The webcomics blog about webcomics

Weekend Fun

Know who loves comics? Dads. It’s true! And as it turns out, there’s a couple of comics-related things you can do with your (or as a) Dad, on opposite sides of the country! Choose whichever is closest to you!

  • On the Left Coast, our friends at the Cartoon Art Museum are so invested in your Dad having a good time, they’re offering him free admission:

    The Cartoon Art Museum is offering free admission to all fathers for Father’s Day weekend with paid admission for their child or grandchild. Visit us at 781 Beach Street on Saturday, June 16 and Sunday, June 17, 2018 and enjoy our current exhibitions.

    Those current exhibitions include a look at the MARCH trilogy by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, and Jen Wang’s latest, The Prince And The Dressmaker (with which I had considerable concerns, but read it and decide for yourself).

  • On the Eastside, Danielle Corsetto Heavy Book Tour starts at Philadelphia’s Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse tomorrow, with a Q&A at noon and signing until 4:00pm. She’ll be spending the rest of the weekend and the early part of next week in transit and sharpening up her Laser Tag skills in anticipation of the Albany signing on Tuesday, with special guests Jess Fink and Eric Colossal¹.

    The mayhem starts at 6:30pm at Zero Gravity FuntimeLaserPlace, 1240 Central Avenue, and will run you US$17 for up to three games of laser tag, plus the usual signing stuff.

    BUT!

    They need at least 22 people signed up (with a maximum of 30) and there are presently 14. You must RSVP so they know they have enough to make the venue happy, and you only have until tomorrow to do so. Hudson Valley folks, this is your moment to shine. Do not make Danielle haul those big-ass books all the way to Albany and then not get to shoot you with a laser.

Side note: Monday may not have a post; I have to travel for work, and as this one will involve a visit to Our Neighbo[u]rs To The North, and since Screamy Orange Grandpa is shitting all over Canada these days, I may be some time at Customs & Immigration.

Hopefully, relations between our countries do not deteriorate to the point that I needs be held as an enemy national … and if so, let me remind our gracious Canadian friends that I know The Toronto Man-Mountain and he can personally vouch for my good character. Thank you.


Spam of the day:

Hey sexy, its Christy Mack!! I added some topless photos just for you on Instagram

I don’t know if the photos in this email are or are not of Christy Mack, but they are not topless. Also, doesn’t IG pretty much ban topless pictures? Try harder, spammers.

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¹ Whom I accidentally left out of my previous mention of the event.

Okay, Is There At Least A Translation For “Clark Kent”?

Hey, you! Are you just sitting on the couch, wishing you knew what happened at Lyon BD? Of course you are, because Fleen readers have a deep and abiding appreciation for webcomics from all corners of the globe, but especially for those where Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin can provide us with insight and analysis. In which case, we’ve got a treat for you today.

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French language comics festivals come in many sizes and shapes: in a huge convention center (though that is mostly the purview of anime cons) or in the premises of a business school, in the vicinity of Paris or many hours of travel away (to say nothing of those taking place outside Europe), centered around anime or around bandes dessinées (with sometimes some U.S. comics on the side), with excellent programming and exhibitions or with none at all, only creators, etc. Some of which I even went to since my last con report in Saint-Malo.

But Lyon BD is easily my favorite. They allow significant space for independent creators and publishers, treat attendees and exhibitors well (as well as hack webcomics pseudojournalists — yes, against all reason they again provided me with press credentials), have a good balance of scale and intimacy, feature very interesting exhibitions, etc. And it was a pleasure to come back after last year.

I do not have as much to report on this year, though: how can you beat the presence of Scott McCloud as a source of interest for Fleen readers? Still, I was able to gather a number of interesting tidbits.

  • The setup was improved from last year, with the tent on the place des Terreaux not only covering more surface (among other reasons because the fountain at the center of the plaza was no longer covered by scaffolding), but also having air conditioning! I know, not the most environmentally-friendly improvement, but when you’re wearing a Superman T-shirt, white shirt, and blue suit in order to cosplay Clark Kent, you selfishly welcome it.
  • Saturday morning had Pénélope Bagieu)¹ give a talk on her activities in the form of an interview in a small auditorium under the tent. Not much on what she’s currently working on except that it is for younger audiences than what she is used to, but she came back to Brazen, and one interesting tidbit is that she relied on written sources even for the women featured who are still alive today, and avoided going directly to them, so as to avoid making sort of “official biographies”; she has had some reactions from them now, especially after the English-language edition came out, mostly them being honored of being represented. However she had little choice when it came to Sonia Alizadeh given Bagieu had little information on her, so Bagieu contacted her to fill in the blanks; and as a result Bagieu did get some pushback on some aspects of the finished work, mostly how her mother is represented, and that Bagieu had to take into account.

    Later on, a member of the public asked if she had found what she was looking for in the U.S. (she has been living in Brooklyn for the last three years or so), and she answered that it had allowed her to get out of her routine and find renewed interest in her craft for instance; working on Brazen came naturally as soon as she was installed. She is also getting inspired by local architecture (including escape stairs), though whenever she comes back to France she does keep an appreciation for French architecture. Lastly, she is keeping contact with the local indie scene, which is widely more active than it is in France.

    After that interview, she was signing for most of the festival. You would think that with the last volume of Culottées having come out more than one year ago, and the omnibus in 2017, more than six months ago, pressure would have abated somewhat … but you would be wrong. Her line was packed with people clutching their copy of Culottées for most of the festival, with mostly women waiting in line, I must unfortunately report. Guys, if Gary and I enjoyed it, you can too.

  • An updated version of the Hero-ine-s exhibition was on display for the festival, now featuring pieces from international creators: it was updated and translated in English for the purposes of the Lakes Comic Art Festival in October 2018 (and will also show for the first time at Cumbria University in May). It was great to see an additional perspective on this matter, and I particularly appreciated some of the pieces; try and catch it if you’re remotely near the Cumbria area at that time. It will also remain all June in the Comédie Odéon in Lyon.

    I was even able to catch writer JC Deveney, creator of the exhibition, between two events, and while nothing more is confirmed yet, he told me the plans that are afoot in this area. Oh, yes, Plans Are Afoot.

  • In a meetup with Guillaume Long, who has been creating a blog BD about cooking called A Boire et à Manger that now has three collections published and a fourth one coming, not to mention a few spinoffs, I learned that his book will come out in English; it will be called, surprisingly enough To Drink And To Eat, but it will also have an all-new cover, which I unfortunately cannot show you … but I have seen it, and it is great. I do not know the publisher, but I would not be surprised for it to be First Second. We at Fleen will be sure to keep you informed.
  • Sunday morning, it was Boulet’s turn to be interviewed (this time by Paul Satis) in the auditorium about his numerous projects. First, the latest tome of Notes, numbered 11, which came out pretty much because he had reached the required number of pages published on the blog … except he miscounted, so once he realized he scrambled to fill in the 50 or so missing pages, allowing him to cement the theme of the blog: his brain is an asshole. Which in turn allowed him to expand on themes such as neurosciences, etc. He remarked that while most people, including artists, are frustrated artists (of another art when it comes to artists, obviously), he considers himself a frustrated scientist; he could very well have followed STEM studies, but that would have meant no longer studying drawing so that was a dealbreaker for him.

    Satis asked him about the Inside-Out-like people living in his head, and Boulet related they had saved his bottom on multiple occasions. In fact, his mishap in Your Comment Here did not receive the standard “autobio dramatization” process, it happened pretty much as is (with some details changed), and he finds the process fascinating.

    Another aspect of the notes that are now on paper that was raised is his adventures in Los Angeles, in which he now lives part of the year to be with his girlfriend, who works for Disney. Interestingly (particularly in parallel with Bagieu’s talk), while in France he lives at odd hours, with him rising after noon, and crashing sometimes as late as 4 AM, in Los Angeles he plays the perfect homemaker, taking breakfast with his girlfriend and waving her as She goes to work, and then, since he’s up, he might as well be working, so he does. But he’s always eager to come back to France.

    He went on to mention his other projects: Infinity 8 (synopsis by Lewis Trondheim, remainder of the writing and drawings by him), Bolchoi Arena (written by him, drawn by Aseyn), his Instagram monsters, which he generally draws live on his Twitch channel and where he also answers questions from the audience during the process, and the Octopus collection he edits, with the last book from the initially announced lineup having come out just a few weeks earlier.

  • By the time the festival ended, I was able to catch up with online comics creators Janine, creator of said book, Marc Dubuisson, Pins, Paka, Shyle Zalewsky, and Karensac.

    And just like last year, the festival ended with the sight of Boulet’s mile-long signing line. Shetty Shet, fellow blog BD aficionado on Twitter, was courageous enough to wait in this line, but I wasn’t, so I left, though not without waving her good luck, confident that the Lyon BD people and I will meet back next year …

P.S.: In related news, Bagieu, Boulet, and Cy are present in this year’s edition of the nearby Annecy animation festival this week, the latter two to provide comics coverage of the event, just like last year, and the former both for the animated version of the Culottées and as a jury member for the end of studies shorts awards.


Spam of the day:

Club Access LocalMILFsMHP Ad-Partner

This email purports to be from a 23 year old woman. We are on the cusp of MILF and Barely Legal converging into the same state.

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¹ Who, by the way, drew the poster for this year’s edition; it was not only all over town, but got declined into a bunch of exceedingly cute merch.

Value

Okay, neither of these things we’re about to talk about are directly related to webcomics per se, but they are both adjacent enough that we ought to discuss.

  • So it seems that Ubisoft (who are a videogame studio but that’s all I can tell you about them … I don’t know what games they make¹, or if they good/suck) are making a videogame. That’s cool. And this particular one has room for a lot of random art to be included — background elements like graffiti, snippits of song, etc. So far, so good.

    It’s also the case that Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the actor that makes everything he’s in better than it would be otherwise, has a company/movement/Creative Commonsish platform called HitRECord that is designed to get people making stuff, then paid for making stuff. In a way, it’s a matchmaker service, but instead of a traditional agency where you work with specific clients, it’s got a userbase that uploads stuff, then gets paid by people who use it. I’m oversimplifying drastically here, but I think you get the gist.

    The latest project that HitRECord is working with is the Ubisoft videogame, and there’s a US$50,000 pot of money that will be divided by all the users whose stuff gets selected to be in the videogame. It’s also set off a lot of alarm bells that this is spec work, and I’m honestly a little divided about that.

    As we know, spec work sucks — thanks to Maki Naro for making it so easy to share why it sucks — as it’s a situation you spend a bunch of time creating a thing for no money, hoping it gets picked up. Depending on the terms of the spec deal (which may be structured as a “contest”), the people who are dangling the prospect of getting paid (or worse, exposure) may end up owning your stuff whether you get paid or not. And Ubisoft certainly has the money to pay people for work instead of crowdsourcing in this fashion.

    But I’m not 100% certain this is that. As near as I can tell, nobody has to submit new work — you have something hanging around your HitRECord account you can submit it and maybe it gets chosen, maybe you get paid. That appears to be the key model for HitRECord — people go browsing for something they need in a marketplace, buy the bits they like. Say you want music behind a Kickstarter video and want to be ethical about it, you find a clip somebody’s recorded and license its use.

    It looks to me like this particular situation is a more directed version of that marketplace model. Now if Ubisoft has their art directors look over a zillion things to mine for ideas and use them for unpaid inspiration (and I’d never put such a stunt past a large media company), that’s absolutely evil. But partnering with HitRECord to have a specific channel, with a specific budget, one for which HitRECord appears to be forgoing its usual 50/50 revenue sharing, I think that’s on this side of the acceptable line.

    Again, I have dug deep into the terms & conditions. If Ubisoft say that all submissions must be original, never used elsewhere previously, and if not selected can’t be used elsewhere later, that’s no good. But if already-completed work can be submitted, or not chosen submissions immediately returned to the HitRECord venue for sale to others, I’m inclined to think this is potentially not-evil (I know, low bar). I also think the pushback directed at Gordon-Levitt personally is misdirected — if the situation is spec work, that’s on Ubisoft². I’m perfectly happy to have a discussion in the comments, so have at it.

  • Now, if we’re talking about not giving away labor in unpaid situations, it’ll definitely be useful if the labor that you don’t give away is also not horrifically underpriced. We’ve all heard the horror stories of somebody that, say, wanted 32 full-color illustrations for a children’s book and generously offered US$200. Not US$200 per illo, two hundred dollars total. As in six bucks per full-color illustration. Yeah, no. Don’t agree to that.

    But what constitutes a fair price? For the past several years, the fine folks behind Creator Resource have been collecting tools for the comics freelancer, and they’re currently gathering input into what page rates get paid. Who’s good, who’s a nightmare cheapskate, who makes you fight to get paid? This is ground that’s previously been covered by Fair Page Rates (with surveys covering 2015 and 2016), but they seem not to have surveyed for 2017.

    So the questions asked by Creator Resource won’t necessarily track 100% with those asked in prior years by Fair Page Rates, but some imperfect data is better than none. The survey for 2017 page rates is here, and we’ll be sure to share the results when they get released.


Spam of the day:

Diabites destroyer
Peter’s a 53-year-old diabetic man who almost died after suffering a “diabetic coma.” But after adding THIS backyard “weed” to his spice rack, he not only lost an impressive 41 lbs in just 29 days.

41 pounds in 29 days? Wait, don’t tell me: “diabites”-related gangrene necessitated the amputation of both feet and the removal of a kidney, right?

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¹ Which is to say, they don’t make any of the games I care about: Half Life/Portal, particularly goofy Team Fortress II stuff, Civilization/Alpha Centauri. Everything else is largely background noise to me.

² Unless everybody that’s mad also thinks that HitRECord is an unethical undertaking when it’s not working with Ubisoft; as near as I can tell, it’s a more directed version of Patreon.

Schlockiversary And Other Things Of Note

Happy Strippiversary to my Evil Twin. I see you’re celebrating in the traditional manner: reconfiguring the websserver so that leaving off the “www” part means you don’t get the site. Still, eighteen years and 6574 strips is nothing to sneer at. And the art’s gotten better, too! You may have taken away the “first” navigation button, but I will pull out strip #1 every year, so that people understand the raw value of sticking with it.

Now, things that happened in The Before Times that I’m just getting to:

  • The winner of the Be Prepared giveaway has been chosen, and it’s Steven from St Paul, Minnesota. Book coming your way as soon as I can get to the post office, Steven.
  • Shing Yin Khor is many things: comics artist, installation artist, constructor of awesome haunted houses, space mechanic/hobo, and decrier of capitalism. Come to San Diego Comic Con (holy crud, less than six weeks out) and she’ll have certain stuff for you only if you have something suitable to barter with:

    Can’t wait to launch my Space Gnome Mercantile TRADE ONLY merch at SDCC. In 2018, the space gnome will trade for:
    1. A cool rock
    2. A story about your favourite roadside statue
    3. A handmade ceramic vessel
    4. A compliment, in iambic pentameter or limerick.

    Best believe I’m brushing up on my poetic forms and keeping my eyes peeled for rocks.

  • Kerstin La Cross, adventure cartoonist, has a habit of walking far places with her stuff on her back, scaling high peaks, traversing low valleys, and then sharing what the experience was like with those of us who appreciate The Great Outdoors just fine as long as we can do our appreciating from The Great Indoors. Her newest recounting is an autobio treatment of a 100 mile (161 km) hike took with their husband, and it’s a brave piece of self-examination.

    It took all of three strips to get to the point where they have to portray the most humble-making thing that any of us can experience — getting deservedly smacked upside the head with the ol’ cluebat. It’s a hell of a cold open, and determining how they got to that point is just getting started. Buckle up and be prepared to keep up — there’s rocky times ahead.

  • Is there anything C Spike Trotman can’t do? Aside from being listed as one of the upcoming creators in ComiXology’s new foray into original, creator-owned stories, she’s got Iron Circus’s 17th damn Kickstart going, one that funded out in the customary few hours, and which is headed for US$40K-60K according to the FFF mk2¹.
  • Hey, remember the Multiplex animated short? It’s on Amazon Prime.
  • Hey, remember KC Green and Anthony Clark? They have a double treat for us tomorrow. In addition to the weekly dose of BACK goodness (and it’s been very good lately), they partnered up on an issue of Invader Zim from Oni, releasing this week.
  • Danielle Corsetto’s Big Ass Heavy Book Tour kicks off in Philly this weekend (I may try to hop down for that one) before exploring the Northeast and Canada. Highlight: next Tuesday in Albany, the tour will feature LASER TAG WITH JESS FINK if enough people reserve spots. I’m going to be in Ottawa, or hell of yes I’d be there.

Spam of the day:

Look inside! New Credit Card may be available here.

That shit doesn’t work when you send me an actual envelope, it’s not going to work with a friggin’ email.

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¹ By the Iron Circus model, there’s a US$5/page pay bump for every US$5K over goal, so between 4 and 8 bumps, or another US$20-40 per page on top of the already-earned page rate.

A Lesser World

I had a lot to talk about today, after last week kept me from posting, and I will do that tomorrow, but today is for another topic. It’s one that, in retrospect, seems obvious, and more on that in a moment.

Project Wonderful is shutting down.

I actually had some advance notice, but when The Toronto Man-Mountain politely asks you to keep something embargoed, you do that. He is an infinitely kindly man, but not one to be gainsayed. So I’ve had some time to think about this.

It’s been apparent to anybody that pays attention to PW ad boxes that the average asking price has been steadily declining for years now; you can’t keep a service that involves people keeping it running on declining revenue indefinitely. And there were humans behind PW, which was a big part of the promise: they kept bad actors out of the service, which was a big part of its value.

But the garbage ads and the pop-ups and pop-unders and auto playing video and scams and JavaScript payloads that pull in virii and scamware came to dominate internet advertising, leading to an entirely rational profusion of adblockers. But adblockers can’t discriminate between garbage ads and PW, so fewer people see them which depresses the asking price and eventually makes the entire service untenable.

Ryan North (and others, but let’s let them decide if they want their names shared or not) gave us a service that put a lot of money into a lot of pockets, and yeah, he took a cut, but nowhere near as much as he could have. He achieved that most vaunted of internet superlatives: he disrupted the entire model of internet advertising, and he did it in a way that didn’t exploit the crap out of anybody. I’m pretty sure there’s a balance in the tens of dollars in Fleen’s PW account, which I do not intend to withdraw; I consider it a tip for North’s service to the community for the past dozen years and more.

Something new may replace Project Wonderful in a similarly non-exploitative manner, but I’m not holding my breath. Instead, let’s take a moment to marvel that we had something as useful, as benign, for as long as we did. Thank you, Ryan North; thank you, Project Wonderful. You lived up to your name.


Spam of the day:

Your Application Is Ready For Submission, baary

It’s Gary. G-A-R-Y.

Last Minute Trip Got Dropped On Me

I’ll be in the air most of the day, and no idea if I’ll have network access at the client this week. Updates as possible.

Are You Satisfied Now, Doubters?

Words. Pictures. Boom: comics.

3548 comics, give or take. Ten years and a day. Grad school, industry, academia. Dante Shepherd Lucas Landherr ends Surviving The World on the message he’s always had for us, and while he won’t be watching over us, yea, as a shepherd watches over the flocks, he’ll still be out there making comics to make the world better, smarter, kinder.

And weirder, probably. Dude’s got an appreciation of The Weird.

For those so inclined, as of this writing you’ve got about 70 minutes to get in on the Kickstarter for the one and only print collection of Surviving The World; from here on out if you want to see Landherr’s comics, you’ll have to check out PhD Unknown, or maybe be enrolled in a course of STEM study, or if we’re lucky we’ll find an Easter egg or two in the Crash Course: Engineering series.

Okay, enjoy your weekend, see you again on Monday, and let’s each say one thing that’s good, smart, kind, or weird to one person in Landherr’s honor. And Luke? Kick back, enjoy a tasty and refreshing beverage, enjoy the love of your wife and daughters for a bit. Then it’s back to work — the world won’t be getting better, smarter, kinder, or weirder on its own, and putting down the chalk doesn’t mean you’re off the clock, Sparky.

Good job. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

PS: Speaking of comics that make the world better/smarter/kinder/especially weirder, there’s a new What If? today!


Spam of the day:

Live WebCam ( . )( . )

Man, that just does not when you apply the quoted text style to it. Looks like the putative naked lady is leaning hard to her left and about to tumble over. Just — somebody steady her, please?

Future Endeavours

It’s late, there’s lots to talk about, onwards.

  • Today marks ten years and 3547 strips from Lucas Landherr, or Dante Shepherd, or whatever he calls himself, the beardy chemical engineering guy with the chalkboard over at Surviving The World. Here is where I’d ordinarily wish the strip and creator many years of continued success, but that would be pointless. As previously announced, tomorrow will be the final strip for STW; when Landshep started, he was a doctoral student, and ten years later he’s a father twice over, a beloved faculty member at Northeastern University, and recognized as one of the most innovative teachers of engineering in the country.

    I’m not going to say that it’s because of webcomics, but I’m pretty sure the guy will tell you that having a creative¹ outlet is crucial for getting through the rigors of nerd school; for me it was being on the radio, for Dantecus, it’s horrible puns and chalk dust, raptor impressions, and Peanuts dances. He tried to keep his weirdo side on the downlow for a while after he got the teaching gig, but the students found him and embraced him. They’ve taken his weirdness and multiplied it, and will coincidentally take his other lessons out to their careers (and possibly their own students).

    It’s a significant legacy, and if you find it inspirational in the slightest², a reminder that tomorrow also marks the end of the Kickstart for the one and only STW print collection. Landherr (for that is his proper name) has future comics and future lessons in him, and it’s time to turn the page on the present³ project in favor of what comes next. Make your chalk always be the dust-free variety may the erasers always clap clean, and may you never lose the lab coat and Red Sox cap, Dr Landherr. Thanks for all the laugh-chuckles along the way.

  • Speaking of Kickstarts, did you see that Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan broke all their previous records in funding the all-educational strips collection of Oh Joy, Sex Toy, titled Drawn To Sex? And that the just about 3000 backers blew through the nice-thousand funding level, and the US$80085 funding level, and ponied up a total of 85,793 damn dollars (American)?

    Congrats to Nolan and Moen — it must feel great to know that five years in, you’re more necessary and more appreciated than ever. Celebrate tonight, be remember that tomorrow you’ve got to produce a book that will blow (heh, heh) everybody’s socks off. Seeing as how you’ve done that repeatedly, I think you’ll manage it again this time.

  • Speaking of blowing socks off, did you see that Molly Ostertag released a cover for the sequel to last year’s The Witch Boy, a book which I was not shy about declaring my favorite book (not just favorite graphic novel) of 2017? And that you can pre-order it now? The Hidden Witch releases on 30 October, just in time for Halloween, and it looks like we get a lot more of Charlie in this one. Set aside cash and space on the shelf now, this one is going to be great.
  • Speaking of going to be great, we have the promised name of the new kids imprint at Macmillan, the one where Colleen AF Venable will be determining the look of things as the Creative Director. In her words, Odd Dot is Run by weirdos, making fun non-fiction for kids, and they’ve announced their first tranche of releases: the Tinker Active series of workbooks on STEM topics, Code This Game, aimed at teaching tweens to make videogames, and One More Wheel (written by Venable herself), a counting board book with a spinning wheel on the cover.

    If you’re at BEA (running in New York at the Javits, through tomorrow), look up Odd Dot at booth 2444 and give Venable a high five (or a hug, if she’s amenable) for me. I couldn’t be happier for all she’s done and is yet to do.


Spam of the day:

My name is Orko

What.

and we are a Video Content creation solution that helps businesses create videos easily. I would like to invite you to please review how you can easily produce quality videos to show or communicate more about Fleen.

Why is He-Man’s faceless dipshit sidekick trying to sell me on content (ew, ick) creation solutions?

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¹ Or weird, if you prefer

² I find it hell of inspirational, even though Shepland insists on cleaving to an objectively inferior form of engineering. Electrical rules, chemical is stinky and gloopy and sometimes glowing green.

³ Want to creep him out? Stare him in the eye and in an overly enthusiastic voice ask the one word question, Presents? Trust me on this.

Smart Ladies You Should Listen To. Also, Canadians

It’s been a long day, let’s get right to it.

  • Colleen AF Venable is more than one of the most influential people in comics publishing; she’s one of the most influential people in publishing, period. She’s in charge of the artistic direction of an entire imprint at Macmillan (and will even be able to share the name of that imprint in the next day or two), and between her trajectory upwards and Gina Gagliano’s new gig, we are going to look back at :01 Books as an incubator of publishing’s future movers and/or shakers.

    But I digress. I mention Venable today because she’s going to be delivering a webinar for all interested in the construction of graphic novels, sponsored by the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, specifically the France region. As of this writing, five slots remain for registration, with the session taking place on Saturday, 30 June at 5:00pm CET / 11:00am EDT. The registration will run you €35 if you’re a member of SCBWI, €50 if not. If you suspect that Venable will be saying very smart things¹, there’s also a 15 minute video feedback session available for another €30, although you’ll have to settle for being on the waitlist.

  • Christina Tran is no stranger to comics — she’s been nominated for the Cartoonist Studio Prize the last two years in the webcomics division, winning last year. She’s a polymath, though, with a long list of stuff she’s done at the front page of her site, which you should definitely check out if you’re ever feeling too good about your own accomplishments.

    Many of those things she’s done have been freelance, or offered up on a pay-as-you-wish basis, which makes her well acquainted with how people actually decide to pay (or not). To help people who may be confused about how to navigate the question about what they should pay (or if they should²), she’s released a flowchart to help you decide that is both well reasoned and beautiful to look at.

    How Much Should I Pay For This Sliding Scale Comic? has been through a number of revisions since it first hit a couple weeks ago, but seems to be in a final-ish form, so I’m pointing you to it now. It’s here, offered up under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license, making it free to adapt and share, provided you give proper credit and don’t charge for it. Print it out, laminate it, hang it somewhere in your sightline. It’s cool, just remember to tell yourself that it’s Tran’s work.

  • The 2018 Joe Shuster Award Nominations / Les nominés pour le prix Joe Shuster 2018 have been released, recognizing the best in comics from and by the storied nation of Canada. The Shusters have always had a good curation in their nominations, and this year is no exception.

  • In addition to the nominees for Webcomics Creator / Créateur de Bandes Dessinées Web — that would be Boum for Boumeries, Gisele Lagace and David Lumsdon for Ménage à 3, Winston Rowntree for Subnormality, Ty Templeton for Bun Toons, Kelly Tindall for Strangebeard, Rob Walton for Ragmop, and Various for True Patriot Presents #2-6, you’ve got webcomics types recognized for Writer / Scénariste (Jim Zub), Artist / Dessinateur (Stuart Immonen, Ramón Pérez), and Cartoonist / Auteur (Jillian Tamaki).

    The Shuster Awards will be presented at Montreal Comic Con, which runs 6-8 July at the Palais des congrès, Montreal, QC. Fleen wishes the best of luck to all the nominees, there’s not a bad choice in the bunch.


Spam of the day:

Is your girlfriend getting suspicious texts?

If she is, don’t tell my wife.

_______________
¹ She will.

² Spoiler: almost certainly yes.

Sports! Yay, Sports!

I know, sports? Just stick with me.

  • Okay, this is just great: we have previously been informed that Kazu Kibuishi had received the ultimate sports geek honor — an official Day in his honor at a major league ballpark — but over the weekend the Seattle Mariners upped the stakes. On Sunday, Kibuishi threw out the first pitch at a Mariners home game.

    It may be that MLB is recognizing that the jock/nerd dichotomy is a fake idea, it may be that somebody in the front office has a kid who’s a huge Amulet fan, or maybe it’s the team members themselves that can’t wait until Book 8 drops¹. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Kibuishi got to suit up and throw a pitch from the mound in his hometown ballpark, and he looked pretty damn happy to be doing so. Here’s hoping that there are even bigger achievements and thrills in store for him the future.

  • Speaking of bigger achievements and thrills, we are (as of this writing) a bit less than six and a half hours since the news broke this morning of Kickstart for the third print collection of Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu, and the book has already raised more than US$106,000 (nearly 500% of goal), provided by 1325 backers. Those numbers are changing as I type, so I’ll update them below just before I hit “post”.

    What’s not changing is the fact that all the top rewards (5 @ US$250, you get an original art bookplate; 5 @ US$400, you also get original character sketches; 1 @ US$1000, you get to be in the comic) have been snapped up already; if not for the fact that they were limited, I’m certain that each of those tiers would have ten times the claimants they do now.

    For reference, this campaign is already well over the total numbers for the first collection of Check, Please! (1577 backers, just under US$75K), and if we adopt the McDonald Rule², Ukazu is well on her way to eclipsing the second collection³. By tomorrow morning we’ll possibly be able to apply the FFF mk2, but it seems safe to say (especially given all the press and excitement right now around the upcoming release of a combined Year One/Year Two edition from :01 Books) that this will certainly clear the half-million mark.

    And, as I observed this morning within that first public hour, I can’t wait the hear the rhetorical knots that the “Diversity is killing comics” bozos will have to twist themselves into to explain about how this doesn’t really count, and how a comic by a Nigerian-American (!) woman (!!) with an ethnically-diverse cast (!!!) about gay (!!!!) hockey players is really a failure. The schadenfreude will be delicious.

  • Not sports: Over the weekend the National Cartoonists Society held their annual meet-up in Philadelphia, and on Saturday night the various division awards were presented. The two awards for Online Comics went to (Long Form) John Allison for Bad Machinery (which is once again Scary Go Round), and (Short Form) to Gemma Correll for various work.

    Again, as a disclaimer, I’m involved in the process of producing the nominations for these two divisions, but I do not have a vote towards the awards themselves. And, as previously noted, I am a tremendous fan of both Correll’s and Allison’s work and am pleased to see their stellar work recognized.

    We at Fleen congratulate the winners as well as their fellow nominees, and note that between the wins for Bad Machinery and Scenes From A Multiverse, and the unprecedented three nominations for Octopus Pie, the reprobates of Dumbrella must be considered some of the best webcomickers ever.

Update to add: At 1447 EDT 29 May, 1370 backers, US$109,726, or 490% of goal.


Spam of the day:

Did you not file with the IRS this year because you owe back taxes?

No, because not filing is literally the dumbest thing you can do. If you owe three bucks, the penalty for not filing will dwarf the penalty for underpaying/paying over time if you owe three thousand (or thirty thousand, for that matter). And geez, you can file for an automatically-granted extension, which gives you more time to get your shit together.

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¹ 25 September, y’all.

² The first three days of funding will represent 1/3 of your eventual total.

³ 5088 backers, just about US$399K raised. Right now, both backer count and total raised are about 27% of what Year Two achieved in 31 days. While we’re here, a note about timing: the campaign was publicized last night for Patreon backers, where it funded in less than half an hour. It hit 300% within an hour of the public announcement.