The webcomics blog about webcomics

This Is Becoming More Frequent

Work crisis, etc. Possibly murder by the time it’s all done.

So please enjoy the news (I’ve been waiting to talk about this forever) that Ryan North has become — as near as I can tell — the first person to ever turn a t-shirt into a full-length book. Given that it teaches you how to bootstrap civilization at any time in the past, you might say that How To Invent Everything is no less than a full compendium of all human knowledge.

With pictures by Lucy Bellwood.

Pre-orders are available now, with the book releasing on 18 September.

Spam of the day:

Stop the IRS

It’s not a lot, but I get a bit of money back from them most years. If we stop them, I won’t get that money. Pass.

Quick Post And A Reminder

The reminder being, the Fleen Fight For Fungible Futures Fund is active again, with we at Fleen matching any donations to either the Washington, DC or Parkland, Florida March For Our Lives. As today is the one-month anniversary of the Parkland shooting (and the disgraceful reaction — which is to say, almost none — on the part of state and national government) and the kids are walking out of school to keep us from letting this one slip away like all the others, it seemed a good time to remind y’all. You’ve got until 20 March to make me proud and, incidentally, cost me some money.

I don’t always remember to mention the efforts of the folks behind the Toronto Comics Anthology when they come up with a new edition, but my eyeballs happened to be in the right place today, so I’m pointing out that it’s anthology time, and that means the relevant Kickstarter campaign is underway. Osgoode As Gold features the collective skill of the Toronto comics community (which surely rivals Brooklyn or Portland as a hub for comickers), and as in previous years, looks like a terrific value for your pledge dollar.

It’s also got the logistics figured out like whoa, given that there’s an option to pledge for a physical copy and pick it up at TCAF, which means that these books will be in hand by May 12, or a mere six weeks from the end of the campaign. That only works if they’ve got everything ready to go, at the printer, just waiting on the check (or cheque, as Our Northern Friends would have it) to arrive before setting the presses in motion. It would be a shame to make all that work go wasted.

At the moment, the anthology sits at 45% of goal with sixteen and a half days to go; Kicktraq has them trended to clear the CA$15,000 target by a mere sixty four Canadian fun bucks, and the Kicktraq predictions this far out are always high. The FFF mk2 put them at CA$13.6K — 20.3K (but the low participation rate is low enough that the math isn’t very accurate), and the McDonald Ratio has them at CA$14.3K; what I am saying is that there is a need for a kick in the pants, because falling just barely short is a terrible fate.

There’s absolutely going to be something (multiple somethings!) in that anthology you’re going to love, and that’s worth CA$20 (about fifteen and a half American) for 220+ pages and 50 creators. Give it a look, and please do consider supporting it.

Spam of the day:

Want to earn potentially explosive returns from Bitcoin in 2018?

My dudes, if I wanted to gamble I’d go to Vegas, and I’m too good at math to gamble. Hashtag: CRAEFUL.

Fresh Visions

I’ve got a plane to catch in a couple of hours, so we’re keeping this brief (yet, as always, meaningful).

  • John Allison, as all right-thinking folk know, writes fabulous stories. The Tackleverse that started with Bobbins and continues through Bad Machinery (all found via, with a branching off into Giant Days (found in your local comics shop) are exquisitely written. Whether drawing himself or paired up with the right collaborator, Allison’s mastery of character and farcical situations is second to none. So what to do when you’ve gone office comedy, bizarre slice of life, mystery kids, and college years stories?

    How about branching off into a new, unrelated setting for new characters and a new story type?

    Coming in June, Allison will write — and Christine Larsen will draw — By Night, a 12-issue miniseries (then again, Giant Days started as a miniseries as well), which he describes as combin[ing] my love of Fringe, The X-Files, Jon Ronson documentaries and long reads about the collapse of post-industrial Western society over at CBR. I’m going to preemptively call this one a must-buy, and we’ll all find out exactly how good it is on the 13th of June.

  • Gotta go back most of a year for this one: Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett gifted us with a copy of the hardcover of Drive volume 1, which I had already purchased via Kickstarter. Having a spare copy, I decided to give it away to one lucky reader, who turned out to be Mario, from Lisboa, Portugal. Off I mailed it, with the obligatory joke (ho, ho!) about it disappearing into the depths of Customs.

    I think you know what happens next. The book made it to Portugal in a matter of days, sat around in Customs waiting for Mario to come claim it (who was supposed to intuit this fact through the aether), and was then returned to me some five months later. Mario and I corresponded and I offered to try again, but he very graciously suggested he look into the relevant postal policies before resubmitting the book to the tender mercies of systems beyond the ken of mere mortals. Having been at that for some time, he’s come a conclusion:

    It’s not worth another attempt. He suggested I try to sell it to try to recover some of the money you have lost with the shipping or maybe gift it to someone else, or donate it to a library, whatever you feel is the best option, which I find to be pretty generous on his part.

    I’m not going to sell it, and I’m not going to run another giveaway on this particular book — it’s got the scent of my home now, and it will undoubtedly try to return, like one of those dog-and-cat pairings you see in the movies about returning home after great journeys. But I will be donating it to my local library (under Mario’s name, naturally), so that it can be seen by many people and they can grow to love the story as much as we do.

    So do me a favor, everybody — give Mario a quick nod of appreciation, maybe a hat-tip in the general direction of Portugal, and be glad that webcomics breeds such kind-hearted people. Take that, Universal Postal Union! And read Drive, it’s really good.

Spam of the day:

Toenail Fungus Code

Of all the emails I’ve ever received — spam or otherwise — where I NOPEd on clicking the link that says Display images below, this is the very NOPEiest. Nope, nope, nope, nnnnnoooope.

This Is The Best Story In Forever

Let’s just jump to the heart of it:

When I was a kid I wanted to be a pro baseball player or comic artist. I chose the 2nd option and never thought the roads could somehow meet! On Aug 19th, the @Mariners will celebrate Amulet Day. Enjoy a day at the ballpark and get a T-shirt! Link here:

That, of course, is Kazu Kibuishi, who is one of the most accomplished (and simultaneously most fundamentally decent) folks in comics, and who is a damn rockstar to middle grades librarians and their patrons. The Amulet series has been a favorite here at the Fleenplex ever since book one (ten years! It’s been more than ten years!), and the anticipation for book 8 (of 9) is at a fever pitch in classrooms and libraries across the nation — 25 September, classrooms and libraries, that’s when you’ll get it¹.

And now he gets to have an entire professional baseball game dedicated to him. I’ll be honest, because I know just a little bit about what that’s like², I can pretty well predict that Kibuishi will be outwardly calm and collected (because he pretty much always is), but inwardly? He’s going to be just as excited as all his fans are when they get the chance to meet him.

Amulet Day with the Seattle Mariners (vs the LA Dodgers) will be Sunday, 19 August; game time is 1:10pm, with tickets purchased by 17 August (5:00pm local time) good for a special Amulet t-shirt when you bring your stub to section 339 by the end of the third inning. Get your tickets here and be sure to enter the promo code AMULET so you’ll be seated with all the other Amulet fans.

Update to the latest F-Six campaign: We’re at US$100 of donations to be matched. You’ve got just under two weeks to help send a message about gun control.

Spam of the day:

Fans Love You

You know who else loves me? Ladies.

¹ Sometime around dawn on the 26th, the demands to know when book 9 will be out will waft far and wide o’er this great land.

² The local minor league team had a game dedicated to my EMS agency one Saturday night; we got cheered when we assembled on the edge of the field by maybe 2000 people and it was kind of thrilling.

Kicking Off Awards Season

The thing about comics these days is, the division between webcomcis and just comics is pretty much notional. Creators shift between the two distribution media, and the sorts of stories that work well in one are increasingly found in the other. Nothing reflects this as much as the annual Cartoonist Studio Prize (now in its sixth incarnation) from Slate and the Center For Cartoon Studies.

From the beginning, it’s been a simple arrangement: ten nominees for the best print comic of the prior year, ten for the best webcomic, notable connoisseurs acting as a panel to select the contenders. Even more than past years, the CSP for 2017 reveals that the most interesting comics are being done by women; eight of the print nominees and half of the webcomics nominees are women.

This year’s nominees for best print comic are:
The Academic Hour by Keren Katz, The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui, Boundless by Jillian Tamaki, Breath, Plucked from Heaven (collected in Elements: Fire) by Shivana Sookdeo, Gaylord Phoenix No. 7 by Edie Fake, Language Barrier by Hannah K. Lee, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris, One More Year by Simon Hanselmann, Tenements, Towers & Trash by Julia Wertz, and You & A Bike & A Road by Eleanor Davis. One may note that the Elements anthology is shot through with webcomickers, that Julia Wertz made her mark with her autobio webcomics, and Tamaki is no stranger either.

The nominees for best webcomic of the year are:
A Fire Story by Brian Fies, Agents Of The Realm by Mildred Louis, A GoFundMe Campaign Is Not Health Insurance by Ted Closson, Leaving Richard’s Valley by Michael DeForge, Neighbors by Christina Tran, The Price of Acceptance by Sarah Winifred Searle, Reported Missing by Eleri Harris, Somebody Told Me by Jesse England, Whose Free Speech? by Ben Passmore, and Wonderlust by Diana Nock. I may note that The Nib continues to be recognized for the general excellence of its work in what can generally be called editorial/reportage comics, with four of the ten nominees (Closson’s, Searle’s, Harris’s, and Passmore’s) originating there.

I’m notoriously bad at predictions, but what the heck? There’s not a weak contender on the list, and several are already recognized as sitting at the top of various best-of lists. Over in the print world I’m going to nock out Davis only because she won the category last year; Tamaki, Hanselmann, and Ferris have been the recipients of a lot of attention for the past year, and Wertz’s collection is more recent but was eagerly anticipated. I’m guessing one of those four takes it.

On the webcomics side I’m eliminating Tran because she also won the category last year, then it gets a lot more difficult. Fies and DeForge are longtime respected creators, Closson’s work is both enlightening and enragingly current, and there may be nobody expressing the frustrations of Being Black In America as well as Passmore. Louis is delivering a great story twice a week for years, which is a longevity and sheer volume not present in a lot of the nominees.

But Eleri Harris’s six-part examination of a murder investigation/conviction in Tasmania, one to which she has a personal connection, one that may be the result of bungled police work — it’s unique. It’s Serial season one in comics form. I don’t get a say, but it’s my pick.

The Cartoonist Studio Prize awards will be announced on 31 March; winners receive US$1000 (which, frankly, more comics prizes should emulate … a fancy trophy — or brick — is nice, but so is sweet, sweet untraceable cash).

Spam of the day:

Your Account Has Been Hacked Call Now
We Have Detected Unusual Activity With Your Gmail Account
From IP: Geo Location Found: Eastern Russia
If This Was Not You Please Call the Google Support Team
(Be at your computer)
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I see that Gmail support now sends its notifications from, four hours before the claimed unusual activity time, and to my presumably-compromised account, rather than the recovery email they have on record. It would be a shame if people called that number and wasted their time (I can’t any more; they hang up as soon as they see my number).

Fleen Book Corner: Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked The World

Once upon a time, I didn’t have a favorite book designer, but that’s cool; I imagine almost everybody who’s ever lived didn’t know enough about book designers existing to have a favorite, and of those that remain, 99% just say Chip Kidd by reflex. But it was hard not to notice the work that Colleen AF Venable¹ did on the first hundred or so titles that :01 Books put out, and pretty soon I was paying close attention.

I remember complimenting her on the design of Anya’s Ghost and her face lighting up; much like the famous story of Chuck Jones and his artists stealing time from a Road Runner short to have enough animator-hours to make What’s Opera, Doc?, Venable had fought for the budget to give Anya’s Ghost both an embossing (sections of the cover sunken below the normal plane) and debossing (same deal, in reverse)², but couldn’t find a way to stretch the funds to include spot gloss.

I learned in that conversation that you can judge books by their covers, that the willingness of a publisher to spend money and design time reflects their confidence in the ability to earn back the expense, but also the degree to which they want to make it stand out because they believe that what’s inside is important. Which brings us to Brazen (book design by the very capable Danielle Ceccolini, who succeeded Venable at :01, with Chris Dickey).

:01 must think the world of Pénélope Bagieu’s latest, because the cover features embossing, debossing, locations of both kinds of bossing given spot gloss, and a rough (almost flocked) texture to the rest of the cover, all arranged in an unbelievably complex pattern that must have taken roughly forever to design, do test prints of, and finally approve. It’s a marvel.

And what the hell — the inside is more than worthy of the love lavished on the cover.

In her trademark style that sits midway between Kate Beaton and Larry Gonick, Bagieu tells the story of 29³ remarkable women who changed the world in large ways and small. Women that you possibly learned about before (Nellie Bly, inventor of investigative reporting; Josephine Baker, endless champion of equality; Temple Grandin, translator between the worlds of humans and animals), and some you might have known based on your personal interests (Hedy Lamarr, revered in my discipline for her invention of spread-spectrum signal encoding; The Shaggs, reluctant pop stars; Mae Jemison, who is so impossibly broad in her spectrum of interests and expertises that she’s normally reduced to the single word astronaut4).

Then there are the ones you’d never have know about, women who showed up every damn day and did the work to save a lighthouse (Giorgina Reid), run off invaders (Nzinga), hold a country together (Wu Zeitan), stop women dying in childbirth (Agnodice), and forcing a nation to come to peace (Leymah Gbowee). Betty Davis is sometimes remembered as one of Miles Davis’s second wife, but she was Beyonce and Rihanna thirty years before that was allowed (Jimi Hendrix knew how good she was, and Prince spent years trying to meet her). Jesselyn Radack fought the overreaches of the security state when the US government declared her an enemy, and continues fighting for transparency today. Sonita Alizadeh fled the fate of a trafficked marriage in Afghanistan to become an advocate against childhood marriage for girls — and a rap star.

Some died for what they believed in. Josephina van Gorkum married in defiance of the religious norms of nineteenth century Holland and built a tombstone to carry on her defiance after her death. Maria Teresa, Minerva, and Patria Mirabal, Las Miraposas, fought the dictatorship in the Dominican Republic until they were murdered on the orders of the dictator Trujillo. Katia Krafft (and her husband/scientific, Maurice) studied volcanoes up and close, codifying knowledge that has saved the lives of thousands, until they were killed in a lava flow in Japan.

The lover of modern art (Peggy Guggenheim) and the warband leader (Lozen), the athlete (Annette Kellerman, Cheryl Bridges) and the actress (Margaret Hamilton) are equally honored. No one’s story is more important than that of unashamed bearded lady Clémentine Delait, explorer Delia Akeley, cartoonist Tove Jansson, transgender trailblazer Christine Jorgenson, utopian Thérèse Clerc, revolutionary and suffragist Naziq al-Abid, or promoter of formal crime forensics Frances Glessner Lee.

And to back it all up, Bagieu provides a list of thirty more women — dancers, pirates, samurai, groupies, painters, poets, reporters, photographers, teachers, and more. I long to read her take on Aisha Bakari Gombi, Hunter of Antelopes and Boko Haram Militants, Laskarina Bouloulina, Admiral, Ship Builder, and Harem Liberator, and Margaret Hamilton (the other Margaret Hamilton, Computer Scientist of the Apollo Space Program5). I want to see what she’s got to say about Rosalind Franklin, Ching Shih, and Grace Hopper.

She’s got other stories that she wants to tell for now, some will probably be biography again (like her stellar California Dreaming) and some fiction (like her equally stellar Exquisite Corpse); I’ll read everything she puts on paper and suggest you do as well. Only do me a favor — don’t skip the last story in the book, a brief two-pager about a girl born in Paris in 1982, who dreamed about selling her drawings and becoming Queen of America. She’s doing quite well on the first, and if the second is out of reach, she’s living a pretty cool life in New York City, listening to rock music, drawing what she wants to, and playing drums just because. I think she’s going to go places.

Brazen releases tomorrow, 6 March, and Pénélope Bagieu will be marking the occasion with an eight-city book tour. Fleen thanks Gina Gagliano — who has a staff to help her now! — for the review copy provided.

Spam of the day:

Is Your Wife Getting Calls Late at Night?

Dear dudes who are spamming me about a creepy phone spying app, if anybody woke my wife with a late-night call they had better be dying or she will kill them for interrupting her sleep. So, no.

¹ AF being her actual middle initials, and not the internet-born linguistic intensifier.

² The cover of the book is a tactile delight.

³ As recently noted, one entry was left out of the North American edition due to a need to keep the book YA-friendly.

4 She also is (or has been) a chemical engineer, physician, speaker of Russian and Swahili, student of sub-Sarahan politics and dance, Peace Corp medical officer, CDC vaccine researcher, science camp director, sci-fi geek, guest star on Star Trek: The Next Generation, college professor, poker shark, and LEGO minifig in the Women of NASA set I have.

5 Who is also a LEGO minifig.

A List Of Things For You

  • You may recall that Becky Dreistadt and Frank Gibson (hereinafter, Becky and Frank; anybody caught using the portmanteau Frecky will be beaten) have a new collection of their Capture Creatures comic out now, and will be doing a launch event tomorrow in suburban LA. But did you know that they’ve expanded the art series?

    Capture Creatures was (obvs) based on the 151 original Pokémon, and Dreistadt did 151 paintings of the 151 creatures. Of course, there are waaaay more Pokémon these days, and Becky & Frank decided what’s good for Nintendo is good for them. Thus, earlier this week they revealed Capture Creature #152, joined since by #153, #154, and #155. I’d keep an eye on their Tumblr and the Capture Creatures tag if you don’t want to miss out.

  • We at Fleen have been big fans of Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan’s ongoing exploration of all thing human sexuality, Oh Joy, Sex Toy. More than just a review of happy-making devices, it’s presented scads of terribly useful (and more important, truthful) information about what human sexuality is like; for waaaay too many there no organized sex education in their personal experience, and as such Moen & Nolan may be one of the better resources they have to answer questions like What’s going on? Am I normal? Why is this happening? What do I do now? And now it’s getting a little easier:

    Oh my gosh you guys, we have some AMAZING news to share with you. We’ve been keeping it hush-hush but now that ECCC is hitting (which we’re working – check out the info here!), both Limerence Press and OJST are finally able to talk about it! We are making a PURELY SEX EDUCATION OJST COLLECTION! It’s called DRAWN TO SEX!!!!

    No jack-off sleeves. No subjective lube comparisons. No reviews of porn sites¹. This is all about the facts, and as Nolan says, dad jokes. Some of those facts will be biological in nature (ex: contraception methods, anatomical development), some will be about paraphilias or identities (ex: furries, the gender spectrum), some will be about practices that enhance sexual pleasure (ex: piercing, pegging); you can get a sense of it by browsing the comics that are tagged as educational.

    As with their prior collections, Drawn To Sex will Kickstart then be placed into wide distribution by Limerence Press; look for the funding campaign in mid-May.

  • Speaking of education, schools, and crowdfunding, the Fleen Fight For Fungible Futures Fund is back on. There’s kids out there that want nothing more than for nobody else to join their club — school shooting survivor — and have had to reset the counter on the big __ DAYS SINCE THE LAST SCHOOL SHOOTING tote board three times in three days.

    They’re calling BS on the idea that we can’t do anything about this. They’re right. Between now and 20 March, I will match your donations to either the funding campaigns for the national March For Our Lives in DC, or the local march in Parkland, Florida; I’m setting an initial cap of US$5000, but I’ll go higher if you show me that you care about this. Get giving.

    Oh, and one other thing — attempts to argue the necessity or futility of gun control in the comments will be met with extreme prejudice. My house, my rules. Go peddle your murdertoy fondling fetish elsewhere.

Spam of the day:

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This spam I received today probably overlaps with the Drawn To Sex table of contents to at significant degree.

¹ But I’ll bet my bottom² dollar that there will be Anal Safety Snails³.

² See what I did there?

³ Fun fact: Moen has admitted that when she first named the Anal Safety Snails, she didn’t realize the acronym would be ASS.

If You’re Surprised, You Haven’t Been Paying Attention

The word came yesterday, from C Spike Trotman, about the latest significant accomplishment from Iron Circus Comics:

And the hits just keep coming! Iron Circus’ edition of @evandahm’s Rice Boy scores a starred review in @PublishersWkly!

Firstly, anybody that’s read Dahm’s Rice Boy (and his Order Of Tales, and his Vattu) shouldn’t be surprised, because Dahm is a master storyteller with an entirely unique sense of worldbuilding, as well as a master draftsman. His characters — human and otherwise — have weight … in the sense of their physicality, as well as in the emotional sense. For one of the most respected sources of book review to refer to Rice Boy as an epic of grand ambition, startling choices, and sterling heart makes perfect sense; they only needed to be aware of the book and to have a copy of it in front of them.

That’s a tall order for a single-person creative endeavour to pull off; hard enough to finance a run of books (with or without Kickstarter) and find room for them in your Brooklyn apartment before shipping them out (or more precisely, shipping them to the fine folks at TopatoCo) while simultaneously tracking publicity efforts and trying to work on multiple new stories at once. Few people have that combination of drive, confidence, and willingness to say Hey! Look at this! Just shut up and read it, then you can tell me how good it is. And when you do, be sure to remember the next time I put something in front of you.

Entire Spike; she’s been relentless in building up Iron Circus Comics on the basis first of quality (quality projects, quality collaborators), then quantity. She got the distribution deal that widened ICC’s scope. And now she’s placing books in libraries and in front of the most desirable eyes in the world of pocket reviews. Bookstores and libraries are going to order the snot out of the ICC edition of Rice Boy. It’s a small, small imprint in a big world right now, but ICC is in a spot similar to another small imprint in a big world a dozen years ago:

He laid out a plan that he expected to take a decade, to get comics into the literature end of things, to get them treated as worthy of study and their creators as respected voices. He saw that path as leading to literary awards and wondered how long it would take.

The he was Mark Siegel, and the plan was for :01 Books; you may recall that he beat his ten-year goal of being considered for literary awards (not comics awards, the regular pubishing world’s hoity-toity awards) by about eight and a half years, as American Born Chinese wound up shortlisted for the National Book Award. It’s not one of her goals to be in the awards circuit, but nevertheless I don’t think¹ it be a decade before Spike and one (or more!) of her associated creators are getting into fancy dress for a fancier dinner and the red carpet treatment.

Which is a long way of saying, Congrats Evan and Spike. You’ve more than earned it.

Spam of the day:

Be among the first 100 and be guided to Great Things in 2018 with your Free New Year Reading.

You sent an offer for a psychic reading on the 45th day of the year. That’s not really New Year territory. I’m forced to conclude that psychics, allegedly in tune with secrets of the ancients, are not able to use that 6000 year old technology known as Calendars. It’s like the first thing you go for in Civilization after Hunting and The Wheel. You’ll never defeat Gandhi playing like this.

¹ Spike’s got this quality I call the cheerfully mercenary outlook on life; she’s much more concerned with getting ICC to a self-sustaining point for herself and her contracted creators than in seeking the approval of others. The Academy could look down its nose all it want, as long as the libraries and bookstores keep ordering copies.

Smiles All The Way

If there is anybody more universally beloved in [web]comics than Raina Telgemeier, I don’t know who that would be. Like, maybe the reincarnation of Mr Rogers was magically soul-bound to Caroll Spinney and then spent a couple of decades mentoring Malala Yousafzi in panel composition and storytelling, you be getting close … and Raina would be cheerleading her the whole way. She’s pretty awesome is what I’m saying, and may have said so one or two times in the past.

I’m not alone in that opinion, as anybody that’s seen one of her public events can attest. She’ll be having a meet and greet at the Cartoon Art Museum, in conjunction with the closing of the months-long retrospective exhibit of her work at CAM (the exhibit that, in fact, was chosen to spearhead the relaunch of CAM after two years without their own gallery space).

Things start at 4:00pm on Saturday, 10 March, with a presentation and discussion of the exhibit, followed by a Q&A, then informal time to mingle and interact. To maximize the time for fans to get chat and get photos, there won’t be any signing (that keeps her stuck behind a table), but I bet she’d be fine with you holding up your copy of a favorite book in photos (signed copies will be available via advanced ticketing), or seeing your fanart.

As you might expect, demand will be pretty high for this event, even in her hometown of San Francisco; advance tickets are available at Guestlist for the immensely reasonable price of US$10 for adults, and US$4 (four bucks!) per kid. You can reserve your signed copies of her books on the same page.

And then two weeks later, SF fans will very possibly see her again, as she takes part in the San Francisco portion of the KidLit Marches For Kids. An outgrowth of the March For Our Lives/Never Again movement being led by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the YA community is participating in the national day of demonstrations in favor of gun control. Details about the various marches can be found on Facebook.

This is what happens when you realize that some of the students that have (very quickly, with sorrowful determination) become activists were your readers just a few years ago.

This is what happens when you can’t escape the fact that some of their fallen friends were.

This is what happens when you don’t want that to happen ever again.

So keep an eye out for a local march and let kids worry about when the next book from their favorite author comes out, instead of how to stay alive on a Wednesday. Raina will thank you for it; she’s polite that way.

Spam of the day:

80% Off PANDORA Jewelry. So get, like, 60.

There is a certain logic to your position, but it does not resemble our Earth logic.

An Act Of Optimism

Something great happened in 2011; the folks behind Toronto’s The Beguiling (one of the great comic book shops in the English-speaking world) opened an extension store next door. It was, as far as anybody can tell, the first comic shop dedicated to children and likely remained so for the rest of its existence. Little Island Comics was an act of pure optimism; optimism that the comics industry could produce enough material suitable for kids to sustain a store in one of the priciest cities in the world.

Comics may not be for kids, as the now-cliche headline would tell us, but vast swathes of them haven’t been entirely appropriate for young readers for some time. Grimdarkgrittypouchcape comics were pretty dominant for a couple of decades there, but the big publishers manage to produce some stuff suitable for all ages, and the graphic novel trade has fallen over itself to provide more and more books each year¹. Damn good thing, too, or where will the grimdarkgrittypouchcape comics get their readers in the future, if kids don’t develop the habit today?

And it worked. Little Island was successful until it fell prey not to neglect, or disinterest, or lack of product; it was a casualty to gentrification that tore up a chunk of now-valuable Toronto real estate. The Beguiling managed to find new digs, but Little Island was lost.

Until now.

The Beguiling is pleased to announce the re-opening of Little Island Comics, the world’s first and only children’s comic shop! Offering the widest possible array of graphic novels, manga, and comics for people 12 years old and younger, Little Island celebrates its Grand Re-Opening during March Break 2018 with a slate of creator appearances, refreshments and activities.

Whoa, cool shop returns and refreshments? Give me the deets!

Little Island Comics re-opens in March next door to its parent shop The Beguiling’s newly expanded location at the top of Toronto’s vibrant Kensington Market neighborhood. As The Beguiling enters its fourth decade as North America’s premier comic book retailer, the move to College Street has allowed it to add a gallery and events space, which Little Island will share.

  • Next door to the Beguiling again? Check
  • Gallery and event space, so that LI’s famed comic-making classes, launches, and events can continue? Check
  • Same staff that previously served the all-ages comics lovers of Toronto and beyond? Check

Anything else we should know?

Little Island will offer a 20% discount on all in-print kids comics, picture books, and graphic novels throughout March Break (March 10-18, 2018) to encourage families to dig into graphic novels! The week will culminate in a Grand Re-Opening Party on Saturday, March 17th, with refreshments, drop-in activities, story time, and appearances by such creators as:

Scott Chantler, Naseem Hrab, Brian McLachlan, Ryan North, Kean Soo, Britt Wilson, Tory Woollcott, and more!

Times for the Grand Reopening to come, but I’d keep an eye on their website, Twitterfeed, and on Facebook.

Here’s to many more years on the Little Island; if you’re in (or visiting) Toronto, drop by and tell them we say hi, and wish them every success.

Spam of the day:


While I appreciate the Canadian content, spammers, this “men’s” doesn’t believe that you will actually be able to get me industrial-strength parkas that normally run near US$950 for US$140. Call me skeptical.

¹ Note to Marvel, DC, etc: they do this because they like money. Releasing a new Kazu Kibuishi or Raina Telgemeier book is a license to print money because kids love comics if you just give them a chance to.