The webcomics blog about webcomics

Starting To Understand TopatoCo A Little Better

Particularly, the bit that says:

Customs policies vary wildly and unpredictably from country to country. You should contact your local customs office for further information; please do not complain to us as we have little to no control over your government’s policies (for now). Customs clearance procedures can sometimes create delivery delays beyond what we originally estimate.

At least, I think that’s the relevant passage. One may recall that waaaay back in May, thanks to the generosity of Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett, I was able to give away a copy of the gorgeous first hardcover collection of DRIVE. The winner, a person named Mario, happens to hail from Portugal, which meant that the arrival of the package would happen potentially never. Today, it was delivered.

To my doorstep.

That’s it up at the top of the page¹. I think the stickers on the box mean that it sat at Portuguese customs until they got tired of looking at it/decided not to deliver it, and it was sent back across the ocean to me. Thanks for not stealing it, Portuguese customs/mail officials, that was very nice of you! Suggestions as to what I should do with it are now being cheerfully accepted, but I think that I am not going to try shipping it across the planet again. Mario, and I’m sorry that you didn’t get the book, sorry that it cost US$22.50, 162 days, and probably 15 hours total flight time to end up back where it started. I tried hard.

  • I try hard, by coincidence, is how Ryan North signed my copy of Happy Dog the Happy Dog, along with a little hand-drawn doodle of T-Rex. It’s adorable. It’s also a segue, as I note that today is the birthday of Ryan North, and also of John Allison. Webcomics is lucky to have two such excellent gentlemen in it, and we at Fleen wish to offer the very best returns of the day to Messers Allison and North, with the expectations of many more to come.
  • Speaking of happy dogs, the fine folks at :01 Books have sent me a copy of the latest addition to their Science Comics series, Dogs: From Predator To Protector by Andy Hirsch.

    It’s a great read, and it’s a heck of a way to teach tweens (and up) not only about pooches, but a goodly amount of evolution and genetics — we’re talking meiosis, DNA base pairs, Punnett squares, alleles, and dominance, people. Darwin’s in there, but he actually is less of a focus than Gregor Mendel and Dmitry Belyaev.

    Add into that a good discussion of dog senses, dog behavior, and dog BALL! BALL! BALL! communication modes, and you’ve got a pretty excellent primer into what’s probably the second-greatest thing accomplished by humanity as a whole³. Dogs is available at bookstores everywhere on Tuesday, 31 October.

Spam of the day:

GRAND_FUCK_AUTO It doesn’t get more fun than this – Play Now

I don’t even want to know.

¹ At last, I think it is — I haven’t opened the box to see if maybe it’s half a blender instead².

² I checked, not a blender. In fact, it is a copy of the DRIVE hardcover, in perfect condition.

³ I still give the #1 slot to the eradication of smallpox.

Let’s Get Squeaky

It’s time again for MICE — the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo, held at University Hall of Lesley University in Cambridge, MA — and that means there’s gonna be indie/webcomickers in attendance. Let’s see what’s up.

First of all, there some really cool programming to see. On Saturday, you’ve got:

  • Braden Lamb teaching a workshop on comic making, from 11:00am to noon (Lesley Room)
  • Cathy Leamy talking about comics and medicine, also from 11:00am to noon (amphitheater)
  • Dirk Tiede talking character and pacing, from 12:30pm to 1:30 pm (Lesley Room)
  • The Iron Cartoonist competition will feature contestants like Abby Howard and judges like Mark Siegel, also from 12:30pm to 1:30pm (amphitheater)
  • Kazu Kibuishi running a workshop on comic creation, from 2:30pm to 3:30pm (Lunder Arts Center)
  • Evan Dahm moderates a discussion on worldbuilding, from 5:00pm to 6:00pm (amphitheater)

And then on Sunday, you’ve got:

  • Melanie Gillman, Blue Dellaquanti, and others discussing, from 11:30amm to noon:30pm (amphitheater)
  • Jason Shiga talking about interactive comics, from noon to 1:00pm (Eliot Room)
  • Whit Taylor will be among those discussing the intersection of the personal and political in comics, from 1:00pm to 2:00pm (amphitheater)
  • Sophie Yanow will be talking about autobio comics, from 1:30pm to 2:30pm (Eliot Room)

Bonus: every session will have ASL interpretation available!

In addition to the folks already mentioned, creators present¹ will include Alexander Danner, Alison Wilgus, Kori Michele, Luke Howard (B), Luke Howard (J), Maki Naro, Matt Lubchansky, Penina Gal, Rosemary Vallero-O’Connell, and Zack Giallongo. And, since it’s in her neighborhood and all, I imagine my good friend Brigid Alverson will be wandering the floor and committing acts of journalism. Tell her I said hi!

Best of all, MICE falls squarely into the expo/festival model of show, and all events are free and open to the public; doors are open 10:00am to 6:00pm on Saturday, and 11:00am to 5:00pm on Sunday. Cambridge is well-served by public transit, with the Porter Square MTA stop maybe 100 meters up Massachusetts Avenue.

They’ve also got one of the most well thought-out anti-harassment codes I’ve ever seen, with staff members trained in Bystander Intervention. I hope that it’s not needed, but it’s great to see a staff that knows not just what they’re supposed to do, but how to do so in a manner that doesn’t make the initial offense worse. Bravo.

Spam of the day:

I am Asma al-Assad, the wife of Bashar Hafez al-Assad of Syria

Yeah, no.

¹ And, speaking purely from a selfish POV, many thanks to the MICE organizers for placing the exhibitors in a simple alphabetical list, with pictures, names, affiliations, and clickable links to their websites on a simple HTML page. No pop-ups, no pages you have to click through to in order to verify who you’re talking about, just plain info in plain sight. Thank you.

Great News From All Around

But before we get to the newsy type deals, allow me to offer props to Randall Munroe for today’s xkcd, wherein he anticipated my critique in the alt-text. Of course Munroe knew about the Great Boston Molasses Flood, as famously catalogued by Milk and Cheese. Of course. It’s comforting, in a way, to have it proved that you are not cleverer (or at least more well-versed in obscure historical trivia) than Randall Munroe.

  • Soonish debuted yesterday, and although I don’t have my copy yet (it will be coming soonish in fulfillment of Zach Weinermsith’s Kickstarter Gold project), I’m eagerly counting down the days. Not just until I get to read the book in physical form, but also to see Kelly and Zach Weinersmith on their book tour next Monday evening; it’s been years since I’ve seen Zach, so this’ll be fun.

    Also fun: hearing Weinersmith & Weinersmith get five minutes of precious airtime on the nation’s premiere daily economic issues program, Marketplace. It brought into relief how much of technology is really dependent on finding an economic niche it can exploit, which did not occur to me when I had the chance to read through a late pre-final copy of the book last year.

    Give it a listen, get your copy of Soonish, and don’t forget to use the entire situation spice up your sex life: The Marketplace Interview — listen to the mellifluous voice of Kai Ryssdal through your radio, touch him on the penis.

  • As of this writing, we’re about 2.5 hours out from the end of the Kickstarter for the omnibus edition of Girls With Slingshots, which has been running for the past month. Apart from giving us a new case study to re-evaluate the validity of the Fleen Funding Formula, Mark II and the McDonald Ratio, it’s significant for a couple of other reasons:

    This is why anybody in indie/webcomics with their head screwed on straight is listening to Spike; it’s why Kickstarter basically adopted her as an evangelist¹. And we’re up more than US$3000 in the time it took me to do the math in the footnotes.

  • One of these days, I want to be so accomplished that when I change jobs, it makes the industry press; then again, when it comes to webcomics hack pseudojournalism, I pretty much am the industry press, so I guess I’ll let you know.

    But today, that distinction belongs to three colleagues at Workman Publishing who are hopping ship to Macmillan to start a new imprint in the children’s book group; they include publisher Daniel Nayeri, editorial director Nathalie Le Du, and art director Collen AF Venable — onetime designer at :01 Books (the majority of their entire catalog still designed by Venable, despite her being gone for three years), one time Fluff In Brooklyn webcomicker, and force of nature in book design.

    Being an art director recognized by the publishing industry for the revolutionary things you’re doing for kid books is great. Getting in on the ground floor of a new imprint, able to put your philosophies into practice as guiding principles? Even better.

    The as-yet unnamed new imprint is, I’m confident, going to do amazing things. And, in one of those cases of things coming full circle, Venable will now be returning to Macmillan, which is the parent company of :01, and doubtless see her old co-conspirators around the halls. Congrats to her and her esteemed colleagues, and I can’t wait to see what they do.

Oh, and with 86 minutes to go? GWS is above US$256,000. Yowza.

Spam of the day:

Bouquets for less bucks

No offense, guys, but the visual design of the graphics in this spam is very mid-80s, and reminds me of a newspaper ad I saw back in college for a luv-ya bookay. It was painful.

¹ And let’s consider that of the seven Kickstarter Thought Leaders, there are as of today 35 projects to their names (one of which was unsuccessful), raising a total of approximately² US$3.7 million.

Spike’s responsible for more than US$1 million of that, and 14 of 35 projects. She’s the second-most successful of the creators, beaten only by a three-project design shop (representing two of the seven) that raises US$300K to US$700K on beautiful, pricey art objects.

² Approximately because the GWS campaign is still open, and two of the other Thought Leaders are reported in foreign currencies.

Quick Notes Before I Travel

Today’s a travel day, the next two days are a tight-turnaround client gig, so posting may be brief or absent. Do try to muddle on.

I missed most of a story as it was blowing up, but I’m pretty well caught up today; here are some base facts to get started from:

First, Zainab Akhtar is one of the best writers in comics, period. She runs a site that’s like this on in that it’s an individual effort, and unlike it in that she gets well-deserved Eisner nominations. Also, I’ve never had to step back from public commentary because the combination of being a woman, brown, and Muslim made comics writing an invitation to abuse. Also, I do not have a Patreon that you should definitely support. She is smart, incisive, and sees things from perspectives that would never occur to me. She’s on my list of people I need to meet to thank in person for her work.

Second, the Lakes International Comics Art Festival is about to happen in the Lakes District of the UK. We at Fleen mentioned it in reference to a partnership with TCAF, but that was the extent of my real awareness of the show, until late last week.

Akhtar made an observation on Twitter about the guest lineup at Lakes — it’s overwhelmingly white (about 85%, by my count). Not news, she noted that fact years ago. The Lakes Twitter account responded by blocking, then unblocking Akhtar, and somewhere in there somebody with access to the account unleashed a pretty vile attack on her which appears to have been deleted, but screenshots are forever¹.

What the person(s) in charge of the Lakes Twitter account don’t seem to understand is that when you represent an organization, criticisms are not personal; responding as an organization requires finesse and care and actually listening to criticisms and answering them calmly. Responding with attacks doesn’t win you points, and will almost certainly damage your brand. And if you continue to treat an institutional critique like a personal attack (it wasn’t) and act like you’re still fourteen years old, you create a reputational damage that can kill your event.

This morning, John Allison announced that he is withdrawing from participating in LICAF (as of this writing, he is still listed on the guest page); I don’t imagine they’ll be able to get him back in the future. It’s a principled stand, and one that will likely cost Allison economically (and possibly the esteem of terrible people, but I don’t think he cares about that part too much; this is just one reason why he’s a great person). I’m expecting to see more guests pull out between now and Friday, which is going to keep the story going and may kill the Festival as long as it remains under its current leadership.

Please note that a fair number of the confirmed guests are international, and regardless of how they feel about management’s behavior they may be contractually obliged to attend. Likewise, I don’t have any criticism for people who choose to attend LICAF this year (having made plans and arranged their lives and purchased passes), but I will be very interested to see how many of both groups are willing to return next year.

And the pushback isn’t limited to guests; at least one exhibitor has emailed the show to say that she’s withdrawing, and this is just as impportant. Lydia Wysocki paid for the privilege of tabling, and may or may not get her fee back. She’s offering to help the LICAF showrunners improve their ways, and I sincerely they (or, more likely, whoever comes in to try to salvage things next year) takes her up on it². We are way past the time when somebody says Hey, here is something that’s happened that you aren’t noticing and reacting dismissively can be accepted. Time for LICAF to grow up.

Spam of the day:

Book Your River Cruise Vacation

Well, they aren’t sending me a pitch that’s specifically calling me a senior citizen, so that’s something.

¹ I was particularly puzzled by the claims that Akhtar has some kind of grudge against the show from 2014. Her 2014 writeup was largely positive, but she noted the overwhelmingly pale nature of the show and concluded it wasn’t for her. If that’s what the LICAF tweeter regards as a grudge, they are in desperate need of a fainting couch.

² In the meantime, follow her links and get familiar with her work.

Some Good News, Sorely Needed

So it’s nearly the weekend and who the hell knows what’s happening in the world at large (much less the world of [web]comics). Let’s focus on some happy thoughts.

  • Tillie Walden has been having a heck of time the past twelve months. At SPX last year she took two Ignatzen, then she launched her first webcomic, then the buzz started building for her debut graphic novel (which turned out to be brilliant), and she’s been guesting and paneling at seemingly every prestigious comics show in CY 2017. Not bad for having just turned 21.

    For those that thought said webcomic was great and also thought that there should be a way to reward Walden for it, your moment has come:

    We’re SO EXCITED to be publishing the amazing @TillieWalden’s graphic novel ON A SUNBEAM next year!

    Makes perfect sense; :01 Books are already Walden’s publisher on Spinning, and :01 head Mark Siegel is very open about wanting his imprint to be the sort of place that keeps the well-fitting creators around forever. And given the lead times on book production¹, this is an incredibly tight turnaround — no more than 15 months from now. I know of books at :01 that were announced last year for Fall of 2019.

    (And side note from the announcement embedded in the tweet: Seth Fishman — no relation to Desmond — is rapidly becoming one of the two or three most important people in the comics publishing world, representing some of the best in indie/webcomics³ in between writing his own books. Heck of a nice guy, too.)

    So congrats to Walden, congrats to :01, and congrats to everybody that will get to read On A Sunbeam on paper. The next 3 to 15 months can’t come quickly enough.

  • And for those looking forward seven months or so, applications for the 2018 iteration of VanCAF are now available. Saturday and Sunday, 19 and 20 May at the Roundhouse with guests TBA, but VanCAF has had one of the best exhibitor curations of recent years, so I’m entirely confident the lineup will be great.

    Applications are open until 31 October, and note that they give priority to comics artists (as opposed to illustrators/animators/other artists) with new works debuting at or around the show, who represent all the communities of Vancouver and around. PNW, this is one of your moments to shine.

Okay, I’m out for the weekend, and quick note that I’ll be traveling for work on Monday, so maybe no post. If you’re in Canada, Happy Thanksgiving.

Spam of the day:

Up to $100 Off and Free Shipping

This spam was for glasses and I’ll give ’em this — the image that they used is pretty much exactly the frame of my glasses, just in black instead of silver. Still think I’ll stick with my Warbys, though.

¹ I’m pretty sure every time I’ve check the publication info on a book from :01, it’s indicated that it’s printed in Dongguan City, Guangdong province in China. Printing in China means there’s necessarily a boatload² of time taken up in shipping and customs before stateside distribution can begin.

² I’m so sorry.

³ Kate Beaton, Randall Munroe, the Weinersmiths, Abby Howard, Ryan North, and more.

Now With Extra Blerrrrrrrrf

Hey. As predicted, today is sucking. Post tomorrow, when synapses that have the bandwidth to do more than just keep me upright.

PS: Know who’s great? Dylan Meconis, for many reasons other than her reply this morning. If you’re in San Antonio, Texas, she’s giving a talk called Blink and You’ll See It: Form and Story in Today’s Graphic Novels at Chapman Center’s Great Hall, on the campus of Trinity University. Go listen and get smarter at 7:00pm tonight, and give her a high five for me.

Live From The Terrible, Terrible Javits

NYCC is upon us, and although this is the second year they’ve decided I shouldn’t be granted press access (although they’ve been awful free about spreading my email address around as if I were accredited press, not that I am bitter), it appears to be a better year for webcomics types at the show than in recent years. It used to be full of of the New York/east coast webcomics crowd, then almost all of them were driven out in favor of such comics-associated brands as Chevrolet, but this year’s not bad.

The Guests of the show include a bunch of familiar names, but don’t actually list their Artist Alley addresses; for that, you have to go to the show floor guide and scroll through until you find ’em, which is annoying. Others aren’t in AA but are on panels, yet their panel schedules are listed as Coming Soon. Given that the show starts in two days, that’s cutting things a bit close. Anyway, Guests include Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota¹ (fresh off their Ignatz win, N2), Carey Pietsch (Friday panels only), Emi Lenox (Thursday to Saturday only, K24), Erica Henderson, K15), Kate Leth (K16), Molly Ostertag (couldn’t find a booth assignment, try :01 Books), Ngozi Ukazu (N1), Pénélope Bagieu² (Thur/Fri only, no booth assignment, try :01 Books), and Tessa Stone (N1).

In addition, you’ve got the Blind Ferret folks (taking bets on which Broadway shows Sohmer goes to see when he’s not at 1728), the Cyanide & Happiness folks (2247), Evan Dahm (I6), First Law Of Mad Science (1050), Kel McDonald (I5), and Scott C (G28). Publishers that will likely have webcomics types in attendance at various times include BOOM! (1828), :01 Books (2239), and Oni Press (2028).

I know that Jim Zub will be wandering the show like a vagabond samurai, without a booth. Finally, lawyer to the independent creative community Katie Lane³ will be part of the NYCC Continuing Legal Education series, as part of the panel for Beyond the Printed Page: An Overview of Licensing Comic Book Properties to the Film, Television, and Merchandising Industries4, on Sunday morning. Not gonna bother with the details, since it’s an extra hundred bucks and only of interest if you’re a lawyer. And it’s pretty likely that I missed people that should be listed, so be sure to drop me a line to fix that, or if you want to hang out away from the Javits Center (aka The Worst Convention Center In The World).

Spam of the day:

Microsoft flight simulator x gold edition

Man, even back in the day of the first IBM PC, I couldn’t ever keep those planes in the air. Thank you for reminding me of my manifest failures.

¹ I always list them as Yuko and Ananth, but today I’m switchin’ it up. Also, if you go looking for them in the exhibitor list, you’ll find Johnny Wander and Ananth Hirsch [sic], no mention of Yuko.

² Thanks to the sharp eyes of FSFCPL, we also know that Bagieu, Zep, and Julia Wertz will be at Columbia University’s Butler Library tomorrow, Wednesday 4 October, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm talking about DIY careers in comics.

³ Light-ning Law-yer!!

4 I guess lawyers get paid by the word as well as the hour.

For The Life Of Me, I Can’t Think Of A Title

Okay, this is my fault: I dropped the ball on pushing the Hispanic Federation’s UNIDOS campaign for hurricane relief after I launched my matching campaign last week. Jon Rosenberg’s medical fundraiser¹ hit just after and distracted me, as did the general state of the world being awful. Regardless, we didn’t get as much as we might have otherwise (then again, having four matching fundraisers this year, plus helping Alec Rosenberg to walk without pain, means that we may all be feeling collectively tapped out).

Nevertheless, you came through. Backers (all of whom elected to remain anonymous) donated and I rounded up my match to US$500. It’s not enough, but it’s a start. For reference, this brings the Fleen Fight For Fungible Futures Fund to a total of US$9275 of matches, plus another US$375 from my employer. Between you and me, that’s nearly twenty thousand damn dollars from fans of webcomics to help and defend those that need it. Thank you all.

In other, less immediately financial news:

  • We wrote last week of the return of Christopher “Doctor” Hastings to webcomickin’, and he had one more surprise for us. Turns out the five comics we saw last week are not related to each other at all, but were each the launching point for a separate story:

    Here are my FIVE new weekly comics!

    Mon: Magical Merlin
    Tue: Queen of Clubs
    Wed: Asimov’s Laws
    Thu: Karate Sewer Gator
    Fri: Woodsman!

    Magical Merlin is naturally a wizard; Queen of Clubs looks to be a domestic sitcom; Asimov’s Laws features Inventor Dad and wacky maker mishaps; Karate Sewer Gator is intrigue involving punks, dope, and the eponymous gator; and Woodsman! so far is heavy on camping mishaps at the hands of bears. Friggin’ bears. One or more of them is sure to tickle your fancy.

  • Did I mention that my wife quit her job last year to go back to school for a good old-fashioned re-careering? Because she totally did. Which is why last night, I was helping her study the geological time scale, from the Hadean eon (formation of the Earth to ~ 3.6 billion years ago) through to the modern day (we’re in the tail end of the Quaternary period of the Cenozoic era, of the Phanerozoic eon, starting a paltry 2 million years ago). At the conclusion of the study session², I passed her my copy of Abby Howard’s Dinosaur Empire and told her just to read that. All the life before dinosaurs back to the pre-Cambrian, and all the life since the K-T extinction event have all sucked rocks compared to dinosaurs³.

    As noted when I reviewed Dinosaur Empire, that book is listed as the first volume in a series called Earth Before Us, but it wasn’t clear who might be making subsequent books.

    Wonder no more.

    Hey, folks! Just to let you know where I’ve been all month, I’ve been hard at work on the pencils for book 2 in the Earth Before Us series~

    So this is why I haven’t been updating. Sorry for all the waiting you’ve had to do, and thank you for your patience!

    Speaking for myself, this is great news. Sure, I like getting free comics from Abby Howard, but getting more ancient critter books? Maybe the Oligocene, aka The Age Of Horns? Or the Devonian, aka The Age Of Fish? Heck, let her take a shot at the Cambrian explosion and all the protofish and sea scorpions and weird-ass spiral shell squid. I’m so in, and ready to give her money in exchange for books 2 through infinity.

Spam of the day:

Jane Seymour explains how Crepe Erase can help you look as young as you feel.

I feel about sixteen most days, and if you ditch the random grey in my hair and the moustache, I still look it. Do I win?

¹ Which, as I write this five days later, is sitting just north of 93% of goal. You are all amazing.

² And that’s why the writers of Doctor Who screwed up in the Third Doctor era, because they were described as having dinosaurs, but the Silurian Period was over a good 160, 170 million years before the first dinosaurs appeared in the Triassic period. I’m not sure her professor will appreciate my nerdrage.

³ Not sure what the academic appreciation of that opinion would be, either. Don’t care. Dinosaurs are the best.

It’s Supposed To Be A Webcomics Blog

I really didn’t think, when I started writing this blog¹ nearly twelve years ago, that I’d spend one particularly year wrangling no fewer than three philanthropical fundraisers for political disasters².

Looks like it’s time for round number four for the Fleen Fight For Fungible Futures Fund. The utter dearth of official federal response to Hurricane Maria, particularly in Puerto Rico, means that it’s time to step up again. There’s essentially no power systems, no water, no agriculture, no functioning economy on the island right now. So if you have it in your means (and I know, this is the fourth time I’ve come to you in less than a year), please donate.

Because of the uncertainty about which organizations are going to raise money and not spend it on the disaster they’ve promised/implied (lookin’ at you, American Red Cross), I’m deferring to America’s cultural conscience (and grandson of Puerto Rico), Lin-Manuel Miranda, who’s been doing a lot of work rounding up info on reputable organizations to donate to. He’s put his trust in the Hispanic Federation and that’s good enough for me.

The need is acute right now, but this one is going to last a long time, so we’ll set a deadline of end of the month; send me a receipt of your donation before the calendar flips over to October, and I’ll match it. If you can provide me with suggestions as to organizations that are getting money/supplies directly to PR (and the US Virgin Islands, and everyplace else in the Carribean), I’ll add them here.

Spam of the day:
I’ve got to say, I’m pleased that I’ve not received any scammer spam purporting to collect money/goods for the Harvey-Maria confluence of weather crises. Maybe they have a conscience?

¹ Or got roped into it by Jon Rosenberg; tomayto, tomahto.

² Hurricanes and other large-scale weather events result in slow disasters that reveal the resiliency (or lack) of our systems and infrastructure. Collapsing dams, neighborhoods under water in floodplains, and petrochemical plants dumping their poisons into groundwater are absolutely situations driven by human decision (or at best, failures of imagination). Listen here for more.

Unfortunate Happenstances

Things don’t always work out for the best, but that doesn’t mean that they’re completely unworkable.

  • For instance, Thought Bubble — a weeklong celebration of comics in Leeds, UK, that culminates in a weekend comics convention — lost its traditional November dates and had to relocate. Unfortunately, that puts it in close proximity to SPX, which led more than one creator to tell me that they had to choose between doing one show and the other. Thought Bubble’s made the best of the situation, though, and will run their comics show with an impressive list of guests and exhibitors, from both sides of the Atlantic.

    On the Guests list (which is helpfully divided into Writers, Artists, and All on the website), you have webcomics luminaries such as Jon Allison, Darryl Cunningham, Marc Ellerby, Cameron Stewart, and Spike Trotman. The page is laid out with nice big images and names, and each links to a page about the guest — easy to navigate and intuitive to use!

    On the Exhibitor front, Thought Bubble did something I’ve not seen before that I really liked; the show is spread out across different venues, and thus there are multiple exhibitor pages, one per venue.

    Unfortunately, the layout of the pages requires a good deal of effort to decipher — exhibitors are shown by an image, which may be a character, a scene, or a photo. Names are sometimes present, sometimes not, and they’re seemingly arranged alphabetically by URL of all things. As a result, it’s tough to pick out who’s attending without clicking through to every website, which I’m not gonna do. I can tell you that Tom Siddell will be at the Cookridge Street Marquee, and that by chance the comiXology Marquee has a significant number of avatars with names on them.

  • In a completely different kind of unfortune, A Girl And Her Fed creator KB “Otter” Spangler has a dying tablet, which makes it hard to draw stuff. By good fortune, however, she was putting the finishing touches on a new novel last week¹, so she’s got a new thing to sell and hopefully get back to the art game. Stoneskin is Hogwarts in space (cosmic beings beyond our ken performing the stand-in for magic) meets trade empires, and it’s a hell of a good read.

    It’s completely different from her other books (set in the world of a single near-future technology, and the societal and political upheavals it causes), but it’s unmistakably Spangler’s writing. Even better, it’s a preface to a planned trilogy, which means I (and you, I suppose) get to read another 750 to 1000 pages of her writing, so yay. It’s entirely worth your five bucks, is what I’m saying.

Spam of the day:

Stop taking the wrong blood pressure drugs and try this out

124 +/- 4 systolic, 80 +/- 4 diastolic, bitches. I once had a cardiologist tell me that I will obviously die of something, but it won’t be heart disease.

¹ At least, it was a little less than two weeks back when she asked if I wanted to be an beta reader for it. As has been well-established on the page previously, Spangler is a very close personal friend, I love her work, and I wrote the foreword for her first book. I believe that’s us sufficiently disclaimed.