The best digital comic category is open to any new, professionally produced long-form original comics work posted online in 2011. Webcomics must have a unique domain name or be part of a larger comics community to be considered. The work must be online-exclusive for a significant period prior to being collected in print form. The URL and any necessary access information should be emailed to Eisner Awards administrator Jackie Estrada: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time to watch Old Man 2011 give Baby 2012 the great high five of life tonight. I know I got sporadic on the posting schedule this past year, not sure yet what's in store for next year, but I will be AFK for ComixTalk until January 10th.
ARE WE NOT MEN? Heard this on the Radio Lab podcast this week and luckily for me everyone blogged it up already. The podcast is a cute overview of an import tax dispute where Marvel argued that the X-men were not humans so as to get a lower tax rate for toys than one applied to dolls.
RANDOM HYPE: Hadn't read cartoonist/engineert Angela Melick's journal webcomic, Wasted Talent, in awhile but it's still pretty cool! INTENSE PORPOISE!
MORE RANDOM HYPE: Check out SCI-ENCE, a pretty cool comic with some actual scientific knowledge imparted. The art is really good, jumping styles too, and it has a strong point of view (basically skeptical, rational) that is probably more important to the creators than delivering the funny, so it can have a bit of an editorial comic to it at times (but a hipper one like Tom Tomorrow or Ted Rall). Anyhow – good stuff there (h/t BAD ASTONOMY)
Thanks to Scholastic for sending the all ages Scooby-Doo: A Merry Scary Holiday which the x-kids enjoyed. It has a pretty Scooby-Dooish plot (and the villian winds up having a Gary-like appearance, man that guy is everywhere!). It's labeled Issue #2 so keep an eye out for future issues. Also thanks to Joe Williams and Tina Garceau for sending Monkey & Bird, featuring one of the odder animal romance pairings in comics (although frog and pig doesn't make any more sense when you think of it.
AMAZINGLY QUICK REVIEWS: Maxime Garbarini's Close Call is published in both English and French. The art reminds one of Tintin immediately
MAILBAG: Terence Anthony writes about his online graphic novel Protege (written by Anthony and illustrated by Juan Romera) which is set in the world of high-tech espionage, international assassins and shadowy operatives and updates weekly. It follows freelance operatives Coltrane Wallace and Devin Edwards as they prepare for their last mission before Trane retires. Unfortunately a deadly young assassin code-named Allumette has been hired to eliminate their target, leading to a confrontation that will profoundly affect all their lives.
Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. I'm an equal opportunity holidayist this year — I'll take whatever I can get.
INTERVIEWS: I sometimes feel like The Comics Reporter is just a bit intimidating as Tom Spurgeon posts such an enormous amount of stories every day, many of which are as in-depth as his Holiday Interview series. There's some big names in his interview series this year but don't miss this one with Jeff Parker, currently working with Erica Moen on the webcomic Bucko.
NOT COMICS: This Is My Jam is a kind of hyper-focused twitter-lite thing for music (maybe?). Anyhow it's easy to play and I've had some nice serendipidous discoveries through it. Sign up yourself and follow me there if it sounds interesting. And speaking of music, hey it's another top 20 album list from John Allison of the webcomic Bad Machinery.
I did an interview with the Webcomics Beacon podcast that was posted last week. It was about Comix Talk stuff which, listening to it, mostly sounds like a bunch of projects I don't have time for anymore. The hosts – Fes and Mark – were nice dudes though. I talked about Comixpedia.org and its birth from the Wikipedia webcomics purge. I talked about my personal webcomic efforts. (Here's a link to Ira Glass's quote on the gap between taste and ability that I mentioned — it really is a mantra for me these days). We talked (I talked!) about possible tweaks to social-media-fy ComixTalk and another idea for a Meta Critics-like site for web/comics that I've only gotten to a rough, rough alpha stage. (Btw — am I missing that a Rotten Tomatoes or Meta Critics for comics website already exists? Please tell me if it does).
2D Cloud sent me a couple of their recent books for review. One of them is Things You Carry by Vincent Stall. I had a hard time absorbing this wordless tale of a creature wandering. But I was compelled to spend time with the book, just to sort through the visual imagery, take in this simple plot and figure out what it meant (if it means anything at all). At first it struck me as an easy book to skim through, especially because Stall has a great knack for stylizing his imagery – densely detailed panels don't necessarily overwhelm you at first look. You really have to linger over each panel. When you do, you start to see the patterns but also the numerous details. I honestly don't know what to make of the book — the ending is meaningful but deeply ambiguous to me. I'm going to have to come back to this one but did want to make sure to point you toward the publisher's and creator's websites to check out their great work. Also here's a video of Stall at his solo art show of the same name:
I also got a preview of chapters 1-4 from a new book coming out next year, Stereotypical Freaks by Howard Shapiro and Joe Pekar. It's a coming of age type story about a couple of put-upon kids in highschool who enter a battle of the bands contest. There's a bit too much "telling" and not enough just showing in what I read and the story itself is a little cliche, but the art is crisp and the characters are well-rendered. And even if I've read this type of story several times before, it is a fun groove to retread. They also sent me a poster by Jim Ford which is pretty nice although this random guy on the Internet really loved the poster so I'm going to let him show it to you:
Julian Bynoe writes that he is serializing a comic called Lone Outpost: India, Portugal and the Goa Dispute 1946-1962 which examines the little-known 1961 Goa Conflict in India. Bynoe's previous work includes EU50: From Trade Bloc to Superstate 1957-2007 (2007-2011), a chronical of the European Union’s first half-century. “I’ve had a fascination in studying Portugal’s colonial empire, which I first explored with Macau Fado when they handed its last colony back to China after four hundred and forty-two years. With Lone Outpost, it talks about how Portugal was unwilling to give up one centimetre of its overseas empire under the fascist dictatorship of Antonio Salazar in the latter-half of the twentieth century at a time when most of the European powers were reconsidering their colonies in the post-war era. Compared to Fado, it goes to show how far the Portuguese had come since that time.”
Oliver Knörzer writes to let us know about his webcomic Gaia, with artist Powree — the creators of the comic Sandra and Woo. The comic takes place in the self-created world of Gaia where political tension between the two most powerful countries Cania and Midgard has grown in recent years. Similar to several of his classmates at the "Academy for Arcane Studies and Material Arts", the young warrior Ilias Oter is much more interested in the beautiful wizard Lilith Caillean than in politics. But soon he has to learn that Lilith is standing in the eye of a dark storm that is going to sweep across the whole world.
Haps to the holidays y'all, as I'm sure no one ever said ever, even back in the day.
HYPE: I saw the writer, Maria Burnham, post about her webcomic Jesus Loves Lesbians Too on Huffington Post. It's a little disjointed at times, but honest and often touchingly funny. And the art by Maggie Siegel-Berele is really nice. I wish they had a better archive system but for right now it's not a huge backlog to read.
HYPE: Lauren Davis says, "Hobo Lobo of Hamelinis a witty retelling of The Pied Piper, and the side scrolling effect creates the impression that you're watching the whole thing played inside a diorama." It is pretty amazing, one of the first webby webcomics I've seen in a few years. Easily the most impressive experimental webcomic I've read this year. The 3D effect is excellent (I think there was some Z-layer CSS going on there) and you have to linger and play around with the panels to get the full experience. Read Lauren's full review at IO9.
BEAR AMERICA: I want to make a movie, video game and Comedy Central animated series out of Ethan Nicolle's Bearmageddon.
Jason Gurley writes about his new graphic novel Eleanor that he's serializing on the web (two chapters are available on the web site, and a third is in progress). Gurley writes that he was writing this as a novel but felt like it needed to be told as a comic. First off the website is seriously kickass, and I just liked the combination of colors and the virtual "book and a shelf" feel the first page gives you. Second, the art is surprisingly good, the characters are drawn simply, but Gurley knows what he's doing (or at least is faking it really well!). Eleanor is hard to describe — it feels very metaphorical so far. Gurley described it in an interview as "Eleanor‘s dislocation is really about that search for truth: pawing around in a dark void, sometimes hopelessly, sometimes finding brilliance, looking for anything to hold onto. Her conversation fills that void for her."
Alex Aberle writes that he is restoring the archives of his webcomic Sara and David — "The World's First 3D Anime Webcomic." Well I hate to be the one to break the news but I'm not seeing 3D here so I wouldn't bill it like that (and I'd probably refrain from "world" "first" or "anime" as well). I think it's always a mixed bag to put up old work just to post more things to the 'net. I'm not talking about the normal course of serializing a webcomic — by definition you have older work up eventually — I'm talking about putting up something that never was on the web (or you took down previously). On the other hand I change my mind about this question all the time.
DEAD TREE and OTHER PAPER STUFF: JT Yost has a new mini-comic, Thinger Dingers, out along with some Snoop Doggy Dog–Snoopy mashup tee shirts for sale. Check it out at his website. JT has done some cool comics before – just throw his name in the ComixTALK search box to see some review of his mini-comics.
I just received a review copy of Bone: Quest for the Spark Book Two by Tom Sniegoski with illustrations from Bone creator Jeff Smith. I reviewed the first book in March of this year. This second book in the series isn't going to be available until February of next year. So if you're looking for a Bone-related gift this month go with the first book and I'll get my thoughts up on the second book sometime in January next year.
Comic Creators For Freedom announced today that the prep work for their third annual fundraiser against Human Trafficking Awareness has begun. Each year comic creators (web and print) collaborate to create an image that is available in both digital and print formats. This year’s theme is the “Epic Snowball Fight”. Poster prints will be available from all three fundraising campaigns. As always, the image will be available digitally in exchange for donations.
Artists who wish to participate must submit artwork by the end of the year and can contact organizer Lora Innes at email@example.com. This years returning artists already include Danielle Corsetto (Girls with Slingshots), Crystal Yates (Earthsong), Scott Christian Sava (The Dreamland Chronicles), and Thom Zahler (Love and Capes).
The donation drive starts on January 9th to coincide with National Human Trafficking Awareness Day which is January 11, 2012. The drive ends Friday January 20, 2012. This annual drive has raised over $15,000 to the cause with over 100+ creators helping in the event.
Organizer and award winning creator, Lora Innes states, “ Human Trafficking has reached seriously dangerous proportions and it is one of the top 3 crimes globally falling right under drugs and guns. 80% of victims are women and 50% are kids. This is movie level evil and it’s happening right now. Comics are often about heroes of all shapes and sizes and the ordinary person doing the extraordinary. Be the hero in this and participate in the drive.”
If you're in Austin you ought to go to this panel at the Dragon’s Lair store on December 10 and 11 with Danielle Corsetto of Girls with Slingshots, Randy Milholland of Something Positive, Joel Watson of Hijinks Ensue, Bill Williams of Side Chicks, Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content, Rob DenBleyker of Cyanide and Happiness, Nicholas Gurewitch of Perry Bible Fellowship, Josh Lesnick of Girly and David Willis of Dumbing of Age.
For your holidays, a list of webcomics old and new that I think you should check out: