Submitted by michaelwhitney on August 13, 2004 - 15:11
There's a new interview with the creator of Achewood, Chris Onstad, where he talks a little bit about adapting to fan (and detractor) interaction:
You get used to hate mail and love mail and smart mail and thoughtful mail and kid mail and all of that. You develop a crucial thick skin. I doubt Keith Richards gets pissed off when people say he's ugly, to him that's just ambient noise. I'm used to people saying that Achewood is horrible, but I'm also used to people who write in to Ray's advice column with genuinely traumatic personal problems that they shouldn't be asking a cartoon cat.
Anyone who's fielded a lot of feedback email can probably attest to the truth of that. When your inbox gets pounded every day with love, hate and just plain ham-handed pleas for attention, you have to develop a sort of detachment over time or you'll have a nervous breakdown.
Submitted by michaelwhitney on August 10, 2004 - 14:26
USA Today ran a new article about GoComics, the company that's delivering comic strips to cell phones that's been mentioned here before. There's now a competing company called FunMail. (And if anything guarantees hilarity, it's putting "fun" right in the name of your company.)
In the article, the CEOs from both companies claim they're breaking even, despite high startup costs. The FunMail CEO says they're "comfortably profitable." It may be good news -- they're "reteaching" people to pay for online comics, more or less -- but I think it says more about the lack of content for cell phones than the universal allure of syndies. After the news and the weather, what can you get formatted for your cell right now? Very little.
So people with shiny silver devices connected to a worldwide information network have almost nothing to read. They're willing to pay a little bit for a known quantity like today's "Dilbert" because it's either that or they can try to play a Tetris clone using the menu buttons. The platform is still primitive. When RSS readers become a standard part of cell phone software, things may get more "interesting."
I'd like to think, though, that there's a window here for someone smart to come along and make something that will fill those tiny, hungry screens in a more satisfying way. Syndies may be known quantities, but they're still mild offerings. A decent comic, designed with the format in mind, with a free preview might just be able to break sales resistance, since there's almost nothing else available. If Garfield can make it there...
Submitted by michaelwhitney on July 30, 2004 - 19:41
NPR discovers a tempest in the "Arts & Leisure" section in this report about the political bias of newspaper comics. According to the piece, the syndicates are looking for conservative strips to balance out the likes of Doonesbury and Boondocks, which are, obviously, unabashedly liberal. Apparently, Mallard Fillmore can't hold the line alone. If there are any artists out there who nod along when Bill O'Reilly brays, this is your chance.
Submitted by michaelwhitney on July 29, 2004 - 20:11
Slow Wave is an illustrated dream diary in webcomic form. The creator, Jesse Reklaw, makes strips based on reader-submitted dreams, which can be funny or banal. Usually, they're more than just a little strange.
Is "community" still a Web buzz word, or has the clock run out on those 15 minutes?
Submitted by michaelwhitney on July 23, 2004 - 17:38
Here's something to do in the doldrums while everyone but you is at SDCC: Vote on the new Bazooka Joe gang for the 21st century. They've pretty much got a token character for every taste on that page, but I don't see the new Joe design. The rumor is that they're going to turn his ball cap around. Hopefully, they won't let him rap anymore, for mercy's sake.
Despite the grisly stories you may have heard, Topps claims that Bazooka Joe's eye patch is purely a style choice. Binocular vision must have been really uncool in the '40s. (Of course, they also claim that he was named after a musical instrument from the '30s, not the WWII weapon that was contemporary to his birth.)
Update: The new Joe is in the upper left corner of the page, snuck into the site header and already pushin' product.
Submitted by michaelwhitney on July 9, 2004 - 20:37
After a hiatus of, uhm, forever, Butternutsquash has returned with a new comic. The break was actually a little less than 2 months, which is a pretty long time for a webcomic of moderate-to-high popularity to be dormant. (They've made the Comixpedia "watch list" twice.)
The strip's art is professional quality and the jokes are pretty consistent "American Pie" type gags, though some of my favorites are the departures from the mainstays.
By the way, the strip is one year old now and has never been reviewed by the 'Pedia. I'm just sayin'.
Submitted by michaelwhitney on July 7, 2004 - 13:08
Among other things, they talk a little bit about how they work, how Warren Ellis slashdotted them and why they're no longer updating their short-lived news-related comics.
Submitted by michaelwhitney on July 5, 2004 - 17:36
A profile in the Singapore-based Straits Times under the headline "Dawn of the dot.comic" ("dot.comic"?) discusses webcomics and the crazy kids who draw them. The creators mentioned are Johnny Tay, John Chua, Xie Menggeng and Ms Jocelyn Yik.
The 'Pedia also gets dropped in the links column:
COMIXPEDIA is a useful collection of interviews, forums, links and reviews related to Web comics. It also contains tips for producing your own dot.comics.
Submitted by michaelwhitney on July 2, 2004 - 12:56
Free Comic Book Day 2004 is tomorrow, July 3. Stop by your local shop to get free promotional editions of selected comics, including Keenspot and Keenspace samplers. It's all part of a desperate, last gasp attempt to lure normal humans into these funk dungeons.
If you can't make it to the event, try looking online. There might be a few free comics you can download on the Web.
Submitted by michaelwhitney on July 1, 2004 - 13:44
The Skatey-Eight comic isn't exactly genius, but it's not bad either. It's nice to see online comics making inroads among people who were too cool to talk to us in high school.