The webcomics blog about webcomics

So That’s New

This is the oddest unsolicited email I’ve ever received. I can’t really say it’s spam, since it’s not trying to separate me from my money. It’s also not the usual breathless PR dreck, in that it’s not promoting the launch of a bad movie, a bad comic, a bad collectible, but rather a country.

Chile is gonna be at SDCC, y’all.

Tales of fantasy, crime and mystery; these are part of the proposal that Chile will present between Thursday, July 19 and Sunday, July 22, at the San Diego Convention Center. For the second consecutive year, Chile will be present as the only country in Latin America to exhibit in Comic Con San Diego.

I must have missed it last year, but Chile is taking an interest in promoting its national artistic efforts in the comics arena. I’ve seen national groups (either official, or via a cultural society) many times at the festival-type shows (especially MoCCA, where by my recollection France, various Scandinavian countries, Italy, Portugal, Israel, Taiwan, and other countries have sent representatives), but I don’t recall it happening at one of the big tier comics (and let’s face it, mostly not-comics) shows.

Honestly, I always love going by the national culture tables, because sometimes it’s just really good work, and sometimes there’s something undefinably unique to the range of work, something that’s indicative of the national character.

In the 49th annual Comic Con International: San Diego , Chile will be represented by graphic humorist Alberto Montt, illustrator and comic artist Catalina Corvalán, the prominent cartoonist and graphic designer Germán Adriazola; and the editors Emiliano Navarrete and Oscar Salas of the editorials Biblioteca de Chilenia and Dogitia Publishing, respectively.

Chile (or, more precisely, the Chilean Trade Commission) will be represented at booth 5526, which is right by entrance B2 on our 2018 floor maps. They’ll have representative work and a showcase of the styles and history of Chilean comics, which has more than a century’s history (or so I am told). I’ve included a couple of images from the delegation’s catalog up top so you can decide if you want to browse by. If nothing else, I intend to give them an unequivocal welcome to the US, because screw nationalism. Comics are an international art form, and I’m glad to see them making the trip.


Spam of the day:

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Hey, look! Two stupidly popular things I don’t care about combined into one thing I can not care about. Efficient!

Looking Like An Ostertagian Weekend From Here

Here’s the remainder of what looks interesting on the SDCC program schedule this year.

Saturday
Using Graphic Novels To Help Cope With Bullying
10:00am — 11:00am, Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library

Educators, podcasters, and graphic novelists (Raina Telgemeier, Molly Ostertag, Christina Stewart) talk about dealing with bullying via comics.

Comic Book Law School 303: Beyond Trademarks And Copyrights
10:30am — 12:00pm, Room 11

Part three.

Comics And Geek Items For The Blind And Visually Impaired
1:00pm — 2:00pm, Room 2

Totally blind martial artist, competitive surfer, and unashamed geek Joshua Loya and actor/audio book narrator/writer Scott Brick share what options exist for nonvisual entertainment. I was hoping to see Sky McCloud (geek from birth, and blind filmmaker) on here, but I guess the organizers don’t know her.

The Comics Revolution
1:00pm — 2:00pm, Room 29AB

Mark Siegel built up :01 Books, and he’s just getting started. Come hear what he’s got to say and what he’s looking to do next.

The Adventure Zone Graphic Novel
2:00pm — 3:00pm, Room 28DE

Here there be McElroys, and Carey Pietsch who has dealt with more Tumblr shitheads than can be counted without resorting to imaginary numbers.

20 Years Of Magic: Inside Harry Potter
3:00pm — 4:00pm, Room 6DE

The artists (including Kazu Kibuishi) and editors of Harry Potter cover & interior art.

Spotlight On Scott McCloud: 25 Years Of Understanding Comics
4:00pm — 5:00pm, Room 29AB

Twenty five years. Twenty five years? Yeesh. Twenty five years.

Bubble: Monsters & Ass-Kicking With Hollywood Stars
5:00pm — 6:00pm, Neil Morgan Auditorium, San Diego Central Library

Are you listening to Bubble? It’s really funny. Featuring a third McElroy, cast members (Alison Becker, Cristela Alonzo, Eliza Skinner, Mike Mitchell), creator Jordan Morris, and America’s Radio Sweetheart, Jesse Thorn.

Studio Ghibli My Neighbor Totoro Screening
7:00pm — 9:15pm, Horton Grand Theatre

I’m guessing this is separately ticketed. If you’ve never seen Totoro on the big screen, you owe it to yourself.


Sunday

A Life’s Work: Long-Term Comic Projects
11:00am — 12:00pm, Room 25ABC

Andrew Farago from the Cartoon Art Museum talks to Lynn Johnston, Jason Lutes, Scott McCloud, and Terry Moore.

Spotlight On Tillie Walden
11:00am — 12:00pm, Room 4

Jen Wang and Tillie Walden had awesome 2017s, and they’ll talk about all of it.

1, 2, 3, . . . 20?! How To Create (And Survive) A Successful Graphic Novel Series
1:00pm — 2:00pm, Room 11

Jennifer and Matthew Holm (Babymouse series, Sunny series), Raina Telgemeier (Smile, The Babysitters Club), and Molly Ostertag (The Witch Boy). Hey, they let Molly out of the library!

Chef Duff Goldman: Culinary And Fandom
2:00pm — 3:00pm, Grand 1 & 2, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

I love Duff Goldman, because he loves what he loves and makes no bones about it. But I probably won’t get to see this because it’s up against the most webcomicky session of the show.

Comics Of The Internet: The Memes, The Myths, The Legends
2:00pm — 3:00pm, Room 29AB

Yep, this one. The title is a distraction, I think. Includes Matt Kolowski and Kiersten Wing from comiXology, with Hope Nicholson, Megan Kearney, Nick Franco, and David Malki ! (whose name in the program listing inexplicably omits the !).

The Keenspot Panel
4:00pm – 5:00pm, Room 7AB

I’m omitting the title, because it’s clickbaity, designed to delight some and enrage others to the disadvantage of both. You can look it up if you follow the link. But it has to do with Trump, and the fact that Keenspot has been doing comics that are OMG pro Trump but wait maybe they’re satirical but maybe they aren’t OMG.

I guess I can admire the unapologetic mercenary crassness of it all, but you know what? Screw that. There’s taking a stand, and there’s trying to ride a wave of cultural divide to the detriment of all just because you can. I’m past that shit and I hope you are, too.

(Cue annual comment from Chris Crosby about how I’m an idiot in 3 … 2 … 1 …)


Spam of the day:

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Those quotes puzzle me. Like in the newspaper strip Curtis, which is about a pre-teen black kid whose stodgy dad always complains about “rap” music — like any late-40s black guy in the world is going to be offended by rap, or pronounce it in quotes to indicate derision. It’s just … weird, man.

At Least They’re In The Dead Timeslots

Friday looks busy, looks to have multiple interesting panels at the same time, and includes a couple of things that look … yeah. We’ll talk.

Friday
The Power Of Nonfiction Graphic Novels
10:00am — 11:00am, Room 32AB

Thi Bui, Abby Howard, Alex Irvine, Clifford Johnson, and Peter Tomasi in conversation with Travis Langley.

The Black Panel
10:00am — 11:30am, Room 5AB

Okay, there’s some interesting people on this one, but I think they may need to get a bigger room because GEORGE MUTHASCRATCHIN’ CLINTON will be there. He’s gonna bring THE FUNK.

Graphic Novels: From Eisner To Explosion!
10:30am — 11:30am, Room 24ABC

And overlapping with the previous two, Scott McCloud, Jeff Smith, and Emil Ferris on the evolution of the graphic novel and what the future holds with moderator Paul Levitz. Have fun running back and forth.

Comic Book Law School 202: “Someone Just Made Me An Offer. Should I Refuse?”
10:30am — 12:00pm, Room 11

Second session, pure crack for geeky lawyers and wannalawyers.

Publishers Weekly: Crowdfunding Ethics And Evolution
11:00am — 12:00pm, Room 28DE

I don’t believe I’ve seen a discussion of crowdfunding ethics before. This could be interesting. Calvin Reid, Kel McDonald, Josh O’Neil, and attorney Jeff Trexler, with Camilla Zhang from Kickstarter.

Girl Power Comics: Middle-Grade Fiction For Girls (And Boys)
12:00pm — 1:00pm, Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library

Or I could just stay at the library all day. Gigi DG, Molly Knox Ostertag, Yehudi Mercado, and Jennifer and Matt Holm.

Autobiography In Graphic Novels
3:00pm — 4:00pm, Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library

Still at the library: Raina Telgemeier, Jarrett J Krosoczka, and Tillie Walden.

Spotlight On Jen Wang
3:00pm — 4:00pm, Room 9

While I’m on record that there were issues with The Prince And The Dressmaker, Jen Wang remains one of the best graphic novelists out there. Ask me how much I love Koko Be Good; go ahead, ask me! In discussion with Cecil Castellucci.

LGBTQ Graphic Novels
4:00pm — 5:00pm, Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library

Library again, with Aminder Dhaliwal, Molly Knox Ostertag, and Ivy Noelle Weir.

Handling Challenges: Bans And Challenges To Comics
5:00pm — 6:00pm, Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library

Library again, and maybe your only chance to hear from Gina Gagliano before she remakes the industry. Also featuring Judd Winick, Charles Kochman (editorial director, Abrams ComicArts), Candice Mack (teen services manager, Los Angeles Public Library), and David Saylor (VP/creative director/trade publishing/editorial director, Graphix).

The State Of The Industry: Animation Superstars
5:00pm — 6:00pm, Room 28DE

With all the shakeups going on in animation right now, particularly with all the women stating that they’ve had it with the shit they’ve put up with for too godsdamned long, I half expect to see a mob forming after this panel, demanding the industry do better. ‘Bout time, too. Includes Brooke Keesling (animation talent recruiter; director of communications and culture at The Animation Guild), Dave Thomas (not the Wendy’s guy, he’s dead), Katie Rice (John K nemesis, and good on her), Jorge Gutiérrez, and Ashley Long.

Best And Worst Manga Of 2018
6:00pm — 7:00pm, Room 4

A couple of my favorite people are on this one: Brigid Alverson and Christopher Butcher, along with Zac Bertschy and Deb Aoki.

Creator Origins: A Candid Conversation On How It All Began
6:00pm — 7:00pm, Room 9

C Spike Trotman sighting #3, along with Matt Kolowski and Kiersten Wing (from comiXology), Tim Seeley, Mike Norton, Sam Humphries, Alti Firmansyah, Magdalene Visaggio, Mark Sable, and Kristian Donaldson.

The Passage
6:00pm — 7:00pm, Room 6A

I have no idea what this about, but it says Mark-Paul Gosselaar will be there, and I’ll pay you a dollar if you ask him what he thinks of Zach Morris Is Trash.

#METOO To #TIMESUP: An Action Summit For Comics
6:30pm — 7:30pm, Room 8

Amy Chu, Sarah Gaydos, Taneka Stotts, Lilah Sturges, Aminder Dhaliwal, Pia Guerra, and Joan Hilty are, I suspect, going to give zero fucks and plenty of damns. Those wanting comics to revert to being by, about, and for straight white dudes approach at your own risk.

Breaking In And Monetizing Your Comics With Webtoon
7:00pm — 8:00pm, Room 4

I am deeply conflicted about Webtoon. I’m not sure I can articulate why. The fact that they promote a creators contest (never a good sign) in the description for this session is one reason. The focus on monetization from the beginning, instead of building good work, is another. Your mileage may vary.

Web Comics: The Four Panel Frontier
8:00pm — 9:00pm, Room 29AB

Searching for Alan Truong produces many results for a lawyer in British Columbia, an internist in New York, a choreographer, about ten or twelve other unrelated people, and eventually a guy who hired a PR firm to announce he’d been doing a twice-weekly strip for five years, and referred to himself unironically as Creator and Chief Officer. JR Gervais shows up as a client of A fully licensed management and PR company and with a single issue credit at Comic Vine and another single issue at comiXology. I can’t find evidence of either of them exhibiting at the show either. So maybe take their advice with a grain of salt as they (quoting here) take you through their 20-year overnight success and offer their insight into the limitless potential of this new-old medium.


Spam of the day:

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Making Plans For Nigel, And For Anybody Else That Wants To See Panels In San Diego

The rumors are true -- Spike will be in the Very Large Nerd Building.

It’s that time again, when San Diego Comic Con starts to release schedules for the panel programs that will be starting in, oh, two weeks time. As has been the trend in recent years, the web-specific programming is all but gone, but there’s still going to be stuff that looks interesting, or has interesting people talking. That’s what we’ll be focusing on.


Preview Night

Teaching with Comics: An Interactive Workshop for Educators
4:00pm — 6:00pm, Room 11

And the legal lessons conclude with fan-centered issues: Fair Use, fanfiction, fanart, fanfilms, and fansuchlike.

Real Life On The Page
12:00pm — 1:00pm, Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library

This is a first — a event on Preview Night that looks interesting. Representatives of Stanford, Portland State, an d Southern Illinois Univsities, along with University of North Carolina, talking with folks from MIT Press and a charter school company.

I’m giving this a recommendation because I think there will be come good talk at this presentation, but please take anything said by representatives of a charter school company (one with a manager from Bain — Mitt Romney’s predatory investment company — on the board of directors) with a grain of salt. If I get over there, I’ve got some questions about why the entire charter industry seems to fail at their primary task while enriching the owners and senior officers of the charter companies.


Thursday

Border Narratives: Voices From Beyond The Wall
10:00am — 11:00am, Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library

Art always has been, and always will be, political. San Diego is this close to Mexico in geographic terms, but further away than ever in all other senses. Listen to what people who experience that distance have to say.

Writing And Drawing The Past
10:00am — 11:00am, Room 32AB

History in comics and treating it right; includes Thi Bui, Jason Lutes, Noah Van Sciver, and Jen Wang.

Comic Book Law School 101: “I Have This Cool Idea . . .”
10:30am — 12:00pm, Room 11

As in previous years, three sessions dealing with IP law, and good for 1.5 hours of continuing education credit for California lawyers.

Spotlight On Lynn Johnston
11:00am — 12:00am, Room 32AB

Fun fact: I once sold Lynn Johnston a POOP sign.

Oni Press Presents: Your Best Pitch Yet
11:30am — 12:30pm, Room 8

C Spike Trotman sighting #1, on a panel with Oni Press’s Ari Yarwood (executive editor )and Sarah Gaydos (editorial director of licensed publishing), Christina “Steenz” Stewart (editor, Lion Forge), and others.

Marvel Animation: Marvel Rising
3:15pm — 4:15pm, Room 6DE

I mention this only becuase the panel will include forthcoming Squirrel Girl actress Milana Vayntrub, and I love how all the success Squirrel Girl has had makes the correct heads explode in astonishment and horror.

YA Comics FTW!
3:30pm — 4:30pm, Room 4

The best original graphic novels being made these days are pitched to a YA audience. Panel includes Jen Wang, Scott Westerfeld, Molly Ostertag, and Tillie Walden.

Original Graphic Novels: From Concept To Creation
5:00pm — 6:00pm, Room 9

Ideas, everybody that creates stuff tells us, are the easy part. See how to execute with Aminder Dhaliwal, Emil Ferris, Thi Bui, Tillie Walden, and Larry Marder, moderated by Jessica Tseang.

Karoke Komix: Sing Along With Bob The Angry Flower!
5:30pm — 6:30pm, Room 4

Webcomic-adjacent panel! Sort of!

Superstars In Children’s Graphic Novels
5:30pm — 6:30pm, Room 26AB

Molly Ostertag again, with Nina Matumoto, Jarrett Krosoczka, Aron Steinke, Ian Boothby, and some guy named Jeff Smith, did something called BONE?

Comics PR And Marketing 101
6:30pm — 7:30pm, Room 8

C Spike Trotman sighting #2, with Chip Mosher from comiXology, Elsa Charretier, Hope Nicholson, Richard Starkings, and Abigail Jill Harding.

The Annual Comics Journalism Panel: Chronicling The New Comics Canon
7:00pm — 8:00pm, Room 23ABC

Included because it was one of two (2) programs I found so far that mention the word webcomics. Panel includes With Heidi Mac, Valerie Complex, Rob McMonigal, Kat Overland, and Fred Van Lente.

Webcomics Advocates And The Webcomics Gathering
8:00pm — 9:00pm, Room 23ABC

And this was the other.


Spam of the day:

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I am honestly at a loss to decide which part of that text is creepiest.

Counting Down To The Holiday

Okay so our Friends To The North celebrated their big holiday already, and we here in ‘Merika won’t until tomorrow, but the holiday doldrums are well upon us. Not much going on, but there is one thing to keep an eye out for in the coming weeks:

On July 17 we’re Kickstarting The Nib Magazine, a 100 page print quarterly. The first four issues — Death, Family, Empire and Scams — have been in the works all year and we will hit send to the printer the second it’s funded.

All new comics every issue — journalism, strips, Nib crew, Intercept journalists, names from mainstream comics. I can’t wait to drop who is on board.

That from The Nib editor and driving force Matt Bors, who’s shepherded the editorial/reportage comics site from (intermittently neglected) Medium section to big-ass book to recurring calendar to animated series, the contributors to which keep showing up in consideration of various awards.

You’ve got two weeks notice. Be prepared.

And I just realized that I haven’t discussed this year’s Eisner nominations, on account of they came out while I was at Camp. As we’ve seen in the past forever or so, the distinctions between Best Digital Comic and Best Webcomic are confusing and/or confused, and which are described as:

For the Best Digital Comic category, works must be longform — that is, comparable to comic books or graphic novels in storytelling or length. Webcomics similar to daily newspaper strips, for example, would not be eligible. Digital comics should have a unique URL, be part of a webcomics site, or otherwise stand alone (not be part of a blog, for instance).

So webcomics are defined by what they aren’t rather than by what they are, but for the most part they’ve come to largely be creator-owned work without publisher gatekeeping (although there are a couple of fascinating exceptions in the Best Webcomic Category. This year’s nominees are:

Best Digital Comic

  • Bandette, by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover (Monkeybrain/comiXology)
  • Barrier, by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin (Panel Syndicate)
  • The Carpet Merchant of Konstaniniyya, by Reimena Yee (reimenayee.com/the-carpet-merchant)
  • Contact High, by James F. Wright and Josh Eckert (gumroad.com/l/YnxSm)
  • Harvey Kurtzman’s Marley’s Ghost, by Harvey Kurtzman, Josh O’Neill, Shannon Wheeler, and Gideon Kendall (comiXology Originals/Kitchen, Lind & Associates)
  • Quince, by Sebastian Kadlecik, Kit Steinkellner, and Emma Steinkellner, translated by Valeria Tranier (Fanbase Press/comiXology)

Best Webcomic

I’ll go out on a limb and say that Carpenter & Powell, and Halpern & Sloan were doing Work For Hire; I’ll also note that O’Neill’s The Tea Dragon Society is functionally indistinct from what the Eisners call a Digital Comic — to the extent that she and it are also nominated in the category of Best Publication for Kids (ages 9–12).

Outside the immediately applicable categories, you’ll find Giant Days (John Allison, Max Sarin, and Liz Fleming) nominated as Best Continuing Series, Spinning (Tillie Walden) in both Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17) and Best Reality-Based Work, What Is Left (Rosemary Valero-O’Connell) in both Best Single Issue/One-Shot and Best Coloring, and Elements: Fire (edited by Taneka Stotts) in Best Anthology¹.

The Eisner Awards will be presented on Friday, 20 July, as part of San Diego Comic Con. Best of luck to all the nominees.


Spam of the day:

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_______________
¹ Presumably, if it wins, Stotts will have Shing Yin Khor devise some means of breaking up the statue into components that can be distributed to the contributors.

The More Things Change …

Hey, y’all. Time for the SDCC floor map and guide to Webcomickers (and similar-thinking folk). The San Diego Comic Con’s exhibitors list and floor map [PDF] are up, and it’s time for the annual trawl to figure out where people will be. As usual, the map at the top of the page runs from low booth numbers to high, North to South, right to left, and we’ll be zeroing in on the usual cohort of folks.

The North Half Layout Is The Same
It’s on the right side of the overall floor map, and apart from a logo change or two, the booth numbers and major players correspond to the same layout as last year:

The Webcomics, Small Press, and Independent Press Pavilions remain reasonably accessible from the “B” lobby. Let’s break ’em down.

The Last Stand Of Webcomics?
It’s entirely the same as last year: centered roughly on booth #1332, you’ll find a majority of the webcomickers who will be at the show within about a 1.5 aisle radius; some are slightly outside the orange area, but not too far. Those that return are all in the same spots, barring any changes to the map and listings.

Alaska Robotics Booth 1137
Blind Ferret Booth 1231
Cool Cat Blue Booth 1330
Digital Pimp Booth 1237
Cyanide & Happiness     Booth 1234
Dumbrella Booth 1335
Girl Genius Booth 1331
Jefbot Booth 1232
Monster Milk Booth 1334
Rhode Montijo Booth 1329
Sheldon and Drive Booth 1228
TopatoCo Booth 1229
Two Lumps Booth 1230

Notes:

  • No news yet on which TopatoCo creators will be along; we’ll update once we know.
  • Hachette (1116), Harper Collins (1029), (1117), and Simon & Schuster (1128) remain in Publisher’s Row; :01 Books (2800) and Macmillan Children’s Publishing (2802) continue to colonize the corner with the bend, where their lines (remember, Check, Please! and The Adventure Zone: Here Be Gerblins are both about to release) will not obstruct main aisles.
  • 1232 and 1235 remain, as last year, assigned to Flex Comics (muscle bros hang out there) and Pulsar Entertainment LLC (whose home page prominently features the words MONETIZE YOUR BRAND!), respectively. Inertia, I guess.
  • Dumbrella this year will only be Rich Stevens and Andy Bell; much like last year, another exhibitor will be sharing the space, but the name is not announced yet. It’s kind of like gong to a concert, and each band has fans that thinks their favorite is the headliner and the other is the opening act.
  • Word on the street is that C Spike Trotman will be at the show, but not tabling. In other news, Hell freezes over.

Small Press Abides
Right by the Webcomics section is Small Press. Here you should find:

Bob the Angry Flower Table K-16
Claire Hummel Table Q-15
Shing Yin Khor Table O-04
Kel McDonald Table M-12
Lonnie Milsap Table K-12
Wire Heads Table N-15
  • It appears that Ben Costa, of Shi Long Pang and Rickety Stitch fame will be sitting this one out.
  • Shing Yin Khor has said she’s gonna be there — who are you doing to believe, her or, the exhibitor list which presently omits her? is listed in the Small Press area under The Center For Otherworld Science, which actually makes perfect sense.

From the Small Press section, you’re close by:

Cartoon Art Musuem Booth 1930
CBLDF Booth 1918
BOOM! Booth 2229
Oni Press Booth 1833
Gallery Nucleus Booth 2643

Notes:

  • Gallery Nucleus will feature arty types when they aren’t hanging out at Mondo down in booth 835. Keep an eye out for your Scotts C, your Beckys and/or Franks, and alumni of the various Flight anthologies. Oh, and they’re listed in the guide as Nucleus Studios.
  • No confirmation yet on which webcomickers will be at the BOOM! booth when, but I’d expect a pretty strong rotation.

Now head back toward the “B” Lobby into the Independent Press area and you’ll find Terry Moore at Booth 2109, which is split (in accordance with tradition) with Jeff Smith (who remains the best). You’re also not too far from the Jack Kirby Museum at Booth 5520 which, yes, is a very large number but is actually just inside the B1 entrance. Weird, right?

Going back to that larger map of the northern half of the exhibit hall. Wedged in between the Marvel and Image megabooths you’ll find Keenspot in Booth 2635.

The Far End Is Exactly The Same
There’s still some neat stuff if you keep wandering past the video games, Star Wars, Legos, and suchlike.

Give yourself half an hour or so, try not to spend all your money on Copic markers (Booth 5338), and you’ll find both Udon Entertainment, and The Hero Initiative (at Booth 5003). Katie Cook will be at table HH-17, but she’s one of the holdout folks in Artists Alley — it’s mostly comic book types these days. Even Jim Zub won’t be around this year, but considering he’ll still be sleeping off the jetlag from doing a show in South Africa, that’s understandable.

Offsite
Every year for the past half-decade the amount of stuff you can see outside of the exhibit hall has grown; I’m guessing we’re only a year or so away from complete parity. If you know of anything especially good, let us know and we’ll add it here. Otherwise, just wander the city and see what you got.


Spam of the day:

SDCC 2018 Exclusives: Game of Thrones® Pop! Funko and Dorbz

Sorry, plenty of dead-eyed, soulless homonculi wandering around the hall, don’t need to add any to my luggage.

Also, why did this come to my personal email address, and not the one I supplied to SDCC for my press credentials?

Remaking The World

Y’know, pretty damn soon it’ll be easier to talk about an area where comics — web and otherwise — and graphic novels aren’t making inroads instead of those where they are. Consider:

Down New Orleans way — and I’ve been to NOLA in the summer, so everybody there has my sympathies — the American Library Association Annual Conference is underway, and webcomickers are all over the damn place. Just from my sosh-meeds, I’ve noticed Hope Larson, Rosemary Mosco, George Rohac, Ngozi Ukazu, Vera Brosgol, Raina Telgemeier, Andy Runton, Melanie Gillman, the omnipresent C Spike Trotman, and the irreplaceable Gina Gagliano.

First observation: no disrespect to Rohac and Runton, who are both outstanding dudes, but it’s all well and meet that the ladies are dominating here. The books that the women present make (or facilitate the making of) are going to form the spine of a new canon.

Second observation: the universality of comics is not lost on the librarians (which, I would note, is a profession that skews heavily female), who are seeking out ways to bring comics into their collections. This year, the ALA approved the creation of a new round table dedicated to graphic novels, which is a significantly big deal.

The round tables produce research (don’t ever get in the way of a group of librarians who’re researching a topic) which results in best practices, standards, and guidelines for libraries everywhere. Need to figure out what to add to the stacks, how to organize it, how to get and keep the public’s interest? An ALA round table has probably figured it out.

They also provide legitimacy. It is, after all, the ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table that convened to present the Stonewall Book Awards earlier today¹, and Gillman was on hand for As The Crow Flies to be recognized as a Stonewall Honor Book — the only graphic novel so recognized.

Being recognized for one of the big literary awards can result in a demand for thousands or even tens of thousands of copies of a book. It conveys to the larger reading world that the book and/or creator is Serious Business, and it’s one of the reasons that Mark Siegel put get on the radar of the the literary awards on his to-do list when founding :01 Books. Siegel figured it would take 5-10 years, and they made it all the way to the National Book Awards 18 months later thanks to American Born Chinese by Gene Yang.

You remember Yang — two-time NBA nominee, Eisner winner, MacArthur laureate, and the fifth National Ambassador For Young People’s Literature², guiding force of the Reading Without Walls challenge? Guy’s probably done more to put books in the hands of kids than anybody else this side of Dolly Parton. And since he’s the sort of really smart, really engaged person that you want to represent reading, it’s no surprise that he’s been named the newest board member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:

“I’m so excited to be joining the board of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund,” Gene Yang says. “Like many people, I’ve found it more and more difficult to wrap my head around issues of free speech because of recent news events. However, I still believe that, to borrow a phrase from poet Liu Xiaobo, free expression is the mother of truth. The CBLDF has been at the forefront of these issues for many years now, which makes our work more important than ever.”

Some of you just went to look up Liu Xiaobo, because that’s what Yang does — make you go learn stuff. Between the librarians and the creators, I’m going to say that the future of reading’s in good hands. Now let’s everybody get out there and make sure the eyes — and minds! — are open to follow where they lead.


Spam of the day:

Contact me today if you are considering buying, selling, or just want to know more about market conditions in your neighborhood. [links to multiple-million dollar homes in the Greater LA area]

My home has a wall-to-wall area of 130 square meters (not including hallways, stairs, etc), and is not in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, or Los Feliz. I suspect you meant to send this to somebody very different.

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¹ To be completely clear, the awards were announced in January, but were presented today at the annual conference.

² Which I believe entitles him to be addressed as His/Your Excellency.

A Day Late And Zero Dollars Short

Friday was also spent underneath all of the weather, but I’m back today to update you on the just-concluded latest F-Six fund drive¹.

I challenged you to donate to the Kidlit Says No Kids In Cages campaign; they sought to raise US$42,000, got it in less than 24 hours, and continue to raise money. Thanks to you, we’re part of the push towards US$200,000.

In no particular order, then, thanks to:

  • Erik Johnson
  • Daniel Mosier
  • Ben Cordes
  • Molly Knox Ostertag
  • Ursula Venon
  • Mx Roo Khan
  • Pierre Lebeaupin
  • ²

  • And those who either did not provide a name for acknowledgment, or wished to remain anonymous

Matched amounts ranged from US$10 to US$1000. Every contribution was equally appreciated.

In all, you sent along receipts for US$1721.50; I saw enough people posting the link and I contributed messages that I fully believe our goal of US$2000 was met so I rounded up to that nice, round number. Beneficiaries of KSNKIC are The Florence Project, RAICES, Women’s Refugee Commission, Kids In Need Of Defense, Al Otro Lado, and the ACLU.

The attempts at dehumanization will continue, and we will continue to push back because we don’t suck. If you didn’t get in on the match, it’s not too late — KSNKIC will keep raising money until every child stolen from their family is reunited, and when the act of seeking asylum is no longer criminalized.

So, for a while then.

But for this weekend, know that we did something. Take a deep breath, have a cookie or two (anybody that gave that’s in my corner of New Jersey, I got Thin Mints with your name on ’em), rest for a moment. The fight will need us again soon enough.


Spam of the day:
I swear, this is real.

COLLECT YOUR F R E E M.A.G.A. HAT

Oh, you do not even realize how bad you fucked up. This one is going to shame your descendants, yea, unto the generations. Great-grandpa Chudley sure was an idiot, wasn’t he, Mom? the children will ask. Yes, dear will come the answer, that’s why we have to be extra good people, to erase the stain.

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¹ As always, thanks to longtime reader Mx Roo Khan for suggesting the name.

² Obligatory disclaimer: Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin was not asked to donate, and his posting position here at Fleen is in no way dependent on the fact that he contributed. He’s just a good person.

Encouraging News

I love the word (and its variations) encouraging, the root of which goes back to the French coeur, or heart. Enheartend, heartening, my heart is supported.

Since yesterday, you’ve been sending your receipts to the Kidlit campaign to stop the kidnapping of refugee children. It looks like today Screamy Orange Shitmonger will be shifting things so that kids will be detained with their parents, which still no. This is not how you treat people seeking asylum, so keep sending your receipts because I’m matching until the end of the week.

The fight will continue past the end of the week, naturally, and will until we change the national leadership for people that have operating consciences. But we’re fighting, and forcing retreats, and giving no rest to the wicked.

We’ll see if my optimism holds up as I head to the airport in a few hours and return to the States, and it’s revealed how a professional white guy¹ fares at the border.

In the meantime, awesome people abound in the world of webcomics, not the least being Katie Lane². She sent me something ‘tother day that you may be interested in:

I just released my first class on Skillshare! It’s all about the parts of a contract that tend to have the most problems and what you can do to fix them.

As noted previously, there are few things that creators should do more for themselves than to get skilled enough in reading contracts that they can fix things that are in their ability to be fixed, and to recognize things that require the help of a lawyer. Lane’s all about sharing the knowledge so that you can do the bits that are in your ability rather than asking you to pay her money to do the simple stuff — and there’s nothing she likes more than digging through contracts, so this is actually a sacrifice on her part.

You can access the class via this link; if you’re not a Skillshare member, you’ll be able access the class and get 2 months of Skillshare membership for free (for which Lane will receive a referral fee). Got time for a little professional education? Jump in.


Spam of the day:

JAPAN’S FIRST LADY OF COUNTRY RETURNS TO NASHVILLE FOR THE RELEASE OF HER DOCUMENTARY

There is so much going on here, I almost want to click the link. Apparently, there’s a Japanese Dolly Parton, or maybe June Carter Cash? I’m boggling a little.

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¹ Which is to say, a white guy who works as a professional, not somebody whose profession is white guy.

² Light-ning Law-yer!!

F-Six, Checking In

The Fleen Fight For Fungible Futures Fund is back on.

I’m sure you saw the announcement; it’s been several times in my twitterfeed, but let’s go with the one from Ryan North, who (as a giant of a man) cannot be denied:

Our goal is to raise $42,000 for legal defense and support for separated children and their families. I just donated, and you can too:
https://bit.ly/kidlitsaysnokidsincages …

Good news: ActBlue reports the US$42,000 goal was hit in under 24 hours. The site is still live. Send me (that would be gary) at this-here website, which is a dot-com your receipt for any amount¹, by the end of the week, and I’ll match the first US$2000. I’m giving away a lot of money these days. Gonna keep doing so, until we prevail.

I’m not the only one making matches or doing fundraising! For example, since I started writing this, Molly Ostertag announced that’s she’s making available three personalized copies of The Witch Boy with three original pieces of art, with proceeds going to Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center. You can’t get any of them though, because they went in about 20 minutes. I’m counting her $400 as the first matching donation, so we’re already well on our way.

And for the sake of all that is good, make some noise. Do not let the current administration of racist sociopaths decide for the rest of us that their policy of imprisoning children (how long before they’re put to work, I wonder? I hear work sets you free …) is a thing that’s acceptable in any fashion.

As long as we’re making plans, those of you that attend San Diego Comic Con next month may have another means of support and direct action. Pat Race noted that there’s an ICE child detention center (I hated having to type those words) in San Diego, and he’s making enquiries to determine if there’s some way for creators to come and engage the kids with art and comics.

It’s been noted that there’s a risk that engaging in this fashion may normalize the practice, but you know what? I think having eyes on the inside, belonging to ordinary people, has tremendous value. I can’t teach art or speak Spanish, but I will provide witness if given the chance. Fill out the contact form if you’re willing to help, should this turn out to be a possibility.


Spam of the day:
Spammers don’t get to share this day.

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¹ Along with how you’d like to be credited, or if you’d prefer to be anonymous.