The webcomics blog about webcomics

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!

Good News Just Bustin’ Out Everywhere

I’m not even talking about the gears of justice grinding finely today, I’m talking about webcomicker news. To the Newsmobile!

  • Readers of this page may recall that I have a high opinion of Hope Larson and have for some considerable time. Today, something that I asked her about last year is one step closer to an answer, as it turns out that Goldie Vance is getting a big-screen treatment, from Kerry Washington and Rashida Jones, no less:

    The project, being designed as a potential family-film franchise at Fox, will be based on the graphic novel series, created by writer Hope Larson (who’s also created graphic novels of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and DC’s Batgirl) and artist Brittney Williams (Patsy Walker) and published by Boom! Studios.

    Jones will adapt and direct the film version, which Washington will produce under her Simpson Street production company banner, which is overseen by Pilar Savone. Also producing are Ross Richie and Stephen Christy for Boom! Studios. Boom!’s Adam Yoelin will co-produce. Daria Cercek and Jon Wu will oversee for Fox.

    Here’s hoping (har, har) that BOOM! getting the Hollywood money payday means that they can stop nickel-and-diming their creators, and also that Larson and Williams are getting nice chunks of change from the deal¹. We at Fleen are obligated to remind everybody that Hollywood moves slowly, and there’s no guarantee that Goldie will see the screen anytime soon (or even at all), but it’s a nice recognition of a great story.

  • Speaking of good news, thanks to GeekDad for finding out what Ben Hatke will be up to for the next while:

    First up, next fall (2018), First Second will be releasing a Zita the Spacegirl box set! It will combine all three bestselling Zita graphic novels into one volume–plus an all-new poster! Seriously, if you haven’t yet jumped on the Zita bandwagon, you’re missing out.

    Second, the following fall (2019) will see the release of the third Mighty Jack graphic novel. The third entry in the series will be a big crossover spectacular wherein Jack and Lily team up with none other than … Zita the Spacegirl (and her friends) for the adventure of a lifetime. This is the big one!

    We at Fleen are on record as digging both the Zita and Jack series, and I was hopeful that the post-credits reveal at the end of Mighty Jack And The Goblin King meant that we might see a crossover, but it was ambiguous enough that I wasn’t banking on it.

    The only thing is, Hatke’s a machine; by my count he’s done more than one book a year at :01 (three Zita, two Jack, Nobody Likes A Goblin, Little Robot, Julia’s House For Lost Creatures, plus four books illustrated for other authors), and while the box set next year is exciting, it doesn’t require a year’s work. I suspect we’ll see at least one more book between now and the Zita/Jack crossover, which I am eagerly awaiting already.

  • The one thing I get every year at this time? The Wondermark calendar. I love that thing, year after year. David Malki ! dropped the news all low-key that this year’s version is up for order, so if you require a means to tell the passage of time in the coming year, grab a calendar and stand, or just a set of calendar refills, over at the Dry Goodsery. You’ll be glad you did. I mean, I’m glad that I did, and that’s the same thing, right?

Spam of the day:

Heya! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 4!
Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to
all your posts! Keep up the great work!

An iPhone 4, “scat_female”? I think you’re a little behind the times.

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¹ I’ll put it another way; since Goldie Vance is creator-owned, Larson damn well better be getting the lion’s share on the deal.

Continuing The Brief Items

The countdown to pie is go, repeat, GO.

Kickstarter Alert #1: The folks at Cloudscape Comics (including but by no means limited to my favorite comicking engineer¹) do regular print anthologies of the best of British Columbia cartoonists. They’re great! But the latest anthology, on the topic of music, meant to be the 10th anniversary anthology, is lagging a bit in its funding. As of today, they’re at about the 23% mark, and not quite halfway through the funding period. Don’t sleep on this one, and if you don’t believe me, listen to your Auntie Spike. Pledge!

Kickstarter Alert #2: Just launched on the Kicker, Habibi: A Muslim Love Story Anthology. This one looks seriously interesting, and from a POV that’s broadly underrepresented in comics at the moment. The names of the contributors aren’t familiar to me, but that’s kind of great? There’s nothing like an anthology for getting exposed to a bunch of creators you wouldn’t otherwise see, and a couple of them will be great and your new favorites. For US$15 (early bird) or US$20 (regular), you can’t miss the discovery value. The anthology is being based on an extremely modest estimate of 350 copies in the first print run, so this is likely your one shot at getting a copy.

Once In A Long Damn Time Alert: I don’t recall ever seeing Raina Telgemeier put original art up for sale previously, but she’s done so now to support the Southern Poverty Law Center. Seventeen pieces are now up at eBay, with the auctions running another eight days. Want a complete set of Raina, her parents, and her sister Amara? Maybe Cat, Maya, Carlos, and Uncle Jose from Ghosts? Five members of the Baby-Sitters Club? The cast and crew of Drama? This is your shot.

Averted Crisis Alert: John Allison told us back in April that he was wrapping up Tackleford and all the comics that take place there. Over the summer at SDCC, he told me that it would happen at the end of the year. If not all-Desmond, all the time, it looked at the very least like we’d be getting some Robert Cop and that’s all right. But plans sometimes take a backseat; when your brain wants to stay on its current course, you listen, and thus there’s an announcement at the top of the page over at Bad Machinery:

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Scary Go Round has been un-cancelled. Stories will now continue in 2018. Danger averted.

For the record, I have zero problem with this.


Spam of the day:

This guy reveals how to get a ?rock hard? boner in less than two weeks

Really? I can usually manage in no more than 3-4 hours. This is not to brag

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¹ Sorry Keen Soo, Jorge Cham, and Dante Shepherd. Y’all are great, but Angela’s got swords, corgis, and moustaches.

It’ll Probably Be A Sparse Week

What with it being American Thanksgiving this week, making for an abbreviated work week, in which a full tranche of work must be done, in addition to plans for the big meal om Thursday. Cranberries must be cooked down, birds brined, bread baked, and pies prepared. Pies, people. Let’s do this.

  • The Creators For Creators grant was announced in April 2016, with applications open for about six months that year, and was first awarded this past March. It looks like the timing of the 2018 grant is going to be a little different, as applications just went live and will run until 31 March 2018. No word yet on when the decision will be made, but one thing’s for sure: it’s worth US$30,000 for a creator or writer/artist team to make a graphic novel. Details at the site.
  • Speaking of just went live: Minna Sundberg and Hiveworks launched the Kickstarter for book 2 of Stand Still, Stay Silent around midnight EST and cleared goal around ten hours later. In fact, the nearly 640 backers (as of this writing) are rapidly approaching stretch goal #2, at the US$50,000 mark. We’ll give this until tomorrow morning and see what the FFF mk2 has to say, but for now it appears that come May, I’ll have a handsome hardcover matching book 1 on my shelves.
  • And while it technically happened yesterday, it was pretty darn recent, so speaking of it also: Chris Yates has emerged from his madness place with the four-friggin’-thousandth of his Baffler! puzzle series. 958 pieces, eight levels, difficulty level 9.95¹, it can be yours for a cool US$2695 and honestly? It’s worth every.

    last.

    penny.

    All of Yates’s previous Big Round Number Baffler!s has been snatched up by one of his dedicated puzzle-collecting fans, and I suspect that #4000 will be gone in short order. In the meantime, enjoy the photos of what it took to construct the 5.4 kg behemoth².


Spam of the day:

The world’s top influencers in media, technology, and finance use Nuzzel to save time and stay informed. Nuzzel Media Intelligence uses data from thousands of influencers to show you what important people in your industry are talking about, in real time.

You named your very serious company Nuzzel? That’s not the name of a media intelligence company (whatever that is), that’s the name of a tissue, or a fabric softener, or maybe a tissue infused with fabric softener to make it even softer for all your tender bits.

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¹ Yates once told me that the difficulty scale is logarithmic.

² Shown here with a life-sized Yates for comparison.

Can I Claim To Have Been Blackout Drunk?

May all the angels and ministers of grace forgive me, I have backed a Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff book. Welp, I guess I have between now and April 2018 to do as much good as possible before that thing shows up and I lose all sanity. Again.

Doing Good 1: Hey, remember that talk that Kelly and Zach Weinersmith gave at the Strand Bookstore, which was recorded by C-SPAN? It was broadcast this past Sunday, and that means it’s now available for streaming at the C-SPAN site. Round about the 42:30 mark, I achieve a lifelong dream and get identified in a transcript as Unidentified Speaker.

Doing Good 2: I’m going to reiterate my call for all of you to purchase Shing Yin Khor’s Small Stories. It’s a slim, small volume — almost Moleskine cahier size — with Khor’s delicate watercolors perfectly reproduced, though ten stories of anger, redemption, hope, silliness, and magic. Some of them are heartbreaking¹, some are uplifting, some are both at the same time. She’s collected some of her best work from the past few years, and you will not find a better use of twelve bucks than this

Doing good 3: Looking to get some sweet, sweet webcomics merch for the upcoming Solstice-adjacent holiday(s)? Keep in mind that you can’t wait until the night before and expect to get stuff the next morning … Amazon may be working on direct teleportation via quantum entanglement, but your favorite webcomicker needs lead time. Also, sleep.

As a most optimistic guess, the TopatoCo shipping times calendar for Aught-Seventeen is probably representative of what the most on-the-ball creators can do. Probably want to order at least 4-5 days earlier for a lot of single-person operations, though.


Spam of the day:

Young cute blonde looking to cheat on my BF this weekend

Oh no, what if I am her BF? This is just like the pina coloda song.

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¹ On par with Trigger Warning: Breakfast, which was originally published anonymously, but which Khor has recently claimed.

Oh Good Glob, There Goes My Sanity

[Header image below the cut to contain the horror]

Hussie, Green, and (motherfucking) Dril collaborating on a Sweet Bro & Hella Jeff project? I just got over the flashbacks from the last one.

(more…)

Presents!

Oh, man! Manafort and Gates indicted, Papadopoulos pled guilty and has been cooperating for months, and I got my copies of Soonish and the abridged versions of both the Bible and all of science! It’s a day full of presents!

There will be a proper review of Soonish coming, err, soonish; I was lucky enough to read a copy of the manuscript late in the editing process, but that was a year ago and I want to see what the final version is like.

In the meantime, please note that David Malki ! is doing his thing again, which in this case is defined as making something cool and unique with the tools at his disposal. Longtime readers of this page may recall that the tools at Malki !’s disposal incorporate extensive wood- and metal-working capabilities, up to and including lasers.

Taking a page from a popular piece of his convention merch (cork coasters in geeky designs), Malki ! apparently asked himself What if I made geeky designs in laminated wood, larger, suitable for display on horizontal surfaces or wall hanging? The logical answer being, ART:

Framed artwork made with lasers! Each piece is hand-assembled in our Los Angeles workshop. The square ones are 12×12″ and the rectangular ones are 11×17″ These lighthearted designs will brighten any room AND listen to your troubles without complaint. And because they’re made of resin laminate (assembled from cut-out shapes of different colors and textures), they’ll stay bright and colorful for at least 200 years, or so the manufacturer says. Why would they lie? [emphasis original]

Wall Buddies, as they are named, represent key underlying character traits that we all posses: Memory (represented by a floppy disk¹), Hunger (a pizza), Proficiency (a Nintendo controller), Strategy (a chessboard²), Synthesis (a cassette tape), Patience (a Tetris game, with the long piece about to drop in perfectly), Improvisation (a d20), and Productivity (the happy poop emoji).

Each goes for US$40 in the Kickstarter (with multiples available), as well as the opportunity to hang out in a laser-equipped shop and make your own. The campaign runs just about another month, and the exceedingly modest goal of US$2650 is already 35.5% funded. These sorts of projects tend to be short runs for Malki !, so if you don’t get in now, there probably won’t be a lot left over for purchase via other channels³.

Okay! That’s it! Now to engage in a bit of political schadenfreude, read some funny and enlightening books, and (oh, yeah), do my actual job. Stupid job.


Spam of the day:

Anabelle wants to invite you to a great site

Anabelle is pretty excited to tell me about Ashley, who apparently is super hot and wants to have hot sex with me because it would be hot. But more interesting is that domain that Anabelle is mailing from: pleasantgiftsfromsanta.com. Apparently, Santa is a pimp.

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¹ Floppy disks are an obsolete computer storage format, kids. Know your history!

² Not an actual chessboard, the image of a chessboard, with a game in progress.

³ Similarly, the annual Wondermark calendar inserts, which will probably go up for order/Kickstart about the time this campaign closes.