The webcomics blog about webcomics

Rad Ladies

There’s days when I have a lot to say, and there’s days when stories speak for themselves; today we’re in the latter category.

  • First up, Erika Moen — cartoonist, force of nature, hell of awesome — dropped some news on us yesterday [the story is SFW, but the side panel ads are probably not] … she’s headed to Sweden:

    Oh my gosh, I’m making my first trip out to Sweden!!! If you’re in the neighborhood, please come say hi to me at the Stockholm International Comics Festival this May 20 – 21!!!!

    Or the Stockholms Internationella Seriefestival; if you speak Swedish, hit up the link. If not, here’s the translation, which links to bits about the festival’s Small Press Expo (described as the “official sibling” of the annual event in Maryland), and details on the international guests.

    If I’m reading everything correctly, the SIS will take place at Stockholm’s Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, in Sweden’s only specialist library for comics, Serieteket (here, for those of you that like maps). Free admission, and I think the times are 11:00am to 5:00pm (CET, or GMT+2), on Saturday and Sunday (20 & 21 May).

  • On my way back from Comics Camp (start here, if you’ve forgotten, and work forward) I had a layover in Minneapolis, and thus was able to visit with Rosemary Vallero-O’Connell, about whom I’ve written lots over the past year or so. She mentioned that in addition to all the work she’s been doing since graduating last May, she’d been in talks with VICE News to do an interview about work/life balance and the financial end of a creative career. Turns out that it happened, and now you can see it.

    It’s a huge topic (things dealing with money — peripherally or directly — took up many hours at Camp), and not one where all the subtleties can be done in a few minutes. Heck if they didn’t do a damn good job laying out the boundaries of the issues, though.

    I found the most compelling part to be Vallero-O’Connell’s frank recognition that there’s a very fine line to tread, with both too many and too few jobs offering risks. Don’t have enough gigs, you don’t make money and you can’t pay your bills. Accept too many¹ and you risk spreading yourself too thin² or injury — meaning you can’t sustain the money and can’t pay your bills³.

    There’s no grand solution offered — not that there could be — but just acknowledging the challenges is tremendously valuable. Vallero-O’Connell is starting to get a handle on what the career looks like (not just for now, but as a sustainable effort over many years), and seeing her present the quandries and puzzle them out is going to help others find their balance quicker than they would otherwise. Give it a look.

Spam of the day:

KOHL’s: Antiquated Dept. Store…

Are … are you trying to get me to click on your fake KOHL’s gift card by negging them?

¹ A constant temptation for freelancers, particularly those new to the game.

² Leading to substandard work or burnout.

³ Unspoken in the four minute run time: even if you accept the exact right amount of work, you can’t guarantee you actually get paid what you’re due on a prompt basis, meaning you can’t pay your bills. I’m sensing a theme to the freelancer’s life.

That Thing I Kept Alluding To Back In December? It’s Finally Happening

Scott McCloud sends the most interesting people to me. In this case, NPR’s National Arts Report, Neda Ulaby. Waaay back at the end of December, she wanted to talk to me about webcomics, particularly the successful Kickstarter of Ngozi Ukazu to print book two of Check, Please!.

So it was that I found myself downloading an app onto my phone that would record my half of an interview, and finding a quiet room without echoes to talk webcomics, self-publishing, creator ownership, and all the other hallmarks of our weird little community. Ms Ulaby and I spoke for about 15 minutes, she figured she might get four for the entire story, and would be talking to other people; I guessed I might get two good quotes in.

Then the current administration happened, and finding four minutes on a national radio network for a story about fictional gay hockey players took up the back burner position. I guessed the story was dead.

Until I got an email this afternoon. I am told that the story will run as part of All Things Considered today, but since local NPR stations run the program at different times and may chop out segments to do local inserts, I can’t tell you when it might run. Check that link tomorrow, you should be able to play it back. I’ve got ATC on in the background here at work, and am listening with bated breath.

So, yeah — that happened.

Update: Looks to be about the 48:00 or 50:00 mark in Hour One. Here’s the story link, on account of my local station cut away to a local story, dammit.

Update 2: The story hook that makes it relevant now? Ukazu’s debuting the book at TCAF this weekend. Go pick it up and congratulate her.

Coming Soon To A Phone Screen Near You

One of those endings/beginnings days, you know?

  • Gordon McAlpin¹ has been in the webcomic game as long as anybody, putting together a just about exactly 1200 strip archvie over (by a peculiar corinsidence) just about exactly 12 years over Multiplex way. It’s been, to no small degree (and I mean this sincerely and without any malice whatsoever) the webcomics equivalent of For Better Or For Worse

    That is, it’s let characters age and grow and drift apart and come back together and sometimes leave never to return, with both the good and the venal prevailing at times, but always centered on the (in McAlpin’s case, improvised) family at the center². And, like FBOFW, there is an end to such stories, even though we know the characters will go on. Through nine books, McAlpin has let his love of movies and his characters show in equal measure … and when you’ve got that much love to give, why not have a tenth book?

    Multiplex (the webcomic) may have scrolled all the way to the end of the credits today, but there’s a teaser that comes after; Multiplex 10 (the animated short, and perhaps trailer for more animation) will be part prequel, part reboot, and, I’m guessing, all awesome. But while webcomics are easy to put together and toss out on the web to find an audience, animation of any quality is hell of work, and not the sort of thing you can dash off in the spare hours of the day. Enter Kickstarter, and the crowdfunding campaign for MUX10, which went live a bit more than 12 hours ago and is presently a bit more than a third of the way to its US$15,000 goal.

    There’s rewards and an impressive list of collaborators at the campaign, but what I’m most impressed by is the fact that overfunding will go not to stretch goals, but into making a better film … and possibly even more episodes. Give ‘er a look, and if you’ve ever enjoyed Multiplex during its original theatrical run, consider tossing McAlpin a buck or two, yeah?

  • Speaking of things finishing and restarting in other forms, this is your periodic reminder that our friends at the Cartoon Art Musuem are nearing their end of their time in the wilderness, and preparing to open in their new (hopefully permanent, but who can say with San Francisco real estate?) location. If you live in the Bay Area and wanted to tell CAM what a good job they’re doing you have a chance next weekend at the Silicon Valley Comic Con at the San Jose Convention Center, 21 – 23 April. As far as I can determine, it’s the only comic convention presented by The Woz, the ur-geek to whom all owe allegiance.

Spam of the day:

Expose someones past with this simple tool


¹ AKA The Nicknameless, having once been my sporting bet nemesis, but that was resolved long ago.

² Also in McAlpin’s case, there’s no requirement that you only ever marry the creepy dude you met in high school, the one with absolutely nothing to recommend him, and who brought moustachery into disrepute. Screw you forever, Anthony.

Media, Oh My!

  • As hinted at yesterday, word came down that the Faith Erin Hicks-penned Nameless City trilogy of graphic novels (the second of which, The Stone Heart, released yesterday) from :01 Books, is going to be an animated miniseries. From io9:

    [E]ach book in the fantastical trilogy — which focuses on the adventures of Rat and Kai in the titular city, nameless for the fact it keeps getting invaded and renamed by different warring nations all the time —- split into four-episode adaptations. While there are no other details about the series just yet (like, where it’ll eventually air), Frederator Studios plans to release the first four episodes in the fall of 2018.

    For reference, Frederator are the folks behind Adventure Time, Bee and Puppycat, Bravest Warriors, and other cool things. While it’s true that their existing shows have had a somewhat simplistic design aesthetic, and The Nameless City is visually rich and complex (think Legend of Korra complex), they’ve built up enough animation talent and goodwill that I think they’ll do right by it.

    The animation part is great news, as it will allow for complexity to be rendered economially;it would probably be near-impossible to create a multiple-Asian-inspired-cultures visual palette (the background architecture, clothing styles, and visual details in TNC are full of competing artistic traditions stretching back generations) in the real world.

    It also gets away from what would be an enormous potential for whitewashing in casting. Congratulations to Hicks, colorist Jordie Bellaire, and everybody at :01 Books. I’ll be waiting the next 18 months with bated breath.

  • Not that live-action is always the wrong choice. Care to comment on the uses of live action to convey kick-butt young heroic women, noted comic writer Ryan North?


    Okay, to be clear, we aren’t going to open TV Guide and find a listing for Squirrel Girl; the show will actually concern itself with Marvel second-stringers New Warriors, who are younger heroes that mostly you haven’t heard of. Needing some star power to anchor the show, Marvel’s naturally turned to Doreen Green and Tippy-Toe (and please include Nancy, Mew, Chipmunk Hunk, and Koi Boi), despite her not being a member of the New Warriors in comics.

    Doesn’t matter! We’re gonna get Squirrel Girl defeating bad guys with empathy, cleverness, and awesome punching when empathy and plans fail to work. It looks like the show will feature a comedic take (and please include Squirrel Girl’s theme song), will debut sometime in 2018 (and please include little asides to represent North’s alt-text from the comics pages), will run on Freeform (the basic cable channel formerly known as ABC Family, and please find a way to include the Kra-Van, and the Deadpool cards, and Squirrel Girl’s Twitter habit, and Gigantos, and beating up Galactus on the friggin’ moon), so now’s the time to call your cable company and make sure you get it.

  • But Gary, I hear you cry, what if I don’t want to wait until 2018 for cool comics stuff in media? Well then, Bunky, you’re gonna want to fire up your podcatcher of choice and check out the latest from NPR’s Code Switch, titled Changing Colors in Comics [no direct link to the show; it’s dated 5 April 2017].

    The culture podcast takes the societal conversation about race as its ongoing topic, and this week they’re talking to Ron Wimberly (I’ll remember his visual essay on skin tones in Marvel characters forever), the Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse in Philadelphia (the first comic shop on the east coast owned by a black woman, it mixes comics and cultural conversation), and some crazy dreamer turned ass-kicker/name-taker out of Chicago named Spike who’s building a comics-publishing empire.

    It’s a hell of a good show and while I know not enough about Wimberly’s work, and have never been to Amalgam, I am pretty familiar with Spike’s career path over the last decade or so.

    She’s broken down the resistance and denigration she got for her attempts at making a business more than once in various public fora, and make no mistake: some of the contempt was because she’s young, some because she’s working in webcomics instead of real comics, and a great big ol’ heaping helping because she’s a woman, black, and a black woman who just doesn’t know her place.

    Listen. Learn. If you ever said to yourself she’d never succeed, and especially if you ever thought she didn’t deserve to succeed, it’s still not to late to smarten up and approach the future with less fear.

    Welllll, not too late for some of her critics. Bunch of ’em were old white dudes back when, are even older now, and are going to die knowing the world left ’em behind. The rest of us can decide that the world changing for the better doesn’t mean we’re suddenly put upon.

Spam of the day:

These 4 Ingredients Can Stop Alzheimer’s?

No. Next!

One Project Done, New Project Starting

Business model just starting, business model just wrapped up. Let’s get digging.

  • Know what I love? Kickstarter post-mortems. I can’t get enough of people sharing how a campaign went, and especially talking about how finances measured up (or out, or whatever ever direction finances are measured in). The latest one comes courtesy of David Morgan-Mar (PhD, LEGO®©™etc, arbiter of image quality standards and part-time Mr Bean impersonator), who spent a longer than average (and more expensive than usual) time last year putting together the first print collection of his comics.

    Since Morgan-Mar works in LEGO-brand construction sets and minifigs, he had to consult with lawyers to figure out if printing a book made up of photos of LEGO things he built would possibly raise the ire of the Danish brickmongers before he even got to the usual book parts of making a book. Conclusion: maybe, but if they did sue him, he’d be able to mount a credible defense (whatever that might cost).

    Not quite as reassuring as Heck no, they’d never be able to touch you!, but good enough to get started! And, in fact, if not for the more than three thousand Aussie fun bucks, he would have lost only AU$260.21 on the endeavour. With the legal fees — well, ouch. But one thing not included in the breakdown is how many books over the Kickstarter rewards were printed, and thus may make a dent in the debits column as they sell in future.

    But the good news is, he notes in the post-mortem that he intends to print more books, and considerable costs are one-offs, making what would otherwise be a pricey hobby a less pricey — or even slightly remunerative — hobby instead. And in case you missed out on the Kickstart and wanted to help Morgan-Mar reduce the loss he took to provide you, his loyal readers, with what you always said you wanted, the book’s available at TopatoCo¹.

  • I’ve mentioned Douglas Wilson on this page previously; he’s a cartoonist and animator from Manchester, England, UK, and work’s pretty damn good. He’s looking to shift a character — Jack Astro — that’s he’s been working into animated shorts for about five years into a longform story, and the first part of that went live yesterday. Take ‘er away, Doug:

    Jack Astro is a test pilot for the experimental Singularity Drive program. After sending a duplicate version of Jack and his ship to multiple galaxies in the universe – the drive scattered across space. He must reassemble the lost pieces before the drive re-activates to send him home. Doug is currently writing and drawing a 130 page comic which will update twice a month in 5 page vertical scrolling chunks of story on his website

    Patreon backers will receive PDF downloads of each issue of the comic as he completes them so they can read the story in larger chunks (first issue is 33 pages) instead of waiting for the story to unfold on the website.

    More precisely, Patreons at the $1 level get access to that first block of story, and if you aren’t on Patreon you can also obtain it via Gumroad for £1.50 (along with the Jack Astro shorts & earlier works as pay-what-you-want). Wilson kindly sent along a copy of issue 1 for me to peruse, and I enjoyed it — it’s well worth an entry-level Patreon pledge or cost of a cup of coffee (not even the fancy coffee, just the regular kind).

Spam of the day:

Magnificent things from you, guy

Spelled my name wrong.

¹ Just sayin’. Also, if Morgan-Mar received 100% of the cost of the books (which won’t be the case — TopatoCo’s providing warehousing and handling services, and gets paid for them), a mere eight books would erase the non-legal loss (which is reasonable, as the legal costs will apply to future books). If you wanted to bring him all the way up to zero loss (which also means making nothing on considerable personal effort), it’ll take just about exactly 100 books (AU$3560.21 lost, US$27 or AU$35.57 per book at today’s exchange rate).

And Here We Are Again, Friday

I don’t know about you, but I’m just about ready for the weekend. Let’s boogie.

  • For the life of me, I can’t figure out how Reed!Pop could buy Emerald City Comicon (and, not coincidentally, the services of showrunner team Jim & Andrea Demonakos) and still have their two opposite-coast major comics shows (that would be EmCity and New York Comic Con) be polar opposites when it comes to indie- and webcomics. EmCity, in case you didn’t know, has essentially eclipsed San Diego as the big attendance show that webcomics flocks to, and NYCC is inhospitable to the very same crowd. Most perplexing.

    But, since EmCity is next week and all, how about a rundown of who you’ll find there? I love the maps that people create to show where they’ll be (although they’re a bit rarer this year than past), but even without the maps we can give you a list of who’s gonna be there (in no particular order, and we quote):

    Pat Race and the Alaska Robotics crew (booth 204, including Marian Call, whose new album dropped today and is awesome and she’ll have shows concurrent with EmCity); Sohmer, Unca Lar, and the Blind Ferret folks (booth 110); (Brad Guigar (booth R5); Danielle Corsetto and Randy Milholland (booth 1413); Jennie Breeden (booth 1322); all of the miscellaneous Explosm weirdos (booth 828); and Kaja & Phil Foglio (booth 118).

    There’s a hefty delegation from Helioscope (formerly Periscope) (booths H1 through 16 inclusive, to be occupied by Aaron McConnell, Aud Koch, Ben Dewey, Brian Wolf, Bridget Underwood, Cat Farris, Dan Schkade, Lucy Bellwood, Lukas Ketner, Ron Chan, Ron Randall, Roxy Polk, Steve Lieber, Tadd Galusha, Terry Blas, and Zach Fischer).

    Want more? How about Spike Trotman, Blue Delliquanti, Takneka Stotts, and Amanda Lafrenais (together at booth 212); Jake Richmond (booth X4); Molly “Jakface” Nemecek (booth Q3); the ubiquitous Jim Zub (booth V3); Kate Leth (booth J6); Kazu Kibuishi (booth K1); Lars Brown and David McGuire (booth Z1); Ngozi Ukazu and Tessa Stone (booth M9); and Pascalle Lepas (booth P16).

    We’re still not done (even allowing for the fact that I probably missed a bunch of people), consider that you’ll also find Dave Kellett (booth 1116); Der-shing Helmer (booth K6); Matt Inman (booth 410); Tony Breed and Lonnie Mann (booth M10); and Yuko Ota and Ananth Hirsh (booth M10).

    Finally, you gots the creatorpaloozas that will be the :01 Books (booth 1602) and TopatoCo (booth 1102) contingents. The former will include Box Brown, Gene Luen Yang, Matthew Loux, MK Reed, Pénélope Bagieu; the latter is bringing Jeph Jacques, Sam Logan, David Malki !, Dylan Meconis, Erika Moen, Alina Pete, Tyson Hesse, Becky Dreistadt, Matt Lubchansky, Abby Howard, Catie Donnelly, and Brandon Bird.

    Emerald City Comicon runs from Thursday 2 March to Sunday 5 March 2017 in Seattle.

  • For those that can’t make it to the upper-left corner of the country, may I suggest curling up with a good podcast? Owne Dunne may be back to hiatusland with You Damn Kid, but that doesn’t mean that he’s idle. Dunne’s always done a stack of projects simultaneously, one of which was the webcomic parody of old-fashioned, hard-boiled cops, Banion.

    Of late, Banion has been audio-enhanced for your listening pleasure, and is now downloadable from Google Play and iTunes. Dunne’s at his best when he takes a classic form (the childhood memoir, the Dragnet style cop, the British prestige drama) and knocks it 47.3° to the side, which pretty much describes Banion, The Podcast

Spam of the day:

A Better Way to Inflate Everything

Nnnnooope. Not going near that one.

From Europe, And The Blurring Of Creative Boundaries

One of the great advantages we at Fleen have is the continued willingness of Pierre Lebeaupin — our esteemed Senior French Correspondent — to keep an eye on the French indie/web comics scene (and, more broadly, that of Europe in general) and share his insights with us. And while we at Fleen welcome contributions from anybody who can provide passably-constructed thoughts that don’t take a mountain of editing, the rest of you have a lot of catching up to do before you get to be as good as Lebeaupin is.

We’ll take a gander at his latest look at the relationship between French webcomickers and French Youtubers, but there’s another item to mention first.

  • As noted in the past, dashing chalkboard provacateur Dante Shepherd has unmasked himself as mild-mannered professor of Chemical Engineering Lucas Landherr, although he has kept his nom du webcomics for the STEM-themed Science The World series.

    The latest in the series (the tenth, in fact) covers the topic of gene therapy, and is unique in that it’s the first where he’s taken a back seat in creative terms. Previously he’s written scripts and gotten various artists to illustrate; this time, he’s editing the script of one of his students (Zoe Simonson), which was illustrated by another (Monica Keszler).

    The reason I wanted to mention this strip (aside from the fact it released on Chemical Engineering Day … nice try Shepherd, tell me what part of a two-story fractional distillation column gene therapy relates to) is that Keszler (who illustrated a previous comic on refrigeration cycles), is well fascinating. She’s doing a co-op in Germany right now (there’s your European connection), and in addition to studying Chemical Engineering¹, she’s an accomplished digital artist taking a minor in animation. That’s impressive as hell, and I thought you should know.

Okay, take it away, Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin:

  • After covering the happenings of French webcartooning for a while, I began to notice a pattern: Youtubers were often involved together with webcartoonists, and in a way that I don’t see with English [language] creators, at least not as much.

    You may have seen it a bit through some of my previous contributions, first when Maliki started her ongoing crowdfunding site and in the process of doing so, explicitly credited Youtubers for trailblazing in the popular consciousness the notion that you can make a living from your passion projects; and second when an equal number of Youtubers and webcartoonists were involved in Editions Delcourt’s new collection, Octopus.

    But this is only the tip of the iceberg: for instance, following a number of them on Twitter I often see them in conversation with one another; and thinking about it, I can recall a number of other interactions that really tell a connection between webcartoonists and a subset of Youtubers.

    The most significant one is between Cyprien Iov (usually just Cyprien) and Paka. With 10 million people subscribing to his humor videos, Cyprien is one of the most popular independent video creators in the French web; and Paka has been writing and drawing his webcomic for more than 11 years and 2000 strips², so he has been around. So it was no small event when they released a comic book together a few years back, Roger Et Ses Humains, with Cyprien writing and Paka drawing.

    But this phenomenon is not limited to humor. For instance, Patrick Baud’s channel presents weird, unlikely, but true stories of scientific research, encounters, exploration, etc. And when he published a book of such anecdotes, who did he call to illustrate them? That’s right, webcartoonists such as Marion “Professeur Moustache” Montaigne, Boulet, and a few others. Octopus, as we’ve seen, is another instance of these interactions in the same area of scientific vulgarization.

    Some events also involve the two together: for instance, Boulet is a recurring participant to the Nuit Originale shows of Thomas Hercouët; and to a lesser extent, we have Yves Bigerel’s intervention in La Veillée.

    And that is without mentioning creators who do both, such as Les Kassos (which I’m told are blocked in the US, unfortunately³) where Bigerel is a writer, or Lays Farra, who creates both L’Eclaireuse and C’est Pas Sourcé.

    More generally, it appears that a number of webcartoonists and Youtubers are figuring out at the same time how to thrive as independents, whether it be through publishing books or crowdfunding or other means, and are in this together, one way or another. So I expect such collaborations and links to only increase in the future.

Gary again. The trend that FSFCPL has identified specifically in French webcomickers/Youtubers is analogous to a tendency I see generally in modern creative life — namely, that the limits to how one makes a creative life are falling at the same time that the boundaries between creative avenues blur.

The perfect example being the day I left work in Midtown Manhattan and happened to see an enormous billboard in Times Square drawn by a webcomicker, advertising a stage show featuring an internet nerd-music band, a writer/former teen actor, and a goofball that builds things (and frequently blows them up) to celebrate the scientific method.

The only thing they have in common is that they really liked each other’s work, so why not collaborate across every artistic boundary possible? Why not have a circle of people that do Cool Things that incorporates a radio host, a NASA flight director, a webcomicker who happened to write a book that became a blockbuster movie, and an astronaut (who, if not the poet they keep telling us we should send up, is pretty damn close4)? Why, in my youth, did writers only ever seem to socialize with writers, musicians with musicians5, actors with actors? Why shouldn’t Chemical Engineers and comics artists be working together?

No good reason that I can see. Thanks for reminding us, FSFCPL.

Spam of the day:

Bizarre Cure Destroys Toe & Nail Fungus

Well, now that I know it’s bizarre, I guess I’ll keep the fungus!

¹ Which I will grudgingly allow might be as difficult a discipline as my own, beloved Electrical Engineering.

² The only reason I haven’t introduced it by now is that it is 99% corny, untranslatable puns; don’t expect an English version any time soon …

³ Editor’s note: I was able to click through a sampling of the videos in this channel; I can’t say that they’re all available, or will remain so, but they don’t appear to be uniformly blocked at this moment.

4 Also: possessor of the most magnificent moustache of modern times. Respect.

5 To be fair, musicians also associated a lot with supermodels, although the latter now seem to be more likely to be found around athletes.

Because Everything Is Political

There’s nothing in Art that’s not political, pretty much by definition. Art shows us what life is like, or what it could/should be like, and how we got to where we are and how we get to where we could/should be are all things that must be decided across the entirety of a population. I bring up this thought because of something that came out of the imperial mouthpiece on Coruscant:

People “don’t want their kids looking at a cartoon with a bunch of lesbian mothers.” — Kellyanne Conway

Oh, it is on now. Because as I happened to be talking with Christopher Hastings about on Friday night, what Rebecca Sugar, Ian Jones-Quartey¹, and the rest of the Steven Crewniverse have accomplished is nothing less than a story about how to be a better, more rounded, more empathetic person. It’s precisely what people should want their kids looking at, even if they don’t realize Steven’s moms are genderless magic space rocks and not lesbians, come on.

Steven Universe. Adventure Time. We Bare Bears. Ghosts. Goldie Vance. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. And lots more comics and cartoons and graphic novels, with what in common? They’re fairly dripping with empathy; they go out of their way for their protagonists to find ways to try to understand whoever is in opposition to them², and when it comes to fighting? It’s a last resort, one done out of obligation rather than joy³. This is exactly what anybody should want their kids looking at, learning, becoming. Or as Saladin Ahmed put it:

this is true. a bunch is not enough. my kids deserve nothing less than a *battalion* of cartoon lesbian mothers.

Well said. Oh, and a reminder that the next Steven Bomb hits next week; let’s all watch it and do our best to live up to its ideals.

Spam of the day:

gary.tyrrell Your Eyeshadow gift is waiting!

I doubt that, but bonus points for the “keeping your eye on the ball” pun.

¹ Yes, yes, Ian’s no longer working on the show; he was all over the development of SU and he’s a pretty damn complete walking embodiment of the show’s best instincts so I’m listing him.

² Then again, sometimes you gotta punch a Nazi. There’s no saving or understanding the corrupted, only protecting the rest of the world.

³ And in Steven’s case, when realizing that there is a form of death involved, and that even imprisonment is damaging to foes? Traumatic fear about becoming a bad person. But I bet even Steven would be pretty okay with punching a Nazi.

Two Days To Go And Looking To The Future

  • It’s the start of the year, and that means one of the things to do is look back at the last year. Specifically, the folks behind last year’s Fair Page Rates survey are back with a solicitation to see what rates were like in 2016. The 2016 survey is open to working comics pros and will be very interesting to compare against the results of the 2015 survey. Remember, this is a page rate, so no mistaking per-project bonus structures (as I did) or advances for page rates if you’re submitting data!
  • 2016 also saw a lot of references to KC Green’s most famous comic, not least being a response to this year from Green himself. But I think none of them have approached the melancholy of both of Green’s cartoons as a brief browser game by Nick Kaman. It’s actually two months old and I’m not sure how I missed it until now, but I did so I’ma talk about it now.

    Go play This Is Fine (assuming your browser is HTML5 compatible) and harness that feeling of optimism mixed with a horrific situation that can only be dealt with a little at a time. Maybe an extremely localized fine is all any of us can achieve in the near term; it may be a hell of a long time until things are better than This Is Fine. It’s going to be a significant struggle to resist the loss of gains that have been made towards a more equal society. I don’t really have an uplifting conclusion here … it’s going to hurt, but at least we get a head start while the firestarter in chief takes off the weekend after the hard work of being sworn in. I’m betting we can get significantly under his skin in two and a half days.

  • In that spirit, here is your daily reminder that I’ve established the Fleen Fight For Fungible Futures Fund and pledged up to US$10,000 towards organizations that will fight to maintain the progress made by marginalized groups as the American Experiment moves (in fits and starts and somewhat haphazardly) towards the ideals promised to We, The People. If you have given any money since Election Day to any of:

    American Civil Liberties Union
    Brennan Center for Justice
    Campaign Zero
    Electronic Frontier Foundation
    International Rescue Committee
    NAACP Legal Defense Fund
    National Resources Defense Council
    Planned Parenthood
    Pro Publica
    Sacred Stone Camp’s GoFundMe
    Syrian Civil Defense aka The White Helmets
    The Trevor Project

    (this includes creators that ran their own directed fundraisers), then get in contact (gary, who blogs at this here website which is a dot com). Let me know how much you gave (receipt images help), which group(s) you gave to, and how you’d like to be acknowledged (full name, part of your name, or anonymous). Stay informed, stay mad, stay in contact with your elected representatives, and stay safe.

Spam of the day:

Es la respuesta de valor

Todas mis respuestas son respuestas de valor.

Last Post Of 2016, Mostly In Pictures

[Edited for clarity: Originally, the Takei/Noguchi story appeared immediately below the Diesel Sweeties story. It was pointed out that having a comic dealing with celebrity death before images of a beloved (but elderly) celebrity could cause a mistaken (and panicky) impression.]

The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles is hosting an exhibit on the life of George Takei, and Yellow Peril creator Jamie Noguchi is doing both the show poster, and a bio comic book that will be given away to museum visitors. Neat!

I think we can all agree that Rich Stevens (as is so often the case) has the right of it.

Vermont’s first cartoon laureate, James Kochalka, gets the spotlight treatment, courtesy of Vermont’s public television network.

Mary Cagle’s Kickstart to print Let’s Speak English continues to tromp all over the place, and having met the basic stretch goals, Cagle announced a goal without limits. For reachig US$25,000, five copies of the book would be donated to libraries; since that goal’s been left in the dust, Cagle announced another copy will go to another library for each additional thousand bucks raised.

At present, that puts her at 17 copies. According to the FFF mk2, she’s on track for a finish of US$104-156K, and the McDonald Ratio puts her in the realm of US$103K; in either case, it looks like 80 to 100 libraries are getting free books, y’all.

And that’s it; normally we make fun of a spammer down here, but I’m giving them the day off.

We’ll be back in the new year, talking about webcomics, the people who make them, the people who read them, and whatever the hell else we feel like talking about. One last reminder: I’m matching donations to a series of good causes, so if you’ve donated (or dedicated sales of your stuff) to any of those organizations listed below the cut, drop me a line.

The Fleen Fight For Fungible Futures Fund will close for the year on the 20th of January, so let me know about your giving before the vulgar talking yam¹ takes the oath of office. 2017 probably has no inclination of being any better than 2016, so we’ll just have to kick its butt until it settles down and friggin’ behaves.

¹ Hat tip to Charlie Pierce, shit-kicker and hell-raiser extraordinaire.