The webcomics blog about webcomics

No Arguing

Here are your instructions:

  • Go to this link.
  • Give Molly Ostertag five dollars American cash money. Or more! You can give more. If you are, by chance, in a place where you cannot give Molly Ostertag five dollars American cash money at the moment, the first page (they’re tall pages) of what you’re going to give her five dollars American cash money for is available as a preview at Ostertag’s twitterfeed.
  • Download How The Best Hunter In The Village Met Her Death and read it.
  • Set it aside for a short while, then read it again.
  • Pull Ostertag’s masterful graphic novel, The Witch Boy, off your shelf¹ and give it a read, thinking about it and about How The Best Hunter In The Village Met Her Death. In fact, go read How The Best Hunter In The Village Met Her Death again. Think about it some more; I’ve been doing quite a lot of thinking about it today.
  • Thank Molly Ostertag, because she’s shared a piece of entirely wonderful art with you.

Spam of the day:

The super soft ribbed silicone gently scrubs away mud and dirt leaving your pets feet nice and clean! Cleaning the cup is a breeze. Just pour out the dirty water and rinse out the cup.

I’m gonna say that this cleaning device for muddy pet paws is actually pretty clever. I’m also going to say that it looks like something Matthew Nolan might have reviewed.

¹ You have a copy, right. If not, fix that immediately.

Your Reluctance To Do Your Damn Job Does Not Obligate Me To Clean Up Your Mess

It does, however, seem that my desire to prevent another work-related disaster is chewing up all of my spare breathing time getting sucked into meetings (bloody meetings!) while you endlessly talk back and forth, hoping to run out the clock and make it my problem again.

  • Which is to say, you’re also depriving me of the time needed to talk about my beloved webcomics, including the Kickstart put up by the too-awesome-for-words Tony Breed for the next Muddler’s Beat collection, Have Fun, Leave Me Out Of It¹.

    Then again, there’s not much that needs saying; Tony’s awesome, his comic is awesome, he’s working with Make That Thing (who are jointly and severally awesome), and this is as close to a no-brainer as you can get in crowdfunding. The campaign is running a paltry fifteen days, it’s hit 46% funding (of the extraordinarily modest US$4500 goal) about a day in, and you’ll have your book by the end of June.

    Like, this June. Partly this is because Breed, et al, are awesome (see above), and partially because he’s had time to get everything just so; Muddler’s Beat has been on a retooling hiatus, and will return in minicomic form (leaving behind the daily strip format) in April. Not doing a daily strip is an excellent way to free up the time to get everything set on a book.

  • And since we are here, may I point out that the Kickstart for BACK Book 2 has two and a half days and 15% to go? You’re making me nervous, people. KC Green and Anthony Clark are two of the finest cartooning minds on the planet, and the thought that their collaboration is getting down to the wire is inconceivable.

    Also, it was written in the before times that if ever Green or Clark is thwarted, they’ll turn into monstrous elder gods (in Clark’s case, adorably wizard shaped) and consume (in no particular order) the sun, the Earth, and your soul. So you might want to get on that.

Spam of the day:

Fastolfe, as he did so. Superior Singing Doodle Video ­ Clickbank — Superior Singing Method can dreamer, we’ll Grab Your FREE Copy of My Most Effective, Time-Efficient Fat-Loss Workout Here.

Robbie Coltrane is my favorite Falstaff, or Falstofe, if you will.

¹ Breed comes up with the best titles; case in point: his last collection was titled Literally Everything Is Outside My Comfort Zone.

Festival Friday

The header image is apropos of nothing, except that Kendra Wells has been killing it at The Nib lately, and that there’s something refreshingly hilarious about a pop song called Obstruct My Justice.

It’s spring time (the snow from the Nor’easter two days back is melting and everything!) and that means comics festival time. In case you hadn’t seen, both MoCCA Fest and TCAF have new information up for your perusal.

  • First up: MoCCA (7 and 8 April, at the Metropolitan West event space, next to the Intrepid Museum) has schedules of events (which will take place a skant two blocks away, at the Ink 48 hotel), with six panels on Saturday and six more on Sunday.

    The big draws look to be the retrospective on creating March with co-author Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell (Saturday at 3:30pm in the Garamond Room), the Jaime Hernandez spotlight (Sunday at 12:30pm, Garamond Room), and the Mike Mignola Q&A (3:30pm, Garamond again). It’s not like what’s happening in the Helvetica Room is bad, it’s just these three caught my eye.

    Oh, and I’m not sure if I mentioned that featured guests for MoCCA, but they include webcomicker Rebecca Mock (who also designed the badges this year) and The Nib cartoonist Ann Telnaes (who also draws for other places, like The Washington Post). Exhibitors that caught my eye include Alisa Harris (A119 A), Carey Pietsch (H255), Christian Blaza (H264), Corey Chrapuch (H230), Josh Neufeld (I270 A), Julia Gfrörer (E183 A), Ken Wong (G242), Laura Ķeniņš (E179), Madeline Zuluaga (F231), Pénélope Bagieu (no table listed, but I’ll bet she’s hanging out with the cool folks at :01 Books, E162), Priya Huq (H263 B), Robyn Chapman (E170), Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (J286), and Sara Varon (D155 B). Did I miss anybody? Let me know!

  • For those not all festival’ed out, TCAF will run 12 and 13 May, centered on the Toronto Reference Library, but spilling out into the surrounding neighborhood for a event that’s become more and more citywide. They’ve also done us the favor of putting all their exhibitors on one fast-loading page. However, the fast-loading page doesn’t allow you to click links into new tabs or copy link addresses, so there’s no quick way of including websites for folks. I know, but you think I have these all memorized?

    Anyways, you’ll see Lucy Bellwood, Boum, Tony Breed, Vera Brosgol, Emily Carroll, Cecil Castellucci, Danielle Corsetto, Becky Dreistadt & Frank Gibson, Melanie Gillman, Sophie Goldstein, KC Green, Nicholas Gurewitch, Kori Michele Handwerker, Dustin Harbin, Myisha Haynes, Ananth Hirsh & Yuko Ota, Abby Howard, C Spike Trotman, Jeph Jacques, Shing Yin Khor, Hope Larson, Kel McDonald, Sara & Tom McHenry, Rebecca Mock, Sfé Monster, Molly Ostertag, Ben Passmore, Katie Shanahan, Whit Taylor, Jen Wang, Ron Wimberly, and the zubiquitous Jim Zub. You should be able to find their sites pretty easily.

Spam of the day:

Congratulations, You’ve Been Considered for Inclusion…

They still do Who’s Who type scams? Man, that takes me back. I remember getting actual postcards back in like high school talking about the importance of being listed in such a prestigious personal branding vehicle. Got some sour news for you, Jack — you weren’t getting my US$39.95¹ back then, you ain’t getting squat from me now.

¹ US$95.74 in constant dollars.

Kicking, Starting

I am cautiously optimistic that all the of frozen water I cleared away from my house will be the last we get this season; much of it is melting away as we speak, which makes me wonder what the point of it all was.

Anyway, let’s talk Kickstarter, and not for the reason that appears to be all over subtwitter¹. Rather, let’s see how Kickstarters can/should be run from people with a history of running them well.

  • First up, the irrepressible Lucy Bellwood² is presently in Denmark teaching various things, including the effective use of Kickstarter; by a peculiar corinsidence, this came just as notices of shipment were going out for Bellwood’s 100 Demon Dialogues campaign, bang on time.

    Bellwood, being the community contribution maniac that she is, has also kept a live Google spreadsheet showing all the finances on this project so that all can learn from her hard-won experience. And since looking at a spreadsheet isn’t enough to learn all of her secrets, her talk is here, where over the course of an hour she talks about community-building, reward design, budgeting, and outreach — plus some important information about wizards and how they can totally heck up your whole deal. If you don’t want your whole deal hecked up, give it a careful watch or five.

  • Brad Guigar is utterly predictable in a couple of respects: he will burst out laughing like his life depends upon it, and his Kickstarts follow a definite pattern. Namely, he takes a year’s worth of strips, pitches a reasonable number of tiers to his fans, gets 1.5x to 2.5x overfunding, prints ’em up, and does fulfillment on time between two and four months later (shorter for stock items, longer for personalized). Guys, when it comes to Kickstarter, boring is good; you know exactly what you’re going to get from him.

    Which, in the case of his latest print collection, is exactly what I just mentioned, along with the added bonus of smut. Guigar’s got fans of his teens-and-up strip, and fans of his (ahem) late-night Cinemax Patreon tiers, and for the first time he’s providing for both in one campaign (instead of the whole thing being adults-only, there are a couple of tiers that include the cartoon sexytimes, with most being safer to leave out on the coffee table around family).

    Boring, but with suddenly revealed sizzle is the pitch for more porn movies than you can think of because it works. I anticipate that the Guigar Sons College Fund is going to benefit mightily from BBWSRS for the foreseeable future.

  • Howard Tayler³, on the other hand, swings wildly in his Kickstarts; not in the BBWSRS sense, but in the sense that he’ll do alternating quick turnaround, narrowly focused campaigns, complex, ever-growing campaigns with long fulfillment times, then back to simple. The books come as the chapters dictate (and are planned out well in advance, at this point).

    Every once in a while, he’ll throw in a simple project, but mix it up so he doesn’t get bored. Case in point: his first new shirt designs in some time, which is running with a unique stretch goal model. Reaching the US$25,000 figure (US$10K over goal) unlocked a shirt design that everybody was going to want. Reaching a total of 1500 shirts ordered allows everybody at the three shirt bundle tier (US$60) to choose a fourth shirt for free.

    But please notice that there are five designs, and if the total orders reach 3000 shirts, people will be able to add on additional shirts for US$15 instead of US$20. Everything about the stretch goals increases value for the backers while simultaneously incentivizing them to give Tayler more money. It’s a thing of beauty where everybody (but especially Tayler’s bank balance) wins. Writing the adventures of money-maximizing borderline sociopaths must be inspirational, as Tayler’s got the money maximizing part down cold; here’s hoping he leaves the lessons learned there.

  • Kel McDonald (for whom the McDonald Ratio is named) has done every kind of Kickstart under the sun — print collections (simple reprints to multivolume omnibus editions), anthologies, pins, done-in-one stories, and more. Of late, she’s been working around digital-only projects, which simplify the crap out of fulfillment. Got a story to tell? Write it up, get a team of seasoned comics pros to edit, draw, and color it, and have it in everybody’s hands in 60 days or so. It would be a mistake to think that McDonald couldn’t make good on any campaign, what with a baker’s dozen under her belt, but with the help of Roxy Polk, Kara Leopard, and Whitney Cogar, it’s pretty much a slam dunk.

Spam of the day:

Easy care suits: Wear. Wash. Repeat.

Why is this the subject line for a spam full of pictures and links to knock-off jewelry?

¹ For the record, I’m far away from the corners of Webcomickia where all of this went down and don’t know any of the principals, but people I know and trust have Opinions and yeah — been a while since we had a mess like this. And it seems risky for Kickstarter to have offered a 22 year old a job in charge of stuff without an unimpeachably solid record of managing people and processes (which pretty much no 22 year old has, so …).

² Adventure Cartoonist!!

³ Evil twin, etc.

Battening All The Hatches I Can Find

See that up there? That’s the most useful forecast product in the weather game — the 48 hour, hour-by-hour breakdown of what’s happening in your neighborhood, from the National Weather Service. They’re not hyping numbers to get you to tune in and they don’t have bozos in logo parkas out in the slop for live updates on the eights. They measure success not by eyeballs, but by how accurate they are.

If you’re curious how it’s gonna be for wherever you are, go here, punch in your ZIP code, and scroll down to hourly weather forecast graph. Personally, it’s gonna be a bear around here, and so if I don’t post in a timely fashion, please forgive me in advance.

As for today, it’s the 20th, and I’ll admit that this iteration of the F-Six hasn’t gathered the attention that previous ones did¹, but still thanks to Ben Cordes and anonymous, there will be US$100 donated to the DC March For Our Lives, and another US$100 to the Parkland March For Our Lives. On a day when there was another godsdamned school shooting, it seems the very least that we can do.

Spam of the day:

Xeophin is currently undertaking a cryptocurrency raise to restructure our company and undertake the first Biotech ICO powered by Blockchain.

Got news for you, Bunky: your blockchain don’t mean shit with respect to finding new drugs, and as somebody who’s had rheumatoid arthritis kill people near to me, I’m insulted that you’re implying your scam initial coin offering has anything to do with treating that hideous disease. Fuck off.

¹ In fact, it’s been a decline with each new charity campaign — I get it, and I’m not mad.

One Down, One Thousand Twenty-Five To Go

Things are much better than they were end of last week, thanks for asking. I managed to swing by the local Toys backwards-R Us to pre-buy some presents (being a grunkle is the best); I wished the staff well and told them that if I ever see a principal of Bain Captial, I’ma punch ’em in the neck. How was your weekend?

  • Octopus Pie starts its director’s commentary track today; if you want to see the original run, it starts here and ends here. Each strip contains a little button to click to get the retrospective discussion; you can read along without having to see it if that’s your preference.

    Strip 001 establishes the rhythms of the strip early on, and shows that Gran is not constrained by any of your storytelling cliches. Chekhov’s Gun be damned, that obnoxious dude and the pea wiggle never made another appearance in the ten-plus year run. Sure, we saw semi-recurring characters again, but not unremarked-upon nothings. Gran knows that life isn’t made up of that kind of coincidence.

    She knows a lot about how life works, atcherly, and that’s why Octopus Pie is so damn good. Read it again for the first time.

  • Reminder: tomorrow is the deadline for contributions to be included in the latest F-Six campaign. If you can’t make it to a march or rally on Saturday, toss a few bucks to support those that will, yeah?

Spam of the day:

Dirty Little Annuity Secrets Earn 7% now!

My dudes, the scams take one of three forms: sexy {barely legal | MILFy} [ethnic descriptor]s want to have sex with me; wealth beyond the dreams of Croesus can be mine; products and/or services for old people are available¹. Do not cross the streams, scammers! The financial scams are not sexy! The sexy scams do not involve Medicare supplement plans! The hip replacements do not offer unrealistic financial returns! Stay in your own damn lanes.

¹ Somebody out there put me on a list that indicates I’m 65+ years old and I get scam emails and calls for Medicare nonstop. Fuckers.

Murder Averted … For Now

But the — let us say challenges — that I was describing yesterday remain. I’ll leave you with this one comment that was added to yestreday’s post, but which was for some reason (honestly, can’t imagine why) as spam. We’ll be back with proper postings come Monday.

Spam of the day:

Hellow All I like pizza! :)

Dude, everybody likes pizza. You’re not special.

This Is Becoming More Frequent

Work crisis, etc. Possibly murder by the time it’s all done.

So please enjoy the news (I’ve been waiting to talk about this forever) that Ryan North has become — as near as I can tell — the first person to ever turn a t-shirt into a full-length book. Given that it teaches you how to bootstrap civilization at any time in the past, you might say that How To Invent Everything is no less than a full compendium of all human knowledge.

With pictures by Lucy Bellwood.

Pre-orders are available now, with the book releasing on 18 September.

Spam of the day:

Stop the IRS

It’s not a lot, but I get a bit of money back from them most years. If we stop them, I won’t get that money. Pass.

Quick Post And A Reminder

The reminder being, the Fleen Fight For Fungible Futures Fund is active again, with we at Fleen matching any donations to either the Washington, DC or Parkland, Florida March For Our Lives. As today is the one-month anniversary of the Parkland shooting (and the disgraceful reaction — which is to say, almost none — on the part of state and national government) and the kids are walking out of school to keep us from letting this one slip away like all the others, it seemed a good time to remind y’all. You’ve got until 20 March to make me proud and, incidentally, cost me some money.

I don’t always remember to mention the efforts of the folks behind the Toronto Comics Anthology when they come up with a new edition, but my eyeballs happened to be in the right place today, so I’m pointing out that it’s anthology time, and that means the relevant Kickstarter campaign is underway. Osgoode As Gold features the collective skill of the Toronto comics community (which surely rivals Brooklyn or Portland as a hub for comickers), and as in previous years, looks like a terrific value for your pledge dollar.

It’s also got the logistics figured out like whoa, given that there’s an option to pledge for a physical copy and pick it up at TCAF, which means that these books will be in hand by May 12, or a mere six weeks from the end of the campaign. That only works if they’ve got everything ready to go, at the printer, just waiting on the check (or cheque, as Our Northern Friends would have it) to arrive before setting the presses in motion. It would be a shame to make all that work go wasted.

At the moment, the anthology sits at 45% of goal with sixteen and a half days to go; Kicktraq has them trended to clear the CA$15,000 target by a mere sixty four Canadian fun bucks, and the Kicktraq predictions this far out are always high. The FFF mk2 put them at CA$13.6K — 20.3K (but the low participation rate is low enough that the math isn’t very accurate), and the McDonald Ratio has them at CA$14.3K; what I am saying is that there is a need for a kick in the pants, because falling just barely short is a terrible fate.

There’s absolutely going to be something (multiple somethings!) in that anthology you’re going to love, and that’s worth CA$20 (about fifteen and a half American) for 220+ pages and 50 creators. Give it a look, and please do consider supporting it.

Spam of the day:

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My dudes, if I wanted to gamble I’d go to Vegas, and I’m too good at math to gamble. Hashtag: CRAEFUL.

Oh hell yes dogg right

It is a Fleen Stylebook requirement that titles be rendered with initial capitals in all circumstances, excepting circumstances where it would violate personal pronouns; for example, if we had cause to reference writer bell hooks, we would utilize her preferred lack of capitals.

The only other exception is what we at Fleen refer to as the Roast Beef Rule, wherein quotes of Roast Beef Kazenzakis will follow his typical orthography; if there was a way to make the title font 11% smaller today, I would. Today’s title is not only a direct quote from Mr Kazenzakis, it also links directly to one thing I’m going to tell you, and neatly describes my emotional state regarding the other.

  • The latter first: Meredith Gran announced earlier today that from Monday next (that would be the 19th of March), Octopus Pie will be rerunning daily with author’s commentary. Given what’s likely to be a lot of heads-down work on Perfect Tides, time when we might not see a lot of visible work from Ms Gran, this is welcome news. Even better, we get to fall in love with Octopie again (and for some of you lucky people, for the first time).

    By my count, there are the equivalent of 1026 pages to Octopus Pie, although many of them are meant to be seen all at once; let’s be conservative and say that you will probably get 900 updates (give or take) out of the reruns. That gives us daily Octopie until roughly [American] Labor Day in 2020; we’ll be able to ride out the statutory length of the Trump/Pence administration¹ with the daily example of Eve, Hanna, and the weirdest parts of Brooklyn in your 20s as our coping buddies. You always knew exactly what we’d need, Mer.

  • The former second: Roast Beef is, naturally, the heart and soul of Achewood, and there is Achewood news from creator Chris Onstad:

    Every few years, I ask for a little donation to help cover Achewood server costs. Thank you sincerely for your support! To give:

    The archives are voluminous, and judging solely by my own frequent trips, subject to enormous traffic even today, some 15 months after the most recent (and potentially last) update. I’d say that as long as we can dip back in to relive a particularly favorite bit of Achewood nostalgia, Onstad’s more than earned the occasional couple of bucks.

    As a thank you, Onstad invites all who donate to go wild with the downloading of whatever you like from the PDF library. If that’s not your deal, may I suggest making a purchase from the gallery? It was my good fortune to be able to snatch up the portrait of Ramses Luther Smuckles before someone else did … it’s more beautiful in person than you can imagine. There’s plenty of original art, and gorgeous silkscreens for your perusal. The store works, too.

Spam of the day:

Did Jesus “Heal the Masses” Using Specialized Medical Marijuana Oils

I’ma go out on a limb and say no.

¹ Although with any luck, we’ll be well down the line of succession by then.