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Archive - Mar 2009

In Webcomics No One Can Hear You Scream

Thanks to Caleb Sevcik for this month's cover art!  Caleb is the first artist to do 2 covers for ComixTalk.  Here's more news for Tuesday:

CRAFT
From DRAWN! -- Dave Gibbons, artist on the Watchmen, uses Manga Studio to digitally draw the character Rorschach.

Erfworld artist Jamie Noguchi demonstrates some techniques in "digital painting".  Cool stuff!

INTERVIEWS
Part one and part two of Daily Cross Hatch's interview with PBF creator Nick Gurewitch.

BUSINESS
Over at Panel and Pixel, a thread asking what is the optimal update schedule and tips on how to market your webcomic.

Pop Syndicate has an article on the threat to brick and mortar stores from digital comics publishing.

Scott "Dilbert" Adams writes a blog post on how hyper-localism might "save" newspapers (not really - Adams is really advising people in newspapers to start  "hyper-local" community portals as a new business plan.  Not sure Adams is offering anything new to the already vigorous discussion on how a focus on local community is a newspaper's core function and it's potential future).  Not sure I would have linked to it except Scott Kurtz pops up in the comments chiding Adams for clinging to the newspaper model for Dilbert.  I think Kurtz missed it there - Adams only seems to be offering an idea to provoke discussion, something he does quite often on his blog.  I doubt Adams, personally is all that stressed about newspapers since Dilbert has already made it in the larger pop culture in a way very few comics ever do.  Even if newspapers disappear tomorrow, Dilbert will do as well or better than almost any comic out there.

TECHNOLOGY
Anyone tried out the iPhone app for comics called ComicZeal?  Thoughts?  While I'm thinking of small screens, here's a link to coverage of an SXSW panel covering comics on handhelds. (h/t Brigid who covers lots more handheld stories in this post)

JUSTIFY MY TOM's HYPE
Tom Spurgeon - the Comics Reporter - writes about the webcomics he is currently reading.

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 BLOGS

FROM DRAWN! -- Justine Lai’s series of oil paintings depicting herself "in flagrante delicto" with each US president - NSFW

Another great link from DRAWN! - a video showing the evolution of the Batman logo.

March 28th

Hodgepodge of Webcomic Links

Here's some interesting stuff from the many Firefox tabs still open on my screen this weekend:

BUSINESS
Comics Worth Reading reports that the first edition of the long-running British anthology 2000 AD is now downloadable for free at Drivethrucomics.com

JUSTIFY MY HYPE
Tiny Kittens has this crazy collage-like style that reminds me of the art in classic Golden kids books.  Some or all of its creators had a hand in the now-defunct webcomic Combustible Orange.

I "heart" Tapes looks interesting - I think I saw a link to it from Anders Loves Maria.

MILESTONES
Kris Straub hits 1000 episodes of Starslip
.  Congrats!

Dave Kellet, with the help of his readers, tries to nail down when Sheldon first went online.

LEFT A NICE CORPSE - UPDATED
A new "feature-ette" I'll repeat whenever I'm out of other ideas: webcomics that died too young.  For now most of the ones I'm thinking about were really good comics that for whatever reason the creators abandoned before they found their audience (and most likely before webcomics as a whole began to really take off).  The first one is an old favorite of mine titled Waiting For Bob which went on hiatus in 2002, seemingly to return but simply hasn't.  No explanation of why the series completely stopped and yet someone seems to have taken care to keep the site up and running.  I'm sure I'm missing something (and I suppose I really should do some "reporting" here.) on the why but I'm more interested in the "what if" -- I think Waiting For Bob by Doug Shepard (current website? Talked with the real Doug via twitter and that website isn't him.  My apologies Doug!) and Katrin Salyers, which probably had a decent audience for its time, was a bit ahead of its time in that I think today much more of its likely fanbase is online and comfortable with reading webcomics.  It had three interesting characters, was not overly reliant on "tech" references and definitely had some drama mixed with the jokes.  I really think it would do well today.

The Old Made New: A Look at the Static Comics of Daniel Merlin Goodbrey

This article was originally published on webcomics.com in 2008.

“I’ve always felt driven to keep trying new things creatively and experimental web comics just started to feel a little too familiar, y’know? Too safe. I wasn’t going to improve as a creator sticking to that ground.”

–Daniel Merlin Goodbrey

Best known for his impressive formalist experiments, usually featuring Flash interfaces (eventually culminating in his Tarquin Engine), Goodbrey was one of the early pioneers of the new artistic realms that web publishing opened to comics creators (For my thoughts on Goodbrey’s early works, see my contribution to The Webcomics Examiner’s article "Aggressive Experiments"). In the past three years, however, Goodbrey has produced only one of his “hypercomics,” the 24-hour comic Never Shoot the Chronopath, which he published this past December. Most of his efforts these days have gone into more traditional seeming fare: two static humor strips and a longform tale of undead cowboys.

It would be a mistake to think that Goodbrey has given up on pushing himself creatively just because he isn’t inventing wild new interfaces, though. “Experimental” is a relative term, and nothing stymies innovation faster than repeating oneself. And even the most traditional methods can help a creator to break new ground if they’ve never tried those methods before. In fact, the least interesting work that Goodbrey has produced in recent years is the most overtly experimental; “Never Shoot the Chronopath” is an enjoyable little comic, but nothing we haven’t seen Goodbrey do before.

On the other hand, Goodbrey’s Brain Fist, All Knowledge is Strange, and The Rule of Death all incorporate forms and ideas that are new to Goodbrey’s body of work, even if they don’t look so different from the kinds of comics most people read every day.

B. Shur’s New Rocket

This article was originally published on webcomics.com in 2008.

The old guard of boundary-pushing, technologically-empowered, makers of web-native, interactive, experimental comics have largely moved on to other things. Sure, most of them are still involved in making comics, one way or another. But they’ve left the work of exploring just how much farther technology can take us to the next generation.

Happily, B. Shur has stepped up to continue that work, and is busily taking comics in fascinating new directions.

March 27th

A Webcomic? It's a Comic on the 'Tubes, Guv'ner!

CONVENTIONS
Rich Stevens and Meredith Gran will be representin' the Colonies at this year's UK Webcomix Thing which takes place this weekend.

AWARDS
Today is the last day for submitting a Harvey Award nomination ballot.  The professionalism requirement is a bit squishy but given that the Harveys have selected PvP creator Scott Kurtz to host the awards presentation, this program is probably going to be even more friendly to indie and web comic creator participation than ever.

WRITING
Over at Kung Fu Monkey, John Rogers applies the corporate-review technique known as a "360 Review" to developing characters.  Having had to go through a few of those full circle thingees, I can see how that might help in filling out a character.

JUSTIFY MY HYPE
Beaver & Steve creator James Turner has been involved with a kids-comics portal called The DFC.  It appears this month that The DFC is defunct but many (all?) of its creators have banded together to form a new site called Super Comics Adventures Squad.  Looks promising - there was good stuff going on so it's nice to see it will continue.  (h/t Journalista!)

March 25th

Get A Little Bit O' Webcomic News Here

Webcomicstock Cleanup
It can't be anything like the utter mess left by the original Woodstockers, could it?  (let alone the Gen-Xy Woodstock '98 crowd).  For another recap and photos of the event ten years from now you'll say you were at even if you weren't - visit Gary over at Fleen (you have to click the links in the post to see the photos).  Digital Strips was there too and recorded some panels and did a lot of interviews (audio) that they're posting this week.  Finally, Publisher's Weekly has another writeup of NEWW.

TECHNOLOGY
Honestly - do you like "motion comics" or not?  Or does it depend on how and how well they're done.  The Unofficial Apple blog has a story on the Watchmen "motion comic" and Scott McCloud chimes in on his displeasure with the trend.  I haven't seen the Watchmen one so I don't know much about it and whether it's similar or not to other efforts like those on Clickwheel.  (Speaking of Scott McCloud - there's a new interview with him up here - in what is actually not all that novel anymore, the interviewer has formatted the interview with McCloud to look like one of McCloud's infinite canvas comics.

IF YOU CAN MAKE IT HERE

Ben Driscoll of Daisy Owl quit the day job last Friday to work full time on his webcomic:

I have officially, as of Friday, left my job to do Daisy Owl full time. Thanks so much for reading the comic, for helping out with signed strips, and for just being awesome in general. I hope to do this for a long, long time, and you guys make it possible. Holy crap. - Ben

Daisy Owl is supported by signed strips and donations. Also, a painting of Mr. Owl is for up for auction, check it out >

March 24th

Harvey Award Nominations Due This Week

Got a webcomic?  Harvey award nomination ballots are due before midnight, March 27th - you can download from HarveyAwards.org and email a completed ballot to harveyballots@hotmail.com.  They've got a "professional requirement" for participating in nominations but I can't find any specifics right now on their website other than this:

Nominations for the Harvey Awards are selected exclusively by creators - those who write, draw, ink, letter, color, design, edit or are otherwise involved in a creative capacity in the comics field. The Harvey Awards are the only industry awards both nominated and selected by the full body of comic book professionals.

The winners are going to be presented on October 10th, 2009 in Baltimore as part of the Baltimore Comic-Con.  This year, our Master of Cermonies will be Scott Kurtz of PvP.  Last year in the Best Online Comic category, Nicholas Gurewitch won for Perry Bible Fellowship.  Full press release after the jump:

March 23rd

Your Post-Webcomicstock Weekend News Update

Monday morning - two new interviews for you to check out: Monty Kane of Planet Saturday and Brian Babendererde of Soul Chaser Betty.  Also check out our current sponsor, the webcomic Null Knowledge.

AWARDS
Dude! Howard Tayler received a HUGO nomination for a storyline of Schlock Mercenary titled "The Body Politic".  Dude.  Congrats Howard!  UPDATE: Hey, overlooked that Phil and Kaja Foglio also get a nomination - for Girl Genius, Volume 8 and the storyline "Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones".  Dude and Dudette!!  Congrats are in order to all of the nominees.

Also, Kate Beaton received a nod in the "Best Emerging Talent" category of the Doug Wright Awards for her otherwise untitled History Comics.  Congrats Kate!

INTERVIEWS
CBR has an interview with Rene Engström of Anders Loves Maria.

Newsarama interviews Joe Dunn of Joe Loves Crappy Movies.

Here It Is! Blog interviews David Malki! of Wondermark. (h/t Journalista!)

BUSINESS
Surprisingly -- to me -- a relatively new strip that originally started on Comics Sherpa, The Argyle Sweater, hit 200 newspapers.

March 22nd

Going To Hell In A Handbasket, Volume 47

Rob and Elliot!

New England Webcomics Weekend

By all accounts so far a rousing success and you gotta hand it to Meredith Gran for organizing things so well.  A great photoset on flikr here and Rick Marshall's write-up here.

Since I didn't get to go this year, I really hope she's up for organzing another edition next year.