Kate Beaton (for Step Aside, Pops).

That’s more than a quarter of this list of 25, which combined with yesterday’s haul comes to just about 30% of the 50 comics recognized. Well done, all ’round.

  • And while we’re running down lists of immensely skilled creators, Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett has released a new list of contributors to his Tales of the Drive shared-universe series. If I recall correctly, we knew that Zach Weinersmith was going to be doing a story, and that Ryan North would be writing one.

    Not sure if we knew that North’s artist would be Tony Cliff, and it’s definitely news that Karl Kerschl (ooh!), Jeph Jacques (I hope it’s about AI rights), Lar deSouza (due can draw anything), Meredith Gran (is there a Brooklyn in the Second Spanish Empire?), and Evan Dahm (dude can draw non-humans better’n anybody) will be contributing. I figure that’s enough to cover then next couple of years and make one hell of a print collection.

  • News of all the announced contributors to the revived MST3K has set my head a-spinning. I wouldn’t call myself a hardcore MiSTie, but I love this tendency we seem to have these days where enormously creative people in one field seem to gravitate towards enormously creative people in other fields, like a post-millenial version of the Algonquin Round Table, with less emphasis on the literary and possibly even more drinking.

    Just look at the list! Pendleton Ward! Rebecca and Steven Sugar! Adam frickin’ Savage! I saw on another list that Paul and Storm would be part of the project, and of course we’ve got Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt — the cross-pollination of pure imagination is going to be a wonder to behold. It’s something we spoken about here in the past, where a creator need not be just one kind of creator for their entire career, and I think it means we’re in for a golden age of guerrilla entertainment.

No good spam today. Maybe Monday.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Today’s a challenge, tomorrow likely moreso. Here’s what’s happening:

  • Saturday at 7:00pm, in the West Village (New York City, dontcha know) will be launching a speaking series (to run on the third Saturday of the month), and is kicking things off with Meredith Gran headlining what looks to be a fascinating evening on the theme of Identity.

    I wasn’t familiar with Carmine Street Comics, which is unsurprising as its site describes itself as the newest comic book store in the oldest part of New York City; it’s also described as being a combined shop/open comics studio, which sounds really neat. Those of you not getting the hell out of New York early for [American] Thanksgiving, I’d recommend this event highly.

  • It’s been about three months since the SyFy Network/Candle Cove deal was announced, and comes today the news that SyFy has committed to a pretty decent show order:

    Syfy Greenlights Two Seasons of Horror Anthology Series ‘Channel Zero’

    To be clear, Channel Zero will feature a different storyline each of those two seasons, and Candle Cove will only be the first season, but that’s still six episodes, which are slated to run in conjunction with Octoberween 2016. Start getting your Candle Cove-themed Twitter avatars ready, it’s gonna be a creepy ride.

  • I know that a lot of you don’t remember where you were 30 years ago today (I was a college freshman, so getting ready for finals in Calculus I, Chemistry I, Comedy¹, and Military History²), but on that day Calvin and Hobbes. Heck, a significant number of you may not remember where you were when C&H wrapped after ten years.

    Anyway, it was a magical time of comics, perhaps the high point of the form: Bloom County was still a couple of years from its decline and retirement; The Far Side was at its peak; even Peanuts was sharper and funnier than it had been for about 15 years. Much has been written of Bill Watterson and his most famous creation; it’s hard to think of a more influential example of pure strip cartooning on everybody engaged in [web]comics today.

    There are tributes everywhere you look, but the one I found most edifying is at Sketchd, by David Harper, with contributions from Kazu Kibuishi, Michael Cho, Skottie Young, and others. Read it, and maybe enjoy a nice tuna fish sandwich while you’re at it.

Spam of the day:

Nancys Desperate Fight to Cure Alzheimers disease over?

I think the Nancy they’re referring to is Nancy Reagan, in which case it appears that even paranoid nutjob Obama-disliking spammers are acknowledging that we had a symptomatic Alzheimer’s patient in the Oval Office for at least four years.

¹ As opposed to Tragedy; we started with Aristophanes and Plautus, lots of the ruder Shakespeare, took a detour through Moliere and Shaw and Feydeau, and ended up with Bringing Up Baby and Animal House. Big props to Dr Parshall, who really cemented my love of literature.

² My college weaseled out of requiring a phys ed class by instead requiring two ROTC courses (Military History, Organizational Leadership) that were each one credit and pretty much impossible not to get an A in. It also meant that every freshman was technically enrolled as a cadet in the US Army, which means I have a DoD personnel record somewhere.

Rassa-Frassin’ DSL Goin’ Out

All of a sudden, no network at home for any of the devices, wired or WiFi; reboot the modem, it would come back for about 30 seconds and then disappear. This sort of thing has happened four times in the past, and it’s always been traced to somebody in billing at my DSL provider¹ deciding to switch me to a different circuit further away from my house and crapifying my signal.

Today, however, the tech support drone decides it’s my modem and I need a new one. This declaration came:

  1. Just as my signal cleared up and got stable again, which coincided with
  2. Me finishing describing my problem, and
  3. Reading off the serial number of my modem, which to be fair is sorta old

So I’m gonna get a new modem because it’s probably time and a new one hopefully has a more securely patched chipset inside.

But I’m still pissed off because tech support drone told me he could offer me a US$20 discount on a $US59.99 modem, for a total of US$49.99. I pointed out his math was dodgy. He told me he could give me another discount on a different network plan. I used some bad words internally and told him to just send me the damn thing. No email confirming the order yet either, which absolutely guaranteed means he spelled my name wrong in the email address.

How’s your day going? Let’s talk about something more pleasant.

We mentioned the somewhat circuitous nature of film options last week in the context of Ursula Vernon² and Hamster Princess, noting that just because an option’s been obtained doesn’t mean anything is happening soon. I think the land speed record for option ==> movie in comic land is Scott Pilgrim, and even that took about 3-4 years³. I bring this all up because of some immensely good news that broke yesterday:

Looks like the news is out: Amulet will be a live-action movie, hopefully a series. Looking forward to this. …

Firstly, there couldn’t be a better property to make a movie out of than Amulet, and live action is going to rule; congrats to Kazu Kibuishi and all his collaborators. Secondly, this did not happen overnight. One may recall (if one has a sufficient memory) that the option for Amulet was first obtained in 2008 (when the plan was for Will Smith to produce and his kids to star).

The Deadline story describes this in terms of X will happen, but so did the Variety story from 2008, so either this is Amulet moving to the next stage of production (which may falter or progress, we’ll all see together), or maybe it’s not closer to being a movie than it was eight and a half years ago. It’s definitely a paycheck for Kibuishi (the 2008 announcement was at Warner Bros and this one is at Fox, so the old option expired, a new one was obtained, and Kazu gets to do the I got paid twice happy dance), so that’s all right.

Thirdly, note the use of the word franchise in that story; with the right cast, the right director, and the right vision, this could be the next Harry Potter. That being said, if some studio dipshit decides that a girl can’t be the central character and changes Emily to a boy, I’m burning down Hollywood, so you best respect the source material, Fox. I’ve got my eye on you. In the meantime, I’ll be over here waiting for the seventh volume of Amulet, due in Feburary.

Okay, going to wrap it here, on the off chance that my network gets stupid again. See you tomorrow, I hope.

Spam of the day:

Predicted In The Sacred Book of Revelation – Obama’s Deadly Curse The massive downfall that willwipe out 49 out of 50 American states … And unfortunately you won’t make it out alive, because what’s coming has the devil sign on it.

Since I won’t make it out alive, I suppose I’ll spend my time wondering which is the heaven-blessed 50th state that survives. I hope it’s something completely unexpected, like Rhode Island, or maybe just the upper peninsula of Michigan.

¹ Rhymes with Morizon.

² Reminder: I loves me some Digger

³ Unless you want to count The Martian as comic land due to Any Weir’s history as a webcomicker. Bit of a stretch, actually.

Somewhat Less Frantic Than Yesterday, Thanks

You’d think after doing this for nearly 10 years, I’d have a better feel for when work was gonna get in the way. Then again, my match says this is the 2663rd posting I’ve made on this here blog, meaning I’ve posted about 73% of the days since launch, so I’m not gonna beat myself up too much over it. Here’s that big news that I promised you.

  • I’m assuming that you’ve all seen the big interview with Kate Beaton running at The Comics Journal? It was started at SPX (a place as formative to Kate Beaton, Internet Cartoonist as Cape Breton is to Kate Beaton, Alive Human) and gives a nice recap of how she simultaneously got to be the favorite cartoonist of those who love comics and those who are completely indifferent to comics.

    Personally, I was struck by how things happened for Beaton both very quickly and very slowly — she bounced around between the Maritimes, Vancouver, the Alberta tar sands, and Toronto, becoming a huge deal in webcomics circles while simultaneously isolated from the community. The success of her first pieces of merchandise brought her quickly to full-time pro status, but at the same time she went back to Fort McMurray and the tool crib to retire student loan debt. She exploded in popularity at that time, with her ballpoint-on-printer-paper drawings¹ — uploaded at night from the middle of an environmental moonscape — capturing something in all our hearts, and then found herself an Official Big Deal with her return to the faster pace of metropolitan life.

    See also: her entry into childrens books took a couple of years from suggestion to pitch to launch, and some of her best work comes about from leaving the speed of urban life for the sedate pace of Nova Scotia (cf: any of her family comics). She’s a pile of contradictions, then; she contains multitudes, all of them funny, insightful, charming, adorable. Go read it.

  • The other big news I wanted to make sure you all saw came from The Hollywood Reporter; it’s been a while since Ursula Vernon did webcomics on the regular², what with all the kids lit she’s writing, and the modern takes on fairy tales and fantasy, and the podcasting on disturbing events/disturbing food, and all the rest. So maybe you didn’t notice that one of her books got optioned for film by an obscure sometimes voice actor:

    Disney has optioned the movie rights to Castle Hangnail, a children’s book by Ursula Vernon, for an adaptation to be produced by Ellen DeGeneres.

    So that’s all right. As noted on this page on several previous occasions, an option doesn’t mean that Vernon is now rolling in huge piles of money; it doesn’t even mean that a movie will get made anytime soon or at all. Lots of things can happen between now and some nebulous point in the future, particularly if Degeneres and Disney decide to go the animated route ’cause dang, that takes time. But it means that Vernon’s more on the radar of the deep-pocketed entertainment industry, that other studios may try to lock up rights to her other works in case Castle Hangnail becomes a monster hit, and each of those things means the possibility of less financial wobbliness than is usually found in the indy comics/indy writer career path.

    Vernon celebrated the announcement by welcoming a new rescued dog into her household and threatening a hack webcomics pseudojournalist who smarted off at her on Twitter. Honestly, she’s probably happier about identifying a new moth in her garden than anything else in the last week, which means she’s unlikely to go the coke and hookers route of other suddenly successful people; Fleen congratulates Vernon on not letting Hollywood change her.

Spam of the day:

****Second email notice***** Sequel to your non response of our earlier letter sent by post to you by to you on behalf of the Trustees and Executors of the Estate of our late client.

Been getting a lot more of these scams lately; bonus points for this actually being a second email and being signed by the same fake lawyer (who claims to be from Zurich but has a Russian character in the middle of his Germanic name and give a UK phone number).

¹ As Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett, her choice of topic (literature, history), posting schedule (irregular), posting location (Livejournal), and drawing materials should have killed any chance of success, but her style, humo[u]r, and raw skill overcame those presumed handicaps.

² As always, I loves me some Digger.

This Day Is Exciting!

So much exciting news today, you guys. So very, very much.

Spam of the day:

Looking for the ultimate way to experience GIANTS Software’s blockbuster Farming Simulator 2015 Gold Edition?

You guys, this is amazing. It’s less spam and more press release, but some company thinks that farm equipment driving simulation games are going to be so massively popular that they have produced a specialized controller bundle that goes for US$299. They want to send me a review unit.

Welcome Returns

Must be the incipient Halloween, when the dead walk, but we’ve got some revivals to mention today.

Let us note that a new A Softer World may be found today, on the topic of Halloween. Second, the Cartoon Art Museum (which, as we noted recently, is not so much gone as couch-surfing until it finds its own place again) announced that it will be at a new Disney fan event, Mouse-Con, on 15 November in Concord, CA.

But the big news is twofold.

Firstly, the long-hiatused Achewood sees a return of sorts today. Specifically, the Achewood in-character blogs, which have been on hiatus more than two years¹, see a new post from Peter “Nice Pete” Cropes². It is a meditation on life, death, the passage of time, Meyer lemon curd, and gluten-free pastry. It is the best thing that you could possibly read today, unless you scrolled down through Nice Pete’s archives to rediscover his thoughts on the topic of Rachael Ray.

And secondly, that Homestar Runner’s annual Halloween cartoon is out and — as usual — the costumes are excellent as well as being deep cuts. I’d say my favorite is probably Homestar himself as [spoiler — see below the cut], The Cheat as [spoiler], or The Poopsmith as [spoiler].

Happy Halloween (early), don’t forget to turn your clocks back this weekend (USA only) and remember to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. See you all on Monday.

Spam of the day:

Dear Sir/Ma, September 2015 Invoice is yet to be paid and we are sending you a reminder. Attached is September Invoice #7446-483 kindly review and have this settled.

That’s odd, I don’t remember doing business with an anonymous company in Lithuania. Let me just click on this completely innocuous document link so I can clear this up!

¹ Last strip update: 7 April 2014. Last blog updates: Emeril, 12 May 2006; Lil’ Nephew and Lyle, 4 May 2008; Molly, 29 July 2008; Ray, 12 December 2008; Cornelius Bear, 4 April 2009; Pat, 6 April 2009; Téodor, 16 July 2012; Roast Beef, 25 October 2013.

² Nice Pete last updated on 6 October 2013.


Horrorshow, Literally

For those with lesser tolerances for the spooky stuff, things become less scarifying as you read down.

  • Kris Straub is, as I write this, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, headed towards Melbourne and the about-to-occur PAX iteration therein. He’s also just left behind what I an assume is the leading edge of entirely deserved praise for the best contribution to the spirit of the spooky season I’ve seen this year, in the form of a few wobbly images, a couple dozen lines of text, and some deeply unsettling ambient sounds.

    The overnight crew at Channel 58 is not having a good night; something odd is going on, it may well be affecting the entire world and we see only the most local interpretation of events that may be beyond rational comprehension. The … the changes happen in front of us, as two entirely distinct interpretations of what it means to be safe and whole compete for the attention of a vanishingly small audience; those who are asleep are either safe or beyond help, and none of us knows which.

    Straub’s a master of showing no more than is absolutely necessary to get across his message, and this particular nightmare says/shows far less than it could, to terrific — I use that word in its most precise sense — effect. The questions that flood us over the course of a few minutes are more frightening than anything we could have been told/shown; Straub’s made our own imaginations an active co-conspirator in the scares. — both address and, presumably, title — is the most disturbing thing I’ve seen in the past three years not drawn by Emily Carroll, and a perfect tonal match for her work. It’s exactly what this Halloween season — what every Halloween season — needs to achieve maximum creepitude. Bravo.

  • For those not yet sufficiently creeped out, may I point you towards a new project? Adam Tierney (words) and Matthieu Cousin (pictures) have a Kickstarter up for a clever book that you can share with young ‘uns that enjoy the spine-shiver of a good, safe scare. Specifically, they’re putting together an A-to-Z book of 26 one-page illustrations and 26 one-page stories dealing with 26 phobias.

    Afraid of Everything calls to mind an old Peanuts punchline , and you can get a good feel for just how wide-ranging those fears can be by checking out a free 10 page/5 fear preview. The phobic panopticon has cleared a bit more than 50% in its first five days, and is well on track to clear its (exceedingly modest) US$6000 goal in the four weeks remaining. Check ‘er out.

  • Ryan Estrada’s Broken Telephone has been mentioned on this page previously, and as the six-interwoven-stories-with-eighteen-creative-teams epic approaches the 2/3s point of its yearlong run, it’s been catching more attention. Today, for instance, it’s the lead comic in The AV Club’s weekly comic roundup, in the company of the likes of the latest :01 Books entry and Usagi freakin’ Yojimbo. If you haven’t been reading Broken Telephone, you should be, and now it’s not just me that’s telling you that.

Spam of the day:

Hey! New message, please read.
El software de antivirus Avast ha analizado este correo electrónico en busca de virus.

Oh! Well, if you tell me that an antivirus program has scanned your spam email and the link you’re sending is http://[redacted].com/safe, then of course it must be fine for me to click through!

Counting Down To The C&D From DordMart

A story making the rounds about possibly finding evidence of constructed objects around a distant star has already prompted a thousand SF story hooks, but only one of them is in the hands of a man not afraid to get a .horse domain. I welcome you all to:, long may the conversation run.

In other news:

  • It’s been about a year since the crowdfunding for an Android version of Comic Chameleon, the mobile webcomic integrator that a) doesn’t suck and b) isn’t a scraper because c) it’s done with the permission of the creators and thus d) pays them. I got to play with a beta version a while back (it was a different phone on a very old release of Android and had some quirks, but was basically solid), and now you can play with the official thing, because Comic Chameleon for Android drops in the Google Play store today.

    I’m really looking forward to digging in with an up to date phone and seeing how it does. Should make getting out of bed in the morning much easier. Thanks to Bernie Hou (of Alien Loves Predator, topic of one of my favorite pieces I’ve written here at Fleen) and his team for all the hard work.

  • The National Book Award finalists were announced on NPR’s Morning Edition today, and I was particularly thrilled to hear one shortlist nominee in particular: Nimona not only got mentioned, but was one of the few books that came in for a full discussion from an impromptu panel.

    Unlike NPR’s Glen Weldon, I had no qualms about how it would translate from web to print, but like him and NPR’s Barrie Hardymon, I’m thrilled by its inclusion, and by the depth of Nimona’s story re: how girls get treated. Here’s hoping that Noelle Stevenson gets to give a little speech in a few weeks, and here’s hoping even more she closes with I’M A SHARK AAAAHH.

  • Delilah Dirk is making her return, and she’s starting in webcomic form. In the run-up to next year’s print release, the first 90 pages will be serialized online, starting from chapter one, oh, today-ish.

    Four pages a week from Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling will go up until March, then we get to read the rest of the story in a glorious single chunk when we all go buy it. We’re all going to go buy it, right? Damn right we are. Tony Cliff’s lost none of his storytelling chops since the release of Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, and now we all get to enjoy them together.

  • Apropos of nothing: that time Emperor Palpatine and Sauron met to bitch about their enemies and deaths. It’s hilarious.

Spam of the day:

You’re so cute.

Damn right I am. I’m friggin’ adorable.

One Of Those Faith In Humanity Days

Where to start, where to start?

  • How about with the elephant¹ in the Bethsda Marriott hotel ballroom, where it was noticed that the famed bricks that represent the Ignatz Awards all went to women. Before any arrested man-children start bawling their delicious, delicious tears that this is everything wrong with feminazis ruing comics and making things nobody wants to read, they would do well to remember:

    1. The Ignatzen are voted on by everybody attending SPX, which attracts a sizable and diverse crowd.
    2. The nominees range from low-circulation minicomics to critically- popularly-acclaimed works that have large print runs and are obtainable in any bookstore in the country.
    3. Nothing about this prevents you from continuing to read your masturbatory power fantasies, so quit acting like this is a zero-sum game².

    Looking back at the nominations, for instance, I failed to notice that of the five of the nominees in the Outstanding Online Comic, none identify explicitly as male³. A quick scan of the other categories show that women made up pretty much 50% of all the nominations (40% here, 60% there, some teams and group efforts make attempts at calculation necessarily inexact; I’ll note that Promising New Talent was 80% ladies).

    Still, there’s a long way to go from a hell of a gender-balanced slate of nominees to it’s Ladies Night in Comictown, and the simplest explanation is that this year, the work that spoke most to the audience happened to be made by women in each case. So congratulations to Emily Carroll, Eleanor Davis, Sophie Goldstein (×2), Jillian Tamaki, Sophia Foster-Dimino (×3), and Lilli Carré.

  • It’s pretty much inarguable that one of the most important tools in the business plan of a web/indy-comics creator (or creator of any sort) is crowdfunding, and that the dominant platform in that space is Kickstarter. So it’s pretty damn encouraging to see that the people that run Kickstarter are in no hurry to run up the valuation, float an IPO, cash out with a dumptruck full of money, and watch from the sidelines as the need to make tech-bubble levels of profit screws over the user base.

    In fact, they’ve just made that worst-case outcome pretty much impossible, and they’ve got the legal structure to enforce it:

    Kickstarter Inc is no more. We’re now Kickstarter PBC — a Public Benefit Corporation. We’re thrilled to share this news, and we’d love to take a minute to tell you exactly what it means.

    Until recently, the idea of a for-profit company pursuing social good at the expense of shareholder value had no clear protection under U.S. corporate law, and certainly no mandate. Companies that believe there are more important goals than maximizing shareholder value have been at odds with the expectation that for-profit companies must exist ultimately for profit above all.

    Benefit Corporations are different. Benefit Corporations are for-profit companies that are obligated to consider the impact of their decisions on society, not only shareholders. Radically, positive impact on society becomes part of a Benefit Corporation’s legally defined goals. [empahsis mine]

    That’s from an email that you probably received if you’ve ever dealt with Kickstarter, or you could read the story at the New York Times if you prefer. If you want to see how Kickstarter is interpreting their positive social impact, you can read their PBC charter here.

    Interestingly, the Kickstarter board is going extra-strong on the public benefit and transparency. The PBC structure requires them to report every other year on how they meet their charter’s goals, but they’ve also defined themselves as a B Corporation; that’s a voluntary designation that requires annual reports on their social goals, as well as some fairly rigorous environmental standards. What it all amounts to is that the people in charge of Kickstarter not only recognize what made it a success, they want to preserve it rather than abandoning it to unchecked capitalist exploitation. Good for them, and good for all of us.

  • And for those of you that like geeky things and leave the house occasionally, Jorge Cham has some news for you:

    It’s #ThePHDMovie2 premiere week! Pass it on! >20 screenings this week including @CERN @DukeU and more:

    Doesn’t look like any of those screenings will be at TopatoCon, but given that it appears that Cham will be conducting a Q&A and signing at CERN in that time frame, I suppose we can forgive him. Just one request for everybody working the LHC, though: if you want to show off for Jorge, please don’t do so by pressing the Big Red Button that says Generate Black Hole, Suck Earth In. Thanks.

Spam of the day:

Hello pecker 8-) i need s3x right now i’m not picky!!

“[N]ot picky”? Are … are you negging me? Am I getting the same approach that MRA dipshits think works on women?

¹ Fun fact: elephant society is matriarchal in nature; the females that have lived the breadth of life’s experiences are what holds the culture together. I’m sure this has absolutely nothing to do with anything we’re talking about today.

² One might address a parallel thought towards those that are bitching about Viola Davis’s speech at the Emmys last last night.

³ One, Ariel Ries of Witchy, uses the pronoun they; the others describe themselves in bios using explicitly female pronouns or depict themselves in their comics as women.