The webcomics blog about webcomics

Recovery Day

I’m taking the day off to give this cold the chance to get gone. See you tomorrow. Sleepytimes now.

Bless You, TCAF, For You Bring News On A Harried Day

In this case, their announcement of Kids and YA Guests for 2017 (held, as always, in/around the Toronto Reference Library, this year on 13 & 14 May), which includes some huge names: Isabelle Arsenault and Fanny Britt! Svetlana Chmakova! Elise Gravel! Matt Forsythe! Jarrett Williams! And also a huge crew of creators coming with :01 Books, including Scott Westerfeld, Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham, Faith Erin Hicks, Molly Ostertag, Matthew Loux, Mike Cavallaro, Mike Holmes, George O’Connor, Farel Dalrymple, Box Brown, Penelope Bagieu, and Alison Wilgus, half of whom will have debuts. It’s gonna be a great time in the Big Smoke¹.

Spam of the day:

Monthly curated natural treats and toys for your pup

My dog is presently barking his head off at a pile of squirrel poop. Got that in your curation?

¹ They call Toronto that, right? I mean, I knew about Cabbagetown being a nickname, but I’m pretty sure I saw Big Smoke somewhere.

Voicelack Impacts Continue

A bit after I wrote about my vocal woes on Friday, I lost my ability to speak entirely; for the record, that’s not previously happened in more than 25 years of teaching, and with some of the week’s class yet to be covered, created a dilemma.

The weekend involved a lot of warm salt-water gargling, hot toddies, tea with diabetes-inducing amounts of honey, and thanks to the world’s best PA (other people may like their doctor, I love the PA at my doctor’s practice), a course of steroids¹ that have brought me back to a croaking level.

However, finding ways to make up the interrupted class on Friday have taken all my spare time today in/around my current class, and so I once again must prevail on your kindness to allow for a brief post. But thanks to Brian The War Moth (most recently seen here), I do have something cool to point you at: 3-D extrapolations of comic strips, one fairly simple art-wise, but showing a nice responsiveness to dragging around, and one expanded from a Calvin and Hobbes strip.

Just drag them slowly if you don’t want to get a sense of vertigo.

Spam of the day:

We have received a notice that you are about to miss a student loan payment.

Mother-bitches, I paid off my student loans in 1996, seventeen friggin’ years early. You ain’t received shit.

¹ Running down the list of possible side-effects, she didn’t say that I’d get even one of uncontrolled muscular development, rage fits, or shrunken gonads. Popular media has lied to me yet again.

Well, That Degraded Quickly

I know I say this every year, but damn that's a lotta talent.

My voice, that is. It’s running about 7% of normal capacity, which sucks considering that I teach for a living. Everything is taking twelve times longer than normal¹ and so this is going to be super quick. The inestimable Chris Butcher and the TCAF folks have announced a fresh slate of international featured guests, adding to those previously announced. The full list if hell of impressive.

Okay, back to the interpretive dance to convey SQL permissions exist in a stack of depth one.

Spam of the day:

I must say you have very interesting posts here. Your blog can go viral. You need initial boost only.

I don’t need the blog to go viral; I need my upper respiratory tract to stop be viral. Got anything for that?

¹ Worse, I have one guy in class that is putting lotion on his hands like every 15 minutes, and it’s got a fragrance that is catching on all the coughed-raw sections of my throat in an extraordinarily painful manner and he won’t stop. It’s like he’s afraid he’ll get the hose again.

Revised: I Feel Fine, But Man Is My Voice Ragged Today

No big, I just make my living by speaking all day, argh. Let’s do a roundup.

  • I had a chance to talk to him about it a month back at the Dr McNinja Wrap Party, but as the announcement hadn’t been made, I told Christopher Hastings that I’d hold onto the news. But now the announcement is live and we can all enjoy the fact that Hastings is writing a Baby Groot series for Marvel, starting in May. It’s planned for a story arc that can extend depending on how well the early issues sell, and I both like to read Hastings’s stuff and want him to make a living¹, so make a note to order I Am Groot from your local comic shop.
  • A two-fer from the Theorist Emeritus Of Comics, Scott McCloud: Firstly, a general announcement of his next book, which we won’t see for a couple of years. He told me about this one in the wake of The Sculptor, and it’s been on my mind ever since. Short form, he’s doing a book about how visual communication works, which means that he’s combining the philosophical thrusts of three of my favorite works: The Visual Display Of Quantitative Information by Tufte; The Elements Of Typographic Style by Bringhurst, and his own Understanding/Reinventing/Making Comics trilogy.

    Speaking of the trilogy, McCloud also gave us a sneak peek at the new cover for Understanding Comics, with a promise of Reinventing and Making getting a similar redesign. I have great affection for the original covers and I’m not running out to replace them with the new, but I do like the strong design and statement the new cover(s) make(s). There’s a shift in emphasis from the comics to McCloud himself, with his cartoon avatar’s face too prominent to even entirely fit in the image.

    The message is unmistakably clear — these glasses have seen some things, and behind those lenses there is wisdom waiting to be dropped. The medium isn’t the message any longer, the messenger is now the focus; in a few decades, cartoon!McCloud will be as iconic and indicative of the idea of comics as cityscape spelling out The Spirit or a superhero surrounded by Kirby crackle.

  • Speaking of prophets, Jon Rosenberg² has been killing it on the editorial cartooning lately, with his Michael Flynn cartoon sneaking in mere hours before Flynn’s resignation. In today’s contribution at The Nib, he seeks to harness this power for good. Meanwhile, Tatsuya Ishida just cuts to the chase to say what we’re all feeling.

Spam of the day:

Hey man… hows it going I noticed the debt you are in and I’m here to help

Nice try. My debt-to-income ratio is negative. Those predatory banks owe me money, that’s how good I am at savings.

¹ Also on the want list — in some future Marvel movie, I want to see his name listed in the credits for his work defining Gwenpool; for that matter, lets see Ryan North and Erica Henderson listed for their definitive work on Squirrel Girl in the same credits.

² Disclaimer: the guy that first prompted me to start this page, and my source for hosting.

I Feel Fine, By The Way, Thanks For Asking

Or at least, I feel much better than yesterday. What say we dip into the mailbag?

  • It’s been a while since we heard from our friends at the Cartoon Art Museum, so let us all celebrate Will Eisner Week by finding the only way to make comics bigger than looking at Eisner’s influence — namely, by adding in Jack Kirby as both legends will be celebrating their centennials this year:

    The Cartoon Art Museum celebrates Will Eisner Week with Will Eisner and Jack Kirby: A Centennial Celebration on Saturday, March 11, 2017 from 3:00-5:00pm
    at Mission: Comics and Art, located at 2250 Mission Street, San Francisco. Join us as we discuss the life and artwork of the legendary comic creators Will Eisner (born March 6, 1917) and Jack Kirby (born August 28, 1917). Bay Area comic creators Mark Badger (Batman, Julius Caesar), Al Gordon (Legion of Super-Heroes, Justice League), Justin Hall (No Straight Lines), Mario Hernandez (Love and Rockets), Steve Leialoha (X-Men, Fables), Trina Robbins (Wimmen’s Comix) and Judd Winick (Hilo) will discuss Eisner’s career and the impact that his work had on their own artistic endeavors. A booksigning will immediately follow the panel discussion.

    The thing that I find most inconceivable about this event is that so many creators can talk about the influence that friggin’ Eisner and Kirby had on their work in only two hours¹. You could fill a week, easy.

  • I got an email yesterday from Kristina Stipetic, and several things about it caught my eye:

    My new webcomic debuted today! It’s called Alethia.

    What it is: a webcomic about robots abandoned by their creators. Scattered groups of robots search for purpose in the factory-cities of their desolate world. It updates with completed chapters instead of page-by-page.

    Why is this interesting? As far as I know, this is the only webcomic to have an animated opening sequence. It’s also simultaneously released in both English and Chinese.

    The bit about the animated opening sequence? Interesting, but I’d be hard pressed to tell if it’s really unique or not, and I’m very much of two minds about blending comics and animation; they have different jobs to do. But the release in Chinese is very intriguing, as is the fact that Stipetic, judging from her About page, not only works in the Chinese language, but lives there as well. More than that, the Chinese version of the comic is presented in a different format than English — the former appears a page at a time, the latter as one tall series of pages comprising a chapter; I wonder to what degree this represents local expectations.

    Additionally, the chapter-at-a-time release is staggered with release on other channels — online will see Chapter Two on 11 March, but Comixology already has up to Chapter Three and Stipetic’s store is up to Chapter Four. This gives me a great deal of confidence that the story will take a direct route from beginning to middle to end, without the digressions that can come from publishing as it’s produced.

    We at Fleen don’t usually promote brand-new comics, but every once in a while something shows a great deal of promise; within the 29 pages of Chapter One, Alethia grows more intriguing and confident, and by the chapter break it’s laid down a number of possible directions and questions to be answered, making it worth your read now, and worth remembering on the 11th for the next chapter.

Spam of the day:

Karla Wants to Share Her Profile with You

I am simultaneously relieved and disappointed that this was not webcomic’s own Professional Horrible Person Karla Pacheco.

¹ Well, that and the fact that they don’t even mention Winnick’s The Adventures Of Barry Ween, Boy Genius. Man, that was some funny stuff.

Happy Valentine’s Day, I’m Sick, Blerg

So this is gonna be quick so I can get some tea and sleep.

Coincidentally after yesterday’s noting of Iron Circus’s distribution deal putting new books into stores, C Spike Trotman is making it worth your while to get any of the Smut Peddler series of books — in print or PDF — at a discount, for today only:

With the Smut Peddler Double Header Kickstarter rewards shipping out to backers, we’re finally able to offer the print editions of My Monster Boyfriend and Yes, Roya in the store! Additionally, the 2012 edition of Smut Peddler is back in print at last! Finally, it is Valentine’s Day, so we thought we’d give you a little love.

Today only, you can use the voucher code VolcanicDeclaration at check out to get 15% off on these three dirty books. This applies to both the print and PDF editions, too.

So get your Valentine something romantical or treat yourself! Today is all about lovin!

Thanks for all the love facilitation, Spike. Rest of you, get on that¹. Oh, and while I’m absolutely, mathematically certain that Spike decided to do this weeks ago — she is not a woman that leaves things to chance — if by any happenstance my post yesterday prompted her, you’re all welcome, and please enjoy the high-class erotica.

Spam of the day:

Go here to help out someone’s super hot mom

You know what they say: every horny MILF slut is someone’s super hot mom, so treat her right [SFW, promise!].

¹ And get your mind out of the gutter.

On Horny Werewolf Day, No Less

Oh, that’s not what you call it? Internet Jesus was the first person I ever saw to point out that Saint Valentine’s Day was originally a Roman celebration of blood, werewolves, and sex called Lupercalia; they’ve got cards and everything. ANYway, if you’re into the modern interpretation of sexytimes without the blood and werewolves, read on.

Because webcomics (and even webcomics collections) often don’t make it into traditional distribution channels, it is sometimes months or even years before a long-since-available webcomic collection makes it to comics shops, or regular bookstores¹. Case in point: I’ve had my copy of Chester 5000: Isabelle And George by Jess Fink for months now (and it’s been in her TopatoCo store for nearly as long), but even with Top Shelf Comix behind the book, it’s lagged getting into the stores.

Until now:

Chester 5000: Isabelle & George comes out in stores & on Amazon tomorrow, VALENTINES DAY!! ? ? ? …

Not sure if those heart emoji are going to come through or not. They’re cute, so I hope they do. [Editor’s note: they didn’t.]

Anyway, if you haven’t read Isabelle And George, it’s mostly a prequel to Chester 5000. That is, it tells the story before Chester 5000, then there’s a tiny bit in the middle that recaps the events of the earlier book, then adds a coda to the now-expanded cast and all their various combinations of friendship, love, and hot, hot Victorian boning down (with or without robots).

But seriously, though — even though both Chester books are definitely (defiantly, even!) adults-only, there’s a sweetness to them, a sense of empathy towards the characters that is utterly charming as well as pulse-quickening; Fink is unparalleled in her ability to make us care about her characters as people, and to be happy for their joys and orgasms.

Get a copy for the love of your life and let it inspire you towards feats of horny werewolfdom. Don’t give it to your kids (even though, being largely wordless², it’s an easy story to follow), and probably don’t give it to your mom. Your cool aunt, though, the one that your parents vaguely warn you about, but who takes you ballooning over river gorges? She’ll love it.

Spam of the day:


Gosh, @SeXXXyChikk69, thanks for the offer, but did you really mean Call Oof Booty? The Oof makes it sound less fun and more like moving furniture, you know, like Oof, this damn sofa is heavy, gonna be sore tomorrow.

¹ And mad props to C Spike Trotman, as Iron Circus’s distro deal means a whole lot more webcomics gonna make it to a whole lot more store a whole lot quicker. My Monster Boyfriend made to the trade last week, concurrent with its initial release; Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here never would have made it into shops widely without the deal, and is now playing distro catch-up.

² Seriously, the only wordless story that’s easier to follow would be one of Andy Runton’s Owly books. C5K: I&G would make Owly and Wormy hell of blush but they’d seriously be happy for all involved.

Don’t look at me like that. Find any cluster of comickers in the bar on a convention night, and they’re drawing their characters getting up to shenanigans. I seen some things that Owly and Jellaby have done that’ll turn your hair white.

[Demanding] Answers On A Postcard

Obligatory non-political content for those that came for such: the SPX exhibitor lottery is now open, and not terribly changed from the last couple of years except for a simplified process for randomly selecting the winners. Good luck to all, and see you in September.

So. Postcards. Maybe not the best way to communicate your desires with your elected representatives (that would be talking to them in person at a town hall or in their constituent office, although a lot of them seem to be ducking that route presently), but one with some unique advantages. Consider:

  • It’s a physical artifact that can’t be ignored. It’s there in front of a member of staff and has to be dealt with.
  • Ever since that asshole mailed anthrax around in 2001, all Congressional mail goes to a special facility for x-raying/opening away from legislative offices; postcards can’t hide anything and breeze through the process. Heck, if it’s going to a local office, it probably gets delivered directly without any delays.
  • Being open to the world carries a message: here is what I believe and I’m saying it in public; additionally, the design side carries its own message to the many hands (postal workers, political staffers) who can’t help but see an eye-catching design.
  • They’re cheap, and while long distance call charges are no longer a thing (ask your parents, kids), don’t forget to factor in the time you spend on hold or with a busy signal.
  • For those with anxiety issues, no human stranger to deal with.

But a lot of your basic commercial postcards are not gonna convey that message you really want to send, right¹?

So it’s a good thing that webomickers are stepping up and providing designs. Some are download-and-print-yourself, at least one set is going to be for sale at cost (more on that in a minute), and because Congress apparently still uses fax machines, there’s even a handy item for that particular channel. Let’s dive in:

  • From Jess Fink, a super-classy floral design with lots of small symbolic cues: Change! Courage! Compassion! Overcoming hardship! Peace!
  • From Howard Tayler (disclaimer: my evil twin), a rather fiestier design that demands attention, in two color variations. He even gives a suggestion as to where you can get ’em printed².
  • From KB Spangler (disclaimer: my good friend, and I wrote the foreword for one of her books), a series of wallpapers and icons free for download prompted the thought of printing up postcards and selling at cost; this is not a new thing for Spangler, who regularly gives away the PDF version of her books to readers that can’t afford the purchase price. Also a thing: Spangler’s readers regularly buy multiple copies of her books so that she can afford to give away the excess copies in this manner; in that vein, I promised to pay for 100 people to receive postcards.

    Before I could pull my budget Soros act, however, Spangler announced that an anonymous benefactor paid for the print run, so everybody can buy them for the cost of shipping. For those of you with cash-flow issues, that cost will be literally zero, because I sent Spangler the costs of envelopes, postage, and postcard stamps. Order ’em and they’ll arrive pre-stamped for your constituent-communication convenience.

  • From Shing Yin Khor, two offerings: for those that prefer to be completely unambiguous about your feelings, fuck-you postcards³; for those that need a bit more immediacy that the postal system offers, a similarly-themed fax template for crappy Senators.

Lots of options to choose from, and more coming every day. May I suggest that you follow the lead of people noted in this Teen Vogue story that are addressing their postcards to President Bannon? I’m pretty sure I heard that the actual president* thinks that’s a great joke.

Spam of the day:

Dunkin Donuts Stuff

I wonder if they use the word Stuff as equivalent to the Stuf in the ubiquitous Double-Stuf Oreos? Like, there’s just some vat somewhere of the filling they stuff into the various filled donuts? And that’s what they want to shill to me? Ick.

¹ Although I do like the idea I saw of sending postcards featuring various National Parks, particularly those associated with various unofficial Twitterfeeds.

² I had some postcards printed a while back and can also recommend PsPrint; they’re fast and do quality work.

³ I would pay serious bucks if Onstad surfaced long enough to offer Fuck You Friday postcards.

More Than Just Ladybits And Dudejunk

Those who’ve followed the career of “Hurricane” Erika Moen¹ know that she’s got a myriad of artistic talents besides drawing folks gettin’ it on for your entertainment and edification². She does awesomely classy, vaguely antique-y prints and paintings (many featuring gold leaf accent) on subjects as varied as octopi and vegetables, and/or using the motifs of religious iconography. She tells tales of her life, leaving nothing behind as she tells us who she is, what she experiences, and how she sees the world.

And lately, she’s been doing a lot of needlework, with delicate and beautiful renditions of plants. Even more lately, she’s combined several of these outlets — needlework, plants, how she sees the world — with her support of health causes (sexual and otherwise) in general, and a dose of righteous anger over a shameful incident t’other night. Even better, she’s sharing:

As soon as I heard that phrase, I knew I had to commit it to stitches– but the words by themselves, though powerful, looked a bit empty floating in space all alone. So then I thinks to myself, I thinks “What do I love to embroider? FLOWERS, motherfucker!” After considering a few different species known for their hardiness (Or should I say … their persistence?) I decided on the noble thistle. She’s tough as nails, has a plan, and will draw blood if you try to grab her with your bare hands. Yeah. The thistle is my flower of choice for this project.

I was super flattered to get several requests to share my design with my fellow embroidery enthusiasts! So yeah! I’mma do that! But first, I ask that you follow these instructions:

  1. Before downloading this pattern, you must donate at least $5 to International Women’s Health Coalition.
  2. You will use this design for personal use only, not for profit or commercial use.

[emphasis original]

If you like needlework (or you like somebody that does needlework), the link to the design of the PDF is at her site; she even includes links to needlework resources in case you’re new to all of this. Patterns, I’m told, can go for quite a bit more than five bucks, and usually don’t financially support such a worthy cause, so get to donating, downloading, stitching, knotting, and hopefully not too much finger-sticking and bleeding³.

Spam of the day:

I used to drink every day of my life until I woke up in an ambulance with a seizure. I flatlined that day. I was dead for a couple minutes. I woke up and realized I had a problem.

Dude, I am an EMT, you do not simply wake up with a seizure in an ambulance after flatlining. Save that shit for movies and TV that don’t know any better in shilling your shitty alleged rehab services.

¹ So named because she is a friggin’ force of nature.

² Not to diminish the fact that her husband, Matthew Nolan; is an equal contributor to Oh Joy, Sex Toy; today we’re talking about her specific artistic history.

³ If you do bleed, use cold water or club soda, and maybe a little baking soda paste to get stains out of your canvas. Either that or own it and let the world know Yeah, I bled to make this, muthascratchers. Deal or get out.