Archive - Mar 2008
This post will get rewritten (for now I'm just too tired!) but for now I just want to point out that the center of the new site design will display our longer articles: features, columns, reviews and interviews. Daily news and blogging will now appear on the right column (with tabs to choose between "featured" which displays a combination of staff posts and selected user talk posts and "talk posts" which displays the five most recent user posts).
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on March 30, 2008 - 22:52
Welcome to the new site! A big thanks to Tyler Martin for doing a fantastic job on designing and implementing the new look of the site. I also did a lot of work "under the hood" moving the site onto the Drupal 6.1 platform. (While I think it all works, if something's not quite right, post a comment here. Thanks!)
A big part of the new site is my desire to include effectively both editorial content and community content. I'm eager to refocus on building back up the editorial side of ComixTalk -- interviews, reviews and other feature articles. We've also made it easier for ComixTalk members to post here -- if you want to automatically import posts from your own blog into your ComixTalk user account, please email me (xerexes AT comixtalk DOT com) with your ComixTalk user name and blog feed and I'll set it up for you.
Michael Payne examines new examples of the "new cute" in comics: Dreamleak by Greg Fraser, Fuzzy Things by Jonathan Sario, and Ghost Farm by Jessica McLeod. The "new cute" is using the tropes of "cute" to tell stories that are richer, deeper, and more heartfelt than anyone would've thought fluffy bunnies, towheaded kids, and smiling asparagus could support.
Chris Harding was kind enough to do the February cover art for ComixTalk and it gave me a great excuse to hit him up for an interview. Harding is the creator of the new webcomic We The Robots which offers a cynical, bemused take on work and family.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on March 28, 2008 - 09:56
So the big interesting "thing" this week was two ongoing conversations at FLEEN and THE DAILY CARTOONIST among cartoonists about how to make money via the web and/or print. As this decade (the "naughts"?) has gone along it's obvious that cartoonists need to learn how to use all their options - web and print - to connect with the audience and turn that into a living. These threads still had a bit of what in the past folks have called "print" versus "webcomics" but when you get down to it, this is really a generational divide combined with technological shifts. It's basically as if all of the big band musicisians were released on 78s and they were talking to rap musicians released on casette tapes -- it's a whirlpool of baked in business and artistic assumptions on both sides that the average person can't get past. I suppose this crystalized for me reading Jeff Vella's comments about xkcd.com. GIven it's audience and rocket growth, there' really shouldn't be any doubt that xkcd is a rock star in comics, web or otherwise. But if you're a big band musician you may not want to admit that xkcd is even playing music, let alone that it's a star at it.But they're both very interesting threads, especially if you're a creator trying to make sense of what to do with your comics. And Scott Kurtz has set up a Talk Shoe call tonight at 7 PM to continue the discussion. You can call into (724) 444-7444 ( Call ID: 5786) or sign up at Talkshoe.com and use your mic and headset to talk for free using their built in software.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on March 24, 2008 - 10:13
THE OPINIONATER The Daily Cartoonist reports that syndicated editorial cartoonist Matt Bors is creating a bi-weekly comic called Civil Discourse for the ACLU website. I have no idea how many editorial cartoonists are running comics (original or re-purposed) on non-traditional sites but it seems like it might have potential. A lot of groups (whether partisan or non-partisan) should have the budget to pay a reasonable fee for such comics -- the benefit to them being promotion of their message or increased recruitment (via more traffic to their website). Of course unlike a "neutral" newspaper I imagine fitting the comic to the organization is a more subjective proposition, but there are organizations of all persuasions out there. GUEST ARTIST MAYHEMMike Rouse-Deane has created a webcomic project/fundraiser for Make-A-Wish called the Guest Strip Project. It's sort of a "always guest comics" comic. Should be interesting to check out and of course, it's for a good cause.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on March 24, 2008 - 09:28
Fleen points out a new "make-a-comic" tool online called Bitstrips. Putting aside for a minute any judgment on the quality of tools on the site, I want to flag for everyone that its owners are a mite bit greedy, claiming "joint ownership" (those are magic copyright law words my friends) of anything created on the site:
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on March 21, 2008 - 10:22
AWARDS: Shaenon Garrity shares her thoughts on some of the winners of this year's WCCAs and her general low opinion of the award as a whole.
DEAD TREES: Dark Horse is bringing out a Wondermark book. The world now asks itself: can anything stop David Malki!??
- Bigger Than Cheeses is 7 years old this month.
- Hockey Zombie turned 3 years old this month.
- FLEEN catches that Byrobot is two years old this month.
C'MON FEEL THE HYPE
- Rick Smith has a new webcomic up: Yehuda Moon. It's very "Smith-y" and if you liked Smith's past work you will like this.
- Savage Critic dishes some love to Octopus Pie.
- El Santo tackles Megatokyo.
- Comics Worth Reading has links to Findig Elim and other christian-themed webcomics.
- Broken Frontier has an interview with Joe Infurnari, the creator of The Process.
- The Scienteers had an interview with creator of cute comics Ryan Sias.
- An interview with Tasmania-based comics creator Madeleine Rosca who has two comics out from Seven Seas Publishing: Hollow Fields volumes 1 and 2.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on March 19, 2008 - 10:35
A moment of silence for the passing of a great writer and visionary: Arthur C. Clarke. I can still remember picking up books from him and Ray Bradbury at a very young age (7?) and while not completely understanding everything I read, being overwhelmed by the sense of imagination, and of possibility. I think my favorite Clarke novel was/is Rendezvous With Rama in part because it was a great fit for me when I read it (middle school I recall) but also for the sweep of it.
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 BLOGS
Gary Tyrrell covered the webcomics panel at the recent SPLAT confab (FLEEN had a more general post on SPLAT here) in New York City with an extensive write-up on the more interesting comments from the panelists: Dean Haspiel, Raina Telgemeier, Rich Stevens, Ted Rall, and Collen Venable.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on March 17, 2008 - 09:55
Uber-blogger Cory Doctorow (Boing Boing) writes up his 17 tips for getting bloggers to write about you. All pretty common sense stuff worth thinking about when you're trying to build buzz for a project, but one stuck out to me because I've still considered hotlinking images to be "bad form":
Don't worry about "bandwidth stealing." There's an enormous fooforaw among site operators about people who "hotlink" to images -- linking directly to images on an external site, rather than to the page the image came from. Dear site operators: Here's a quarter, go buy a terabyte from Amazon S3 and stop complaining. Back in the paleolithic era, inlining could add up to real money. If your hosting company is charging you enough for bandwidth in 2008 that you're still worrying about it, you need a new host. With your URL in your images (see above), every one of those inlining events is just a way of directing traffic back to your site. An inlined image is LOTS cheaper than a Google Ad, and far more targeted. (The same goes for handwringing about "framing" -- including an external site inside a frame on a site, rather than just linking to it.)