The webcomics blog about webcomics

Good News Just Bustin’ Out Everywhere

I’m not even talking about the gears of justice grinding finely today, I’m talking about webcomicker news. To the Newsmobile!

  • Readers of this page may recall that I have a high opinion of Hope Larson and have for some considerable time. Today, something that I asked her about last year is one step closer to an answer, as it turns out that Goldie Vance is getting a big-screen treatment, from Kerry Washington and Rashida Jones, no less:

    The project, being designed as a potential family-film franchise at Fox, will be based on the graphic novel series, created by writer Hope Larson (who’s also created graphic novels of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and DC’s Batgirl) and artist Brittney Williams (Patsy Walker) and published by Boom! Studios.

    Jones will adapt and direct the film version, which Washington will produce under her Simpson Street production company banner, which is overseen by Pilar Savone. Also producing are Ross Richie and Stephen Christy for Boom! Studios. Boom!’s Adam Yoelin will co-produce. Daria Cercek and Jon Wu will oversee for Fox.

    Here’s hoping (har, har) that BOOM! getting the Hollywood money payday means that they can stop nickel-and-diming their creators, and also that Larson and Williams are getting nice chunks of change from the deal¹. We at Fleen are obligated to remind everybody that Hollywood moves slowly, and there’s no guarantee that Goldie will see the screen anytime soon (or even at all), but it’s a nice recognition of a great story.

  • Speaking of good news, thanks to GeekDad for finding out what Ben Hatke will be up to for the next while:

    First up, next fall (2018), First Second will be releasing a Zita the Spacegirl box set! It will combine all three bestselling Zita graphic novels into one volume–plus an all-new poster! Seriously, if you haven’t yet jumped on the Zita bandwagon, you’re missing out.

    Second, the following fall (2019) will see the release of the third Mighty Jack graphic novel. The third entry in the series will be a big crossover spectacular wherein Jack and Lily team up with none other than … Zita the Spacegirl (and her friends) for the adventure of a lifetime. This is the big one!

    We at Fleen are on record as digging both the Zita and Jack series, and I was hopeful that the post-credits reveal at the end of Mighty Jack And The Goblin King meant that we might see a crossover, but it was ambiguous enough that I wasn’t banking on it.

    The only thing is, Hatke’s a machine; by my count he’s done more than one book a year at :01 (three Zita, two Jack, Nobody Likes A Goblin, Little Robot, Julia’s House For Lost Creatures, plus four books illustrated for other authors), and while the box set next year is exciting, it doesn’t require a year’s work. I suspect we’ll see at least one more book between now and the Zita/Jack crossover, which I am eagerly awaiting already.

  • The one thing I get every year at this time? The Wondermark calendar. I love that thing, year after year. David Malki ! dropped the news all low-key that this year’s version is up for order, so if you require a means to tell the passage of time in the coming year, grab a calendar and stand, or just a set of calendar refills, over at the Dry Goodsery. You’ll be glad you did. I mean, I’m glad that I did, and that’s the same thing, right?

Spam of the day:

Heya! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 4!
Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to
all your posts! Keep up the great work!

An iPhone 4, “scat_female”? I think you’re a little behind the times.

¹ I’ll put it another way; since Goldie Vance is creator-owned, Larson damn well better be getting the lion’s share on the deal.

Angels And Ministers Of Grace, Protect Us

There will be a “Ask Me Anything” on the reddit website on Friday at 2pm Eastern with @kcgreenn and @dril, top minds responsible for this thing

This thing being the Sweet Bro & Hella Jeff book by KC Green, Andrew Hussie, and Dril, gods help us all. Oh, and did we mention? It’s made goal and will be produced, gods help us again. All we can do is pray that a significant number of backers are actually jerkbag griefers who will cancel their pledges at the last minute for the “loolses”. Then again, the worse act of trolling would be to ensure that this abomination is birthed into the world, we all helpless before its vile might.

Let’s go across the ocean, far from the impending monstrosity, and see what Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin is up to:

  • We know you are all interested in Marion Montaigne’s latest, so you’ll be happy to know In The Space Suit of Thomas Pesquet was released on November 24th. And while I don’t think I would have been able to come anyway, I’m a little jealous of the journos who got to attend a launch press conference where the hero himself was present.
  • We at Fleen have been covering Pénélope Bagieu’s Les Culottées (to be published in English as Brazen) for more than a year now, but all the while it was not possible to point you to a version you could read (which is what webcomics are all about) if you couldn’t read French. Until now. The Lily News will run excerpts of the book leading up to its English publication in March 2018, so now you can finally see for yourself what the fuss is all about.
  • And if you can’t get enough of French webcomics that (horror!) do not feature autobio or self-insertion, Jo is back! After the artist had to take an extended break, Jo resumed on November 6th. And it now features a set schedule: one update every first Monday of the month, so you can look forward to the next one this next Monday, December the 4th.

Everybody thank FSFCPL, because I read that excerpt of Brazen t’other day, and totally spaced on mentioning it here.

Spam of the day:

No one expects you to stop on your own – get addiction help

I refer you to the statement of one Mr Z Harris, 6 August 1973.

Some More Thoughts On Strong Female Protagonist Book Two

I told Molly Ostertag once, during the time when the Kickstarter that would fund the second volume of Strong Female Protagonist was being planned, that I was looking forward to the book eagerly, as I can only read the story in large chunks. Like, book-length chunks, because SFP is a story that takes its time.

This was abundantly clear in the chapters that made up Book One¹, which took their time in laying out the world where Alison Green is a retired superhero and college student — writer Brennan Lee Mulligan takes his time in establishing characters, relationships, plot, choices, and consequences. It’s not a story I can follow in twice-weekly updates.

I didn’t know how true that was until Book Two arrived (ahead of the promised fulfillment date) just prior to Thanksgiving. I had a long day of bread-baking and interstate travel ahead with a stupid early start, and I spent half the night reading more than 300 pages of nominal superhero story², which are regularly packed with dense dialogue. Personal philosophy buts up against ethical crises and social justice theory for pages; rigorous philosophical arguments in full Socratic mode can occupy dozens of consecutive pages, and it works.

It works because Mulligan has a stellar artist in Ostertag, and she can made pages that might be dead from text overload sing. Look at this one page and do me a favor — read out the text aloud. It’s a good minute and a half, two minutes. It’s dense with information as Alison gives voice to all the uncertainty and contradiction she feels. And instead of a slog, it reads clearly, with a sense of rising urgency, each word balloon building on the previous, and the page before it, and providing the foundation for the page to follow.

It’s also doing something that superhero comics almost never do: it’s considering the collateral effects of allowing your world to be populated with relatively plentiful powers. It asks if the mainstays of the genre — punching stuff until it explodes, mostly — is really effective in making a better world.

It asks about where the really helpful superpowers — energy generation, food production, cancer cures — are, and why only the visible, damaging ones get our attention. It explores the line between altruism and villainy, and the sociopathy of power (whether super, or just the plain ol’ garden variety money kind). It’s thinking.

And at its beating hearts, a swirl of self-contradictions named Alison “Megagirl” Green tries to figure out the right thing to do. Not the simplest, not the most efficient, or even necessarily the best. She’s trying to come up with the Vulcan solution: the greatest good for the greatest number, minimizing the hurt to the least number of people and the least degree. She’s trying very, very hard to be smart about it, but the thing she’s best at?

Punching stuff.

She wants to leave that behind, but sometimes the only way to solve a problem — or worse, to convince somebody else to solve a problem — is to break things and hurt people until it’s not a problem anymore.

Her powers (which, like many others, appear to be growing in breadth and strength) might not physically or mentally destroy her (as is starting to happen to others), but this emotional conflict, the helplessness that comes with not being able to punch the world to a better place, is trying its damndest to do so. She might be invincible to whatever the outside world can throw at her³, but the questions on the inside are equally powerful.

Get SFP Book One today; get Book Two as soon as Make That Thing is done with shipping to the Kickstarter backers and it gets added to the store. And then ask yourself why “adult” superhero comics featuring more swears, violence, and sex, and not so many smart looks at the consequences of powers. Strong Female Protagonist is the best, serious, adult cape comic being written today (and it looks great), and it’s being given away for free, Tuesdays and Fridays.

If you can stand to read it in single-page chunks, that is. Figure I’ve got another 2-3 years before I get Book Three.

Spam of the day:

Learn how a Reverse Mortgage loan may change your life

Given the predatory and fraudulent nature of much of the banking system these days, I’m guessing not in ways that are very good for me.

¹ Issues 1 through 4 in the archive, which is easily navigable but which lacks a direct link.

² Issues 5 and 6.

³ It’s implied the government has contingency plans for if she goes rogue, and they appear to be only halfway kidding when they state that the planetary evacuation ships are due for testing the next couple of years. Her self-doubt, conscience, and good fortune to have been raised by earnest, altruistic people probably spared us the use of a nuke or two.

News Ew Can Ews

Phonetics! It’s basically enough to drive all reason from the language center of your brain! Let’s get some quick items out of the way.

  • The Beguiling is known for a few things: being one of the finest comics shops in the Western World (even if longtime manager Chris Butcher has moved on), being closely associated with TCAF (founding showrunner: Chris Butcher … coincidence!?), and having a kick-ass holiday party. Guess what? Holiday time!

    OH HEY It’s almost time for our annual Dinosaur Comics/Beguiling Holiday party!!!
    Special guests Nicholas Gurewitch (debuting his new book!) and Erica Henderson!
    More info/rsvp here:

    Whoa, hey, new book from Nicholas Gurewitch? That would be Notes On A Case Of Melancholia, as previously noted. Those of you in The TO on Monday, 11 December, drop in and have a damn good time.

  • Twofer from C Spike Trotman: First up, the last Iron Circus Kickstart of the year is live, and it’s for some good old-fashioned smut. Crossplay by Niki Smith has comfortably cruised past its goal and is on its way, with physical books available down to the US$15 level.

    Second up: Iron Circus will be delving into autobio comics in 2018, with the amazing true story of students opposing a military dictatorship via the power of … reading? Oh, and it’s by Ryan Estrada:

    I am so excited to be writing this book with my amazing badass wife Hyun Sook, and art by @kevin9143

    People that weren’t alive then don’t realize how dictatorial South Korea was for about 40 years. I was studying national security politics with a guy that used to teach at the Army War College in the late 80s, and we paid a lot of attention to the utterly undemocratic (yet oddly rules-bound) military government in Seoul¹. Heck, it wasn’t until 1998 that a peaceful change of government between parties took place. This is gonna be a good read.

Spam of the day:

She ain’t the hottest, But She’ll Meet You Tonight

Congratulations, I think that’s the first time I’ve gotten a spam that simultaneously negs and slut-shames. Asshole.

¹ There was a ritual to the college student protests — they’d get noisy in the streets, the water cannon and tear gas and beatings would start, they’d run back to the campus gates, and the cops would stop there. One day the cops didn’t stop and continued their beatings on the campus grounds, and that was one of the events that forced popular change.

Also, I’m Obsessively Reading This One Book¹

Know what? It’s my birthday. More than that, it’s a Big Round Number birthday. I’ma take the day off. See y’all tomorrow.

Spam of the day:

Strongest Charging Cables Ever

Fancy-ass cables with magnets and such? Does it protect against Goddamn Martians?

¹ Book Two of Strong Female Protagonist, which will presumably be added to the store soon enough. SFP is a comic I can only read in big chunks, so every one of these pages is new to me. And, because I only read it in big chunks, I pulled down Book One to refresh myself. I may have spent more than a few hours that I should have been sleeping. More on this in another day or two.

Last One For The Week

For all those for whom travel and gluttony will occupy much of the next 72 hours¹, have a little tidbit before you get started.

  • David Morgan-Mar (PhD, LEGO®©™etc) has launched the Kickstarter for the second print collection of his LEGOcentric Irregular Webcomic. The first, Burning Down The Alehouse, tiptoed up to the issue of IP rights re: interlocking brick building systems by centering on the storyline that uses painted D&D miniatures instead of minifigs. Having navigated those waters successfully, it’s full sail ahead for book two, albeit not with the storyline that actually features full sails.

    This time around, it’s the Indiana Jonesesque Cliffhangers that get their adventures chronicled, provided backers can come up with the AUS$5000 (approx US$3800), which in the half-day since launch has hit approximately the 60% mark. With such a modest goal (and Morgan-Mar engaging in every trick in the book to keep shipping costs minimal²), he should be funded by tomorrow, with stretch goals knocked down with relative ease. Treat yourself to a present to be delivered in the depths of winter (northern hemisphere) or the sweltering days of summer (southern hemisphere).

  • Speaking of Kickstarts, Book 2 of Stand Still, Stay Silent is about one backer away from US$100,000, aka the fifth (and last so far) stretch goal, since launching on Monday. Time for some predictions! Now granted, this project may fall into the “pent up demand” exception for the FFF mk2, but it appears so far to be following a fairly standing tail-off, so I’m gonna run the numbers.

    It’s looking like about US$1.8M at the 24-30 hour mark per Kicktraq, giving a prediction of US$360K to US$540K; it’s early for the McDonald Ratio, but of of right now (about 2.6 days in), we’re looking at at least US$300,072 (it, uh, cleared the 100K threshold while I was typing this paragraph), and that’ll still be going up. I’ma guess that it’s a success.

Okay, that’s it for today. I wish you all safe travels, good times, and righteous remonstrance with racist relatives.

Spam of the day:

Monitor Your Steps, Heart Rate, BP And More

When are makers of knockoff FitBits going to learn that the perfect ad copy has already been written?

¹ [Raises hand]

² Including undercharging certain international rates. Stand-up guy, our Morgan-Mar.

Continuing The Brief Items

The countdown to pie is go, repeat, GO.

Kickstarter Alert #1: The folks at Cloudscape Comics (including but by no means limited to my favorite comicking engineer¹) do regular print anthologies of the best of British Columbia cartoonists. They’re great! But the latest anthology, on the topic of music, meant to be the 10th anniversary anthology, is lagging a bit in its funding. As of today, they’re at about the 23% mark, and not quite halfway through the funding period. Don’t sleep on this one, and if you don’t believe me, listen to your Auntie Spike. Pledge!

Kickstarter Alert #2: Just launched on the Kicker, Habibi: A Muslim Love Story Anthology. This one looks seriously interesting, and from a POV that’s broadly underrepresented in comics at the moment. The names of the contributors aren’t familiar to me, but that’s kind of great? There’s nothing like an anthology for getting exposed to a bunch of creators you wouldn’t otherwise see, and a couple of them will be great and your new favorites. For US$15 (early bird) or US$20 (regular), you can’t miss the discovery value. The anthology is being based on an extremely modest estimate of 350 copies in the first print run, so this is likely your one shot at getting a copy.

Once In A Long Damn Time Alert: I don’t recall ever seeing Raina Telgemeier put original art up for sale previously, but she’s done so now to support the Southern Poverty Law Center. Seventeen pieces are now up at eBay, with the auctions running another eight days. Want a complete set of Raina, her parents, and her sister Amara? Maybe Cat, Maya, Carlos, and Uncle Jose from Ghosts? Five members of the Baby-Sitters Club? The cast and crew of Drama? This is your shot.

Averted Crisis Alert: John Allison told us back in April that he was wrapping up Tackleford and all the comics that take place there. Over the summer at SDCC, he told me that it would happen at the end of the year. If not all-Desmond, all the time, it looked at the very least like we’d be getting some Robert Cop and that’s all right. But plans sometimes take a backseat; when your brain wants to stay on its current course, you listen, and thus there’s an announcement at the top of the page over at Bad Machinery:

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Scary Go Round has been un-cancelled. Stories will now continue in 2018. Danger averted.

For the record, I have zero problem with this.

Spam of the day:

This guy reveals how to get a ?rock hard? boner in less than two weeks

Really? I can usually manage in no more than 3-4 hours. This is not to brag

¹ Sorry Keen Soo, Jorge Cham, and Dante Shepherd. Y’all are great, but Angela’s got swords, corgis, and moustaches.

It’ll Probably Be A Sparse Week

What with it being American Thanksgiving this week, making for an abbreviated work week, in which a full tranche of work must be done, in addition to plans for the big meal om Thursday. Cranberries must be cooked down, birds brined, bread baked, and pies prepared. Pies, people. Let’s do this.

  • The Creators For Creators grant was announced in April 2016, with applications open for about six months that year, and was first awarded this past March. It looks like the timing of the 2018 grant is going to be a little different, as applications just went live and will run until 31 March 2018. No word yet on when the decision will be made, but one thing’s for sure: it’s worth US$30,000 for a creator or writer/artist team to make a graphic novel. Details at the site.
  • Speaking of just went live: Minna Sundberg and Hiveworks launched the Kickstarter for book 2 of Stand Still, Stay Silent around midnight EST and cleared goal around ten hours later. In fact, the nearly 640 backers (as of this writing) are rapidly approaching stretch goal #2, at the US$50,000 mark. We’ll give this until tomorrow morning and see what the FFF mk2 has to say, but for now it appears that come May, I’ll have a handsome hardcover matching book 1 on my shelves.
  • And while it technically happened yesterday, it was pretty darn recent, so speaking of it also: Chris Yates has emerged from his madness place with the four-friggin’-thousandth of his Baffler! puzzle series. 958 pieces, eight levels, difficulty level 9.95¹, it can be yours for a cool US$2695 and honestly? It’s worth every.



    All of Yates’s previous Big Round Number Baffler!s has been snatched up by one of his dedicated puzzle-collecting fans, and I suspect that #4000 will be gone in short order. In the meantime, enjoy the photos of what it took to construct the 5.4 kg behemoth².

Spam of the day:

The world’s top influencers in media, technology, and finance use Nuzzel to save time and stay informed. Nuzzel Media Intelligence uses data from thousands of influencers to show you what important people in your industry are talking about, in real time.

You named your very serious company Nuzzel? That’s not the name of a media intelligence company (whatever that is), that’s the name of a tissue, or a fabric softener, or maybe a tissue infused with fabric softener to make it even softer for all your tender bits.

¹ Yates once told me that the difficulty scale is logarithmic.

² Shown here with a life-sized Yates for comparison.

Can I Claim To Have Been Blackout Drunk?

May all the angels and ministers of grace forgive me, I have backed a Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff book. Welp, I guess I have between now and April 2018 to do as much good as possible before that thing shows up and I lose all sanity. Again.

Doing Good 1: Hey, remember that talk that Kelly and Zach Weinersmith gave at the Strand Bookstore, which was recorded by C-SPAN? It was broadcast this past Sunday, and that means it’s now available for streaming at the C-SPAN site. Round about the 42:30 mark, I achieve a lifelong dream and get identified in a transcript as Unidentified Speaker.

Doing Good 2: I’m going to reiterate my call for all of you to purchase Shing Yin Khor’s Small Stories. It’s a slim, small volume — almost Moleskine cahier size — with Khor’s delicate watercolors perfectly reproduced, though ten stories of anger, redemption, hope, silliness, and magic. Some of them are heartbreaking¹, some are uplifting, some are both at the same time. She’s collected some of her best work from the past few years, and you will not find a better use of twelve bucks than this

Doing good 3: Looking to get some sweet, sweet webcomics merch for the upcoming Solstice-adjacent holiday(s)? Keep in mind that you can’t wait until the night before and expect to get stuff the next morning … Amazon may be working on direct teleportation via quantum entanglement, but your favorite webcomicker needs lead time. Also, sleep.

As a most optimistic guess, the TopatoCo shipping times calendar for Aught-Seventeen is probably representative of what the most on-the-ball creators can do. Probably want to order at least 4-5 days earlier for a lot of single-person operations, though.

Spam of the day:

Young cute blonde looking to cheat on my BF this weekend

Oh no, what if I am her BF? This is just like the pina coloda song.

¹ On par with Trigger Warning: Breakfast, which was originally published anonymously, but which Khor has recently claimed.

Oh Good Glob, There Goes My Sanity

[Header image below the cut to contain the horror]

Hussie, Green, and (motherfucking) Dril collaborating on a Sweet Bro & Hella Jeff project? I just got over the flashbacks from the last one.