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Pete Abrams

Comix Talk for Monday, April 5, 2010

Schlock Mercenary: The Longshoreman of the Apocalypse -- Written and illustrated

AWARDS: The Hugos now include a regular Best Graphic Novel category -- which is really pretty fantastic.  This year's nominees include two webcomic entries: Girl Genius, Vol. 9: Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm -- Written by Kaja and Phil Foglio, art by Phil Foglio, colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment); and Schlock Mercenary: The Longshoreman of the Apocalypse -- Written and illustrated by Howard Tayler. (h/t Robot6)

REVIEWS: Hecklr has a nice review of John Allison's three webcomic series: Bobbins, Scary Go Round and Bad Machinery

CONVENTIONS: Pete Abrams, creator of Sluggy Freelance, is going to be at Intervention. Jamie Noguchi, creator of Yellow Peril, former artist on Erfworld is going to be at SPX.

INTERVIEWS: I missed this in my mailbag last month, but Public Radio Kitchen interviewed Franklin Einspruch about his painted comics which he posts online at The Moon Fell On Me.  Einspruch is creating a kind of comic tone poem with his work; I found myself liking it more than I would have expected.  It's largely a very peaceful experience reading through his comics.

FROM THE MAILBAG:  I got a nice email about a comic called Indestructible Will which is about a character who doesn't feel pain (apparently a real medical condition).  Unfortunately the comic is only available in pdf format, so you have to download each chapter before you can read it.  There's just no reason to do that.  Most readers aren't going to go to the extra step of downloading your unknown work when they could just as easily read a jpg, png or gif in their browser.

I got an email about FR33, self-described as "a webcomic about a drug abusing self-proclaimed artist, seeking his place in a near-future world of free culture" which is another photo comic.  Since I'm giving out practical website advice today, I'd redo the "about" page to tell readers a bit more about the comic, maybe even try to pitch the longer-term arc of it to try and sell the comic.

New Convention: Intervention

Intervention Convention, Sept. 10-12

I'm pretty excited about hearing Onezumi Hartstein's news - she and webcomic web-guy Harknell have organized a new convention called Intervention: Your Online Life, In Person. A Convention with Webcomics, Videos, Music, and You. It looks very cool, very webcomic-friendly but also firmly rooted in online, not comic book

Intervention is about bringing together the people you read, watch, listen to, and connect with all in one location to party, educate, and appreciate the opportunities the Internet gives all of us.

The only wrinkle is that it's on the same weekend (September 10-12) as SPX which has become quite a webcomic-friendly forum too.  They are in the same general suburban area though (northish of Washington DC) so maybe a lot of people will do both this year (FLEEN seems to think this is possible) -- I think it would be well worth it for you to try.

The early guest list is starting off well, in addition to Onezumi and Harknell, there'll be an edition of Super Art Fight and these webcomic dudes:

The Webcomic Overlook #71: Nedroid’s Picture Diary

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!

NPR Covers Penny Arcade

NPR does a story on Penny Arcade (this is a couple days old but I just listened to it this morning) which does a decent job of capturing the comic although interesting it doesn't mention Robert Khoo's role in their business success.  Contrary to other reports though NPR did cover a webcomic before - it had an interview with Pete Abrams of Sluggy Freelance way back in 1998.

November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

This is an update to a previous post here, thanks for the cumulative suggestions on that thread.  JUST so we're clear - this is open-sourced to everyone research for a possible article to appear next month at ComixTalk.  I don't endorse the list or the order at all; at this point I've tried to include all of the suggestions I've gotten and I also went through all of the comics ComixTalk has ever reviewed and pulled quite a few titles.

We're at the point where it'll be most helpful if you tell me comics you think should go on the list, where (what number approximately) and which comic should get bumped.  If you just want to change the order you can do that to but there'll be another post before the month's through asking for help with that.  

100 Greatest Webcomics Thread

NOTE:  An updated version of this list is here - please go there to offer your suggestions and comments.  Thanks!

It's All About Webcomic Creation... And Fightin' The Text Terrorists

NEW and IMPROVED!
Check out our interview with TRACED creator Tracy White, one of the nominees for Best Online Comic at this year's Ignatz Awards. 

While you're at it - Rick Marshall also has a great interview with Sam Brown of Exploding Dog. (From our archives - a community interview with Sam from 2004)

And what did I hear on the radio this morning but NPR's interview with Chris Onstad of Achewood and "The Great Outdoor Fight" - very cool, probably only the second webcomic interview on NPR I can think of in 10 years (Pete Abrams being the other one).

AWARDS
The Harveys were awarded at this past weekend's Baltimore Comicon and Nicholas Gurewitch won for Perry Bible Fellowship.  (Gurewitch also won a "Special Award for Humor")

CONVENTIONS
CBR has a write-up of last weekend's Webcomics Panel at the Baltimore Comicon featuring Danielle Corsetto, Scott Sava and the Half Pixel pals.

Tyler Page (of Nothing Better) will be at FALLCON at the Minnesota State fairgrounds next weekend (Oct 4-5).

DEAD TREES
Mitch Clem's print collection of Nothing Nice To Say comics is out!

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 BLOGS

Brigid Alverson rounds up the reactions to the closing up of the DC Minx comics line.

Sean Kleefeld wants you to mashup some comics.

ComicMix has the scoop on Stephen Colbert's upcoming appearance in a Spiderman comic -- I still remember fondly the SNL-Spiderman issue (I have that somewhere; wonder if it's worth a couple bucks...)

Webcomic Witchfinder pits fantasy webcomics against each other in Deathmatch IV!

This Day in ComixTalk: September 5th

2007
Pete Abrams celebrated 10 years of Sluggy Freelance, and Ellie Deyneka wrote about finding an audience for her webcomic The Paranormals.

2006
Rich Stevens strikes a deal to syndicate Diesel Sweeties to the newspapers (he ended that arrangement in 2008), musician Thomas Dolby wrote about the use of his lyrics in a Wapsi Square comic, and Bryant Paul Johnson was one of the finalists for the Science Idol comic competition.

2005
The Comixpedia.org encyclopedia site was just getting started, and Brad Guigar was organizing a webcomics telethon for Hurricane Katrina relief.

2004
We were in the midst of the first big site overhaul at ComixTalk...

2003
The manga anthology site Wirepop added Eversummer Eve to its lineup, and we recommended readers check out Warren Ellis' Artbomb comic site.

Looking Back Through 2007

In years past (2004, 2005) we undertook the monumental chore of picking out the biggest headlines of the year. This year, I took another swing at it. So without further adu, here's the biggest webcomic headlines of 2007.

If I missed a story you think was key to this year, please post it in the comments to this article.