The webcomics blog about webcomics

Nice Job, Minions

You bid Dave’s watercolor up to US$520.


And here’s my match:


It is, of course, a luxury to be able to do this; if I’m going to have drop-a-couple-hundo¹ flexibility in life, I promise that I’ll use it for good (an occasionally for awesome).

¹ I am kicking myself for not rounding it up to US$600, because as we all know, six hundred dollars is class money.

Congratulations Appear To Be In Order

Just a bunch of people I need to toss props to today.

  • Zach Weinersmith and Boulet are, as of about 37 minutes ago (as I hit publish on this), responsible for the #1 most-funded children’s book on Kickstarter, and the #4 publishing project of any kind. Also, if you’re me and draw a distinction between publishing and t-shirt¹, one could argue that it’s actually #3. Well done, you scruffy ginger men.
  • The redoubtable² Heidi Mac has been one of the mainstays of comics reportage and commentary; it’s probably fair to say that if she hadn’t started The Beat, a whole bunch of other sites never would have launched, or tried so hard to keep up with her example. Having lost the actual go-live date to the mists of history –it was June or July 2004 — she’s decided on 1 July as her official blog birthday, making yesterday the day that The Beat hit the decade mark.

    Speaking as somebody who’s around the eight and half year mark (no to mention the fact that I cover a much narrower swathe of comics, and file a hell of a lot less copy than she does), I can tell you that’s an enormous accomplishment. I’ll let you in on a little secret — any time I actually come across a story before Heidi³, I get a little thrill like I’m not just a part-timer sneaking in some light opinion-mongering over lunchtime. Congrats on the landmark, Heidi, and long may you continue to lay The Beat down on my dilettante ass.

  • Congratulations to you bidders that have added another US$100 to the price of the Drive cast/Team Cul de Sac benefit auction since yesterday. Specifically thanks to reader Maarvarq, who tried to bid even higher and ran into some kind of eBay limitation. There’s still some hours to go before this one finishes up, so if you were interested in costing me some money, pile on while you still have time.

Spam of the day:

You … are … my … hero!!! I cant believe something like this exists on the internet! Its so true, so honest, and more than that you dont sound like an idiot! Finally, someone who knows how to talk about a subject without sounding like a kid who didnt get that bike he wanted for Christmas.

Ma’am, thanks for the kind words, but I’m just a simple webcomics pseudo-journalist, doing the best he can in this crazy, mixed-up world. [flexes; crying eagle flies in front of explosions]

¹ Not to mention the fact that the presence of the most vile creature on the planet — the squirrel — should disqualify the Planet Money (who are otherwise upright citizens of the highest repute) project from existence, much less record-holding status. Friggin’ squirrels.

² So don’t even try to doubt her, because she will re-doubt you right back, Sparky.

³ Also The Spurge, Brigid Alverson, Johanna Draper Carlson, everybody at Comics Alliance, and a half-dozen other heavy-hitters. But mostly Heidi.

Minions, I Am Disappointed

Okay, there’s still a day left to cost me and Dave Kellett some money. If it wouldn’t be unethical as hell, I’d bid the damn thing up to somewhere in the US$500+ range. In fact, let’s make this game a little more interesting: I pledged to match the purchase price of this piece up to US$500. If this is what it takes to spur some of you to get in the spirit of things (only full cast of Drive watercolor in existence, people!), I’m going to change the terms of my pledge:

I, Gary Tyrrell, will match the selling price of Dave’s piece as a donation to Team Cul de Sac up to US$1000, and with a minimum of US$500 in any case

You can’t afford to bid on a piece that might cost you multiple hundreds of dollars? Pledge a donation — however small — in the comments. You’ll get a reward beyond measure: official mensch¹ status, as declared by Richard Thompson himself.

  • One of the things that I’ve observed with interest over the past few years is the (slow, but growing) adoption of writer’s rooms in webcomics. You could say that there’s an element of it at Cyanide & Happiness where it’s easy to imagine one of the lads bouncing an idea off another of them, but I think primarily it’s individual efforts. Anyplace you get a writer/artist partnership, there’s certainly give-and-take there.

    But I think you could probably trace proper writer’s rooms to the Pacific Northwest where (as often happens) you find Scott Kurtz at the center of experiments in webcomics. The Trenches started as an explicit writerly collaboration between Kurtz and the established duo of Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins; along with the artist changes, the writer’s room reduced to a singular voice: that of Strip Searchmonaut Ty Halley. While he may have withdrawn from one writer’s room, Kurtz was busy building up another as Dylan Meconis² joined him on writing duties on PvP.

    Crucially, I think the fact that Meconis creates comics so very different from Kurtz is a strength of this particular partnership. While Kurtz, Krahulik, and Holkins undoubtedly work well together they have similar strip approaches (gag-oriented, videogame and pop culture focii) and that limits the number of additional viewpoints that can be brought to bear on the final product. One might wish to compare with the writer’s room that was put together for the now-shuttered NAMCO High, featuring a bunch of creators of different ages and backgrounds (although there was a tendency for them to presently live in Brookklyn).

    I’m bringing this up because for anybody that’s considering a writer’s room, finding that balance of different experiences is probably one of the most crucial elements for success, but historically it’s something that’s been elusive. The traditional venue for writer’s rooms has been TV comedy, and much has been written in the past about how those rooms tend to be dominated by white dudes, often from Ivy League colleges, and viciously under-representative of women and minorities.

    And all of that is by way of pointing out a discussion that anybody considering a writing partnership (whether in a room or not) will probably want to listen to: as I write this sentence, WNYC midday host Leonard Lopate is introducing the author of a new book on comedy writing to discuss writer’s rooms at places like SNL, Letterman, and The Onion. You can listen to the interview here, and we can discover together what makes a good writer’s room (or perhaps the discussion follows some other track, but it’ll probably still be enlightening).

  • Skin Horse, by Shaenon Garrity and C Jeffrey Wells, is in an odd semi-hiatus right now. Those of you paying attention may have noted that Garrity is (as of this writing), hugely pregnant and not intending to do a daily strip whilst dealing with the immediate aftermath of presenting a small human child to the world³.

    Having wrapped up a storyline on Saturday, she announced that she was done drawing comics for a while on Sunday, and the next storyline (a catch-up-with-peripheral-characters melange, to feature a variety of guest artists) started on Monday. And if my eye does not fool me, Garrity even provided the art for the first vignette herself (or somebody out there has her style down cold), easing us into a summer of random fun, with Wells undoubtedly shifting plot and pacing to best match the fill-in artists.

    And in one of those weird coincidences, today’s strip features an offhand reference to an obscure cryptid known as The Hodag, which by a peculiar corincidence just happens to be one of the critters mentioned in an endnote of Darwin Carmichael Is Going To Hell, to wit:

    In 1893, the Rhinelander Daily News reported the discovery of the corpse of a hideous creature with huge claws and a spiked tail. It’s discoverer, local land surveyor Eugene Shpher, called it the hodag, then claimed to have caught a live one in 1896. Shortly after, he displayed it at the First Oneida County Fair. He stood by the veracity of his claims until the Smithsonian Institution announced it would travel to Wisconsin to inspect the evidence, after which he promptly recanted. This ridiculous hoax is now the official symbol Rhinelander, Wisconsin, which is pretty great.

    The more you know!

  • The last time David Malki ! thought up a game, it turned into a half million dollar Kickstarter and a year-plus process of production and fulfillment. This time, he’s just decided to put the damn thing up in a post and let you play without going down the path that leads to things like livestock and international shipping incidents.

Spam of the day:

Today, I went to the beachfront with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!

Yeah, that’ll happen. My suggestion is that to avoid future trauma to unsuspecting and blameless hermit crabs, you seal your daughter in a barrel, with a small opening to pass in food and water.

¹ For those of you that didn’t grow up someplace where you got off from school for Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, being a mensch is a good thing.

² About whom it is literally impossible to say too many good things.

³ With, it should be noted, the assistance of husband and Cartoon Art Museum curator Andrew Farago.

Come On People, Let’s Cost Me Some Money

Following up on last week’s story about Dave Kellett putting up a watercolor for auction and pledging to donate twice the sale price via Team Cul de Sac in honor of Richard Thompson’s career. I thought this is such a great thing that he’s doing, I pledged to meet the sale price myself up to US$500. At the time I wrote that, the watercolor was going for US$305.

As of this writing it’s up to … US$325. Huh.

Come on people, you have the shot at a never-before-produced full-cast watercolor from Drive plus the opportunity to pull money out of my own personal wallet for a good cause. If the good cause part isn’t doing it for you, maybe the make it expensive for Gary part will. There’s just over two days left on the auction, and I want to see that number go higher. If you don’t have the kind of money to bid on the art, drop a note in the comments telling us how much you might be able to spare for this very worthy cause — several thousand of you read this page any given week, and even five or ten bucks from just a fraction of you could add up to something significant.

  • Speaking of two days left, we’ve got just under 48 hours to go on the Augie and the Green Knight Kickstarter, and there are still stretch goals unmet. The start of the late-campaign daily backer bump is showing a bit, but still no impressive uptick like you’d expect. Look, backing now gets you far more book than you would have gotten four weeks ago — B&W spot illustrations, ten more full-page illustrations, nine prints plus a tip-in print, and acid-free paper — but you know what else you have a greater chance of getting now than you had back then?

    I’d say you have a greater chance of future collaborations between Zach Weinersmith and Boulet. Can you imagine what the bookshelf of a kid you care about might look like five or ten years from now if they did another Augie-style every 18 or 24 months? It would look like the bookshelf of a kid that loves reading and stories, that’s what. You still have a couple of days to spread the word.

  • Speaking of book Kickstarts, on Saturday I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of the print collection of Darwin Carmichael Is Going To Hell, kindly gifted to me by DC co-creators Sophie Goldstein and Jenn Jordan. Here’s what I knew: I was going to love this book, because I really enjoyed the meandering adventures (and non-adventures) of Darwin and his friends while the comic was running. Here’s what I didn’t know until I opened the mail: Sophie & Jenn chose something I wrote to include, alongside blurbs by Sylvan Migdal and Yuko Ota, which is pretty damn good company to be in¹.

    This is not a review; that will come later, after I’ve read DCIGTH a couple more times. This is a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, and it reads very differently as a continuous narrative than it does a page at a time. I’m also taking the time to appreciate the endnotes, which provide both supplementary mythological facts, and also choice factoids about the creation of the story².

  • Seriously though — bid or let us know what you pledge in the comments.

Spam of the day:

Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same outcome.

Thank you, anonymous spammer that wants to see me shoes or sunglasses or boner pills. In fact, there are linking problems with some images, primarily for two reasons. The first is that in the server switches that Fleen took last summer, some paths got changed around and then changed back, and while the images are still stored on our server, the code at the top of posts refers to a location that doesn’t exist.

I’ve believe that I’ve fixed the image links for every post from January 2013 to the present, but I may have missed one or two in there. For posts before January 2013, any time I link back to something in our archives, I ensure that post (and any posts it links to) have fixed image links. Please note that I’m only talking about images and pages here at Fleen; things that happen at other sites, there are absolutely dead links and I imagine I’ll fix them approximately never.

The second reason is that for the first several years of the blog, WordPress (or pehapas a plug in) generated the text for the header image in a different way that it does now. At some point, the block of code attached to each post that references the image, the link, and the alt-text ceased to exist for posts up to about August 2008.

The associated images are still on our server, but there are no references in the individual posts as to which images should be included in each post. As it turns out, the oldest post that still has a header image is the The Great Outdoor Fight book review from 27 August 2008.

Thus, the blog is now divided into BTGOFBR and ATGOFBR dates, which in my opinion is pretty damn perfect. If you come across a post that is ATGOFBR and has broken image links, drop me an email or post a comment, and I’ll fix it.

¹ They also spelled my last name correctly, which is a secondary thrill. Seriously, I recently missed out on like the first two weeks of a fairly major project at work that I was assigned to because I have professional colleagues who can’t figure out how to spell Tyrrell. I appreciate the hell out of anybody that takes the extra two seconds to get it right.

² Such as, which panel contains the Grossest Thing Jenn Ever Wrote, for which she apologizes. Let’s just say that for avatars of purity and righteousness, unicorns can throw down Yo Mama jokes with the best of them.


Today just seems to be chock-full of further references to things we spoke about earlier in the week. Weird how that happens sometimes.

  • I hate to keep flogging the :01 Books is awesome horse¹, but they keep cropping up in my daily life. Today it’s because the mail brought a review copy of Farel Dalrymple’s forthcoming graphic novel, The Wrenchies². Look for a review a little closer to the September release.
  • Scott C persists in his scruffy, charming ways — so much so that the jaded, flinty-eyed tastemakers at The AV Club noticed, lavishing some well-deserved praise on The Great Showdowns.
  • Thanks to the Spam of the day, this week also saw mention of Angela Melick and her prodigious skill in both engineering and autobio comics. Word is today is her birthday, which should be marked on my calendar of significant births in engineering history. Oh, you doubt I have a calendar that features the birthdays of famous engineers³? Check it — annotated version for your viewing pleasure.

    As long as we’re on the topic of birthdays, it is also the birthday of Lore Sjöberg, whose website presence is less these days than it has been sometimes. Nevertheless, there’s still a significant amount of his old Brunching Shuttlecocks work available, including Lore Brand Comics and the greatest use of Flash animation in history. I am pretty secure in my atheism, but every day I thank the possibility of God that I was born into a world featuring the phrase depleted uranium Beholder statue.

Weekend now. Enjoy the crap out of it, and I’ll see you on Monday.

Spam of the day:

After a three month long research project, I’ve been able to conclude that how to change your minecraft name doesn’t negatively effect the environment at all.

That is exactly what I’d expect a shill for Big Change Your Minecraft Name to say. Don’t believe the “official” story! Stand up against those who would despoil our natural world by changing Minecraft names!

¹ Not true; I’ll tell you that :01 Books is awesome every day and twice on Sundays.

² Book design by Colleen AF Venable, natch.

³ Okay, technically it’s a calendar with the birthdates of significant electrical engineers. With all the circuit-building and Arduino-wrangling that Melick does these days, I’m declaring her one of us in spirit.

Larger Than Life

About the time I was getting all excited about Colleen AF Venable’s book announcement yesterday, USA Today and Heidi Mac were showing off the long-awaited cover to Scott McCloud&rqsquo;s new graphic novel, The Sculptor. It’s been more than five years since the book was first announced; it was originally due for release in 2013 but the tale (as they say) grew in the telling — every time I spoke to McCloud those first couple of years after the announcement, the estimated number of pages (for what was still an untitled book) bumped up by 50 to 100.

So if you’re wondering why you haven’t had the book for a year and a half already, that’s why — you’re getting much, much more book. In fact, I’m pretty sure that McCloud would still be adding pages were it not for some insistent calls from New York to please just send them what was done, it will be brilliant, a situation that is not without precedent among treasured creators of geek entertainments¹.

But I digress.

The important thing is, McCloud’s first work of fiction in about forever (the ZOT! Omnibus was 2008; The New Adventures of Abraham Lincoln was 1998) will be out the first week of February; the cover design is done (and who designed the cover? Ms AF Venable, that’s who, so yesterday really was a case of everything coming up Colleen), which means that the logistics of printing and assembly and transport and customs and distribution and every other thing that needs to happen to deliver a physical artifact is in progress. There’s no stopping it now.

  • Know what else is larger than life, or eventually might be? The Bartkira Project. It’s been more than a year since we first heard tell of the attempt to get more than 450 artists to each render five pages from Otomo Katsuhiro’s epic, six-volume Akira, rendering all the characters in the style of specific counterparts from The Simpsons.

    In the meantime, the project has somehow managed to not run afoul of copyright enforcers at Fox, Random House, Tokyo Movie Shinsha, Toho, Kodansha, Warner Brothers, Bongo Comics Group, and Krustylu Studios, any or all of whom may have copyright interests in one or the other aspects of this particular mashup. And hoping that that particular streak of luck holds, the project honchos have launched the first print content associated with TBP.

    Bartkira is not a first volume of the full story; rather, it’s a curated exhibition of pages from the project, in advance of (it is presently planned) the release of the serial story online. It will feature 80 pages from TBP, 16 color pages in a gallery section, and contain work from 19 artists (not including Otomo or Matt Groening). It’s being published by Floating World Comics of Portland, and will set you back US$15, and is a non-profit enterprise:

    Proceeds from this exhibition book are being split between two charities, Naka-Kon (a charity for Katsuhiro Otomo’s home prefecture of Miyagi, which was decimated during the 2011 Tohuko tsunami) and Save the Children (a charity of choice from Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon).

    If this goes through without any angry cease-and-desist letters, I’d expect the full narrative project to get through at least the first volume; if the lawyers get involved, I’m guessing the 2300+ pages won’t see the light of day.

  • Also larger than life, despite being tragically cut short? The boundless skill and lauded career of Richard Thompson. A lot of money has been raised by a lot of cartoonists in support of research into Parkinson’s Disease, including via the Team Cul de Sac book and the forthcoming auction of those Bill Watterson guest strips from Pearls Before Swine.

    To that, we can add one more:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the brilliant and hilarious cartoonist Richard Thompson, who’s career was robbed by Parkinson’s. His strip Cul de Sac is amazing, with such a unique writing style and energetic, scratchy line.

    So! I made this DRIVE watercolor specifically for eBay. It’s the first full-cast watercolor I’ve ever done for DRIVE. And here’s the kicker: Whatever it raises, I’m gonna double to give to Parkinson’s research under the Team Cul de Sac banner.

    Everybody catch that? The more this piece goes for, the more you’re going to cost Dave Kellett, since he’s going to match the selling price. As of this writing, it’s going for a paltry US$305, but there are more than six days to go. Let’s make Kellett dig deep into his wallet on this one; if you can’t afford to bid, you could offer to add to Kellett’s donation. It’s simple, you just say something like, I, [your name], will match the selling price of Dave’s piece as a donation to Team Cul de Sac up to US$____ and then do that once the auction ends. I’ll start it out:

    I, Gary Tyrrell, will match the selling price of Dave’s piece as a donation to Team Cul de Sac up to US$500

    There. It’s on the internet, and that means y’all get to hold me to it. Who’s with me?

Spam of the day:

Fantastic post however , I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Many thanks!

I don’t normally respond to requests in this fashion, but since the post in question was about the latest Wasted Talent book I will write a litte [sic] more: Angela Melick is awesome and her comics are awesome and you should read them and buy her stuff. And by buy her stuff I mean that you should purchase the items that she makes, not that you should purchase things for her.

¹ I was commissioned by Pan Books in England to write up the series in book form, and after a lot of procrastination and hiding and inventing excuses and having baths, I managed to get about two-thirds of it done. At this point they said, very pleasantly and politely, that I had already passed ten deadlines, so would I please just finish the page I was on and let them have the damn thing. — Douglas Adams

That’s from the introduction to the Omnibus Edition of The Hitchhiker’s Trilogy, published 1983 by Harmony Books. I am not suggesting for a moment that McCloud took too many baths or blew ten deadlines; as noted above, The Sculptor got longer from its initial contracted form, as opposed the the truncation of the first Hitchhiker’s novel.

A Guaranteed Good Mood

There are few things in this mortal coil that are going to put me in as good a mood as getting to talk about (or, preferably, with) Colleen AF Venable. Onetime photowebcomicker¹, Eisner-nominated kids book author (with Stephanie Yue), and integral part of :01 Books. How integral? Well, she’s designed more than 100 books for them over the past few years, she was the visual reference for a main character in one of their best books of last year, and she’s the latest proof that :01 knows that sometimes, the best talent is right under your nose³.

Because :01 just picked Venable’s YA graphic novel, Kiss Number Eight, for publication in 2016:

I wanted to write a hopeful book about growing up queer in a conservative community — both in the present day but also in the past —- inspired partially by my older sister’s coming out and the reaction of my very Catholic family, both good and bad. (How Catholic you may ask? Let’s just say it includes multiple nuns … who wound up being incredibly supportive.) There’s this obsession to box things in: Blue on this side. Pink on this side. But gender lines are much more fluid. Love is love, and if we had any control over it the world would be a lot less interesting.

I may have mentioned in the past that my secret to Not Dying is to pick out some piece of culture that I must have, that either isn’t released or isn’t finished yet; I then make the command decision that obviously I have to live until _____ comes out. Kiss Number Eight just became my newest mortality-avoiding goal, because I cannot wait to see what Venable (a one-woman cheerfulness factory) does with a topic that requires an acknowledgment that those you love the most can very much hurt you. Venable’s light, humane touch with characters will well serve a story that could (in lesser hands) turn into a cloying, mawkish, clumsy after school special4.

The art will be supplied by Leela Wagner, and it looks fabulous; in fact, the preview pages are such confident work5 that it makes it hard to believe that this will be Wagner’s first book. My guess is that by the end of the week, she’s getting serious inquiries for future work. In the meantime, let’s just hope that Wagner and :01 Books release more sample pages because waiting two years is going to hurt.

Spam of the day:

????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????
Woman ???? ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????

There are so many things this could be trying to say, I am hard pressed to come up with just one interpretation.

  • A fedora-laden comment on the unknowability of the female mind as compared to that of the putatively logical Man?
  • A keyboard with an overly-aggressive repeat-press sensor?
  • Deleted dialogue from that one Next Generation episode with the aliens that didn’t have genders but Riker still got laid?

The mind boggles.

¹ Rejecting traditional notions of drawing, Venable’s photocomic found common ground with Bernie Hou’s Alien Loves Predator, David Malki !’s Wondermark, Chris Yates’s Reprographics, Chris Dlugosz’s Pixel, and Steve Hogan’s Acid Keg², collectively known as the Playground Ghosts, which engendered much loyalty in their readers and still has some discussion in its old forum.

² Which bucked the trend by not being a pixel, montage, or photocomic.

³ There’s precedent, as :01 published editorial honcho Mark Siegel’s hauntingly beautiful Sailor Twain. As there’s really just four people that make :01 Books work, this means that once Callista Brill and Gina Gagliano get books out from :01, they can change their motto to Remember, we’re not only the publishers of the best graphic novels in the business. We’re also creators.

Yeah, it’s a little longer than By Art We Live, but it’s got that certain je ne sais quoi that just screams classy.

4 Alternately, a Very Special Episode of Blossom.

5 It reminds me variously of Jillian Tamaki on This One Summer, Jen Wang on Koko Be Good, and Boulet on Darkness. Hey, :01 Books, get Boulet to do a graphic novel!

A Certain Scruffy Resemblence

If there are three guys in webcomics that could be said to resemble each other, it’s probably Zach Weinersmith, Boulet, and Scott C. It’s something about the way they all draw themselves as scruffy. And, as chance would have it, all three of these scruffy gentlemen are in the news today.

  • As of about half an hour ago, Messers Weinersmith and Boulet were still in an AMA over at Reddit that started at noon, eastern time (meaning that one or both of them were answering questions for more than three and a half hours); they were talking about their storybook, Augie and the Green Knight. There’s lots of great Qs and As all the way through, but for my money you can’t beat this particular exchange about two hours in:

    Draw yourselves each other like one of your French girls, please? A sketch would be more than sufficient.
    Edit: figured this would be more fun.

    The results are … about what you’d expect, given that cartoonists are suspect under the best of circumstances, and generally horrible to each other. It was beautiful. Truly.

    This is also a good time to note that as the AMA was kicking off, Augie crossed the eight days remaining mark; it’s been a while since they crossed a stretch goal and there are still some unreached. It’s already inside the lower bounds of the (admittedly wide margin-of-error) FFF prediction; if it reaches the midpoint of US$400,000 (a bit more optimistic than Kicktraq’s model), it will be the #4 all-time most funded publishing project and the most-funded children’s book.

  • Scruffy guy #3, Scott C, has a new gallery show about to launch; the third exhibition of Great Showdowns (can a book be far behind?) will be unveiled at Gallery 1988 in LA on 11 July¹. If you think you’d like to buy Showdowns originals, you have a fair chance to do so since they won’t go up for sale until the day after the opening — contact Gallery 1988 to get on the preview list, and you’ll be able to see the works being shown, then try to buy your favorites when they go up for sale online the next day. You’ll get your art some time after the show goes down on 2 August, and from personal experience I can tell you that Gallery 1988 do an outstanding job of packaging and shipping art.
  • You know who does webcomics and is the opposite of scruffy? Chris Yates. I have to assume that having a beard is a hazard around all the power tools he uses to make Baffler!s. But Gary, I hear you cry, Chris Yates doesn’t do webcomics any more! He retired Reprographics ten months ago to make short films on YouTube! You even wrote about it! Yeah, turns out that once you get cartooning in you, it’s hard to shake:

    Hello! So it turns out I really miss making comics, so I’m going to make them again on a regular basis.

    Working on Nothing But Flowers was a really interesting experiment, but I think I’m probably better suited to making weird diary comics and wooden puzzles than attempting to be the next big YouTube sensation.

    The plan is I will post at least one comic each week and try to break some bad shortcut habits. No more automatic Cutout filter at 50% and no more fonts are the first to go. I’m calling this current effort “In Medias Res” which emphasizes just pulling a few moments from real conversations and keeping things concise.

    So happy to be back and hope you stick around!

    For simplicity I’m going to keep the link over there to the right marked Reprographics, but for at least the time being the (very different from photocomics) content that Yates puts up will go under the name In Media Res. The first one is up now, and it looks really nice.

Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on.

You’re starting an initiative in the community to talk about webcomics? Neat. Let me know how that works out for you.

¹ As luck would have it, I’ll be flying through LA a couple of days later, but my connection times won’t permit me to see anything beyond the bounds of LAX. Booooo.

An Odd Number And The Exception That Proves The Rule

How’s everybody doing today? Nice weekend? Having a good one? Good, good.

  • Know what I respect as a reason for doing anything? Honestly, truly respect, I’m completely not being snarky here? An arbitrary, meaningful only to yourself, completely petty I’ll show them all! achievement.

    Like, say, blogging about webcomics when my entire initial motivation for doing so has been overturned about three full times since I started because goddammit, I said I was going to blog regularly and that’s just what I’m gonna do. There are others out there that write better, have more developed insight, or actually get paid for the writing they do, but I’ve been doing this for eight and a half years and I’ll keep going out of spite if necessary.

    Not that this is about me.

    Rather, Greg Dean found a bit of inspiration in a completely arbitrary milestone — drawing and posting more strips than the legendary Bill Watterson — and now he’s achieved that milestone. I doubt that three thousand, one hundred and sixty-one comics will ever catch on in the same way that big round numbers have, but it’s got to feel good all the same.

  • The Reading Rainbow Kickstarter is down to single-digit days at this point¹; the US$1 million original goal was obliterated on the first day, and the stretch goal of US$5 million looks pretty doable at this point in the long tail. I just wanted to point something out in the latest update to the project.

    A reward item that’s fairly unique² is a 2015 calendar, to be illustrated by the artists behind Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, and tons of your favorite comics and childrens books. Traditionally, there are twelve months in a (non-lunar) calendar, and six of the artists have been named so far: Mary GrandPré (illustrator of the North American editions of Harry Potter before Kazu Kibuishi), Brett Helquist (illustrator of the Lemony Snicket books), and four webcomickers: Mike Krahulik, Chris Eliolpoulos, Katie Cook, and Mike Maihack.

    It makes sense that the comics side is represented by webcomickers, as they are mostly young enough to have grown up on Reading Rainbow, and are getting to the point of having kids themselves. They’re each donating the art for the calendar as well as five prints for inclusion in high-dollar-value reward tiers. It’s not known who will illustrate the remaining six months yet, because they’ll be picked via a an open contest after the Kickstarter is done.

    I know that we at Fleen have more than once urged creators to not participate in art contests where the prize is you get to give away your art for free, but you know what? There’s an exception to every rule, and for the Don’t vie for the opportunity to give away your art for exposure rule³ that would be But it’s okay if LeVar Burton is asking you to help kids learn to love reading.

    The Burton Exception is pretty damn narrow, and I think that’s probably for the best. Anyway, start brainstorming ideas; webcomickers with kids in your lives, this could be the best shot you ever have for them to respect you. And if the calendar goes over large, maybe there will be more of them in future years.

Spam of the day:

Hey, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.

Man, fuck Internet Explorer.

¹ In fact, while I was typing that paragraph, it rolled over from nine days remaining to eight days remaining.

² It’s only directly included in two reward tiers, one at US$30, and again at US$175 with some other items. But it’s available as an add-on to any pledge for US$25 per calendar.

³ I think I’ll just shorthand it as the Stevens Rule, for the very quotable Rich Stevens observation: People die of exposure.

Stuff To Do This Afternoon

Hoo boy, when Dr Dante Shepherd posted to Twitter last night about the hate mail that today’s Surviving the World would bring, he wasn’t kidding. Because — professor that he is — he’s laid out the rhetorical equivalent of a chemical reaction that describes freedom on one side, lives on the other, and asks if the two parts are actually in balance.

Just … just read the whole thing, and then take five minutes to think about what he’s actually saying before you decide he’s an enemy of freedom and needs to die, okay? To quote my favorite line from one of my favorite movies on the topic of freedom, Well, in all my years I ain’t never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about. Hell yeah! I’m for debating anything. His position is that the freedom that some demand requires (as does all freedom) a sacrifice that is being paid by others who don’t have the chance to object; if you’re going to contact him in high dudgeon, answer that point.

On decidedly lighter notes:

  • I smell crossover! The latest storyline at Not Invented Here is about to collide with Unshelved, which isn’t totally surprising given that a) they’re both written by Bill Barnes, and b) NIH launched with an explicit acknowledgment that it and Unshelved share a reality. To the book depository!
  • Promised Kickstarter updates: the Oh Joy, Sex Toy print collection and Girls With Slingshots book tour campaigns wrapped up last night, with totals of US$69,270¹ and US$36,676 respectively. In both cases, they fell within the margin of error of the original FFF, but not the new, stil-under-development FFFmk2. Nobody said that it would be easy to reduce something as complex as Kickstarter funding to a simple calculation, but I shall persist.

    But let’s not lose fact of the important part: Danielle Corsetto and Erika Moen will both be giving considerably more money to guest artists than they would have otherwise, and both demolished their original goals (GWS: 367% of goal OJST: 385% of goal), and that’s worth celebrating in any circumstances. Well done, ladies, now get your ass on the road/get bare asses in print!

Spam of the day:

Ralph Lauren is definitely an outline to the American dream: the long grass, antique crystal , the name Marble horse . His product , no matter whether clothing or furniture , deciding on perfume or containers, have focused on the top of the class customers yearning for an ideal life .

I don’t know; I’ve always found Ralph Lauren to be kind of schizophrenic, yo-yoing back and forth between cowboy kitsch and snooty aristocratic aesthetics. I guess they both feature lots of horsies.

¹ Damn you, anonymous donor that gave US$1 at the last minute and ruined the US$69,269 total!