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Kris Straub

Two Great Panels from Katsucon 15

Two great panels - first with Kris Straub, Dave Kellett, Rob Balder, Phil Foglio, Barb Fischer of Fragile Gravity, Nick Borkowicz of Art Fight High School, and Chris "Kilika" Malone of Blue & Blond.

Katsucon 15: Print, Web, or Both: What Should a Comic Artist Do? from kaiki on Vimeo.

Second with Michael "Mookie" Terracciano, Marty Day, Kris Straub, Dave Kellett, Brian Prindiville and Ross Nover and Brad Guigar.

Katuscon 15: How To Make Webcomics: From Sketch to Posting and All Points in Between. from kaiki on Vimeo.

Webcomics Panel at Katsucon

Katuscon 15: How To Make Webcomics: From Sketch to Posting and All Points in Between. from kaiki on Vimeo.

Webcomics Weekend: March 20-22, Easthampton, Mass.

I can finally announce something that has been in the works for a couple months now. Webcomics Weekend, in Easthampton, Mass., is being announced for March 20-22. It's going to be a tremendous meet-up of some of the very best in webcomics. And me. Halfpixelites Kris Straub and Scott Kurtz are going to be there as well.

New Fan Art, Intense Debate, Etc.

Hi, Folks!

Here is a new drawing of our Staff of Life, this time by Amy Letts of the webcomic Epic Fail.  By all means, check this comic out!


Another Webcomics Weekly? That's two this week. Again.

Check out the often-imitated-never-duplicated Webcomics Weekly Podcast, featuring Scott Kurtz, Dave Kellett, Kris Straub, and myself. If you love listening to cartoonists talking shop, this is a must. You can keep up with the latest updates via our RSS feed.

Webcomics Weekly: Episode #54

Check out the often-imitated-never-duplicated Webcomics Weekly Podcast, featuring Scott Kurtz, Dave Kellett, Kris Straub, and myself. If you love listening to cartoonists talking shop, this is a must. You can keep up with the latest updates via our RSS feed.

Vericon IX, Harvard University

Vericon IX Webcomics Panel from Kris Straub on Vimeo.

Harvard Panel 2009 with Kris Straub, Catherynne Valente and Brad Guigar

Strip News 1-23-09

I am growing ever more impressed by the sheer magnitude of projects and things going on that we can enjoy and take advantage of…

  • The Webcomic Overlook reviews Thingpart, Kris Straub offers us a peek into changes in Starslip Crisis and the Powerpuff Girls turns ten. MPD57 looks over the December Zuda competition and Ramon has plans that include Kukuburi. Mignola is involved in The Hobbit and in case you haven’t read it yet, the Scott Adams interview is right here.
  • Some would argue that webcomicdom is all tragedy but others split it into drama and comedy. That’s a more useful split, I’d argue.
  • Moving day: Colleen Doran’s blog (with all of its information on agents and such) is changing location. Mark Waid now blogs from new digs and Kevin & Kell moves back in. Also, Google is migrating Feedburner accounts over to Google but at a Feedburner address. Confused? Here’s a post that explains what to do and what other folks have done when they ran into problems. We have until February 28th before accounts get deleted, so I’m going to hope that my Feedburner plugin updates itself before then. Another impactful moving is Diamond’s new policy - there’s more discussion than I can link to but try here, here, here, here, here, here and here for starters. And the Diamond response can be seen here. Nicely, Dreamchilde echoes my (now deleted) thoughts and adds some good ideas to them,too. But… Say Diamond implodes in the next few years, what hurdles are there in comics going direct from publisher to reader? And what other options are there for distributing your comic? Or finding a way to profit from the work that goes into them? Sure, you might think I am crazy for wanting to try something besides the tshirt-print-plush merchandising plan, but maybe you’ll consider this guy’s efforts before you dismiss the idea of looking elsewhere.
  • Howard Taylor wants to redesign the Schlock Mercenary site and is looking for suggestions from his readers. I don’t have too much to add. I agree with most of the suggestions so far; the site is a tad cluttered. That’s easily adjustable but the main things are to clearly separate the title image from the advertising and unify the design (like the site links being in the same font as the title.) Speaking of looking for someone else’s opinion, why not use an editor to make your work better? (Or at least understand what they can provide you.)
  • Do your backgrounds add or take away from your comic’s tone? Seven Camels offers up some thoughts about how flat you should go. As an aside, it seems to me that one might have flavors in between funny and dramatic where a slight variation on your basic style could add punch to the joke or depth to the drama. Also, the Beacon talks about coloring your comic.
  • Wouldn’t it be nice if search engines could ‘read’ your comics and break them down for easier browsing? Here’s one way it could be accomplished, even though it’s a little too much labor for me. I can’t even bring myself to do an Oh-No-Robot style text writeup, let alone do coding too. Still, it has promise - what if it were automated into Comic Press? I’m imagining that you’d add the text into these special custom fields below each post; ie: panel one scene description, panel one dialog, panel two description, etc. This information would be hidden by default and display only if desired.
  • Interestingly, Chuck Dixon weighs in on the grittification of superheroes. I doubt that pushing character boundaries is a symptom of weak storytelling, but I can appreciate him wanting writers to respect the characters (and their boundaries) they write. Superman is malleable but not made of legos that you can remove at will. As an aside, I can’t help but think that Aquaman’s character needs something a little more heroically relevant than what he’s usually given. I can appreciate this try, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark.
  • And since there have been many articles on writing press releases, here’s an idea about what to do with them. You can always try to get the word out by sending your information to some of these blogs, as well.
  • Finally, would you like to star in a comic as an extra?

DRAFT List of 100 Greatest Webcomics: Comedy and Drama

Last year I posted a couple times (Previous posts on this "research" project were here and here) about a possible article on "ComixTALK's 100 Greatest Webcomics" which would be something like the American Film Institute's list of the greatest movies of the last 100 years.

A recurring comment to the previous two posts was what is the criteria for this.  I'm always a little hesitant to give too much guidance when part of the point of asking this kind of thing out loud is to listen to the resulting discussion of what everyone else thinks the criteria should be.  For the AFI list judges picked films based on criteria such as Critical Recognition, Major Award Winner, Popularity Over Time, Historical Significance, and Cultural Impact.

That sounds about right to me.  We've got a round decade plus a year or two of webcomics to look at it.  Critical reception (both from peers and critics), and popularity are both relevant to thinking about the impact of a webcomic.  WCCA awards are somewhat indicative of what peers were impressed with in a given year and more recently awards like the Eisners and Ignatzs have recoginized webcomics.  Historical significance and cultural impact are a little harder to pin down but various "firsts" in webcomics are important and comics like Penny Arcade have had a much wider impact on popular culture than most comics do these days (put aside the legacy superheros of comics -- what other "new" comic, let alone webcomic, in the last decade has had a wide cultural impact?)

Another thing AFI did that might be useful here to help sort through the vast numbers of webcomics one could talk about is to also think about categories or genres of work.  Just as a simple matter of numbers if a webcomic isn't one of the best of a larger type of story -- or frankly, so startlingly unique it's hard to categorize -- then it's hard to imagine it's one of the 100 Greatest...

So to move things along I'm listing another "draft" of titles submitted by the crowds but this time I've tried to break them up into drama and comedy so as to help avoid complete apples to oranges comparisons.  In doing that I've realized (1) it's hard in many cases to decide; and (2) there are probably more comedic than drama on the list so far.  I think it would make sense to whittle down the two lists to 75 each so as the final list is no more than 3/4 of one type or the other.  Of course we could further do genre type lists but for now this was enough work on my part.

So -- your assignment (if you choose to play):

  1. Name the comic you're talking about (you're also welcome to nominate ones not on the list -- I KNOW there are many I haven't even thought about yet -- it takes time to review all of the corners of the web)
  2. Tell me where on one the two lists (comedy and drama) it should be (you could give a range of slots if you're not sure). (If you think I've got a drama on the comedy list or vice-versa let me know!  I'm not "done" - this is fairly dashed off still at this point)
  3. Tell me why!  Referencing awards, critics, historical achievements, strengths and weaknesses of the works are all really helpful!