The webcomics blog about webcomics

Self-Evident Excellence

Things that you should dig into and just roll around in for a while, because they’re wonderful.

  • Firstly, the queen of Weird Shit Just Happens Around Her, Ursula Vernon, has an adventure in the near future. One may recall that four years back, she was part of a coterie — a cohort, even — of artists that made their way to southern Africa and memorialized their safari in an art book. Welp, she (and they) are at it again, heading to Himalayan end of China, again to report on their sojourn in book form. Back ’em now so that you can see the reports of weirdness that will surely follow.
  • Secondly, speaking of China, it’s again the Year Of The Pig. And speaking of pigs (and also Kickstarted books), KC Green did a story about a pig in the Tim’rous Beastie anthology from Iron Circus. That story, A Pig Being Lowered Into Hell In A Bucket, is a deep rumination on the nature of sin and redemption, and what place in the afterlife one may expect, deserve, or demand. It’s a quiet (with occasional yelling) masterpiece, one that deals in capital-T Truths. And because Green is a stellar fellow, you get to read it because he put the whole damn thing online, where a bunch of scrolling suits perfectly the very vertical nature of the story. Go. Read. Strongly consider giving him some money because his work is far more than Dickbutt and This Is Fine, and chances are you’ve only seen the merest fraction of it.
  • Thirdly, a new graphic novel by Ananth Hirsh and Tess Stone (who did the really excellent BUZZ! ’bout five years back), coming in 2022 from Random House Graphic. I’m really looking forward to this, if only because Hirsh’s writing is tighter, and Stone’s art is cleaner and stronger, than 2015, and given we won’t see this one for another three and a half years, they’ll both be even better by then. Also, because holy damn is Gina Gagliano locking down talent. The industry press had been full of announcements about acquisitions for release in 2020, but now we’re talking late 2022; by mid-decade, she’ll have pulled RHG into position as a fully equal player to Scholastic and :01 Books — original graphic novels will be neatly divided into those three companies, and everybody else.
  • Lastly, just block out a chunk of time this weekend to obsessively click the button here. The complete unpredictability of random Achewood panels has long been appreciated, but to marry that random wisdom with the divinatory power of the tarot? Somebody tell Onstad he can have my money if he prints up an Achewood tarot deck; the chief difficulty would be reducing the thousands of richly deserving candidates to the 78 cards in a standard deck. Heck, I’m saying right now the entire entire Swords suit should be Ramses Luther Smuckles, and there’s half the major arcana that could be represented by Cartilage Head.

    Needless to say, I don’t actually believe in any form of fortune telling, but that three-card collection in the image up top? Almost enough to make me reassess that position.


Spam of the day:

Ultrawatch Z: The World’s Strongest Tactical SmartWatch

Congratulations. I never wanted a smart watch, and now that you’ve gone and gotten tactical bro shit all over it, I want one even less. I swear, I can already hear the tight-throated narration that will be used in your eventual commercial.

Fleen Book Corner: A New Line Of Ensmartening Books

We’ll be taking a look at the first release¹ in the Maker Comics line from :01 Books in just a moment, but first …

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Please Listen To Me, the whatever-they-want-to-talk-about-but-mostly-political offering from Matt Lubchanksy (commonly found these days at The Nib, where they are associate editor) has been on hiatus since April of 2018, for reasons. But it’s back! Maybe not regularly, but back! We’re happy to have you back, Matt.

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Madison Furr and her excellent colleagues at :01 dropped a stack of review copies on me recently, and I was super excited to find Maker Comics: Bake Like A Pro! by Falynn Koch near the top of the stack. It may be because I am a home baker of some practice (mostly breads these days², but I flatter myself to say that I can do a decent pie crust, and I pride myself that the cheesecakes I make in the December holiday season for my bartenders get me free drinks all the year long), it may be because the other candidate for first Maker Comics release, Fix A Car! is one that I have less comfort with³.

Let’s just say it’s because I know enough about the topic that I can tell if the book’s getting things right and have enough to learn that a new explanation will help my own understanding. And here’s the deal: Koch scores on both criteria. I haven’t tested all of the recipes myself, but I recognize enough to see that the methods and instructions are solid. It teaches from a perspective that I wish I’d had in my home ec classes back in my teenage years:

  • Baked things don’t have arbitrary recipes, they have ingredients that behave in certain ways, and you can make changes and substitutions if you understand how they behave.
  • Each ingredient serves a purpose (providing structure, leavening, moisture, color, flavor) and how you bring those ingredients together matters.
  • Cooking may be an improvisational art, but baking is rule-based math and science.

Or, as Koch has it, magic; the framing story features an apprentice wizard who is learning baking as an introduction to alchemy.

The references in the back indicate that Koch’s learned from the best — I’m not familiar with some of them, but I can see the influence of Alton Brown, particularly in the exploration of one master recipe (the Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe, which is as close to a perfected recipe as we’ll ever see) to get variations by playing with proportions. Please understand, I’m not accusing Koch of ripping off Brown, any more that Brown was ripping off Shirley Corriher when he used Good Eats to do the same. Besides, Brown’s puppets that explain yeast action belch out carbon dioxide, and Koch’s little cartoon yeast fart out carbon dioxide. Totally different!

But bakers always have things they consider most important — more than one family has had long-running disputes over whether to use shortening or lard in biscuits4 — and thus there are things I wish Koch had covered. While she correctly points out the importance of having a clean oven interior in temperature regulation, she didn’t talk about how oven interior temperatures can vary widely, and therefore you need a good thermometer (in-oven, probe, instant read, IR or all of the above).

And I will die on this hill — we should not be measuring flour by sifted/scooped/leveled volumes, we should be weighing it. Yes, baker’s scales are somewhat pricey (as are some of those thermometers), but they are no less useful than the stand mixer that makes its way into the book which is listed as (if available) in multiple recipes. There is no quicker way to getting consistent results — which are necessary to seeing where your baking needs improvement — than having accurate temperature awareness and portioning ingredients by mass5.

And EMT hat on: there was one very odd recommendation on taking a hot pizza stone out of the oven to move the uncooked pizza to it. Okay, I get it, not everybody has a pizza peel, but this struck me as super hazardous for anybody, much less kids. If you cook on a baking stone and don’t have a peel, get a sheet of parchment paper under your crust, put it on a cookie sheet (on the underside if it has a lip) and slide the whole thing onto the very hot rock. You can grab the parchment and pull back onto the cookie sheet when it’s time to come out. Please don’t try to take a hot stone out of the oven (which could shatter when you place it on the stove top if you’re even a little rough in your handling) and return it.

But those editorial choices aside, kids will not develop their own deeply held baking beliefs if they never start baking. And if you want them to get a head start on baking, Bake Like A Pro! will get them on that path so that we can have the very important fights later.


Spam of the day:

Shock your family, make your garden more contemporary. You will love it’s new look!

Or I could ignore your spamming ass, and wait for the future release, Maker Comics: Grow A Garden!. Release date not announced yet, but it’s on the back cover of Bake Like A Pro! and :01 haven’t lied to me yet.

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¹ Okay, the first two titles in the Maker Comics line released simultaneously last Tuesday; I’m looking at the one that both comes first alphabetically by title and by author’s last name.

² In fact I have a pizza dough resting in the fridge as I type this. If it turns out particularly pretty, I’ll tweet a picture later tonight.

³ One might argue that my lesser expertise is a reason that I should have gone for the car fix book. But I don’t have the tools to practice what I might learn, and I can change a flat and check my oil and am perfectly willing to pay people to handle more in-depth automotive interactions.

4 Lard. Duh.

5 For those that pick up the book and play with the pizza recipe, make the following substitution: 300 grams of flour instead of 3 cups, 180 grams of water instead of 1 cup; the golden ratio for basic breads is 5:3 flour:water by mass (plus yeast as necessary, plus oil as required by the type of bread — the amounts given will work nicely).

As an aside Brown’s baking book is from 2004 and he lists virtually every ingredient by volume (because his editors and his mom made him) and mass (which is what he wanted); in the 15 years since, I think we deserve a general-audience intro to baking book with the courage to make the leap to ingredients by mass only.

A Little Better, Thanks For Asking

I mean, the dog’s keeping me company so that’s all right, but I could use another 18 hours or so of sleep. Yet your insatiable desire for webcomics and webcomics-adjacent news demands my consciousness, damn you.

  • Speaking of dogs and under the weather, I need to mention Andy Runton for a moment. It is established, scientific fact that Runton is the sweetest guy on the planet, and also that he has spent significant effort in the past helping others through their medical challenges. See those watercolors he did to raise money for neurofibromatosis? They feature his pooches. One of whom, Gable, is doing poorly:

    … Gable stopped using his back legs. We rushed him back to the specialist and I’m so glad we did. Gable needed emergency surgery to help his back. He suffered something called IVDD, losing multiple discs in his spine.

    He made it through surgery and even recovered most of his ability to walk over the next 3 months. Unfortunately he suffered another injury to his spine on February 2nd. Nothing major happened. He just didn’t want to stand up when it was time for bed. We were hoping he just needed some pain meds but he needed a second back surgery.

    Andy’s an independent cartoonist; the Owly books have been out of print for a shamefully long time, and although Scholastic is reissuing them (in color!) and following the existing five with a new sixth book¹, that doesn’t even start until next year. So maybe help the sweetest guy as he’s doing right by an adorable pupper? I’m in and I hope you join me.

  • Speaking of sweet things, did you know that at the Ig Nobel prize ceremony, there is a small girl named Miss Sweetie Poo who will — if an acceptance speech goes on too long — repeatedly declare Please stop, I’m bored at the laureates? Because there is. And this has what, exactly to do with webcomics?

    Enter Zach Weinersmith, and his Bad Ad-Hoc Hypothesis Festival in London, on 16 March:

    Brought together at Imperial College for the first time on the same date — the London stop of the Ig Nobel Awards Tour Show, and the London Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses.

    Both shows will take place in the Great Hall of Imperial College, in the Sherfield Building (number 20 on this map). The Ig Nobel show will start at 15:00 (doors open from 14:00) and will finish by 17:00. There will then be an intermission. BAHFest will start at 19:00, (doors open from 18:00) and will finish by 21:00. After the show, the bar downstairs from the venue will be open for attendees, and there will be a book signing with several of our judges and speakers. Books can be bought in advance when checking-out through Eventbrite, and a limited number will be available to buy on the day.

    Tickets at this link ranging £9 (one show only, student) to £80 (both shows, plus dinner with both sets of performers between the shows), with Imperial College students able to purchase tickets through their student union. If you’ll be in Blighty at the time, get tickets — there will be laugh-chuckles aplenty.


Spam of the day:

THE “ASSAULT BAG” IS YOUR EVERYDAY TACTICAL BACKPACK – GET 1 FREE!

This might have gone over better if you hadn’t sent it the same day that McSweeney’s posted this.

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¹ Runton told me about this last year at Comics Camp, but I promised not to reveal it before the official announcement. Somehow, I neglected to write about it here, which is deeply embarrassing.

Valentimes Are Nigh; Cue The Horny Werewolves

Always remember: Valentine’s Day is a Christian corruption of a pagan festival involving werewolves, blood and fucking. So wish people a happy Horny Werewolf Day and see what happens.

Oh, Internet Jesus, are you ever at a loss for words? Let’s see what webcomics has in store for Horny Werewolf Day.

  • If you’re going to keep the Horny in Horny Werewolf Day, you could do far worse than keeping an eye on Oh Joy, Sex Toy, where chroniclers of all things sexy Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan are dealingn with the efforts of working on two books by sharing the love:

    Next week we’ve got another cute porny guest comic (I know right, a lot of horny ones in a row, just in time for Valentines — it’s just how it turned out I swear)

    And then just after they’ve got a signing of Drawn To Sex at the Seattle outpost of Babeland:

    Meet illustrators and authors Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan as they talk about sex and the first installment of their educational book series, Drawn to Sex: The Basics.

    Erika and Matthew have spent years learning, talking, and creating informative comics about all aspects of sex. Using comics, jokes, and frank communication, they’re here to demystify the world of sex and answer your questions—including ones you might not even know you had! Enjoy complimentary bubbly, 10% off shopping and a chance to win a copy of their new book.

    That’s Friday, 15 February, from 7:00pm to 8:00pm, at 707 East Pike Street in Seattle.

  • You know where you might find actual horny werewolves? In the Iron Circus anthology of sexy times plus beasties, My Monster Boyfriend, that’s where! And if you don’t have a copy handy, you can get one on sales between now and HWD. From IC Supremo C Spike Trotman:

    Happy February, everybody! It’s time for a Valentine’s Day sale! From now until February 15th, we’re offering 25% off cover price on all our romance and erotica titles!
    Just use coupon code JewelledDynamo at check out, and the discount will be applied to all applicable items in your cart.

    Applicable titles are Crossplay, Iris and Angel: Two, The Less Than Epic Adventures Of TJ And Amal, Five Years Ago And Three Thousand Miles Away, Kung Fu Hustlers, Whisper Grass, Letters For Lucardo, Smut Peddler: 2012 Edition, Smut Peddler: 2014 Edition, Smut Peddler Presents: My Monster Boyfriend, and Yes, Roya.

    You can find all of them in the NSFW section of the Iron Circus Store, along with How To Smoke A Weed (not romance/erotica) and Iris And Angel: One (listed at zero dollars for the PDF, so how much of a discount do you want?).


Spam of the day:

This official President DONALD J. TRUMP COMMEMORATIVE COIN

Nope. Stopping you right there. Today’s post is a celebration of horniness, not antihorniness. Shoo.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

New stuff arriving, old stuff going away, and a new direction or two. Oh and apropos of nothing, the people that make IT infrastructure decisions for my employer are sociopaths that have no regard for their end users¹. But let’s focus on webcomics!

  • New Stuff: GeorgeMister Rohac, if you’re nasty — knows more than one or maybe no dudes in a million about the logistics and business of getting stuff made and managing projects with respect to the independent creative professional. He’s gathered up a lot of his accumulated wisdom in one easy-to-read Google Doc and shared it publicly because he loves you. There’s more to come, but even if another word is never added, there’s seven pages of goodness there including names of vendors that he’s used so as to save you flailing about. George is a national treasure.
  • Old Stuff: There’s little in webcomics with the depth and breadth of worldbuilding and interconnectedness to match John Allison’s Tackleverse. From 1998 on, Allison’s been giving us stories of the mundane and the weird, across a variety of aesthetic styles, predominantly solo but also partnering with top-notch artistic talent (particularly on the Giant Days comics from BOOM!, issue 47 of which is out this week, and which gets better month after month). Alas, there are only so many hours in a day, and that means Things Are Going To Change. Specifically, the return to the beginning of the Tacklfordillion is coming to a close:

    Sorry to say, this is the last comic of the current run. I’m about to start work on a (completely new, non-SGR) print project that I will be writing and drawing, which means new webcomics are off the cards for the forseeable future. I have plans for more Bobbins stories following on from this, but I don’t know when I’ll be back, so your best bet is to subscribe to the mailing list for updates.

    You can subscribe on the comic page linked above, or you can read his Tinyletter missives by following his Twitterfeed, or you can go old school and hit the RSS. Things may be to be continued for the moment, but I wager they’ll be back.

  • New Direction: There is probably no longer-running, more consistent webcomicker who has never even tried to make comics a career than David Morgan-Mar (PhD, LEGO®©™etc), he of many comics. Specifically, his employer has prompted him to make a leap after 16+ years:

    My employer has informed me that my job is being declared redundant. My last day of paid employment is 4 March. I’m looking at this as an opportunity rather than a setback. My plan is to take about 6 months off work, and spend the equivalent of full-time working hours doing creative things — making comics, writing, photography, making videos, etc. — and ramping up my efforts to market them and try to make a living income off them. If after 6 months I feel comfortable that I can make enough from my creative work, then I will continue — if not, then it’ll be time to look for another job.

    As part of this effort, I’ve already moved Irregular Webcomic! from 4-a-week to a slightly more “full time” schedule of new comics on Monday-Friday. Coming soon there will be announcements of new projects that I’ll be ramping up over the next few weeks. Importantly, if this is to continue, I’ll be looking for your support. I’ll be pushing Patreon as a way to support me, producing merchandise for sale, and may also consider some other things like Google Ads.

    [That newsbox doesn’t appear to have a permalink, but for now it’s on the main page of Irregular Webcomic, if you scroll down.]

    There is probably nobody that approaches creativity with such enthusiastic abandon as Morgan-Mar; he gets an idea for a comic, he jumps in with both feet, and does it until it reaches a natural ending point or maybe never. And he doesn’t make it easy on himself — comics that require constructing and re-constructing LEGO sets, with 18 interlocking story threads? Learning to draw and doing a weekly comic as a way to measure his skill progress? He’s living proof that it’s not a lack of ideas that holds back creation, it’s a lack of time to act on the ideas.

    I recommend you make the time worthwhile. He’s got his two (so far) books up at TopatoCo’s Internet Thingporium, and there will be more to come. You’ve got six months to convince him to let all those ideas run riot, or he goes back to Dayjoblandia, and there actually are going to be positions open for a PhD astrophysicist that’s involved in the international standards for digital photography. He can go back to meetings and conferences like that, people. Don’t let him slip through your fingers.

  • Miscellaneous: Lucas Landherr (the mild-mannered college professor and alter ego of deranged chalkvenger Dante Shepherd) is 36 years old today. Also a PhD, he’s establishing new modes of using comics in STEM education, and also turning chemical engineering exams into a means to channel his inner Gonzo The Great. He’s also just one of the best people. Everybody wish him a happy birthday because damn, dude deserves it.

Spam of the day:

Give your dog’s mouth the attention it deserves with DogDentist and save a TON of money in vet bills.

While watching my dog stagger around tripping balls after getting anesthetized for dental treatment is hilarious, it’s really much simpler to brush her teeth. Plus, her toothpaste tastes like chicken!

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¹ Did I say that out loud?

Technology Of The Past, Preserved For The Future

Ever see something that is tailor-made for you, something that speaks to your very existence, and yet you know that you just can’t? Glenn Fleishman has dropped such a thing in my lap.

I may have mentioned, once or twice, that I am fascinated by type. When traveling in the Low Countries on vacation years ago, I made it a point to include Antwerp on the itinerary solely so that I could visit the Plantin-Moretus Museum, where a guy named Christophe Plantin worked with typefaces designed by Claude Garamond whose beauty have not been exceeded in the past half-millennium. His son in law Jan Moretus (and his descendants) kept the type foundry/printing company going, a place so key to the history of the written word in the modern world that it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fleishman’s looked at the history of type, and noticed that while there are well-established and stable museums like the Plantin-Moretus, much of the historical artifacts of moveable type are in collections that have tenuous funding and may end up inaccessible to scholars, artists, and craftspeople in the future. Or hell, one fire could destroy a significant portion of the world’s history of type.

To distribute things of historical import and beauty, to ensure that examples of the craft are spread far and wide, to help guarantee that a single loss will not be crippling Fleishman has designed a mini museum of type, with historical artifacts as well as newly-commissioned examples of type in various materials.

There will be up to 100 iterations of this museum (with 60 on offer at Kickstarter, no two exactly alike), each packaged into a box approximately 15x15x30cm, with a letterpress book acting as the docent to the museum. It’s a tremendous amount of work, several labors of love, and will go for US$1000 and it’s a godsdammned bargain and I just can’t justify it but I very much want to spend a long time exploring one.

Which is not to say that I won’t be getting in on the campaign.

I was probably in college by the time I remembered an incident from when I was very young — four or five, maybe. My grandfather took me to his place of work one day, in Lower Manhattan. He sat me on his lap at a big metal machine with many keys on it, in a vast, clattering, too-warm room. He pressed my fingers down on keys one at a time — G A R … — and after a bit pulled a large lever.

There was some noise, and then in a little tray, a piece of metal 10 or 12cm long, warm to the touch. I could make out the letters which spelled my name, but they were wrong … backwards. He showed me how I could press the backwards letters onto an ink pad, then onto paper and see my name spelled out, with one L slightly too high.

I didn’t realize at the time that Linotype was a thing, or that it was a thing on its way out. I didn’t understand what the advent of hot metal typesetting would mean to printing and publishing. I was mildly upset when I lost that slug of type in a move a few years later, and very upset once I got older and realized what I’d lost.

But Fleishman’s thought of me personally, it seems. At the US$100 level, 500 people will get a freshly-cast slug of Linotype, with any brief text that they want. I can feel my grandfather nodding at me across nearly five decades, telling me that it won’t be the one he made me, but maybe just as good¹. If I bump up to US$200, I can also get the letterpress guide that will go with the museums.

There is nothing practical about any of this; nobody is going to letterpress anything out of the scattered artifacts in these museums. It’s instead an act of optimism, of preservation, drawing a line in the sand and saying this is our history, it’s significant, join me and preserve it². That act of safekeeping is itself Art.

The Tiny Type Museum and Time Capsule will be fundraising for the next 29 days. The ten early-bird museums have be snagged up, and as of this writing 49/50 of the full price copies remain available. It’s the sort of thing that only the well-off or obsessed can back, so I’m not suggesting that you pledge. But spread the word — something tells me that galleries and museums, letterpress operations and design firms might well want to take a look. I have to imagine that the folks over at Blambot would be interested. This is something that needs to succeed.


Spam of the day:

This method is something mechanics have used for years when you give them your old dead batteries. But now you can do this too because of this new video.

Jumper cables. You’re describing jumper cables.

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¹ He’s also shaking his head wondering how a two-word slug could be valued at a hundo. From throwaway cheap to significant expense in a generation and a half — Linotype machines used to be commonplace, now they’re cranky rarities that artisans keep in working order because they can.

But you know what? If that’s the cost to subsidize the rest of the endeavour, it’s worth it.

² Which is remarkably similar to the discussions I had with the gallery director when I first started collecting Chuck Jones animation art. I absolutely believe I hold those images — Rikki Tikki Tavi and Kotick, Mowgli and Shere Khan, the Grinch and Max, the Dot and the Line — in trust for the future. Little slices of something larger, 1/24th second each, to be cared for and kept safe so that we don’t forget them.

Devils And Details

The American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards have beenhanded out, and Fleen wishes to extend congratulations to all the winners. Of interest to readers of this page, Ngozi Ukazu’s Check, Please!: #Hockey is one of five finalists for the William C Morris YA Debut Award; over at YALSA’s Award For Excellence In Nonfiction, three of the five finalists carry the text written and illustrated by on the cover, indicating the unique ability of comics to convey complex stories.

Now, a quick bit of quibbling: the Morris award is presented to a book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature, and Ukazu produced three self-published books prior to C,P:#H, which is itself a compilation of her first two self-published books¹. It’s a bit discouraging that the books don’t “count” until an imprint associated with one of the big publishing corporations gets a hold of it².

The idea of debut and first-time is frequently stretched at awards time in all sorts of media (including all over the place in books, music, movies, and comics), and I don’t mean that Ukazu should have been excluded — it’s just I’d like to see acknowledgment that the work was just as good when people did it on their own as when it went through the editorial departments of some very large companies. Congratulations to everybody that got good news out of Seattle this morning — you’re going good work.

Speaking of good work, please keep an eye on Abby Howard at Twitter this week — she’s doing a series of demon drawings, with originals up for sale at Etsy. Howard, of course, draws the hell (so to speak) out of spooky stuff, and she starts things off with a stellar rendition of The Adversary. I expect things will be suitably scarifying for the rest of the week³.


Spam of the day:

in the the video above you will find 2 new ways to make your PACKAGE look BIGGER and last longer In the 12 hrs we are deleting it!

I think they’re saying that they’re going to delete the video, not my package, but you never know.

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¹ Okay, third one is shipping soon.

² Unlike, say, American Born Chinese or SMILE, which existed in printed form as minicomics prior to their book book publication, Ukazu had actual gosh-darned books out there and for sale. Only thing is that they may not have had an ISBN and bar code.

³ Depending on your view of domestic animals, she may have done so just an hour later

For Those Planning Ahead

There seems to be just a little light at the end of the tunnel, the smallest indication that we as a society will start occupying normal processes again, instead of the whims of a mad would-be king. The sort of thing that means that just maybe we can make some plans without worrying that the ground shifts again by tomorrow. Please Snidely Whiplash totally got busted and didn’t even have time to put on Morning Dress before getting perp-walked.

For those that like that sense of civilization and will be in the Bay Area, the Cartoon Art Museum has some events coming up you may want to check out:

  • Jo Morra was born in Uruguay in the 1870s, came to America, and spent his career creating illustrations, comic strips, paintings, sculpture, photographs, maps, and books. CAM will be supplementing the currently-running exhibition, The Life And Times Of Jo Mora (27 October 2018 – 28 April 2019) with a special presentation on Saturday, 23 February.

    Jo Mora At The Cartoon Art Museum And Beyond will see Peter Hiller (author of the Mora’s upcoming biography and curator of the Jo Mora Trust) talking about the exhibition and Mora’s body of work. The talk runs from 6:30pm to 8:00pm, and costs US$8 (advance purchase) or US$10 (at the door), with CAM members admitted free with RSVP.

  • The following weekend, CAM’s monthly visiting artist program, Cartoonist IRL, welcomes Svetlana Chmakova (Crush, Brave, Awkward, and other books about the middle grade experience, plus a dozen other works of note). Q&A and signing with Chmakova are free with museum admission and will run from 1:00pm to 2:30pm on Sunday, 3 March. Chmakova’s appearance is part of CAM’s contributions to San Francisco Comics Fest (with more to be announced) and Will Eisner Week 2019.

One of the news-related links up top is to the twitterfeed of KB Spangler of A Girl And Her Fed; she livetweets administration press events so you don’t have to watch/listen. By coincidence, the first time I mentioned CAM this year, I had sad reason to mention Spangler — her enormous goof of a dog has cancer.

Today, in and around the larger world’s stupidity, she had an update about said goof, and it’s not great¹. So this is your reminder — Spangler has not posted a fundraiser and is not asking for money. But if you have ever heard me rave about her writing and somehow resisted the siren call, this would be an excellent time to check out her store, which is full of words.

If you want to jump into something that’s entirely self-contained and audaciously ambitious, may I suggest Stoneskin? It’s a cracker of a Sci-Fi story about sufficiently-advanced technology that appears to be magic, how the galaxy has crushes on teenagers, and also the importance of supply chains to a star-spanning civilization. You’ve never read anything like it.


Spam of the day:

Jimmymup wrote:

The rest is Chinese characters, but can we just focus on that account name for a second? Jimmymup sounds like somebody was really disappointed that their kid James was not born with wires attached to his arms.

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¹ Full disclosure: the same cancer killed both of my dogs, who due to age and challenges from their dog racing careers, would likely not have tolerated amputation well. I am rooting for this guy to knock cancer on its ass.

Flyers

Hey, got some Kickstarter cash in your budget? There’s some things you might want to look at.

  • Charles Brubaker has done licensed SpongeBob comics, done work with the usual gang of idiots, and a series of web strips that lean heavily on the cute. The latest of these, The Fuzzy Princess, has reached the point where an upgraded print collection makes sense. Crowdfunding, ho:

    I had two paperback volumes of “Fuzzy” printed, but due to limited resources they were released in black and white. I always dreamed of having it put out in color, however, and made it my goal to do so.

    This is where this Kickstarter come in, to reprint the first book volume in color. It’s not just a color version of the black and white books, I’m also adding new materials: title-page illustrations for each chapter, behind-the-scene sketches, as well as remastering old comic pages, with cleaned-up art and dialogue for clarity and general improvement.

    Given that Brubaker’s done this before, everything’s laid out and ready to send to the printer, so the promised August 2019 for fulfillment is eminently doable; physical copies start at US$20, which is pretty damn good for a 192 page book in color. There’s another 28 days to go and Brubaker’s coming up on 40% funded, but that backer count is a little low; it looks like he’s got a devoted group of superfans, but he’s going to have to get a broader base of support to make the (very reasonable) goal of US$5000. If you ask me, 20 bucks is a pretty fair price to take a flyer on a new comic. Give ‘er a look.

  • I don’t usually point at Kickstarts that haven’t happened yet, but I’m making an exception. Inhibit is new to me, but it’s got a killer hook:

    As a kid, Victor dreamed of training to be a superhero. That didn’t go so well.

    Now, nine years later, Victor is a resident at the Earl Estate, a home for kids who haven’t yet demonstrated that they can control their powers. With his 18th birthday — and a transfer — only a few weeks away, he has one last chance to prove he is capable enough to receive his licence and go home.

    That comedown in the first line is great.

    Like I said, I like to promote stuff I’m familiar with, and while I’ve started a quick read of the archives, Inhibit’s been updating Wednesdays for four years and that’s 200+ comics to catch up on. The reason I’m mentioning it here is creator Eve Greenwood took the time to put together an announcement with a clear description of who they are, what they do, what they hope to accomplish, and where to go for more info. As a hack webcomics pseudojournalist, this makes my life a hell of a lot easier.

    Greenwood also dropped in some good images showing off various parts of the story as well as the cover¹, and gave me the full rundown: the campaign launches on 28 Jan (that’s next Monday) at 5:00pm GMT, and runs for 30 days. The goal is £4500 (approximately US$5800), with books starting at £20 plus shipping (which hopefully won’t be a bankbreaker). Now exactly what else is up for grabs at what support levels, and where the stretch goals go? We’ll learn together.

    I’m taking a flyer on this one myself because Greenwood’s obviously thinking and planning and treating their career seriously (having graduated university this past November with a Masters of Design in Comics & Graphic Novels) and I want to encourage that. Want me to take a flyer on you? Gotta bring your game up to at least Greenwood’s level. And if the Inhibit Kickstart craters, you’ll have to do even better, so we’re all rooting that that the followthrough will be as good as the prep.


Spam of the day:

Explore the Glory of Single Russian Women

The fine print at the bottom indicates This is an advertisement for services offered by SOL Networks Limited, which makes me wonder if they know what SOL stands for.

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¹ Which I have to say really grabbed me. Those faces are great and have oodles of character.

It’s Been A Day

An air trip that was going suspiciously well ran into some snags on the back end, which got me home Too Damn Late. Then today, the local gas company’s ongoing maintenance & upgrade cycle hit my house, necessitating a turn-off of the magical hydrocarbon that makes things like heat and hot showers possible. What I’m saying is I could use some good news today. Luckily, several excellent people have stepped up.

  • Okay, Molly Ostertag actually made her announcement yesterday, but I’m still happy today so it count: there will be a third book in her The Witch Boy/The Hidden Witch¹ series:

    I’m very excited to announce THE MIDWINTER WITCH – the third graphic novel in the Witch Boy series² and a continuation of the adventures of Aster, Charlie, Ariel, and Sedge! Preorder link below, this will be in stores everywhere 11/5/2019 ?? www.amazon.com/Midwinter-Witc …

    A few thoughts:

    1. Ostertag is a machine; three books released at one-year intervals? That’s an enormous amount of work to sneak in around her animation day job.
    2. I want all of the Witch Boy stories she has kicking around her in head; I want to have to dedicate an entire shelf to the world that Aster, Charlie, and the others inhabit.
    3. To the extent that it doesn’t kill her because see #1.
    4. That cover is gorgeous and heavy with portents. Heavy, I tells ya!

    Start making your Halloween-season plans³ now; come the frost, there’ll be a new witch in town.

  • One may recall that it’s been a long time since The Abominable Charles Christopher has updated regularly; creator Karl Kerschl has been busy on print comics that pay nowish, whereas Charles Christopher holds the promise of a gorgeous book (and the income that would attach) at some nebulous point the future. One must support oneself and family, after all.

    But there have been two updates on two adjacent weeks and that is a blessing. The impetus may come from challenges in Kerschl’s life, in which case they’re more for his benefit than ours.

    Which is entirely as it should be. As much as I want to see all these characters again, none of that matters worth a damn compared to Kerchl’s well-being. I will celebrate and love each of these strips when they come, and if there’s never another I’ll be grateful for those we’ve had so far. Be well, Karl, and thanks for sharing when you can.

  • Comics can tell stories in ways that other media just can’t. Today’s proof of concept comes from The Guardian, and in a brief (but very, very heartfelt) read, lays bare challenges and failures of the medical system in Britain. Not what you normally think of — budgets, services, cutbacks — but how doctors are trained, what toxicity is perpetuated and reinforced, and how it impacts patient care not in a quantifiable rating, but as human beings.

    Read Healing Alone and realize that the systemic flaws described here are damn near universal. Argue for a better, more humane system of training physicians, and we’ll get a better more humane system of care for all of us.


Spam of the day:

#1 erection killer

Friend, I am pretty confident saying that I do not wish to purchase your product and/or service.

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¹ I’m not sure the series has a name, so until I learn otherwise I’m thinking of it as the Aster series, as Aster’s the foundational character.

² That didn’t last long. Okay, it’s the Witch Boy series.

³ Note to self: consider carving a pumpkin with some of the symbols for the magic names of things. Maybe ask Ostertag what the name of the pumpkin is.