The webcomics blog about webcomics

Defining Moments

Sometimes, you come across a comic and you’re convinced that this is what the creator(s) regard(s) as their defining work (at least to date). There’s previous stuff from them, and later stuff, but this is where they plant a flag and pour their heart and soul into it even if that wasn’t their original intent.

It can be fairly obvious where that labor of love is (case in point: The Abominable Charles Christopher, running in fits and starts but Karl Kerschl will always come back to it) and sometimes there’s so much work, so good, so invested, that you aren’t sure if you’ve seen it yet (case in point: I’m not sure if Box Brown would regard any of his projects that way, although I suspect either the André or Andy Kaufman bios could come closest).

But I think the key indicator is not only somebody making a great work, but finding ways to return to it, no matter what gets in the way. Which is a long way of saying that for Yuko Ota and Ananth Hirsh, I think Barbarous fills that role for them. They’ve done plenty of great work, together and individually, and it’s hard to get more personal than an autobio diary strip¹, but I think that the depth of character and sheer artistic skill on display in their story of a magic school dropout and her unconventional familiar pal just may be their defining work.

And lucky for you, it’s at the perfect point to get caught up — five story arcs² comprising Season 1 (with some canon side-stories drawn by pals starting next week), with infinite re-readability (every time I go back, there’s more layers that reveal themselves), and best of all — a beginning, middle, and end such that if we have to wait until never for Season 2 (because they are busy folks, and there’s paying jobs to get to), it’ll still feel complete while making us want more.

Hirsh and Ota have decades of comic-making experience between them³, all leading to this deceptively deep story; they’ll have more in the future, some that may be better known or more widely read, but I really do think this is where they will look back after a long and lauded career and say Yeah, that one could only have been told by us.


Spam of the day:

Dear Valued Candidate,
You were recently nominated as a biographical candidate for the next edition of Who’ s Who In America. We are pleased to inform you that the first phase of your candidacy was approved! Your prompt response is needed to ensure your complete professional information is considered.

I haven’t seen this particular scam since I was in high school. Respect for pulling out the deep cut.

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¹ One that, a dozen years on, makes you wonder if you want to keep sharing your life with strangers on the internet forever.

² Including one that was the NCS Division Award winner for Online Comic — Longform for 2018. The first two of which are collected into massive oversized print editions, and the third is in the fulfillment pipeline, and the fourth just completed its funding round. Me? I’m waiting for the inevitable Season 1 omnibus.

³ Also, they are cool people and have been to my house and pet my dog.

Some Books And Also Some Good News

Stuff leftover from yesterday, that honestly? Better to put it today. Otherwise, the mass of information would mean something worthwhile would be lost.

  • Once upon a time there was a very fun webcomic called Gastrophobia that had three books (currently sold out in physical form, available as ebooks) about an Amazon (Phobia) and her son (Gastro) running around the mythic age of Greece. It was a sitcom, complete with theme song, and it was great.

    And a bit into volume 4, it stopped. But now, in concert with the twelfth anniversary of launch, it’s back, with a story to tell below the update:

    If you’re not in touch with my social media, you’re probably wondering what I’ve been doing all this time.

    WELL, in 2017, three things happened to me:

    • I turned 40 and had a small mid-life crisis.
    • I finally admitted to myself that I’m transgender!
    • Lost most of my stuff in Hurricane Harvey (my home was under water).

    ….
    My name’s Daisy and my pronouns are she/her! Everyone’s been ridiculously supportive and I’m way happier now than I’ve ever been! ?

    Gastrophobia is getting a partial reboot.

    The first 3 volumes are still canon. The 43 story pages I drew from 2015-2016 are retconned. They still exist and can be found here.

    I’m different now and I’m taking the comic in a different direction.

    If you read Gastrophobia in the beforetimes, you know that Daisy McGuire¹ has always been a terrific cartoonist. There’s no better time to hop on the (quoting the character bio here) Barbarian MILF funtimes train than now, complete with a new RSS feed.

    As a side note, the number of folks I know who’ve undergone gender transition has increased a zillion percent over the past 15 years or so, and they’re all people I know through my association with comics. Maybe it’s just the passing of the times, or maybe there’s something about comics and storytelling, the creation of which demands your brain be open to possibilities and what-ifs, which allows one to imagine a different way of being that’s closer to what should be than what you’ve always been told. Good on you, comics, for letting people find themselves and be happy.

  • Ryan Estrada is kind of on a roll these days. He’s not even done with the critical and popular acclaim from Banned Book Club (a copy of which I am still waiting on from my local comic shop, on account of Diamond is the worst²) and he’s just dropped another book on us, one that takes an experience from his own youth and turns it into what would have been way cooler:

    After literal decades of trying to get it off the ground and months of shipping delays, my dream project is finally out in the world. Student Ambassador: The Missing Dragon is now in bookstores everywhere!

    I’m overjoyed to give kids a multicultural hero who represents his country and does good in the world. Whose superpowers are empathy and active listening.

    And I’m proud he has an odd-couple partner who’s a selfish jerk so that doesn’t get annoying.

    I’m proud to create a world where kids can learn that world leaders aren’t always right, even if they are kinder and gentler than in ours.

    I made the US president in my story latinx as well. Because in fiction, you can do whatever you want and the cops can’t stop you.

    I’m proud that the kid who made a hand-written, leatherbound book about his student ambassador travels in 1997, and dreamed of making a book about what he WISHED the trip had been like finally got his wish.

    One of those nerds is me. Can you find me?
    [photo of actual kid student ambassadors in Sydney, Australia, 1997]

    If this book is a success, I am super excited to jump right into making the next Joseph Bazan mystery, Student Ambassador: The Silver City where they explore the mysterious caves under Zacatecas, Mexico.

    Student Ambassador: The Missing Dragon is written by Ryan Estrada, and illustrated by Axur Eneas. It’s the start of the Iron Circus kids line, and is available starting yesterday. I’ma say go get this one for the overly-enthusiastic and imaginative kid(s) in your life.


Spam of the day:

The CIA has been doing intensive research for the past fifty years researching on what we call so called life. That information has been collected and presented for you here [link] This has been the finding as of seventeen years ago as of today. Now governments and other large organizations have develop technology around these concepts for their own deceptive uses. Soon you will be contacted by other means for counter measures and the part that you play in all this.

I’ll tell you something — this is slightly more plausible than the guy with the broken English and Tagalog accent that called earlier claiming to be Social Security Agent Mike Hammer letting me know my number was being revoked for abuse and fraud. When I pressed one to talk to him, I was instead connected to Agent Katherine (same accent and command of English) who was entirely plussed when I told her my name was Harry Mourningwood.

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¹ In accordance with the Fleen Manual of Style, persons who transition will only be referred to by their current name/pronouns once that change is announced, but old posting referring to prior identity will not be altered.

Where necessary, context will be given without using deadnames, as in I had some memorable pub crawls with Daisy McGuire — who at the time used a different name — and other NYC cartoonists in the 2005-2008 timeframe. It was fun.

McGuire’s actually done something similar, comparing original author bios with current author bios from volumes 1, 2, and 3.

² At my suggestion, they’ve opened a merchant account with Ingram, the book distro giant. They may be nearly as much of a monopoly as Diamond is for the comics direct market, but damned if Ingram isn’t an efficient, competent monopoly that believes it can make money by giving stores what they friggin’ ask for instead of jerking them around with perpetual backorders (a lie) and shorted shipments (on a weekly basis). Right now Rick (who owns the store and is a nice guy) is going through all of the previous book orders placed through Diamond, re-requesting them from Ingram, and trying to figure out how to cancel them at Diamond so they don’t show up months or years from now with an invoice that says We finally decided to ship these to you, pay up.

Book News!

Whee doggie, buncha news for you today (okay, some of it’s a couple days old but today’s when we got to it). Let’s dig in.

Y’know, I had three other books to talk about today, but running things down on the Internet Archive is a time-consuming business, so we’ll come back to them tomorrow. See you back here then.


Spam of the day:

Amazing Invention Takes Over Control of Any Barking Dog

I have a greyhound. They are notoriously rare barkers.

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¹ That one is from the Wayback Machine because the original is offline which … it was full of NSFW stuff which would seem to make it a natural for appropriation by scammers, but it hasn’t been. Weird.

Gamecomics? Comicgames!

Tie-ins, at the very least. Let’s see what’s up.

  • There have been numerous adaptations of Girl Genius (by Professor and Professoressa Foglio) into other media over the years — novelizations, radio dramas, card games — and they’ve expanded to a new frontier now with vidyagames. Girl Genius: Adventures In Castle Heterodyne takes its inspiration from the Castle Heterodyne mega-arc (running roughly from here to here, or about six years of comics), which gives a whole lotta room to play.

    The game itself is made by Rain Games of Norway, who appear to have a track record making games of this sort, but not crowdfunding — this is their first Kickstarter campaign. Goal is set at a reasonable US$200K, but they’ve got stretch goals reaching improbably as high as one million dollars which … I don’t think I’ve ever seen stretch goals go as high as five times base funding and actually be met.

    There’s a huge ask, so the FFF mk2 may not work so well — the trend held really steady for the first couple of days then dropped hard, giving a prediction of about US$135K-200K, which puts goal at the upper end of the range. The McDonald Ratio is predicting about US$150K total, which is worrisomely low.

    Again, this isn’t the sort of project that the predictions were trained on, so we’ll have to see, but with 6 days down and 24 to go, the project sits at 31% of goal at present, and video games are both notoriously expensive, and have a tendency to run over both time and budget. We’ll have to see.

  • By contrast, paper-based games are quicker and cheaper to develop, and oftentimes the creator of a comic is deep into a particular game, which helps. Enter: Jim Zub, who’s already got a dedicated Skullkickers“>Skullkickers tabletop game in development, but who also decided to mark the 10th anniversary of the comic by releasing the first new Skullkickers story in five years inside a 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons adventure book.

    Skullkickers: Caster Bastards And The Great Grotesque¹ will feature a 30 page story and 60 page adventure campaign, featuring new spells, game mechanics, magic items, and monsters, adaptable to whatever game you’re currently playing.

    As I may have mentioned previously, I haven’t played D&D since it was called Advanced D&D waaaay back in my college days — before 2nd edition was a thing — and I’m heartily tempted to get this because a) Skullkickers is hilarious, and b) the love that’s pouring out of the game portion of this book is apparent even through the distance of the internet.

    Zub’s been writing official D&D comics for a couple a’ years now, and went so far as to shave his head to better get into character for a live game last year. He’s mentioned multiple times that his course in life was irretrievably set from discovering D&D at the age of 8, so when he tells me that he’s picked out some top-notch game designers to make the playable part of this as good as it can be? It’s gonna be good.

    And, as an added incentive, the crowdfunding/fulfillment parts are being run by George, who mentioned casually he is approaching his 100th crowdfunding project managed, so I think he just might have a handle on how to keep everybody on track. Just a hunch. It’s a little early to apply the FFF mk2 math, but somewhere around a day in, they’re at 64% of the CA$22.3K (or US$16,843) goal with 23 days to go, so I think this one’s gonna fund. In case you were wondering, only one of the top tier reward (where, among other things, you appear as a wizard character in Caster Bastards) remains as of this writing.


Spam of the day:

Hello! I saw you the other day and I really liked you. I live in a neighboring yard, alone) let’s meet at my place?

This town’s ordinances don’t even allow dogs to live in yards, they have to have access to the house. Besides, I know my neighbors and none of them speak Russian like you do.

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¹ I’m sure the similarity of that title to Hamster Huey And The Gooey Kablooie is mere coincidence.

Happy Fake Labor Day

What’s that? You didn’t know how this isn’t the real day to celebrate working folks, the one that’s celebrated around the world? Fortunately, The Nib has you covered, with a timely rerun from two years ago by Sam Wallman.

So in honor of the holiday (not that we can really tell the difference, as today is functionally March 192nd), this is going to be short post, letting you know about the winner of the Fleen Free Graphic Novel Giveaway. We took at look at the responses¹ and from them randomly picked Erik, who wrote:

I’ve been meaning to subscribe to The Nib for quite a while, and this is exactly the push over the line I’ve been needing. Regardless of whether I win a book, I’m subscribing now, for the foreseeable future given the level of content. And if by some chance my name gets pulled, I’d love the George Takei memoir – he’s been a superb role model for how to turn celebrity into positive social energy.

Everybody feel good for Erik! Once They Called Us Enemy gets delivered, there will be a selfie that we’ll run here.

Oh, and as a quick reminder, today is the premiere of Elinor Wonders Why; you can look up broadcast times for your local PBS station at PBS.org and clicking on the link for TV Schedules, which should take you to your local PBS station; for those of you in the NYC metro area, Channel 13 has it at 10:30am and 1:30pm.

That’s it, everybody; enjoy the day, read about the history of the labor movement or other attempts at progress and justice, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow.


Spam of the day:

Hey, great site. Are you guys still open? I’m reaching out businesses who need more customers right away. Here’s how we can increase the visitors to your business immediately

Reply to spam of the day:

If I were any more open, I’d be the Goatse guy!

I swear I actually replied to the email with this. I am both proud and not proud of this.

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¹ Since we posted the contest, we at Fleen have become aware of an irregular email issue where some senders (but not all, and even those that are affected aren’t affected all the time) are getting errors that the domain fleen.com doesn’t exist. I spent some time with tech support today and it’s a nameserver issue, the resolution to which will take another day or two to spread. If you got bounced on your entry, I’m very sorry and better luck next time we give something away.

Free Book For You, Maybe

If there’s one thing true about the opinions of all of us at Fleen, it’s the unnecessarily-pluralized identity that we at Fleen have adopted. But if there’s a second true thing, it’s that we at Fleen are big fans of The Nib. Editor Matt Bors and his staff have put together something special, and if you aren’t supporting them in their mission to bring the best comics possible to the world — while fairly paying the people who make them — then you should be.

But sometimes we need a little push.

I support The Nib with a monthly subscription at a level that qualified me to receive a free book; to be honest, I’d forgotten about it, so when I got the email on Friday with the discount code, it was a surprise. Some of what’s on offer I’ve read already, some of what’s on offer is on my Gotta Get That list, some of what’s on offer I’d never heard of before, but Bors & Co have excellent curation skills and I have no doubt the stuff that new to me belongs on the GGTL.

I’ve also got completely packed booskhelves with a one-in/one-out policy in effect, and a desire to not only talk about The Nib, but to get people to give them money. So here’s the deal: I’m giving away my free book to one of you, gratis. More specifically:

  • This offer is good for people that are not presently subscribers to The Nib; we’re looking to expand the subscriber base.
  • You’ll get to pick from any of the books on this page (which includes the individual past issues of The Nib magazine, but not the bundle of the first four issues combined).
  • We’ll choose randomly from everybody that emails me (that would be gary) at a domain which is also the name of this website, which is a dot-com by end of Friday, 4 September. Heck, if your email is in my inbox by the time I wake up Saturday morning (EDT), I’ll count it.
  • You’ll agree to a) subscribe to The Nib at any level you choose for at least six months. Want to cancel after that? Fine; if they can’t hook you in half a year of excellent editorial and nonfiction comics, it’s not for you. You’ll also send in a photo of you holding your choice to run here, so we can all see what good taste in reading material you have.
  • You don’t need to send proof of subscription or subscribe in advance to enter our little giveaway; we at Fleen like to think that we’ve promoted a readership that wouldn’t take advantage or go back on their word. And heck, if in a couple of months you’re in such financial straits that keeping a US$4+ subscription is a hardship, it’s not like we’re gonna yell at you. Your good faith attempt is all we’re asking.
  • You agree that if you don’t love the book you chose, or if at any time in the future you find yourself ready to get rid of it, you’ll donate it to your local public library.
  • Residents of the United States only, please. I don’t regret the ultimately futile attempt at sending a book to Mario from Portugal, but I’m ready for a success this time.

But, Gary!, I hear you cry, I’m already a subscriber to The Nib! What kind of cool stuff can I get in on? Glad you asked, Sparky. How about the new Skin Horse Kickstarter? Harking back to the top of the page, if there’s a third thing that we at Fleen are known for, it’s thinking that Skin Horse, by Shaenon Garrity and Jeffrey C Wells (with colors by Pancha Diaz), is hell of rad, and not just because there’s historically a 50/50 chance that something I’ve written ends up on the back cover as a blurb¹.

Actually, it’s two books, containing strips from 2 October 2017 to 7 March 2020, which if my date math is correct corresponds to 762 full color strips, plus bonus stories, which you can get in print starting at US$40 (you can also get the full ten book run in PDF for US$40, so read the descriptions carefully). 30 days to go on the campaign, which is just over 180% of goal so far. It’s a terrifically fun story with lots of ups and downs, and there’s no time like the present to jump in and enjoy the mad science, non-human intelligence, and omnipresent civil service bureaucracy. Plus goinking.


Spam of the day:

Get an accurate body temperature reading at a distance with this medical-grade infrared thermometer.

Or, y’know, just get one from Home Depot like I did. Okay, it’s industrial and I use it on my oven, but there’s medical use infrareds online for as little as twelve bucks. Don’t let these opportunists talk you into something that can be had in exchange for three easy payments.

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¹ For the record, existing volumes 4, 5, 6, and 8 contain quotes from me, alongside such luminaries as Mark Waid, Dylan Meconis, Lauren Davis, Seanan Maguire, Brigid Alverson, and Christopher Baldwin. I’m also quoted on the cmpaign page for these two books, with one of my more tortured constructions, but one which I think sums up Skin Horse nicely.

You Know How Fiction Can Illuminate Truths About Reality?

Got a couple of things to mention today, starting with a prime example of how science fiction and fantasy are ultimately always about the society you live in now. Let’s just say you don’t need to know 1200+ strips of complex (somtimes very complex) plot to get how the latest update of Order Of The Stick could apply to all kinds of situations today. Well done, Rich Burlew.

Readers may recall that :01 Books have had a couple of con-like virtual events under the title of Comics Relief, the first in April and the second in June be sure to check out the replays of the sessions — the various process events are interesting from a craft perspective, and the three that involve :01 creative director Mark Siegel are a masterclass in how to conduct an interview that flows like a conversation.

Readers may also recall how this page has discussed the impact that :01 Books has had on comics beyond its own backlist of authors, on account of :01 alumni have gone on to other publishers and imprints and how Siegel’s vision of what comics could be is now essentially the mission statement for the entire industry.

Finally, readers had damn well better recall that one of those alumni is Gina Gagliano, a woman not only tasked with launching a new graphic novel imprint in a too-brief timeframe, but also with a debut season beset by a worldwide pandemic. Okay, that last bit wasn’t planned, but she’s got to deal with it all the same. Gagliano knows you have to roll with the punches, and if there’s not been a third Comics Relief in a while now, she’s just gonna have to pitch in with something similar:

Random House Graphic is announcing an exciting kickoff to the fall season with “Falling for Graphic Novels,” a series of virtual events in September hosted by five indie bookstores across the United States.

The panels will feature Random House Graphic’s creators and allow attendees to discover and virtually visit new stores around the country. Each panel will focus on a theme in kids and YA comics, allowing readers to immerse themselves in stories of magic and heroes, queer and diverse representation, and even an interactive art class.

The celebration will give attendees an in-depth look at this exciting medium that continues to grow in popularity and show the power and breadth of visual storytelling. The series begins Wednesday, September 2, with a new event each week.

The five events will be:

Click on any of the five titles to go to the reservations page.

There are some great names in there, but I’m particularly interested in the first one because Oliver Sava is one of the very best writers about comics working today. The LGBTQ+ session also looks great, but I’ll have to catch whatever replay is available, as Tuesday is EMT duty night. And did you notice Gagliano’s old boss is a panelist on the last session? Siegel doesn’t just publish graphic novels, he makes them, and the Five Worlds series has been at Penguin Random House since before RHG was formed as a single gathering point.

I was going to talk about one thing more today, but I think I’ll let it sit until tomorrow; it’s getting late to hit Publish and also I want another day to absorb before I’m ready to talk about Shing Yin Khor’s latest meditation in comics form.


Spam of the day:

I have been waiting for you since to contact me regarding your winning amount of US$2, 100, 000.00 (Two Million One Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) loaded on your ATM Visa Card which we discussed. We are duly interred switched, therefore you can make withdrawal in any location of ATM Machine Center Cash point of your choice in any part of the world and the maximum you can withdraw a day is $5,000 US Dollar.

A good, old fashioned 419 scam? That takes me back.

COVID Or No, We Should Recognize Good Work

One of the casualties of the pandemic, event-wise, was the annual Queer Comics Expo, which is sponsored by the good folks at the Cartoon Art Museum. It should have taken place back in May but you know, everything. One of the features of the QCE is the annual Prism Awards, which are now being presented virtually and open to all and sundry:

Prism Comics, Queer Comics Expo and the Cartoon Art Museum are excited to announce that the 2020 Prism Awards will be held virtually as a two-day livestream celebration event free and open to everyone online. Held Saturday and Sunday, September 19th and 20th from 2:00pm — 5:00pm Pacific time, the event will feature panels with the finalists and judges leading up to the awards ceremony!

Details on how to tune in will be released soon. For updates on the September 19 & 20 celebration RSVP through cartoonart.org/calendar/2020prismawards to receive reminders and the information to join. You do not need to RSVP to attend. How to watch will be shared by all three entities, Prism Comics, Queer Comics Expo and the Cartoon Art Museum, through social media and press.

That from the email that CAM sent me, which also included a list of the Prism Awards finalists. Some names that you will surely recognize are to be found there:

  • The Webcomic nominees are The Girl that Can’t Get a Girlfriend by Mieri Hiranishi, Cafe Suada by Jade Sarson, and Magical Boy by The Kao; the fact that two of the three nominees are on aggregator sites (Webtoons and Tapas) says something about the shifting nature of webcomics as a whole, I think.
  • The Short Form nominees are In Search of Absent Pigments by Alex Assan and Lin Darrow [Editor’s note: the nomination only lists Assan, but Assan’s own site credits Darrow, so I’ve included them here], Pseudo Slut Transmission by Emma Jayne, and One Day Out by Ina Bestari.
  • Longer form individual stories are broken up by the size of the publisher’s reach, so there are two groupings. Small/Midsize Press nominees are Trans Girls Hit The Town by Emma Jayne (a 2019 Ignatz winner), Lemonade Summer by Gabi Mendez, and Stage Dreams by Melanie Gillman. The categories are a little fuzzy, as Pseudo Slut Transmission is only about six pages shorter than Trans Girls Hit The Town, which was counted as a minicomic for the purposes of Ignatz categories.
  • The Mainstream Press nominees were certainly spoiled for choice this year, but ultimately settled on Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, and Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable & Ellen T Crenshaw.
  • Finally, the Anthology category consists of Come Together edited by Tab Kimpton and Alex Assan, Heartwood edited by Joamette Gil, and Shout Out edited by Steven Andrews.

Five categories and fifteen nominated works means that a two-day virtual event can give great, huge gobs of time to each of the nominees. If you weren’t familiar with a particular work, by the end of the weekend you surely will be. Oh, and take a gander at the announcement and scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a list of all 27 judges plus the organizing committee; there’s lots of great people involved.


Spam of the day:

The anti-crisis program, as if you spend $ 10 you will earn $ 500 in one day!

A fifty times rate of return? Why, I could spend just a hundo a day for a month and be set for the next couple of years! What could possibly go wrong?

Little Busy Today With The Dog Wrangling

If you don’t follow my Twitter, you maybe don’t know that we had a rough couple of days here at Fleen Central, after our dog (a smallish and very sweet-tempered greyhound) got attacked by an off-leash dog during her Thursday evening walk. She’s had surgery to repair her ankle (the same one that she broke to end her racing career) and she’s very much back to her regular behavior, except that she’s on two weeks strict rest.

That means no jumping, running, zoomies, bouncy play, getting and down from furniture (the couch is her favorite place in the world). While greyhounds are notorious for sleeping 20 hours a day and being very, very lazy, there’s generally ten minutes of intense activity in there. She’s being very good, but we have to keep an eye on her every hour we’re awake to make sure she isn’t doing something she shouldn’t. It’s taking up some time.

So I have three brief items today, and a submission from Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin for you tomorrow. After that, we’ll hopefully have her in a calm enough routine to get back to reading webcomics widely.

  • Firstly, the third print collection of Stand Still, Stay Silent is now Kickstarting. Minna Sundberg continues to put out one of the most lushly beautiful webcomics in existence, and the previous volumes of SSSS have been impressive in their quality and entirely worthy of the material inside the covers. On day 3 with 27 to go, it’s sitting a bit over 500% of goal, so at this point, it’s a pre-order. Oh, and if you speak French, maybe give this one a miss — as Sundberg noted the other day:

    [V]olume 3 will be published by Akileos publishing in French this autumn, so unless you specifically want the english version you’ll be able to get that one cheaper and faster.

  • Secondly, KC Green posted the 32nd chapter of his adaptation of Pinocchio, and it’s getting back to parts of the story that we in modern culture are familiar with. That is to say, body horror with a dash of moralizing about Always Being A Good Boy Or Shit Will Happen To You And You’ll Deserve It. Four more chapters to go.
  • Thirdly, holy crap, Megatokyo turned 20 years old on Friday. I’ll confess that I lost the plot years ago (and in my less charitable moments wonder if Fred Gallagher has as well), but one must acknowledge the perseverance that allows a creator to put together 1584 strips over two decades. Now that he’s passed the big Two-Oh, maybe he’ll invest in some ink.

Spam of the day:

Environmentally-conscious pest control solutions that protect your home, family and pets.

I host a number of house centipedes and jumping spiders (along with the occasional mantis) in the walls and baseboards of my house. They do a remarkable job of keeping everything else under control.

On The One Hand, New Books; On The Other, Blatant Discrimination Towards Moustache-Americans

It’s a sad day when stereotypes raise their ugly heads in the world of webcomics. The saddest part being, they hurt those that hold those prejudices the most.

  • I speak, naturally, of Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett and his campaign to print not one, but two new Sheldon collections simultaneously. That’s a message that’s worth discussing, but unfortunately LArDK gets side-tracked into a shame spiral over his choice of facial hair. Moustaches are not just for quarrantine, LArDK, they’re for life. Let go of your hate, find enlightenment, and realize that in this (as in so very, very much) your wife is correct.

    As for the rest of you, I’m certain that if the campaign goes well, it’ll help LArDK to a better place, and let him come to embrace what is objectively one fine lookin’ ‘stache that he’s rocking¹. Fortunately, success looks pretty certain; as of this writing, the funding is north of 83% and pretty likely to pile up some stretch goal improvements².

    If you’re interested in some thick books (each is more than 200 pages, which a quick glance at my bookshelf means they’re 50% larger than the previously biggest Sheldon collections) to be delivered around December (just saying, you could knock down some holiday shopping now) at an eminently reasonable price³, you’ve got until 10 September to pony up.

    Do it for the moustaches.

  • In non-moustache news (we do that sometimes), have you seen that Jorge Cham has been working on a TV show? I hadn’t? I think the first he mentioned it was about a month ago, which I missed. Then about two weeks back, he mentioned that he’d talked to the Television Critics Association in advance of the premiere, which I also missed. Look, a lot happens on Twitter these days and I’m trying to moderate my doomscrolling, okay? The TCA tweet showed up in my feed today and now I’m caught up.

    A quick flip between Twitter accounts revealed the original May 2019 press release, from which we will now quote:

    Today, PBS KIDS announced the animated series ELINOR WONDERS WHY, set to premiere Labor Day 2020. ELINOR WONDERS WHY aims to encourage children to follow their curiosity, ask questions when they don’t understand and find answers using science inquiry skills. The main character Elinor, the most observant and curious bunny rabbit in Animal Town, will introduce kids ages 3-5 to science, nature and community through adventures with her friends. This new multiplatform series, created by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson and produced in partnership with Pipeline Studios, will debut nationwide on PBS stations, the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and PBS KIDS digital platforms.

    So this is what Cham and his We Have No Idea co-author Daniel Whiteson have been up to — they’ve been players in the hurly-burly world of Hollywood, power players in the production of televised entertainment, a seamy industry that has line items for cocaine and hookers in its budgets. Oh, wait, it’s PBS Kids? Never mind, that’s an entirely different seamy industry that has line items for tote bags and googly eyes in its budgets.

    In all seriousness, Cham and Whiteson have spent the past forever spreading knowledge about the universe we live in, how it works, and why we know what we know (and, crucially, what we don’t know … yet). The character designs for Elinor Wonders Why are cute, the lessons are imparted in a gentle fashion (check out a preview episode here), and if they aren’t exactly dealing with the hard science facts of their book, they are teaching basics like how senses work and how animals and plants behave, as well as mentioning prominent scientists.

    More importantly, they’re teaching logical thinking and the idea that problems have solutions that can be solved; that last idea frequently escapes people far older than Elinor‘s target audience, so the sooner we get the idea into kids, the better.
    Elinor Wonders Why debuts on PBS Kids (and maybe your local PBS station, but they don’t all run the same programming) and online on 7 September.


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Those are … disturbingly specific.

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¹ No longer subject to tricks of the light that make him look like J Jonah Jameson, the moustache in question is well on its way to Hadfieldian proportions.

² Not going to do a FFF mk2 calculation, as LArDK does early notices to his Patreon backers, with special discount tiers available to them for the first 24 hours of funding, before opening things up to everybody else. Perfectly legit technique, but it throws off the math.

³ 400+ pages of print edition for US$45 (plus S+H) means less than 12 cents per page, and with an average of two strips per page, less than six cents per laugh-chuckle. Giving up just one a’ your five buck fancy coffee drinks means you get more than 83 punchlines.

Yeah, looks like I did math after all.