Howdy comics fans!  Well hope you had a nice summer, I sure did.  Still evaluating plans for what to do with COMIXTALK 2: THE TALKENING but I figured I owed someone a post about something.

CONVENTION TIME: Washington DC has both SPX and Intervention happening this month.  Plus Baltimore's Comicon is this weekend.  When it rains it pours (except when it's humid and it just kind of sticks).  I am going to try and make SPX and Intervention this year.  

SPX is September 15th and 16th.  Going to SPX is like taking a deep dive into comics as comics. \ Very little (NONE!) of the trappings of a more "community" oriented comicon.  Although lines have gotten longer over the years also a great place to meet some of the creators of the best comics on the web and off.  Plus attendees can vote for the Ignatz Awards.

Intervention is on a different weekend this year, September 21-23 (RELIEF – both cons on the same weekend last year was a killer!) and has more of a general cool stuff from the Internet vibe to it.  Still a different animal than a standard comicon but an altogether experience than SPX too.  A great list of guests this year — Shaenon Garrity and Jeffrey Wells, Danielle Corsetto, Jennie Breeden, Pete Abrams, Rob Balder, Christopher Baldwin, Jami Noguchi, actually more more more (I give up, just go to their website).

READING COMICS: I read Drama by Raina Telgemeier.  REALLY GOOD – will have a real review up soon.  Also got a copy of Superhero Grammar.  My kids who are already full fledged GRAMMARIANS said they thought it might be a good book for younger kids learning grammar. (Scholastic gave COMIXTALK review copies of both books).  Also saw that AMULET 5 is out — I need to get ahold of that!  I have also been rereading a lot of webcomics over at Comic Rocket; many posts at my new blog ALTERTAINMENT are about that — check them out.

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Summer Sort Of Hiatus!

Just to make it official-like, ComixTALK is on a bit of a hiatus, at least for a chunk of the summer months here in Norte Americano.  This website is a project that I love and have had a wonderful time writing for in all of its incarnations over the last almost-but-not-quite a decade, but it's also run out of steam for me.  I'd really like to bring it back as something different about comics so stepping away from it will hopefully give me a chance to try and make that happen.

Also, I started a new blog called ALTERTAINMENT where I still do write quite a bit about comics but will mix in other subjects too. For whatever reason, it felt like the right time to make a new home for me somewhere else on the web. It's still a work in progress, but since it's not ComixTALK, I get to make up what it is everytime I decide to post something.

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ComixTalk for Monday, May 14, 2012

A slightly random post on what's what recently.  I also posted a review of Spike and Diana Nock's Poorcraft over the weekend – be sure to check that out.

DIG THAT DIG DUG: I played the Dig Dug back in the day day so I read with some interest the massive tweetstorm about the webcomic drive to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the game.  All of it is organized by ShiftyLook, the Namco/Bandai portal of webcomics based on old video games.  The list of creators in on this includes – among others – Brian Clevinger (Atomic Robo), Dean Haspiel (ShiftyLook’s The Five-Dimensional Adventures of Dirk Davies), Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik (Penny Arcade), Scott Kurtz (PVP), David Maliki (Wondermark), R. K. Milholland (Something Positive), Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics), Krishna Sadasivam (PC Weenies), Kris Staub (chainsawsuit), Zach Weiner (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal) and Jim Zubkavich (ShiftyLook’s Wonder Momo, ShiftyLook’s Sky Kid).

LUCKY DUCKY!: Earlier this month Reuben Bolling announced a kind of "club/pledge drive" for his brilliant Tom the Dancing Bug comic.  For $9.99 you get six months of inner access to the comics, including insight into the work process. What does it say about alternative weeklies in terms of comics though that one of their absolute superstars has to refocus even more on the web? 

Let's Rock This Joint In The Old School Way: Have you all been following Ed Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree over at BoingBoing? It's a super interesting, entertaining look at the origins of hip hop music.  I also love the "family tree" icon Piskor uses to show the archives of the webcomic.  The latest one is posted here.

COME ON FEEL THE HYPE:  I really dig Zen Pencils – which presents inspiring and famous quotations in comic format.  Really creative interpretations, more than solid artwork — I am pondering buying prints of almost half of his archives.

READING HABITS: Has anyone else tried these tools to open different tabs in your browser based on the day of the week?  Seems pretty helpful actually and ripe for a webcomic-focused fork.

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Poorcraft by Spike and Diana Nock

Poorcraft: The Funnybook Fundamentals of Living Well on Less began as a successful Kickstarter effort back in late 2009.  It is now a real live book about to drop in on the world this May 20, 2012.  Written by C. Spike Trotman and drawn by Diana NockPoorcraft makes excellent use of the comics medium to deliver some very practical advice on how to make the most of your resources. A book that will be pretty handy not only for many starving comic artists but anyone trying to stretch their means, especially when just starting out on adult life.

Spike who is perhaps best known for her Twin Peakseque webcomic Templar, AZ, has done an impressive job here — the book is well organized and shows a tremendous amount of research and thought.  The book opens with a general chapter on the philosophy of "poorcraft" and then moves to chapters organized around practical issues like: housing, food, clothing and health.  Spike also covers transportation, education, emergencies and entertainment in other chapters. There is also a huge chapter with additional links and resources at the end of the book.  The idea of "poorcraft" is a collection of tips to do more with less, be financially savvy, and take more advantage of free and low-cost opportunities where they exist.

All of which might make this sound like a dry, dull resource book.  Nothing could be further from the truth. It's a very fun read with all of the information presented as a dialogue between the poorcraft-savvy Penny and her neighbor Mil, who like a lot of us has fallen into a lot of financial and lifestyle habits that most of us don't even stop to question why. Spike makes the comic as much a story as a how-to book, following Penny's efforts to help Mil learn poorcraft and get out of the many financial problems she has wandered into.  Between Spike's snappy dialogue for both characters and Diana Nock's fun, loopy, entertaining artwork, the book is a good, fast read. One that you will want to go back to individual chapters to review when you're interested in the particular advice on that subject.

Definitely worth checking out. If I was organizing a "gift guide" from comics — this would be a great gift for someone leaving the "nest" for the first time. Unlike countless other books on the subject this one is almost certainly going to be the most fun one to read.

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Let’s Get It Arted… In Heeeere!

COMIXTALK: Making bad puns in the blog post titles since 1886

Welcome to another edition of Let's Get It Arted eh actually let's stick with:

Ooh, yeah 
Kickstart my art
Give it a start
Ooh, yeah, ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-baby 

First off let's congratulate recently funded projects including Tiny Kitten TeethDear Dinosaur, Jet Pack Jenny, Circus Saudade, Spike's Smut Peddler which so far has doubled its funding goal, and Shannon Garrity's Skin Horse 3 Book which has nearly tripled the goal she set for it.  Some of these are still live so more money pledged might mean more stuff made.

THIS KICKSTARTER DRIVE IS SO BABIES! Dave "Whatchoo Talkin' 'Bout" Willis is in the midst of a drive to raise the cash to print the first book collection of his newest webcomic Dumbing of Age.  He's also said in the project that if this Kickstarter fundraiser reaches $20,000 he will reprint the out-of-print Shortpacked! Book One again.  

FUND A WEBCOMIC? This Kickstarter drive, titled "Fund Our Webcomic: Montgomery X. Chesterfield" is actually what it says — give the project money and Salvatore Pane, Mark Kleman and Kat Larkin will make a free webcomic. "The more money we generate, the more frequently we can update with more free material." Honestly, while I'm not going to begrudge anyone trying anything to help themselves make comics, this surprises me that Kickstarter approved it.  Granted they are only asking for 100 bucks but there's no real there there to what the project is funding.  It's not even a commitment to a particular update schedule or a number of comics or finishing a story or…

EXPENDABLE: I like the title on this one —  the funds will go to printing a Henchmen for Hire graphic novel which will collect the first story of the webcomic in a large, full-color 140+ page paperback format.

PUSH IT OVER THE LINE: This one is super close to hitting its goal. The elevator pitch for it: "It’s basically Beowulf, starring a bunch of nerds. Also, Sasquatch."

TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS: This one looks like a lot of fun – 

Tomorrow Jones is about a 14 year-old girl named Tomorrow who comes from a family of superheroes. While she may be strong enough to fold an armored truck into origami, Tomorrow has to pretend to be a normal girl at school. Her father won't take her seriously, and her traditional heroine mother expects Tomorrow to follow in her footsteps. But Tomorrow doesn't want to dress in skimpy spandex though, and starts fighting crime unmasked and simply wearing jeans and a T-shirt with her real initials on it. All the while her parents keep trying to get her to do things "the traditional way" and Tomorrow finds she might be getting in over her head in the superhero community.

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ComixTalk for Monday, April 30, 2012

Whew – got one more post in before the beginning of May.  That brings my 2012 average up to — what? — one post every 2.5 weeks or so.  Thanks for bearing with me (well whomever is bearing out there in Internet-land).  New job, new projects, shifting priorities means less time for ComixTalk which isn't likely to change this year.  I do have some great ideas for building a couple of webcomic-focused sites that I really want to use on a regular basis.  I suspect others would find them useful too. Unfortunately not sure when any of it will happen. 


iWEBCOMICS: Jerzy Drozd linked to this story on the new Marvel infinite comics format for the iPad.  I've always been a fan of the web part of webcomics.  But there's a way to stretch comics without breaking it and then there's motion comics…  This approach by Marvel looks interesting — it appears to leave control of the viewing/reading experience in the hands of the reader and it still maintains the panel as the atomic unit of storytelling.  I'll be curious to read the reactions from the blog-o-comicsphere.

FINDING NEMO — AND COMICS: I've checked out Just the First Frame a couple times — my big problem with it is that as a hand-crafted webcomic, it ain't scalable and that success will kill it.  Still I always suspect Lauren Davis is smarter about this stuff from me so let's all give it another look this week.

INTERVIEW: There was a good interview/feature on Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content at Bleeding Cool last week. Definitely worth reading if you missed it. (And if you missed Lauren Davis' review of the webcomic from earlier this year – also worth reading)

KICKSTART MY ART:  Charles Cutting has a Indiegogo campaign going to fund The Dream Quest of Randolph Carter – a print version of his graphic novel adaptation of a H.P. Lovecraft story. You can read the comic online to check it out.

In Search of… SCIENCE!: PhD Comics has comic-fied an interview with physicist Daniel Whiteson who discusses the search for the Higgs Boson particle at CERN (PhD Comics also did a similar comic-fied take on dark matter).

MAILBAG: Richard Pulfer writes that his webcomic, Blue Yonder (illustrated by Diego Diaz and written by Richard Pulfer and Luke Perks) is starting its second storyline:

When readers last saw Jared Davenport, aka Blue Yonder, the young hero had flown the coop from Claremont Apartments after learning his new allies included an ex-cop convicted of stealing evidence and a black ops solider with an even more checkered past. Will his old friends, the police-themed N-Forcers, be any help in locating his missing family? What about Voltra, the young girl who befriended him at the run-down Claremont Apartments? The answers to these questions and more will be revealed when Blue Yonder continues its weekly updates on Wednesday. 

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