The webcomics blog about webcomics

Self-Evident Excellence

Things that you should dig into and just roll around in for a while, because they’re wonderful.

  • Firstly, the queen of Weird Shit Just Happens Around Her, Ursula Vernon, has an adventure in the near future. One may recall that four years back, she was part of a coterie — a cohort, even — of artists that made their way to southern Africa and memorialized their safari in an art book. Welp, she (and they) are at it again, heading to Himalayan end of China, again to report on their sojourn in book form. Back ’em now so that you can see the reports of weirdness that will surely follow.
  • Secondly, speaking of China, it’s again the Year Of The Pig. And speaking of pigs (and also Kickstarted books), KC Green did a story about a pig in the Tim’rous Beastie anthology from Iron Circus. That story, A Pig Being Lowered Into Hell In A Bucket, is a deep rumination on the nature of sin and redemption, and what place in the afterlife one may expect, deserve, or demand. It’s a quiet (with occasional yelling) masterpiece, one that deals in capital-T Truths. And because Green is a stellar fellow, you get to read it because he put the whole damn thing online, where a bunch of scrolling suits perfectly the very vertical nature of the story. Go. Read. Strongly consider giving him some money because his work is far more than Dickbutt and This Is Fine, and chances are you’ve only seen the merest fraction of it.
  • Thirdly, a new graphic novel by Ananth Hirsh and Tess Stone (who did the really excellent BUZZ! ’bout five years back), coming in 2022 from Random House Graphic. I’m really looking forward to this, if only because Hirsh’s writing is tighter, and Stone’s art is cleaner and stronger, than 2015, and given we won’t see this one for another three and a half years, they’ll both be even better by then. Also, because holy damn is Gina Gagliano locking down talent. The industry press had been full of announcements about acquisitions for release in 2020, but now we’re talking late 2022; by mid-decade, she’ll have pulled RHG into position as a fully equal player to Scholastic and :01 Books — original graphic novels will be neatly divided into those three companies, and everybody else.
  • Lastly, just block out a chunk of time this weekend to obsessively click the button here. The complete unpredictability of random Achewood panels has long been appreciated, but to marry that random wisdom with the divinatory power of the tarot? Somebody tell Onstad he can have my money if he prints up an Achewood tarot deck; the chief difficulty would be reducing the thousands of richly deserving candidates to the 78 cards in a standard deck. Heck, I’m saying right now the entire entire Swords suit should be Ramses Luther Smuckles, and there’s half the major arcana that could be represented by Cartilage Head.

    Needless to say, I don’t actually believe in any form of fortune telling, but that three-card collection in the image up top? Almost enough to make me reassess that position.


Spam of the day:

Ultrawatch Z: The World’s Strongest Tactical SmartWatch

Congratulations. I never wanted a smart watch, and now that you’ve gone and gotten tactical bro shit all over it, I want one even less. I swear, I can already hear the tight-throated narration that will be used in your eventual commercial.

Toronto In The Spring

Everybody knows that TCAF is one of the highlights of the comics event year, and this year is going to be no exception. They just announced their first tranche of Featured Guests¹ for 2019, and hoo boy is it a lineup of considerable talent.

The first names to catch my eye were Lucy Knisley (whose Kid Gloves I’m presently reading, and which I’ll have a review of in the near future) and Emily Carroll (whose work is always spooky in the best way, just under-your-skin-and-crawling-around dread instead of obvious jump scares). But if you’re talking about scares, there’s maybe one person more associated with horror comics than any other in the world, and that’s Junji Ito. And wouldn’t you know it, TCAF has convinced Ito to make his first North American visit, as well as to design three show posters.

The names kept rolling: Ben Passmore (whose Your Black Friend should be required reading for everybody in America age 14 and up) and Ezra Claytan Daniels, creative partners on the upcoming graphic novel BTTM FDRS, as well as indie comic legends Bill Griffith and Seth.

There’s also a stack of names that are new to me, which is great because I get to learn about their work: Inés Estrada, Gord Hill, Anders Nilsen, Brian Selznik, Vivek Shraya, Ness Lee, and Mark Alan Stamaty.

And because this is TCAF, this is just the beginning; they have yet to mention their other non-North American guests, YA guests, and Kids guests.

TCAF 2019 returns to the Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street in The Big Smoke on Saturday, 11 May (9:00am to 5:00pm) and Sunday, 12 May (10:00am to 5:00pm), with a week of exhibits, performances, readings, workshops, parties, and general celebrations of the comic arts leading up to the show. As in past years, look for panel sessions to spill out to various venues around the TRL, and as always, the show is free to attend.


Spam of the day:

Expand Your Wi-Fi Coverage – 300Mbps Wi-Fi Range Extender

Gary, surely the spammers that sent you this aren’t expecting you to believe that they can sell you a gizmo that will make your data into your house faster? Reader, that is exactly what they promise. Hook up their dealie and my fairly pathetic 7Mbps DSL will suddenly be 300Mbps. Yes, they think we’re that stupid.

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¹ I know that URL says 2018, but it’s this year’s guests, promise.

All Stations: Command Terminated, Apparatus To Remain In Place

A moment of your time please, for reflection on the achievements of Opportunity, who was meant to operate on the surface of Mars for 90 sols and instead continued for fifteen years, until the announcement today. With batteries well past the point of being able to sustain system requirements, and no response to communications for an extended period of time, NASA called it today. The mission is done.

Some day, humans will expand our permanent presence to the Moon and Mars; when that happens, I hope that significant bits of history like Spirit and Opportunity and the Apollo landing sites are not turned into equivalent of national parks, their artifacts removed to some museum or other. I hope they build domes over them but leave out the atmosphere, keeping them inviolate and preserved as they are forever¹. Put a half-meter diameter hemisphere of plexi over the entire rambling 45km you traveled, let us get close but never obscure a single tread-mark.

It’s cold where you are, and dark, and very far from where you were born. You showed us every meter in stunning detail and we thank you.


Spam of the day:

[BREAKING NEWS] NASA is Freaking Out Over This ultimate free energy

YOU KEEP NASA’S NAME OUT OF YOUR FILTHY, LYING MOUTH.

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¹ Or at least until the Sun swells in its death throes in a few billion years, obliterating these rocks where we spawned.

With More Information To Come

I had some reservations about today’s topic because there’s tantalizingly little information public, and I couldn’t find any more that what I’m about to share with you — and believe me, I went digging for every possible public avenue. But if there’s one thing that comics are uniquely suited towards, it’s teaching — and some of you are going to want to consider attending an upcoming (but at the moment, mysterious) event. I’ve got some inquiries out there now, and I’ll be sure to update with any additional details that present themselves.

So, the University of Massachusetts Medical School is apparently doing a comics event. The sole mention of it so far is from the New England Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, which appears to be an endeavour of the National Institutes of Health. There’s nothing at the NNLM/NER webpage and nothing at the UMass Med School web page, but we can tell some things:

  • The address given, 55 Lake Ave North Worcester, MA 01655 appears to be for the UMass Memorial Medical Center, which is the first of the entities so listed to have an upcoming events listing.
  • Nothing for the date given, 10 April, though.
  • Despite the graphic elements shown in the announcement, it doesn’t appear that the likes of Cece Bell, Raina Telgemeier, Brian Fies, or Roz Chast will be there — I’m assuming that they’re there because the comics in question all deal with health, death, and dying.
  • But Maki Naro, science communicator via the medium of comics since small times, will be there.
  • Despite the name, New England Graphic Medicine ComicCon looks like it will be more an academic event than a con, if only based on the sponsoring organizations. Look for formal talks, not tabling creators.
  • So maybe don’t show up in cosplay as your favorite communicable disease; in fact, it may not be open to the public at all, what with it being daytime in the middle of the week.

But I have people that read this page that likely are the intended audience, whether they use comics in a STEM academic setting (hello, Danteluke Landherr-Shepherd), those who use comics as part of medical outreach and education specifically (hello, Cathy Leamy), not to mention librarians of alls trips (particularly academic librarians).

If this sounds like a good way to spend a Wednesday, you might want to start working your professional networks. In the meantime, I’ll let you know what responses I get. With any luck, we’ll be able to get one or more of the folks that attend to tell us what they taught and/or learned.


Spam of the day:

System simple growth well-being running USA by the developer from NASA – specifically made it possible a lot of young people receive impressive amounts!

Curiously, this spam came in both bad English (as seen above) and original Russian text. When Google translated, this section reads:

Simple income system developed in Japan, scientists from NASA – really helped many people to raise little money!

The differences in wording aside, I find the shift from the USA to Japan to be weird. But mostly, I take it as a reminder to watch the Super Karate Monkey Death Car episode of News Radio again. Stephen Root is a treasure.

Fleen Book Corner: A New Line Of Ensmartening Books

We’ll be taking a look at the first release¹ in the Maker Comics line from :01 Books in just a moment, but first …

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Please Listen To Me, the whatever-they-want-to-talk-about-but-mostly-political offering from Matt Lubchanksy (commonly found these days at The Nib, where they are associate editor) has been on hiatus since April of 2018, for reasons. But it’s back! Maybe not regularly, but back! We’re happy to have you back, Matt.

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Madison Furr and her excellent colleagues at :01 dropped a stack of review copies on me recently, and I was super excited to find Maker Comics: Bake Like A Pro! by Falynn Koch near the top of the stack. It may be because I am a home baker of some practice (mostly breads these days², but I flatter myself to say that I can do a decent pie crust, and I pride myself that the cheesecakes I make in the December holiday season for my bartenders get me free drinks all the year long), it may be because the other candidate for first Maker Comics release, Fix A Car! is one that I have less comfort with³.

Let’s just say it’s because I know enough about the topic that I can tell if the book’s getting things right and have enough to learn that a new explanation will help my own understanding. And here’s the deal: Koch scores on both criteria. I haven’t tested all of the recipes myself, but I recognize enough to see that the methods and instructions are solid. It teaches from a perspective that I wish I’d had in my home ec classes back in my teenage years:

  • Baked things don’t have arbitrary recipes, they have ingredients that behave in certain ways, and you can make changes and substitutions if you understand how they behave.
  • Each ingredient serves a purpose (providing structure, leavening, moisture, color, flavor) and how you bring those ingredients together matters.
  • Cooking may be an improvisational art, but baking is rule-based math and science.

Or, as Koch has it, magic; the framing story features an apprentice wizard who is learning baking as an introduction to alchemy.

The references in the back indicate that Koch’s learned from the best — I’m not familiar with some of them, but I can see the influence of Alton Brown, particularly in the exploration of one master recipe (the Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe, which is as close to a perfected recipe as we’ll ever see) to get variations by playing with proportions. Please understand, I’m not accusing Koch of ripping off Brown, any more that Brown was ripping off Shirley Corriher when he used Good Eats to do the same. Besides, Brown’s puppets that explain yeast action belch out carbon dioxide, and Koch’s little cartoon yeast fart out carbon dioxide. Totally different!

But bakers always have things they consider most important — more than one family has had long-running disputes over whether to use shortening or lard in biscuits4 — and thus there are things I wish Koch had covered. While she correctly points out the importance of having a clean oven interior in temperature regulation, she didn’t talk about how oven interior temperatures can vary widely, and therefore you need a good thermometer (in-oven, probe, instant read, IR or all of the above).

And I will die on this hill — we should not be measuring flour by sifted/scooped/leveled volumes, we should be weighing it. Yes, baker’s scales are somewhat pricey (as are some of those thermometers), but they are no less useful than the stand mixer that makes its way into the book which is listed as (if available) in multiple recipes. There is no quicker way to getting consistent results — which are necessary to seeing where your baking needs improvement — than having accurate temperature awareness and portioning ingredients by mass5.

And EMT hat on: there was one very odd recommendation on taking a hot pizza stone out of the oven to move the uncooked pizza to it. Okay, I get it, not everybody has a pizza peel, but this struck me as super hazardous for anybody, much less kids. If you cook on a baking stone and don’t have a peel, get a sheet of parchment paper under your crust, put it on a cookie sheet (on the underside if it has a lip) and slide the whole thing onto the very hot rock. You can grab the parchment and pull back onto the cookie sheet when it’s time to come out. Please don’t try to take a hot stone out of the oven (which could shatter when you place it on the stove top if you’re even a little rough in your handling) and return it.

But those editorial choices aside, kids will not develop their own deeply held baking beliefs if they never start baking. And if you want them to get a head start on baking, Bake Like A Pro! will get them on that path so that we can have the very important fights later.


Spam of the day:

Shock your family, make your garden more contemporary. You will love it’s new look!

Or I could ignore your spamming ass, and wait for the future release, Maker Comics: Grow A Garden!. Release date not announced yet, but it’s on the back cover of Bake Like A Pro! and :01 haven’t lied to me yet.

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¹ Okay, the first two titles in the Maker Comics line released simultaneously last Tuesday; I’m looking at the one that both comes first alphabetically by title and by author’s last name.

² In fact I have a pizza dough resting in the fridge as I type this. If it turns out particularly pretty, I’ll tweet a picture later tonight.

³ One might argue that my lesser expertise is a reason that I should have gone for the car fix book. But I don’t have the tools to practice what I might learn, and I can change a flat and check my oil and am perfectly willing to pay people to handle more in-depth automotive interactions.

4 Lard. Duh.

5 For those that pick up the book and play with the pizza recipe, make the following substitution: 300 grams of flour instead of 3 cups, 180 grams of water instead of 1 cup; the golden ratio for basic breads is 5:3 flour:water by mass (plus yeast as necessary, plus oil as required by the type of bread — the amounts given will work nicely).

As an aside Brown’s baking book is from 2004 and he lists virtually every ingredient by volume (because his editors and his mom made him) and mass (which is what he wanted); in the 15 years since, I think we deserve a general-audience intro to baking book with the courage to make the leap to ingredients by mass only.

A Little Better, Thanks For Asking

I mean, the dog’s keeping me company so that’s all right, but I could use another 18 hours or so of sleep. Yet your insatiable desire for webcomics and webcomics-adjacent news demands my consciousness, damn you.

  • Speaking of dogs and under the weather, I need to mention Andy Runton for a moment. It is established, scientific fact that Runton is the sweetest guy on the planet, and also that he has spent significant effort in the past helping others through their medical challenges. See those watercolors he did to raise money for neurofibromatosis? They feature his pooches. One of whom, Gable, is doing poorly:

    … Gable stopped using his back legs. We rushed him back to the specialist and I’m so glad we did. Gable needed emergency surgery to help his back. He suffered something called IVDD, losing multiple discs in his spine.

    He made it through surgery and even recovered most of his ability to walk over the next 3 months. Unfortunately he suffered another injury to his spine on February 2nd. Nothing major happened. He just didn’t want to stand up when it was time for bed. We were hoping he just needed some pain meds but he needed a second back surgery.

    Andy’s an independent cartoonist; the Owly books have been out of print for a shamefully long time, and although Scholastic is reissuing them (in color!) and following the existing five with a new sixth book¹, that doesn’t even start until next year. So maybe help the sweetest guy as he’s doing right by an adorable pupper? I’m in and I hope you join me.

  • Speaking of sweet things, did you know that at the Ig Nobel prize ceremony, there is a small girl named Miss Sweetie Poo who will — if an acceptance speech goes on too long — repeatedly declare Please stop, I’m bored at the laureates? Because there is. And this has what, exactly to do with webcomics?

    Enter Zach Weinersmith, and his Bad Ad-Hoc Hypothesis Festival in London, on 16 March:

    Brought together at Imperial College for the first time on the same date — the London stop of the Ig Nobel Awards Tour Show, and the London Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses.

    Both shows will take place in the Great Hall of Imperial College, in the Sherfield Building (number 20 on this map). The Ig Nobel show will start at 15:00 (doors open from 14:00) and will finish by 17:00. There will then be an intermission. BAHFest will start at 19:00, (doors open from 18:00) and will finish by 21:00. After the show, the bar downstairs from the venue will be open for attendees, and there will be a book signing with several of our judges and speakers. Books can be bought in advance when checking-out through Eventbrite, and a limited number will be available to buy on the day.

    Tickets at this link ranging £9 (one show only, student) to £80 (both shows, plus dinner with both sets of performers between the shows), with Imperial College students able to purchase tickets through their student union. If you’ll be in Blighty at the time, get tickets — there will be laugh-chuckles aplenty.


Spam of the day:

THE “ASSAULT BAG” IS YOUR EVERYDAY TACTICAL BACKPACK – GET 1 FREE!

This might have gone over better if you hadn’t sent it the same day that McSweeney’s posted this.

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¹ Runton told me about this last year at Comics Camp, but I promised not to reveal it before the official announcement. Somehow, I neglected to write about it here, which is deeply embarrassing.

Bleah

Sick.

See you tomorrow. Maybe.

Happy Things

Wonderful things happening today. Best brace yourself.

  • It’s been more than a dozen years — not much more than a month after this blog started, in fact — since I called for an illustrated guide to Warner Bros cartoon sight gags. Think of the very elaborate Rube Goldberg last minute of Bully For Bugs or the Friz Freleng Multidoor Gag¹. In fact, think of the Multidoor Gag now, because KC Green and Anthony Clark clearly did in today’s BACK and went further to provide the explanation we’ve been waiting for since 1944: room tunnels. Give ‘er a read and you’ll find yourself smiling.
  • Unlooked for and yet very welcome: Randall Munroe is doing his third anciliary xkcd book², following up What If? and Thing Explainer. How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems is described as:

    [T]he world’s least useful self-help book. It describes how to cross a river by removing all the water, outlines some of the many uses for lava around the home, and teaches you how to use experimental military research to ensure that your friends will never again ask you to help them move.

    Want.

    I was worried that there might be overlap with Ryan North’s similarly-titled How To Invent Everything, but North’s book doesn’t feature even one method of messing with your friends. Here’s hoping How To includes advice on how to get out of holes. It will be available on 3 September in the US, Canada, UK, the Commonwealth, Germany, and Holland, and 20 October in Sweden, for US$28, CAN$37, €16, £17 (subject to Brexit upheaval), SEK141, and unknown amounts of Aussie [and Kiwi] Fun Bucks.

  • Hey, you know who rules? Shing Yin Khor (shown here at the bottom margin). She does amazing art, amazing installations, amazing prints, amazing experiences, and knows more about Paul Bunyan Muffler Men than you, guaranteed. She’s also been named a Kickstarter Thought Leader for 2019, joining Zainab Akhtar³ as representatives of the world of comics to Kickstarter’s list of Official Smart People.

    Keep an eye on Khor as she shares more of her special skills for building community; while you’re at it, her latest Kickstart — for art postcards of weird critters — runs another ten days. Time to hop on that.


Spam of the day:

Here’s why mental decline isn’t your fault

I know that I’m never serious in ripping on spammers, but this is completely serious: mental decline is never your fault, and fuck anybody that says that it is.

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¹ Which I referred to back then as Five Doors, but I was mistaken. In my defense, there were not YouTube clips of the gag in question to check my memory against, and now there are

² xkcd: volume 0 being a collection of strips, not Munroe being Munroe in the wonderfully weird ways he does.

³ Oliver Sava at The AV Club is the only writer on comics that I think is as insightful and enjoyable to read as Akhtar, and there’s not a better curator anywhere in English language comics.

Valentimes Are Nigh; Cue The Horny Werewolves

Always remember: Valentine’s Day is a Christian corruption of a pagan festival involving werewolves, blood and fucking. So wish people a happy Horny Werewolf Day and see what happens.

Oh, Internet Jesus, are you ever at a loss for words? Let’s see what webcomics has in store for Horny Werewolf Day.

  • If you’re going to keep the Horny in Horny Werewolf Day, you could do far worse than keeping an eye on Oh Joy, Sex Toy, where chroniclers of all things sexy Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan are dealingn with the efforts of working on two books by sharing the love:

    Next week we’ve got another cute porny guest comic (I know right, a lot of horny ones in a row, just in time for Valentines — it’s just how it turned out I swear)

    And then just after they’ve got a signing of Drawn To Sex at the Seattle outpost of Babeland:

    Meet illustrators and authors Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan as they talk about sex and the first installment of their educational book series, Drawn to Sex: The Basics.

    Erika and Matthew have spent years learning, talking, and creating informative comics about all aspects of sex. Using comics, jokes, and frank communication, they’re here to demystify the world of sex and answer your questions—including ones you might not even know you had! Enjoy complimentary bubbly, 10% off shopping and a chance to win a copy of their new book.

    That’s Friday, 15 February, from 7:00pm to 8:00pm, at 707 East Pike Street in Seattle.

  • You know where you might find actual horny werewolves? In the Iron Circus anthology of sexy times plus beasties, My Monster Boyfriend, that’s where! And if you don’t have a copy handy, you can get one on sales between now and HWD. From IC Supremo C Spike Trotman:

    Happy February, everybody! It’s time for a Valentine’s Day sale! From now until February 15th, we’re offering 25% off cover price on all our romance and erotica titles!
    Just use coupon code JewelledDynamo at check out, and the discount will be applied to all applicable items in your cart.

    Applicable titles are Crossplay, Iris and Angel: Two, The Less Than Epic Adventures Of TJ And Amal, Five Years Ago And Three Thousand Miles Away, Kung Fu Hustlers, Whisper Grass, Letters For Lucardo, Smut Peddler: 2012 Edition, Smut Peddler: 2014 Edition, Smut Peddler Presents: My Monster Boyfriend, and Yes, Roya.

    You can find all of them in the NSFW section of the Iron Circus Store, along with How To Smoke A Weed (not romance/erotica) and Iris And Angel: One (listed at zero dollars for the PDF, so how much of a discount do you want?).


Spam of the day:

This official President DONALD J. TRUMP COMMEMORATIVE COIN

Nope. Stopping you right there. Today’s post is a celebration of horniness, not antihorniness. Shoo.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

New stuff arriving, old stuff going away, and a new direction or two. Oh and apropos of nothing, the people that make IT infrastructure decisions for my employer are sociopaths that have no regard for their end users¹. But let’s focus on webcomics!

  • New Stuff: GeorgeMister Rohac, if you’re nasty — knows more than one or maybe no dudes in a million about the logistics and business of getting stuff made and managing projects with respect to the independent creative professional. He’s gathered up a lot of his accumulated wisdom in one easy-to-read Google Doc and shared it publicly because he loves you. There’s more to come, but even if another word is never added, there’s seven pages of goodness there including names of vendors that he’s used so as to save you flailing about. George is a national treasure.
  • Old Stuff: There’s little in webcomics with the depth and breadth of worldbuilding and interconnectedness to match John Allison’s Tackleverse. From 1998 on, Allison’s been giving us stories of the mundane and the weird, across a variety of aesthetic styles, predominantly solo but also partnering with top-notch artistic talent (particularly on the Giant Days comics from BOOM!, issue 47 of which is out this week, and which gets better month after month). Alas, there are only so many hours in a day, and that means Things Are Going To Change. Specifically, the return to the beginning of the Tacklfordillion is coming to a close:

    Sorry to say, this is the last comic of the current run. I’m about to start work on a (completely new, non-SGR) print project that I will be writing and drawing, which means new webcomics are off the cards for the forseeable future. I have plans for more Bobbins stories following on from this, but I don’t know when I’ll be back, so your best bet is to subscribe to the mailing list for updates.

    You can subscribe on the comic page linked above, or you can read his Tinyletter missives by following his Twitterfeed, or you can go old school and hit the RSS. Things may be to be continued for the moment, but I wager they’ll be back.

  • New Direction: There is probably no longer-running, more consistent webcomicker who has never even tried to make comics a career than David Morgan-Mar (PhD, LEGO®©™etc), he of many comics. Specifically, his employer has prompted him to make a leap after 16+ years:

    My employer has informed me that my job is being declared redundant. My last day of paid employment is 4 March. I’m looking at this as an opportunity rather than a setback. My plan is to take about 6 months off work, and spend the equivalent of full-time working hours doing creative things — making comics, writing, photography, making videos, etc. — and ramping up my efforts to market them and try to make a living income off them. If after 6 months I feel comfortable that I can make enough from my creative work, then I will continue — if not, then it’ll be time to look for another job.

    As part of this effort, I’ve already moved Irregular Webcomic! from 4-a-week to a slightly more “full time” schedule of new comics on Monday-Friday. Coming soon there will be announcements of new projects that I’ll be ramping up over the next few weeks. Importantly, if this is to continue, I’ll be looking for your support. I’ll be pushing Patreon as a way to support me, producing merchandise for sale, and may also consider some other things like Google Ads.

    [That newsbox doesn’t appear to have a permalink, but for now it’s on the main page of Irregular Webcomic, if you scroll down.]

    There is probably nobody that approaches creativity with such enthusiastic abandon as Morgan-Mar; he gets an idea for a comic, he jumps in with both feet, and does it until it reaches a natural ending point or maybe never. And he doesn’t make it easy on himself — comics that require constructing and re-constructing LEGO sets, with 18 interlocking story threads? Learning to draw and doing a weekly comic as a way to measure his skill progress? He’s living proof that it’s not a lack of ideas that holds back creation, it’s a lack of time to act on the ideas.

    I recommend you make the time worthwhile. He’s got his two (so far) books up at TopatoCo’s Internet Thingporium, and there will be more to come. You’ve got six months to convince him to let all those ideas run riot, or he goes back to Dayjoblandia, and there actually are going to be positions open for a PhD astrophysicist that’s involved in the international standards for digital photography. He can go back to meetings and conferences like that, people. Don’t let him slip through your fingers.

  • Miscellaneous: Lucas Landherr (the mild-mannered college professor and alter ego of deranged chalkvenger Dante Shepherd) is 36 years old today. Also a PhD, he’s establishing new modes of using comics in STEM education, and also turning chemical engineering exams into a means to channel his inner Gonzo The Great. He’s also just one of the best people. Everybody wish him a happy birthday because damn, dude deserves it.

Spam of the day:

Give your dog’s mouth the attention it deserves with DogDentist and save a TON of money in vet bills.

While watching my dog stagger around tripping balls after getting anesthetized for dental treatment is hilarious, it’s really much simpler to brush her teeth. Plus, her toothpaste tastes like chicken!

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¹ Did I say that out loud?