The webcomics blog about webcomics

As Expected, The Sawdust Bear Is Awesome

You know, when I get a bit down, I can always count on Shing Yin Khor to do something awesome and give me hope in humanity — or possibly gnomity — again. Along with seeing people share their playthroughs of A Mending on social media¹ and wondering how many stories have been birthed as a result, I’ve been thinking back on their intent to make this experience as broadly available as possible.

Experience because everybody I’ve shared it with regards it as more than a game. It’s an invitation to creativity, a tutorial in storybuilding, and an act of self-examination all wrapped in the guise of a game. But it’s the broadly part that I wanted to talk about. Readers may recall that when A Mending was Kickstarting, we at Fleen wrote about Khor’s determination to make it both an open-source framework for the story prompts that others might devise, and especially in acknowledging that they might not see all the barriers that could prevent individuals from being able to participate:

I’m creating two $1500 grants for people who would like to adapt A Mending for wider accessibility. One grant is focused on visual accessibility, the other on range-of-motion accessibility. These grants come with a free commercial license, so they can take 100% of profits from work they choose to make commercially available (I will only need attribution). The non-exclusive commercial license includes my art, writing and game design work. What does this mean? Maybe it’s someone selling raised versions of the cloth map in high contrast colors. Maybe it’s porting the game to Roll 20. Maybe a website that produces randomized voiceovers for all the cards. I don’t really know but I’d like to find out too! [emphasis original]

Not only that, but Khor decided that they would license the game framework to whoever came up with those accessibility modifications, so that the modded versions would be sold for profit. It’s been a busy time getting the A Mending kits out to backers², so it’s only now that they have been able to take a look at those grants. From a backers-only update³ to the campaign:

I initially wanted to offer two accessibility grants of [US]$1500 each to two people or groups working on improving accessibility on my game, A Mending. However, instead of creating an formal application process (which in this particular instance, feels like it might be more gate-keepy than useful), I have decided to simply put aside [US]$3000 to properly compensate people working on accessibility issues if they choose to work on a more accessible version of A Mending, which can include smaller targeted projects. I will write more about this soon, but if you’ve been thinking about ways A Mending could be more accessible, and would like to work on that, let me know — I’d like to pay you.

Proposals(these do not need to be formal) can be emailed directly to me(shingkhor who has an account at the Google-hosted mail, a dot-com); please include your budget/pay-rate and an outline of what you might want to make or do.

If you are an independent designer and would like to self-fund a more accessible version of A Mending, and only need a commercial license to make money on your version, email me. The license will allow you to produce a commercial version of the game with your accessibility changes, whether digital or physical. If you would like to produce a non-commercial version of the game, you can already do so under its current license. [emphasis mine]

I suspect that more people will make more things this way than in the original two grants model. And more people making more things will benefit exponentially more people who otherwise would have missed out.

Khor tells me they will be making a more public announcement once A Mending is widely available, although that may be some weeks away. If you have ideas, contact them at the email given above.

Spam of the day:

After years of providing professional blog writing and other copy material, I have recently launched my own site. My mission is to write engaging blog posts to help start ups and small businesses build credibility, providing quality and value, at an affordable level.

Dude, I don’t get paid for this, you think I’m going to pay you to write a generic post that has nothing to do with webcomics?

Okay, even more nothing than one of mine?

¹ Yes, I included myself twice. Deal.

² As to be expected, with more than 2500 due physical rewards.

³ I emailed Khor for permission to quote and share, and they graciously agreed.

Slow Brain Day

Whoo, those until-two-am EMS calls really put a crimp in the next day. It’s late, so this will be brief, as we share news of a couple of enticing product [pre]-announcements.

  • First up Raina Telgemeier is a ways from her next book; turns out that pandemics completely disrupt publishing schedules, which are complex webs of editors, publicity, planning, printing logistics, and supply chains that run from China across the Pacific. Probably isn’t too great for the brain space of the folks that need to put together the books that will be appearing next year and the year after that, either. And then there’s the fact that Raina’s published five monster hits from 2010-2019 and if we want to see the next five, she’s due a breather.

    But even if there’s not a story coming the immediate future¹, there’s still Raina news to keep your eyes on, starting today:

    I’m so excited for tomorrow’s release of ‘Raina’s Day,’ my new 450-piece jigsaw puzzle collaboration with Clarkson Potter! Be sure to check out my website for some sneak-peek photos and ordering information!

    That’s a puzzle of cartoon Raina surrounded by all the thoughts that define her, packaged up in a box that looks for all the world like cartoon Raina’s sketchbook or diary. I dunno about you, but I’ve got multiple [grand-] nieces and nephews that are going to go incandescent when they see it.

  • It was not two weeks ago when we at Fleen looked at the latest webcomic offering from Karl Kerschl and noted that The Abominable Charles Christopher’s third volume had been a-borning for longer than anybody would want, but that the wait would be worth it. It would be madness to claim that Kerschl took my plaintive observation as the motivation to quickly throw together a full boo design and get a Kickstart set up — those tasks take forever — but what the heck? He announced it:

    Abominable Book 3 is finally coming! Check out the @Kickstarter landing page to get notified when it goes live!!!

    31 May was a very good day for product announcements, yo.

    We don’t know what form book 3 is going to take, or what timeframe to expect it in, but soon enough we’ll have the campaign launch and get those answers. All I know is I’ve got to make room on my bookshelf for a new hardcover² in the near-ish term. Charles Christopher! A malevolent lion! A shouty and ineffectual Gilgamesh! RPG-fan forest critters, awkward owlets, a cockroach shrink, Vivol the bear, Luga the honest wolf, and Sissi Skunk’s shenanigans! Stick it in my brain.

  • Oh, and a followup to Friday: US$580,099, thirty grand above the McDonald’s Ratio, and a full fifty grand above the previous record holder. Dang.

Spam of the day:

We have a special limited offer for you to send unlimited emails. We allow non-permission based emails and you won’t ever get blocked.

You are offering me the opportunity to annoy other people as much as you’re trying to annoy me? And yet you wound up in my spam filters, where I could have easily ignored you forever. You’re not very good at this.

¹ Which is not to say there haven’t been any stories with her hands in. The death-themed anthology from Iron Circus, You Died, includes a Raina-illustrated story about beloved father, a collection of ashes, and a trip to a theme park that is absolutely not Disney for a surreptitious scattering. It’s heartwarming and hilarious, and Raina makes the most of writer Casey Gilly’s script.

² And, eventually, a fourth book, but we’ll cross that bridge etc.

That Answers That

We all know that David Malki ! is a busy man, with his hands in many pies and all that project-juggling rendered the more difficult by the pandemic. So much so that he’s only managed a handful of comic strips in the past half year.

Today, we found out some of what he’s been up to:

I’ve spent the past six months making a new party game.

Or, if you prefer the Twitter version:

OK. So what is TBH? Why is it “my new game”?

I’ve been working with for a while now. Cut makes social videos that are about connection and authenticity and awkwardness. My mission was (and is) to explore that concept in the field of gameplay.

Which sounds like one of the most Malkidian things you could possibly come up with, honestly. It involves asking the play group Yes/No questions that describe vaguely unhinged dilemmas, which you then embellish until you’ve described a completely unique situation and have to decide: Would you do this? And to get points and possibly win, you must also decide: Which of the other players would and which would not do this? You will, to summarize the how-to-play video, you will learn a disturbing amount about yourself and your friends.

Here’s a sample round that involves the Queen of England and also your butthole. It’s … honestly, it’s exactly the sort of thing I expected, once I learned that Sara McHenry was part of the writing staff, given the stellar work she did for Clickhole; readers will recall that McHenry is also a big part of why Make That Thing has successfully shepherded so many crowdfundings, and is on board with TBH as Project Manager, so that’s all right.

Not sure you want to drop the cash on the game? They made an online version you can play for free, so fire up the videochat and grab some friends. If you have fun, there’s more to be had, from some damn creative people that you already know. As of this writing, TBH is 60% funded after about 48 hours, and I make no predictions about how high it will go, as the Fleen Funding Formula Mark II was designed to describe webcomics projects, and games projects have their own math. Seems pretty likely they fund, though.

Spam of the day:

Hey! I’m an aspiring porn actress. If you want to check it out, register here — [link redacted] I’m there Jane Deep Throat ;)

Jane (or should I call you Ms Throat?), please don’t call yourself aspiring. If you made porn, you’re a porn actress. We’re all about boosting confidence here at Fleen.

We Appear To Be Mostly Back And Also Amazon Can Snort My Taint

I say that because I thought we were back yesterday and then ha ha nope, we were down again for 10-12 hours, until the small hours of the morning. I’m going to give it another day or so before I believe that we are actually stable. You saw my Twitter, and Jon’s, and you can probably guess what I think of our current hosting provider¹.

But assuming that we’re up long enough for you to read this, there’s a case of somebody absolutely screwing … not even a customer, in this case more of a partner absolutely sideways in the most hypocritical and impunity-rich manner possible.

See, I was going to talk about the latest update at Oh Joy, Sex Toy, where Erika and Matt share their long-awaited take on the Hismith Quadruple Penetration Fucking Machine. One may recall that the last time this particular pan-sexual roto-plooker was mentioned, I thought Matt ‘n’ Erika had actually made it up and went looking. Note where I found it, that’s going to be important in a second.

The reason I wanted to talk about today’s OJST was because right in the middle of the epic of the HQPFM, there are three panels (which I’ve arbitrarily numbered 10, 11, and 12), which culminate in a shocked-looking Erika stating matter-of-factly (in what I imagine was a very small voice) I saw God. I was eating lunch at the time and nearly choked on laughter and also sandwich. As it is, I think there’s still some mustard-covered sprouted-multigrain sandwich bread in my nasopharyngeal space². I went to the sosh-meeds to share my appreciation and sorrow, only to find that Erika and Matt had bigger things on their mind:


Amazon just booted us from their affiliate program, which we use to sell *their* sex toys and copies of our books on sexual health, because Oh Joy Sex Toy features explicit images.

They informed us they do not have to pay us any of the money we earned before this.

So all the pre-orders we did for LET’S TALK ABOUT IT (and all of THEIR sex toys that we sold for them) that were placed through our Amazon affiliate link… nothing. The income we generated from those sales, they do not have to pay us. [emphasis mine]

There’s more, but that’s the heart of it. Amazon did not come to dominate nearly every aspect of commerce and technology by playing fair and out-hustling lazy competitors. They did it by viciously undercutting businesses to where they could not possibly make a profit, squeezing contractors, killing their pick-and-pack workers, demanding delivery speed that results vehicular death on the regular, and inviting companies to sell on their platform until they can pirate designs and kick them off. Oh yes, and withholding money that rightfully belongs to other people because the only way to get it back is to have a deeper legal budget than Amazon and literally nobody has a deeper legal budget than Amazon except maybe Disney.

People ask me why I don’t use Amazon, ever, and everything in that last paragraph is why. Amazon doesn’t give a shit about anybody they have contracted business with, they are merely a source of money to be extracted at their leisure. I have an account with them that’s more than 20 years old, and which has purchased exactly nothing since 2019. There are books that I’ve been waiting for Diamond to get to my local comic shop³ for more than a year that could be here tomorrow via Amazon, and I won’t do it. There’s entire series that exist only on comiXology that I desperately want to read, and likewise no. It’s not worth the human damage.

I don’t think it’s been a big thing here, and certainly something I’ve tried to minimize, but there will never be another link to Amazon or an Amazon-owned enterprise here. If there’s a pre-order that a creator wants people to use, or something that’s exclusive to comiXology I will mention it, but you’re going to have to find it yourself. Fuck Amazon in the physical manifestation of its collective corporate ear-hole, and fuck Jeff Bezos in particular. They suck.

PS: Buy Erika and Matt’s books and merch from almost anyplace else but especially your local bookstore. Support their Patreon. And Let’s Talk About It is not only a marvelous book that you should absolutely read because it will make you a better person, it inadvertently led to the creation of a new heirloom in my family.

And seriously — fuck Amazon.

Spam of the day:

The sexual part of a woman’s brain is much more responsive to the signals your body is giving off than it is to anything you say. That’s why it’s absolutely essential that you know how to turn a woman on regardless of what you say.

Save your money, I’ll tell you the secret: have a luxurious, Commander Hadfieldesque moustache.

¹ Who bought out the previous hosting provider, who were everything you want in a hosting provider: boring. Excitement is definitely not something you want with respect to your web hosting.

² Ow.

³ Huh. Monopolies suck and screw over everybody they interact with, who’d have guessed.

This Is Going To Cause A Certain Class Of People To Break The Internet

After all, there are only so many Shut up and take my money and Just hook it to my veins GIFs that can be posted per second before the lasers that make modern communications infrastructure work start to malfunction and murder random passersby.

And if the source of such money/veins declarations were, say, luxuriously packaged, associated with a wildly popular webcomic, and in a limited edition? Well, that’s just a dangerous situation all around. I speak, naturally, of this:

Friends, what better way could there be to drink illicit hooch from that Lackadaisy Speakeasy (or, if you prefer, straight maple syrup) than from custom-made Lackadaisy shot glasses?

After months of careful product design and sourcing, they’re finally on their way!

Iron Circus Comics is producing an animated short for Tracy Butler’s manic masterpiece, Lackadaisy! And as part of one of that project’s stretch goals, we’ve commissioned a limited, one-time run of Lackadaisy-Speakeasy-themed shot glasses! Each one is emblazoned with the Lackadaisy club logo in gold foil, and they come four-to-a-set in a gorgeous, partitioned wooden crate, oh-so-sneakily labeled as Algid brand “embalming fluid” in case the local coppers get nosy.

Only 1,000 of these sets will be made, and they’re designed and manufactured in accordance with American and international food safety standards. Scheduled to hit American shores in late spring or early summer, but available for pre-order now!

That from the email sent to we at Fleen by C Spike Trotman of Iron Circus and I gotta say, that’s a lot of character for a sales pitch email. For those that didn’t get into the minutiae of the Lackadaisy animated short Kickstart last year, getting the shot glasses made was a US$135K stretch goal¹, and they’ve been through design and sourcing for much of the past year.

Personally, the squared-off design makes them look a bit like a whisky glass², and given the fact that a souvenir-type shot glass will typically run you about ten bucks, a set of four with that gorgeous box is more than fair at US$45. Backers got first crack at the glasses on Tuesday, the general announcement went out today, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the pre-orders are largely spoken for by tomorrow³. I’d say that if you have any interest, you want to get in on the offer now.

Spam of the day:

We greet you !!! If you are interested in a full-time job or a part-time job on the Internet, then we can offer you our way of earning money. Now we provide access to our service, which makes it possible to earn from 20 to 30 thousand rubles a month.

I don’t know if I’m more impressed that you’re trying to entice me with the equivalent of US$268 to US$408 for a month’s full-time work, or the fact that you sent your Russian-language spam in actual Comic Sans. Who knew that the evil transcended the Latin alphabet?

¹ The project had a base goal of US$85K, and ultimately raised US$330K.

² And in the hands of a cat-sized person, it’s a super-generous pour, and solid enough to do damage in a bar brawl.

³ Although given the fact that this is going to go like hotcakes, a smart person — and Spike is very smart — would be wise to lay in 500 or so extra glasses, to be sold individually for the next forever without the limited edition trappings.

A New Kind Of Storytelling Spawns New Clauses In The Social Contract

A week back, I wrote about a new kind of collaborative storytelling, in the form of a game from Jeeyon Shim and Shing Yin Khor that involves prompts to dredge through one’s memories and craft a story from them. There are things created (journal entries, letters) to go along with the experiences, and at a sufficient pledge level on the Kickstarter, physical artifacts and ephemera.

In the time since The Field Guide To Memory launched its email playthrough (there will be a full set of prompts sent to Kickstarter backers as a PDF), both Shim and Khor have launched new campaigns in this new category that now has a name: a keepsake game.

Shim’s funding The Last Will And Testament Of Gideon Blythe (I saw the launch too late to get in on the limited physical rewards, dammit), and Khor yesterday launched A Mending, which has an embroidery mechanic. We’re going to talk about the latter today, not because it’s any more interesting than TLWATOGB or the game mechanic is more interesting, but because of a pair of secret stretch goals that Khor revealed after the funding level they had in mind was crossed¹.

A new kind of game/story/experience needs new kinds of ideas associated with it, and Khor’s given us two. The first isn’t too unheard of, but the second is something really special. From the Kickstarter update:

I’ll be releasing art template files for A Mending under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license so you can design/make your own cards and maps. Of course, you can make your own maps and cards for personal use and adapt the game however you like anyway, but template files will make it a lot easier if you would like to maintain some visual consistency. You can also distribute the things/expansions/files you make, albeit non-commercially (totally fine if you want to direct people to your tip jar, though). These files will be released close to the start of fulfillment, likely in late April. [emphasis original]

There’s a real tendency among creators, one that is entirely logical and proper, to view their creations as How This Thing Should Be. There may be adaptations into other media which they are or are not involved in, but once something’s done and released, it’s kind of cast in concrete. Khor is explicitly recognizing that a story that is as much prompts for the audience to fill in as it is structure will never be cast in concrete; the story of A Mending will have as many (or more) variations as there are people who read/play/experience it, and they are acknowledging that it’s not a sole creation.

That idea of my thing isn’t just my thing is even bigger in the second reveal:

I’m creating two $1500 grants for people who would like to adapt A Mending for wider accessibility. One grant is focused on visual accessibility, the other on range-of-motion accessibility. These grants come with a free commercial license, so they can take 100% of profits from work they choose to make commercially available (I will only need attribution). The non-exclusive commercial license includes my art, writing and game design work. What does this mean? Maybe it’s someone selling raised versions of the cloth map in high contrast colors. Maybe it’s porting the game to Roll 20. Maybe a website that produces randomized voiceovers for all the cards. I don’t really know but I’d like to find out too! [emphasis original]

What distinguishes Khor’s announcement from so many previous nods towards accessibility is a) it’s not members of a group that need accommodation having to come as ask for it, and b) it need not be done on a volunteer basis. The allow others to profit from their adaptation part is unique enough; the grant is, as far as I can tell, unprecedented.

I have never seen a creator so explicitly say I have made a thing that is what I want to see in the world but recognize that I can’t predict all the ways that my version of it may preclude others from enjoying it. I want to not only invite you to modify it in ways that I can’t think of and allow you to profit from it, I will pay you to do so.

We’ve talked about the unique nature of comics and how they are read enough times here at Fleen. On a few occasions we’ve mentioned accessibility, but there’s not been a huge exploration of accessibility around comics as a medium; I think it’s just been decided that if you haven’t got sufficient vision, you’re out of luck. Given that the game will have more than just a reading component, but also tactile/motor control components, there are potentially many ways that A Mending could be made more widely accessible². No one person could conceive of them all, but if a crowd could come together to make the initial form of A Mending, why not a crowd of suggestions as to how it could be better?

I have a feeling that keepsake games will be taking off as a category any day now; others will see what Shim and Khor have done, and try to create something that instills as much feeling in their own audience (others still will make slapped-togther crap to try to cash in). Some will be spare, some rife with stuff, and different genres of story will evolve. Will there be another 5-to-6 figure funding of a little game that takes an hour or two to play? Only to the degree that there are wildly original thinkers, people whose brain is (to quote Rich Stevens) the only place that bakes that cookie³. Audiences will be following (and I’m about to get fancy here) the auteur, just to see what they crank out now.

And the very smartest ones will be like Khor, finding ways to enrich the values of their creations by giving up control and ownership, and seeking out others to remix each new project’s DNA.

The Last Will And Testament Of Gideon Blythe is funding for another seven days, and is presently approaching eight times its US$1800 goal. A Mending has 21 days to go and cleared US$80K in the time it took me to write everything since footnote 1; the limited-edition everything-provided tiers (just go read the descriptions; they’re a hoot) are long gone, but more than 1000 people have backed at the levels that provide physical game assets. If you want to see what Khor and Shim are like when they combine their creative abilities, search Twitter for #FieldGuideToMemory.

Spam of the day:

The best fake id maker in the market for over 15 years

Neat trick linking ScamAdvisor and other sites to purportedly show how good your fake IDs are, but with links that actually redirect to your site. Sneaky. In any event, where the hell do you think anybody is going right now that they’d need a fake ID?

¹ For the record, the campaign reached its US$12,000 target in about 17 minutes, and the limited tiers were claimed within an hour. The secret threshold for the secret stretch goals was US$60,000 — five times goal — and Khor sent out the update last night. As of this writing, A Mending sits just under US$80,000 in pledges.

² My immediate thought was around issues of fine motor control.

³ Nine years on and I still think about that quote at least once a month, although I frequently misremember Stevens as having said it at SDCC or Splat!.

There’s Something I Never Considered

A while back, faithful Fleen follower Mark V pointed me to a series of Kickstarter things that he thought I might find interesting. It’s not a [web]comic Kickstarter, it’s a game Kickstarter, but there’s a webcomic connection — the creator (by name of Michael Prescott) sprinkled a comic through the campaign updates to demonstrate aspects of the game, which I thought was a clever idea (start with Update #3 and work your way forward; not all updates have comic entries).

There was also a lessons learned post from the start of 2020, the sort of thing you’d find from a posting or conference presentation by your Spikes, your Lasers Webber, or Bradleys Guigar. Good solid advice, but the sort of thing you might find in other channels.

But the real meat of Mr V’s pointers was a posting from this month on Kickstarter math that was presumed to my cup of tea — you were right on that one, Mark; I love this stuff — and inside was an argument that I’ve never seen made around Kickstarter campaigns. It’s probably more common in the [baord]game space than the [web]comics space, as it involves sunk costs in a way that doesn’t necessarily come up in webcomics, but I still wanted to talk about it.

The way everybody thinks of Kickstarts is How much money do I need to make it to break-even, and preferably profit?. You’ve got a project that will cost (summarizing here) US$10,000 of your time to make, with a unit price of US$30 (what the backer pays), a unit cost of US$20 (what it costs you to produce and ship), and a margin of US$10. The break even point is 1000 orders — US$30,000 raised, US$20,000 in your costs, US$10,000 left over that offsets the US$10,000 of your time, meaning a total profit of zero. Order number 1001 and every order after nets you ten bucks.

Simple. Everybody does these calculations. The goal is US$30,000 or more; any less, you don’t make the thing because you’ll lose money.

But this example does something unique. What if you’ve already put in US$5000 of time in figuring out the Kickstarter, and know that once it goes up you’ll have to spend another US$5000 worth of time to finish your design. Where do you set the pricing? The simple answer is US$30K like before, but there’s a more complex answer:

You’ve already put in that US$5K of work; if you fail to fund at US$30K, you’re not zero in the hole, you’re at a US$5K loss. It may be possible to set the goal lower so that you do the project and yes, lose money, but lose less than if it doesn’t fund.

Let’s say you can’t get 1000 orders, but you can get 800; that’s US$24K and US$10K in your time, US$16K in production costs, a total of US$26K so you lost two grand. That’s a disaster! But if you don’t fund, if you never do the project at all, you’re out five grand. It’s a loss, but it’s better than holding out for break even. Prescott’s argument is that you shouldn’t set the Kickstarter to compensate all costs, but rather to compensate the sunk costs before you launch the campaign. You might not make a profit, but you won’t be any worse off than if you didn’t do anything.

The reason that this doesn’t necessarily map one-to-one to [web]comics Kickstarts is that the sunk costs aren’t going to occur in the same way — most creators don’t make a comic every day for a year in preparation to launch a Kickstarter to print it and get nothing in return; they did that because they were updating their site, selling ads or other merch, and the print run is a secondary sale of what they’ve already been paid for. By contrast, the game space can demand significant, project-specific work to get to a point where you can determine if the project is viable going forward (say, a demo to gauge interest or practicality).

If you’re not making money on the pre-campaign work, you probably need to do a campaign that’s specifically designed to pay you to make the comic and pay for physical production (not many creators have the track record to support that kind of prepay). Either that, or consider that your real goal needs to not just pay for the print run, but to compensate you for the work you’ve already done in which case, yeah — consider the reduced-loss target for funding rather than full break even.

Anyway, this is a very short summary of Prescott’s points, which I find well-presented and persuasive. Give them a read before you do your next Kickstarter plan, and thanks to Mark V for pointing me towards the analysis.

Spam of the day:

It is with sad regret to inform you [nope] is shutting down. Any group of databases listed below is $49 or $149 for all 16 databases in this one time offer. LinkedIn Database, USA B2B Companies Database, Forex South Africa, Forex Australia, Forex UK [that’s enough of that]

So you collected a metric squatload of email addresses and account names and want me to buy them so I can spam them? Can’t imagine why people don’t want to do business with you.


Yeah, hi, typing this around trying to get to my appointment for a COVID vaccine. Sorry it if goes up late (not sorry)

  • Fans of BACK have been watching KC Green and Anthony Clark’s weird, oddly heartfelt drama about an undead cowgirl, an innocent druid, and the end of the world, barreling towards a conclusion, and then at the end of December a hiatus was announced — Give us a couple of weeks to get the end of the story all lined up, they said, we really want to stick the landing. Given that a weekly update is typically two or more pages full of creative mayhem, Clark and Green are entitled to as much time as they need to get it all set. But how long before BACK was back?

    As of yesterday’s update, we have an answer:

    will begin Feb 17th 2021
    regular updates will
    occur until it’s over.
    Every Wednesday


  • In case you were wondering, TCAF has announced that 2021 will be virtual, but being freed of a physical time/place, they’ve expanded out to a full week of programming. Want in? The time to apply is until 3 March, and you can do so here, but note:

    TCAF’s new exhibition website is being made in partnership with Canzine (the festival of zines) and the Toronto Hand Eye Society. Zinesters and indie video game creators will be among the 600 virtual exhibitors in May!

    Applicants will have the choice to apply for TCAF, Canzine OR Comics x Games. Accepted exhibitors will have a customizable online shop page where they can upload up to 5 items for sale. After TCAF, exhibitors will send all sold items to a warehouse, where orders will be bundled and shipped off to shoppers. This process is to help save exhibitors and visitors excess transaction and shipping fees. Options will be available to see additional products.

    That sounds an awful lot like what I was wondering if SDCC would do for its exhibitors last year. Interesting that the free festival managed to pull it off and not the massive nonprofit corporation.

  • Hey, remember when it looked like the UK VAT was going to screw over absolutely everybody selling low value items into Great Britain and Northern Ireland? As a guy who has customers in the UK, Brad Guigar¹ looked into the situation and found out that Her Majesty’s tax folks have set a fairly high bar for the outside-the-UK vendors to clear before they become responsible for collecting.

    Unless you’re selling more than £85,000 per year to UK customers, you don’t have to make the arrangements (the privilege for registering to collect and remit VAT was reported to be £1000+ per year, so whew, lucky break). Your customers will have to pay VAT at a 20% rate for goods up to £135, but it’s not on you to manage what they do. Full details behind the paywall at Webcomics Dot Com.

Spam of the day:
Yeah, nah, my arm’s starting to hurt already. Time to hydrate and take it easy, tomorrow’s maybe gonna be rough.

¹ He is a sexy, sexy man. Total DILF material.

Carrying On As Best We Can

Before we get started, I believe that birthday Version 1.0 release anniversary wishes are in order to everybody’s favorite robot pal, R Stevens. Selfless and giving entity that he is, he’s celebrated with a great new pin design in limited quantities that ships for free starting tomorrow. Fuzzy nightmare pals forever!

  • I got my copy of The Nib’s latest print collection, Greetings From The Wasteland in the mail today, and it’s great. For starters, the collection of political cartoons is in large part arranged by creator, so all of your Pia Guerra cartoons are together, all the Gemma Corrells, all the Kendra Wellses, etc.

    Sadly, there wasn’t enough space to dedicate to the entire story of the future wasteland cartoons of editor Matt Bors — there would have been no room for anybody else — which, if arranged in the correct order, form a single, coherent story¹. But that’s hardly a surprise, given that they had four years of daily cartoons from dozens of cartoonists (15 of which get featured sections) to curate and only 200 pages to play with. Get yours now.

  • We are facing down the second year of disrupted in-person events, but if there’s one thing comics-as-a-community has gotten good at, it’s finding ways to shift to virtual gatherings. Thus, the Cartoon Art Museum would like you to know that uncontrolled pandemic² or no, there will be some form of Queer Comics Expo and some way to announce the annual Prism Awards:

    Awards will be presented to comic works by queer authors and works that promote the growing body of diverse, powerful, innovative, positive or challenging representations of LGBTQAI+ characters in fiction or nonfiction comics. The goal of the Awards is to recognize, promote and celebrate diversity and excellence in the field of queer comics.

    The Queer Comics Expo launched as an annual event in 2014 as a celebration of queer culture and to promote diverse queer representation in comics, animation, and other great ways to tell our stories. QCE also serves as a fundraiser for San Francisco’’s Cartoon Art Museum. This year the event will take place May 15-16, 2021. Applications to participate as a creator or presenter for 2021 are OPEN until Monday, March 15, 2021 and will be NOTIFIED by Thursday, April 15, 2021.

    You can submit for both the QCE and the Prisms by browsing to Submissions for the Prisms are open until 28 February, with finalists announced at QCE (15-16 May) and winners announced over the summer. Categories include Best Short Form Comic, Best Webcomic, Best Comic From A Small To Midsize Press, Best Comic From A Mainstream Publisher, Best Comic Anthology, and Best Comic For Young Readers (new category).

    Category-specific requirements vary, but in general all submissions must have been first published in calendar year 2020, be in English, and have prominent LGBTQAI+ themes or be a strong allegory to the queer experience. See the entry form for more details.

Spam of the day:

This professor plugged his house to Earth’s core… that can harvest the power of Earth’s core making him 100% energy independent.

Yeah, I don’t have the patience to explain the concept of “electrical ground” to this spamming asshole, but I attended nerd schools — as an undergrad and grad — for six years specifically to learn that the Earth is where electricity goes to die.

¹ Really, Bors said it himself. Two comics more recent than the book provide the bookends. By the way, their names are Gorm and Tinsel.

² Seriously, people, stay the fuck home, wear a mask, and make people that you know who won’t do those things feel your wrath until they decide to stop killing the rest of us.

Gonna Be A Bunch Of Quick Hits From Here On Out, I Suspect

It’s December! How in the crap-hell did that happen?

Anyways, you can celebrate the incipient end of this dumpster fire of a year¹ with any of the following sources of delight and joy.

  • There have been magnetic comic sets before, but how many of them have involved little tiny magnets reading Balrog, Klingon or Fudgies? I submit: None.

    None, that is, until Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett decided to get into the game. Behold: the Sheldon magnetic make a comic set, which is up for preorder and if the stars align will make it to your US address in time for Yule. Everybody else, invent a holiday in January.

    I just have one question, LArDK: can I make a comic that refers to Fatty Chunklins? If not, I think you owe us an explanation.

  • You must needs acquire every one! John Allison has launched the Advent season with a series of collectible stamps which may be redeemed for fabulous merchandise.

    I think perhaps kids these may not ever have experienced the thrill of getting S&H Green Stamps, and carefully counting how many were pasted on each page of your collection book, wondering where you could get just eleven more so you could could get that fabulous rolling typewriter table. Uh, not that I’m old enough to have done that².

    Anyway, now you can get in on the stamp-collection and redemption fun:

    You’ll be able to trade in your stamps at branches of Rumbelows, Woolworths and Woolco across the United Kingdom (excepting the Channel Islands).


    • Green stamps have a multiplier of 1.1x when redeemed at weekends.
    • Collect ten red stamps to enjoy a secret multiplier bonus at participating shops. If in doubt, ask the manager.
    • Rumbelows Hi-Fi Club members get a 50 point bonus on production of your membership pennant.
  • Last but not least, Happy Twentieth Strippaversary to Little Gamers. It’s an infinitely weirder world than when LG premiered in the far-flung past of THE YEAR TWO THOUSAND, and anybody that keeps a comic going for most of 15 years, gets sporadic, then comes back? Props.

Spam of the day:

Tact Machete Knife – Full Tang Blade 60% off

Is a tact machete what you use to cut through your prose and make it blunter and ruder? I think we could use with fewer of those, actually.

¹ As I was typing that sentence, I heard Mary Louise Kelly on All Things Considered refer to, and I quote, a godawful year.

² I totally did and that typewriter got me through college. Word processors weren’t always a thing, kids these days.