The webcomics blog about webcomics

From The Tweet Machine

Man, you can learn a lot from the Twitters. Sometimes, you learn that an idea you had is already in motion. Sometimes you learn that an idea that nobody had makes perfect sense.

  • I swear, when I wrote a week ago about the new line of civic engagement graphic novels from :01 Books and how they should pick up Zach Weinersmith, I didn’t know they already had:

    Check out the exclusive cover and excerpt reveal of #OpenBorders by @bryan_caplan and @ZachWeiner, on @PasteMagazine! This nonfiction graphic novel on immigration comes this fall, and is available for pre-order now!

    Weinersmith’s been talking to me forever about the graphic novel he’s been working on that argues in favor of open borders; I think the first time we talked about it here was a good eighteen months ago. In all that time, he never let on it was with :01, but honestly I should have guessed. And today, we have a cover reveal and street date, courtesy of Paste¹ magazine: Open Borders: The Science And Ethics Of Immigration, and 29 October.

    There’s a six page preview over there, too, which quickly establishes the central thesis of the book: that wholly unrestricted immigration is not only an economic good, but also morally necessary. I’m calling the over/under on the number of angry, early morning “executive time” tweets about the book on or around the release at … let’s say four.

  • There’s a thing I never knew I needed — that anybody needed — and in retrospect it appears bloody obvious. Jeph Jacques has made a habit of purchasing … unique URLs to redirect to his comic², which is no new thing in webcomics. Jeffrey Rowland showed me a list of all the domains he owned once, and it was a thing of demented beauty; Rich Stevens collects domains like an early ’90s kid collected pogs.

    But Jacques makes use of his redirects, linking them when a new comic goes up; I don’t think he’s used questionablecontent.net in more than a year; on the one hand, most of his aliases are much shorter, and on the other, the fact that a massive, worldwide technological infrastructure was constructed just to allow dildo.pizza to exist is funny all by itself.

    But let’s face it — a gag can only take you so far, and some of those exotic TLDs have noncompetitive registrars; at some point, you gotta cut your losses or find a way to pay for your hobby:

    I have the best URLs in the business, and now you can have a sweet fuckin’ print of them thanks to @topatoco https://topatoco.com/collections/jeph-jacques/products/qc-urls-print …

    This is, I believe, the first poster that needs to possibly come with annual updates. Hey, Jeph, have you considered that? This could be an annual subscription item.


Spam of the day:

Teaching Communication Skills in the Age of Video Content

You know that I teach for a living, right? Fuck outta here with your one-click styling, automatic translation in over 120 languages and instant resizing of videos.

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¹ And hot dang, can I just express my admiration for a moment of how the folks at :01 have taken the let’s promote our forthcoming graphic novel game from sending the exclusive to The Beat or CBR and raised it to the likes of the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, and Paste? It sends a message not just about their own offerings when you can say a new graphic novel is not just of interest to the comics world, it is and should be part of the general culture.

² And sometimes just to have. Remember walmart.horse?

Kickin’ (With A Dash Of Patreon And Facebook)

By now you’ve seen the news that Facebook (no link) has decided that the way to get in on Patreon’s corner of the market is to not do things better, but to do them decidedly worse. Like charge you up to 30% after fees bad and give your stuff away for free at their discretion bad. Oh, yeah, and we own your stuff even if you leave the service bad. That’s bad.

Despite their pronouncement that they’re going to have a “Patreon-killer”, Facebook isn’t going to have anything of the sort; absolutely everybody that’s talked about this thing that isn’t employed by Facebook is screaming about how it’s terrible, and they’re right. All that’s going to happen is that people already on Patreon are going to have a moment of reflection that things could be much worse¹.

The real shot at a Patreon-killer will be whatever the Andys come up with for Drip 2.0 for the simple reason that their offering will be from a public benefit corporation instead of a regular ol’ VC-funded corporation (Patreon) or the most rapacious, grasping, no-value-providing bag of identity thieves in history (Facebook), and so will not have a motivation of bleeding creators for all their worth. Going to call Facebook’s plans dead in the water.

Speaking of Drip 2.0 and public benefit corporations, Drip as it is presently constructed is part of Kickstarter, which is a public benefit corporation. Let’s talk about some recent Kickstarts and get the taste of that Facebook thing out of our mouths.

  • It scares me a little how long I’ve been following the work of Matt Boyd and Ian McConville — Mac Hall wrapped more than a dozen years ago, and that was after six years of updates; Three Panel Soul picked up immediately thereafter and has been plowing along ever since, through art style changes, moves, job shifts, a marriage, a kid, and one all-time bit of viral genius². There’ve even been two print collections, and now there will be a third:

    For our third volume, we thought it would be good to have three times the number of comics as the first two volumes, up to a total of 300. It really fits the theme. It’s going to be our biggest volume yet, covering the comics published online from late October 2011 to February 2018.

    Dog philosophy, folks. It’s going to be in there. You’ve got 28 days to get in on the campaign, including a rather sweet three-book bundle.

  • Know who knows how to use Kickstarter? C Spike Trotman, what with the seven figures raised over 20-odd projects and zero failures. Of late, she’s been bringing some work to the store without waiting for Kickstarts, especially as PDFs, but sometimes you decide to pick new directions because there’s a demand. Enter: How Do You Smoke A Weed?, which will be seeing print shortly:

    Twenty-six states in the U.S., Washington, D.C., and the entire nation of Canada have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use, and more are joining the policy shift every year! Dispensaries are popping up everywhere, and experienced users are openly rejoicing—but where does that leave the marijuana newbie, discouraged by years of “Just Say No” disinformation, but curious about what they’ve missed?

    This being an Iron Circus joint, funding started yesterday and reached goal the same day; there’s one simple stretch goal for a better cover. Massive overfunding will just mean more copies sold and more profit to ICC and creators Lin Visel and Joseph Bergin III (collectively, Owlin, and FYI that link contains mostly smut). There’s a fast turnaround on this one, less than two weeks total funding time, but the book will be in the store forever. Some of the sweet extras likely won’t be, so if you’re interested, act now.

  • But Gary, I hear you cry, I don’t want to read! If that’s true, you maybe ought to find a different website, because we’re all about the words here, Sparky. But if you’re looking for something less booklike to back on the Kickers, Matt Inman and Elan Lee have come up with their latest mayhem-adjacent tabletop game, Throw Throw Burrito.

    Look, it’s Lee & Inman, there’s gonna be cute and funny cards, weird props, and a ruleset that emphasizes fun over all else. And this time, it’s got fake burritos that you chuck at other people. At an upper tier, it’s got giant fake burritos you chuck at other people and safety goggles. And, it being Lee & Inman, they are using Kickstarter pretty much as market research, and it’s going to be delivered on time. I’d bet they already have production contracts and specs agreed upon, have placed a preliminary run for each thing getting made, and will wait for the funding campaign to finish in 29 days solely so they can with confidence Yes, 50,000 more units of Item A, 100,000 of Item B, send those in the second container load.

    Oh, and stretch goals are (as is the Lee/Inman tradition) participatory, and shipping to the US (minus Puerto Rico & overseas territories) is free; the rest of the world will run you US$8 to US$60, depending on where you live and the size of the package you order. Some of them are ridiculously huge.


Spam of the day:

Easy Trick to Reactivate Dead Batteries

Jumper cables? It’s jumper cables, isn’t it?

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¹ Tellingly, not because of anything Patreon’s done to provide that relief.

² Which itself is going on five years old, holy crap.

Guess How Many Updates They’ve Done

Go on, guess. Congrats to Danielle Corsetto, Monica Gallaher, and Mae S Keller of the sixtynineaversary over at Boo! It’s Sex.

And while I’m here, did you see the notice from Tony Millionaire? It’s been a bit more than two years since he announced the end of Maakies, but all things (including ends) come to an endeventually:

MAAKIES DRINKY CROW! Coming back in March, multi-platform. Also, I’ll draw your pets, house, people. Contact me http://maakies.com/?page_id=79

MAAKIES REDUX! Coming back in March, multi-platform. Also, I’ll draw your pets, house, people. Contact me http://maakies.com/?page_id=79

MAAKIES! Coming back in March, multi-platform. Also, I’ll draw your pets, house, people. Contact me http://maakies.com/?page_id=79

DRINKY CROW! Coming back in March, multi-platform. Also, till then I’ll draw your pets, house, people. Contact me http://maakies.com/?page_id=79

DRINKY WEEKLY! Coming back in March, multi-platform. Also, I’ll draw your pets, house, people. Contact me http://maakies.com/?page_id=79

MAAKIES REDUX! Coming back in March, multi-platform. Also, I’ll draw your pets, house, people. Contact me http://maakies.com/?page_id=79

Drinky Crow Weekly! Coming back in March, multi-platform. Also, I’ll draw your pets, house, people. Contact me http://maakies.com/?page_id=79

My weekly strip! Coming back in March, multi-platform. Also, I’ll draw your pets, house, people. Contact me http://maakies.com/?page_id=79

Drinky Crow weekly! Coming back in March, multi-platform. Also, I’ll draw your pets, house, people. Contact me http://maakies.com/?page_id=79

That’s a tweet roughly every half hour for the past five hours (as I write this), all of which are accompanied by Millionaire’s pet portraits, which are uncreedably¹ detailed and beautiful. Click ’em all and check out the corgis! Or look at his commission gallery, which is what that link in each tweet leads to.

Details about when in March and what platforms are a bit thin at the moment, but does it matter? Maakies is coming back, we’ll get more Drinky Crow, and I say that’s worth a celebratory dook dook dook from all concerned.


Spam of the day:

Long Edgar: All the end, I thought, and suddenly fate gave me a chance ….

I initially thought this was more boner pill spam, but it appears to be a guaranteed wealth system spam instead. Sorry that you aren’t getting any, Long Edgar!

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¹ RIP Frank Zappa and Ike Willis.

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.

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?

Technology Of The Past, Preserved For The Future

Ever see something that is tailor-made for you, something that speaks to your very existence, and yet you know that you just can’t? Glenn Fleishman has dropped such a thing in my lap.

I may have mentioned, once or twice, that I am fascinated by type. When traveling in the Low Countries on vacation years ago, I made it a point to include Antwerp on the itinerary solely so that I could visit the Plantin-Moretus Museum, where a guy named Christophe Plantin worked with typefaces designed by Claude Garamond whose beauty have not been exceeded in the past half-millennium. His son in law Jan Moretus (and his descendants) kept the type foundry/printing company going, a place so key to the history of the written word in the modern world that it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fleishman’s looked at the history of type, and noticed that while there are well-established and stable museums like the Plantin-Moretus, much of the historical artifacts of moveable type are in collections that have tenuous funding and may end up inaccessible to scholars, artists, and craftspeople in the future. Or hell, one fire could destroy a significant portion of the world’s history of type.

To distribute things of historical import and beauty, to ensure that examples of the craft are spread far and wide, to help guarantee that a single loss will not be crippling Fleishman has designed a mini museum of type, with historical artifacts as well as newly-commissioned examples of type in various materials.

There will be up to 100 iterations of this museum (with 60 on offer at Kickstarter, no two exactly alike), each packaged into a box approximately 15x15x30cm, with a letterpress book acting as the docent to the museum. It’s a tremendous amount of work, several labors of love, and will go for US$1000 and it’s a godsdammned bargain and I just can’t justify it but I very much want to spend a long time exploring one.

Which is not to say that I won’t be getting in on the campaign.

I was probably in college by the time I remembered an incident from when I was very young — four or five, maybe. My grandfather took me to his place of work one day, in Lower Manhattan. He sat me on his lap at a big metal machine with many keys on it, in a vast, clattering, too-warm room. He pressed my fingers down on keys one at a time — G A R … — and after a bit pulled a large lever.

There was some noise, and then in a little tray, a piece of metal 10 or 12cm long, warm to the touch. I could make out the letters which spelled my name, but they were wrong … backwards. He showed me how I could press the backwards letters onto an ink pad, then onto paper and see my name spelled out, with one L slightly too high.

I didn’t realize at the time that Linotype was a thing, or that it was a thing on its way out. I didn’t understand what the advent of hot metal typesetting would mean to printing and publishing. I was mildly upset when I lost that slug of type in a move a few years later, and very upset once I got older and realized what I’d lost.

But Fleishman’s thought of me personally, it seems. At the US$100 level, 500 people will get a freshly-cast slug of Linotype, with any brief text that they want. I can feel my grandfather nodding at me across nearly five decades, telling me that it won’t be the one he made me, but maybe just as good¹. If I bump up to US$200, I can also get the letterpress guide that will go with the museums.

There is nothing practical about any of this; nobody is going to letterpress anything out of the scattered artifacts in these museums. It’s instead an act of optimism, of preservation, drawing a line in the sand and saying this is our history, it’s significant, join me and preserve it². That act of safekeeping is itself Art.

The Tiny Type Museum and Time Capsule will be fundraising for the next 29 days. The ten early-bird museums have be snagged up, and as of this writing 49/50 of the full price copies remain available. It’s the sort of thing that only the well-off or obsessed can back, so I’m not suggesting that you pledge. But spread the word — something tells me that galleries and museums, letterpress operations and design firms might well want to take a look. I have to imagine that the folks over at Blambot would be interested. This is something that needs to succeed.


Spam of the day:

This method is something mechanics have used for years when you give them your old dead batteries. But now you can do this too because of this new video.

Jumper cables. You’re describing jumper cables.

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¹ He’s also shaking his head wondering how a two-word slug could be valued at a hundo. From throwaway cheap to significant expense in a generation and a half — Linotype machines used to be commonplace, now they’re cranky rarities that artisans keep in working order because they can.

But you know what? If that’s the cost to subsidize the rest of the endeavour, it’s worth it.

² Which is remarkably similar to the discussions I had with the gallery director when I first started collecting Chuck Jones animation art. I absolutely believe I hold those images — Rikki Tikki Tavi and Kotick, Mowgli and Shere Khan, the Grinch and Max, the Dot and the Line — in trust for the future. Little slices of something larger, 1/24th second each, to be cared for and kept safe so that we don’t forget them.

Sloppy Weekend Coming Up

I’m talking about weather. Wintry mix and such. Get your minds out of the gutter Anyways, I’ve got preparations to make, so just a quick thing for you today.

Shing Yin Khor is many things: comics artist, sculptor, installation artist, space gnome, and expert in Paul Bunyan muffler men, just off the top of my head. And she illustrates the most amazing critters in the most delicate of watercolors. We’re here about those today. She’s Kickstarting a postcard book as a MAKE 100 project¹, with 20 gorgeous, heavy postcards for US$20 Or bump up to US$25 and she’ll gift wrap it. Her wrapping is a work of art in itself, and likely to include other cool stuff.

Okay, that weather is going to hit a pretty large swath o’ the country. so stay warm and dry, ‘kay? See you Monday.


Spam of the day:

You still have not received your prize in the category of super Like the year 2018
January 24, 2019 the gain burns [translated from Russian]

Given that your email account seemed to promise a cabana in Tulum, this is quite the pitch.

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¹ Sorta. Some of the rewards are limited to 100, others there are plenty to be had.

Gosh, Wouldja Look At That

I believe that by this time, I have made the case that Larry Gonick is a national treasure. His use of comics to educate (across seemingly all fields of knowledge) is unparalleled, and if you are not familiar with the three volumes of The Cartoon History Of The Universe¹, you need to remedy that.

You may recall the word last month that Gonick was selling originals; you may also recall that he and I corresponded, seeing as how some of the few thousand pages he’s drawn in his career dealt with Claude Shannon, who I may have mentioned once or twice.

It’s done. The Shannon pages from The Cartoon Guide To Computer Science (sadly out of print) are now mine. They are installed on the wall over my desk, where I can feel the spirit of a playful polymath encourage me to look at problems that are interesting and solve them to the extent that the effort is both meaningful and fun.

Should you have some topic that Gonick has expounded upon that is near and dear to your heart, I encourage you to contact the man, as he is making his work available for exceedingly reasonable prices. If I were to win one of the fuck-you huge lottery jackpots this week, I’d make him an offer just to get his entire archive into Jenny Robb’s hands and loving care.

But not my three Shannon pages. Those will be going to the Electrical Engineering department at my alma mater


Spam of the day:

I have for you a quantity of new customers . you need?

I do not. Thanks for asking.

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¹ The first of which was — no kidding — edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis.

If Homestar And 17776 Are Webcomics, So Is This

That is to say, both deeply weird Flash cartoons of the early Aughts and deeply weird space probe/football fanfic are idiosyncratic, personal creations made for the internet, marked by a sense of collaboration/accessibility with the audience, which makes them essentially webcomics, so say we all.

Webcomics as a concept, stretching past the literal definition of comics on the internet¹, can incorporate anything creative that probably won’t pass the muster of a publisher/editor, but which can find a niche of similar weirdos when thrown into the wilds.

Which is to say, Jonathan Coulton has always been a webcomicker, albeit one that worked primarily in words+sounds instead of words+pictures. No music publisher would have ever done something like Thing A Week, which means no music publisher would ever have made available a song about a very cool NPR morning host, fractal math, Leonard Nimoy’s late-70s paranormal-bait syndicated TV show, or (tangentially) Ferocious J². Heck, the guy partnered with Matt Fraction to do a graphic novel to accompany his last album.

(And, since JoCo has collaborated with MC Frontalot, you have a direct link to songs about Achewood, Wigu, and Indie Rock Pete.)

And what, I ask you, is more webcomics than doing a giant passion project that no sane publisher would get within 3.048 meters of, throwing it up on Kickstarter, and finding that a bunch of weirdos are into it?

My new album is called Some Guys, and it’s a collection of soft rock songs from the 70’s that sound exactly like the originals.

Our approach was more, what if we put these guys in a time machine and brought them into this studio and recorded them here today? What would that sound like? And what if we hired real horns and real strings? How much would that cost? A LOT! But would it sound delicious and make us giddy, like we had discovered an amazing secret or invented a new magic trick? Yes, it would. The end result is that these songs sound exactly like you expect them to, but they’re also different and new in an alternate universe sort of way.

And for a guy on his first Kickstart, JoCo’s apparently learned from his predecessors pretty well:

STRETCH GOALS
No.

Some Guys (seriously, go see the album cover, and read the writeup about the album cover, and especially watch the video — the clips that JoCo included sound exactly friggin’ like the originals, which is somewhat cognitively dissonant³, but in a wonderful way, and the message in the text crawls is inspiring) was announced at 10:00am EST, and as of this writing it’s over US$49,500 (on a US$20K goal).

The record is made, this is effectively a pre-order and a way to pay for physical versions (CD, vinyl) for those that don’t want digital downloads; it’s a zero-risk project if you’re looking for something wonderful, fun, soft, and cheering.


Spam of the day

You still have not taken the prize in the category Like the year 2018
15 0.1 2019 super prize is canceled

Aw, man, I really wanted super prize.

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¹ Since pretty much everything is on the internet even if emotionally it’s designed for another space.

² As seen here, in requisite tin foil hat.

³ I am reminded of the very first live event for This American Life, where the stage band (consisting largely of John & John from TMBG) went out of their way to reproduce song snippets that were heavily used on TAL in those early years. Not putting a TMBG spin on them, mind you, trying to make them sound indistinguishable from the actual songs, rather than just drop the original clip into the staged readings They didn’t attempt Perpetuum Mobile by Penguin Cafe Orchestra, but can’t really blame them — it takes about 15 musicians playing in I think 7 different time signatures.

Redux x 2

We see the return of a coupla’ things today, one recent and one it’s been a while.

  • Readers may recall Project: Rooftop, the superhero fashion website launched in 2006 by Dean Trippe and Chris Arrant to highlight the best in superhero costume/character design and redesign. The site’s featured various art over the years, but it’s been since Summer 2013 since there was a redesign contest — the once-regular highlight of P:R

    Or rather, it was since Summer 2013, because the contests are back:

    CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT – X-Men: Days of Future Pants!
    THE RULES:

    Pick 2-5 of your favorite X-Men. They can be the team you’ve always wanted to see, your favorite line-up of the past, or just your favorite X-Folks to draw.

    Design a core uniform. For this challenge, we’re inviting you to redesign the base team look, the cohesive uniform that says they’re a team, but as is often the case with a team of varied powers, abilities, and personal motifs, feel free to show individual members in personalized versions of that core uniform.

    The teaser for the contest has to be seen to be believed — a Kirby-style Cyclops having that dream when Professor X summons you to battle for a world that hates and fears you and you’re in your underwear¹. Or, uh, just look up top, it’s right there.

    If you think you can help Cyke (or other, better X-Men) never have to worry about a lack of functional, attractive uniform again, send your design to projectrooftop at gmail, which is a dot-com by 14 January. Judges (which appear to be Trippe, Arrant, and Jay Rachel Edidin & Miles Stokes (hosts of Jay And Miles X-Plain The X-Men) will be back with winners and commentary in February. Bragging rights await!

  • More recently, David Malki ! caught a case of Munchausen’s elphatiasis² by proxy. Approximately 8 episodes into the 23 strip epic, I tweeted the following:

    Oh glob, I just had a terrible premonition. Next year’s @wondermark calendar by @malki is going to be 12 months of check out my sick elephant. And so help me, I’m going to buy it.

    To which David Malki ! replied with denial:

    Gary, Gary, Gary. You really think there will be meat left on this bone by the time the calendar rolls around??

    Which, in fact I did, despite the Malki !dian scoffing. And I was right to believe:

    Here are some pictures of the (presently in-production) 2019 Wondermark Calendar, Examining Ill Pachyderms: A Veteronorfian Field Guide.

    For those not familiar, Malki ! produces a calendar each year, with beautifully printed cards for two-week periods, arranged in two rows so you can always see at least two weeks into the future³. And while this year’s calendar will feature none of the strips from the recent epic, it will be an entire year of sick elephants.

    For the recent epic, you’ll have to purchase the book (at the same link, but be careful — some browsers don’t offer the choice to get the calendar with the book, or the book on its own; Chrome- and Mozilla-based browsers seem to work okay, though) wherein the entire saga of The Elephant Of Surprise. I ordered my calendar before the book was announced, so I’ll have to pick up a copy later — preferably when I can get Malki ! to sign it, at which time I fully intend to challenge him to come up with a new sick elephant pun. I am fearfully confident he will do it, too.


Spam of the day:

Latest hair growth released from the sharks

Sharks don’t have hair. That’s kind of the whole deal for mammals — hair. Sharks aren’t mammals, so no hair. Duh. Get your fake hair growth psuedoscience right, email spammers!

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¹ And visor, since it’s Cyclops. Because of the visor, the dude is even more of a never-nude than Tobias Fünke.

² Look it up.

³ As opposed to a traditional calendar where an entire month is shown, and on the last day of the month you see exactly zero days of the next month until you flip the page. It’s ingenious.