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August 21st, 2011

2011 Hugo and Harvey Award Winners

Kate Beaton took the Harvey for Best Online Comic at this year's Harvey Awards - announced yesterday evening at the Baltimore Comic Con.  The Washington Post has a full list of this year's winners.

Phil and Kaja Foglio and Cheyenne Wright won the Hugo Award for BEST GRAPHIC STORY for Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse.  There's a full list of the Hugo winners here.

August 15th

Comix Talk for Monday, August 15, 2011

Welcome back to me.  I haven't paid enough attention to know how insightful Lets Be Friends Again's take on the London riots is but... Let's Be Friends Again has a take on the London riots?  V for Verklempt!

BIG STORY: It's been about a year but the long-planned Kurtz/Krahulik/Holkins webcomic The Trenches has launched.  A fairly big publicity splash for it this week, here's a blurb at Computerworld; -- Comic Riffs wrote about their forum for game testing horror stories;

INTERVIEW: Danielle Corsetto answered questions from readers at the Any Asq site.  Good interview. 

RECIPE FOR COMIX: Have I linked to Saveur's Recipe Comics series?  They've had several good webcomic artist draw a comic illustrating their favorite recipes.  Very cool stuff.

NEVERMIND THE GRUNGE: Comic Alliance has a comic from Jonathan Bennett remembering Nirvana's song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and the Nevermind album 20 years later.

DrunkDuck Staggers Thataway: Delos writes that DrunkDuck changed its url structure, making all your bookmarks (and any webcomic review links) outdated. I'm not saying DrunkDuck might not have some value, but don't put all your eggs in that basket. 

HYPE

MILESTONES

  • Happy 8 years of Questionable Content!
  • I missed posting about it earlier this summer but Holiday Wars from Comicbook publisher Th3rd World Studios hit its one year anniversary in July.  I don't know much about the publisher but its store also handles well-established webcomics The Legend of Bill and The SuperFogeys.    Concept-wise it's a bit similar to a long-running storyline in Pete Abram's Sluggy Freelance, but I don't know that the notion of personifying holidays is all that startlingly original to begin with.  It's created and written by Scott King with art on the comicbook model:  Michael Odom – Penciler;  Arturo Said – Inker; and  Giuseppe Pica – Colorist.  It looks promising enough -- I plan to check it out further this month.

TRAGEDY OF THE COMMON GROUNDS:  Did you see this story about the guy who put his Starbucks card online?  Penny Arcade had a pretty funny take on it here.

Adventures with the ComixTALK mailbag

So while looking at things to write about this week I was flipping through the virtual ComixTALK mailbag and got a mite bit frustrated with many of the emails. I wound up reviewing some of the hype emails I have received this month. Hope I'm not being actually mean here but rather offering some actual advice and feedback:

Jon Nielsen wrote in that he recently released Revenge of the Fish People -- the second book collection of his webcomic, Massive Pwnage.  So there's that for ya. Seriously if you're going to take the time to write reviewers, news-people types and anyone else you hope to get excited about your book, you have to actually write something to get them excited about your project.  I get too many emails to give each of them a ton of attention -- if I don't get hooked from the email itself, I'll still give the website a look most of the time but you've already missed a chance to tell me why I should care.  In this case I see a webcomic about computers, gaming, etc that doesn't look at all unique -- for all I know Nielsen has a gem in the rough blossoming but I don't know how I'd know.  I don't even see a new readers guide here.  If I don't fall in love with what I see on first glance and I don't see an obvious "hey new readers click here" message than I give it the recent abbreviated archive trawl which usually consists of starting in January of the current year and clicking for a bit. So click, click, click, okay this one on toasting foods was kind of funny. Click, click, click and well I like chart comics that end with punch it in the face as much as the next orc so I liked this one too.  I don't have enough of a sense of the comic to say anything more than Ctrl-Alt-Del-ish.

This is better -- an email from Mark Stokes on marking the first year of his Zombie Boy webcomic. Mark gave me a quote -- if they're interesting, quotes are nice.

"This one year anniversary marks a challenge I set for myself to reach at least a year online,” said Stokes, who has created and published various incarnations of Zombie Boy for almost 25 years now. “The comic strip format, which I knew was going to be a challenge since I was used to writing longer stories, has helped me improve my work, keep up my schedule and write short, economical and funny story lines. Hopefully I can reach my next goal, which is sticking around until the strip’s second anniversary!"

I can't say this is an awesome quote -- especially the first sentence, but at least, it's a bit of color.  Better yet, maybe Stokes could have included more on the growth of his comic or himself over the course of sticking to a regular publication schedule for a year.  If you poke around on his site you can find out that he published the first Zombie Boy comic book in 1987.

And well this is worse.  Jake Brophy wrote in that he recently started a webcomic with his brother and he's trying to get the word out.  The webcomic is called Super Brophy Brothers. I don't know if others would agree with me but best only to hype when it's a legitimate milestone like a year anniversary, or a book release. If you've got no reason to write, at least be creative about it.  The Brophys' comic is wildly uneven, but probably the most original of those that I pulled from the mailbag for this exercise. But based on the short email I got, I wouldn't have much to write about it -- short of an actual review and I have a review backlog a mile long.  

I guess the Super Brophy Brothers anticipated this post

Bottom line is to remember that if you're going to spend the time to promote your webcomic, to give some time to thinking up a strategy for success.  Have a legitimate hook to be writing now and make sure to write enough about your comic and that hook so that whomever you're writing to gets hooked from your email alone.

August 13th

SUPER ART FIGHT 11!

The "Greatest Live Art Competition In The Known Universe" celebrates its third anniversary at Super Art Fight 11!  Fearsome art competition Saturday,  August 20th, 2011 at the Ottobar (2549 N Howard Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21218).  Doors open at 8 PM, with the show starting promptly at 9 PM. 

August 4th

Comix Talk for August

August is going to be even lighter than usual, posting-wise.  Here's some of the news this week:

INTERVIEWS

HYPE

  • A lot of well-deserved hype this week for Maritza Campos' new project - Power Nap.  An interesting premise - it's about a world where a drug has removed the need for sleep from humans, but unfortunately for our protagonist, he's allergic to the drug.  Art is by Bachan who has a great style that complements Campos' outlandish, and often frentic style of story.
  • The comic-in-progress The Chairs Hiatus by Matthew Bogart is really good!

HIATUS AND GOODBYE:  Otis Frampton posted that he will return to updating Escape From Nowhere in September.  I wouldn't normally post about something that far out, but Otis' webcomic showed a lot of promise as a fun action adventure story.

BUSINESS TIME: Great article on the webcomics entrepreneurs in the Boston newspaper.

OPINIONATIN':  Reuben Bolling nails another one -- TOM THE DANCING BUG: Great Moments in American Political Negotiation and Compromise.

COVER BAND: Definitely looking forward to Calamity Jon's DC Fifty-TOO! project. Jon's a great dude and has organized impressive group blog efforts before (check out CORNERED for one)

MILESTONES

  • This week marked 8 years of Jeph Jacques' Questionable Content webcomic. Congrats!
  • We're just about to the end of Warren Ellis' FreakAngels. What do you think?

August 2nd

Pre-Order My Life in Records #1

My Life in Records is relaunching!  This newest issue contains a remastered and reworked version of the very first My Life in Records story, plus two new "B Side" stories that are only available in the print version of the comic.  The release date for My Life in Records #1 is September 15, 2011, but you can preorder it now for a reduced price ($5.00) and also enjoy FREE SHIPPING!

July 26th

Comix Talk for Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Computers blues baby.  My iMac is no longer the bright and shiny machine it was in 2008.  But we'll see how it runs after I do an erase and reinstall on it.  I'm still debating whether to upgrade to Lion -- the early 2008 iMacs are limited to 4 GB and I'm hoping that won't be an issue.

Oh comics? I should have a few reviews up this week, but I think I'm taking the month of August off.  It's been a tough year for me to find time to blog about web+comics already and I'm thinking a month off from it might help me recharge my batteries. 

In fact I just saw that Dave "Teen Astronaut Boat" Roman and Raina "Shine" Telegemeier will be in my neighborhood next month with an appearance at local book shop One More Page.  Unfortunately I'll be out of town that day and so won't get a chance to congratulate Raina on her very recent Eisner award for her graphic novel Smile.  But you totally should!

The Crosby Twins (okay not twins, but I've been reading Keith "Glimmer Twin" Richards autobiography lately and it's on the brain) announced at ComiCon that they'd struck a movie development deal for the director for the movie version of Last Blood, the zombie-vampire mashup webcomic.  [See Chris Crosby's comment below for more details]  ComixMix pitches this as the furthest a webcomic has gone to a movie but there's probably no there thereCowboys And Aliens, which is an actual movie coming out imminently, started off life as a webcomic.  Still that doesn't really matter -- the Crosbys have been pretty explicit about their plans and hopes to strike movie deals for their comics properties so they have to be pretty excited about this announcement.

And for more ComiCon stories thank Tom Spurgeon, who does another one of his fantastic efforts at linking to everything on the web about ComicCon in one place.

July 19th

Comix Talk for July 19 Nnnn Nineteen Nineteen

Still having a lot of fun playing with Google +  It seems like there's a lot of comics folks on there. One of the most active has been Ryan Estrada who is not only posting on it full runs of various webcomics he's created, but he's also been creating infographic guides to Google + itself.

A few stories I highlighted on Google + that I really should have blogged about here:

  • El Santo catches that the Xeric Foundation is going to stop giving grants to people to self-publish their comics because of.... webcomics! I get it but I do think the grants served a critical niche that got people into print that might otherwise never make that leap. Read more at Webcomics makes the Xeric grant obsolete.
  • First I'd heard of this issue -- is there anything else to Amazon's Most Favored Nation pricing policy that Dave Wright is missing? I didn't find author Cory Doctorow's answer all that illuminating either... Read more at Does Amazon Allow Free Samples? Depends Who You Are. | Collective Inkwell.
  • When you ret-con a webcomics archives, should you label it as such? I'm not even really sure how many times this has been done in a webcomic. (The two examples Sean gives in this article are not really ret-cons as that term is used by the comic book community, these are more like reissuing a book with a couple of corrected pages). Read more atKleefeld on Webcomics #23: REAL Retroactive Continuity.

A story I just got in my inbox from Rick Marshall about a Comic-con photo scavenger hunt he's hosting on his blog and he's giving away some of the toys and comics I accumulated over the last few years -- as well as something cool from Hasbro -- to the winners (and maybe the runners-up, too).

Basically, I've come up with 50 things to take a picture of during the show, and people just have to upload any of them they find to a public Flickr group. It's pretty simple and could be a lot of fun. It also seemed like a cool way to bring the Comic-Con craziness to people like myself who won't be there. ;)

And what the heck let's dive even further into the ComixTALK mailbag.  Brian Delaney writes that he has a new webcomics site that features two serialized webcomics: The Silver Sparrow and Blood Machines.  Delaney plans to alternate the strips like television shows, in seasons. Each season is 12 weeks long and updates every Wednesday.

Serializing Superheroes on the Web: Over at GammaSquad they ran an article featuring webcomics creators pitching their versions of Marvel and DC characters. I would probably read anyone of these if they really existed.

July 15th

Comix Talk: The Comics Blog That Lived!

Sorry for the summer doldrums here at Comix Talk. I have extra-neglected things here this month because of Google + which to be fair is a shiny new bauble. Can you really blame me? S H I N Y ! ! ! ! !   And for whatever reason there are already a lot of artists on G+ which has made it an interesting place to check up on and also potentially a more effective network.

MILESTONES: Seth Kushnar has posted a tribute to Harvey Pekar in comics form -- now up at Act-I-Vate.  Kushnar blogs at GraphicNYC and also creates the sort of regular CulturePOP comic series of which this Pekar tribute is part of.  Kushnar in the comments to the comic notes that he didn't know Pekar particularly well but he clearly has an appreciation for his work and does a remarkable effort with this comic.

HYPE: If you hadn't already heard, Greg Rucka has a webcomic: Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether written by Rucka with art from Rick Burchett.  What's it about? From the comic's about page: "Swords are cool. People fighting with swords are cool. Airships are cool. Cowboys are cool. Pirates are cool. Clockwork men are cool. Smart, savvy, witty women are very cool. Laconic gunslingers? Totally cool. Steampunk? Frosty."

PREQUEL SEQUEL REQUEL: Sorry, don't know what to call this category yet but it's become apparent that it's a hip trend to bang out a comic as an accessory to a media property.  We've seen this for several videogames and teevee series.  Out recently is a comic for Burn Notice which is first and foremost a basic cable teevee series. There is also a comic for the upcoming movie reboot of Planet of the Apes. Thankfully, sometimes this work has been really entertaining (no comment yet on Burn Notice or Rise of the Planet of the Apes as I haven't read all of them) as opposed to being just adjunct marketing for the main media property.

CRAFT: Delos rounds-up recent tips and techniques from webcomics creators.

July 12th

ComixTalk+

So I've had some time sucked up by Google + the last couple of weeks and although I'm still not entirely sure how I'm going to use it, I have seen some creative comics ideas tried out on it already.  Ryan Estrada has posted some of his entire comics on his profile and also a "how to" for it.  I'm not entirely sure if these links to Google+ are going to work or not, including this one to my own profile there (it would be nice if Google+ added short urls for your profiles).  Everytime you post something there you have the option to share it with the "public" or a smaller number of people -- all the way down to one person if you want. It's also built around a one-way social relationship (so more like Twitter than Facebook) -- you add people to your circles which is pretty much "following" someone on twitter.  However it seems like if you follow someone who then also follows you that Google+ recognizes that distinction so maybe ultimately it will be a hybrid between one-way and two-way social connections.

Anyhow - the big positives for Google+ are that it seems like they are taking privacy more seriously (but time will tell), and the UI is slick and easy to use. If you want an invite let me know and I will get to it for you today.  Invites seem to go on and off so try again later if it doesn't work for you right away.