The webcomics blog about webcomics

A Trade And A Scoop

It just occurred to me that the two people I’m talking about here occupy far ends of the human size spectrum. I have to try to get a photo of them together.

  • When you walk down the aisle in Artists Alley and see where Shing Yin Khor is supposed to be set up and see only blank space? Don’t panic. Because if you walk by again two-three hours later, you’ll see an immersive table set up, looking like an apothecary of weird and wonderful things, and no sign of the proprietor because she’s gone someplace better for the remaining six hours until show opening.

    A transplant from a slightly confused alternate future, Khor does art from small artifacts to big installations, and you should go see her stuff. The easiest way to find her is to make it known you know where a roadside Paul Bunyan statue may be found and she’ll find you, but I hear that this year’s XOXO Fest will be a good bet.

    As previously mentioned, Khor has a trade-only set of goods at her booth this year, and I was pleased to be the first person to make a trade with the Space Gnome. You can only make the trade for one (or more, I suppose) of:

    1. A cool rock
    2. A story about your favorite roadside statue
    3. A handmade ceramic vessel
    4. A compliment, in iambic pentameter or limerick.

    And no lie, I actually dreamt a limmerick about Khor last week. It declared both Khor’s stature to be slighty but also the Space Gnome to be Paul Bunyan-mighty.

    I received several stickers, a mystery item (which turned out to be a badge reading I Got This), and a beautiful enamel pin; I noticed later that at some time while we were talking, she managed to inscribe a personalization on the back of the card it came on. It’s marked as 1 of 200, so get to scrounging rocks, vessels, roadside statue stories, and verses; there’s about 194 of them left. Khor is also providing fortunes, beautiful watercolor miniprints, and I received one reading:

    THE SHARP TALON
    desire, anger, retribution

    The fight you know is on the horizon is long and arduous, but you are prepared for it.
    Your instincts are sharp, and your skills will be called upon to create a better future for you and yours.

    Shing Yin Khor can be found at the Center For Otherworld Studies most times during the show, Small Press table O-04.

  • Ryan North is a smart, funny man, one that towers over all he surveys both figuratively and literally. We spent some time chatting about his forthcoming book, How To Invent Everything (an Amazon-avoiding Kickstart for which is running now, with exclusive cool stuff), and he let me in on an exclusive story — appropriate for a book about changing history — of what could have been.

    In the book, he tells you how musical notation works, and provides the sheet music for some of the great works of the Western canon (Pachelbel’s, specifically, along with some Mozart and Bach), which if you’re in the past you can write down before they do and be the greatest composer ever!

    But one masterwork eluded him. Because while Mozart, Bach, and Pachelbel are in the public domain, the fourth Greatest Song In History is not, and he was unable to get to the rights to include the music in the book. The rights administrator was confused — it’s not a mechanical reproduction as in a cover version recording, that’s got an easy, established process. North offered to do the arrangement himself, and the administrator kept asking, Is this for a textbook?, not really getting that it’s a general science book about time travel and humo[u]r.

    In the end, they were not able to come to an agreement, and so if you are ever trapped in the past, you will sadly not be able to retroactively teach the world to Shoop before Salt-n-Pepa do. Our futurepast culture will somehow have to survive. North did get an appropriate alternate fourth Greatest Song In History for inclusion, but I promised I wouldn’t spoil it. You’ll just have to get the book yourself and see.

    Ryan North can be found at TopatoCo most times during the show, booth 1229.

Ask A Speculative Question, Get A Useful Answer

So yesterday I wondered in a footnote about the possible impacts of the looming Trade War With China on webcomics. Here’s the crux of what I said:

Thought that just occurred to me. What with the whole trade war with China stupidity going on now, we aren’t shipping as much stuff to China, we won’t be getting as much stuff from China, is this going to take container ship capacity away (as they’re redirected to other trade routes) or make it more plentiful/cheaper (as there may be an excess of space/ships)?

My thoughts were almost entirely in terms of the raw costs of container shipping; if we aren’t sending soybeans to Shanghai in the immediate term, will there be freshly unloaded ships waiting to be loaded up with stuff for the holiday selling season? Would things not specifically on the threatened tariffs list (which is a moving target, day to day) be impacted as collateral damage? I figured there was only one person to ask.

Readers of this page know the regard that we at Fleen have for George Rohac: slayer of problems, fixer of systems, arranger of logistics. He’s overseen maybe more Kickstarts than anybody else, to the point that they recognize him as an official Expert. He knows the sausage-making end of getting things made, especially via print. SO when I asked, I was unsurprised that he’s been thinking about it, but a bit surprised that he’s looking at things from another angle. To quote:

So for now, it isn’t hitting anything. But as with anything in the world of Trump, that could change on a dime. I haven’t seen/heard anything happening with regards to more frequent customs crackdowns, so right now its basically business as normal.

Not capacity/logistics, but the possibility of policy decisions mess with things. If the order comes down to make every Customs inspection of everything from China extra specific, time and costs (storage, brokerage, etc) go up.

That said I am encouraging people to just factor in an extra 25% as a trump tax in case stuff gets fucked. This I’d recommend regardless of where you’re manufacturing. Since he’s hitting Canada the plants people use in Montreal often could be hit, and also US plants that are part of global multinationals could wind up having trickle down cost increases.

Again, not the shipping end of things, but the possibility that Screamy Racist Orange Grandpa decides to suddenly slap worldwide tariffs on paper, or finished printed goods, or whatever. Planning ahead for extra costs also seems to be smart planning in that if you get hit with unexpected expenses, you’re covered; if you get lucky and the costs don’t materialize, you’ve suddenly got more money and that’s not a bad thing.

A quote will typically have a “price good until X date” so if you’re printing in that window, fine, if not, then build in buffer.

And here’s where George’s long experience with printing comes in — if your printing proposal doesn’t have a timeframe on the pricing, any unexpected costs could be passed along. The last thing you want is a profitable project suddenly turning into a break-even or money-losing project. If I were to summarize George’s answers, it would be Do your due diligence, get everything in writing, and assume your unexpected costs could be even greater than your past calculus. Much like planning now for the potential of a USPS shipping rated increase in six months¹, this is going to be a careful balancing of probabilities, optimism, and pessimism.

There will probably be people that offer to help cropping up in greater numbers than in the past, and it’ll be important to ensure that they know what they’re talking about before paying them money, or tying the success of your project to their supposed expertise. I’m not saying they have to have George-level experience², but I am saying that there’s a difference between a company that’s done this before and one that’s assuming it can do this³.

Just as for every Make That Thing there’s several dozen companies whose ability sits somewhere between aspirational and completely fictional, there are going to be newcomers and fly-by-night operators in this facilitation space. Choose carefully. Or, if we’re lucky, George (or somebody like him) will do some seminar-type training on how to navigate these challenges on your own. Like somebody that I just made up in my head once said, Trumpian chaos is just another way to say opportunity.


Spam of the day:

What Company is #1 Rated Overall for Home Security?

The answer suggested by this spam is bestcompany™, which appears to not be a home security company, but rather a directory of all kinds of companies. It’s some pretty mixed messaging

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¹ Never mind what would happen if SROG’s stated intention to privatize the US Postal Service actually gains steam.

² Only George has George-level expertise, pretty much by definition.

³ Fun fact that came up in an unrelated conversation today; when you fly into Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, all the usual airport ads for car services, hotels, etc, are entirely replaced by ads for contract logistics and merch-management companies, whose entire pitch is Hire us if you want to be less screwed by Walmart. Some of them tout years or decades of experience navigating the Walmartian minefield and others … do not.

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.

Know What We Haven’t Had For A While? A Roundup

We’re kind of all over the place today.

  • Okay, this one is going to cost you some money, maybe. Brad Guigar — cartoonist, speaker, consultant, itinerant smutmonger, and weaponized jollity delivery device — has stepped up to talk about the (almost entirely bad faith) backlash against diversity in comics. The vast majority of those who are opposed to characters who aren’t straight white dudes are like the anonymous guys (of course they’re guys) that regularly shit on Jim Zub for “caving”, who gives them far more thoughtful responses than they deserve. But somewhere in there are some few that — if you squint really hard — aren’t opposed to creating characters that don’t look like them, but are scared.

    If I get it wrong, their argument goes, they’ll call me racist/homophobic/whatever. I’m not! They’re making me that way! Yeah, it’s about this far from the claim that calling out racists makes them become full-bore Nazis, but let’s have a Zublike moment of patience for the argument. Or, better yet, let’s let Guigar do so in a post today at Webcomics Dot Com:

    “I’d write more black characters into my comic, but I’m … scared.”

    The rest is behind the WDC paywall, but the gist is this: yes, if you write outside your comfort zone, you’ll get it wrong sometimes (likely in inverse proportion to the amount of research and listening you do). People can tell the difference between somebody that tries, gets it wrong, apologizes, and learns, and somebody who’s being disingenuous. As a writer, stretching yourself is something you ought to do. I’d only add one thing to what Guigar wrote, and that’s the value of cultural/sensitivity reviewers, who can tell you where you’re getting things wrong before your work hits the wider world.

    It’s a neat refutation of the argument that everybody that’s trying to avoid diversity but I’m not like those haters over there, and the only drawback is that a bunch of those that most need to see it won’t. But then again, Guigar brings back posts for free preview on Fridays, and this would be a great one to include at some point in the future. Either that, or find the diversity-resistant creator you know and convince ’em to drop five bucks for a one-month trial.

  • Speaking of diversity, the latest Cautionary Fables anthology has started its funding, this one with a focus on Oceania. Previous volumes did attract some discussion as to how many creators contributing stories about Africa and Asia belonged to the cultures and traditions that originated the stories; this time, I’m seeing a fair number of creators who identify as being from Pacific Island cultures contributing, and prominently promoting the campaign. For instance, from Rob Cham:

    I gotta commend @KateDrawsComics @sloanesloane and @kellhound for putting together such a rad anthology and giving us a platform to share our stories Got to read through this antho and man it is an amazing book

    That focus on a platform to share our stories wasn’t as visible in the last couple of volumes, and it’s a credit to series editor Kel McDonald (joined this time by Kate Ashwin and Sloane Leong) that she recognized that this makes for a better book and better stories. The Kickstart runs until 13 July (about a week shorter than the 60 days McDonald usually runs, but the 20th would run into SDCC and nobody needs that complication).

  • Know what never attracts any controversy? Awesome cartoons about delightful pets. Sam Logan tallied up the pet-themed comics from the long and storied history of his career, and discovered he had more than 100 pages worth of President Dog (a dog), Baker (a corgi), Butcher (a cat), Buddy (a goldfish), and more. They’re now collected into Vote Dog, Kickstarting in softcover, hardcover, and deluxe artist editions, along with prints, pins, and commissions of your bestest fuzzy friend.

    Basically, this is your chance to get an entire book with the sensibilities of that corgi shapes poster, which is pretty much guaranteed to make anybody happy. The campaign runs until 21 June, with rewards expected by December aka the gifting season, hint, hint.


Spam of the day:

Can your idea survive the Shark Tank?

You’re looking for inventions you can rip off and exploit? May I point you at a dude that is literally giving ideas away?

Busy Packing

As I believe that I may have mentioned one or two times, tomorrow I awake Stupid-Thirty and make my way to Juneau for Alaska Robotics Mini Con and Comics Camp; as a result, I’ll be largely absent from The Interwebz for the best part of a week. So let this be your last bit of that Fleen-Flavored Goodness¹ for a while.

  • Speaking of Camp, I believe that Shing Yin Khor will be there, and I wanted to point you to something really cool she built recently. Some things, plural, to be accurate. See, when Taneka Stotts accepting the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Anthology for Elements (in her role as editor), she wanted a way to honor all of the contributors.

    Enter Khor, and a sledgehammer.

    She took the brick (the Ignatzen are actual bricks) and crunched it up into slivers, mounted them onto triangular wooden bases — the upright triangle is the alchemcial symbol for fire — and added little engraved nameplates. It’s as classy an acknowledgment of one’s collaborators as I can recall in comics, and I thought you should know about it.

  • Something else I think you should know: although large corporations stealing the art of independent artists persists at a shameless rate², there is an important new development. Susie Ghahremani called out a variety of related companies for stealing pin designs, and has scored an important precedent in what appears to be federal court:

    Basically, this says if you put your name and/or other identifying information on your work (as we did), and someone removes that (as they did), they broke the law. And if they put their own name or other branding on copies (they did), they broke the law AGAIN.

    The infringers were trying to argue that the art they stole was too simple and therefore not deserving of copyright. No, really. Of course, they don’t mind associating with simple designs as long as they get to make money from it, I guess? Anyway, the precedent is a powerful tool the next creator who wants to actually own what they created for themselves can use, and not a moment too soon.

    Because Old Navy has been caught stealing designs from Lili Chin and are actually having their lawyer try to get a judge to order Chin pay for the privilege of being sued because she called them out. But now there’s a precedent, and if Old Navy’s lawyers aren’t aware of it, they should read up quickly and re-evaluate their strategy.

    Now I don’t know which jurisdiction Old Navy is pulling their shenanigans in, but I’m guessing that since it’s a copyright matter, federal law pertains (but, obviously, I Am Not A Lawyer). Here’s hoping that since they’ve decided to be dicks about it, this precedent bites them in the ass and provides a significant deterrent for the next corporation that decides to be dicks. Hey corporations, want to get good designs from artists? Fucking well pay them.


Spam of the day:

Natalie wants to share her 21 private photos, Access NOW, nbwabi

Huh, nbwabi appears to not be completely random, and previously appeared on page 4 of The Daily Times from New Brunswick, New Jersey, dated 13 May 1893. Weird.

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¹ I’d like to say that sounded better in my head, but it really didn’t. Let’s not do that again.

² And it seems to me, in a more aggressive form. Used to be a company caught art thieving would blame a junior designer or contractor and promise to never do it again, cross their heart. Now, they’re fighting in court to defend their right to violate copyright.

Oh hell yes dogg right

It is a Fleen Stylebook requirement that titles be rendered with initial capitals in all circumstances, excepting circumstances where it would violate personal pronouns; for example, if we had cause to reference writer bell hooks, we would utilize her preferred lack of capitals.

The only other exception is what we at Fleen refer to as the Roast Beef Rule, wherein quotes of Roast Beef Kazenzakis will follow his typical orthography; if there was a way to make the title font 11% smaller today, I would. Today’s title is not only a direct quote from Mr Kazenzakis, it also links directly to one thing I’m going to tell you, and neatly describes my emotional state regarding the other.

  • The latter first: Meredith Gran announced earlier today that from Monday next (that would be the 19th of March), Octopus Pie will be rerunning daily with author’s commentary. Given what’s likely to be a lot of heads-down work on Perfect Tides, time when we might not see a lot of visible work from Ms Gran, this is welcome news. Even better, we get to fall in love with Octopie again (and for some of you lucky people, for the first time).

    By my count, there are the equivalent of 1026 pages to Octopus Pie, although many of them are meant to be seen all at once; let’s be conservative and say that you will probably get 900 updates (give or take) out of the reruns. That gives us daily Octopie until roughly [American] Labor Day in 2020; we’ll be able to ride out the statutory length of the Trump/Pence administration¹ with the daily example of Eve, Hanna, and the weirdest parts of Brooklyn in your 20s as our coping buddies. You always knew exactly what we’d need, Mer.

  • The former second: Roast Beef is, naturally, the heart and soul of Achewood, and there is Achewood news from creator Chris Onstad:

    Every few years, I ask for a little donation to help cover Achewood server costs. Thank you sincerely for your support! To give: http://bit.ly/2oZ1z4G

    The archives are voluminous, and judging solely by my own frequent trips, subject to enormous traffic even today, some 15 months after the most recent (and potentially last) update. I’d say that as long as we can dip back in to relive a particularly favorite bit of Achewood nostalgia, Onstad’s more than earned the occasional couple of bucks.

    As a thank you, Onstad invites all who donate to go wild with the downloading of whatever you like from the PDF library. If that’s not your deal, may I suggest making a purchase from the gallery? It was my good fortune to be able to snatch up the portrait of Ramses Luther Smuckles before someone else did … it’s more beautiful in person than you can imagine. There’s plenty of original art, and gorgeous silkscreens for your perusal. The store works, too.


Spam of the day:

Did Jesus “Heal the Masses” Using Specialized Medical Marijuana Oils

I’ma go out on a limb and say no.

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¹ Although with any luck, we’ll be well down the line of succession by then.

Weekend, Hooray

Okay, I get that my job really isn’t very difficult, but for the first week back after two weeks off, the ol’ voice is kinda raspy. Vocal chords lose their calluses just like hands do. I’m ready for some relaxation (oh, and Monday probably won’t have an update, as I’ll be in transit for much of it).

Steve Conley/, as has been noted on this page in the past, has been making quality comics forever; his current efforts are largely concentrated on The Middle Age, as recently noted. He’s put out a couple of print collections¹ (a chapter at a time, about twice a year) thanks largely to his Patreon supporters, and now he’s joined the challenge known #Make100.

January of last year, if you’ll recall, a series of Kickstarter habitués, launched projects with short timespans, low funding goals, and a limited reward set: just 100 of a given thing available. Conley’s making a set of three Middle Age pins, with just 100 sets being made. 79 of them are up for grabs at US$30 (67 at this writing), another 20 in bundles with the two books for US$45; the last is for Conley himself. The US$900 goal has been met in the first two days, there’s still nearly three weeks to go, and then that’s it.

There’s no point in applying the Fleen Funding Formula Mark II to this one — too small for statistical significance, but if you enjoy rude wizards, well-meaning and occasionally non-oafish heroes, and strangely bad-ass ducks, you should check out the campaign. And if the totals should hit US$2500 (which requires only 76% of the available rewards to be claimed), everybody gets a fourth pin, to be determined by backer voting².

Best thing about these small Kickstarts? Fast turnaround. Estimated delivery for the pins is next month, which means Conley’s already got the art ready to go, his vendor will turn ’em around in a couple weeks, then he just has to have an envelope-stuffing party one night with friends. I bet if you know him and help him with the envelopes, he’ll bring pizza; he’s just that kind of guy.


Spam of the day:

[FREE GIFT] Beginner’s Guide to Bitcoin

I can help you with that: a mysterious guy nobody admits to being decided to overthrow the entire world economy with a new currency — backed by nothing — based on math intensive enough to cause global warming from all the computing cycles it consumes. A large number of Libertarian-inclined types, angry man-children, and Winklevii are betting they can get enough of you interested that they can making a killing and cash out.

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¹ And I should acknowledge that he sent me a copy of the second print collection of TMA over the holidays — thanks, Steve!

² Although let’s be real: one of the candidates is gender-swapped Sir Quimp and this is the internet, which always goes for gender swaps whenever possible.

New Year’s Stretch Goals

Get ’em while they’re hot.

  • So Gordon McAlpin went and made a Multiplex short (the funding of which was mentioned in the beforetimes), and before we get to that, can I commend him on one thing? The Kickstarter in question launched on 9 April; between that day and when the campaign finished on 8 May, McAlpin posted more than two dozen updates on the project. Since completion of the campaign, he’s dropped more than sixty progress reports. That degree of communication with backers is worth noting and emulating. Okay, back to where we were.

    Judging from the topic lines of the updates (most of which are backer-only), the short is done, seeing as how certain backers go the early-access link a couple days before Christmas. Hooray, project successful, all done, right? Nah, that’d be boring. The campaign was just to get the first short done; now it’s time to release the short wide, get shopped around the festival cicruit, and maybe make more. A very modest US$2000 (you read that right, two stinkin’ grand) will:

    [H]elp fund the film festival run, digital release, and promotion of the Multiplex 10 short film, in hopes of reaching the widest possible audience. Although the Multiplex 10 short film stands on its own, it was conceived as a pilot for a series, and reaching a wide audience will give us the best possible chance of producing more Multiplex 10 videos.

    [O]ffer a physical copy of the short for existing (and new) backers who want them, and to sell at conventions, screenings, and other venues. And …

    [I]f we can raise significantly more than the base goal, we can fund additional 2–3 minute Multiplex 10 webisodes, to be released free online. These webisodes will feature Kurt and Jason (and possibly some other familiar faces) talking about a then-current movie or facet of movie culture

    As of this writing, there’s 11 hours left and the campaign has passed the second stretch goal (US$4K), meaning that the USB cards the short will be sold on are 4GB instead of 2GB, and the first webisode will be made. At US$5K, the USB doubles to 8GB, at US$7K a second webisode gets added; at US$8K the USB doubles again to 16GB, and at US$10K a third webisode is produced. If you want to see any of these things happen, now’s the time.

  • It’s less than a month since we noted the up-wrapping and comprehensive collection-printing of Plume;; it’s got another week to go on its crowdfunding and is approaching double its US$25K goal. Today, K Lynn Smith announced that since all the financial stretch goals have been met, there will be one more based on backer count.

    1000 backers means that the book plate used for signing the omnibus edition (alas, the earlier single volumes don’t qualify) will have a fancy spot gloss added to it; this is not something I’ve seen anybody do before, and it’s a neat idea. Spot gloss and other fancy treatments get added to the covers of books, but this is a fancification that’s like a secret between creator and fan.

    Okay, that’s probably stretching the point a bit, but it’s a neat idea, and it may drive backers to up their pledges if they weren’t getting the omnibus, so it’s a smart way for Smith to push upsells. As of this writing, there are 903 backers and a bit more than six and a half days. Let’s see if that count can go up by 11% in a week.


Spam of the day:

IT Degrees with SE

Okay, gotta ask — what in the world is SE? Because I’m being offered IT degrees with it, nursing degrees with it, local hot wives not getting enough sex from their husbands with it, knockoff Viagra with it, and credit scores with it. Whatever SE it, it’s very flexible.

New Year, New Stuff

Or at least, some of it will be new to you. Onwards!

  • It’s been a considerable time since the heyday of Webcomics Weekly¹, and the logistics of wrangling four people — when there are kids and other time demands — means we won’t ever get that back. Brad Guigar’s had conversations with movers and/or shakers via his own Kickstarts and Webcomics Dot Com, and he’s been talking to Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett somewhat regularly lately² (especially in/around Patreon’s troubles), and it’s clear they’ve got the bug again.

    Thus, a new Patreon and a new podcast very much in the mold of Webcomics Weekly:

    Welcome to the ComicLab Podcast, the new show about makin’ comics, and makin’ a living from comics.

    If you loved Webcomics Weekly, you’re gonna love this show: It’s half shop-talk, half how-to, and half friendship. WE SQUEEZED IN THREE HALVES.

    Everything launched yesterday, and they appear to have gone from three Patreon supporters to 29 in the past 24 hours; if you want to draw extrapolations, by the end of the month their supporter count will either be 728 (assuming they add 26 each day), or 24,254,780,439,831,450 times the population of the Earth (assuming they grow by 8 1/3 times every day), or maybe predictions are garbage. In any event, give ‘er a listen, and leave plenty of time for laugh breaks.

  • Meredith Gran has been keeping a bit of a low profile since Octopus Pie wound up (and there’s not a day I don’t think back on how good it was, start to finish), and we knew she was working on a videogame, but things are starting to kick into gear:

    the game I’m working on is called Perfect Tides, and I’m going to start rolling out social media stuff until KS fundraising begins in January! until then you can follow @perfect_tides for news + tidbits

    PT is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, an introspective teen adventure with the mechanics of a classic adventure game. to me they are a perfect fit! I hope you will think so too

    Kickstarter this month, y’all! And hoo boy, Sierra point-and-click games were things I spent waaaay too much time on in my younger days. This could be dangerous.

Okay, not actually new to 2018; in fact, this report from Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin has been hanging about since last week, but I was lazy during the holiday break. Some of what he talks about has been going one for some time, and some of it is pretty much outdated by now, but you know what? It’s all good.

  • We at Fleen always enjoy efforts to help English readers better understand French. Especially when they come from Boulet, who has been publishing thematic guides to French expressions and idioms to his Twitter feed: everything around kissing, drinking, butts .. or cucul la praline or vachement.
  • Speaking of Boulet, also do not miss his advent calendar of mythical creatures.
  • And speaking of France and butts, there appears to be a new French-language webcartoonist on the block; usually we would not relay the news of a newly created webcomic, but we’ve been told this Jeph Jacques guy is kind of a big deal in the States (despite the French-sounding name), so his French-language efforts should be worth keeping an eye on …

Yeah, that was pretty much all out of date. That’s all me. Thanks for your patience, FSFCPL!


Spam of the day:

Child Predator Risk Warning

Gaaahhh, okay, if you must alleviate sleepless nights by checking on sex offenders in your area, please understand you don’t need to pay a service for this information. Every state’s got a public, official list, and the feds incorporate all of those (plus DC, territories, and Indian Country) in one free website. Save your money.

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¹ Remember, the greatest Webcomics Weekly of all time was very nearly the last that adhered to an even vaguely weekly timeframe. Pretty soon after, it was every other month, then annual, then even less frequent. And it was damn near seven years ago!

² Meanwhile, Kris Straub is busy podding and vidding around areas other than webcomics, and Scott Kurtz has been more concerned with the intersection of the business of new media and the broad whole of art.

Oh Cruel Fate, Oh Light That Is Now Gone From Us

I think we can all agree that one of the rare high points of 2017 was Anthony Clark’s Wizard A Day Series. He’d done themed drawings in Januaries past, but this year, he just kept going, and going. From New Year Wizard (001) to Farewell Wizard (365), every day another wizard¹ appeared in the greatest Twitter thread of all time.

And though we are now left with a gaping void in life, Clark being all wizarded out, we may take comfort from the fact that there is a Wizard Index, any of which may be ordered as a 30cm x 30cm print. More than one person has asked Clark to make a book of the 365 2017 Wizards, and should he decide to do so, I will be giving him as much money as he requires.

So in one respect, 2018 is already crappier than 2017, since there are no more daily wizards, but … wait, what’s this? A Cowboy And/Or Sheriff, listed as Number 1, Bananas? A new series of daily joy in an otherwise gaping void of despair?

No, never mind. I have to admit it’s a pretty good gag, especially if the wizards were all a long con just so he could make this joke land.


Spam of the day:

Find a SENIOR LIVING solution!

Okay, bonus points for actually pitching this as a means for me to find assisted living for my parents, rather than for myself. Weirdly, since I actually turned 50, spam implying that I’m of AARP age has disappeared from my inbox.

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¹ And frequently, more than one — considering the likes of Double Wizard (002), Star Wizard (019), Nest Wizard (026) were all in January — as multiple wizards sometimes showed up. Clark estimates he actually drew 645 wizards all told. Imagine if there had been a Fractal Wizard!