This year's [EISNER Best Digital Comic] nominees in particular feel like a world where instead of the Emmy awards, the Motion Picture Academy had just added a "Best Television Movie" category to the Oscars.
ACBF has a lot of cool features: support for creator metadata; per-panel/page definitions; multiple text-layers for multiple languages; text formatting and style data; auto-indexing and more. The format is CC-BY-SA, and can be found on Launchpad, along with GPL'ed viewers for GNU/Linux and Windows.
EVENTFUL: I don't know why I'm stumbling on to Rare Words so late to the party but the Internet is a biiig place I guess. Rare Words is a blog where Mark Burrier draws sketches based on phrases submitted through the website. There will be an exhibition of his work this June at the Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland.
While we're here let's open up the ComixTALK mailbag:
Chance Argabright-Wees writes that Fat Cat Gameworks is going to collaborate with Christopher Hastings, of the webcomic, Dr. McNinja, to create a game based on the comic. It is planned to be "a free-to-play, retro-style platformer for iOS, Android, and the web" which I suspect means something! A third Penny Arcade videogame and a Dr. McNinja videogame? That's… four webcomic-based videogames! There's a kickstarter for this project too!
Ray Hayden writes in about his webcomic Agatha Crup — "Three issues in and we've got over 50,000 unique visits on the site." He plans to put out another issue around the end of April along with an animated 3 minute video with characters from the comic.
An interesting mix of new and familiar names (to me at least) and a range of styles and subject matters to boot. I haven't read any of these so here's my quick ill-informed reactions and/or paraphrasing of the about pages:
The full title of John Neufeld's webcomic is Bahrain: Lines In Ink, Lines In The Sand and follows Mohammed and Sara, two young Bahraini editorial cartoonists who found themselves on opposite sides of Bahrain's short-lived Pearl Revolution. Neufeld met Mohammed and Sara at workshops he led while visiting the tiny Persian Gulf country on a U.S. State Department trip. Neufeld documents their impressions of the events, through their words, experiences, and their own cartoons, which were published as events unfolded. A self-contained, non-fiction, journalistic effort.
Mike Norton's webcomic is about a giant pug. OMIGOD PUPPY!! On-going serialized comedic, fantasy adventure tale.
Tony Cliff's webcomic takes place in 19th-century Turkey where an officer in the Janissary army must struggle to repay a brash adventuress for saving his life, even though she was the one who endangered it in the first place. Another serialized adventure story albeit much less wacky than Battlepug.
Dylan Meconis' is a fable brought to webcomic form.
Ryan Andrew's webcomic also has the feel of a fable or better still an alegory. Both Dylan's and Ryan's efforts are self-contained, completed works of fiction.
I realize this is far from the due diligence of actual reviews but even so, it's striking how challenging it must be to try to compare the merits of such diverse work with such clearly different artistic and other goals. This year's nominees in particular feel like a world where instead of the Emmy awards, the Motion Picture Academy had just added a "Best Television Movie" category to the Oscars.
Richard Reynolds writes in about his webcomic,St. Shawshank's Infant School which he describes as "basically a re-telling of The Shawshank Redemption... only set in an infant school, and with all the added innocence that that implies." That's an interesting twist alright!
Sasha Peric writes in to ask us to take a look at a new comic, Pustinja, hosted on Google+. It's a wordless mini-comic, with artwork suggestive of wood-cuts. He's from Bosnia, and this new work looks like it's in a similar vein to previous examples of his comics.
iWEBCOMICS: So the new iPad 3 is out and it has a gloriously densely pixelated screen – RETINA-VISION or some such marketing moniker. Of course I think this bodes well for comics. It doesn't mean legacy publishers won't continue to bobble their opportunities but for everyone not tied to the direct market, printed past, this is the best of times. As far as digital goes I thought it pretty good news that Mark Waid is embracing digital and selling off his comic book collection, if not effective at raising funds is still a keen meta-commitment to his new direction
FINDING NEMO WEBCOMICS: I also heard about Just the First Frame from Fleen and it's a nifty idea. Time always tells whether it's a practical idea that one can use on a daily, regular basis but I'm intrigued enough to play with it. Finding webcomics — filtering — well it IS the problem for the reader today. This site's approach is to show the first panel of a comic so that you can click through to it. It doesn't really do any recommendation though and the guy behind the curtain is creating the panels manually (crop and paste) so I wonder how long it will be around.
MAILBAG: Lee writes that his webcomic, RiGBY, is updating on a regular basis again. Update were slow for awhile when he was working on the new Screamland series for Image Comics. That series has since concluded, and updates to RiGBY are now back 3 times a week.
GOATS IV: BACK IN THE SADDLE:It's finally over and I managed to get my pledge in before it finished. Looking forward to my autographed book. Pledges passed $50,000 easily. People love goats I guess.
Fubar Press: These guys have made their goal but they've still got nine days to go. Their project is to print up an anthology to give away on Free Comic Book Day this year. Free comic book day is an annual event, held on the first Saturday in May where just about every major comic book company distributes a few titles for free to comic shops all across the country. The idea is to bring in new fans and get old fans back in on what ends up being one of the busiest days of the year for comic shops.
We've got a ton of material, we've got graphic designer Christopher Kosek to help us, and we've got a $7,500 quote from a printer. Whether we get 250 books or 1000, the price doesn't change much because most of the printing costs are for getting everything set up to print in the first place. 100% funding means a print run for us!
YEAR OF THE DWAGON:This one is also over but Rob Balder met his goal for Erfworld and ran a pretty impressive Kickstarter campaign while he was at it. Did I say "met his goal"? I meant smashed it, raising almost $85,000.
This Friday, March 23, is the deadline for voting in the Hall of Fame for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. The Eisner Awards judges have selected pioneering newspaper cartoonist Rudolph Dirks (The Katzenjammer Kids) and comic book artistHarry Lucey (co-creator of Archie) to be automatically inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame this summer. The judges have also chosen 14 nominees from which voters will select 4 to be inducted. These nominees are Bill Blackbeard, Howard Chaykin, Richard Corben, Carlos Ezquerra, Lee Falk, Bob Fujitani, Jesse Marsh, Tarpé Mills, Mort Meskin, Dennis O'Neil, Dan O'Neill, Katsuhiro Otomo, Trina Robbins, and Gilbert Shelton.
Online voting is now open. To vote, you must be a professional working in the comics or related industries, as a creator (writer, artist, cartoonist, colorist, letterer), a publisher an editor, a retailer (comics store owner or manager), a graphic novels librarian, or a comics historian/educator. Eligible voters can visit www.eisnervote.com to register and then select up to four picks in the Hall of Fame category.