The webcomics blog about webcomics

A Fine Start To The Week

Happy Monday, err’body. Let’s see what’s new for us today.

  • I do love me a good Kickstart, yessiree. Today, it’s Christopher Baldwin, who’s held off Kickstartering the story arcs of the revived Spacetrawler — one may recall that the original story ran into three books, 100-ish pages each — because he decided to do one big ol’ comprehensive volume, at a full 8.5 x 11 trim size, and full color. Oh, and all books are signed, so that’s cool.

    Actually, it’s more than that. Those three slim volumes from the first Spacetrawler run? Smaller in all three dimensions than the new one, so Baldwin’s also doing the omnibus single volume reprint at the full 8.5 x 11. And a previously web-only bonus story from Spacetrawler: TOS will be included in the big book, or you can get it as a standalone mini (about 30 pages) if you’re only getting the book for Spacetrawler: TNG. It’s all here, Spacetrawler BIG Book 2, where (as of this writing) just under US$5500 of the extremely modest US$6000 goal has been raised.

    What I like best about this is the high-end rewards for inclusion of somebody that looks like you on the back of the book, or somebody named like you included in/your childhood home destroyed in the next series. Because that means more Spacetrawler, y’all. I guess the third series¹ will be Spacetrawler: DS9? They’re all good, and I can’t wait to see how Mr Zorilla fits into the next; he’s such a selfish dick, I can’t wait to find out what being in space has done to him.

  • If, at this point, you don’t know about the recent on-goings at The Nib, well that I suspect you aren’t paying attention. We at Fleen have made a thing of it, as has pretty much everybody you know and follow that’s a cartoonist. Heck the New York Times even mentioned their defunding woes, although apparently didn’t bother to mention that Matt Bors has taken the site independent. It’s amazing what’s happened at the Times since they got rid of their public editor. But I digress.

    Although the outpouring of support for The Nib since First Look ditched ’em has been significant, to get back to the level of publishing they were at is going to take capital, so Bors is having a fundraiser. You can still subscribe, but if you wanted to purchase merch, or just make one-off donations, you can do that, too. It’s all here, and I urge you to support the best in nonfiction/political/longform reportage cartooning that exists. They’re like the Pro Publica² of funny pictures.

  • It’s been mentioned more than once on this page that I generally don’t promote many new comics. I like to see that there’s something good and consistent before I tell you that you should take time to check something out. There are exceptions for creators with track records, and sometimes I will make early recommendations based on the taste and judgment of people I know and trust. And when a quick read of 10 or 20 strips³ confirms that taste and judgment? Then, my friends, it’s time to share some comics.

    Park Planet is done in black and white and grey washes, almost reminiscent of Roz Chast’s work. It’s a workplace comedy, set in a sci-fi natural park for the preservation of Earth’s nearly extinct flora and fauna; there’s a bunch of extraterrestrials and androids that don’t really understand Earth and it’s critters too well, along with a long human employee named Lorraine who’s trying to find her footing in her very new, very weird job.

    Sammy Newman is absolutely killing it so far, and I heartily recommend you check out Lorraine, and Paisley, and Wurlitzer and all the rest of the staff at Hartwood Park as they awkwardly bumble through their approximations of the human experience together.


Spam of the day:

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¹ Which I suspect will not be until after Baldwin’s collaboration with Shaenon Garrity, Willowweep Manor, sees print next year. Garrity and Baldwin have been going over their roughs, and you can see some here and I can’t wait until fall 2020, this book will be so rad.

² Who you should also support, if it’s in your means to do so.

³ Which, it turns out, has been updating on Wednesdays since April. To be fair, it only got its own, non-Tumblr website a few days ago, and I don’t do Tumblr.

Now This Is Some Bullshit

This, in this particular circumstance, being a clearly full of crap website that’s selling simply dozens — dozens, I tell you! — of stolen TopatoCo t-shirts every day. A full of crap website that’s stolen not only the designs (which are sarcastic air quotes submitted to us by independent designers close sarcastic air quotes) but even the SKUs. They may or may not be associated with another full of crap website that appears to lay off the stolen webcomics designs but has lots of other stuff stolen too, like traditional Haida designs that non-Haida people don’t get to use or sell. And the most hilarious part? Their shitty knockoffs (if in fact they actually produce and send anything) are priced above the genuine articles.

Normally, I’d tell you to politely contact the full of crap website to very politely ask them what the fuck, but a) they’ve done their best to hide who they actually are (although it appears the possibly-associated second crappy website keeps an address in Delaware that coincidentally houses a consultancy that provides a incorporation services and possibly a mail drop), and b) Jeff Rowland is already on it, and c) they may have roused the wrath of R Stevens III, in which case I doubt you’ll even find DNA when he’s done with his vengeance.

So instead, how about we look at some shirts that are both official and original?


Spam of the day:

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Holy crap, this spam has adopted the [adjective] ass [noun] rule from xkcd #37.

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¹ Unfortunately, the website doesn’t link the exhibitors to the floor map, and those that qualify as publishers (around the perimeter of the main floor) appear not to be listed on the site at present. But there will be several creators associated with George Rohac’s Creative Havoc, and given the likes of Iron Circus and Hiveworks are listed as Sponsors, I’d presume they have a presence as well.

Fortunately, the scale of the show is such that you probably won’t miss out on anybody, even if you didn’t specifically know they were going to be there. If the exhibitor info updates before the show, we’ll add to our listings here.

Kickstarters Come And Go

As Jon and Amy Rosenberg’s Kickstarter From A Multiverse successfully concludes at the high end of the expected range (the FFF mk2 had the midpoint of the range right about at the goal), and C Spike Trotman launches her … I want to say 22nd? … campaign for her latest anthology.

You Died is an anthology of what happens to us after death, and for my money the big news is not the participation of Raina Telegemeier (contributing to a story called A Funeral In Foam) or Caitlin Doughty (and could there be a better choice for the foreword than America’s favorite mortician and scholar of death?), but the price point.

In typical Spike fashion, it’s a simple campaign: the two tiers allow you to get a PDF only, or a PDF and print copy (an early bird tier offered free domestic shipping and cheap international shipping, but is otherwise just the print tier); the one stretch goal (a cover enhancement) kicks in at US$5K over goal (which is the same level that the Iron Circus creator page bonus starts at). Two weeks for the campaign and if I know Spike, the art’s in and the production’s ready to begin the day the payment clears. All of this is bog-standard operating procedure.

But that one tier (okay, and the early bird) that gets you a physical book? It’s ten bucks less than Spike’s ever done before:

A thing I’m compelled to point out: As YOU DIED ((link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ironspike/you-died-an-anthology-of-the-afterlife?ref=djikjm) kickstarter.com/projects/irons…) demonstrates, black-&-white Iron Circus anthologies will now be $20 a pop. This is a 33% price reduction.

The reasons for this: Printing larger runs, distro sales on the back-end, and the Hesitation Point.

No, I don’t mean the vista in the Brown County State Park in Indiana (although it IS lovely). I mean the price point at which potential buyers unfamiliar with ICC’s output will no longer outright reject a book before consideration.

$30 was fine when we were a small press that primarily self-distributed, or sold online and at cons. But now, The books have EXTENSIVE lives after the Kickstarter and con season.

Like… I essentially sold 4 figures (unit count, not dollar amount) in one day, last week.

When you’re moving volume, you print in bigger runs. And when you print bigger runs, the per-unit cost craters. Which is why a mid-range publisher can print, say, 10k units and charge $10 each, but a boutique pub maybe puts out runs of 1500-2000, and the same book would be $20.

All the feedback I get from the distro I work with (and sometimes from the folks I have at the ICC booth at shows) is $30 was too much for a book someone was wishy-washy on getting. I wanna convert the wishy-washy folks into customers. That’s what price cuts do.

And goofy as it sounds, the psychological angle is advantageous, as well. Take the price down ten bucks, and suddenly it’s only one bill out of someone’s wallet instead of two.

Weird? Yeah. But Totally A Thing Regardless? Absolutely.

All those scales and side-effects from distribution will make one other thing noticeably different about You Died vs all previous Iron Circus anthologies: delivery isn’t scheduled until September 2020. When you work at distribution scale, you have to give plenty of notice about your offerings. If Spike turned this book around in six to nine months like previous offerings, a fair number of clients might not be able to take it because they’ve already planned their budgets and spending around books that were announced a year ago.

And if they could place an order that quickly but something (cough, cough, trade war, cough) were to delay the books a week or two past the promised date? Promotions budgets, space on bookshelves, even warehouse stock space would be disrupted. And those buyers that got burned would think twice about ever taking another Iron Circus title.

Spike’s in a whole different world now, and I’m pleasantly surprised to see how well she’s done so far. The number of people that can take a company from one-person garage startup to part of a global supply chain with dozens of inputs and thousands of outputs and not screw the pooch is vanishingly small. Those are completely different skillsets, and the managerial mindset necessary for the post-transition business (especially the importance of delegation) is about 173° out of phase with the fast hustle that’s needed pre-transition.

It’s part of why so many start-ups (not to mention mega-huge Kickstarts that keep growing in complexity) crash and burn — the kind of person that can run the one-person endeavour is usually not only really bad at management, they usually are even worse at recognizing the things that they can’t do (or at least, need to do differently). So sincere kudos to Spike for beating the odds in yet another way; it’ll give her detractors one more thing to cry into their Cheerios over.


Spam of the day:

GET YOUR DONALD J TRUMP COMMEMORATIVE COIN TODAY! Best wishes, Your patriotic friends at Ape Survival

So that’s an Australian prepper supply site getting badly misreading my interests in commemorating anything about Donald Trump other than the monumental crap I’m going to take on his grave someday.

What You Need On A Friday

Recently, Rosemary Mosco — science communicator extraordinaire and all forms of nature but especially birds afficianado — ran a comic (seen above) about birds whose common names suffer from Tony Danza syndrome¹. The Mo[u]rning Dove has a mug expressing its opinion on the topic of mornings, and because Mosco is a professional, you should know immediately that cloacal kisses are totally a thing.

Meanwhile, the mad geniuses over at TopatoCo know a good thing when they see it. The world needs a Mornings Can Kiss My Cloaca mug (complete with handy arrow) and now there is one. There’s also some misprints that lack the arrow for five bucks less, but honestly? It’s the arrow that makes it. Well, that and the irritated eyebrow the bird sports. Get one for the morning-averse person in your life.

Yeah, we’re a bit short on words today, but you got nearly 15,000 of them in the past ten days and I need time to catch up on everything that happened since SDCC started. Enjoy the weekend, we’re out.


Spam of the day:

How did your recent visit to 7-11 go?

I haven’t been to 7-11 in more than five years when on weekend EMT duty on the hottest day of the summer, we stopped by 7-11 on the way back from the hospital for Slushies. I hadn’t had a Slushie for, I’ma say 35 years, and had a moment of panic the next day. Blue is never a color that should come out of you.

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¹ As in, what’s the refrain to that one Elton John song? Hold me closer, Tony Danza, right?

It’s Always Something

In the end, it wasn’t the jet lag that defeated me, nor the enormous task of turning a massive convention center and the surround area into a geek temple in the space of a day-plus, nor the ravening crowds on Preview Night that sprint for those exclusives and limited-editions that they must have¹.

In the end, it was the simple fact that whatever age you have to be to work all day in the San Diego Convention Center, not leave until approximately 9:30pm, search for a place with food that can serve you before it closes for an hour, not see food until past 11:00pm, and then inhale a friggin’ enormous French Dip and a truly prodigious amount of fries² followed fairly immediately by a brief walk to the hotel and then bed, I am no longer that age. My digestive tract spent a couple of hours in the night prompting thoughts like, When will you learn to just get a sandwich to bring with you to Preview Night, genius? and If you’re going to feel this crappy in a bed, you should at least have gotten drunk for it³.

In any event, the magic happened, I got to talk some with Dave Maass from the EFF about the smart meters in the UK that spontaneously switched themselves to Welsh, with Pat Race about the mess that the new governor of Alaska has put their state in (NB: Pat & Aaron have made it to the short list for the Eisner Spirit Of Comics Retailer Award, so if you are involved in the final selection, you should vote for them because they’re the best), and with Karla Pacheco about her brand new (released yesterday!) Punisher Annual #1 which involves jet skis in space.

I also got to visit the Space Gnome trading post (Earthbound representative, Shing Yin Khor, and trade a hand-written copy of my favorite poem (Litany, by Billy Collins) for an invitation to an interstellar trade guild. It’s a joyous thing that Khor is doing, having certain neat little things that you can only get via trade — this year, the Gnome is accepting handwritten poems, cuttings of succulents, or (as always) a good rock — is a celebration of capital-A Art that we should all be glad of. The stuff available for sale is always beautiful, quirky, and worthy of your time and earthly currency units.

Pictures:
It’s the usual, really; the organized chaos of setup looks largely the same from year to year, although this year pretty much everybody told me it went suspiciously smoothly.

The Space Gnome’s wares are colorful, and what’s that? Oh, yes, Khor has a book releasing in a few weeks, with a single preview copy for thumbing-through. Show that you pre-ordered it from your vendor of choice and you’ll get a bookmark.

Best cosplay went to Peter B Parker, right down to the sweatpants and mismatched shoes. Only could have been better if he had a bagel or a cold slice of pizza, but hard to carry your purchases with one of those in your … wait. Computer, zoom in and enhance on sector 7G! That is the booth of Rooster Teeth, who seem to have encountered some kind of setup misfortune, in that there’s nothing there. I’ll hop over today to ask them what the deal is.

Panels to watch for:
Gina Gagliano will be talking about Random House Graphic at 2:00pm in Room 28DE; there will be a discussion of comics as real reading at the Library from 5:00pm.

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¹ More than once, I heard people buying Andy Bell’s latest toy exclaim excitedly, I have all of the color variations except ____ ! or These are my favorite! When asked if they wanted their toy signed, faces would light up and they’d ask, Could I? Only one guy answered with a shrug and a disinterested Nah, and he was carrying an actual case (like, easily 75cm on a side of cardboard) of Funko Pops. Definitely the sort that haunts Preview Night to snag up exclusives and low-volume releases for the eBay crowd. No joy for toys in his heart.

It’s only Bell from Dumbrella at booth 1335 this year, but Chris Yates sent along some appropriate Bafflers!, and Rich Stevens sent along a selection of his pins. I have a supply of his various Pride-themed nerd pins for giveaway; show me a receipt that you donated any amount of money to RAICES or a similar organization and you get one.

² I just want something small and fast I’d claimed while looking over the menu. An hour ago I’d have eaten a lot but now I just want to keep it reasonable. Then I saw the mound o’ food hit the table and went inhalatory on it. Good job, Gary!

³ Oddly, I don’t feel that bad this morning; it was the flavor of up-all-night where you want to say I didn’t sleep at all, I was just lying there awake and then you remember the quite detailed conversation you had with people who weren’t there and figured you actually did sleep. That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.

Kickday

Hey there. Let’s catch up with some stuff over at the Kickstarter, yes?

  • Rippin’ up the charts, the latest game from the folks over at Cyanide & Happiness is notable for a few reasons:
    1. It gamifies the traditional philosophical connundrum known as the Trolley Problem for laugh-chuckles.
    2. They asked for a funding goal of US$69,420, an amount known as one sexweed.
    3. They cleared goal in 44 minutes.
    4. They have further gamified stretch goals by putting in now-familiar social media promotional activities, but also by essentially playing a mass game of Trial By Trolley. The outcome for the first vote hasn’t wrapped up yet, but presumably the stretch goals will be revealed based on which path the murdery (but quaint) mass transit vehicle takes.
  • Jon Rosenberg¹ is Kickstarting the third Scenes From A Multiverse collection, in part to get the revenue to reprint out of print Goats collections to fulfill a previous Kickstarter². Normally, an uncompleted fulfillment would be a red flag, but since Jon’s gone from trying to run this himself to engaging the professional stuff-handlers at Make That Thing, I’d say that supporting this one is safe, and will do a solid to folks waiting for the earlier one to finish.
  • From Matt Inman and the Throw Throw Burrito team, news that shipping on product which was due to begin in September has been rescheduled to approximately now. I am not convinced that somebody on Team Kittens hasn’t internalized the lessons of one Commander Montgomery Scott, who notes that you always inflate your delivery promises so as to come in earlier than you said you would. If half of adulthood is showing up, the other half is managing expectations.
  • Anthology 1: A new themed anthology that will raise funds to support the Coalition To End Gun Violence and the Community Justice Reform Coalition has been announced. Shots Fired finishes its 28 day campaign in a week, and features a (pardon the expression) murderer’s row of creative talent, including Tom Beland, Alex de Campi, Colleen Coover, Roger Langridge, Carla Speed McNeil, Trina Robbins, Marguerite Sauvage, Scott Snyder, Paul Tobin, Fred Van Lente, Shannon Wheeler, and about four dozen others. US$25 for the paperback, US$35 for the Kickstarter-exclusive hardcover.
  • Anthology 2: There’s lots of harbingers of the End Times out there, friendos, but maybe none so disturbing as the fact that a Kel McDonald Kickstart is in danger of not funding. The anthology Can I Pet Your Werewolf was Kickstarted back in 2017, and it’s out of print. The reprint campaign is three days from wrapping and (as of this writing) a bit more than US$3000 from goal.

    That’s a lot better than it was two days ago when it was under US$10K (and boy howdy, that’s a weird funding curve), but still possibly it will fall short of the mark. McDonald and co-editor Molly Muldoon have a lot of great folks on the book³ which again — just needs a reprint. It’s done, it’s all laid out, it’s a proven seller. It just (as Thrór told Thráin4) needs gold to breed gold.


Spam of the day:

The guy lost 84 lbs

Wait, which guy? Stinko Man? Because everybody says he’s the guy, and I wanna be the guy, too!

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¹ Disclaimer: he hosts this page, was the one that prompted me to start it in the first place, and owns my soul.

² And let’s acknowledge that was approximately the time that Jon and his wife had a high-risk pregnancy with two very small twin sons, one of whom has spent a significant chunk of his life getting past the medical side-effects of being born. Dude’s had some shit on his plate is what I’m saying.

³ Aud Koch! Seanan McGuire! Monica Gallagher! Sophie Goldstein! Cat Farris! Kendra Wells! Plus at least one dude because there are men that make comics, too.

4 Nerrrrrrrrrrrd.

La Plume Est Morte ; Vive La Plume

I got the news in an email from Matt Bors on Friday evening:

After three and a half years, First Look Media has decided to no longer fund The Nib at the end of July and me and my team will be let go as part of a broader shift at the company.

Well, shit.

I have mentioned The Nib more than a few times since it launched, because it is unique (and I’m using that word precisely). They publish editorial comics and nonfiction comics and reportage comics, but a wide variety of creators (some of whom, disclaimer, are personal friends), most of which I love and a few of which I actively despise¹.

You know what? Good on The Nib for not catering to me 100%, for making me confront what I consider to be lazy or obvious cartooning in service to crappy or self-indulgent worldviews. Matt Bors and his editorial team have done amazingly good work, and more importantly they pay cartoonists.

And, hell, he’s been through this before, when Medium decided to drop them; at the time, Bors ran a Kickstart and printed a book and found a new home at First Look. Since he got there, he’s ramped up the quality, ramped up the breadth of cartoonists and reporting, and took a few shots at Glenn Greenwald, Michael Tracey, and other faux-left provocateurs. They launched a magazine which is very, very good, and a subscription program in concert. They were bringing in eyeballs and doing damn good work. But First Look Media is pivoting to video (a thoroughly discredited idea) and jettisoning The Nib in the process.

But this time is different. Bors isn’t looking for the next billionaire-whim media startup to settle in at and get cut from:

This will be a major setback but I will be devoting all my time to continuing this publication with contributions from all the editors and cartoonists who have made this publication what it is.

To assure you about where the print magazine is at: the fourth issue of the magazine is at the printers now and will be shipped in early July. The fifth issue, the Animals issue, is in the works and I will be printing it independently.

To be honest, this was a shock. When I got the letter, I thought it was going to be the notice that with the fourth issue of The Nib magazine going to print, it was time to pony up and subscribe to see the fifth and subsequent issues. Seems like I’m not the only one that was determined to help The Nib survive; in a post today at Medium (irony!), Bors tells us:

I founded this publication almost six years ago to highlight political and non-fiction comics in a media environment that doesn’t support them. So I’m not ready for the funeral yet and I’m sorry if it sounded like one. I just needed a minute.

As news of all this broke we had our single biggest day of membership signups. Hundreds of new supporters pledged — on a Friday night no less. I feel emboldened by that.

I refuse to walk away from this project or let it die after the successes of our last year. There are are too many of you who have expressed support and written to say how important it is to you. There is too much going on in the world that demands biting political cartoons and non-fiction comics. [emphasis mine]

The surge in memberships is continuing, and it looks like Bors just might be able to carry off his own pivot — The Nib wasn’t established enough to go to a full-bore subscription site when Medium dropped them, but the word is out now. Hell, non-comics-specific publications like The AV Club are covering the story, and not as part of comics coverage … it’s a general news story.

As for the cartoonists of The Nib, even with the upheaval that’s going to be dropping in the near future, they’re still cranking out relevant, informative, timely cartoons — here are just two from today. You’ll see work of this length every once in a while from The New Yorker or maybe Vanity Fair, but you’ll see multiple instances each week at The Nib.

I’m a subscriber by virtue of the Kickstart, and I’ll be continuing that sufficient to keep getting the magazine in print. I mean, hell, I pay US$15/month to the service that backups up my opinion-like screeds, I may as well do at least as much to support the dozens of cartoonists from around the world that do such good work. If you value the same, join me.


Spam of the day:

This message is from a trusted sender.
Note: Our Ladies are seriously attractive ????

Okay, A) You can’t just type in the phrase This message is from a trusted sender in the body of your email and expect me to take it seriously, and 2) If you’re trying to get me interested in your porn-based phishing attempt, maybe don’t take stylistic cues from T-Rex???

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¹ And it’s not he ever commissioned Ramirez or Garrison.

The Thing That Always Surprises Me? How Recent It All Is

Go here and give the creator of Question Hound your money, not those who think it's up for grabs.

I mean, when KC Green first drew Question Hound on fire in his house, that was a seminal moment in internet rough laugh-chuckles, right? It’s always been there, part of the background of online culture since small times, right?

Nope. 2013. By the time the political conventions came around and The Nib paid Green to respond when the Republican Party tried to jump on the meme-wagon, it just felt like those two panels had been around forever. And that, per New York Magazine in their profile of Green and his efforts to keep some control over his creation, was the proverbial final straw.

We don’t often know where memes come from. We don’t often remember that an actual human had the thought, and the skill to commit it to a medium that we can partake in. Sometimes that ignorance means that somebody else grabs the joke and makes a killing and gets all I made this about it. Hell, what with Disney’s approach to intellectual property — cough, cough, Jungle Taitei — it’s practically expected.

But Green’s got a legion of fans that call out when people use his stuff. He’s got takedown letters for Zazzle and Etsy and wherever bootlegs show up. He’s got a merch company that will help him turn the tables on thieves by making the stuff that they think they can sell and selling it himself after he gets their stuff taken down for infringement. And heck, having a big enormo Kickstart don’t hurt for establishing the legitimacy of your control of what you made.

It’s a never-ending process, but Green’s more associated with This Is Fine than Kate Beaton is with I Had Fun Once And It Was Awful, or Matt Furie was with Pepe (at least, until he starting suing MAGA CHUDs and winning). Heck, he still has his association with Dick Butt, though he’s decidedly more cool about that.

Anyway, take ten minutes and read the story. It’s the story of a man who finds essential, funny truths, and has the tenacity of the cockroach when others try to claim his insight for their own profit. It’s a good one. Then go take a gander at today’s BACK, it’s full of sincerity.


Spam of the day:

We want to show appreciation to those that have been loyal to us from the start by offering you an insane, one time 78% off discount today on the nations most popular CBD oil.

In this blog, we obey the rules of double-blind testing of meds to show safety and efficacy. Come back when your product is evaluated by the FDA and you have to provide lab proof that what you claim is in the bottle is actually in the bottle. Until then, you’re no different from the supplement and homeopathic types.

Ignore At Your Peril

The signs were there, of course. A sale because a webcomic storefront would be moving. Tweets about a trip and veiled references to Montana, and moving a few tons of merch. When the announcement came a few hours ago, all the pieces fell into place:

Had a few ppl ask why I was in Montana a few weeks ago and… Hey now… What’s this… https://store.dftba.com/pages/creators

That from George, Slayer Of Problems, First And Only Of His Name For No Other Person Will Ever Have The Essential Georgeness Of He Who Was Once Surnamed Rohac, announcing a new marketplace titled Don’t Forget To Be Awesome. It’s got some folks you may have heard of selling stuff there, including webcomics Johnny Wander, Atomic Robo, and Check, Please!, but also McElroys, Greens, Brad Meltzer, Anita Sarkesian¹, How It Should Have Ended, Rainbow Rowell, and Star Talk.

Some of them are Rohac’s management-services clients over at Organized Havoc, some are certainly there because DFTBA is a Hank Green deal. In any event, you’ve got some webcomic names sitting in business relationships with — I hate this term — influencer-type folks, and in a number of cases, I’d argue the webocmics folks are bigger deals. Maybe it’s just because George brought his clients over, but did you notice who’s at the top of the client list? And if you’re as widely known as Hank and John Green, how much sway does George’s management/consultancy deal have to have before you’re noticeable?

Rhetorical questions. This is a continuation of a trend that’s been going on for a decade or more where a guy that blows stuff up on TV, nerd musicians, and a pixel-stained wretch can overlap their creative forces, like some kind of latter-day Algonquin Round Table, only if the ART included some experimental chemists, an aviatrix, and some vaudevillians. In this case, it’s an astrophysicist, a gender politics theorist, and some science communicators along with fandom cheerleaders and webcomickers in addition to your writers. Even if you don’t care about all those other folks, webcomics has a seat at the creative community table.

As long as you’re checking out the table, George would also like you to know that Tess Stone is Kickstarting volume 2 of Not Drunk Enough, and all the fancier stuff associated with the Samwell Men’s Hockey Team that was previously only available in Kickstarts is now has ongoing availability².


Spam of the day:

BECAUSE Hillary JUST let Something HUGE SLIP… NOW it’s back DESTROYING her election campaign. THREATENING her with impeachment. HUMILIATING her speechless supporters.

You … you think that Hillary Clinton is in an elected office subject to impeachment? That’s … THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS, YOU FIVELIGHTING ASSHOLES.

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¹ Who, it must be said attracts griefers and CHUDs like nobody’s business. Which means that the store infrastructure is pretty well tested and CHUD-proof, which should be a point of reassurance to any webcomicker that wants to be sure their merch sales aren’t disrupted by whiny manchildren.

² Bitty’s great, but I wonder if the economies of scale work to offer jerseys for other players. I know some Shitty fans³ who’d wear #42.

³ That’s fans of the character named Shitty, not fans who are themselves shitty.

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?