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Archive - Jul 2010

Date

July 29th

Comix Talk for Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reactions to Valerie D'Orazio's post on the looming closure of Friends of Lulu this September if more support and help isn't immediately forthcoming: Johanna Draper Carlson writes about recent problems with a hope that a reduced in scope FoL can survive; FoL co-founder Heidi MacDonald writes she offered to help with the FoL Awards and suggests she will work to keep it alive in some form no matter what happens to the organization; and Laura Hudson writes that the new transparency is a good thing.

MILESTONES: Fleen writes about the impending wrapup of Bellen! and Box Brown's shift to focus on his Everything Dies project:

This, I think, is what web/indy comics allow that print/corporate comics don’t — the ability to wrap up a story or strip, or turn it into something completely different, and let the creator not get subsumed by the creation. Look back at the early days of comic strips, and you’ll find creators that let one strip finish and another take its place all the time. Today, get into the papers with a big enough hit and that’s it — you’re locked in forever (I believe the legal term is in perpetuity) and long after you’re dead, something you thought might last for a decade is still be put together by the former assistants of former assistants or children and grandchildren.

CONVENTIONS

Interviews: Good Comics for Kids blog has a video interview with Lark Pien

Reviews

HYPE: Scott McCloud points to Justin Crane's new website filled with new and old comics.

July 28th

Comix Talk for Wednesday, July 28, 2010

So two things ComixTalk-ish I want to mention:

  1. I need guest bloggers again due to vacation and other conflicts scattered throughout the fall.  I'll be asking (you know: begging) several folks personally, but if this strikes you as an interesting opportunity send me an email (xerexes AT gmail DOT com) or a tweet (xerexes).
  2. Lately, I've been really interested in experimenting with some ideas for a radio show (podcast I guess) and would love any and all tips or pointers to good FAQs on all of the technical side of producing audio and/or video shows for the web.

Neil Jam by Neil Fitzpatrick

INTERVIEW: Cross Topic interviewed Neil Fitzpatrick of the comic Neil Jam.

HYPE SQUARED

NOT WEBCOMICS: David Rees, creator of the webcomic Get Your War On, reincarnation of Andy Kaufman or frustrated Bob Villa?  You decide!

CONVENTIONS: Scott McCloud offers a word of advice derived from his recap of the recent SDCC: patience.

FRIENDS OF LULU: Valerie D'Orazio blogs about the state of Friends of Lulu and although it's a very forthcoming post, it's probably not the entire story (there's always other sides to the story).  Nevertheless I feel for D'Orazio who seems to have made efforts to improve things but had a hard time rallying support from members or outside supporters.  In fact, to D'Orazio's view things have gotten to the breaking point as she writes:

If by September 2010 nobody steps forward and shows interest in helping run this organization, I will start taking steps to officially dissolve it as a non-profit. Then I will donate the leftover money (if any) between the other major comics charities, return the donated artwork, and ship the historical records and sketchbooks to a University or MoCCA.  Before I would take steps to dissolve FoL (if it comes to that), I will personally contact a number of concerned parties via a mass email asking for volunteers to keep the organization going.
I have been the president of a volunteer organization a couple of times now and I can tell you it's never easy!  And not everyone has every skill set needed to run a group well -- success is often dependent on having allies who complement your weaknesses with their strengths.  I don't know what's going to happen to FoL but hopefully D'Orazio's post will start a more transparent and public discussion on the future of this organization.

July 27th

Comix Talk for Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I'm sure there's a ton of good comics to read today and with everyone back from SDCC, well... what's next? To wrap up SDCC memories though, Gary has a transcript of the Webcomics Lightning Round at SDCC that he moderated - good stuff.

Moving on to iWebcomicsJoey Manley writes about the spate of new iPad apps for the traditional comic book companies.  First, iPads aren't going to replace PCs anymore than PCs replaced TeeVees or replaced movies.  The pie grows a bit and the slices change sizes but it rare that NEW THINGS replace EXISTING THINGS.  Also I'm glad people are liking some of the new apps but until DC and MARVEL sanely commit to presenting their entire library of content in a digital format they're never going to put a dent in the illegal scanlation stuff let alone begin to grow an audience for their work beyond the direct market hard core crowd.  I don't know -- would you be super-excited about watching LOST, if you got seasons 4-7 plus the STARTLING ORIGIN episode on the new iPAD ABC TEEVEE app but for the rest you had to go to used VHS stores to hunt for the tapes?  WTF, right?

Welcome to the Dahlhouse by Ken Dahl

Welcome to the Dahlhouse by Ken Dahl is subtitled "Alienation, incarceration and inebriation in the new American Rome" and contains a string of short comics about growing old and angry in America.  It also works pretty well as an scathing critique of George Bush's America and the decade of the naughts.  Dahl is best known now for his autobiographical tale of an STD called Monsters, but this book is a great introduction to his cartooning talents.  

Dahl starts off with a series of funny comics called "Old Punx Vs..." before shifting to a longer tale remembering his flight from San Francisco, California to Honolulu, Hawaii on September 11, 2002.  It's a vivid description and critique of a time one year after the terrorist attacks on NYC and Washington DC.  The targets of Dahl's anger and attention are varied though, the next lengthy piece runs through the history of zines and then lacerates the pretensions of those making zines simply to stroke their own ego.  The centerpiece of the book, for me, feels like "The Origin of Army Guy" where a sad sack character decides to join the Army and gets a recruitment speech from a character that looks a lot like "Sarge" from Beatle Bailey.  It's a funny, but extremely biting comic that delivers tough political critique in a funny way.  

Much of the rest of the book is occupied by Dahl's alter ego, "Gordon Smalls" a lonely and alienated character who often narrates his day to, well us.  Although maybe he's just crazy and talking to no one.  Works either way I suppose.  These comics are funny and get at another theme Dahl is interested in -- the loss that comes with growing old.  Whether it's trying to pick up skateboarding again or visiting the swingset at an empty park at night, there's something sad but universal about Gordon Smalls.  Almost everyone has dreams, skills, or life experiences you just can't go back to as you get older.

July 26th

Comix Talk for Monday, July 26, 2010

Magpie Luck by Katie Sekelsky

MILESTONES

AWARDS: Congrats to Cameron Stewart for his webcomic Sin Titulo winning the Eisner for Best Digital Comic this year.

HYPE: The prequel comic to the movie Inception is pretty good actually.

INTERVIEWS

FROM THE MAILBAG

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison writes "After taking a couple years on hiatus upon completion of my webcomic Fabricari: Ad Hoc, I've decided to cull together all of my Fabricari related comics and art in preparation for some sort of omnibus thinger. I've re-lettered and posted issues one and two online.  As a bonus, I found a fifteen year-old uninked short story, the very first Fabricari comic; I inked it and also posted it on my site. It's a weird collaboration between my 19 and 34 year old self. It's a bit weird, but I couldn't be happier with the results.  And coming soon: The re-scanned, re-lettered pages from issue three!

Sam Costello writes:  I've got a new Split Lip site - now on its own domain at www.splitlipcomic.com.  The main benefits of the new site are that the art is much bigger (about a third bigger), which makes for a much nicer reading experience. It also has a blog from me. It's got all 31 Split Lip stories - nearly 500 pages of free horror comics.

Christopher Baldwin writes about his wonderful (not just my opinion - check out the io9 review) new science fiction webcomic, Spacetrawler which has been running since January of this year.

I am planning it to be a 3 year project, with one book per year (it runs twice-weekly, so approx 104 pages per book). It is full color. The books will be divided similar to the Star Wars movies, where each stands alone but there is also an over-arching plot.  Although a gag strip, there is a lot of depth in character and plot. And the cast is large enough that it took me about 5 months just to fully introduce everyone. Now that I have, things have begun happening en force, and judging by the comments on my page, people are loving that.

Mini Reviews: Al Burian, Heather Bryant and Lauren Barnett

Was That Supposed to be Funny? by Lauren Barnett

Lauren Barnett, whose comics I reviewed recently, sent me another mini with a short note attached:

Perhaps I'm a glutton for punishment, considering your last review of my work, but I figure, what the hell!

This is actually one of the harder things I struggle with in writing reviews.  I come to comics with an incredibly enthusiastic attitude -- everyone should make comics, everyone should draw, everyone should try and tell a story.  I don't want to contradict that in reviewing work but apart from that enthusiasm I'm not encouraging anyone to confuse quality with lack of it.  All things considered, readers have limited time, they ought to read the best and most interesting work (at least interesting to them).  But there's a big difference in reading a (a) great comic; (b) mediocre, but competent comic and (c) really bad comic.  And then overlaying that - you can often make some pretty good educated guess about the creator; does she have talent; does she have a passion for the art or the story; does she show promise to improve?  So I often feel bad criticizing work, especially when it's work where I'm impressed with the creator and believe it could be better or that better work is sure to come.  It's the difference between hope and indifference to comics with any number of flaws.

But in any event, here's three more short reviews of minis I've been reading this week from Al Burian, Heather Bryant and Lauren Barnett.  If you're interested in getting a mini reviewed at ComixTalk, you can find our contact information on the About page.

July 22nd

A Wafer Thin Bit of Comix Talk

Slooooooow day today - I'm sure there'll be lots of things coming out of the Comicon all this week though.

Be sure to check out El Santo's GUIDE TO WEBCOMICS. It's funny and informative.

Also, thinking of starting a webcomic? Jenny wrote this uber-long guide to webcomics you might want to check out.

July 21st

Comix Talk for Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I have a review up of the first print collection of the webcomic Quitting Time.  I'm not at San Diego's thing this year -- and from what I read, perhaps it will be LA's thing next year?  Might as well move it to Las Vegas then...

MILESTONES

INTERVIEW: Daily Cross Hatch has an interview with Dean Haspiel.

REVIEWS

HYPE

NOT WEBCOMICS:  Scott Kurtz made this video?  According to a press release for the Picross 3D™ video game for the Nintendo DS™ he did. 

Quitting Time

Quitting Time Volume 1

Quitting Time is a webcomic by Michael Moss and Linda Howard.  Both have participated at ComixTalk over the years as well as at a number of other webcomic sites.  Michael Moss not only works on Quitting Time, but also Gods Playing Poker and Shadensmilen.  (He also lives in the Outer Richmond neighborhood in San Francisco -- I lived in the Inner Richmond neighborhood one year, many years ago, -- a great neighborhood!)  Linda Howard letters and edits Quitting Time, Gods Playing Poker and Kirt Burdick’s How to be Bulletproof.

Recently, they've released a print volume of Quitting Time titled "I Love the Smell of Corporate Evil in the Morning!".  It includes a slice of the comics that ran up until January of this year.  Quitting Time is about retail work and focuses on a fairly ordinary guy named Nate.  Nate works retail jobs like coffee shop barista and a video game store clerk.  He has a son named Timmy and a roommate named Frank.  Frank is... not ordinary.  There are also a number of other wacky characters that show up in each storyline.  The best thing about Quitting Time is that Moss has obviously worked retail and when it captures a small moment of what its like to stand on your feet all day dealing with demanding customers and corporate doublespeak, it's at its best.

July 20th

Comix Talk for Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Really the only thing worth posting this AM? Axe Cop and Dr. McNinja in the TEAMUP of the century.  Predator-Aliens? Jason-Other Serial Killer Guy? Pitosh!

DEAD TREES: So how is the last volume of Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim series?

AWARDS: Techland predicts Cameron Stewart's Sin Titulo to win the Eisner this year.

REVIEW:  El Santo reviews the webcomic 1977.