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Archive - 2009

December 22nd

Leaked Keenspot Email

Fleen got ahold of an internal Keenspot email laying out plans to change Keenspot's business model and radically reduce the number of artists on its roster.  It raises as many questions as it answers about the future of Keenspot.

Webcomic Stocking Stuffers

Not a ton happening today so far; hope everyone is having a good week.  If you like the cover art for ComixTalk this month, The Guilded Age crew has got several wallpaper versions of it up for download.  I really love Erica's art on this comic.

Kazu Kibuishi reports that his book Copper has been spotted in stores now.

Something Positive hit 8 years old this week.  Congrats to R.K. Milholland!

Wapsi Square looks like they're reaching the battle with the big boss at the end of the game.

December 20th

All I Want For Christmas Is Octopus Pie

I know I said I wasn't going to do one of those "People of Webcomics" articles this year and I already called 2009 the year of Kate Beaton, but Meredith Gran would be right there on that list too.  Octopus Pie is a funny comic with fantastic characters and several great stories so far.  And that was all before the Holiday Special:

Give Me Your Progress Report on ComixTalk

Not sure how noticeable it was, but this was the first year ComixTalk was just me.  At the end of 2008, I decided to stop editing and "managing" contributors -- not because it wasn't interesting nor great for the site (the site had always had a group of contributors) but because I am overcommitted in life and was trying to rationalize my priorities to what I most wanted to spend time doing (I'm going through the same self-review end of this year too).  I'm lucky and unlucky -- for me it's almost all about choosing between lots of things I want to do - but some of them are "squeakier wheels" than others.  Soliciting, paying and working with materials from contributors was definitely a squeaky wheel.  It was a tough choice though -- I really liked the range of voices and interests that we had with that "magazine" approach to  the site.  Still with the auto-import of outside blogging this year we still had a great mix of voices on the frontpage of ComixTalk.  (Thank you to everyone who agreed to that arrangement!).

Late in the year though I realized my hosting bills for 2008 were more than double (almost triple) what I thought I was paying so I have to figure out a better hosting arrangement for next year and think about what functions and content stays on the site and what goes. One immediate casuality until further notice is a lot of the auto-importing (because the way Media Temple charges, that was running up the bills).  But there are other "squeaky wheels" that I think have run their course at the site -- for example, there won't be "cover" art for the site anymore next year.

What, if anything about ComixTalk this year do think I ought to keep?  What do you care less if I ditch?  I think there's plenty of other people doing a great job rounding up the webcomic and comics tech stories of the day now so I've made less and less of an effort to "link-blog" here; I think I will move even farther towards only writing about something if I really have something to add.  I may tinker with a blog or videocast (if I do, please be kind for at least while!); and I will push the calendar more next year.  I'm also interested in ways to find webcomics - there's so much out there that it ain't easy to find what you'd really like. I hope to try out some experiments in that area too.  If you can spare a few minutes to give me some feedback please do.  Thanks and happy holidays!

December 18th

How to Keep Up With Your Favorite Webcomics (And Find New Ones!)

One of the things that I was hoping someone would create for us is the perfect tool for reading webcomics -- something where you easily could keep track of the webcomics you read, bookmark where you are in the archives, get notified of updates -- all together in something really handy and easy to use.

I've used for a couple of years now for the bulk of my regular reading, but it's far from perfect with its strange categorization scheme and a somewhat clunky interface.  Nevertheless I give a lot of credit to its creator Kari Pahula for building something useful and reliable.  I'd love a more rational way to tag comics, allow for organizing my reading around those tags, maybe add in the ability to rate comics so that I can prioritize my reading list by my own ratings.  Than maybe build in some social sharing tools?  If I could get recommendations froma community of readers based on what I've ranked highly I think it would help me find new stuff I'd really like.

I'm curious -- do others see a need for something like this?  Am I missing some other obvious way to achieve my perfect reading/collecting tool with what already exists?

A Bit of the Webcomic Stuff for Friday, December 18, 2009

Wow - almost the end of 2009 already?  Posting will be lightly lite like for the rest of the year here at ComixTalk.  

Can we just call it the year of Kate Beaton?  There's almost zippy chance that I'll be doing one of those "People of Webcomics" articles again this year, but if I did I can't imagine not including her near the top.  Along those lines, Comics Alliance picked her book Never Learn Anything From History as its "Best Webcomic Collection" for 2009

The big news on small screens this week was the launch of a comics store for the Sony PSP handheld.  I don't have a PSP myself, but here's Gizmodo's review of the Marvel comics reader for the PSP to give you an idea of it.

The Comics Riffs blog is asking its readers to pick the best comic of the decade.  This is the Washington Post's "comics blog" so its readership is probably heavily skewed towards fans of newspaper comic strips and it shows in the nominations for a lot of newspaper comic "veterans" like BABY BLUES, BIZARRO, DILBERT, DOONESBURY and SHERMAN'S LAGOON.  But they also have the three best new(er) newspaper comic strips in there: GET FUZZY, PEARLS BEFORE SWINE, and CUL DE SAC.  Weirdly enough they also have one webcomic: GIRL GENIUS.  Weird not because GIRL GENIUS isn't worthy (it's a fantastic comic) but because I just can't imagine how that is the one webcomic that most appealed to this crowd.

December 14th

Wow, An Honest-To-Gods News Post From ComixTalk!

Welcome to the third week of December!  In today's ComixTalk 2009 Roundtable, (did I mention the 2009 ComixTalk Roundtable was posted today?) Johanna Draper Carlson mentions motion comics; Mike Rhodes blogs about motion comics, leading off with a link to this NPR story on it.

Last week, I posted Time Magazine's interview with cartoonist Julia Wertz on her lack of health insurance and Tom Spurgeon posted a round-up of several posts written in reaction to it, notably one from cartoonist Evan Dorkin.  Also in last week's news, Johanna Draper Carlson covered Ryan Sohmer's post about his horrible, no good, bad experience with DragonCon.

And this is kind of a narrow-interest piece, but as someone who has tinkered with a website about comics for almost a decade now, reading this post about the good and the bad of the new is kind of interesting.


All kinds of awesome: My Three Robins or Mr. Bat-Mom.  I'm somewhat shocked David Willis didn't think of this first!  (h/t to Johanna Draper Carlson).

Colleen Frake posted her NaGraNoWriMo effort here.  They ought to make a 30 day graphic novel effort an official variant on National Novel Writing Month (and maybe just call it NaCoWriMo for National Comic Writing Month).

One more pitch for the Webcomic Holiday Postcard fundraiser.  Pitch!

December 13th

The ComixTalk 2009 Roundtable

It's the end of the year and what better time to talk webcomics with a great group of interesting creators and commentators.  For this year's roundtable we talked about favorite and new webcomics from 2009; iPhones and iTablets; developments in the business of comics; developments in the subject matter of comics; webcomic awards; and predictions for 2010!  I'm joined by Gary Tyrrell, Delos Woodruff, Shaenon Garrity, Fesworks, Derik Badman, Larry Cruz, Brigid Alverson and Johanna Draper Carlson.

December 11th

Time Interview with Cartoonist Julia Wertz

Julia Wertz talks about being a cartoonist without healthcare insurance in this interview with Time.

Shout Out To Kickstarter Projects

I've seen a few more efforts to pre-fund comic books by webcomic creators recently and thought I'd search through (a site designed for artists to get commitments from readers towards pre-funding a project) to see if I was missing anything.  Not as much as I thought!  If you're looking for a way to gauge interest in a project and at the same time get commitments to buy seems like a handy way to do it.

Still seeking funding:

Publish Tom Brazelton's Theater Hopper: Year 3
Goal $3500 by December 31st

Publish 2 of Box Brown's comics!
Goal $2500 by January 15th

Kel McDonald's Sorcery 101 Book 1
Goal $7000 by January 31st

Met their stated goals:

Publish Gordon McAlpin's Multiplex Book 1
Goal $7500 by December 12th

Publish Becky Dreistadt's Tigerbuttah
Goal $5000 by January 16th.