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Les Tacklefordistes Sont Mort, Vive Les Tacklefordistes

I come not to bury John Allison’s Bad Machinery, but to praise it. For nigh on two decades now, Allison has been telling stories of the weirdest corner of Britain; stories of love and death, birth and re-birth, hellmouths and other hellorifices. Characters have been zombified, erased from existence to rule over nether-realms, and then later come back and ’round for tea like it was nothing. Ryan, Amy, and Shelley have been the major characters for the entire duration, but for the past seven and a half years a clique of mystery girls and boys have held center stage.

Shauna has ruined her eyes reading. Lottie has grown into a take-charge young woman, and the most dangerous conspiracy-buster in the UK (under-18). Mildred has had mad pashes and flirtations with maturity. Sonny floats through life in an optimistically abiding manner, accommodating the love of all from selkie girls to random young lads. Jack was very nearly King of the Mods and somehow still hasn’t been humiliated by his older sister for the last time. Linton is the rock upon which mysteries get solved (even though Lottie and Shauna are loads better at it), but is lately reduced to impotent frustration by rampaging hormones.

Oh, yeah, and they totally changed time once, saving their favorite couple’s marriage and also gender-swapping the Beetles (and possibly The Whom¹) but nobody remembers what it was like when Paula, Judy, Georgina, and Ringo (not to mention Pam Dylan) were dudes. That’s what you get when you mess with the time stream.

Today, after adventures that have seen them grow — from 10-or-so to driving age, from secret crush hand-holding to nearly adult — their stories end. At least, in the current form; Tackleford is still going to be there, the characters are still going to be around, but the story model of six-month-long mysteries built around the core six (plus Little Claire, Colm, Blossom Cooper, assorted family members, teachers, adults, et al) is going by the wayside.

Then again, Allison has retired the characters before, flirting with returns to Bobbins (old days), Bobbins (current times), side stories, comic books that never were, and comic books that totally are. He may yet get the Mystery Six (plus Little Claire, Colm, Blossom Cooper, assorted family members, teachers, adults, et al) back together; weird pairings have happened in the past (Lottie plus Shelley; Shauna plus Amy; Sonny’s dad plus The Boy; Little Claire plus Desmond Goddamned Fishman), after all.

Allison’s numerous side stories and digressions have spun back around to the main narrative, and six young mystery solvers have become a little less young, a lot smarter, and are nearly as old as Esther, The Boy, Sarah, Big Lindsey, and Carrot were when Scary Go Round wrapped up their turn in the spotlight. What with Amy and Shelley (and a while back, Tim) all having kids of their own, it’s just a matter of time before the next generation (and goodness, who is that tiny Peppermint Patty lookalike behind Little Claire in today’s strip?) of weirdness-endurers (or perhaps weirdness-enablers) takes their turn in the spotlight.

It’s goodbye for Lottie + Shauna (maybe my favorite Allisonian pairing, even more than Esther + the Boy), but Tackleford endures. See you back there Monday.

Spam of the day:

Last chance to register for The Who’s Who in Building & Construction SHOWCASE Powered by The Blue Book Building & Construction Network!

There is a guy out there, somewhere around Scranton most likely, that thinks my email is his email. I get bid proposals for electrical jobs that are clearly meant for him, and I’ve wondered how many jobs he’s lost out on because he doesn’t know my email isn’t his eamil. But now I’m getting his spam and my sympathy is gone. Sucks to be you, guy who thinks my email is his email!

¹ Which is totally not garbage music, Jack. Some King of the Mods you’d make.

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!

Cool Things At MoCCA Fest 2017

So many people have written about MoCCA Fest 2017, I’m just going to mention some things that I enjoyed hearing/hearing about/discussing. No particular order.

  • Meredith Gran tells me that she’s got 15-20 story pages of OctoPie left to go; everybody is getting wrapped up but concedes that there will be minor characters whose arcs aren’t completely finished; given sufficient desire, she said she could spend another year working all of those resolutions. Somewhat similarly, she’s still deciding on what her next project will be. Me, I want Manuel the cat, Olly’s snotty nephew, and the Rock Lobster to fight crime together in New Orleans.
  • Gene Yang, Damian Duffy, Hazel Newlevant, Whit Taylor, and Jonathan W Gray had a hell of smart discussion about the need for diversity in comics to start the programming track. Ironically, this came one day after the Marvel pronouncement about diverse characters not selling, and they were having very little of that claim. Bonus points to Duffy; when Gray threw out an open question about how to make comics more diverse, he replied Well, as the white male, let me solve that racism for you … to big (if slightly knowing) laughs.

    Yang, by the way, is the consummate professional; we spoke very briefly at SDCC last summer and he both recognized me and asked how I was doing when we caught each other’s eyes. I asked him what it’s like being an Official Genius and he noted I still have to do the dishes. I told him to try using his Ambassador For Young Peoples Literature credentials — they must surely offer some kind of diplomatic immunity from sink-based chores.

  • George O’Connor and I spoke at decent length about our love of Greek myths; I’m constantly impressed by his ability to take stories that are fundamentally dark, filled with horrific punishments and hubris and death, and make them accessible (without losing that edge of menace) to young readers. He replied that he started reading them at that age (drawn in by the idea of monsters; his design for the hecatonchires as fractal horrors is really inspired) and he turned out okay.

    He’s done some deep dives into the entire corpus of the mythic tradition, too; there’s thousands of variations and contradictions, cobbled together across a millennium or so of varying oral cultic traditions, and he’s trying to come up with a single narrative structure that reconciles them all.

    You can see his approach to getting all the different stories to line up in how the tone of characters has shifted. The first book had avenging young badass Zeus; the most recent volumes have him more harried and put-upon by the responsibilities of running a very fractious family. He’s managed to bring these deities down to a human level¹, which I expect to lead to great things in the next volume — Hermes has become, over the last few books, a smartass verging on bro with a side of complete dick. It’s gonna be hilarious.

  • Lucy Bellwood was my first stop of the morning, and we spoke about tying Turk’s head knots, about whether or not the US Coast Guard training vessel USS Eagle counts as a tall ship (Bellwood: It totally does), and about the Riso demo station that was set up at the far end of the hall. I always flatter myself that I have a feeling of what autobio comickers are like before I meet them, but in Bellwood’s case that intuition was pretty much dead on. She’s a woman that loves the open water, lines in her hand, sheets filled with wind above her head.
  • Brigid Alverson always make vague plans to meet up at shows we’ll both be at, and never follow through. This is never a problem, because we invariably bump into each other at some point and get caught up then. This time it was coming out of the diversity panel, and we spent a pleasant hour having lunch at the hotel bar, with Johanna Draper Carlson joining us. Less talk about comics, more about other stuff. If you ever meet Alverson, ask her to tell you her One Time It Was My Job To Keep Stephen Hawking Happy For A Couple Of Days At A Conference story. It’s great.
  • By the time we got back to the show floor from MoCCA, it had become a wall-to-wall sea of humanity; it was wonderful to see so many people there to search out new comics, but man! I made it back to Evan Dahm&rsquo’s table and managed to introduce him to Mark Siegel (his editor at :01 Books; they’d never met face to face); I have a suspicion that Dahm’s forthcoming Island Book (due early 2019) will be but the first of his collaborations with :01; they’re a perfect fit together.

    As I noted to Siegel, they have a full slate of books with tween or early teen girl protagonists who have adventures!, but they aren’t aimed at girl readers. They’re just aimed at kids of a certain age, and it’s a hell of a valuable thing for boys to read Zita The Spacegirl, or Time Museum, or Space Scouts, and see heroes that don’t look just like them. And what’s Island Book about? A tween or preteen girl (or equivalent, since we aren’t talking about humans here) protagonist that has adventures. Why should kids get all the girl heroes?

  • There was also a big push at the :01 table for the second Nameless City book from Faith Erin Hicks (The Stone Heart, and hey, look at that: tween or early teen girl co-protagonist that has adventures); today is its book birthday, and also the announcement that the trilogy will become an animated series. We’ll give that the full attention it deserves tomorrow.
  • Sadly, the crowd prevented me from making it back to aisle H, and a print that I saw early in the day and had wanted to purchase. It’s by a young woman named Olga Andreyeva, and it was the result of an accidental pigment spill that she turned into something really unique and beautiful. The rest of her portfolio is great, but the sort of thing that others are doing — videogame-inspired art of great imagination and technical skill, but familiar.

    Eve is spare, conveys a sense of frozen time, and delivers an emotional wallop. It’s absolutely the best thing I saw on the floor this year, and I’m very sorry I didn’t get back to purchase it. Hopefully a few of you go take a look at it (not to mention the rest of her portfolio) and Andreyeva gets more than just my missed sale out of it.

Spam of the day:

This new kitty litter is like having a veterinarian check daily! IT AUTOMATICALLY TURNS DIFFERENT COLORS BASED ON PREVENTABLE HEALTH ISSUES!

On the Top Ten List of things I want to do ever, checking out rainbow-colored magic kitty litter appears approximately zero times.

¹ Not that any religion has ever invented gods that really behaved better than their worshippers.

MoCCA 2017 Will Have To Wait

That’s because things that are more time-sensitive than MoCCA Fest 2017 recaps happened since last we spoke.

Okay, one tidbit from MoCCA, but mostly because it’ll make FSFCPL happy. Thanks to the good graces of :01 Books editor Mark Siegel I was very briefly introduced to the marvelous Pénélope Bagieu, who was promoting her newest book. Siegel shared :01 will be publishing an English omnibus of her two-volume collection, Les Culottées. The American edition will be titled Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked The World (available March 2018), and :01 is pretty much her American publisher going forward. Now if they can just get Boulet’s Notes series, I can die happy.

Spam of the day:

Our team works hard everyday to ensure that we are providing the best possible service for all our customers.
Cordially, Derek Customer Service Representative, Slut Roulette

Man, Derek’s got the best business card ever.

¹ Whom I had never met before; we had a lovely bar-shout/chat, more discussion the next day, and will undoubtedly have more to discuss at the Alaska Robotics Comics Camp later this month.

² That reminds me: Otter, I spent some time at MoCCA talking with George O’Connor, and he’s going to be looking up Greek Key because he really liked your take on Helen. He’s also all-in on your next Hope Blackwell novel because I mentioned the magic word: chupacabra.

Gettin’ Ready For The Goatsiversary

No picture up here so it can be a surprise when you click on that first link.

Jon Rosenberg¹. The Peculier Pub. Tonight,from 6:00pm until closing, more than likely. Twenty years of cartoons, including a damn fine bit of ethical cartooning re: Barron Trump just today.

I’m bringing cake and taking photos. Hope to see you there.

Spam of the day:

Enlarge your breast with Miracle Bust. Click here

Mmmmmnope. Nope, nope, nope, nope.

¹ Obligatory disclaimer: Jon provides my hosting and we share a birthday. Thanks for the hosting, Jon, and remember: I’ll always be older and therefore suckier than you, youngster.

To Be In Toronto, In The Springtime

The thing about Chris Butcher is, is not only is he the nicest guy in comics (my liver will attest to his legendary generosity when proximal to a bar), not only has he helped run two of the greatest comics stores in the world (although one was recently closed by the forces of condo development), he is the driving force behind TCAF, which has become the destination for the serious side of comics.

Case in point: this year’s show (13 and 14 May 2017) will encompass three locations. The main events will return to the Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street in Toronto), with satellite programming at the Marriott Bloor Yorkville (also the official show hotel, 90 Bloor Street East) and the Masonic Temple (which these days is a performance venue, 888 Yonge Street). If that weren’t enough there will also be an associated academic conference (The Canadian Society for the Study of Comics/La Sociéte canadienne pour l’étude de la bande dessinée) on the 11th and 12th, and a day full of professional programming for librarians and educators also on the 12th.

Special guests will be coming from across Canada and the US, as well as from Italy, France, the [U]K, Croatia, Norway, Denmark, Japan, and Vietnam, with some 400 exhibitors turning the TRL into the coolest place in the Great White North for the weekend. Anniversary celebrations will be held for publishers Koyama Press (10 years), 2D Cloud (10 years) Image Comics (25 years), and NBM Publishing (40 years), along with a special pavilion of German comics and creators (which will continue with the biannual Comic-Salon Erlangen in Germany). And debuts! There will be book debuts from Canadians Jillian Tamaki, Guy Delisle, and Jeff Lemire, along with debuts of books about Canada from at least three (I lost count, to tell you the truth) international artists.

Did we mention that Butcher likes webcomickers? Webcomics types at the show will include Becky Dreistadt & Frank Gibson, Sarah Becan, Kory Bing, Hannah Blumenreich, Box Brown, Danielle Corsetto, Gemma Correll, Evan Dahm, Blue Delliquanti, Gigi DG, Meredith Gran, Faith Erin Hicks, Mike Holmes, Amanda Lafrenais, Pascalle Lepas, Boum, Matt Lubchansky, Mike Maihack, Maki Naro, Diana Nock, Rosscott, Ryan North, Mad Rupert, Ngozi Ukazu, Ru Xu, Sophie Yanow, whoever TopatoCo brings, and the zubiquitous Jim Zub.

We haven’t even seen the programming tracks yet.

And for all of this, what treasure does Butcher demand of you? What prize is worth it to be around this much pure comicking goodness? Not one thin Canadian dime. As in all past iterations, TCAF is free and open to the public, so get yourself to the T-O the second week of May and get to wandering. Chris’ll be sure to say hi if he sees you.

Spam of the day:

We can write any paper on any subject within the tightest deadline.

Dude, I handled the non-nerd parts of my college career with aplomb. By this time tomorrow I can bang out 8 – 10 pages on anything from the parallels between Pseudolus and Animal House to why the most significant driver of the quick victory in the first Gulf War was not smart munitions or stealth, but improved communications technology¹. Why on earth would I pay you to do it?

¹ Also how All Quiet On The Western Front is essentially a precursor to yaoi fanfic, being composed mostly of gay porn. I actually wrote the beginning of that one and submitted it.

Public Progress

Quick note before the main item: watch your registrations, kids! There was a time this morning when (coincidentally, I believe) Wapsi Square couldn’t be found and Sinfest resolved to a parking page.

Just put in a calendar reminder now to check on your domains before they expire; like maybe quarterly after filing your taxes? Last thing you want is for somebody of evil intent to grab up your domain name (as has happened to the likes of Box Brown’s Everybody Dies [no link, spamming page] and Vera Brosgol’s much-beloved Return To Sender [ditto]).

  • An experiment wrapped today, a sort of public ride-along in artistic progression. I speak, naturally, of David Morgan-Mar (PhD, LEGO®©™etc, of fumetti fame, who resolved just shy of three years ago to try to learn to draw comics with pen and Bristol board, via the best medium of all: recaps of Star Trek episodes. Morgan-Mar made no claims to artistic greatness, and undertook the project pretty much only to see to what degree he would get better; that he invited us along was a treat.

    After 79 old-school episodes and 3 season summaries (12 panels each), 22 animated episodes plus a summary (6 panels each), 6 orgial-cast movies (24 panels each), and a final summing-up (12 panels of Generations solely from Kirk’s POV), that’s a wrap for Planet Of Hats. Maybe there will be more down the line, maybe there won’t¹; he doesn’t seem to have the burning desire to rewatch all of TNG², much less DS9 or Voyager³, or Enterprise, plus two continuities of newer movies (two stone classics, the rest meh). Heck, if he did, the new Discovery would likely be done and half forgotten before he got to it at one episode per week.

    Oh, and to answer the question above, to what degree he’d get better? Morgan-Mar’s work is certainly more confident and his panel compositions much improved from the start of Planet Of Hats. His figure drawing is hardly realistic, but he developed cartoon references and recognizable elements in his cast (swoopy hair, swoopy ears, hands thrown skyward at the thought of plague!), which is pretty close to the purpose of comicking.

    And given the narrow restriction he set for himself in terms of topic and scope, his writing found his way to the crux (and points of ridicule) in Star Trek pretty much without fail. Every week he got better, and you can’t ask for much more than that.

    Thanks for the memories of laughing at the bad, reveling in the good, and the simple joy of a running gag. It was a pretty fearless experiment, and we at Fleen congratulate Morgan-Mar on his accomplishment. Thanks for inviting us along, consider doing your hair all swoopy-style, and watch out for plague!

Spam of the day:

Cannabis Extract now Legal to Buy and Ship in All 50 States

If you think I’m going to run afoul of the postal inspectors (those guys are relentless) testing this claim, you are even stupider than you believe me to be.

¹ Morgan-Mar said that he’s got two new comics projects under development, to be shared when the time is right.

² And, let’s face it, most of the first two seasons were pretty mediocre.

³ Respectively: pretty uniformly excellent from the beginning, and it got better.

News You Can Ews

News and such. You know the deal.

  • Item! We have word of new names to add to our MoCCA Fest 2017 exhibitor page and one bit of additional information. The first new exhibitor will be the exquisite Jess Fink, who tells us she’ll be at the Top Shelf table (A101 & 2) on Saturday, starting at 2:00pm. The second new exhibitor will be Mike Holmes, who will be debuting his newest collaboration with Gene Yang, the third book in the Secret Coders series¹. Mike will be at table J278 B, alongside his show wife (and, incidentally, wife wife) Meredith Gran.
  • Item! Speaking of Meredith Gran, this is your occasional reminder that Octopus Pie continues to get better with every damn update, and the story mechanic of having a party for protagonist Eve Ning in honor of her job catching fire is brilliant. The strip may be on the glidepath to wrapping up, but by glob we’ll get to see all the old faces one last time. Whether it’s semi-recurring characters or formerly major characters that we haven’t seen for-damn-ever, everybody will get their threads wrapped up.

    Case in point: the desparkled America Jones, onetime throwaway villain, now sublimating her evil tendencies with roller derby and Nazi punching², making her just another one of the weird people in Eve’s orbit. I’ve come to believe that we’ll see the pea-wiggle guy, Mr Pedals, and Olly’s nephew before everything concludes. And you know what? I am one thousand percent okay with that. If Gran wants to drag out the conclusion of this strip so that we find out what’s up with the ducks or James, I am ready and willing to read those strips.

    Okay, maybe not James. That guy’s a dick.

  • Item! Via the twitterfeed of “Uncle” Randy Milholland,news of a Kickstart you may want to check out:

    So @TheOnlyTrout has a Kickstarter. He’s a good guy who works hard on his comics. Please consider backing it.

    I missed this, so thanks to Randy for letting us all know; John Troutman’s been doing webcomics for as long as I can remember, and always produces projects that are unlike anything else you’ll find out there. The campaign in question is to print a collecton of The Gospel Of Carol, which is the story of Jesus’s twin sister, the one that got left out of all the Gospels because … well, you know. She does all the work, He gets all the credit.

    There’s 25 days to go and Troutman’s not quite halfway to the exceedingly modest US$3000 goal (with additional gospels and epistles as stretch goals, up to US$6000). Look, you’re not going to find a more redeeming (yet heretical) comic out there, so give Carol a look, yeah?

Spam of the day:


Your crappy attempts at identity theft (with your non-Roman characters designed to evade keyword matching) might actually work better if you included the near-porn photos your promise. Just a thought.

¹ If I remember correctly, Yang told me once Secret Coders will run 5 or 6 books. Certainly, book 3 ends on a cliffhanger (thanks, as always, to Gina Gagliano at :01 Books for the advance copy).

² I realize that Nazi punching is a 2017 thing but honestly? It would not have been out of place in America Jones’s character back in 2008 when we first met her.

Triumphant Returns

There’s a webcomic that I don’t mention nearly enough, because it’s always just so good, what new need be said? Your Wild City is the brainchild of science educators Rosemary Mosco (words) and Maris Wicks (pictures), and teaches us about the undomesticated critters that inhabit our cities and towns. It’s great stuff.

It’s also been on a bit of hiatus, on account of Maris Wicks has been off in Antarctica at a research facility, learning stuff that she will share with the world via comics. Regular readers may recall she did roughly the same thing this time last year on an ocean-going research vessel looking at weird rocks. Well, hiatus is over, Wicks is back from the far antipodes, and Your Wild City resumes today with stories of what various critters do over the winter: your gray squirrels, your great horned owls, various insects, turtles, Marises Wicks and Rosemarys Mosco are all looked at with the naturalist’s eye. Welcome home Maris, good job guarding the couch Rosemary, and everybody go check out the prime info and hearty laugh-chuckles.

  • So the pop culture commentary machine that is The Nerdist has a comic book component, in the form of the interview series known as The Nerdist Comic Book Club. Coming up on the 18th of April, TNCBB will be in New York City and talking to webcomics own Yuko Ota & Ananth Hirsch of Johnny Wander, Lucky Penny, Barbarous, and many, many other awesome comics. No word yet if their awful (but adorable) cat Cricket will be part of the show. Show runs 8:00pm to 9:00pm at the Peoples Improv Theater with tickets apparently required, but free.
  • Kickstart alert: David Willis is doing the KS preorder thing for Book Six of Dumbing of Age; in keeping with tradition, the subtitle is long and ridiculous. The Machinations Of My Revenge Will Be Cold, Swift, And Absolutely Ridiculous (for that is its name) will cover strips from late August 2015 to early September 2016, plus two dozen strips not previously released to the interwebs. The campaign went up about 15 hours ago (as of this writing), is currently sitting at 112%, and runs for 30 days in all.
  • As noted the last five times around, Willis’s Kickstarts are pretty much guaranteed to immediately fund, to have a completely predictable range of goodies irresistible to his fans, and fulfill on time. He’s basically mastered the art of using the crowdfunding platform as a pre-order mechanism so that he doesn’t have to go into speculative debt to print a book for which there may not be demand.

    It’s a vital skill to today’s independent creator, and probably nobody has figure it out better than C Spike Trotman; I mention Spike because of a general discussion that broke out on Twitter regarding the economics of freelance art/comics making, with more people than I can count pointing to one tweet or another and declaring Thread.

    The best two takes I saw were from Spike (from the perspective of a small publisher, with advice to new creators, and a supplement regarding new opportunities in self-publishing) and Rian Sygh (from the perspective of the completely indie freelancer and working for publishers).

    I’ve seen one or two people try to make them into dueling and intractable opposites, but I really think they’re saying the same thing — comics works on small budgets, and there are publishers out there that will be upfront and honest about what they can afford to pay, and there are publishers out there ready to screw young and hungry creators. Make sure you know which is which.

Spam of the day:

Dr. Oz: Hack

Why, yes! Yes, he is a hack!

Your Brain For More Focus, Clarity, and Energy

Oh. Subject line got cut off. No thanks, I don’t need your fake Dr Oz-approved mind-hack gum.

Probably The Last Preview Post Before The Day

In case you’d forgotten, we’re just about a week out from MoCCA Fest 2017, and there’s more exhibitor information up than previously. I gave a skim down the list and in addition to familiar names, I saw creators that I’m not familiar with, but whose little avatar-sized teaser images makes me want to see more. Let’s run ’em down.

On the returning front, you’ve got Ken Wong’s Origami Comics (table F217), Bill Roundy’s Bar Scrawl (a personal favorite, next door at F218), Evan Dahm’s illustrated stories and adaptations (D143 A, no indication of who’s in B), Dean Haspiel’s long career (A103 B), Josh Neufeld’s nonfiction (next door at A104), Julia Gfrörer’s unsettlements (F206), Lucy Bellwood’s nautical wonders (on the exhibitor page, but table not listed), Carey Pietsch’s ever-expanding oeuvre (D145), and Meredith Gran’s soon-concluding magnum opus (J278 B, along with Mike Holmes). Many of them have relationships with the quality publishers that will be showing including Top Shelf (A101 & 2; Jess Fink will be there Saturday afternoon), :01 Books (E157 & 8), and Fantagraphics (C135-8).

On the not familiar to me yet list (and that’s not a bad place to be — I’ve discovered a new favorite creator at MoCCA) are the likes of Alisa Harris (table assignment not listed), Amanda Tolentino (F221 & 2), Leland Goodman (E175), Reneé Park (D150), Emily and The Yea Girls¹ (collectively, Yan Gabriella, Erica De Chavez and Angeli Rafer, with special guest Emily Dahl, F210), and Sean Dillon (H249). Given that I was just deciding to click on a name or not based on single images, I can’t really tell you much about the work of any of these creators, but I find it interesting that all but one are women. McCloud’s prediction that the comics industry would be majority female by 2024 continues to be exceedingly conservative.

MoCCA Fest runs Saturday and Sunday, 1-2 April, from 11:00am to 6:00pm at the Metropolitan West event space, West 46th between 11th & 12th. Admission is five dollars, a bargain at twice the price.

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¹ More artists collectives should have names that sound like touring musicians. If they don’t do at least two encores after the main set, I’ll be disappointed.

² That would be Sean Dillon; before you ask, Leland is normally a male name, but Goodman uses she in her bio and that settles it.