The webcomics blog about webcomics

Horrorshow, Literally

For those with lesser tolerances for the spooky stuff, things become less scarifying as you read down.

  • Kris Straub is, as I write this, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, headed towards Melbourne and the about-to-occur PAX iteration therein. He’s also just left behind what I an assume is the leading edge of entirely deserved praise for the best contribution to the spirit of the spooky season I’ve seen this year, in the form of a few wobbly images, a couple dozen lines of text, and some deeply unsettling ambient sounds.

    The overnight crew at Channel 58 is not having a good night; something odd is going on, it may well be affecting the entire world and we see only the most local interpretation of events that may be beyond rational comprehension. The … the changes happen in front of us, as two entirely distinct interpretations of what it means to be safe and whole compete for the attention of a vanishingly small audience; those who are asleep are either safe or beyond help, and none of us knows which.

    Straub’s a master of showing no more than is absolutely necessary to get across his message, and this particular nightmare says/shows far less than it could, to terrific — I use that word in its most precise sense — effect. The questions that flood us over the course of a few minutes are more frightening than anything we could have been told/shown; Straub’s made our own imaginations an active co-conspirator in the scares. — both address and, presumably, title — is the most disturbing thing I’ve seen in the past three years not drawn by Emily Carroll, and a perfect tonal match for her work. It’s exactly what this Halloween season — what every Halloween season — needs to achieve maximum creepitude. Bravo.

  • For those not yet sufficiently creeped out, may I point you towards a new project? Adam Tierney (words) and Matthieu Cousin (pictures) have a Kickstarter up for a clever book that you can share with young ‘uns that enjoy the spine-shiver of a good, safe scare. Specifically, they’re putting together an A-to-Z book of 26 one-page illustrations and 26 one-page stories dealing with 26 phobias.

    Afraid of Everything calls to mind an old Peanuts punchline , and you can get a good feel for just how wide-ranging those fears can be by checking out a free 10 page/5 fear preview. The phobic panopticon has cleared a bit more than 50% in its first five days, and is well on track to clear its (exceedingly modest) US$6000 goal in the four weeks remaining. Check ‘er out.

  • Ryan Estrada’s Broken Telephone has been mentioned on this page previously, and as the six-interwoven-stories-with-eighteen-creative-teams epic approaches the 2/3s point of its yearlong run, it’s been catching more attention. Today, for instance, it’s the lead comic in The AV Club’s weekly comic roundup, in the company of the likes of the latest :01 Books entry and Usagi freakin’ Yojimbo. If you haven’t been reading Broken Telephone, you should be, and now it’s not just me that’s telling you that.

Spam of the day:

Hey! New message, please read.
El software de antivirus Avast ha analizado este correo electrónico en busca de virus.

Oh! Well, if you tell me that an antivirus program has scanned your spam email and the link you’re sending is http://[redacted].com/safe, then of course it must be fine for me to click through!

A Week In And Running Low On Stretch Goals

I mean, it’s not like anybody thought that Zach Weinersmith would have trouble meeting at US$15K Kickstarter goal, seeing as how his previous projects have funded at levels ranging from US$47,000 (of a US$20K goal) to US$384,000 (of a US$30K goal). I’m not sure that I expected to see Religion: Ruining Everything Since 4004 BC become his third-most funded project before the 30 hour mark, or be on pace to obliterate all prior records, as the Fleen Funding Formula Mark II puts Religion at US$480K to US$720K final funding.

To put that in perspective, it’s potentially twice the take for his second-highest funded previous project, Science: Ruining Everything Since 1543; it’s also well above current top funder Augie and the Green Knight. Heck, even it if continues at its current long tail rate of “only” about US$7K/day, you’re looking at a total of US$356K, or just about midway between Science and Augie.

Since the only question is how incredibly overfunded Religion will be, maybe I should direct your attention to some of the other webcomics Kickstarts that are currently running? As of this writing, Lunarbaboon vol 2 is at 340% of goal with three weeks to go, but the fifth volume of Spinnerette is still a couple thousand shy (although with three weeks to go, it seems pretty safe).

Significantly, the tenth-anniversary edition of SPQR Blues (think Bite Me, but imperial Rome instead of revolutionary France) is sitting at an even US$5000 of a very modest US$8500 goal with only 11 days to go. If you were ever going to take a leap of faith into a webcomic that you weren’t familiar with on my say-so, this would be the one.

Spam of the day:

Breast Reduction Information

First it was the breast enhancement, then bras, now reduction? Make up your mind, spammers! Also, still a cishet dude.

I Am Never Going To Get Clear Of This Classroom

That guy? Don't be that guy.
And when I do, I have two Turnpikes (Pennsylvania and New Jersey) to deal with on a Friday afternoon. That’s it, never seeing home again, I had a good run. In the meantime, consider the following:

  • The Joe Shuster Awards get respect ’round these parts for consistently having a strong slate of candidates, and being restricted to very few categories. The 2015 iteration was posted on Sunday but it’s only in the past 24 hours or so that the comics press has noticed on account of they were given out at the Forest City Comicon of London, Ontario and it appears to have been lightly attended by said press. Collectively, we suck.

    There were three honorees from the world of (approximately) webcomics this time around, with Outstanding Cartoonist / Auteur going to Bryan Lee O’Malley for Seconds, Outstanding Webcomics Creator / Créateur de Bandes Dessinées Web to Nicole Chartrand for Fey Winds, and This One Summer continuing its romp through awards season with Outstanding Writer / Scénariste going to Mariko Tamaki. Congratulations to all the winners.

  • It’s been said a lot that being a webcomic creator means that you have 10,000 bosses that would need to fire you in order to lose your job, but also that having one superfan who’s willing to buy your stuff is more important than a thousand of them. I can only imagine what having a billionaire fan means, although I suppose we could ask Matt Inman about his buddy Elon, and today it appears that Randall Munroe has a fan named Bill.

    Bill Gates, that is. Never hurts when the actual richest guy in the world name checks you:

    I’m a fan of Randall Munroe, the guy behind the Web comic XKCD and the book What If?. I’m also a big supporter of the effort to end polio. So anything that combines Randall and polio eradication is great in my book.

    Here’s a strip Randall drew for us in honor of World Polio Day. I got a kick out of it and thought I’d share it with you.

    Sometime in the recent past, Gates passed the threshold where he has not been in charge of Microsoft longer than he was in charge of it, and I for one am thrilled, given that his free time these days is spent on things such as eradicating polio. At some point in the future people will forget how Gates made his money and only marvel at how much of it he gave away; I can’t think of a better thing to spend it on that causing this particular extinction, and if the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is looking for another pernicious evil that needs extirpation, may I suggest squirrels? Okay, fine, not as icky as, say, ticks, but that’s part of their evil — they look all innocent and fuzzy and then BAM! Murder city.

  • I was listening to NPR this morning and heard a story about how the United Autoworkers basically started with a strike in Flint, Michigan that involved the National Guard and improvised weapons. Here’s hoping the grad students at the University of Missouri highlighted in today’s PhD have a listen to that story and find a way to accomplish the same. Not sure they’re going to set up industrial-strength slingshots and wang door hinges at riot cops, but they have other weapons. Like, say, if the riot cops all submit essay tests and the grad students mark ’em up with extra red ink.

    Kidding aside, the grad students (and adjunct faculty) are the only thing holding together the college educational system in a lot of schools, and they’ve had the crap exploited out of them for far too long. I hope they light an organizational fire that resolves at least some of their legit grievances.

Spam of the day:

Too bad we must return them.

Yeah, but what are you going to do with five gallon of ticks?

Back From Pondering Drive … For Now

Okay, so yesterday I promised you other stuff, and now we get to it. Hooray for kept promises!

  • Via Meredith Gran, news that Image will be comprehensively reprinting Octopus pie:

    Image will be collecting the whole OP series starting next year. Out of print material returns! New and never printed comics… IN PRINT

    Specifically, volume 1 will hit in January (a retitled and newly covered edition of the first comprehensive collection, the sadly out of print There Are No Stars In Brooklyn), to be followed by the subsequent collections Listen At Home and Dead Forever, and then on to new stories! No word yet about the release schedule, but I’m already clearing room on my bookshelf for the future volume 4.

  • Meanwhile, Oni Press announced the long-anticipated Lucky Penny collection from Yuko Ota and Ananth Hirsh (serialized from February of 2012 through March of 2015, a timeframe including multiple bouts of near-crippling repetitive stress injuries for Ota). Readers may recall that Ota & Hirsh Kickstarted Lucky Penny so that they could have a stock of the book in addition to what Oni would make, an unusual creator/publisher/crowdfunding partnership that I expect to see more of. The KS version of LP is due in December, and the Oni release is due for March.

    But that’s not all that Oni announced — KC Green’s also part of the press release, as the last long storyline from Gunshow, Graveyard Quest (omitted from the last Gunshow print collection) will also be published in March of 2016. Graveyard Quest is probably the best longform story Green’s ever done, surpassing The Anime Club in depth, and even The Dog’s Sins in terms of unsettling feelings — not from spookyness or unnaturalness, but from the unresolved, heartfelt unease that can only occur in families in crisis.

  • Lastly, I want to recommend to you a piece that’s about a week and a half old, but made it way around the technical corners of the web yesterday, and not just because it contains the entirely amazing sentence I worry about Jeff Bezos’ bizarre obsession with dinosaur sex. That line was uttered by Matthew Prince, head of Cloudflare, the DSN and web security company. He was talking about Amazon chief Bezos and the recent ban on e-books containing weird human/dinosaur (or human/monster, or human/whatever) erotica, which has proved oddly lucrative for certain creators, and thus also for Amazon. Amazon don’t do nuthin’ that doesn’t make money, so banning an entire category of books that a) sell and b) give Amazon a cut means that somebody at the top (hi, Jeff!) has a serious beef with people gettin’ it on ceratopsians¹.

    It’s all very amusing, but it masks a more serious problem; part of the whisk[e]y-fueled chat I had with Brad Guigar concerned what happens if (when?) porn becomes so prevalent on Patreon that credit card processors automatically start charging the higher transaction fees that they level on adult material? What happens if the entire site gets cut off from the financial system altogether? Visa and Mastercard have, multiple times in the past, cut off merchants whose business was insufficiently family-friendly rather than be accused of catering to the porn industry.

    There’s also pretty concrete evidence that the Justice Department (or at least the offices of the local US Attorney) have leaned on banks to close the accounts of smut producers (usually small, sometimes essentially individuals) under the authority of laws meant to fight financial crimes and the funding of terrorism. Not to speak for Josh Lesnick, but I’d imagine the biggest headache that Slipshine [NSFW, obvs] has is keeping a payment processor that doesn’t decide to yank his merchant account because somebody has to think of the children.

    We think of webcomics has having evaded gatekeepers, and on a content/editorial basis, it absolutely has. But in trying to make that independent effort a proper business, one must engage in a system that is entirely one-sided. Run afoul of one person at Chase or Bank of America and you’re frozen out; they’ll never take on a major corporate creator of inferior smut (cable and dish companies make a lot of damn money off of naughty pay-per-view; so does every hotel chain other than Hilton, who are weaning themselves off the grumble flicks), but they’ll freeze out anybody that attracts enough attention from a loud enough pressure group.

    Which is why the interview with Prince is important. With the continued concentration of information services into the hands of fewer and fewer providers, the possibility of getting strong-armed by somebody that doesn’t like your personal aesthetic is something we’re going to have to be increasingly cognizant of.

Spam of the day:

I’ve been wanting you inside me since I saw your pictures. Can you please message me so we can hang out this weekend?

Sorry, I think you meant to send this to the Triceratops with the very similar email address.

¹ I almost wrote women instead of people, but there’s plenty of gay dinosmut as well, although does anything on the hetero/homo axis make sense when you’re talking about different species?

One Sentence

Honestly, Steve seems a little meek to be so high up in the Jinyiwei. Taneel's got his number.

I had other things I was going to talk about today, and I will tomorrow. But an update this morning has preoccupied me to such as extent that I can’t do anything else justice today.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of everything that Dave Kellett’s doing with Drive, and I’ve got plenty to be a fan of, seeing as how the story is maybe a third of the way told at this point. I have a million questions about the future Kellett’s laid out, the nature of the conflict, the structure of the society, and he’s politely deferred all of them.

But I’ve never had so many questions spring from a single sentence before.

Here’s what we know — the Jinyiwei are the secret police that even the regular secret police don’t know about; they are the Emperor’s all-powerful sword-hand, the instrument of his (or her, there have been Empresses in this Second Spanish Empire) will. The Emperor says fight and they fight, he says kill and they kill, he says utterly suppress and dominate an entire planet and it becomes their headquarters. At least, that’s the story up until six words are uttered by a woman high up (perhaps highest up) the malevolent food chain:

Can’t have the Emperor asking questions.

That line chilled me, more than the casual cruelty this woman is shown to have dished out on the page, more than the horrific injuries she’s apparently survived (presumably in the line of duty)¹. Because the Jinyiwei are meant to be the tool of the Emperor, but what do they actually serve? His will? What they think will best serve his will and don’t bother him with the messy details? What they think his will should be? Because by announcing that the Jinyiwei will take over the mission of the Machito’s crew, Ms Terrifying³ is directly countermanding the Emperor’s orders and condemning at least one member of La Familia to death.

So now I’ve got questions: To what extent is the Jinyiwei a loyal force verses an independent power center? How many members of La Familia serve in their ranks (I’m guessing a smart Emperor would want to keep possible rival claimants far away from secrets and skullduggery)? And if they’re so very, very good at being the secret police, how is it possible that the current Emperor was successful in his murder of the previous Emperor without their knowledge? Do they protect the Emperor as long as he lives and transfer their loyalty regardless of the circumstances of accession, or is it not possible to take the throne without their assent/active participation? There were hints before, but that’s exactly the sort of reputation a secret police would want to promote to make their job easier; this is confirmation straight from the viper’s mouth.

More than a single new antagonist, those six words have revealed an entire (likely thoroughly corrupt, with the idealistic weeded out early and fatally) power structure that probably holds an entire planet in a state of slavery and cannot be reasoned with or evaded — the Machito’s crew cannot come out this alive without effectively taking on the entire empire and doing so in such a thorough manner as to effectively smash all the existing power centers. Young ‘Nando is either going to die or take the throne; there are no other outcomes.

Oh, and Steve is totally doomed. He’s either a complete dick or redeems himself defying his superior. No way he can carry out the order to kill Taneel, ‘Nando, Cuddow, and the others.

The story has taken a darker turn, and the greatest threats to humanity are no longer their hubris, their recklessness with the Drive, the Continuum of Makers, the Vinn, or the Emperor’s quest for power. It’s a deadly bureaucracy that likely tells itself that everything it’s doing is for the greater good. The much-discussed banality of evil has rarely been revealed so efficiently.

And it’s all one strip after the story of First Minister Huggstable. I think that’s what they call turning on a dime.

Spam of the day:

3 zones of comfort to life, shape and support

Yeah, not really in the bra market right now.

¹ Even more than those glasses. Seriously, Kellett, what’s with you and the Far Side-style cats-eye glasses? Or are we meant to infer a relationship between this obvious antagonist and the kindly Captain Taneel²?

² Boo, by the way. Booooo.

³ Or El Puño, the Fist, to use her title.

Whiskey And Porn

To be fair, Brad Guigar and I spoke about many things over dinner and island whisk[e]y last night (he stayed on Islay, I started in Japan and ended in Orkney), ranging from who is doing great comics and the potential for a Patreon bubble collapse to his discovery of how challenging drawing the naughty comics has been for him these past few months. Short version: the money is very nice, but there are societal hurdles. Shorter version: he’s never been so glad that his mom doesn’t ever read his comic. On the plus side, he gets to deduct porn as legitimate business expenses. It was a wonderfully wry conversation that looked at both sides of that tension.

But today, there’s a far better conversation, far briefer, and we all get to share in it. You’ll have to supply your own booze.

I call Erika Moen Hurricane Erika (although I may stop, as that name was actually used this season and was rather deadly) because she’s a force of nature. She’s spent a significant amount of her comics career getting shit on by people that have decided to assign motives to her or make her the villain in their own personal psychodramas. Basically, people forgot that DAR-era Erika was not a cartoon character, but an actual person with a life that doesn’t perfectly parallel with those of her critics; once they forgot, they never remembered.

Today’s a little different. Today, she’s anticipating getting shit for being who she is and what she actually does. I imagine it’s marginally better to get grief for your actual own self instead of somebody’s invented version, but not a whole lot better.

Let me back up a moment.

Today’s Oh Joy, Sex Toy is about something Moen hasn’t test-driven or done, but something she’s thinking about doing and how she’s conflicted about the likely blowback. Specifically, porn star James Deen has invited Moen and husband Matt Nolan to make porn with him¹ and do a comic about the experience. They’re into the idea, they want to do it, and they haven’t yet — or at least, haven’t told us if they have or not — because of the likely side effects. Moen’s comic career work will no longer be what you find on Google:

If I do this, when you search for my name the first thing you’re gunna see is my vadge getting pounded. A video of me fucking will eclipse everything else I’ve accomplished and created. [emphasis original]

And that’s before the internet commentariat that despised Moen for who they thought she was will start to despise Moen for something she’s actually done; fortunately, internet people never make their displeasure with complete strangers known². And even worse than asshole internet randos, Moen anticipates getting treated differently by actual people in her life:

They’re cool with you reviewing sex toys and going to sex parties and featuring sex work in your comics, but if they knew a video of you fucking existed they’d be appalled?

That’s Leia Weatherington, the other half of the conversation featured in today’s comic; she has zero fucks to give for anybody that pulls that shit, and good for her. It’s entirely possible that she and Moen will get an uptick in their average internet asshole contact rates just for being shown to have this conversation, which makes them both brave as hell in my book.

So there’s the dilemma — something that Moen wants to do, with her husband’s enthusiastic cooperation, completely in line with the sort of experiential consumer reporting/education comics journalism that she’s known for could carry significant negatives. I’d love to reach out to her and advise her to tell her haters (present and future) to fuck off, but I’m not the one that would have to bear the brunt of that bravado from my safe remove.

The comic ends on a To be continued, and whatever Moen decides, I hope she can find the balance between brave and emotional safety, long-held want and personal relationships. Maybe Erika and Matt and James Deen make porn despite the negatives. Maybe Dan Savage’s HUMP Festival³ offers a middle path. Maybe the discussion is the most important thing. But in any event, Moen (and Weatherington, and Nolan, and hell, James Deen too and let’s throw Guigar on the pile while we’re at it4) are all to be applauded for challenging a culture that wants everything to be sexy all the time but also wants to punish those that are/create material that is.

My most sincere thanks to Moen for once again generously, courageously sharing who she is. It’s not easy to tell the world that you exist and what you’re like, but she always makes it look graceful and messy in equal measure.

Spam of the day:

(1) New Message from Jessgirl86 (9 miles away)

Oh great, now I’ve got a Rick Springfield earworm going on. THANKS, spammers.

¹ Something that apparently anybody can apply to do on Deen’s website [NSFW, obviously)

² I am not meaning to minimize Nolan’s involvement in all of this; he and Moen are partners in OJST as well as life, and would be partners in this porn adventure. But let’s face it, a dude is not going to get even one percent of the vitriol that a woman would.

³ Where amateur filmmakers create five minute porn shorts — of any degree of explicitness, any topic, any genre or medium — and they get shown in an actual theater to an audience, then the movie file is publicly destroyed. You get to be in porn but not have it follow you around for the rest of your life.

4 Ladies and gentlemen, start your fanfics.

All This And Brad Guigar

Multiple things happening in the Wide World o’ Webcomics, and I get to have dinner with Brad Guigar? My cup runneth over.

  • Fastest moving story of the day: Zach Weinersmith has launched a new book Kickstarter and celebrated by making today a three comic day. Three comics, three alt-texts, three voteys, it’s a weinersmithapalooza! And, surprising nobody, the new collection in question (of the best of SMBC religion comics) launched about four hours ago (as of this writing) and is sitting at 376% of goal, presumably because people want to get their hands on a copy of the Bible, as abridged by Weinersmith to make it relevant to the modern world. My theory: it just has one page that says Stop doing that¹.
  • Speaking of Kickstarter: I got my backer survey today for the previously-mentioned customizable sketchbooks, so it appears that I will get my personal philosophy encapsulating notebook after all. Hooray for Book Block!
  • Most academically important story of the day: Charlotte Something, aka Charlotte Herbert (a UK-based model and Suicide Girl), is somebody you should be paying attention to today. Not for the fact that she is willing to (as the British would say) get her kit off in a fairly public manner, but because she’s working on her dissertation and needs your help:

    COMIC CON ATTENDEES!! I’m conducting this survey for my dissertation, if you can complete it, I’ll love you forever.

    The survey is brief, and somewhat telling in the questions it seeks to answer vis-a-vis comics conventions, particularly with respect to number nine:

    9. Do you read Graphic Novels/Comic Books?
    Not yet, but I plan to.

    State of the modern comics show, everybody. Take a minute and fill it out, see if your responses in the freeform questions (what’s changed about these shows, what to you like/dislike about them) can prompt somebody down the line to make comics shows about, oh, comics.

Spam of the day:

Grab 12,000 shed plans inside… (open now)

Amazingly, not a euphemism. Somebody really likes sheds and is eager for you to also really like sheds.

¹ Given that none of the sample comics on the Kickstarter page feature Islam, but do feature Christianity and atheism² the countdown to somebody frothing on Reddit about it begins … now!

² Also Buddhism, but you don’t find that many mouth-frothy Buddhist determined to scream at you until you achieve inner peace.

Nope, One More Chewy Cluster

Re: yesterday’s post about Webcomics Rampage being the last webcomics-heavy show of the year? I stupidly overlooked the fact that MICE — the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo — will be chock-full of webcomickers, and it also runs this weekend, and it also also is a free event.

This is a particularly egregious oversight on my part, because I’ve been enjoying the crap out of the Ryan North-written, guest-artist drawn Dinosaur Comics in honor of MICE this week (by, respectively, Braden Lamb¹, Mitra Farmand, and Patt Kelley). I mean, lookit them! The casual lab wear on Lamb’s strip! The substitution of cats and mice in Farmand’s! The cosplay and the commuter bus and the bloody mouths and the sad, old dinosaurs toddling off to early bird specials at Denny’s in Kelley’s! They’re amazing and I completely spaced on how they were pointing out that MICE is this weekend.

Naturally, more creators than just North, Lamb, Farmand, and Kelley will be descending on Lesley University in Cambridge, MA²; they’ll be joined by (in no particular order, and this is certainly an incomplete list) Gene Luen Yang, Lucy Knisley, Dustin Harbin, Aatmaja Pandya, Matt Lubchansky, Evan Dahm, Meredith Gran & Mike Holmes, Alison Wilgus, George O’Connor, Nick Offerman³, Janelle Asselin, Jason Viola, Carey Pietsch, Cathy Leamy, John Green & Dave Roman, Rosemary Mosco, Sophie Goldstein, Colleen Frakes, Dante Shepherd, Dirk Tiede, and many, many more.

There will also be corn programming.

If you’re not in either metro Cambridge or metro Austin this weekend, I dunno — just sit home and be sad about that fact? Not too sad, just a little. I’m sure that the right degree of sadness can be properly expressed with the help of a highly-customizable greeting card, such as those being preorderable from David Malki ! on Kickstarter. They’re available for the next three weeks, they will definitely get made, seeing as how they’ve achieved more than 108,000% of goal (as of this writing), and will hopefully arrive in time for the holiday card-sending season.

Spam of the day:

Stephanie’s 145-Pound Weight Loss

Dudes, I mass 60kg soakin’ wet. For those of you that cling to an antiquated unit of measure, that’s about 132 pounds. You lost more than an entire me, which scares the crap-hell out me. Pass.

¹ Already used to working with North on Adventure Time and Midas Flesh, where he got to draw lots of dinosaurs(!).

² Not Boston, but as we all know, Boston is not a big college town.

³ Not that one.

The Last Chewy Cluster Of Webcomickers For 2015?

I mean, East- and Northampton still exist, as does Portland, so there are natural conurbations of webcomickers, but this may be the last organized public gathering of such until next year. And you can be part of it, if you’re in mid-Texas this weekend:

Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy will be hosting Webcomic Rampage Episode VII: The Web Awakens […] October 17 & 18th.

Webcomic Rampage is all-webcomics, all the time, set in a comic shop (which means that it’s primed to attract people who equate comics with I will pay money to read, which has to be good for the creators showing), with a humane scale and pace, and a well-curated slate of guests each year. This year’s tributes lucy contestants exhibitors include the likes of David Malki !, Randy Milholland, David Willis¹, “Unca” Lar deSouza, EK Weaver², David McGuire, Amanda Lafrenais, Melanie Gillman, Garth Cameron Graham, Alex Woolfson, Nikki Ward, Michael Terracciano, Ngozi Ukazu, Dax Tran-Caffee, GABO, and Joel Watson³.

Saturday and Sunday afternoons will each feature live draws with various creators on the even-numbered hours, and a group panel of everybody at 9:00pm; past years have featured the occasional crudity or naughty language due to the lateness of the hour and the possibility of sophisticated adult beverages at dinnertime, so I like to call it Webcomics Rampage After Dark4.

Alas, Austin (while a great town) is a little far away and I have to head out for a work gig on Sunday anyway, so please convey my best wishes to all and sundry and I’ll see you all on the con circuit next year.

Notspam of the day:

Up Coming Events: Sushi Robot Demo

This should never have gone into my spam folder because a) it’s a sender I know and whose products I buy from time to time, and b) SUSHI ROBOT. I’m giving you this one for free, spammers. Put a sushi robot in the subject, and I’ll read it.

¹ For a fun time, ask him how much he’s looking forward to the twins that are nearing their appearance in the household. I’m sure he won’t be terrified in the least! And what’s the deal with webcomickers and twins anyway? Rosenberg, Sohmer, Hou, possibly other twin-producing creators, it’s got to exceed the average rate of multiple births in the US/Canada.

² Ask her how thrilled she is about the new TJ & Amal omnibuses (omnibi?) that are getting into the hands of KS backers and available to everybody else soon.

³ as Joyce Davenport.

4 Insert Ryan North intoning Ladies in a sultry voice (with his shirt off probably) here.

Counting Down To The C&D From DordMart

A story making the rounds about possibly finding evidence of constructed objects around a distant star has already prompted a thousand SF story hooks, but only one of them is in the hands of a man not afraid to get a .horse domain. I welcome you all to:, long may the conversation run.

In other news:

  • It’s been about a year since the crowdfunding for an Android version of Comic Chameleon, the mobile webcomic integrator that a) doesn’t suck and b) isn’t a scraper because c) it’s done with the permission of the creators and thus d) pays them. I got to play with a beta version a while back (it was a different phone on a very old release of Android and had some quirks, but was basically solid), and now you can play with the official thing, because Comic Chameleon for Android drops in the Google Play store today.

    I’m really looking forward to digging in with an up to date phone and seeing how it does. Should make getting out of bed in the morning much easier. Thanks to Bernie Hou (of Alien Loves Predator, topic of one of my favorite pieces I’ve written here at Fleen) and his team for all the hard work.

  • The National Book Award finalists were announced on NPR’s Morning Edition today, and I was particularly thrilled to hear one shortlist nominee in particular: Nimona not only got mentioned, but was one of the few books that came in for a full discussion from an impromptu panel.

    Unlike NPR’s Glen Weldon, I had no qualms about how it would translate from web to print, but like him and NPR’s Barrie Hardymon, I’m thrilled by its inclusion, and by the depth of Nimona’s story re: how girls get treated. Here’s hoping that Noelle Stevenson gets to give a little speech in a few weeks, and here’s hoping even more she closes with I’M A SHARK AAAAHH.

  • Delilah Dirk is making her return, and she’s starting in webcomic form. In the run-up to next year’s print release, the first 90 pages will be serialized online, starting from chapter one, oh, today-ish.

    Four pages a week from Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling will go up until March, then we get to read the rest of the story in a glorious single chunk when we all go buy it. We’re all going to go buy it, right? Damn right we are. Tony Cliff’s lost none of his storytelling chops since the release of Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, and now we all get to enjoy them together.

  • Apropos of nothing: that time Emperor Palpatine and Sauron met to bitch about their enemies and deaths. It’s hilarious.

Spam of the day:

You’re so cute.

Damn right I am. I’m friggin’ adorable.