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Archive - 2011

June 14th

Comix Talk for Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Click to see full view of Paul Bryant Johnson's art

So Tuesday? Late June-ish? Time, time, time. I was supposed to have gotten a lot more done already.  Oh well.

Hey check out this very cool drawing of an Otyugh (a monster from Dungeons and Dragons) by Bryant Paul Johnson. Click thru to see the full image.

I also saw this effort where a whole bunch of great artists drew Kirby homages -- many (all?) are posted here at Small Press Commandos.  Very cool stuff - worth scrolling through the whole thing.

VISUAL PUNISHMENTSuper Art Fight returns to The Red Palace in Washington DC this Saturday, June 18th.  This time it's a very special battle of established Super Art Fight all-stars against a new generation of talent: SAF IDOL VS. SAF ALL-STAR: Dann “Charm City Shinobi” Malihom versus Kelsey “Killer” Wailes; SAF IDOL FINALIST V. SAF LEGEND: Darl Gnau versus Nick “Ghostfreehood” Borkowicz; and UNDEFEATED SENSATION V. SAF LEGEND: Brandon J. Carr versus Jami “Angry Zen Master” Noguchi.  Tickets are available now for $15.

PUTTIN' ON THE WEB: Topless Robot lists the top 10 motion comics which, well... meh but I like their introduction:

The problem with motion comics is that they are by their very nature a lesser product. Not possessing the nuances of a comic or the visual flair of a cartoon, these things are weird creatures traveling through the night in search of their own identity. That may sound a bit grandiose, but think about it. Motion comics are designed for people who are too lazy to read a graphic novel.

More interesting to me is the new Tron: Legacy webcomic that uses HTML5 to create a webcomic that is much more dynamic than your standard still-pictures-in-a-browser format.  The link shows a demo -- not the actual comic itself.

INTERVENTION 2: THIS TIME IT'S PERSONNEL: So some great webcomic/indie-friendly folks Onezumi and Harknell put on a convention last year called Intervention.  There was a big hurdle to that first effort though because they were on the same weekend as SPX -- which has grown into a monster of a good convention (seriously -- SPX never gets enough hype to match its quality).  Frankly that, in addition to just the newness of it, probably was the biggest factor in the tiny crowds for the first Intervention.  Which was a shame, because it had a great space and a great track of programming.

This year's INTERVENTION -- September 16-18, 2011 -- will NOT be on the same weekend as SPX, and is no longer a newb convention.  Onezumi and Harknell are putting together another interesting programming track so the biggest unknown determining its success will be the size of the crowds.  I see a lot of reasons to check it out already.  And if you need a break on admission I believe they are still looking for volunteers -- sign up on the forums or contact us. I think the deal is 12 hours of volunteering gets you a free registration for the event.

June 8th

Comix Talk for Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hope you're having a good week - some stories you might find interesting to read in-between webcomics:

REVIEW: The Illinois-based Gapers Block website reviews the webcomic Hamster Rage.

SHE BLINDED ME WITH SCIENCE... WEBCOMICS! Okay actually it's a he, but you know - David Brin tosses out his list of science-oriented webcomics and it includes some obvious choices, plus some more obscure and older titles as well.

INTERVIEW: The Firestorm Fan blog interviews the 8-bit Brian Clevinger who lost his gig writing for Firestorm in the big DC relaunches everthing this year plan.

THE RACK IS BACK: Todd Allen notices comic books pamphlets on the magazine racks at Barnes & Noble.  I'm old enough to remember seeing a comic book spinning rack in the local Thriftys Drugstore growing up where I bought bundled reprints of Disney comic books. Hmm - Todd Allen also points out that he recently saw a bundled pack of comics at Sam's Club. Back to the future people!

HYPE: Brigid Alverson recommends checking out Gene Yang's and Thein Pham's webcomic Legend of Joystick.  This is the creative team between the new graphic novel Level Up from First Second Books.

HANDY ANDY: Grant Snider offers some advice for artists who can't draw hands.

June 7th

Comix Talk for Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wow - Karl Kesel draws an amazing homage to Richard Thompson's Cul de Sac characters.

iWEBCOMICS: Scott McCloud points to a Gigaom article on the out-of-whack current pricing for digital comics.  Both focus on the cost-to-minute ratio which arguably is pretty high for comics compared to many other mediums.  Creator Stephen Lindsay is quoted as saying that "the comic industry really has three sets of consumer[s]: those inside the industry who buy comics to support one another, the casual reader, and the collector." Digital comics, if webcomics are any guide, are for the casual reader -- that is the typical consumer of most other creative mediums.  Price accordingly!

AWARDS: El Santo reviews the nominees for Best Digital Comic at this year's Eisners and offers up his predictions for who will win.

MILESTONES: Bobwhite ended yesterday.  The 3 year long webcomic was about three girls attending Bobwhite University, an art-focused college in Rhode Island. Creator Magnolia Porter has already launched a new webcomic Monster Pulse -  which kicks off with 8 pages today.  She's also collaborating on Dracula Mystery Club with Kel MacDonald and Amanda LaFrenais.

INTERVIEW: El Santo interviews Shannon Wheeler of coffee and rejected New Yorker cartoons.

MOVIEBEAT: Moviefone has more coverage of the Penny Arcade "The New Kid" movie option story. Gary Whitta, who wrote the recent sci-fi movie Book of Eli' is slated to script to the film.

READING IS FUNDAMENTAL: Raina Telgemeier was one of twelve artists Scholastic asked to participate in a very special literacy campaign in honor of their 90th anniversary: Read Every Day. Lead A Better Life. Raina posted here what she created for the effort.

ALWAYS LOOK ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF LIFE: John Allison offers up some positivity training for artists offering up their work in public.

ART FOR SALE: Long time friend of ComixTalk, Grant Thomas is selling the original artwork from the first full color My Life in Records comic book.  Check out the pages for sale in his store. In addition, Thomas said he is in the midst of working up the second edition of My Life In Records with minor corrections to the original story, plus two new short stories that I am calling "B Sides" to the opening story.

FROM THE MAILBAG: Jason Banditt Adams writes in about his webcomic, Rogue's Galley: The Villain's Bar.  It's a satire about has-been villains of the 1980's as they dream about their glory days and fritter away their retirement at the nautical-themed dive, the Rogue's Galley.

June 1st

Comix Talk for JUNE 1st


June evokes feelings of tranquil, great outdoor weather for me but this year it looks to be hovering around 100 degrees. Great webcomic weather I guess. Before we get to the news check out Mason Landon's ill portraits of historical figures, including the above 5 Dollar Abe.

NCS, REUBENS and THE WEB: A contingent of independent, web-minded cartoonists descended on this year's National Cartoonists Society event, including the Reubens awards. Robot6 covers some commentary by the Half Pixelites on their attendence at the events and the Daily Cartoonist starts to round up reports on it here. This seems like a crossing one of those famous river type moments.

DC COMICS RESETS FOR DIGITAL. The other big story comes out of comic superhero land where DC Comics announced that it was hitting the reset button on its entire universe of characters.  Woven into the announcement was the fact that DC will also now release its comics digitally at the same time as printDetails on the revamped line-up of titles are seeping out.  Not that anyone who makes these decisions listens to me but let me offer up my latest thoughts on this anyhow. The biggest potential growth route for comics (let's not confuse it with superheroes which have a dandy growth path in movies) is digital.  Especially as generational change continues, comics' natural home is going to be digital.  So this is a good move by DC, especially if it makes it convenient and reasonably priced for readers to get digital comics legally.

The other part of it is potentially interesting although there's too many details unknown yet.  Most of us want good stories. DC and Marvel seem to be built more on telling a story than whether it's a good story or not. Think about television -- American television has moved from more open-ended, keep it running as long as possible series to shows with a definite end (even if the ending kind of sucks).  British television seems to always take the shorter is better approach to seasons and entire series of shows.  Comics could learn a lot from this.  Give seasons of DC comics an arc and pay-off.  Plan for their natural endings.  Don't call it a 2011 comic - call it DC Season 1.  If it's done really well, it can have an everlasting life of sales online.

The other thing is writing these iconic comics for kids again but I don't see much about that in the recent news.  I think it's a missed opportunity, but it's probably not in the cards.

May 31st

Comix Talk for Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Short week but not necessarily short on comics.  Here's a few interesting stories to catch up on between catching on webcomics:

CAN YOU DIG IT: Once upon a time, Matt Madden slipped a slim jim into a comic.

SUPER ART FIGHTOn June 18, 2011, Super Art Fight returns to The Red Palace in Washington DC for a full card of bouts including marker-pugilists Super Art Fight Champion Michael “Spaghetti Kiss” Bracco, Chris “Impact” Impink, Nick “Ghostfreehood” Borkowicz, Jami “Angry Zen Master” Noguchi, Kelsey “Killer” Wailes and the undefeated Brandon J. Carr!

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Author John Scalzi has a great post up on the pros and cons of the book tour.

MILESTONE: 12 years of Cat and Girl.  That's like a 100 years for a dog; 1000 for a webcomic.

INTERVIEW: An interview with Ivan Brunetti on his new book Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice --  a 15-week master course built on his practical experience teaching at the University of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago.

COMICS!: The Rumpus has built up a pretty strong webcomics section with an alt/indie vibe.

NOT COMICS: Hey you got your Portal 2 in my Project Wonderful! No you got your Project Wonderful in my Portal 2!

May 30th

Cory Doctorow on Pirates and Admirals

Wasn't Pirates and Admirals an XTC song? (maybe it should have been) Anyhoo a great short talk by author/activist Cory Doctorow on the history of copyright, technology and piracy progress.

May 27th

Comix Talk for OMG Time For A Three Day Weekend See Ya Bye

Despite my eagerness to hit the road for a weekend of memoralizing, there is a lot of webcomic news out there you might want to skim through amongst you know... actually reading webcomics.

MILESTONES: One of webcomics' really nice guys, Krishna Sadasivam announced he's putting his 13 year run of PC Weenies on hold.  He offered a number of reasons for his unexpected decision:

I want to focus more efforts on my illustration.  The audience for the strip has reached a plateau that has been consistent for the past two years. It’s frustrating, and I know I could have done more to promote the strip, but in the end, there’s really nobody to blame but myself. I take full responsibility for this.  13 years is pretty long for anything. I’m happy with what I’ve been able to accomplish, which is a body of work that spans well over a decade.

And a reality check:

Bills. I gotta pay ‘em, and lately they’ve been crushing me alive. We’ve had a few emergency setbacks recently (two huge car repairs, a crazy water bill from hell, etc.) that are putting the squeeze on us financially. Big time.  The time I spend on making the comic could be better spent on other income-generating areas, and right now I have to do what’s best for my family. (You could help and buy a book. And if you have, thank you. I really do appreciate it.)

It's not a 100% closing of the door to coming back to the comic later on and Sadasivam also announced a new Tumblr site where he's posting PC Weenies toons from 1998 to 2007.

HYPE: reports on Crossed: Wish You Were Here, a new Avatar project that will employ the same web and print strategy of its successful Freak Angels webcomic.  Crossed will be Si Spurrier and Javier Barreno -- starting this October.

NOT WEBCOMICS: Vulture Magazine leads a critical investigation.  No it's not that kind of cup.

MUST SEE TEEVEE: Law & Order: Webcomic Unit.

INSPIRATION IS 99% SELF-INFLICTED PAIN: Thanks to Reality Amuck for linking to this funny Whomp! comic on the creative process.

May 25th

A Future for Editorial Comics?

A few definitions first: when one says "editorial comic" pretty much everyone thinks of something like this.  Caricature + obvious summation of current news event + labels.  It's a long tradition in America that continues to hold on in major newspapers.  There's also a long standing thread of politically aware commentary in comics as a whole which one can trace back through Pogo all the way to The Yellow Kid. Somewhere in the middle is the group of comics that deals with comics and politics that mostly got its start in the weekly free newspapers that most major cities have. 

None of these comics seem to have a success story with any indepedent webcomic model.  (Please tell me if I'm wrong!)  Lately however, I've seen some interesting changes: Tom the Dancing Bug has moved to Boing Boing, a very popular blog and a progressive blog, The Daily Kos, has started a comics section organized by Tom Tomorrow of This Modern World.  It places these comics out of a "comics" context and more in the context of their point of view. 

Also worth checking out is the first part of a Daily Crosshatch interview with opinionated cartoonists Ruben Bolling, Tim Kreider, and Ted Rall.

Least I Could Do Animated Series

I didn't follow the news closely this week when Ryan Sohmer tweeted his allegations about a Candian company creating a copycat animated series using notes from meetings with Sohmer.  But apparently it turned in a positive direction with Sohmer starting a Kickstarter project to raise money to make a pilot of an animated show for his webcomic Least I Could Do.  One wrinkle apparently being that Kickstarter is limited to U.S. citizens so Randal Milholland has set up the Kickstarter effort for Sohmer.

May 24th

Comix Talk for Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I think we'll be doing the rolling blog post today - check back often (or at least when I tweet "done!")

Breathers by Justin Madson is a great sci-fi story.  I've been buying the issues and I still will probably get the complete volume now that it's out.

NEWSPAPERTRON READY: I saw that and GoComics announced that they are merging their sites on June 1, 2011.  On that date, will survive and I guess will go away?  Does that really make sense? Isn't the most natural URL to keep?

KNOW YOUR HISTORY: For a guy who reviews webcomics, El Santo also makes a good comics historian.  This time he gives a history lesson on Green Lantern (last time it was Red Tornado).

CATALOG OF BROAD SHOULDERS: Gordon McAlpin got some great reviews for his first print collection of his webcomic Multiplex, including from yours truly.  Good news for Gordon -- the book is getting its first listing in the June edition of Diamond Comics PREVIEWS catalog AND it's a Staff Pick.  Hopefully that will lead to more folks checking it out.