The webcomics blog about webcomics

Arrivals And Departures

Hey there, how was your weekend? My wife learned how to make sauerkraut and we understand that it’s nearly past the fartsmelly stage of fermentation. Here’s some other things that have been going on of late.

Arriving: Readers of this page know that I love me some Digger by the entirely wonderful Ursula Vernon. Readers of this page will also recall that I really, really loved Vernon’s serialized novella, Summer In Orcus¹, which ran from September to December. It’s one of the best YA reads of the past decade for me, and I encourage you all to go check it out.

And, as of a couple of days ago, I urge you to purchase the physical item, something I’ve been eager for ever since it was announced back in March. The Summer In Orcus Kickstarter (words by T Kingfisher, pictures by Lauren Henderson, logistics by Sofawolf Press) is now up for your consideration, and I suggest you look most carefully at the tier that gets you a hardcover copy (for keeping) and a softcover copy (for giving … or maybe you’re more altruistic than I am towards your elementary school niece and will give away the hardcover). You have a month to get in on the campaign, with delivery slated for October; get in while the gettin’s good.

Departing: There’s a lot of critters in SIO: frogs and bears and wolves and wasps and weasels and birds … so, so many birds. A lot of them would feel right at home in Your Wild City, the exploration of flora and fauna and how they’ve adapted to the urban environment by the invaluable Rosemary Mosco and the inimitable Maris Wicks. At least, they would until today.

Dude to the demands of time on both of their careers of popularizing and interpreting science and nature via the medium of comics, Mosco and Wicks have decided to wrap up Your Wild City. It’s a sore loss, but there’s a wonderfully broad and weird archive that isn’t going anywhere. Thanks for all the comics explaining the birds, bugs, and beasties of our cityscapes, ladies!

Arriving and Departing: See, because elevators both come and go on a regular basis, like they’re helping Grover explain spatial concepts or other opposites, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Readers will recall that Kelly and Zach Weinersmith are collaborating on a book about technologies we expect to have Soonish, one being the idea of cheap lift capability to escape the gravity well.

A prime possibility for such cheap lift is the long-fictional, maybe-someday-real space elevator, which has great potential and only a few drawbacks. And you (for values of you that incudes iDevice users; Android coming soon) can now experience space elevators yourself, thanks to a new augmented reality app. Point your phone at the cover of the book (or an image of same) and you get to see a space elevator in action. Neat!


Spam of the day:

Steven Never Knew His Secretary Could Swallow (true story)

Steven was under the impression that she suffered from a lifelong disability, requiring feeding via a cannula implanted directly into her GI tract.

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¹ Released under her alias T Kingfisher, which identity she uses for writings that are not strictly for kids. The books she releases as Ursula Vernon feature more hamsters and shrews and not much real danger.

San Diego Looms

So, yeah, probably a regular post tomorrow (I’ve got a late flight) but for a solid week after that? Irregular as heck. Let’s clear a few backlog items before the madness descends.

  • I’m three days late on this, but I wasn’t going to let it go: buried in at the end of a discussion of Canadian literature being developed for broadcast is a line that could almost be overlooked:

    FGF is also mid-production on a number of other screen adaptations of Canadian books, most notably Kate Beaton’s picture book The Princess And The Pony and Jeff Lemire’s graphica trilogy, Essex County.

    I’m not sure what’s more charming — the thought of Kate Beaton’s wonderful story about believing in yourself (and also farts) arriving on the small screen (I’m figuring 30 minute animated special), or that identification of The Princess And The Pony as a Canadian book. Mark my words, Beaton will be regarded in the Great Northern Pantheon alongside Atwood, Davies, and Mowat. Everybody feel good for Kate!

  • Second, after too long a time¹ away from their many fans, Becky [Dreistadt] and Frank [Gibson] have returned to the webcomics game with Bustletown. Let’s run down the criteria for Becky&Frankness:

    The first sixteen pages of Bustletown are up now, with the next chunk of story dropping after SDCC; no word yet on how often it’ll be released, or if there will be an RSS feed, but if you find you want to keep up with Bustletown, it’s now listed over to the right in the link library. Everybody feel good for Becky and Frank!

  • It’s been more than two years since Girls With Slingshots wrapped, since it started over again as [re-]colored strips with commentary. Creator Danielle Corsetto spent some time getting the final two print volumes produced & distributed, and she’s been teasing us with the eventual color omnibus edition².

    And, quietly (or at least as quiet as you can be when you’re trying to keep things on the downlow amongst 1300+ Patreon supporters), she’s been doing some marvelously revelatory autobio comics under the title 32³. There’s everything there, from the ordinary to the deeply personal (although if you follow Corsetto’s twitterfeed, you know that she’s genetically designed for #TMITuesday, so personal is not really a problem).

    Anyway, Corsetto has just opened up the formerly Patreon-only strips to public view, and they are excellent. The dozen in the archive so far (with updates approximately weekly) range from multi-page college flashbacks to four panels on the logistics of groinal grooming; they’re all pretty damn hilarious, and any day with Danielle Corsetto telling a story from her life is automatically a better day than it would have been otherwise. Bookmark and read, and everybody feel good for Danielle!


Spam of the day:

Do you need to find a DNA lab for immigration?

No … and if I did, I don’t think I’d use a lab that looks (from its advert) like it should be called Akbar & Jeff’s DNA Hut.

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¹ Including a suspiciously incomplete Capture Creatures print comic series; hey, BOOM!, since you’re obviously uninterested in completing the series, hows about releasing rights that you’re apparently squatting on and letting Becky and Frank complete it elsewhere? Or is the money that it would take to negotiate a fair rights reversion earmarked instead for giving away 1000 drinks at SDCC?

² Which, for once, I probably won’t get. I’ve got the 10 original collections, most signed-and-sketched, and I’d hate to give them up. No room for both on the shelf, so I’m keeping the softcovers.

³ No, she’s not 32, she’s 36 as of this writing. Explanation for the title here and here

Emergency Post To Add Cool Stuff

Oh, man, a bunch of stuff that I thought wasn’t captured on video from Comics Camp turned out to be captured on video! And thanks to Marian Call’s Twitterfeed, you can see them now. Seth Boyer singing Part Of Your World! Moebius music box! I went back to Camp posts to add links, but you should click through and enjoy them now.

I’m Pretty Sure It’s A Webcomic

  • Words+Pictures, right? That’s McCloud 101, and it’s on the web …

    Let me back up.

    Back at Comics Camp, one may recall, I had a talk about the history of webcomics, where I took a pretty expansive view of what constitutes a webcomic (despite, at this late date, the fact that it’s still a terrible word). The emphasis on collaboration, on individual vision, were as important as any other aspect. Homestar Runner is a webcomic, I declared, and I stand by it.

    So what to make of a still-being-released-in-big-chunks sort-of-story, sort-of-multimedia-experiment being run at (of all places) Vox Media’s sports site? What Football Will Look Like In The Future is the putative title of Jon Bois’s article¹, which very nearly immediately mutates into something else². Something going by the name of 17776.

    Something involving love, time, communications limited by the speed of light, the average windchill at the 1967 NFL Championship, tornadoes, Nebraska, and some satellites, one of which doesn’t fully exist yet. Be sure to watch the video at the bottom of the first page through carefully, and enjoy the list of future Presidents of the United States.

    It’ll take some time to read, and longer to get a handle on what’s happening, but take the half hour or so. It’s webcomics.

  • Speaking of webcomics, Katie Lane³ will be hosting a webinar next Friday, 14 July, for webcomics creators (and others) on her favoritest thing in the world, contracts. Specifically, what you should watch for in the contracts you sign.

    The fun kicks off at 12:00 noon PDT, and it’s free, but does require registration; if you don’t find anything at that link, all the slots are taken and you miss out, so browse over sooner rather than later. And remember: Katie Lane is not your lawyer unless you pay her, but if you think you need a lawyer, she’s probably a damn good one to consider paying.


Spam of the day:

Get the Ball rolling with 90% off until tomorrow …

This email comes from “ilouboitin”, which I think comes from somebody overseas misreading the logo of famed over-expensive shoemaker Christian Louboutin.

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¹ A plausible enough situation, given that Bois has also written on the death/future of basketball.

² A note about that mutation — after your first visit, you don’t start from the pretense of an article about the death of football; you jump to a page that lists out the chapters of the story, presently standing at two. Like many things in life, you can only be sucked into this story once (unless you switch browsers).

³ Light-ning Law-yer!

As Was Promised In The Before Times

Brandon Bird is many things — an artist who follow weird drives and cravings wherever they lead, the finest portrayer of late American culture’s one agreed-upon touchstone, and mad pelter of mini marshmallows¹. And, as was promised via the medium of a Kickstarter campaign completed last October, he has caused to be birthed into this sinful world, like unto a new savior, a Jerry Orbach Art Car:

I suspect that if Jerry Orbach were alive today to see the car, he’d probably treat it with the same sort of amused bafflement that he held for the coloring book. Amused bafflement is a pretty pleasant emotional cocktail, if you think about it.

That’s from the Jalopnik story from last Friday, where the news broke; you should go check it out for the photos and also a sweet quote from Bird about what Jerry Orbach meant to him and his artistic development. The JOAC is not complete save for some sweet rims (Jalopnik is taking suggestions), and there’s still no word if the horn plays the Law & Order doink-doink sound, but come on … one simply does not raise twenty grand, more or less, to build a Jerry Orbach Art Car and leave out the doink-doink sound.

It’s a holiday — THE holiday, even — here in the States tomorrow. I may or may not post. In the meantime, be well, try not to blow off anything vital with fireworks, and definitely see you on Wednesday.


Spam of the day:

Looking for a Checking Account with the Right Features for You?

Already got one. And since you’re the same people sending me other come-ons, I also do not need security cameras, senior apartment living communities, rehab options, my oil changed, or sexy Asian singles. Thanks.

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¹ You, uh, had to be there.

Clearing The Spam Folder

It’s not that there’s nothing going on in the Wide, Wide World o’ Webcomics¹, but we are in a momentary summertime lull before SDCC² and the rest of the major con busy season. I mean, I could point you towards the updated tour dates for Meredith Gran³ and Mike Holmes — in fact, I think I will — but there’s only so much of your time I can occupy there. Or you could take five minutes to watch the second episode of animation from The Nib, that works.

Done? Okay, let’s make fun of spammers and see what crops up between now and tomorrow.


Spams of the day:

Bonus! $350 after your first 150 rides driving with Lyft!

Figuring that any ride will take the drive a minimum of 15 minutes (from notification until drop-off), US$350 for 37.5 hours labor, or less than US$10/hour. Minus gas, insurance, and the rest? I think you actually come out negative on this deal.

Some DNA testing can be done from home

I did one of those home DNA spit tests once, on account of being adopted, I was sick of telling my doctor I didn’t know if there was a family history of various diseases. Still don’t know, but I am reliably informed that there’s a 68% change that I’m obese based on my genes. I am a super-skinny dude. I’m starting to regret not doing what I seriously thought of doing at the time, which was to let my dog drool into the collection tube just to watch the lab freak out.

[New SMS] You Received a Glance from Gelya (from Kazan, Russia)

I have received roughly thirty-seven variations of this spam with different combos of name and Russian city. Apparently, Russian mail-order brides really dig me.

Confirm Your Account with us

This one’s great — a big graphic that says ACTIVATE YOUR ACCOUNT in block letters, not even bothering to make up a lie about which account or with what company. Balls nasty.

Garytyrrell 2 messages marked as unread disobeys

Oh, no, the Facebook account I don’t have is threatening me for leaving messages unread.

Vital to Your Wellness: Good Dental Health

Not to brag, but I just went to the dentist on Saturday and she told me my hygiene was excellent. I like my dentist, she is quick and painless.

Juicy Couture Tracksuits

Nnnnooope.

Knives that are too large are very impractical and tremendously difficult to control. Ecclesiastes 12:17 (The Message) Old King Solomon said it all

King Solomon used swords; I don’t think he was overly concerned with a knife being too large.

I’ll immediately snatch your rss as I can’t in finding your email subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please allow me recognise so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

I think I just got sexually harassed.

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¹ There’s not a good visual for the agony of defeat in webcomics, so please accept the original instead.

² Programming details coming soon!

³ Octopus Pie volume 5 (final!) out now!

Annnd, Behind At Work. Awesome.

Know what else is awesome? One of the greatest, most enabling guys in [web]comics, Christopher Butcher, is getting a new job. He’s been great at managing one of the best comics shops in North America, and he founded one of the great comics shows in the world. Now he gets to hunt out new talent in North America and Japan, and Publishers Weekly has the story:

Chris Butcher, longtime manager of The Beguiling comics bookstore and founder and artistic director of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, is leaving The Beguiling and has been named a consulting editor-at-large for Viz Media.

In this new consulting role for Viz Media, Butcher will scout acquisitions and new talent and new publishing projects, while splitting his time between North America and Japan. In addition Butcher will also scout for original non-Japanese comics projects.

It couldn’t happen to a nicer, more qualified guy. Congratulations to Butcher, and to Viz for recognizing skill when they see it.

In other news:

There’s, uh, not a lot extra to say about any of those. Enjoy ’em.


Spam of the day:

Search free coupons for toilet paper discounts

How much toilet paper do you think I use?

Pretty, Pretty, And Noooooo

Let’s take them each in turn, shall we?

  • Pretty! The Perry Bible Followship may only update very occasionally, but it would be a mistake to ever count Nicholas Gurewitch out; he’s always got something intriguing cooking in his brainmeats, and just the other day we saw the most recent creation reach fruition.

    Notes on a Case of Melancholia, Or: A Little Death is an Edward Goreyesque book, mostly silent, about a Death working through things with his¹ shrink. Readers with long memories may recall that this book was the subject of a Kickstarter ’bout recall“>two and a half years back², which was to have been fulfilled ’bout two years ago.

    Better late than never, though, and given the detail in the art, I can see how 48 pages worth could take longer than anticipated. US$25, limit one per person, domestic orders only for the moment, please. If you missed out on the Kickstart, this is your chance to get a copy (not as fancy as the Kickstarter version, but you haven’t been waiting for years, so suck it up).

  • Pretty! The Nib has gone through a lot since its launch: key player in the current iterations of This Is Fine and Pepe The Frog³, critically-acclaimed book (and calendar) publisher, a slew of awards for its contributors, and the odd hiatus or two. Latest adventure: an animated series, the first episode of which dropped today. Four comics by Jen Sorensen (Trump and various Sergeis in the Oval Office with the nuclear football), editor Matt Bors (snotty know-it-all and how not to get shot for being black), and associate editor Matt Lubchansky (where Trump’s hairpiece comes from … it ain’t pretty) round out this iteration, with more to come. I know I said Pretty! up top, but you know what? close ups of Donald Trump in cartoon form are kind of horrifying, which is probably the point. Well done, The Nib.
  • Noooooo! Okay, if you are not current on Stand Still, Stay Silent, maybe go away and get caught up. Minna Sundberg has never been sentimental about her post-apocalyptic story … the characters who’ve stepped into the Silent World have succeeded so far on dumb luck as much as anything, and even the people that conceived of their mission figured it was a longshot that would end up killing everybody involved. Heck, the prologue started by killing nearly everybody except five small casts of characters, along with the majority of the world; post-apocalypse was never going to be a cheery place.

    But Tuuri is so cheerful, so calmly competent, and it’s been so many strips from her possible contamination that it looked like she’d be … not okay, probably go back home and have occasional nightmares forever, but not this. Kitty can tell she’s infected and halfway to horribly mutated. The signs are there. She can hear the voices of the horrors as they reach out to claim her.

    The best scientists left in the known world have spent 75 years trying to come up with a treatment or vaccine, to no avail. Barring a miracle from the realm of gods and spirits, we’ve reached the point in the zombie movie where the protagonists have to kill their friend. It’s terrible, and the terror we feel reading is earned honestly instead of a cheap twist. It’s great storytelling and I hate it simultaneously. Go as peacefully as you can in the face of this abomination, Tuuri. We’ll miss you.


Spam of the day:

This chic style chameleon will go from elegant to edgy with a simple outfit swap. All prices reflect additional savings. This offer is not retroactive.

Trying to figure out if there’s anything in the world I want less than knockoff handbags allegedly designed by a sarcastic human tangerine

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¹ Based on the description; personally, I think that capital-d Death transcends the biological concepts of gender, but that may be one of the things a personification of a primal and eternal force needs to work out with their shrink.

² Disclaimer: I had to go look it up, it was so long ago.

³ Respectively, no, it’s not, and he’s dead, Jim.

Before They Get Away From Me

It seems that you enjoyed Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebaupin’s writeup of Day 1 at Lyon BD las week, at least as much as he enjoyed writing it; FSFCPL has further contributions of Days 2 and 3 at Lyon BD, but I’m going to make you wait a little for them. Last Friday’s congressional bid news¹ bumped some other stories that I think are still relevant and which I don’t want to get stale. So let’s see what we would have talked about on Friday had Pete Sessions not picked up a challenger.

  • We’ve mentioned Pénélope Bagieu more than once here at Fleen, including news of her biocomic series of remarkable women (Les Culott&ecaute;es) being acquired by :01 Books, to be published as Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked The World. It’s under that name that we’ll find some spectacular news from Variety:

    Penelope [sic] Bagieu’s Feminist Graphic Novel ‘Brazen’ Set For Animated TV Series

    Penelope [sic] Bagieu’s daringly feminist graphic novel “Brazen” (“Culottées”) which portrays bold and rebellious women around the world, is being turned into an animated TV series by a pair of French production banners, Agat films & Cie and Silex Films.

    Developed into 30 episodes of three minutes each, “Brazen” will explore the lives of 30 women such as Nellie Bly, Mae Jemison, Josephine Baker and Naziq al-Abid.

    Sarah Saidan, an Iranian filmmaker who studied at France’s prestigious animation school La Poudriere, is on board to direct the series that will air on Gaul’s public broadcaster France Televisions.

    Here’s hoping that some channel will follow :01’s lead and bring the animated shorts to English-speaking shores.

  • Hard to believe, but yesterday was but one month to the day since the Taptastic TOS shitshow got noticed and rapidly walked back; one of the bright spots to come out of said shitshow was the commentary of IP lawyer Akiva Cohen, who contributed some much needed expertise and a healthy dose of reality to the discussion. Cohen took some time out end of last week to drop some new wisdom under the hashtag #WebcomicsLawSchool, with the day’s lesson being on that perpetual source of misunderstanding, copyright registration:

    OK. Time for #WebcomicsLawSchool. This week’s topic, Copyright Registration: When, why, & how?

    [Side note: the best thing about that thread is the phrase This week’s topic, as Cohen is dropping knowledge on the regular. Did you know this? I didn’t know this. That’s why I’m talking about it, so you’ll know this and keep your eyes out for more. As always, keep in mind that Cohen’s advice is general and while he is a lawyer, he’s not your lawyer unless you pay him to be, in which case he’s not talking about your business in public. Okay, back to the smart guy stuff.]

    First thing to know: You don’t need to *register* your copyright to *have* a copyright #WebcomicsLawSchool

    As soon as you “fix” your creative work in a tangible form – get it out of your head and on paper, performed, etc.

    You have a copyright in that work. Nobody can take it without permission; if they do, you can sue them.

    Well, sort of. Because “you can sue them” is one of the primary reasons to actually *register* your copyright

    Until your copyright is registered with the US Copyright Office, you cannot file a copyright lawsuit in Federal Court.

    And that’s the key idea, the one that in my experience tends to be misunderstood more than anything else in copyright law — copyright is automatic, but there are hoops to jump through to preserve your legal options².

    Those hoops are well-established, and your job is to go through the #WebcomicsLawSchool history to see what more Coehn has to say, because that’s where the thread ends — his kid was doing something adorable, and that outweighs giving free legal advice to the internet.

    Hint: it starts here. Bookmark the hashtag, keep an eye on the posts, they’re really helpful.


Spam of the day:

What is the easiest way to quit smoking?

Simple. Pay me one million dollars, I’ll quit all the smoking you want me to.

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¹ Which, due to a fortuitous bit of timing, I believe we were the first to report on; I happened to see Rob DenBleyker’s tweetnouncement about two minutes after it went live, and we had our story up about ten minutes later. Fastest typing of my blogging career.

² And no, the “poor man’s copyright” of mailing yourself a copy to prove creation date doesn’t count.

That’s Why They Call It ‘Work’ And Not ‘Fun’

Thanks to a frustrating, blinkered, blind adherence to arbitrary rules on the part of various IT types¹ that make it impossible for me to do my job² , possibly of possibly my entire career, has struck me today. How bad? I actually spent a good ten minutes this morning calculating whether or not I’d be beaten by Security if I pitched my laptop out a third floor window and screamed YOU CAN BILL ME (laced with appropriate profanity, naturally) in front of horrified customers.

So, Monday.

But I’ll not leave you wanting. By coincidence, today’s classic episode of You Damn Kid (which will eventually permalink here, unless I miss my guess) neatly parallels my feelings today, substituting for the titular Kid’s Dad. I don’t want to be an old man, much less the Old Man, but there you go. I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out that Owen Dunne has a placeholder on the front page of YDK that promises

YDK TV
Starts Monday, June 12!

… which would be today. Nothing yet, but still quite a few hours left in the day.

And while we’re waiting to see what Dunne has cooked up,, let’s also whet your appetite for a fresh field report from Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin, who spent the weekend at Lyon BD:

I did get to meet authors and glean interesting info from them, to visit expos, to attend panels, etc. Oh, and I managed to ask Scott McCloud a few questions, too.

Oh, good — glad those two go to meet. Better mood, more news tomorrow.


Spam of the day:

Je demande pardon qu’est intervenu … Chez moi la situation semblable. On peut examiner.

Good to know that French spam has as little regard for sensical reading as English spam.

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¹ And I work in IT! Hey, IT guys making my life miserable — there’s a reason why we’re hated, and it has to do with you not even helping your colleagues. Jerks.

² While simultaneously putting me in violation of other rules for not doing my job.

YDK TV starting today?