The webcomics blog about webcomics

Weekend Miscellany

Hey, some stuff happened since I saw you last, we should talk about that.

  • The Ringo Awards took place at Baltimore Comic Con over the weekend, and there were some winners with relations to webcomics. We don’t talk about the Ringos a lot here at Fleen, they’ve got an odd jury+fan voting component that can lead to some … let us say mass responses to the ballot box.

    Am I going to say that comics on Webtoons or Tapas are unworthy of inclusion when considering for awards nominations? Heck, no. But do I believe that a single creator that posts only on those platforms and has work that is … let us say Tumblresque in nature should be considered as the best of the best in comics? Let us say, one last time, that such folks were perhaps over-represented in the ballot.

    All those sayings being said, the Best Comic Strip Or Panel went, as is right and proper, to onetime webcomicker Olivia Jaimes for Nancy, and Best Webcomic went to The Nib, who apart from the whole losing their financial backing thing are having a very good year. A full list of nominees and winners has yet to be posted at the Ringo site¹, but The Spurge has you covered.

  • I may have noted, on some several occasions how the New York Times appeared to be bending over backwards to not acknowledge the crucial place that Raina Telgemeier occupies in modern literature, and the culture at large. Today, they seem to be extending an olive branch, devoting a significant chunk of interactive space in their books reportage to Raina, and Guts, and her creative process.

    How Raina Telgemeier Faces Her Fear by Alexandra Alter, with production by Aliza Aufrichtig and Erica Ackerberg, is part interview, part behind-the-scenes look, and all stuffed with goodness for anybody that wants to see what the steps involved in creating a page of comics looks like. Just be sure to take your time scrolling; on my copy of Firefox, once a page went from thumbnails to pencils to inks to color, it didn’t go back. You can re-experience the transforms by refreshing the page.

  • And looking forward, Maris Wicks would like you to know that the New England Free Lecture Series continues this Thursday, 24 October, at 7:00pm, with a discussion of using comics for sci-comm presented by … Maris Wicks! From the NEA website:

    Registration is requested for all programs, which start at 7 p.m. in the Aquarium’s Simons IMAX® Theatre unless otherwise noted. Programs last approximately one hour. Most lectures are recorded and available for viewing on the lecture series archive page.

    Also on that page, the fact that there’s a cash bar from the time the doors open at 6:00pm until the start of the talk. You can register here, then make your way to 1 Central Wharf in Boston on Thursday. If you get there early, NEA’s a great aquarium that you should absolutely spend some time perusing. They got squid!

Spam of the day:

Hello! If you’re reading this then you’re living proof that advertising through contact forms works! We can send your ad message to people via their feedback form on their website.

You are sending me your crap through my contact form, and you expect me to immediately turn around and give you money so you can pester other people? No. Die alone and unmourned, you parasite.

¹ This is a proud tradition; I can’t think of a single comics award program that updates their own damn website in less than a week after handing out the awards. Get with it, peoples!

Fall In San Francisco

It’s been a while since we checked in on the Cartoon Art Museum, the pride of San Francisco, and the many, many events that they have going on. Let’s see what you can participate in if you find yourself in the Bay Area in the next few weeks.

  • To start, this Saturday, 19 October, will see a workshop and signing by Pixar vet/animation story expert Matthew Luhn. The workshop will take place from 1:00pm to 2:30pm in the Drawing Room of the museum, and is free with purchase of one of the How To Draw Cartoons supply kits by Luhn and General Pencil. To register your place and browse the range of HTDC offerings, see the Guestlist event; the signing follows at 2:30 in the lobby and is free to the public.
  • A week later on Saturday the 26th, it’s time for Halloween at CAM, with workshops during the day, family activities in the lobby, and a reception that night. Lobby events and trick or treating is free and open to the public, workshops require registration (but include same-day admission to the museum’s galleries). Details:

    Workshop! Family Cartooning: Monster Manual (12:30pm to 2:00pm) will have kids and their grownups create their own books of the creatures they dream up. Tickets are US$15 per kid, US$20 per adult, with no more than two kids per adult, please; museum member discounts apply. Registration is first-come first-serve, and must be made no later than 5:00pm the day before.

    Workshop! Cartooning Basics: Costume & Character (3:00pm to 5:00pm) will teach you how to create costumed characters, with an intended audience of older teens and adults. Tickets are US$35 a pop, member discounts apply, and again — register before 5:00pm day before.

    Reception! for the new museum exhibition, Pre-Code Horror: Scary Stories And Ghastly Graphics (6:30pm to 8:30pm) combined with the CAM Halloween Party in the galleries. Tickets five bucks, but free for museum members and those in costume. Get dressed up and save! The exhibition, by the way, will run until 1 March 2020, so plenty of time to check out the creepy stuff if you don’t get to see it all during the party.

  • And a week later (but Sunday this time, so 3 November) it’ll be time for the latest in CAM’s Toon Talk series; the free and open to the public presentation and signing will run from 1:00pm to 3:00pm, and feature writer Mat Heagerty. His latest, Unplugged And Unpopular, released yesterday from Oni Press, with pictures by Tintin Pantoja (her stuff’s great) and colors from Mike Amante (not familiar with his work, but that cover looks great).

The Cartoon Art Museum is at 781 Beach Street in San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square, around the corner from a world-class restaurant, and about a block from the north end of the Powell/Hyde cable car line [PDF].

Spam of the day:

I regularly order from your shop, But I have a question, i see a lot of products in this store [redacted] that you also sell in your shop.

Gosh, I feel compelled to click on your link and see who it is that is undercutting my prices on all the merch I don’t sell. Ass.

Must Be Something In The Water

Something that makes comics folk so damn good.

  • Firstly, you’ve got the 49th issue¹ of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, written by The Toronto Man-Mountain (and Nexus Of All Webcomics Realities, Northern Division) himself, Ryan North (with art, it should be noted, by Erica Henderson, Derek Charm, and various guest contributors, colors by Rico Renzi, letters by Travis Lanham, and edits by Wil Moss).

    This brings us to nearly the end of a period of time at Marvel that comics could be a) fun, b) all-ages appealing, and c) infused with a genuine originality that transcends the usual cape comic. All because a one-note joke character started rattling around North’s noggin’ and he decided to see what happens if you made the ability to listen and turn villains into not-villains a superpower.

    Also punching. And computer science. And the ability to talk with squirrels. But mostly the listening.

    All while inspiring a legion of kids to pick up comics, and especially girls to see that they can be the one that saves the day. Without spoilers, Squirrel Girl — Doreen Green — is having the worst day of her superheroic career, but she’s still unbeatable because he’s got friends, and only the most unredeemable wouldn’t want to help her. She’s selfless and self-sacrificing to the end, and if it seems like she’s going to be beaten, well, there’s a couple of friends she made along the way² that have yet to show up.

    I halfway don’t want to read issue #50 so that it never ends. On the other hand, North’s built up such a strong characterization for Doreen & friends, so much flawless storytelling, that whoever might do their own take on Squirrel Girl in the future, they won’t dare retcon or change things overly much. Squirrel Girl turns enemies into friends will be as iron-clad a rule as Uncle Ben stays dead. While I suspect I won’t ever love any of those Squirrels Girl in the future as much as North’s, the world will be better off having the character pop up again from time to time to eat nuts and kick butts.

  • Secondly, if you’re in Toronto tomorrow evening, say around 6:00pm at the Toronto Reference Library, you can watch a piece of trans-Atlantic culture happening. Specifically, the French Minister of Culture, Franck Riester, will honour (the Canadian spelling feels appropriate on this occasion) Christopher Butcher, founder and showrunner of TCAF, for his promotion of comics (in general) and bandes dessinées (in particular), and for spreading knowledge of French comics to the world.

    Specifically, Butcher will be invested as a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, in the presence of the Tudor Alexis, Consul General in Toronto, and Kareen Rispal, French Ambassador to Canada. The Order recognizes significant contributions to the enrichment of French cultural heritage, and is limited to no more than 200 chevaliers each year (along with up to 80 higher-ranking commandeurs and officiers), the vast majority of them French citizens.

    Foreign recipients include the likes of TS Eliot, Jorge Luis Borges, Stevie Wonder, Nadine Gordimer, Seamus Heaney, Frederica von Stade, Dexter Gordon, Katsuhiro Otomo, Margaret Atwood, Isao Takahata, William S Burroughs, Rudolf Nureyev, Elton John, Roger Corman, Akira Toriyama, and David Bowie. Note the presence on the list of the occasional Nobel laureate, or The Muppet Show guest star.

    I am reliably informed by Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin that, due to that whole Egalité thing, Chevalier Butcher should not be addressed as Sir, but all the same: on Friday, I’d advise Butcher to avoid Agincourt, as that place is not welcoming to those but yesterday dubb’d knights.

    In all other matters, we at Fleen congratulate Butcher, and recognize that all his work so far — and all the work yet to come — was all done not in hopes of honour, but for the love of comics³.

Spam of the day:

Capitals take on their mastery of the Bruins

This continues for another … thirteen … fourteen … fifteen paragraphs of hockey, with every link’s URL removed and replaced with a Ukrainian mail-order bride site. Okay?

¹ I refuse to use the nut-themed pun in the word that means “one before the end” that ends in -ultimate, sorry Ryan.

² And North is dropping references to things that happened waaay back in the first issue, which means either he’s skilled enough to play a years-long game, or he’s skilled enough to make it seem like he’s playing a years-long game. Good job, either way.

³ Manga, too, in case somebody in the Decoration Bureau of the Cabinet Office feels like bestowing the Order of the Rising Sun.

Anniversaries, Appearances, And Actions

Alliteration, too. Let’s jump in.

  • I first started reading Jennie Breeden’s non-Satanic, non-porn autobio strip, The Devil’s Panties, way the hell in the past. Maybe 2002? 2003? I’d been a reader for years before she tipped me off to A Girl And Her Fed¹, and that was 2006 so somewhere in there. I’ve followed a post-college career, time working in a comic shop², dating, pirates, breakups, marriage, family, a cross-country move, kilt-blowing, and now pregnancy and imminent childbirth (the real life corresponding event being some two years in the past by now).

    Although she exited the Daily Grind Iron Man Challenge after about two years (and let’s not forget that the Daily Grind Iron Man Challenge site itself is no longer operational, but that the last two contestants continue on, 14.5 years on from the start), she’s been putting strips up like clockwork since.

    As of today, for eighteen damn years:

    Guys… guys, my comic is 18 today. It needs to move out or start paying rent.

    The start was understated, and today’s strip takes approximately zero time to acknowledge the strip’s birthday. That’s just the way it is with daily autobio — no time to gloat, tomorrow’s strip is due. Happy Strippiversary, Jennie, Obby, Devil Girl, Angel Girl, Pretty Pretty Princess, and Small Child To Be Named Later.

  • Hey, whatcha doing tomorrow? If you’re around Boston, you could be seeing science-comics types in conversation at Porter Square Books in Cambridge:

    We interrupt these Inktober posts with an important announcement: I’ll be doing another awesome Science Comics event with @toonyballoony @Zackules and @jasonviola at @PorterSqBooks this Wednesday October 9th 7 PM!!

    That from Maris Wicks, who’s done books on coral reefs and the human body, and paired up with Jim Ottaviani for books on women on the leading edge of primate research, and women on the leading edge of space exploration (the latter coming in February). Oh, and she’s also done nature cartoons from the middle of the sea, the edge of a frozen continent, and the heart of the city.

    Alex Graudins illustrated a book about Reginald Barkley and also the human brain, and an upcoming book on the Great Chicago Fire (due next June). Zack Giallongo and Jason Viola teamed up to teach us about polar bears, and Viola has also chosen a manatee and an amoeba as stars of other comics. They’re all there because of their association with the :01 Books Science Comics line, which remains an excellent way to spend your time and money. The talk starts at 7:00pm, next to the Porter Square stop on the MTA.

  • Finally, the latest from Kickstarter United, ways that you can help their efforts to make Kickstarter see the sense of recognizing the union:

    Make your opinion heard:

    • email Kickstarter’s senior leadership:
    • kickstarter-sot[at]
    • post your support using #RecognizeKSRU
    • post a picture showing your solidarity and tag @ksr_united
    • download a version of our logo to use as your icon on Kickstarter, Twitter, and anywhere else
    • back projects that show solidarity with Kickstarter United
    • have another idea? get in touch!

    Show solidarity on your project page:

    • add #RecognizeKSRU to your project title or subtitle
    • include a note of solidarity at the top of your campaign text
    • download a solidarity badge to add to your project image
    • post a project update to rally your backers

    For reference? While both logos are nice and eye-catching if somebody is looking at your Kickstarter profile page, the white one is easier to read if it’s showing as an avatar, say on a comments page³. Just sayin’.

Spam of the day:

Senior Discounts|The Complete List Of Senior Citizen Discounts nice senior

I am, despite my desire for you durn kids to stay off my lawn, not yet a senior citizen. And I can assure you that when I become one, I will not be a nice senior.

¹ When I did the foreword for the first AGAHF collection, I mentioned coming to the comic via Ms Breeden, and Otter gave me crap about pimping another comic in her book. So we’re square now, right?

² Oxford, which is a very good shop that I make sure to visit whenever I’m in Atlanta.

³ Oh, and while it’s nothing to do with webcomics, please look at that project page for ceratopsian action figures and pledge up the total to somewhere around US$450K in the next week, please. It has to hit that funding level to unlock the full-size Triceratops horridus (stretch goal #20). I have the sub-adult trike figure pledged, along with a Zunicertaops christopheri (each of which is approximately the size of my BONE Stupid Rat Creature, if you disregard the tail), but I need that full size critter (approximately the size of Kingdok, again neglecting the tail) if at all possible. Thank you.

Miscellaneous Miscellany

Well, goodness, a whole bunch of stuff has occurred since last we spoke. Let’s look at just a few things, ‘kay?

  • This past Saturday saw the Harvey Awards handed out at New York Comic Con; you may recall that this year’s nomination slate was really very strong. While the official page hasn’t updated with the winners list yet, you can find the laureates around the web, say at Newsarama.

    The three categories that I was most invested in — the three categories where there really couldn’t be a bad choice to receive the statue — were Book Of The Year (Hey Kiddo by Jarrett J Krosoczka), Digital Book Of The Year (Check, Please by Ngozi Ukazu), and Best Children’s Or Young Adult Book¹ (Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell). The last of them, particularly, is going to run out of room on the cover for stickers proclaiming the Harvey and Ignatz wins, especially if it’s keeping some space for next year’s Eisners.

  • Saturday was also 24 Hour Comic Day, and while there are literally too many excellent works to point out, I would be remiss if I didn’t share a modern fairy tale by Melanie Gillman. A young woman feleing unloved in an arranged betrothal finds herself beseeching the Goddess Of Mishaps for help, and it’s damn near perfect.
  • Heidi Mac spent the morning at the ICv2 2019 Conference, held adjacent to NYCCC. You can find her livetweets via this search, but the one you want to pay attention to is this:

    The slide that shocked ComicsPRO showing size of manga and kids genres.
    #nycc2019 #icv22019 #nycc

    In case you don’t feel like zooming in, more than two-thirds of all comics sold fell into one of two categories: Juvenile Fiction (41%, think Raina and similar) and Manga (28%). Superheros were the third-largest market category, but they account for one comic sold out of every ten. This is why C Spike Trotman has been most vocal about the YA offerings from Iron Circus.

  • Finally, especially for those that perhaps over-indulged in 24HrCD or maybe are pushing it too hard for Inktober? Stretch.

Spam of the day:

15 Military Discounts Only Available To Those That Served Our Country

While it is true that I have, probably in the depths of the US Army Cadet Command at Fort Knox, a form 139-R from 1985 (enrolling me in ROTC so I could take two mandatory, 1-credit classes, which my college required instead of physical education), complete with an X in the box labeled I decline to state that I am not an conscientious objector and a strikethrough in the loyalty oath section, I cannot say that I served in any meaningful fashion as that concept is generally understood. But given that your email came from Hesse, Germany (from a domain registration that has existed for a whole 12 days), I’m going to doubly say that no, I haven’t served “our” country.

¹ Okay, one complaint — there’s a world of distance between children’s books and young adult books, leading to YA books that are distinctly at the upper end of the age range like Laura Dean, Hey, Kiddo, and On A Sunbeam contending with books intended for a much younger audience like Mr Wolf’s Class #2: Mystery Club (7-10) and New Kid (8-12). Yes, the over-proliferation of categories is, but maybe split this one into pre-teen and teens-plus?

Pacific Nortwesterlies

It’s a time that we look towards the 10 o’clock position of North America, and catch up with what’s happening in that corner.

Firstly, if you look around the social media networks, it appears that Emerald City Comic Con has started building up their show floor and Artists Alley for 2020, with what seems to me to be an unusually high number of I didn’t get in-type postings from people that are local, have exhibited previously, or are relatively big names. From my remove (it’s on the far side of the country and I’ve never been), ECCC seems to have been on a yo-yo trajectory since Reed!Pop bought it, with some years successful and some years terrible, and no two creators necessarily agreeing which years are which.

We’ll see how the waitlists shake out, or who splits booth space with whom, but with NYCC just around the corner and that show having shifted nearly 100% away from comics to broader nerd interests¹, it’s not a surprise if EmCity follows. The show under Jim Demonakos’s leadership was a marvel of comics focus, but we all knew that’s not where the money R!P is chasing is.

Anyway, if you decide to make your way northward and westward in the months prior to Seattle’s long weekend of nerdery², you’ll find some nice comics-in-the-community going on in Vancouver these days. From the fine folks at the Cloudscape collective:

Comics In Transit has been an ongoing project that takes one-page comic stories, enlarges them, and installs them in bus shelters for people to read on their daily commute. Each series features artworks based around shared subject matter, often leaning towards education and social issues. In 2017, Comics in Transit featured stories told by refugees about their hardships coming to Canada.

This year, Comics In Transit focuses on stories of Indigenous family history, written and drawn by Indigenous BC comic artists. This series will be displayed in Vancouver bus shelters throughout October 2019, and an additional art exhibition of the series will be hosted by the Red Gate Art Society from September 26th — October 15th.

The astute among you will recognize that was yesterday that the exhibit opened, so there’s no point in me telling you about the reception that took place, but I’m certain it was super dope. You can still catch the exhibition for another two and a half weeks, featuring the work of featuring Alina Pete, Cole Pauls, Gord Hill, Michael Yahgulanaas, Chenoa Gao, Kyle Charles, Tim Linklater, Raven John, Stephen Gladue, Whess Harman, and Ocean Hyland. The Red Gate Arts Society is at 1965 Main Street in Vancouver.

Spam of the day:

NEW Web-App Allows You To Legally Hijack Traffic And Authority From Wikipedia AND YouTube To Earn Affiliate Commissions In 24 Hours Or Less – in ANY Niche!

Any time you are trying to conflate “hijack” with “legally”, I’m going to suspect that you aren’t really getting the best advice possible. Like, stop listening to Char Char Binks.

¹ I don’t think me making fun of Reed!Pop for giving a huge chunk of Javits floor space to Chevrolet made them drop me from their press list the next year. I do think that becoming the sort of show that would give a huge chunk of floor space to Chevrolet would logically lead them to conclude that a member of press who’d be over in the Artist Alley just about exclusively, talking to the few remaining webcomics folks isn’t really promoting the show that they’re putting on.

² At least, the one that isn’t PAX.

Okay, Deep Breath. It’s A New Week.

Last week had its ups and downs, huh? I will note with some grim satisfaction that Ida Hatke’s memorial page has been overwhelmingly supported by generous people. I’m sure that Anna and Ben and their daughters would prefer anything to the reality of Ida being gone, but I am glad that they needn’t add lifelong debt or bankruptcy to their heartache. The need persists, even after the Hatkes begin to heal, so if you have it in your means to donate, please do so. Requiescat in pace, little one. We love you and will miss you.

On a badly-needed lighter note, I’ve decided to check in with Bob The Unsettling as he slowly deflates; the most unsettling thing is not that he’s smaller, it’s that his head keeps rotating further back, Exorcist-style.

And getting back to comics, let’s check in with the Cartoon Art Museum:

The Cartoon Art Museum welcomes Kim Dwinnell, creator of the popular Surfside Girls graphic novel series for a presentation and booksigning on Saturday, October 12, 2019 from 1:00-3:00pm. Dwinell’s discussion and booksigning are free and open to the public.

Sounds good. Anything else?

The Cartoon Art Museum presents an exhibition of original comic book art from the heyday of storied publisher EC Comics, Pre-Code Horror: Scary Stories And Ghastly Graphics from EC Comics, on display from October 12, 2019 through March 1, 2020.

There’s no announcement yet, but the mounting of an exhibition like this usually features a reception with food and/or booze. I’m guessing sometime adjacent to Halloween for thematic appropriateness. Keep your eyes open and don’t go down to the basement if you hear weird noises, just in case.

Spam of the day:


Every single one of you lowlifes that tried to spam last Friday, you’re trash. I’ve locked the post so Ida never has to compete with you.

No Sleep

Hey, folks in the Greater New York City region, you know that it’s the Brooklyn Book Festival this weekend, right? And that in addition to being free, BKBF will have events and talks and interviews and discussions all over the borough, which may include not only erudite discussion of the events of the day, but also some of your favorite comics folk? If not, then let’s talk.

Comics-related people at BKBF will include Ebony Flowers (off her Ignatz win last weekend for Promising New Talent), Melanie Gillman, Sarah Glidden, Lucy Knisley, MariNaomi, Dylan Meconis, Ben Passmore, Summer Pierre, Frank Santoro, and Magdalene Visaggio. There are others whose names I don’t recognize, and some of them will show up below.

One of the great things about the BKBF bio pages is it links you direct to appearances by the folk in question, so you may want to check out the following events (all on Sunday):

Everything Is Horrible: Comics As Satire And Witness
noon at Brooklyn Historical Society’s Great Hall, 128 Pierrepont St

Moderated by Glidden, with Passmore, Jérocirc;me Tubiana, and Mark Alan Stamaty talking about using comics to challenge the worst timeline.

Anxious in Public: Serious (and/or Hilarious) Comics About Real-Life Tough Stuff
1:00pm at St Francis College’s Founderss Hall, 180 Remsen St

Knisley, along with Catana Chetwynd and Adam Ellis, discussing the road to motherhood, the evolution of relationships, and the realities of mental illness.

The Living City: Graphic Narratives On Place, People, And Soundtracks
3:00pm at Brooklyn Historical Society’s Library, also 128 Pierrepont St

Pierre and Santoro in conversation with the invaluable Calvin Reid on cities as characters.

We Need To Talk
3:00pm at Brooklyn Historical Society’s Great Hall

A discussion on autobio, with Flowers, Erin Williams, and author Mira Jacob.

YA On Fire: A Teen Comics Showcase
5:00pm at Brooklyn Historical Society’s Great Hall

With MariNaomi, Gillman, Meconis, and Visaggio talking about what makes YA, YA.

There’s plenty of other events, with start times from 10:00am. There’s also plenty going on Saturday, and points to BKBF for making Children’s Day the start of the festival, instead of the end (as seen in so many events). Luminaries such as Mo Willems¹ and Jon Scieszka will be paneling, and there’s a session specifically on making comics at 1:00pm with Ivan Brunetti. It’s largely different venues from the comics talks on Sunday, so plan your travel accordingly.

And heck, I should point out that events have actually been underway all around the city since Monday (including a panel on translating Japanese, European, and Brazilian comics, tomorrow night at 6:00pm at NYU), continuing until Monday next². Much more information at the BKBF site, with a map of the Sunday venues³ available for your perusal.

Spam of the day:

Thanks for Registering at Acvark Fire Equipment

There’s a little too much Russian in this email for me to click on anything from what purports to be Jamaica’s #1 supplier of fire extinguishers.

¹ Willems is also this year’s Best Of Brooklyn Award winner.

² When we’ll see if Lauren Duca can recover from that Buzzfeed profile wherein she pitched a major wobbly, via the occasion of her book launch.

³ Drawn and Quarterly will be at booths 234 and 235, and Iron Circus at booth 122. But please note that the Heliotrope and Baffler listed on the vendor page are not the ones you’re thinking of.

SPX 2019, Now With Extra Solidarity And Also Mutant Balloon Animals

SPX was pretty excellent this year, everybody. I saw too many wonderful folks (and forgot to include some on the list while I was waiting for a burger, like Jamie Noguchi, Boum, MK Reed, Patrick Lay, Lucy Knisley, Maia Kobabe, Britt Sabo, Lauren Davis, Kori Bing, Blue Delliquanti, Kori Michele Handwerker, and Melanie Gillman, plus I hadn’t run into George, Raina Telgemeier, and Andy Runton yet), a side effect of the concentrated nature of excellence:space that the North Bethesda Marriott engenders.

But the trip took on an actual reporting task, as the common perception of Kickstarter’s actions last week skewed nearly 100% to They’re unionbusting. The near-universal consensus of everybody I spoke to hit several repeated points:

  • Kickstarter’s upper management does not reflect the community-interface folks, who were spoken of with warmth and support. It was pointed out that the Kickstarter representatives as the show were, themselves, involved in the unionization efforts.
  • Creators indicated that they’ll be looking to the Kickstarter Union folks for guidance and will follow their lead. Boycotting right now has not been requested, and would very likely be counterproductive.
  • Several acknowledged the difficulty of finding a platform that could serve to replace Kickstarter if the Union calls for a boycott.
  • There’s a willingness to lend voices of support to the unionization effort, to the extent that personal involvement with Kickstarter might hold any moral authority or ability to sway management’s decisions.

Speaking of the second and fourth points above, Taylor Moore (one of those ousted last week) is currently tweeting a call to action, asking creators to sign on to a petition to Kickstarter management. Not being a project creator myself I am not the intended signatory, but I’ve noticed more than a few webcomics folks retweeting and stating they’ve signed, so maybe take a look.

Specific responses when I asked if there were comments about the situation for the record:

Sara McHenry, Make That Thing asskicker at large and creative project manager, on unalloyed support while not forgetting point #3 above — I think every workplace should be unionized, and if I only did business with unionized workplaces I would starve.

Matt Lubchansky, cartoonist and editorial force at The Nib, on how Kickstarter’s actions are ultimately self-defeating — Unionbusting is bad for Kickstarter, it’s bad for the industry, and I’m looking forward to hearing [from the Kickstarter Union] what we can do to support them.

Matt Bors, temporarily doing way too much to keep The Nib running — The Nib is planning on using Kickstarter for our upcoming projects. It appears they fired people for trying to organize a union, which I’m pretty sure is illegal? I support the organizers’ efforts and look to them for direction.

Shing Yin Khor, Kickstarter 2019 Thought Leader and creator of mutant-horrorshow balloon doggies¹ — [Silently looks me square in the eye, grasps the ribbon that tethers the KICKSTARTER-branded mylar balloon floating above her table and pulls it down. Writes UNIONIZE in Sharpie on the balloon² and lets it float free, never breaking her gaze.]

Becky Dreistadt, artist, animator, and woman who gave Steven Universe his neckThe reason we [indicating her partner Frank Gibson] both have healthcare is I’m in the animator’s union. Unions are good.

Frank Gibson, the writerly half behind Becky And Frank’s work, including Capture Creatures, Tigerbuttah, Tiny Kitten Teeth, and Bustletown — The stability of my upbringing is because of the New Zealand teacher’s union.

George, official Kickstarter Expert and guy who knows what Public Benefit Corporations are supposed to be like[A long stream of pro-union statements made while I didn’t have my notebook close to hand, but while George was holding the brick he accepted on behalf of Ngozi Ukazu at the Ignatz Awards just prior, while offering to both email me a pro-union statement for the record, and also expressing an understanding of why rioters grab bricks, because the feel of them makes you want to chuck it for great justice.]

I’ll just end on a couple of personal notes: I had a couple of people come up to me on Saturday to thank me for this page³, and one woman who told me that she took a photo of me at MoCCA 2018 to use as reference for a painting, which she showed me on her phone (and which she’ll be emailing to me soon, I hope; I’ll share it when I get it). Thanks very much, Susan, John, and Qu.

Congratulations to Colleen AF Venable and Ellen T Crenshaw, who found out this morning that Kiss Number 8 is longlisted for a National Book Award.

And congratulations to Rosemary Valero-O’Connell on your three (!) Ignatzen for Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me. I told her when I met her that her already-strong work was going to become world-class; I told her on Saturday to make room in her luggage for three bricks. So far I’m two-for-two. Back her Kickstarter, which I guess brings us full circle.

Spam of the day:

Every my part are getting hot when I see you

I am a sexy, sexy man, it’s true.

¹ They had a bunch of balloons and I saw similar critters on half the tables on the show floor. They were … yeah.

That’s mine in the picture up top. I call him Bob The Unsettling. He lives on the shelf above my computer, with my Stupid, Stupid Rat Creature. The Rat Creature has a quiche as an accessory!

² I noticed later that Evan Dahm similarly editorialized on the balloon at his table.

Oh, and that’s not a silver wang in the background, pervs. SPX has helium balloon letters of the alphabet floating above each table pod, and that’s Pod J, listing to the side.

³ One added it had been their homepage when I was in high school, which I took as a tremendous compliment. There’s all kinds of things you fixate on at that age, and a hack webcomics pseudojournalist wouldn’t make the top 1000 most popular online topics among highschoolers. Thanks for that, and for the mini — it’s good work.

For Those Headed To Opposite Coasts This Weekend

Editor’s note: During the writing of this piece, news broke regarding Kickstarter firing two of the organizers of unionization efforts in the past eight days. We will address this more fully when we have more information.

In either a tremendous case of bad scheduling, or a tremendous case of making sure nobody gets left out for being on the wrong side of the country, both Rose City Comic Con and the Small Press Expo take place this weekend (RCCC, tomorrow-Sunday; SPX, Saturday-Sunday). We’ve gone over the SPX exhibitor list — please note that Box Brown announced this morning he will unfortunately not be able to attend — but let’s take a look at their programming, and what’s going on at RCCC.

SPX’s programming is simple and to the point: everything lasts just under an hour, workshops in the Glen Echo Room require signup (and are mostly filled already), panels happen in the White Oak Room or the White Flint Auditorium, and all of them start on either the hour or the half-hour (WO on the hour Saturday, WF on the hour Sunday). Some you might be interested in include:

Rose City’s listings mostly distinguish between Artists Alley being people and Exhibitors being companies. In some cases, the same floor assignment shows up on both lists, as Helioscope Studio on the Exhibitor pages, and the studio folks/friends who’ll be there (Aud Koch, Cat Farris, Ron Chan, Steve Lieber, and more) all showing up on the AA page.

As a result, it’s easy to miss people, but in addition to the folks already listed, one may expect to find: Barry Deutsch (AA05), Haley Boros (AA01), Kel McDonald (A01), Kerstin La Cross (X11), Lucas Elliott (DD11), Molly Muldoon (JJ04), Iron Circus Comics (918), Nucleus (1008), and Oni Press (901); those exhibitors will likely host associated creators, so swing by to check on that.

Of special note: the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace will be at booth 1070 and the Washington County Library at booth 1098. I think that public service outreach of this nature is an excellent idea.

RCCC’s programming descriptions are brief, and range from celebrity fluffings to the suddenly relevant — anybody want to attend the Kickstarter And Games panel tomorrow to ask about how union retaliation fits in with being a Public Benefit Corporation? You’ll be in Room 3 at 1:30pm. Others to consider:

  • Is Phoebe And Her Unicorn The Best Comic Strip Since Calvin And Hobbes? (Room 2, Friday, 2:00pm)
    I would very much like to hear this discussion.
  • MAKE IT GAY, YA COWARDS! [EMPHASIS original] (Room 7, Friday, 4:30pm)
    I just love the title.
  • Tales From The Long Con (Room 6, Sunday, noon) Note that Dylan Meconis is not listed as tabling or attending outside this panel, so this is your chance to thank her for Queen Of The Sea.

The Small Press Expo will take place at the Marriott North Bethesda in Bethesda, Maryland, from 11:00 to 7:00pm on Saturday, and noon to 6:00pm on Sunday. Admission is US$15 for Saturday, US$10 for Sunday, or US$20 for the weekend.

Rose City Comic Con will take place at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon, from 1:00pm to 8:00pm on Friday, 10:00am to 7:00pm on Saturday, and 10:00am to 5:00pm on Sunday. Admission packages range from US$15 to US$140.

Spam of the day:

Would you be interested in an advertising service that costs less than $39 every month and delivers tons of people who are ready to buy directly to your website?

I would be fascinated to discover what you think I’m selling.