The webcomics blog about webcomics

Probably The Last Preview Post Before The Day

In case you’d forgotten, we’re just about a week out from MoCCA Fest 2017, and there’s more exhibitor information up than previously. I gave a skim down the list and in addition to familiar names, I saw creators that I’m not familiar with, but whose little avatar-sized teaser images makes me want to see more. Let’s run ’em down.

On the returning front, you’ve got Ken Wong’s Origami Comics (table F217), Bill Roundy’s Bar Scrawl (a personal favorite, next door at F218), Evan Dahm’s illustrated stories and adaptations (D143 A, no indication of who’s in B), Dean Haspiel’s long career (A103 B), Josh Neufeld’s nonfiction (next door at A104), Julia Gfrörer’s unsettlements (F206), Lucy Bellwood’s nautical wonders (on the exhibitor page, but table not listed), Carey Pietsch’s ever-expanding oeuvre (D145), and Meredith Gran’s soon-concluding magnum opus (not listed on the exhibitor page, but she assures us she’ll be there, and that’s good enough for me). Many of them have relationships with the quality publishers that will be showing including Top Shelf (A101 & 2), :01 Books (E157 & 8), and Fantagraphics (C135-8).

On the not familiar to me yet list (and that’s not a bad place to be — I’ve discovered a new favorite creator at MoCCA) are the likes of Alisa Harris (table assignment not listed), Amanda Tolentino (F221 & 2), Leland Goodman (E175), Reneé Park (D150), Emily and The Yea Girls¹ (collectively, Yan Gabriella, Erica De Chavez and Angeli Rafer, with special guest Emily Dahl, F210), and Sean Dillon (H249). Given that I was just deciding to click on a name or not based on single images, I can’t really tell you much about the work of any of these creators, but I find it interesting that all but one are women. McCloud’s prediction that the comics industry would be majority female by 2024 continues to be exceedingly conservative.

MoCCA Fest runs Saturday and Sunday, 1-2 April, from 11:00am to 6:00pm at the Metropolitan West event space, West 46th between 11th & 12th. Admission is five dollars, a bargain at twice the price.

Spam of the day:

Get your FREE Hiring Risk Score

I’m not hiring anybody, thanks. And if I were, it would be the extremely competent-seeming women in your ad, and not the techbros that they appear to be interviewing. Those dudes need to go away and learn some body language that doesn’t indicate complete and utter contempt for women.

¹ More artists collectives should have names that sound like touring musicians. If they don’t do at least two encores after the main set, I’ll be disappointed.

² That would be Sean Dillon; before you ask, Leland is normally a male name, but Goodman uses she in her bio and that settles it.

Not That Today’s Stuff Isn’t Great, Too

Hey, who wants to learn about the state of webcomics-related crowdfunding in Europe? Well, you’d better have said I do!, Sparky, ’cause it’s what you’re about to get … tomorrow, courtesy of Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin. Start feeling the anticipation, because it’s coming right at you. In the meantime, let’s catch up with a couple of notable news items.

  • First up, and I’m a little late on this one, the annual Slate/Center For Cartoon Studies Cartoonist Studio Prize shortlists have been released. This is the fifth year for the CSPs, which have a breathtaking simplicity for comics awards: ten print comics and ten webcomics (equal billing!) are nominated by the faculty and students at CCS, Slate’s technology & culture writer Jacob Brogan, and a guest judge (this year, it’s Karen Green of Columbia University, where she’s the curator for comics and cartoons Rare Books and Manuscripts Library¹).

    Announcement gets made, a month later the two winners are announced, and the creator or creator team gets a check for US$1000. No muss, no fuss. This year’s nominees include John Martz, Eleanor Davis, the March team, Sarah Glidden, Sonny Liew, and Leela Corma (print), and Tillie Walden, Jess Ruliffson, Christina Tran, Meghan Lands, Luke Healy, and Diana Nock (webcomics).

    The print nominees are dominated by publisher by Retrofit/Big Planet Comics (three nominations), with the usual suspects (Koyama, D&Q, Top Shelf, Fantagraphics) also represented. The webcomics are dominated by single stories with beginnings, middles, and ends (including a biographical profile from The Nib, which is also my pick on the webcomics side, with Walden’s On A Sunbeam as a close second), with few ongoings. None of this is good or bad, just how the nominating panel found things to be this year.

    Best of luck to all the nominees; the winners will be announced on April 10th.

  • Speaking of the Center For Cartoon Studies, one of its alumni, Sophie Goldstein, has something to share with you. Goldstein’s been on my radar ever since she was one half of the team behind Darwin Carmichael Is Going To Hell, and she’s not wasted the time since. She’s been nominated for the Cartoonist Studio Prize, won a pair of Ignatzen, and produced a stack of damn good comics as long as your arm. And yet, as successful as her career has been, it’s been part time work; time for that to change:

    With the help of Patreon, I hope to make writing and drawing graphic novels my full-time job. Like many creators I’ve had trouble stitching together a steady income from my work. Currently, I work part-time at a rock climbing facility and take on occasional freelance to make ends meet. However, long-form storytelling is what I love to do, and with the help of my patrons I can focus on the big projects closest to my heart and and get them out in the world as soon as humanly possible.

    Note to self: organize a webcomics rock-climbing outing sometime. Goldstein, Jamie Noguchi, Matt Boyd, and Yuko ‘n’ Ananth are probably not all of the webcomicker climbers out there, and I’d trust any of them to catch me on a whipper. But I digress. Goldstein’s base goals are very modest:

    • US$60 — the amount she was recently paid to participate in a medical experiment
    • US$200 — her monthly food budget
    • US$650 — her monthly rent and utilities

    She’s reached the point where she no longer has to be subject to the whims of mad doctors and can eat; it’s time to make sure she has a place to live while making comics. Go check out her comics (so much is available for free on her site) and if you like what you see, give just a bit so that she can make more.

Spam of the day:

Re. For Whom It May Concern.

Oh, this is one just bad — two different names from the introduction to the signature, a third name as the point of contact, tortured English, a vague promise of a grant to me just for being awesome (with no amount specified) from Google and/or the UN and/or the EU and/or an Act of Parliament, but only if I’m American. Hello, hi spammers, you are very bad at your job kthxbye.

¹ Green is really smart; I saw her talk about how graphic novels have changed in the ten years since :01 Books hit the scene at last year’s SDCC.

To The Rescue, Like The Boss He Is

So this week, I’m teaching a full five-day class in four days (read: 10+ hour days), in a basement (read: no cell signal), hooked up to a highly-restrictive guest wifi account (read: no webcomics). I am arriving at the client before the sun is up, and gonna be exhausted by the time the day is done. This would ordinarily be a recipe for no content, but these are not ordinary times.

These are times that feature Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin, who always finds interesting stuff to talk about, and sends it to me at my least-likely-to-post times. Tell us about state of webcomics live performance events in the European Theatre, FSFCPL:

Tuesday I had the opportunity to attend a talk organized by the SOFIA at the Maison de la Poésie, which was about the ways cartooning can be put on stage; to talk on the matter, Boulet and Marion “Professeur Moustache” Montaigne¹ were interviewed by Paul Satis.

Readers of this blog are no doubt aware of events of this kind in comic conventions, most notably the Super Art Fight format created by Jamie Noguchi [Editor’s note: I believe that Ross Nover also deserves mention here], and such events are a regular occurrence in French comic festivals. Photos were shown of such an event a few years back of a format where cartoonists were costumed, in tribute to wrestling competitions, and where Boulet was a contestant (and he remarked that, just like wrestling, the refereeing was rigged).

However, most of the time these events do not conform to a particular format; in fact, Boulet was critical of these festivals that just put two cartoonists in front of one or two easel pads on a stand as a cheap way to create an event, and he added he did not like participating to such “battles” in general, or to similar “challenges” (e.g. quick successive drawings based on a surprise theme) because of the inability to build up towards a goal.

The same went for events where he had to improvise live based on, say, the music the band played: he mentioned having barely settled on what he was going to draw and started it when the mood of the music changed, leaving him always catching up to it and not providing an experience that made sense to the public. He still does live drawing in festivals, but he plans in advance the scene and only the actual drawing is performed live; no improv.

Montaigne mentioned that, unrelated to the challenge of improvisation, there was the matter of some artists having styles that were less suited than others for the exercise, in particular for artists who always rely on an initial sketch; this made Boulet and her sought-after artists for such events, as both can whip up expressive drawings in no time at all. She also mentioned feeling a duty to show up for such events whenever she could, so as to provide representation for female cartoonists for the people this could inspire in the audience.

Boulet then introduced the “drawn music performance” format he performs with band Inglenook. When Lyon BD festival initially asked him whether he could come up with an event combining music and live drawing, he contacted this band who he knew beforehand to see how this could be done.

He mentioned the biggest challenge was to come up with scenes than could each be drawn in the 3-4 minutes of a typical song: the band plays its songs like it would for any other performance, and he adapts to them, a bit like an additional band player who would play with a graphic tablet and a stylus instead of a violin and bow. He based his drawings on the song lyrics — or how he understands them, anyway, as they are often very symbolic. So as to provide some variation, they alternate songs where he draws with songs where he plays a prerecorded animation.

The talk was followed by a full performance of this “drawn music”. I found it pretty enjoyable; without giving too much away (it’s a kind of “you had to be there”-style event anyway), besides the songs where Boulet actually draws, there are others where an animation is being played where lines progressively appear and end up building a scene which feels much like when he draws, only that some light animation (e.g. red scribbles evoking a flame) occur, and lines progressively disappear at the end of each scene before the next scene starts (this also allows having a few scenes for a song, rather than a single one).

And for other songs a completely different “animation” style is used. Lastly, some songs are accompanied with a speed draw, which I found a bit odd: I am used to watching speed drawings set to music on the web, so I ended up paying more attention to the drawing than to the song, which may not be the aim here.

If you want to attend such a performance, I do not know where or when this will happen next, though your best bet would be Lyon BD, in June.

¹ Disappointingly deprived by nature of any facial hair in real life, much like our favorite mechanical engineer

As always, thanks to Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin for his reporting and analysis; as a special bonus treat, we’ll have another post this week regarding the latest on European webcomics crowdfunding. It’s a good’un.

Spam of the day:

Lost Navajo remedy found to reverse hearing loss

So, I’m confused — is “Chief Running Water” (ick … just ick) the “retired NASA engineer” who discovered the lost Navajo remedy? And if not, why is white dude in possession of more Navajo lore than any actual Navajo? It’s the implausible mixed with the irredeemably racist in one horrible, horrible spam. Good jorb!

² Fun fact that FSFCPL could not have known — as a result of supporting Angela Melick’s final Wasted Talent Kickstarter (whose books you non-backers can still obtain until 15 April!), I am (or will be, once shipping happens) the owner of the original of that particular comic. I know! Terrifyingly appropriate!

A Rare Image Header That Refers To Spam Of The Day

Also, a Spam of the day with a blockquote in the reply. Everything is upside down today.

We are coming up on a barn-burner of an anniversary in webcomics; over the next couple of years we’ll see it repeated, but this is the first one. Jon Rosenberg¹ may try to imply that Goats only became acceptably good about the time he went to color full time, and that no comics existed prior to the end of 2003. Au contraire, mon frère! Goats was birthed of frustration and spite boredom and not a little beer on 1 April 2007 1997, or just about twenty damn years ago.

[Thanks to alert reader maarvarq who caught my typo; I blame it on the fact that while Goats could be nearly 20 years old, it couldn’t be from 1997 because that would make me old.]

Thanks to the magic of the Wayback Machine, we can share that first strip (I will spare you what the site looked like back then). It’s been nearly seven years that the story has been on hiatus (what with Rosenberg working on SFAM, winning NCS awards, and figuring out how to end a story when the inspirations for same have radically changed².

Not that that’s stopped him, I mean:

I’m almost done inking and I gotta say I forgot how much fun making Goats was. This is okay. I can do this occasionally.

Yep, Goats is back, and the worlds-spanning weirdness has an end envisioned. But in the meantime, celebrations must be had:

I’m doing a 20th comicsversary thing at a pub on the 31st. Come celebrate with me! …

That would be the Peculier Pub in Greenwich Village, where Goats was born and where so much of it took place. It’ll be the very last day of the 19th year of the strip; for those that hang around until midnight to ring in Year 20³, don’t forget that the next day is the start of MoCCA Fest 2017; I find that synchronicity to be pleasing. Fun starts at 6:00pm, and there will (needless to say) be booze. See you there.

Update to add: New Goats strip! What may be the longest webcomics hiatus (and our non-Trump related national nightmare) is over!

Spam of the day:

The Black Eyed Peas Debut Original Graphic Novel, MASTERS OF THE SUN – THE ZOMBIE CHRONICLES

I’m with Ms Ludgate in my general opinion of BEP, and also Mr Nathan Rabin of The AV Club, who dubbed them:

[E]ssentially a four-person advertising agency flimsily masquerading as a pop group. Think of them as the distinguished firm of Hologram Man, Meth Lady, The Other Guy, and The Other Other Guy, Inc.

After discerning the most irritating possible melody imaginable, Will.I.Am then moves on to the next step in the songwriting process. He heads down to the lyrics lab of Hologram Man, Meth Lady, The Other Guy, and The Other Other Guy, Inc., where scientists with clipboards monitor crazy homeless men around the clock and write down their most annoying patter. Once the most irritating possible melody is married to the most obnoxious conceivable lyric, the song is given to Fergie and the horrible-ification process is complete.

¹ Obligatory disclaimer: the reason that this blog exists, and guy that pays for my hosting (if no longer my beer).

² Not the least being the births of his three children, including twin boys from a high-risk pregnancy that necessitated some fairly extensive physical therapy. He’s basically not slept in the past six years.

³ Just one more year and Jon’s cartooning career can legally drink.

There Are Snow Boulders At The End Of My Driveway And I Feel Fine

I mean, I’ve had big snowstorms before, but not with such wet, heavy, packed snow … a day and a half below freezing since, and the piles cleared are solid masses of ice. It’s a winter wonderland barely tolerable, slippery, hurts-when-you-fall-on-it slap in the face mere days before the official arrival of spring, but at least I’m starting to catch up with things.

  • Know who missed out on a decent chunk of winter — Midwest winter no less — weather? David Willis. I mean, not that a snowstorm, even of the consume your life so you can’t draw comics variety is gonna affect the guy with a buffer that stretches past the next solstice. Yeah, he was on the Nerd Boat last week, and apparently tropical sunshine and cool folks and wonderful weird times put him in a good mood, on account of he announced that he’s gonna do a comic shop signing, presumably in an effort to tamp down some of the residual happiness:

    I will be at Laughing Ogre Comics here in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday (St Patrick’s Day) from 5-7pm! I will have books and probably magnets with me to trade to people for money. That’s right, I have one single event scheduled this year that I’m currently aware of, and this is it! No ECCC, no SDCC, Webcomic Rampage is over, and it’s too soon to schedule my annual Bloomington trip, SO THIS IS IT, THIS IS IT, ONE DAY’S NOTICE, COME SEE ME I GUESS

    Comic shop denizens scheduled all ninja-like on a day famed for public drunkenness? Willis is either very brave, very foolish, or very both. Go tell him I said hi, and don’t make him regret his willingness to be among the outside people.

  • Steve Lieber of Helioscope Studios (formerly Periscope) in Portland is well known for a number of things: comics ranging from Whiteout to Spider-Man titles, tons of storyboard and concept work, and damn good advice from the trenches of a freelance comics career. He dropped some of the latter today on Twitter (starting here) that anybody doing work for hire should memorize, and possibly tattoo on the insides of their eyeballs.

    Key thought: document everything that you’re willing to do, how much it will cost, and what the client gets in return for their money¹. Documentation is critical, as are minimizing the number of voices providing you wth contradictory instructions, and the ability to advocate for yourself. Remember: it’s not that your client is actively evil per se; they aren’t out to actively make you miserable, it’s just that your time or happiness do not enter into their thought processes at all.

    And the two most useful pieces of advice are, in no particular order:

    Tape this phrase to your monitor: “That’s beyond the scope of our original agreement. We’ll need to work out what doing that will cost.”
    And ffs, sit up straight. You’re gonna need that spine even after the job’s all wrapped up.

    Go read it all.

Spam of the day:

Cannabis Extract now Legal to Buy and Ship in All 50 States

I doubt the veracity of this statement, as well as the claim that it came from Dr Sanjay Gupta. Somehow, I think that a world-famous neurosurgeon has more to do with his time than hawking fake weed oil.

¹ Implication: no money? They get nothing.

Very Behind Today; Likely Tomorrow As Well

So, quickly then: MoCCA Fest 2017 (brought to you by the Society of Illustrators) has announced its programming slate; two rooms (at the Ink48 Hotel) each running three sessions on Saturday and Sunday afternoons (unfortunately, head to head; in past years, the rooms have staggered their start times), six per day, twelve total.

Best looking one from here: Gene Yang (Ambassador, Genius, etc) talking about diversity in comics with Damian Duffy, Hazel Newlevant, and Whit Taylor (Saturday, Garamond room, 12:30pm). Artist spotlight panels include Drew Friedman (Saturday, Helvetica room, 12:30pm), Cliff Chiang (Saturday, Helvetica room, 3:30pm), David Lloyd (Sunday, Garamond room, 12:30pm), and Becky Cloonan (Sunday, Helvetica room, 3:30pm). Politics gets a workout in Covering Trump (Saturday, Helvetica room, 2:00pm) and RESIST! (Sunday, Helvetica room, 2:00pm). Honestly, the other five panels look like they’ll be just as good.

MoCCA Fest runs Saturday and Sunday, 1-2 April, from 11:00am to 6:00pm at the Metropolitan West event space, West 46th between 11th & 12th. Admission is five stinkin’ bucks.

Spam of the day:

The Payment will be posted in 2 days. See the document (u29aq88b23vs86xh60d.docx) attached. Document Access Key: gLOcaNlBVY52

Everybody? This is a lie. Never believe these. These are bad people.

A Week Later, It’s Still Awesome News

The news is out, albeit after an unavoidable week’s delay: Kelly & Zach, the principals of Weinersmith & Weinersmith Enterprises, have announced their biggest project to date¹: a book on the technologies most likely to change the world in a relatively immediate timeframe (call it the next handful of decades) and how likely each one is to come to pass as their adherents claim.

It’s called Soonish, it’s got wonderful introductions to ten areas of technological exploration², and the occasional cartoon. Explainer here, pre-orders here, and despite the fact that Soonish has a major publisher behind it (Penguin), Weinersmith (Z) can’t get away from the indie creator let’s Kickstart this to the moon! habit, and thus the number of pre-orders (release date is in October) will determine rewards that will be widely distributed.

Oh, yeah, and Weinersmith (Z) has also produced — in addition to today’s announcement cartoon, with requisite Phil Plait mockery³ — two regular SMBC comics today. I say regular advisedly, as it’s not a word I’d normally apply to W(Z). The first of them is a fairly standard SMBC, but the second features the single most horrifying thing ever drawn in a comic by a Certified Genius Master Hypnotist. Steel your hearts and be not afraid. Or actually, just don’t eat anything before you read that second one. Trust me.

For non-Weinersmith related news:

  • I’m not sure if it’s pop-culture saturation or just Rich Stevens being really good at expressing the intrinsic character of things in the minimum number of pixels, but you can totally tell exactly what each of those action figures behind Electron Mike are in today’s Diesel Sweeties. It’s a marvel of refined deisgn.
  • The Creators For Creators grant was announced about eleven months ago, took its first applications about ten months ago, closed them about four months ago, and announced its first recipient over the weekend and EmCity. M Dean, illustrator and cartoonist, is figuring out what to do with an extra US$30K to support her creative efforts while working on her next project, titled I Am Young. There’s a brief interview with Dean at the C4C homepage (undoubtedly, it’ll move to a subpage in future), which is well worth a read.

    Also worth mentioning: that the C4C grant was founded with the financial backing of a bunch of Image folks and C Spike Trotman, who continues to rip shit up in webcomics publishing. It’s been a bit less than two days since Dean’s recognition, so give ’em a bit of time to regroup and then we’ll see what this year’s application cycle looks like; I’d imagine it looks a lot like last year’s six month application period, but we’ll all find out authoritatively in the near future.

  • It is a well established phenomenon that we at Fleen — that is to say, me at Fleen, aka Gary — loves me some Digger (yes, I know there’s serious singular-plural disagreement in there; deal with it.gif). A large part of that comes from the fact that Digger creator Ursula Vernon is probably the best writer of (vague handwavy gestures because I know this is an almost wholly useless term) fantasy this side of Neil Gaiman, the best writer of (more gestures) YA this side of Raina Telgemeier, and the best combiner of the two this side of Jeff Smith. Specifically, she does smart, empathetic, actual-person girls better than anybody this side of Hayao Miyazaki.

    Thus, when her serialized novel Summer in Orcus debuted online last equinox, I recommended it sight unseen. Well, not quite, she’d done the equivalent of the first chapter on LiveJournal a few years prior, so I knew it started with Baba Yaga’s chicken house trotting down the back alley of suburbia, and how can you dispute a start like that? It was going to be damn good, there existed no other mathematical possibility.

    It exceeded my expectations significantly, and caused me no small outbursts of emotions at regular intervals over the next three months. Frustrations at the days-long waits between chapters. Utter and true heartbreak at loses suffered (and I use that word precisely; Vernon made her heroine hurt, because sometimes that’s what life teaches you: that you can do your best with the best of intentions and people still get hurt and you can’t shake the feeling it’s your fault even when it isn’t but maybe it is a little), blind hatred of the second-tier villain, soaring exultation at particularly smart or heartwarming or weird circumstances in the story.

    This is not a fairy tale that instructs moral lessons, it’s one that offers warnings about what the world is like. It’s certainly not one that gets you to Happily Ever After without an equal measure of regrets. Also, there’s the bit with the cheeses, which is pretty damn hilarious.

    The complete Summer In Orcus has been available in various e-formats since the story wrapped eight-ten weeks back, and Vernon acknowledged the wants of those of us that craved a book book version, one that works by flashlight under the covers, and said she’d try to figure something out. The figuring is apparently past, as her Digger publisher, Sofawolf Press, had an announcement over the weekend:

    We are still working out final details, but we can reveal that there will be both a softcover and a hardcover edition, and the cover and interior illustrations will be done by Lauren Henderson (aka: “Louvelex”). We’ll be doing a very simple Kickstarter to help us gauge demand, but we’ll also have a couple stretch goals that will allow us to spiffy up the final book.

    Final details to come over the next month or so. For me, that’ll be a hardcover for my library, and I figure I’ll get a stack of paperbacks — I’ve got nieces and nephews that need this book, and for half a year I’ve been pointing people at Summer In Orcus as the entry point to Vernon’s work; now I won’t have to try to remember the URL, I can just put a copy in their hands.

    We’ll be sure to let you know about the Kickstart when it comes, but do yourself a favor and start clearing space on your shelves now. And if anybody reading this is at Laika and wants to figure out their next project, I would suggest that Summer + stop motion is a friggin’ license to print money.

Spam of the day:

Up yours!

Somebody’s seen Sweet Charity too many times. Yeesh.

¹ Again, if we discount the production of two miniature alive humans.

² Reminder-slash-disclaimer: I’ve read a late pre-final version, and it’s impressive how many absolutely brilliant, Nobel laureate-level people were willing to go on the record in a book that also features dick jokes.

³ Scroll to the bottom, and don’t forget to hover over the comic for a bonus gag.

And The Next Comics Event Is …

Man, Becky Cloonan's good. This is so pretty.

Yeah, yeah, I know everybody’s living it up in Seattle, what with the many, many webcomickers and Ass Swordsman Tetsuo sketches and all, but have you considered the fact that we’re just a month away from MoCCA Festival 2017 in New York City?

The weekend of 1-2 April, from 11:00am to 6:00pm is when, the Metropolitan West event venue (mere steps from an actual damn aircraft carrier with an actual damn space shuttle) is where¹ — a venue with some pretty decent food options, bee-tee-dubs — at a cost of five friggin’ dollars a day. For that you’ll get the best comics artists on the coast (always a well-curated mix of familiar standbys and new talent²), and Guests of Honor including Cliff Chiang, Becky Cloonan, David Lloyd, Blutch, Drew Freidman, and some guy named Gene Yang who’s supposed to be a genius or something.

Programming’s not been announced yet, but traditionally MoCCA have GoH spotlights, some smart people doing profile-type interviews, and no conflicts — every panel runs in a unique timeslot to avoid having to choose who to see talk at a given time. It’s usually six or so panels on each of the two days, meaning the only thing keeping you from seeing every panel is how much time you want to spend on the show floor.

Webcomicky types due to table at MoCCA include Bill Roundy, Carey Pietsch, Evan Dahm, Josh Neufeld, Julia Gfrorër, and slates of creators from :01 Books, the Center for Cartoon Studies, and Top Shelf/IDW.

As a bonus, the Festival will almost certainly not catch fire. I’ll see you there — I’ll be the guy with the notebook and the moustache.

Spam of the day:


I’m not sure I understand the gist of your offering. It’s mysterious and too subtle to be understood.

¹ Sessions will be held in the nearby — and gorgeous — Ink48 hotel, 11th & 48th.

² I met nascent superstar Rosemary Valero-O’Connell there last year, let’s not forget.

For Those Not In/Going To Seattle, And Heck, For Them Too

EmCity will be kicking off in a few hours, with toutes les webcomiques in attendance. Some of us never quite get to go, but that’s okay; we at Fleen are not bitter. For those that don’t get to explore the Washington State Convention Center this weekend, but who do find themselves on the Left Coast (specifically, the San Francisco Bay area) come Monday, there’s stuff going on in observance of Will Eisner Week¹ from our friends at the Cartoon Art Museum².

Specifically, you’ll find CAM over in the space of Comix Experience (305 Divisadero Street, SF), celebrating the centennial of Eisner’s birth from 5:00pm to 8:00pm:

Birthday activities include making party hats out of comic books, games including “Pin the Fedora on the Spirit,” and Will Eisner trivia. A spirited selection of birthday cupcakes will be provided!

Cupcakes! Activities! Fedoras in a non-horrible context! Best of all, the event is free and open to the public, but I’d wager there would no complaints if you donated a few bucks to help CAM’s mission/ongoing moving expenses. Or, for that matter, if you picked up one of Eisner’s many excellent graphic novels, or a collection of The Spirit from the height of the strip (call it 1946 to 1948, when Eisner returned from World War II and resumed direct creative control from his assistants³).

Spam of the day:

SqrtnAmy16 Sent You This Message: “Well, hey there! Young and energetic cutie here looking to continue exploring my wild side with a new man.

I don’t think I get your username, square root of (n) Amy. Are self-described hot-and-horny sluts really that into math?

¹ Which is already underway; it runs from 1 March (yesterday) to 7 March (next Tuesday). Eisner was born on 6 March 2017.

² Whose relocation into new, permanent gallery space is so close we at Fleen can practically taste it.

³ Who included the likes of Jules Feiffer and Jack Cole.

Dunnn, Dunnn, Dun-Dun-Dun

Blast, meet past. From the mailbag:

Even though the Crown Commission website went offline late last year, and the domain expired in early February, the Daily Grind Iron Man Challenge continues. Tuesday, February 28th, 2017 marked the 12th anniversary of this round of madness.

For the record, there are still two people in it: Michael H. “Daily Grind” Payne and Andrew “TRU-Life Adventures” Rothery.

That courtesy of Rothery himself, in a note misleadingly titled Minor webcomic milestone; for those too young to remember, once upon a time (before this page even launched), a whole damn bunch of webcomcikers — some of whom have become pretty damn famous — each kicked in US$20 in a bet to see who could update daily the longest without missing an update¹.

Almost immediately, people started dropping out; by the end of year one half the field was gone². After three years, three out of four competitors were done, and half of those were absent by the start of year five.

The ten year anniversary saw but two remaining (Brad Guigar’s update patterns changed around New Year’s Day 2015, making him the last competitor to finish out of the money), and so we stay to this day. Either Payne or Rothery will win this thing one day, taking home US$1120 (and eternal bragging rights); the other will take home the funds raised by advertising, last noted to be US$135 (and also the ignominy of being First Loser).

Should you come across either in the days and months to come, be sure to congratulate them, and understand that at this point neither will give up for any reason short of death. Fleen congratulates both Rothery and Payne, and assures you that whatever else you manage in life, this longevity in webcomicking will be in the first paragraph of your respective obituaries.

Spam of the day:

Women need to feel in control. So when they lack that feeling, they get NERVOUS. And that is exactly why they want this technique BANNED.

Okay, a) Your shitty MRA cheat code is not a free pass into the pants of ladies. To quote the indispensable Randy Milholland, no one owes you access to their body. And II) Your shitty MRA cheat code is not something that can be banned, exactly how stupid do you think the people you’re trying to sell this crap to are? Oh, wait, I think I just answered my own question.

¹ There were rules to determine what counted as an update, and what to do in case of site outage, and how many days could be missed based on your strip’s schedule.

² Including, in a shocker, cartooning machine Chris Crosby.