The webcomics blog about webcomics

Caution: Genius At Work

So, guess who came to work and left his laptop in the hotel room?

To be exceedingly fair to myself — more than I deserve, honestly — the latest security patches pushed by IT make it a very slow process to shut down. I started the shutdown, did some other things waiting for it to complete (can’t put a running laptop in the laptop bag, it’ll melt) and spaced on competing that key task. I’m not going to be able to post properly today — two fingered typing on a phone sucks for long texts — or at least not until far later. Mea culpable, I’ll try not to be so incredibly stupid tomorrow.

Patreonage, With A French Accent

Have I mentioned recently how much we at Fleen owe to Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin? Aside from the fact that his English is far better than my French will ever be¹, he delivers delicious context and followup on stories of interest. Today, we call back to his recent dispatch regarding Maliki, and how her webcomicking is shifting. Take it away, FSFCPL!

Team Maliki announced yesterday they would be switching away from the traditional publishing model in favor of a more direct relationship with their readers, and opened a Tipee page. That, in itself, is not a first: other French-speaking webcomics have Tipeee pages as well; but that is not all:

[Quick editor’s note: Tipeee appears to be positioning itself as the European equivalent of Patreon, with an initial emphasis on French creators. Right now, a majority of creators listed appear to be French, scrolling down the home page brings up lots of text in French, and the About page contains links to legal guidance about crowdfunding in France.

But you can get the site rendered in English, French, Spanish, or German (it appears to autodetect location and default to an appropriate language — the site came up in English initially for me, and you can change it with a pop-up list in the lower-right corner of each page; there aren’t separate links for different languages), so as long as you can settle up in Euros, it looks to be happy to deal with you. However, the Terms and Conditions don’t seem to want to present in English … even with the rest of the page in English, the legal boilerplate was in French (or Spanish or German, on request).]

  • in the long run, future editions of Maliki books (e.g. for the most recent strips on the site) will be self-published, as indicated in the F.A.Q. on the Tipee page (books already in the pipeline with their current editors will be published by these editors, but that’s it).
  • Maliki is probably the French-speaking webcomic whose books have the second most retail presence (behind Bouletcorp).

[Me again: Surprising absolutely nobody, Boulet is absolument friggin’ énorme in the French comics market.]

So at this scale, this is unprecedented as far as I can tell, at least in the French-speaking world. The announcement (posted, of course, in comic form French-only as I write this, sorry) is long but well worth reading, in which Maliki explains the role of each middleman in the publishing chain, and why, without specifically indicting any of them, she feels the system is engaged in a surproduction bubble, in which she does not see any future for her.

[And again: From what I can tell with my terrible French, Maliki is making the same point that Howard Tayler did way back when this was a little baby blog:

Imagine you’ve got a book on sale at Borders for $10 — pretty sweet, right? Hang on a minute, because you aren’t going to get $10 a copy. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • The store sells it for $10, keeps $4, and pays $6 to the distributor
  • The distributor keeps $3, and pays $3 to the publisher
  • The publisher keeps $1, pays $1 to the printer, and $1 to the author
  • You’re the author

You can tell that story’s ancient, because Borders went out of business five years ago. Also, bonus points to Maliki for labeling her local financial institution Kiss Kiss Bank Bank. Correction: What I thought was a clever joke turns out to be a French Kickstarter-alike; FSFCPL does not let mistakes like these sneak by.]

That may not seem like a big deal to webcomic authors in the English world, who have walked that path before, and that’s true, to an extent. But that does not make it any less of a jump in the unknown for Team Maliki because of the differences in French-speaking comics readership. You thought the US public sneered at artists wanting to get paid for their work (After all, you are only doing what you like!)? That attitude is, unfortunately, even more widespread in France.

Moreover, French webcomic authors, and other comic authors who could have published on the web but did not need to because of the following, have had much less trouble getting published than webcomic authors did in the US, both for scale (much less trouble distributing to France, Wallonia and French-speaking Switzerland than to the whole of the U.S., so publishers are less risk-averse) and for cultural reasons; so most webcomic authors who publish books are published in mainstream publishers, with a few in indie publishers who get decent distribution. Self-publishing is almost unheard of. As a result, the support infrastructure outside of comic publishers is still in the early stages, though some of it exists, notably (as mentioned) that used by independent video producers (aka “Youtubers”).

[Last one: It’s interesting to note that the front page of Tipeee (in English at least) contains the elevator pitch, You create videos? Get tips from your community.]

So while other French comic authors may not follow right away, I get the feeling this is only the start of a bigger movement. At the very least, this seems to be going well for Team Maliki, as about 24 hours after the announcement as I write this readers have already collectively pledged 7273 €/month (minus 8% Tipeee fees), which appears to be the second-highest total overall on Tipeee. Will it stay high enough in the long run to sustain two authors and their cats (Maliki, being a paper creature, needs little in the way of sustenance)? We will see.

As of this writing (approximately 50 hours after the announcement), Team Maliki is up to €8577 per month², which minus the 8% Tipeee fee and using today’s exchange rates comes to US$8949 and 40 cents or more than US$107K per year (prior to any taxes, naturally). Not bad.

While there’s both both an early-adopter advantage and an existing-audience advantage for Team Maliki, a prominent success could popularize the idea of crowdfunding for independent creators in France. If nothing else, the eventual adoption of the model should be much faster than it was in the US, given that the tools to support it now exist instead of having to be built.

Fleen thanks Pierre Lebeaupin once again for his attention and insight.

Spam of the day:

We are interested on placing our tags on your website, they will fire a pop when a visitor performs a click on your website (You’ll get revenue stream from this). We pay $2 per 1000 visitors depends to geo and traffic quality. We also have a good referral program and various payment options.

Even without the weaselspeak in there that lets you decide to pay less when you declare my readers are not the desired geo and traffic quality, no. Over my dead body.

¹ The high point of my francophone experience was managing to exchange a voucher for a pair of rail passes valid for a specific 10 day period, without lapsing into English, at the Francaise seulement window of the main Brussels train station (the line was shortest).

Less than 12 hours later, I managed to mangle a reply to a simple question to the extent that I started in French, slipped into Japanese, and I’m pretty sure mixed in some Klingon. To be fair, some of the consonants in Dutch get kinda spitty and sound pretty Klingon.

² The one higher pledge amount I could find is for a YouTube series that gets €8707 per episode, which appears to happen every three to four months. By that token, Maliki is the highest grossing Tipeee-ee in terms of actual disbursements. In terms of comics only, Maliki is at least an order of magnitude above the next-highest earner.

So I Was In The Weeds Today

Generally behind on everything and about to post a quick note to that effect when I got an email from Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin reminding me about a story tip he’d sent earlier which I’d teased, and intended to run by now. Never doubt the motivating power of FSFCPL, people! Also, he finds things to talk about that not only would I never see, but it’s hugely unlikely that anybody in the US comics press would. So let’s dig in together, shall we?

Thanks to the work of Becky, self-proclaimed Maliki’s human Swiss Army knife, Maliki has made a big push recently to post English language strips. They are not translated in chronological order however, so your best bet is to follow @Maliki_officiel for newly posted translations.

Moreover, Mali herself has made an effort to post on a regular weekly schedule since January (the schedule was rather … sporadic before), and those get translated as well, so you can expect new content to read every week, too. Happy reading.

See, this is why it’s always worth reading his emails. The Becky mentioned (who may or may not have good hair) is a [possibly real person inspiring a] character in Maliki, described here:

Maliki is a young woman with pink hair and pointed ears. This comic follows Maliki’s daily life full of spontaneity and originality, while also taking her back to her childhood memories.

A quick once-over through the English language strips reveals a story that appears to be largely autobio-inspired, but with some fantastical elements (like the occasional fairy or catgirl). So basically like Bouletcorp, only set in Bretange, and featuring a cast of recurring characters.

It’s pretty, it’s fun to read, and if the English strips seem a bit scattered — jumping between art styles and story points — that’s due to the fact it’s not being translated in order. And that’s okay! The somewhat random nature and irregular patterns makes it more addicting, like how the very occasional win on a slot machine makes you want to plow more quarters in.

The English archive goes clear back to 2004, and features everything from three- or four-panel strips to splash illustrations, to as much vertical scrolling as it takes to tell a story.

And as always, we at Fleen thank M. Lebeaupin for his sharp eyes and willingness to share the good stuff with us.

Spam of the day:

Raina Telgemeier: hello Gary

Call me crazy, but I don’t think the real Raina is emailing me from Poland to share links to malware sites promising me slutty g-string girles [sic]. Just a hunch.

Europe And Rather Too Many Em Dashes

This day in Great Outdoor Fight history: Uncle George, and we discover that although Ray dug down deep to find he truly was Blood of Champion, he was ready to bribe his way out of the Fight the minute it became necessary (or at least attempt to). Ray contains multitudes.

We’re heading east today, to the continent of universal health care — that would be most of the rest of the world, Gary — and borderless borders — a contradiction in terms! — and ancient wines, beers, and cheeses¹. Europe!

  • Our first stop is in France, cradle of so many of the arts (comics not the least of them) and home of Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin. One may recall that about a month ago I mentioned that Stela — the new mobile comics delivery platform — was getting a lot of attention and precisely zero release on Android, so I wasn’t able to offer up anything resembling a review.

    But! FSFCPL is in the iDevice fold, and Stela has recently released a French version, and he’s shared some thoughts on it for you. Key takeaway points:

    [O]nce you use it it becomes clear Stela’s purpose is to publish comics that embrace the 5 centimeters (that’s about 2 inches, for the metrically-challenged) width of today’s smartphone screens.

    That’s good, but Lebeaupin notes that Stela is really designed for handsets; viewing comics on an iPad means the comics are just scaled up, which makes for funnily huge lettering.

    These are comics that are native to that world: the panels are only as wide as the screen (nary a vertical gutter in sight) and can only extend vertically, but they can do so as much as desired because they are read by vertical scrolling. A panel may not necessarily fit on a screen (at least on an iPhone 5/5S/SE; I haven’t checked on the larger models)! An iPhone 5 screenful is a common size, but most of these comics have widely varying panels sizes, and anyway have conversations for instance that extend over multiple screenfuls: they don’t follow a pattern of identically-sized pages. The result is a very fluid flow and a reading experience that is meant to be fast. [emphasis mine]

    Bolded because I think that’s probably the most important selling point of Stela, however it should be balanced against another discovery:

    [I]mages are loaded dynamically and present a spinner if your scroll too fast before they have had time to load, as is traditional in iPhone apps: prioritize the flow, even if that means betraying some implementation realitie

    And some of the decisions (both technical and economic) are a bit bewildering:

    The comics are updated chapter by chapter (which make for checkpoints as well); the economic model is that the first chapter of each story is free, and you can get a subscription (using Apple’s in-app subscription system) to read after that. It is a single subscription global to the app, not per-series, so it works a bit like an anthology series. Comics are always loaded from the network, which bothers me a little: there is no way to preload while on WiFi to avoid eating into your phone data allotment, and no way to read at all if you are off the network. iPod Touches exist, you know. [emphasis mine]

    And depending on your inclination, those might be the dealbreakers right there — let your subscription lapse and you have nothing to show for it — as you’re only given access to what you’re reading right now. Stela is less a comics app than a comics rental platform; those that like to own their media (digital or otherwise), take note. And as always, thanks to FSFCPL for his review.

  • A bit futher east and north then, to the land of sauna and tango and linguistic anomalies — I’m speaking naturally of Finland — and Minna Sundberg. We at Fleen have been big fans of Ms Sundberg’s since we saw the crowdfunding campaign for the very pretty book of her first comic, and that regard has only grown since she launched her ongoing magnum opus, Stand Still, Stay Silent. Readers of this page will recall the fact that SSSS took the NCS Division Award for Online Comics — Long Form last May.

    And she’s been cranking out between three and five full pages a week (along with the odd interchapter hiatus of ten days or so) 879 days since November of 2013 — 500 pages in total as of today — making her one of the most productive cartoonists working right now. A page of comics written, penciled, inked, colored, and lettered in less than two days for nearly two and a half years? Sundberg is an unstoppable comics machine, and shows every sign of reaching Sergio Aragonés levels of speed and skill while still in her mid-20s. I can’t wait to see what she’s like in another decade.

    Happy Big Round Number Day, Ms Sundberg. Your work is great and you should feel great.

Spam of the day:


Damn it, I told you people I neither need nor want breast implants!

Dental Implants You Can Afford

Oh. I’d say Never mind but I don’t need dental implants either. Gots all ma teeths, don’t need fangs or tusks or anything like that.

¹ Now we’re talking.

Need More Proof? Todd Is A Squirrel

This day in Great Outdoor Fight history: I remain conflicted to this very day what the most disconsolate part of this tableau is — the smallness of the snack tent? The underwhelming nature of the “feast”? The lone spork? They could have at least made some “Dinosaur” Potato Chuds.

  • It was in the early morning hours of yesterday — having twins means he’s on Baby Duty until 5:00am — that David Willis launched the Kickstarter for his fifth Dumbing of Age book, which funded out before he went to sleep. Hardly surprising, as the prior four DoA books have funded like clockwork (at rates of 273% to 370% of goal), although I don’t recall one funding out in less than eight hours before.

    It also doesn’t hurt that Willis puts together his books and sends out his stuff on time; as a result, he generally increases his backer count by about 600 folks from book to book, meaning the just under 700 backers and 177% achievement on a US$22,000 goal (as of this writing) is just an ordinary outcome for him. Checking out the ol’ FFFmk2, we’re looking at US$120K to 180K, which would be in the range of double his previous best funding level.

    Then again, he’s already go more backers than his first collection, and will likely come up with 2 to 3 times as many by the time the campaign ends in 28 days; if the per-backer averages hold, he’d be looking at US$78K to US$117K, and he hasn’t yet unlocked all the stretch goals, the things that convince people to move from intangible rewards to physical rewards. It appears that the twins need not worry about starving before their first birthday.

  • Something else that need not be worried about? That Fleen readers will be uninformed about the goings-on in Eurocomics, thanks to Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin, who has a choice recommendation for us:

    Tim from draws pages about a number of matters, from his admiration of Maddox to what became of Totoro to figuring out what the deal is with these darn squirrels, but he is best known for stories on his various workplaces and coworkers, published in Quotidien Survival.

    He also had a side blog, Glauque-Land, where he publishes photos of his explorations of various urban ruins and other abandoned buildings. Which caught the interest of a Flammarion imprint, and today they are releasing a book of his photos, with accompanying text and illustrations he created for this purpose.

    Maybe more interesting than the publication by itself is the story he published (as comics on his site, of course) of the whole process from his side, especially his attempts to keep a level head and dealing with not being in control of everything. Check them out if you can read French.

    My French is rusty, but you ain’t need to read French in order to see what the squirrels are up to — no good is what. Doesn’t matter if they’re French or otherwise, squirrels are not to be trusted. And curiously, this appears to be one area where animals outside Australia are more dangerous than those inside Australia … this should indicate how incredibly evil and malicious the little brush-tailed bastards really are.

Spam of the day:

Verizon Services FREE 30-day HBO NOW® trial – Let the binging begin

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. No. Get bent, Verizon. I’ll let SquirrelCo put their lines into my house before I upgrade my service with you.

Things To Look Forward To On The Far Side Of The Weekend

This day in Great Outdoor Fight history: No strip; I believe that Sound And Motion is getting up from his Downward Dog or some such.

It’s nearly the weekend and by way of advance notice, the next couple of weeks look to be a little weird. My teaching schedule next week will be to accommodate students who are variously located in Holland, India, and Australia. The week after that is jury duty (one day or one trial; really hoping for the former). Starting the week after that will be a fairly lengthy period of travel. Apologies in advance for any interruptions.

  • However, the day I anticipate sitting around in a room waiting to find out if I’m part of a jury, I intend to catch up on some reading. Stacked up and waiting to be read: no fewer than four review copies from the good folks at :01 Books (by Ben Hatke, Tony Cliff, Faith Erin Hicks, and James Kochalka¹). I’ve also got a PDF of the second part of Sophie Goldstein’s House of Women (the first part of which garnered a 2013 Ignatz), which Ms Goldstein was kind enough to send along. Everybody else in the jury room can stare glumly into their phones, I’ma get my comics on.
  • I’ve expressed this before, but I really need to learn to draw one of these days. And, were I not on jury duty, I just might spend that week in San Francisco² seeing as how the Cartoon Art Museum is kicking off their latest education program on Thursday, 3 March, at 7:00pm. To be more specific, Mark Badger will be running a class on drawing, in conjunction with CAM, each Thursday night in March.

    Mark Badger’s Just Draw is for older teens, adults, runs two hours per session, held at the temporary educational space in the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center at 275 Fifth Street. It’ll cover everything from four-page minis to the four hundred page magnum opus, with a veteran cartoonist/teacher (thirty years and fifteen years, respectively) for the low, low price of US$200 (US$175 for CAM members), with enrollment available here.

  • Now that the thirteen part travel halfway round the world and get married epic is done at Johnny Wander, Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota are getting ready to drop their next project on us, and it looks like a doozy. It’s tempting to think of them as one Voltron-like single entity, but they are actually separate people! And sometimes they work on their own projects! And starting Tuesday, the latest of these will begin serialization. Let’s let Hirsh tell us all about it:

    Beginning next week we’ll be running the first chapter of IS THIS WHAT YOU WANTED, a comic I’ve been collaborating on with Tessa Stone and Sarah Stone! I’ve worked with Tess previously on BUZZ!, a graphic novel about full-contact spelling bees (available through Oni Press). Tessa currently does Not Drunk Enough, and Sarah Stone has worked on a huge range of projects, including Transformers: Windblade!

    We’ll be running the first chapter on Johnny Wander, at which point the comic will migrate to its own website. The first four pages will run on Tuesday, and then we’ll post a comic per update like normal.

    One chapter to get us hooked, eh? I’m onto you, Hirsh, and if your previous collab with Tessa Stone wasn’t so good, I’d be getting the hell out of here before you got your greedy hooks in me. But BUZZ! was good — very, very good — and so I’m willingly coming back to you. I trust you’ll make it worth my while.

  • And, from Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin:

    Sorry, it turns out my reference for [the end of Notes on paper]( was outdated, as more recently Boulet indicated that « [Volume 9 was a “pentimento” after I planned to stop after volume 8]( » and that he even had extra pages that would end up in a volume 10, where we are today. It is probably best to consider each volume of Notes as being potentially the last, while leaving open the possibility of future volumes, much like these singers who always claim this is their last tour but can’t seem to actually bring themselves to stop.

    Duly noted; on the plus side, we’re gonna get several hundred pages of Boulet, so that’s all right. Have a good weekend, everybody.

Spam of the day:

Keep your bait possibilities different by pking a couple dozen leeches just in case.

Gotta say, leeches are a welcome respite from the slutty moms in my area that want to have sex with me. Pretty sure that combination of words has never been uttered in any context throughout human history.

¹ Which is in all likelihood the greatest book in history.

² Okay, not really — if I don’t get picked for trial, I have to head to Dallas for work later that week.

Happy Returns Of The Day

This day in Great Outdoor Fight history: We discover who has a gigantic and deep-seated fury at the world.

  • Here’s the thing about webcomics — as a wide-ranging method of distribution featuring every possible type of story and creator, whoever you are, you’re going to be rubbing somebody the wrong way. The best-known creators attract the greatest scrutiny, naturally, because a wider audience also gives you a greater chance to be exposed to somebody who just isn’t going to like you. Nobody is universally liked¹.

    Except Anthony Clark.

    His strips delight everybody; he’s the go-to colorist in webcomics; in person he is the sort of person that makes you think to yourself How can one guy be so damn likeable?² A friend of mine who reads webcomics but is mostly what you’d call a webcomics civilian expressed once that any day that started with a new comic from Clark was automatically a good day. And let us not forget the greatest expression of back-and-forth jam comics to ever exist, the Anthony Clark-Emmy Cicierega collaborations known as Laserpony Studios.

    And as of today, Clark’s been doing his Beartato comics for ten years. Beartato, Reginald, Harrison, Gary, and the other agents of whimsy came into public at the same time as The Great Outdoor Fight was running — they could not be any different, but they are just as enduring and delightful to read. Happy Anniversary, Anthony. Your comics are good and you should feel good.

  • Via the twitterfeed of John Kovalic comes the news that the the John Locher award (for student editorial cartooning) is now open to webcomics and graphic novelists. Any full-time students between the ages of 17 and 25, you have until 15 April to get in your application, and since opportunities for editorial cartooning are thin on the ground, may I suggest you also drop a line to Matt Bors in anticipation of The Nib’s revival later this year?
  • A correction and an additional bit of info from Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin, as regards our mention of Boulet yesterday:

    A quick dispatch to let you know that Soaring Penguin Press is, shall we say, incentivizing preorders of the first volume of Boulet’s “Notes” by offering his 24-hour comic the Gaeneviad to the first people who preorder.

    Speaking of which, I’m afraid the ten volumes of Notes are not really “and counting”, as Boulet announced some time ago he would keep doing notes but no longer collect them on paper after volume 10 (sorry, I can’t find the reference at the moment).

    Well, that’s both terrific and disappointing new, respectively. For those who didn’t see it, Gaeneviad is online here, and like his earlier 24 hour comic, Darkness, it’s a delight. Not really a surprise, really, since everything he does is a delight.

Spam of the day:

Look what I found growing in your stomach!

What the hell are you doing in my stomach? Get out of there!

¹ If you’re thinking of Ryan North as an exception, I have it on good authority that some find him to be disturbingly tall, unrepentantly Canadian, and a setter of bad examples to our youth with respect to holes.

² There is a speculation that Clark being so likeable could theoretically make him unlikeable to a certain sort of deeply insecure and damaged person, but to date the existence of such people remains unproven. It’s possible that CERN would have to get involved to find anyone of such a sour disposition.

From The Mailbag And Also The Acres

This day in Great Outdoor Fight history: The weekend saw our several-times-noted episode of Beef recounting GOF lore¹, and the revelation that Beef is not Frederick H Coca-Cola. Today, Polish sausages and pencil necks.

Once again, we have new from Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin; I’m excited to see what he drops us from the continent, the coverage the that rest of us here at Fleen provide is decidedly English-centric (and within that subset of the world’s comics, primarily focused on the US/Canada). The French language has an enormous tradition of comics, more than any other culture except perhaps Japan, and not speaking it fluently (or having time to look things up) has restricted our coverage to either stupidity explosions and whatever cool thing Boulet is doing now.

Also, FSFCPL’s contributions make for less typing, so that’s a bonus. Here’s today’s news from the world of bande dessinées (nouvelles du monde de la bande dessinée):

I got news about a newly released, let’s say, digital comics experiment called Phallaina. Start downloading the app right now, it’s a bit big, and run it as soon as it is downloaded, as it needs to process its own resources for two additional minutes.

While the page is in French, the app has both French and English text, and there is an English teaser trailer (however, the press kit is inexplicably only in French). While they say it’s optimized for tablets (and I have played with it on my iPad), it is also legible on an Android phone (Galaxy S II), though (as some also also report) I indeed had to kill it the first time and it worked the second, so you should have what it needs to experience it.

They claim it’s the first « bande défilée » (literally, “scrolling band”, while sounding like « bande dessinée »), but (besides, of course, the Bayeux Tapestry) I remember (still online, amazingly enough for a promotional creation) doing the pretty much the same thing, and with web technologies to boot. On the other hand, Never Mind The Bullets has movement everywhere in no discernible pattern, which makes it more confusing than anything; Phallaina is much better done in my opinion.

I have never heard of the author, and I can’t bring you much in the way of context, other than it has the backing of France Télévisions (through the domain:, the credits, etc.), which is nothing less than France’s public TV corporation (think France’s BBC, though restricted to TV).

News via Boulet. I swear, I’m trying to diversify my sources: I now follow a dozen French webcomic authors and related people (some on a secondary Twitter account), and yet all the interesting stuff comes via Boulet.

I can pretty safely say that I never would have heard about Phallaina without this note from Lebeaupin, even though I follow Boulet in English. I’m going to see what’s up with Phallaina first chance I get, and can’t help but wonder if this becomes a platform for more creators and more stories. I can’t help think of what McCloud’s My Obsession With Chess would look like optimized for a modern mobile presentation. Is this me coming around on infinite canvas? Maybe we just needed a way to make the idea not tedious in implementation and technology is finally catching up.

As usual, Fleen thanks Lebeaupin for his contribution. Going to have to create a tag for posts he contributes to for easy future reference.

Spam of the day:
I’m putting this one behind the cut because it is so awesome I couldn’t find an excerpt to quote. I have to run the entire damn thing verbatim.


Returns And Launches

What a week, what a week. Let’s recap the things that have happened and call it.

  • This day in Great Outdoor Fight history: No strip. Ray’s probably dealing with his hat guy to ensure he has the proper hat, and he and Beef are packing up the motorcycle and sidecar for the trip to The Acres.
  • The entirely delightful Rene Engström has, indeed, resurrected Anders Loves Maria with remastered art. Compare, if you will, the first two installments against the original version. There’s better pacing for the gag, better sense of space, better use of panel count and size to establish the time. There’s also — crucially — a shift from steam forming a heart in the original final panel to Maria looking gobsmacked. There’s an entirely different emotional payoff in this strip, a revision that could only come from a creator that is looking back with a better sense of who her characters are/were in hindsight, instead of just discovering them. I suspect the swing from idyllic love story to relationship trainwreck¹ and back again is going to have a different timbre (sometimes subtle, sometimes not) this time around. I’m looking forward to reading my favorite [SPOILER ALERT] ultimately heartbreaking story again for the first time.
  • Ian Jones-Quartey has been mentioned many times on this page; he is, perhaps, best known for his work on Steven Universe and other collaborations with Rebecca Sugar, but before that he did minis, animated and directed various shows (including The Venture Brothers and Adventure Time), did some kick-ass minicomics, and (oh yeah) a little thing called RPG World². He’s been back-and-forth with Cartoon Network with his own projects (such as Secret Mountain Fort Awesome), and reported been working on a secret project.

    That project has been revealed: CN has picked up his Lakewood Plaza Turbo not as a series, but as their first property outside of broadcast. Specifically, it’s the centerpiece of a mobile game, OK K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo, and the start of an ambitious new direction for the media empire. Now follow me on this: if you’re a network that’s taking a big gamble, making a move that has not been made before by any network, you are not going to make your first project (the one that determines whether or not this gamble goes forward) on somebody you don’t have total confidence in.

    And that confidence appears to have been well placed, as OKKO!LPT currently scoring ratings of 4.5/5.0 on both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. There’s probably no good way to determine how many times it’s been downloaded since launch yesterday, but given that the percentage of people that rate downloads is pretty low, having a few hundred (damn near universally positive) ratings in a day means it’s doing pretty well.

    This isn’t a one-off; it’s the start of a new business model for CN, and likely the start of a franchise for Jones-Quartey. Congrats to him, to his team, and to everybody that’s having fun beating stuff up in OKKO!LPT. And if you aren’t one of those people, let me point out that it’s free, so there’s nothing but download time keeping you from playing. You’re welcome.

  • In case you missed it, Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin continued his How to curse in French lessons in yesterday’s comments. Don’t say we never taught you anything worthwhile.

Spam of the day:

Your website has to be the elcoertnic Swiss army knife for this topic.

I’m putting that on my next round of business cards.

¹ Go back through the first run of ALM writeups on this page and you’ll see I spent plenty of time sniffly over those two crazy kids, and plenty of time wanting to boot one or both of them in the skull for being so stupid and cruel. Usually Anders, though — I suspect this time around the motivations for his behavior will be a little more emotionally deep and little less just him being a dick.

² Reminder that you do not ask Jones-Quartey when RPG World is getting finished. Every time he’s asked, he pushes the return date back another month (current estimate: February 2038).

Google Translate Tells Me That The Appropriate Phrasing Is Tu Me Baise Plaisantez?

But I haven’t studied French since high school and we never got to the rude words so I’m trusting them on this one. But I digress.

  • The FIBD in Angoulême apparently decided that all of the idiocy it went through in the runup to this year’s festival wasn’t enough, and decided that as long as there are pooches to screw the by par Dieu, they were gonna screw ’em. It seems ridiculous to say, but the big awards ceremony at Angoulême kicked off by presenting fake awards to unsuspecting creators and then pulling the metaphorical rug out from under them because … comics?

    The invaluable Brigid Alverson¹ has the best summary of the events, including a reasonably heartfelt apology from the host who perpetrated the cruelty, and the quote from FIBD president Franck “there are no notable women in the history of comics” Bondoux declaring that the conteremps is all our fault because they got caught being enormous dicks instead of being able to pretend it didn’t happen². Oh, wait, I was paraphrasing … the actual wording was The problem is the dictatorship of the tweet.

    No kidding, I’m wondering who in the world of comics will be willing to show up next year. The only thing I can see that will prevent name creators from abandoning Angoulême in droves is for Bondoux and his entire staff to be replaced (bitterly complaining, of course, that nobody can take a goddamned joke). I’ve always wanted to see the FIBD in person, but now you couldn’t pay me to go.

  • While we’re in Europe: Rene Engström has been largely absent from webcomics for a number of years; Sofa Rap Art got taken down a while back due to the intervention of evil scammers, and last we heard from her and partner Rasmus Gran, they were expecting a child. Engström’s telling us what having a toddler around is like in her Hourly Comics today (starting here), and we have news that her most famous comics work is on its way back:

    Starting on the 4th of February, 6 years to the day the series first ended, I will be republishing Anders Loves Maria with both old and new content.

    The schedule will be roughly 1-2 pages per week initially.

    New ALM, y’all. Read it again for the first time, hooray!

  • Speaking of February anniversaries:

    .@dinosaurcomics is 13 years old today! I HAVE A TEEN.


    Congratulations on your strip anniversary Ryan and also for not making the passage of time seem creepy at all!

  • And to finish things up, the inimitable Dante Shepherd (so don’t even try imit him!) has taught me about a concept that kept me from ever taking a second class in thermodynamics back in my college days³, one that befuddles the bejabbers out of more than a few baby engineers: fugacity.

    His latest science comic is the one that gave him the idea for a series of scientific-concept comics in the first place, the reason that he went out and got a grant to produce ’em, so it’s kind of a big deal. Hey, Dante, let me know if you want to get around to talking about Nyquist’s ratio or Shannon’s Figure 1 for the next set of science comics. They can’t all be about smelly stuff in tanks and columns.

Spam of the day:

Our processing center is waiting for your response

A response on a VA loan that I don’t have because I wasn’t ever in the military? Yeah, you’re gonna be waiting a while longer.

¹ Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin has yet to check in, and we’ve been asking him to deal with a lot of complete and utter stupidity and I completely understand if he wants to give this one a miss in the interests of mental health.

² As I said, my high school French is rusty, but I can make out the meaning of Bondoux insisting on le droit à l’impertinence.

³ Aside from the fact that electrical engineers were only required to take one thermo class, and one fluid dynamics class, and there’s no rational reason to take any more of either. I bet he hasn’t taken even one class in communications systems, so he shouldn’t be getting too full of himself.