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Rich Stevens

SPLAT! A Graphic Novel Symposium

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In less than a month, I'll be appearing at the first-ever SPLAT! A Graphic Novel Symposium at the New York Center for Independent Publishing. Somehow I managed to get fourth-top billing on this one, despite the fact that about a million cool and famous people will be there. According to the website, SPLAT! will:

WCCA 2008 Nominees Are Out

The nominees for this year's WCCAs were released this past Sunday (sadly without any fanfare, or press release... again). But lots of interesting choices (and good links to comics!):

OUTSTANDING COMIC FINALISTS:
Achewood by Chris Onstaad
Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio
Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell
Perry Bible Fellowship by Nicholas Gurewitch
The Phoenix Requiem by Sarah Ellerton

ComixTalk's People Of Webcomics List For 2007

And now... the fourth annual People Of Webcomics list! I'll be the first to admit that this list gets harder and harder to compile as the lines between "webcomics" and just plain "comics" blurs harder than a greasy windshield in the middle of a West Texas downpour. Plus as publishing comics on the web and other digital formats becomes more commonplace it gets harder and harder to find those "firsts" that take comics in new directions whether artistic, technical or businesss-oriented.

The ComixTalk End of 2007 Roundtable

Our third annual virtual round table on the year in webcomics features comments from Gary Tyrrell, Dirk Deppey, Tom Spurgeon, Heidi MacDonald, Brigid Alverson, Derik A Badman, Reinder Dijkhuis, and JT Shea and Scott Gallatin.

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.

SEPTEMBER FEATURE ARTICLES, OCTOBER COVER ART AND TODAY'S NEWS

Welcome to October! A big thanks to Spike, creator of Templar, Arizona, for creating this month's cover art. This past weekend we posted the rest of the September issue: interviews with Gisele Lagace and Shayna Marchese; a feature by Grant Thomas examining the integration of text and images with an interesting look at different ways to use speech bubbles; and Michael Payne looks at some great print comics that have moved to embrace the web. More interesting articles are on their way in October...

And in other news...

HEADLINES

MILESTONES

JUSTIFY MY HYPE

  • A recent Big Fat Whale from Brian McFadden on why protesting maybe doesn't always work so well at getting results...

EVENTS

TECHNOLOGY

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 BLOGS

  • Andrew Farrago has an interview with Jason Thompson, the author of Manga: The Complete Guide. Thompson read and reviewed every English-language manga ever released in preparation for his new book. (h/t Dirk Deppey)
  • At The Telegraph, Robert Colvile writes up webcomics with comments from Chris Onstad, Gary Tyrrell and others. (h/t Dirk Deppey)

New All Ages Comics Anthology Goes Live & Daily 30 September

Sugary Serials has announced the launch of their anthology series, inspired by the kinds of stories found in Saturday morning cartoons, and created by some of the finest artists of the webcomics and print comics industries.

Diesel Sweeties Loses Rocky Mountain High

In this otherwise fairly whiny story about the state of the comics pages in the two daily papers in Denver, CO is a bit of news about R Stevens' Diesel Sweeties buried towards the end:

In the case of "Diesel Sweeties," by Richard Stevens III, he believes he made the right choice. "We actually got complaints about how dumb the comic was, which is very unusual," he notes. "So we canceled it and nothing happened, which lets you know you haven't damaged the franchise with somebody. If you don't feel strongly enough to call me, it's unlikely you'll change your reading habits over it.

I asked Stevens' for his reaction to DS getting the ax at the Rocky Mountain News and here's his response:

I know I can't take it personally, but it's too bad they dumped me -- when we did a road trip to San Diego this year, the high point for me was stopping at a diner in Colorado and picking up the Rocky Mountain news and seeing my comic for the day. It was the first time I'd gotten to pick it up myself!

Dilbert Instructions

The difference between ComixTalk and Dilbert creator Scott Adam's blog? On the one hand - almost a year, but on the more important hand, a whole lot more readers and influence in the newspaper comics world.

Almost a year ago I wrote a short plug for the funny comic Basic Instructions by Scott Meyer. Very recently, Scott Adams blogged that he had discovered the comic several months ago and written to Meyers with praise and encouragement. Adams is now blogging about how he is trying to mentor Meyer to get Basic Instructions into something that could be syndicated. It's an interesting premise although there's no guarantee that Adams could ever come up with another hit (let alone something that managed to tap the zeitgeist in a way Dilbert did initially). Still can't hurt right?

You can see some of the reworked for newspaper-land comics here and here. So far it doesn't work for me - I like Meyer much more in the larger alt-weekly style format. Here's some interesting stuff though from Adams in a second post on the risk/rewards of the different formats:

Opinions were divided on whether the original square-and-wordy format was better than the slimmed down comic strip panel form. The comic strip form is far more commercial, assuming you are selling to newspapers. But as many of you pointed out, the market for newspapers is shrinking. Many of you advise that Scott Meyer should take his work directly to books and calendars and Internet publishing.

Has that ever worked?

Yes, on a small scale. I believe Scott could leverage the visibility he is getting here to earn perhaps $100K per year with a small book deal, small calendar deal, self-publication in smaller alternative newspapers, and a small but growing Internet presence. I put his odds of making that strategy work at about 90%.

Now let’s look at newspaper syndication. Assuming the comic got picked up by 500 newspapers in five years, and licensing started to take off (books, calendars, greeting cards), that would put him in the $500K to $1 million per year range, with lots of room for upside growth. But what are the odds of that happening, even with my support?

Reading the whole post you grok that Adams thinks the path for Meyer is the newspaper format and to narrow the topic of Basic Instructions to relationship humor - given all of that Adams actually thinks Meyer might have a 50% chance of getting synicated into 500 newspapers. Adams seems to think it's an either/or choice but given R. Stevens recent deal to do both web and newspaper-style Diesel Sweeties there's no reason Meyer can't pursue both as well so long as - like R Stevens - he protects his interest in a comic he's already developed.

Updates On Entries in the Ill-Fated Webcomic Directory Project?

I built a "library" of webcomics and creators back in the fall of 2005 which I put into beta before realizing it was too much editorial work to deal with and the same information could be better provided through the community edited webcomic wiki - COMIXPEDIA.

Nevertheless looking back on the assortment of names collected (some from me, some sent in from you) I wonder if anyone has any significant updates on these creators 18 months later. Maybe we should interview some of them?