The webcomics blog about webcomics

SDCC 2015 Panel Preview

Okay! This is a bit late, seeing as how SDCC 2015 preview night¹ is a week from tomorrow and all, but the whole unable to sit upright thing yesterday put a crimp in our posting plans. Mea culpa, and let’s do this. As usual, this is a list of programs and panels in/around SDCC that I think will be of interest to the readers of this page.

Special Program For Those In Town Early

An Evening With Raina Telgemeier
TUESDAY 6:00pm — 7:00pm, San Diego Central Library

The appeal of this panel should be self-evident.

Each Day Starting Thursday

The Cartoon Art Museum will be holding its annual Sketch-a-Thon at booth #1930, with top-flight creative talent putting in one hour shifts and sketching for a suggested US$10 donation. See the booth for daily schedules.

Thursday Programming

Comic Book Law School 101: Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
10:30am — 12:00pm, 30CDE

The first of three sessions on making creators sound less like they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about re: matters of law, copyright, and so forth. Go to all of them.

Breaking into Comics Right Now
12:00pm — 1:00pm, Room 28DE

Go for the very clever people on this panel — Charlie Chu of Oni, Gina Gagliano of :01 Books, Matt Gagnon of BOOM! Studios, Ed Brisson, Sam Humpries, and Jim Zub in the moderator’s chair.

Comics for Impact: STEM Education
12:00pm — 1:00pm, Shiley Special Events, San Diego Central Library

I’m of two minds about this one; on the one hand it’s got Jorge Cham (PhD) and others from the world of academia, but on the other it lacks Dante Shepherd/Lucas Landsherr, who is as we speak working off a grant to produce comics for STEM education. It’s also got Alan Gershenfeld of E-Line Media, who are the people that bought out all of Joey Manley’s sites/expertise and then never did anything with them in the webcomics sphere again. I suspect it will be about 85% really good and about 15% faintly infuriating.

First Second: What’s in a Page?
1:30pm — 2:30pm, Room 4

:01 honcho Mark Siegel talking with :01 authors Scott McCloud, Gene Luen Yang, Rafael Rosado, and Aron Steinke. Not optional.

Sergio & Mark Show
3:30pm — 4:30pm, Room 8

Year after year I recommend this, and year after year do you go? Why you gotta make me feel neglected here? Sergio and Mark are comics’ great storytellers (that is, telling stories about comics and those that make comics, occasionally in the form of comics).

Comic-Con How-To: Art Theft Law: Prevention, Protection Prosecution
4:30pm — 6:00pm, Room 2

Sad to say, this is an important one. Learn how to make art thieves cry.

Comics Journalism: It’s About Ethics in Comics Journalism
6:30pm — 7:30pm, Room 24ABC

Guh, I hate that title, but Heidi Mac’s on the panel and she’s always good.

Artists as Brand: Rise of the Artist Entrepreneur
7:30pm — 8:30pm, Room 8

Oddly, there are no webcomics types on this panel — Spike anybody? Brad Guigar (who teaches a class on this)? David Malki !? — but I’d be interested in hearing what they’ve got to say.

Webcomics Advocates and the Webcomics Gathering
8:30pm — 9:30pm, Room 4

Key point: the hosts will, quote, will give any webcomic creators in the audience 30 seconds to promote their comic to the crowd, end quote.

Friday Programming

Spotlight on Scott McCloud
10:00am — 11:00am, Room 9

I’m trusting that it’s only the earliness of the hour that put this panel in one of the modest-sized rooms. Last year McCloud interviewed Gene Luen Yang for his spotlight; this year Yang returns the favor.

Comic Book Law School 202: Selling the Sizzle
10:30am — 12:00pm, Room 30CDE

Marketing, licenses, transfers of rights, and everything you need to know so that somebody else doesn’t end up owning your house.

Cartoon Network: Adventure Time and Steven Universe
11:00am – 12:00pm, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Start lining up now; the Indigo Ballroom is the new Hall H. Ian Jones-Quartey and Rebecca Sugar will be there (hi, guys!), along with Estelle (Garnet is the best), Zach Callison (Steven), Jeremy Shada (Finn), John DiMaggio (Jake), Olivia Olson (Marceline), and Adam Muto (co-executive producer for AT). Too short a time for so much awesome.

Scott C and The Great Showdowns: Super Happy Hollywood
2:00pm — 3:00pm, Room 29AB

I understand that Mr C will have a limited supply of the third Great Showdowns collection with him in San Diego.

Spotlight on Katie Cook
3:00pm — 4:00pm, Room 32AB

Gonna just quote from the description because it pretty much says everything you need to know: Katie will be doing a rapid-fire Q&A with the audience while taking audience suggestions for drawings that she’ll be doing live on stage. Be on hand for what promises to be a fun hour of discussion, drawing, cats, and Katie!

How to Crowdfund
3:00pm — 4:30pm, Room 2

Every year they have some variation on this panel, and every year they neglect to invite George Rohac, Spike, anybody from Breadpig, Make That Thing, or any of the post-crowdfunding info services like AFter The Crowd or BackerKit. Get smarter, panel committee!

Spotlight on Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
4:00pm — 5:00pm, Room 29AB

It’s been a heck of a year for the Tamaki cousins, and it ain’t over yet.

In Your Own Time: Webcomics on Your Own Schedule
5:00pm — 6:00pm, Room 29AB

Longtime comics pro-gone-webcomicker Mark Waid, webcomickers turned dead-tree-bestsellers Allie Brosh, Matt Inman, and Lora Innes. I really wish I could see this one.

Orphan Black: BBC America Official Panel
5:45pm — 6:45pm, Room 6BCF

I am mentioning this so that Rich Stevens knows where to send a case of his cleverest t-shirt.

Saturday Programming

Comic Book Law School 303: And Another Thing
10:30am — 12:00pm, Room 30CDE

Advanced topics; if you want to argue fair use or parody without being completely wrong, you need this session. To make use of this session, you really should have attended the previous sessions.

Working Together: Writers and Artists
11:00am — 12:00pm, Room 28DE

Yeah, it’s still early on post-Eisners Saturday morning, but look at the panelists: the Tamakis, Kelly Sue Deconnick & Steve Lieber, Asaf Hauka & Boaz Lavie (of :01’s The Divine), moderated by Andrew Farago. Listen to everything they say and do things they way they say it.

Spotlight on Allie Brosh
1:30pm — 2:30pm, Room 24ABC

In conversation with Felicia Day, with a focus on Brosh’s next book (Solutions & Other Problems, coming in October and hopefully including her dogs).

Camp Out with Lumberjanes!
2015 3:30pm — 4:30pm, Room 8

Oh man, I love Lumberjanes, you guys.

HBO Presents the Comic-Con International Masquerade
8:30pm — 11:30pm, Ballroom 20 (ticketed) with overflow in Room 5AB, Room 6, and the Sails Pavilion

Hosted, as always, by Phil & Kaja Foglio.

Sunday Programming

Spotlight on Jeff Smith
11:00am — 12:00pm, Room 4

Jeff Smith is the best. Tell him I said hi.

Spotlight on Matthew Inman
12:00pm — 1:00pm, Room 28DE

Cats, dogs, a goddamned Tesla museum, and very likely Exploding Kittens, seeing as how the game should be shipping while SDCC is going on.

Spotlight on Raina Telgemeier
1:45pm — 2:45pm, Room 5AB

Raina Telgemeier is practically a publishing category of her own; she’ll be talking to Jenni Holm of Babymouse about career, her influence on building up an entire new generation of comics readers, and hopefully a sneak preview of her next book.

Chip Zdarsky: A Life
3:00pm — 4:00pm, Room 7AB

Dear glob I wish I could see this. Brimp on, Chip!

Markiplier and Red Giant Celebrate Keenspot’s 15th Anniversary
3:00pm — 4:00pm, Room 4

Keenspot will not have a panel at SDCC about the time that the sun goes cold.

Whew! That’s quite a lot! As always, please let me know if I missed anything.

Spam of the day:

H?ow d?o you d?o ass punisher

Gotta say, that’s the first time I’ve ever been called ass punisher. I’m a little disturbed by it.

¹ Which I will not be attending, as they still haven’t told me if my press credentials were approved or not. Given the invites I keep getting for things like accredited-press-only interview pools, I’m guessing they were approved but that’s only a guess.

And not to throw shade or anything, but I applied online for press access to NYCC on Saturday and got approval yesterday, a full three weeks before the promised response date. Point: ReedPOP.


There are towering institutions in the realm of {indy | web}comics and allied forces of creativity; we’ll note some goings-on with three of them today.

  • The ToonSeum has been a part of the rebirth of Pittsburgh’s arts district, as well as honoring the legacy of a wide swath of the comics arts. It takes a lot to keep an organization like that running, so if you’re in Western PA, consider dropping by their annual fundraiser, Ka-Blam!, on 25 April at the Teamsters Temple Banquet Hall in Lawrenceville.

    In keeping with a mission that honors not just cartoons but also its hometown, this year’s Ka-Blam! theme is Pittsburgh Characters, meaning prominent Pittsburghers (Pittsburghians? Pittsburgundians? Pittsburghasques?) will be honored, meaning you can watch people remember the greatest human of the recent common era: Mister Rogers.

  • On the far side of the North American continent sits another institution that preserves, popularizes, teaches about, and studies the comic arts: the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. It’s a very active place, with programs out the proverbial wazoo, including a particularly rich and lively cluster in the immediate future. This Sunday, 19 April, will be the monthly Sunday Storytime Hour (theme: bunnies!) from 11:00am to noon.

    A scant hour later at 1:00pm, there will be hosted demo of Mangaka: The Fast and Furious Game of Drawing Comics until 4:00pm. And in a few weeks on 7 May, CAM hosts their annual fundraiser/comedy showcase, Comics 4 Comix. On the off chance none of those programs suits your fancy, there’s still a whole museum to enjoy, with a current exhibition of the films of Cartoon Saloon.

  • Coming back to the Eastern Time Zone to finish, you have an institution that is unlike the other two; one that is interested in the art and creators of comics, but in the tangible approach of directly supporting them in their efforts (not to mention their ability to pay for things like rent and food). An institution that exists in a compact, moveable (indeed, in near perpetual motion) form that is responsible for facilitating more than ten million dollars of support directly to various creators.

    I speak, naturally, of George, who condensed from an aether of pure consciousness into our world of meat and sorrow on this day in the year of our greatest hope; who took on physical form to better help us; who causes reality to shift around himself to aid those who put forth the effort to better their skills and create good works. Let us honor him on this, the anniversary of his birth, with the traditional gifts of spreadsheets, cool glasses, friendship, and Big Gay Ice Cream. Happy Georgeday, everybody!

Spam of the day:

We have Excellent work from home Option , where you will get steady Income source here No Target No Limitation,

Curiously enough, I already have that, and from a company whose checks don’t bounce.

Squirrels, Man. Friggin’ Squirrels

Let’s find some things to talk about that don’t involve the little fluff-tailed bastards.

  • Apropos of it always being a good time to keep an eye on the current goings-on around George, this note from George Rohac:

    Huh, wasn’t even paying attention – Crowdfunding Projects I’ve advised or worked on cracked 10,000,000 cumulative total.

    That would be ten million dollars, in case it wasn’t clear … United States cash money dollars. Perhaps more impressively, George has shepherded (by my count) some 30 projects to successful completion, as he is a man who brooks no nonsense, a man before whom logistical roadblocks evaporate, a man who considers reward fulfillment at the promised to time to late, and reward fulfillment a month prior to promised time to be on time. I would very much like to see George and Spike combine their powers to produce a Kickstarter guide that incorporates wisdom from the both of them¹.

  • Apropos of the fact that art thieves suck, Gemma Correll reports that multiple retailers have nothing better to do than steal her designs. This is a repeating story, one I can’t even run every time it crops us because it crops up so damn frequently, but this is the first time I’ve noticed Correll getting hosed and I am more than willing to call out the likes of Yes Style [no link, they suck] and Light In The Box [ditto]. Actually, no, let me provide one link for each of them: Yes Style’s CEO can be reached here, and Light In The Box’s investor relations officer² can be reached here. Be polite, but make your irritation known.
  • Apropos of the fact that his Wonderful Wizard of Oz adaptation is on the verge of shipping³, news of the start of Evan Dahm’s next classic illustration project starting imminently:

    Moby-Dick illustrations start on April 1

    I kind of want Dahm to become a one-man, latter-day Classics Illustrated shop. I want a shelf full of handsome hardcovers of the greats of literature, with the exception that if he decides to illustrate The Great Gatsby I will opt out because I hate, hate, hate that book.

Spam of the day:

A Newly Released NASA Study Details Exactly How to Kill from All Types of Diabetes

I suspect that you do not know what NASA does, or hope that I do not. Either way, screw you.

¹ Then again, I don’t want George to lose his powers by sharing them too widely. There’s a fine balance to be followed here.

² Because I can’t find another way to contact them unless you have an order number, the cowards.

³ Not due until May 2015; cf: George, above.

I Knew There Was A Reason To Write Late Today

San Diego Comic Con programming started to drop today, with Thursday’s slate now available for your perusal. As usual, I’m listing out things that caught my eye; your mileage may vary.

Thursday Programming
Graphic Novel Programming at Your Library
10:00am — 11:00am, Room 23ABC

If you’ve been wanting to get your work into libraries, this is probably a good place to trawl for librarians.

Legends of TV Land
find it yourself

This is just to point out that Betty White now counts as valid topic for SDCC panel time. Look, I get it, she’s a treasure, but we’ve really jumped the sharknado on this one¹.

Under the Dome: Panel and Exclusive Sneak Preview
11:15am — 12:00pm, Ballroom 20

I am including this solely to make Jon Rosenberg’s head explode.

Welcome To Night Vale
12:00pm — 1:00pm, offsite

TopatoCo will be presenting a panel at the Geek and Sundry Lounge on 4th Ave in the Gaslamp, covering the secret history of one weird little town. As it’s offsite, no SDCC badge is needed.

Gene Luen Yang in Conversation with Scott McCloud
3:00pm — 4:00pm, Room 28DE

This is the first must-attend of the show for me. I’ve never met Yang, but I owe him many profuse thanks for his body of work.

NASA’s Next Giant Leap
3:00pm — 4:00pm, Room 6A

Okay, I’m not sure why Seth Green is moderating this one, but any panel with Buzz Frickn’ Aldrin and Bobak Frickin’ Ferdowsi² on it gets my attention. They may have undersized the room for this panel.

The Sergio & Mark Show
3:30pm — 4:30pm, Room 8

The two most consistently amusing people in comics.

How to Kickstart Your Dream Like a Pro
5:00pm — 6:00pm, Room 25ABC

Spike, Ryan North, David Malki !, Zach Weinersmith, Aaron Diaz, and George Rohac are, inexplicably, not on this panel (indeed, half of them won’t be at the show). However, I’ll give a dollar to each one of them that attends the panel to kibitz from the floor.

Understanding Stories: The Making of a Graphic Novel
5:00pm — 6:00pm, Room 7AB

McCloud again; hopefully includes previews of The Sculptor.

Cartoon Hangover: Bee and PuppyCat and Friends
5:30pm — 6:30pm, Room 6A

Natasha Allegri, Becky & Frank, Madeleine Flores, Allyn Rachel and Kent Osborne (voices of Bee and Deckard), and others. Second must-attend of the show for me.

Indie Comics Marketing & PR 101
6:30pm — 7:30pm, Room 8

Panelists from comiXology, BOOM!, and Fantagraphics. Could be some very worthwhile info at this one.

Spam of the day:

As explained NASA’s Glenn Research Center, the biggest market of gravity is “the average location with the weight from the object.

This spam may actually tie with this one:

how much is 100 grams in tablespoons

… in terms of fundamentally misunderstanding how basic concepts like mass, volume, and gravity work. Going to ask me how much time twelve parsecs is next?

¹ Sharknado 2, naturally, has its own panel on Thursday because of course it does.

² Who, let’s be clear, oversaw the most audacious landing in space exploration history before his 33rd birthday. Respect, my brother engineer.

Today In Website Adventures

The spam filter is getting far less of a workout ever since I set topics more than 30 days old to be locked; if perchance you come across an old post that you really want to comment on, drop me a line¹ and I’ll see what I can do.

In one of those perfect storm confluences of independent forces², a bunch of projects launched today:

  • If you’re a Maki Naro Kickstarter backer, you now have access to Sufficiently Remarkable; everybody else will get to see the deal in four weeks.
  • If you’re a Brad Guigar Kickstarter backer, you now have access to the first of his Webcomics Movers And Shakers interview podcasts, this one with Webcomics Impressario At Large George Rohac; everybody else will get access to the recording at some point in the future.
  • No backer requirements this time; sometime today the long-awaited, Strip Search-wining Camp Weedonwantcha by the irrepressible Katie Rice will go live. Hooray!
  • Adding yet another a tip to the proverbial iceberg, Ryan Estrada announced that in addition to all the comics he does, all the comics done by others that he publishes, all the work in exposing the lie that is the promise of exposure in lieu of payment, the adventure videos, live stagings of Choose Your Own Hamlet, and just generally living in a foreign land (whose non-Roman script he’s taught a squajillion people how to read), he is now the non-union Korean equivalent of Ira Glass:

    Super exciting news! I’m now the host of People & Places, a short weekly radio show on Busan eFM!

    I knew all that podcasting experience would amount to something! I pitched and developed it myself, and the goal is to make it the Busan, South Korea equivalent of This American Life, filled with stories that make the audience laugh, cry, think or swear. My first episode airs wednesday morning, during drive time!

    You know, in his copious free time.

  • If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that Estrada had a time machine and had gone back in time after having thoroughly internalized John Allison’s just-released contribution at 10 Rules for Drawing Comics, especially #5:

    Allow yourself to be bored. There are a million ways to distract yourself today. Turn your phone off when you go out, give yourself time to let your mind wander. That’s when a lot of the best work gets done. Computer games aren’t productive. Checking Twitter/email/Tumblr every three minutes to see if anything has happened isn’t productive. It’s counter-productive. You’re wasting your limited lifespan.

    Not the “being bored” part (I don’t think Estrada is biologically capable of it), but the sense of doing lots of different things, so that creativity doesn’t get clogged up. While we’re on the topic, you should take a few minutes and read all the other entries at 10 Rules, especially considering there’s only ten entries so far.

  • Finally, not sure how I missed it last week, but the episode of Bullseye that features the very funny and fascinating Nick Offerman also has a really nice discussion with Brandon Bird about The Day He Became An Artist (Bird starts at about the 42 minute mark ).

    Bird’s out visiting Sears stores at the moment or I’m sure he’d have more to say about it; probably the least surprising aspect of this whole bit is that Bird and Bullseye host Jesse Thorn know each other from college. Creative, interesting people just seem to eventually overlap, circles of friends merging with ever-broader circles of friends, to the point that it would be weird if two people from completely different communities didn’t know each other.

    Anyway, it’s a really good listen, and you will likely enjoy it.

¹ That would be at gary who maintains a point of contact at this here website, which exists in the dot-com TLD.

² And you do not need to remind me that a year ago, we were staring down the barrel of Superstorm Sandy, which took some time to return from. I got off far luckier than many (and everybody’s circumstances were unique), but I’m still taking a moment on the eve to send good thoughts to those that are still rebuilding their homes, businesses, and lives.

Quickly, Now

Before I have to clear out of here to make a Friday-afternoon flight.

¹ TopatoCo are the masters at this; I’d estimate they could be at least 30% larger than they are right now, but only by doing a crappier, less-fun-for-them job, which is something they are not willing to do. If every company took that as a model, the economy would be a lot stronger and going to a job that required pants wouldn’t suck so much.

Bounty; Also, Stay The Hell Off My Lawn

Morning has come way too damn early at San Diego thanks mostly to the people that decided hosting an overpowered audio system in an unenclosed place and letting the sound rip until one in the damn morning was a nifty-neato way to promote whatever their brand is. I get it, Friday night is an acceptable party night and everybody at the event seemed to be enjoying the crap out of themselves; hell, I was enjoying the crap out of myself at the ShiftyLook party¹ until the old man sleepies caught up with me.

The difference being, a bit after eleven, the ShiftyLook party bosses and hotel staff conferred, some of the louder game cabinets were turned off, groups talking were discreetly asked to be mindful of the hotel’s guests, and the sound system was playing ambient electronic music at a considerate volume.

Meanwhile, between Island and J, 7th and 8th, an audio monitoring app on my phone tells me that sound levels with the windows closed were peaking at 70db and with the window open, 85db². For reference, 70db is defined as EPA-identified maximum to protect against hearing loss and other disruptive effects from noise, such as sleep disturbance, stress, learning detriment, etc. and 85 db as Hearing damage (over long-term exposure, need not be continuous). No kidding, a fire engine running full lights and sirens shortly after the speakers were turned off was not as audible as DJ ScrewYouPayingGuests, and of course was not sitting in one place cranking up the bass³.

So here is the deal: I want to know who sponsored this act of disregard for everybody not on the guest list, so I can be sure to never, ever give them money in the future, and I will pay an reward in the amount of one dollar American Cash Money to whoever can tell me whose party this was.

There were cars set up in a way that suggested they were on display, and what appeared to be pages from The Walking Dead were being projected onto the side of a nearby building. Oh, and at least two patrol cars from San Diego’s Finest (number 6-955 and 6-266) were on the scene, hopefully with industrial-grade ear protection (but certainly not doing anything to enforce local nuisance ordinance). Go forth, my minions, return with the information I seek, and help me in my quest for vengeance.

  • Speaking of the ShiftyLook party (which was excellent, by the by, allowing me the opportunity to talk with the likes of Sam Logan, Jim Zub, Stacy King, Kris Straub, Christopher Hastings, Evan Dahm, the aforementioned Chris Butcher, and others), I had the opportunity to talk briefly with George Rohac of What Pumpkin where we tried to figure out what the heck the session booking team was thinking.

    As mentioned earlier, the ShiftyLook panel will be kicking off later today (2:00pm to be precise) in a not-overly-large room (28DE), and will feature Zach Weinersmith, Scott Kurtz, Kris Straub (any one of whom could fill the room just with his own readers, much less those that are coming to hear the ShiftyLook plans) and Andrew Hussie in his only panel appearance. I want to go by 28DE, find the little plaque that indicates the maximum number of persons allowed in the room, and then take a picture of the Homestucks lined up outside the entrance and receding into the far distance.

    It’s not as if the SDCC staff don’t have some warning about the Trollstorm that’s about to hit them; last year I watched the Homestuck Parade that occurred when they relented and finally granted TopatoCo a section of the autograph area for Hussie’s signings (which they had requested and been told wouldn’t be necessary) after the first session turned into a seven-aisle backup that snarled traffic on the show floor for a ten-aisle radius.

    After TopatoCo Supreme Presidente Jeffrey Rowland brought the news to the lined up Homestucks that they would have to relocate to meet their Lord and God, he led a line of fans that took more than ten minutes to pass by in reasonably clear booth traffic. Every single one of those people will be wanting to see this panel. This is gonna be awesome.

  • Speaking of panels to see today, the Adventure Time panel will be at 3:30 in Room 8, and the STRIPPED panel at 7:00pm in 28DE.
  • Speaking of commerce being driven, Friday on the show floor was weird. Everybody I spoke to had a different impression of how the day went — it was busy from start to finish, or it was quiet, or it had bursts; the show floor was crowded at all times, or it was preternaturally empty; sales were strong, or they were okay, or they were terrible compared to last year. In my past experience, these are the sorts of things that usually evolve a consensus, but literally every booth I stopped by to talk to creators had a different view on how the commercial end of Friday went.

    My personal impression is that the number of sales events that I could see from my vantage point in Webcomics Central was less than on Thursday (which is consistent with the personal experience I had of Square through much of Friday — instead of being nigh-unusable from load as it was for most of Thursday, Friday was very hit-or-miss; a card swipe might result in a communications failure in ten seconds, and the customer might see approval after a minute and a half of waiting). Considering that Friday is traditionally neck-and-neck with Saturday for the top day, saleswise, here’s hoping that today is a monster in terms of merchant activity.

  • Hope Larson dropped by at the start of Friday and I was privileged to tell her how much I enjoyed her film short, Bitter Orange; she in turn was kind enough to pull out an iPad and share her next film project, a music video for Dan The Automator featuring Mary Elizabeth Winstead. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s say the following:
    • It is beautifully shot in black and white and every moment had near-perfect visual composition
    • The storyline is hilarious
    • It required Larson to figure out where one could obtain prosethetic eyes, which is probably not a conversation you ever anticipate yourself having until it actually occurs

    The video’s in the hands of the label and they’ll hopefully be releasing it soon because dang, this needs to be seen by everybody.

  • Speaking of Larson, she was one of the winners at last night’s Eisner Awards, and we at Fleen are thrilled for her, even as we’re sad that Meredith Gran was one of those that Larson beat. The two actually agree that should either of them prevail, the other would start a fight, so if you heard any rumors of flipped and/or jumped tables, punched thrown, or security having to separate combatants, they are undoubtedly true.

    In addition to Larson’s win for Best Publication For Teens (A Wrinkle In Time), let’s also congratulate Ryan North, Shellie Paroline and Braden Lamb for Best Publication For Kids (Adventure Time), Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover for Best Digital Comic (Bandette), Tom Spurgeon for Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism (The Comics Reporter), all of the other winners, and the parents, who worked so hard to make the costumes.

Below the cut, the best cosplay photo of the day: Hench 4 Lyfe.

Calm, Meet Storm

Of course, there are storms, and then there are storms, and terrifying as your basic sharknado is, I’m not sure that it’s actually scarier than the five-day pop-culture death-march that is San Diego Comic Con, which will be kicking off a little more than 120 hours from now. We’ve mentioned who’s going to be there, where to find them, and what panels to attend, so all that’s remaining is getting everybody out to SoCal and preparing for the onslaught.

Actually, one last clarification regarding SDCC exhibitors is warranted: What Pumpkin, the business arm of Andrew Hussie’s personal brain fancies, is in fact going to be there. I had no luck finding them in the exhibitor lists, but that’s because I didn’t read between the lines carefully enough in the ShiftyLook offsite announcement. Not only will Andrew Hussie be doing autograph sessions at the Gaslamp Hilton terrace, What Pumpkin will be engaged in acts of boothing there.



For those looking for things to do after the Great Westerly Nerd Migration, The Toonseum just announced that their third annual specialty beer has reached fruition: the 2013 edition of Illustration Ale by Pittsburgh’s East End Brewing Company is a bottle-conditioned Belgian-style ale, limited to 1500 bottles, with six different labels from local Pittsburgh artists.

East End Brewing and the ToonSeum will unveil the 2013 Illustration Ale with a special tasting session at the ToonSeum on August 3rd. Guests will not only get the first sips of the special brew, but will also be able to meet past and present label artists, have their bottles autographed, and enjoy the current exhibit, 65 Years of Legends: Six Decades of the Reuben Awards.

Tickets to the tasting are $25.00 and include one free bottle of from the artist of your choosing; fun times start at 7:00pm.



Final note before we call it a week: Fleen’s domain shift will take place over the weekend, so if you can’t find us, give DNS a chance to propagate and maybe clear your browser cache. If you find any problems in the new site, let us know in the comments. We already know about the following:

  1. The mail form on the contact page needs configuring.
  2. Ditto the RSS feed (we’ll let you know when it’s time to resubscribe).
  3. Images associated with posts before the end of August 2008 won’t be there; this isn’t associated with the server shift, I noticed it on the old server as well. As near as I can tell, the images are all still in the media library, but the HTML code that includes them in the appropriate postings is gone from the database. I expect that I’ll have time to recreate those approximately never.

That’s it. Enjoy your weekend, and see a whole mess o’ you next week.

Something A Bit Different This Year

The programming for San Diego Comic Con 2013 is starting to go up; Thursday’s schedule appeared yesterday afternoon, and I expect Friday’s later today. In past years, I’ve gone through searching specifically for content relating to, and featuring creators of, the webcomics that are the focus of this page. That was usually good for distilling down to a solid 12 — 15 items per year, put up all at once.

Not doin’ that this year, in part because I wouldn’t be able to put it up until Monday (I’m expecting Saturday and Sunday programming to drop over the weekend), and in part because “webcomics” as a topic isn’t very easy to separate out. Oh, there’s a tag for Web, but the term has expanded so broadly that anything that has a website gets the designation.

In a way, I think this means that “webcomics” won — they’re no longer off in their own designation, everything overlaps with the internet; so instead I’m looking for items of interest to the independent creators that retain ownership in their work and look for things that may be of interest. I’ve also pulled a few items that I felt were worthy of commentary. Onwards.

Thursday Programming
Bringing Digital Comics into Schools and Libraries
12:30pm – 1:30pm Room 24ABC

Not sure why the focus is on digital comics rather than comics in general; creators, this is someplace you should want to get your work and since digital is now an option, that reduces the barrier to entry of schools and libraries wanting heavy-duty binding which might not be in your budget.

Gender in Comic Books
1:00pm – 2:00pm Room 28DE

Interesting balance: longtime industry dudes (Mark Waid, George Pérez) mixed with ladies who’ve made careers very quickly (Kelly Sue Deconnick, Grace Randolph, Meredith Gran). I’m not sure if the choice of panelists is due to demographics, or if it’s a comment on something I’ve believed for a decade now: the future of comics is dependent on the women who will create and read them.

Insights for Independent Creators
1:00pm – 2:00pm Room 9

I’ll be at the gender panel; this one caught my eye because it’s part one of a two-part discussion that (if I’m reading the descriptions correctly) starts out talking about indy comic creation so that you can leverage it into movies. I’m getting kind of sick of the I want to do movies so I’ll use comics as a stepping stone trope.

Digital Development and Marketing Your Comic, Web Series, App or Game: Kickstarter
1:30pm – 2:30pm Room 8

Surprisingly, George Rohac is not on this panel.

Cartoon Hangover: Bravest Warriors, Bee and Puppycat, and Friends
2013 2:00pm – 3:00pm Room 28DE

Lots of webcomics creators intersect with the Cartoon Hangover projects. Please do not ask Ian Jones-Quartey when he’s bringing back RPG World.

Integrating Comics into the Common Core
3:30pm – 4:30pm Room 26AB

Remember what we said up above about digital comics vs comics in general in schools and libraries? Panel includes :01 Books manager Gina Gagliano, which automatically means this is worth your time.

Spotlight on Jeff Smith
4:00pm – 5:00pm Room 9

This is what a twenty-year independent comics career looks like.

Bizarre? Queer? Perfect: Taming the Wild Webcomics Frontier
5:00pm – 6:00pm Room 28DE

Looks like a good set of panelists but sadly, no Erika Moen.

Webcomics Advocates: The Webcomics Gathering
5:00pm – 6:00pm Room 32AB

Quoting here: [T]hey will give any webcomic creators in the audience 30 seconds to promote their comic to the crowd.

Making a Living in Manga: New Trends Worth Watching
5:30pm – 6:30pm Room 26AB

Quoting again: As a generation of North American comics fans who grew up with manga aspire to become comics creators, they’re bumping up against a glass ceiling: a lack of paying publishing options for their work. But a new wave of manga-inspired creators are finding new ways to get published and get paid.
Emphasis on those last two words added by me. Moderated by Brigid Alverson, so it’ll be smart and well-run.

Comic-Con How-To: Kickstartering the Heart
6:00pm – 7:00pm Room 2

Okay, I’m going to quote the entire description to this one and then come back with a question for everybody. Ready? Here we go:

Siike Donnelly and Matt Hawkins — along with guest panelists Olivia Peterson, Jon Schnepp, and Joshua Levy — give you a look into the process of running and promoting a Kickstarter campaign. Learn how to reach your audience directly and put your dream project into the hands of many. Discover the ups, downs, and rewards of believing in your work.

Now the question: Why should you listen to these people? The description doesn’t tell me who any of them are or why I should believe anything they have to say. Google searches are of slight help here, as I believe that Donnelly is an occasional contributor to Bleeding Cool, Schnepp a Hollywood producer, and I have no idea about Hawkins, Peterson, and Levy because the names aren’t distinct enough. I’m hoping that the panel members aren’t the ones that wrote the description, because whoever did can’t speak to effective promotions at all.

Indie Comics Marketing and PR 101
6:30pm – 7:30pm Room 8

Maybe whoever wrote the description for that last panel needs to sit in on this one. Yes, I’m still mad about it.

Family Feud: The Comics Blogging Panel
7:00pm – 8:00pm Room 23ABC

Featuring The Spurge, Heidi Mac, Tony Isabella, Alexa Dickman, and Rich Johnston. Contrary to a rumor that I just made up, the special surprises in the description do not include a cameo appearance by me.

Holliston: Inside the Laughs, Screams, Metal, and Geekery!
8:30pm – 9:30pm Room 24ABC

Two words, everybody: Oderus Urungus.

And, because it will always be mentioned here at Fleen:

The Sergio and Mark Show
2:30pm – 3:30pm Room 8

Sergio Aragonés, Mark Evanier, Stan Sakai, and Tom Luth. For when you need to feel good about life again.

This Is Not A Review

While I managed to finish Boxers and Saints last night, there’s no way I’m ready to write anything about them yet — they’re too big. China is too big¹ and these books contain within them the smallest fraction of The Middle Kingdom’s history, and that fraction is enormous and must be thought on carefully. However, I realized something this morning that I do want to share, which is virtually everything I know about Chinese history, I know because of comics.

Larry Gonick’s Cartoon History of the Universe has more than 100 pages of history from before the common era, and I have a collection of three comics treatments of Chinese military classics (100 Strategies of War; Three Strategies of Huang Shi Gong; Six Strategies For War, all illustrated by Wang Xuanming). They’ve taught me about the Warring States, Lu Pu-Wei, Liu Bang, Cao Cao, Liu Bao, the Spring and Autumn Period, the Battle of Red Bluff, and a dozen other centuries worth of history. It’s still just the surface, but it’s more than I was ever taught in school².

  • Ever wonder what 14,000 books looks like? Like this. Ever wonder what kind of man could sign all those books and not die? The Toronto Man-Mountain, also known as Ryan North, Cyborg King of Awesome Things. We at Fleen wish Ryan North good fortune and hope that those books — he is their creator, they owe him their lives — treat him kindly and don’t cause his hand to fall off.
  • At MoCCA Fest last year, I was talking with Ananth Panagariya³ was talking about projects not involving his long partnership with Yuko Ota, which conversation was rather roundabout and coy because he couldn’t talk about everything yet. He gets to talk about it now, it being BUZZ, a fully-contained story with Tessa Stone which was previously described as a regularly-updating serial at Oni’s website.

    The plan had been for serials to launch in January and to be a daily-updating content hub, but I didn’t see any of that go live. Serious question here — did I just miss Oni’s version of the :01 Books preview books as webcomics sub-site, To Be Continued? Because I have no recollection of that happening. In any event, BUZZ will now be going to print in November, the story of one-on-one spelling bees as street-level contact sport. Looks sweet.

¹ Back in college, my political science professor asked us what we wanted to write our first paper on and one guy in class said, China!. Thad (that was his name, Dr Thad “Call me Thad” Smith) looked at him and said, You’ve got eight pages, you might want to narrow that down a little.

² This would probably annoy Gonick to no end, who groused in the introduction to Volume 9 of CHOTU — the first concerning China — that San Fransisco, his hometown, with its huge Chinese population that were instrumental in building the city, had not one street with a Chinese name. This may have changed since it was published in 1994, but the sentiment is the same — we have an enormous collective blind spot in our culture, one big enough to hide a fifth of the people on the planet and everything they’ve ever done.

Another thing not taught to me in school: romanization methods for Chinese names; I’ve taken the names as they’re presented in the comics, which may or may not match the most popular methods today. I imagine you’ll make do somehow.

³ AKA Mr Eyeless, Aaah~~I hope Anath-sempai likes me!.