Skip to main content

Chris Onstad

5 Questions: How To Ask for Support?

There are basically two kinds of support webcomics creators need: moral/emotional and financial. Making webcomics can be a tough slog. It can seem, especially in the early years of a comic, that we're working in a vacuum and that maybe no one's reading. But, when you do get that occasional email from a fan - whoa, what a feeling! But when traffic stats are low or merchandise isn't selling or we get a terrible review, we need support and encouragement that keep us going.

Comix Talk for Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cleopatra in Space! by Mike Maihack

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  I grilled the heck out of some meat on Monday and good times were had by all.  Speaking of food, the Portland Mercury offers up a ballsy cooking lesson from Achewood creator Chris Onstad. (h/t Waxy).  I challenge you to read that one all the way to the end.

AWARDS: The 2010 National Cartoonist Society's Reuben Awards were announced -- According to the NCS members Zits by Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman is the best comic strip and Rhymes with Orange by Hilary Price is the best panel in the newspapers this year... I actually think Rhymes does have some amazing work but Zits, while extremely well-crafted, feels like a bland family sitcom translated to the newspaper.  These are both very safe choices although given the glacial rate of change in newspaperland there's not really much in the way of dangerous choices the NCS could have made.

ANTHOLOGY:  A new webcomic collective - or maybe better to say online anthology?  Space Dock 7 is a science fiction themed hub for seven new webcomics that have strategically adopted an update schedule staggering their weekly updates so that each has its own day.


I Want You To Feel the Pressure by M. Thomas Harding is interesting.  The first thing you might notice however is how much the art and format of it look like Dresdan Codak. In fact the main character of IWYTFTP is kind of similar visually to a prominent character in Dresdan.  It's worth mentioning that similarity, but it's not like Harding is slavishly copying -- his comic is set-up to be about a super spy and her friends, but the first chapter was mostly about a night at a club -- we'll see what the second chapter winds up focusing on.  He's making progress with making the characters distinct and interesting, he's decently adept with the plot and there are some good beats in the individual comics.  And his artwork is improving so possibly he'll get to a point where it doesn't seem to ape Dresdan so much.

Clockworks by Shawn Gaston is a lot of fun.  It's not perfect but it has a lot of things going right. Visually, the comic is fantastic -- Gaston has a great sense of color and design.  The artwork is almost iconic at times where the characters can be submerged into the larger pattern of the panel.  The whole world of Clockworks isn't necessarily unique but it's a well-done mashup of steampunk and fantasy images.  Although there's a largely dark palette at work the use of color is really well thought out - it's often just very nice to look at.  Story-wise after 90+ comics there's a bit more of the overall world revealed and you have a better sense of the characters.  There's a lot of mystery and a bit of confusion as to motivation sometimes but give Gaston props for sticking (mostly) to the show not tell rule of story-telling.  If you read the about page you learn that the webcomic is based on a roleplaying game that Gaston is running with a group of friends (inspired by this Dork Tower comic).  I don't know how to feel about that -- on the one hand, I now know that there's a structure to the world we're reading about that Gaston is borrowing, but on the other hand, the characters in the webcomic come from the roleplaying which may or may not lead to narrative coherence as the thing plays out (what makes a satisfying role-playing experience does not necessarily equal a satisfying narrative experience for the reader).  I am going to give Gaston the benefit of the doubt and encourage you to as well (particularly if this is the type of story you'd already like).

Comix Talk For Mom's Day

Still reporting live from the Far East on the other side of the International Date Line. It does havoc to your schedule to be 12 hours away from your home time zone.  Anyhow I'm going to catch up on comics stuff you've probably already read about but if you've been preoccupied this week too or if you just can't bear not to miss my 60 cents (that's only 2 US cents though) than here we go!

Brigid Alverson has links to more people talking about the end of contests at Zuda. The contests were always a gimmick, the real question should be what's DC's plan for online publication of comics?  Does it remain committed to it's indie experiment (i.e., Zuda) and when, if ever, does it leverage its existing titles?  You know what was cool for me earlier this year?  Watching the teevee show LOST online because there was a huge backlog of archives and I knew it was going to get finished.  In that sense it was like finding a great multiyear webcomic that had an ending in sight.  You know what doesn't have a satisfying beginning, online backlog and ending in sight?  DC and Marvel "mainstream" comics titles...

BUSINESS: Lauren Tiffany has an article on webcomic artists making a living at AOL Business News.  With some coverage of Chris Onstad and Brad Guigar, good sources for working la vida webcomica. 

CRAFT: Webcomic Builder has a post on how to script a comic.

DEAD TREES: Shaenon Garrity has some advice for you with five things to know before you publish your first comic.

AWARDS: I got a press release from Comic-Con announcing that submissions are now being accepted for the 27th annual Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award. Started in 1982 as a joint presentation of Comic-Con International and the West Coast Comics Club, this award honors a comics artist who, early in his or her career, shows a superior knowledge and ability in the art of creating comics.  More details after the jump...

Webcomics make the AV Clubs Best Comics of the Decade List

AV Club has been doing Best of the Decade lists all month, many of which have been excellent and surprising. Recently, the released their Best Comics of the Decade. Two webcomics made the cut, and they’re accompanied by interesting observations about the medium:

News From Around the World of Webcomics Today



Volumes 3 and 4 of Danielle Corsetto's Girls With Slingshots are now available for pre-orderin'

Chris Onstad is selling a picture of himself from 1986.  Really!

Cameron Stewart has a couple of videos showing him working in Manga Studio

Seattle Types: Meet Tony Millionaire and Chris Onstad

PW Beat reports that Tony Millionaire (Sock Monkey) and Chris Onstad (Achewood) are visiting your favorite comic shop in the Northwest! Apparently the dudes already hit Portland two days ago. Hopefully, you fair denizens of the City of Roses caught that. The rest of their tour is in the Seattle-Tacoma area.

Worst Webcomic, Drawn on Ugliest Wacom Tablet

Hope everyone had a great summer - I guess it's officially FALL now.  Start off your autumnal reading with this post from Tony Piro (creator of Calamities of Nature) who recommends reading Dave Sims' writings about self-publishing as still relevant in a webcomic world.

Caleb Mozzoocco reviews the newest Achewood book from Chris Onstad, Worst Song, Played On Ugliest Guitar

Interesting post on copyright violations and how one artist deals with them. (h/t Journalista!)

More coverage of David Morgan-Mar's new custom-comics-RSS-feed service called Archive Binge.

Roadcrew looks pretty good - I started checking out the archives this morning.

Newsarama's blog will run Egg Embry’s Global Freezing webcomic from the beginning starting tomorrow. The strip, which will run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, has been running at Embry’s own “Comics By Egg” at

Vice Interviews Chris Onstad

Vice magazine has an Achewood-worthy interview with creator Chris Onstad.

Cartoon Art Museum Call for Webcomics

The Cartoon Art Museum of San Francisco ( is organizing "Monsters of Webcomics," a showcase of cutting-edge webcomics work. The show's ten spotlight artists have already been selected. However, the museum also wants to include a virtual gallery of as many other webcomics as possible. If you're interested in having your art included in the virtual gallery, email curator Andrew Farago at

Feel free to spread this information around the webcomics community. The museum wants a wide range of comics included in the show.

You Should Have Read These Links This Morning Already

Fleen has the breakdown on where the webcomics at for this year's MoCCA 2009.

A good interview with cartoonist Kate Beaton.  She did get web-famous pretty quickly, didn't she?  Also another good interview with Beaton at Comixology.
Daily Cross Hatch has an interview with Achewood's Chris Onstad.
Comics Worth Reading has an interview with Tara Tallan of Galaxion.

The K Chronicles asks cartoonists why can't we be friends?
Rick Marshall reports that several members of ACT-I-VATE, including Josh Neufeld, contributed to last night's ABC News special Earth 2100.
Brigid Alverson has a good article about her Zuda rule:  making sure the reader can make sense of the comic in the first 8 pages.