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Ted Rall

Comix Talk for Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Work on Cover Art for DAR 2 by Erika Moen

Just got a bunch of books in from Microcosm Publishing that I will be taking a look at this week (thanks Jessie Duke!).  If you've got a book or other webcomic-related object you're interested in having reviewed send it to "Robert Tanner, P.O. Box 3362, Arlington VA 22203" -- I can't promise every book will get a full-blown review from someone (most do though) but they all get a mention on the site.

If you're going to read one thing today I'd recommend this great post on Will Eisner by Christopher Irving over at GraphicNYC.

CRAFT: Erika Moen shows you how she made the cover art for her second print volume of DAR.

MILESTONES: It's Odori Park's first year anniversary on the web his upcoming Saturday.  Creator Chris Watkins is soliciting guest strips to help celebrate - send them to him by March 15th.

TOOLS: At Webcomic Planet, Bryon Wilkins reviews the Comic Life software -- it's primarily marketed as a photo to but Wilkins talks about its comic-making usefulness.

JUSTIFY MY HYPE: It's Shark Week at Hockey Zombie!  It's also Hockey Zombie's fifth year anniversary.

JUSTIFY GENE's HYPE: Creator Gene Luen Yang reminds us that Derek Kirk Kim is serializing T.U.N.E. at RIGHT NOW (It's also planned to be published in dead tree format by First Second).

NOT WEBCOMICS: Ted Rall time - first, Scott Kurtz throws him into a recent comic -- unless you've followed the online Kurtz-Rall verbal fragfests I'm not sure that's a 4th panel-worthy cameo there.  Second, I saw this story on TechDirt where they reported that Rall recently argued "that Italy got it right in finding three Google execs criminally liable for a video some kids posted to Google Video."  Rall is now officially in the running with Wiley for the all-time webcomic-luddite title. 

And Guest Starring Ted Rall as the "Get Off My Lawn" Guy

I actually like Ted Rall's cartooning - don't always agree with him but to me if you're going to put yourself out there as an editorial cartoonist it helps to actually editorialize in the cartoon.  Rall does that fearlessly.

But apparently Rall seems to think the only way to success in comics is through the narrow prism of his own experiences.  He can't seem to stand thinking about any other avenue to a sustainable career in comics despite his clear understanding that the newspaper biz is dying and killing off editorial (and all) comics in the newspaper even faster.  There's a somewhat over-long interview between Ted Rall and Rall protege Matt Bors in the recent issue of TCJ (available online now) where Rall just can't leave "webcomics" alone:

How can we be "alternative"? There are more political cartoons drawn and published in "alternative" styles — in altweeklies — than there are in dailies. Indeed, the only thing more annoying than the lame posturing of a few ridiculous tools like Scott Kurtz (PVP) and the Penny Arcade guys (who apparently have Roman orgies every time a staff editorial cartoonist loses his job and winds up unemployed) is the term "webcartoonist." What the fuck does that mean? Oh, I know: Cartoonists who post their stuff online for free and sell visitors to their websites merchandise like T-shirts and books. And who attend lots of comics conventions. Well, gee, what cartoonist doesn't do that? We all do. We all have been. Everyone is a webcartoonist now.

What's disconcerting beyond the ridiculous Amway-like rhetoric ("You too can make BIG CASH MONEY making comics FROM HOME!") is that free has become a religion for the e-vangelists. They give cartoons away for free that they could sell — simply by asking! You and I were on a group phone chat a while back with webcartoonists like Kurtz and someone — I forget who — said he wouldn't even know how to ask for money. I said: "You just ask, 'Do you have a budget for this?'" It really is that simple. Not only are these guys driving down the prices for all of us who are trying to make a living, they're doing the same thing editorial cartoonists are doing by lowering the quality. Look at webcartoons like PVP and Penny Arcade, by all accounts the most successful webcomics around. Kurtz tried to give PVP away for free to newspapers a while back and there were no takers. Why? Because it's terrible. Incompetently written. Awful characterization. Plastic, cold artwork. Syndication 1.0 had flaws. It kept out good, daring work. But now that there's no gatekeeper, all the shit is everywhere. It used to be off the page. Now it's damned near impossible for readers to distinguish what's good because it's surrounded by crap. That's not good for the profession. A terrible mainstream comic like Tumbleweeds had a base level of competence. Only a half-dozen webcomics, like Diesel Sweeties, Cat and Girl, etc. do.

Strip Business 4-27-09

It’s been an interesting week, non?

Hope, Change and All That Crap - A new book by Kevin Moore

Hope, Change and All That Crap -- a new collection of In Contempt comic strips -- is available for purchase through The book collects strips published between August 2007 and January 2009.

The specs: 108 pages, 7.5" x 7.5", perfect binding, cream interior paper (60# weight), black and white interior ink, white exterior paper (100# weight), full-color exterior ink

You Hockey Puck!

Publishers Weekly has a story on an upgrade to the Sony e-book reader.  Still expensive ($399) but better touch screen, a readling light and more storage capacty (also will play music!?).  

An interview with Tom Tomorrow who has a book collection out, called The Future's So Bright, I Can't Bear to Look.

An interview with Ted Rall who will be at SPX in Bethesda MD this weekend.

Kerry Edwards brings the pain.

Penny Arcade's Episode Two of its videogame Adventures on the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness is almost set for release.

An opera based on Dinosaur Comics -- not the first such cross-medium adaptation (Too Much Coffee Man probably claims that footnote in history) but still pretty unusual.  It's tonight if you're interested in attending!

New MC Frontalot album: Final Boss.

Someday, All Comics will be Webcomics

Rick Marshall writes up his Comic Con experiences for ComicMix.

Newsarama interviews Clickwheel Editor In Chief Tim Demter about the new Clickwheel Comics Reader.  The reader is available for free from the Apple App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Garfield WIthout Garfield gets a book deal with Ballantine.  I'm actually shocked that Garfield creator Jim Davis is letting this go forward (and wondering if he is getting a cut of anything) but he's already on record as being a big fan of the comic so it's pretty cool that he seems to have signed off on this as well.

Ted Rall offers some thoughts on saving the newspaper business.  I don't always agree with Rall but I've always been a fan of his uncompromising viewpoint he offers in his comics.  But I don't know what he's thinking about with advice to newspapers like: don't be on the web; and charge more for the web than for the print version.  Doesn't he remember that young people don't buy the print version of newspapers?  Does he want to accelerate the implosion of the current newspaper business?

Here's a thought.  Before the web, it made sense to combine everything a city newspaper did into one business.  But today, why aren't people more seriously questioning the validity of combining (1) an ad agency; (2) content creation; and (3) a printer as a single business?  Maybe that just doesn't make sense anymore?

FLEEN approvingly points to The System, an unusual comic using a limited set of icons (like the men's room symbol!) for imagery.  It is definitely worth a read.

I had no idea that Rich Stevens sells Diesel Sweeties socks.

SugarShock!, reviewed by Larry "El Santo" Cruz

When ComixTalk head honcho Xaviar Xerexes (a.k.a "Tha Tru Triple X") mentioned that he wanted to see articles on the Eisner Award nominees, I slobbered at the chance to review one particular title, SugarShock!  Why, you ask? It's because this little series is written by a somewhat popular guy by the name of Joss H. Whedon.

Webcomics Weekly Podcast, Episode 28

Check out the often-imitated-never-duplicated Webcomics Weekly Podcast, featuring Scott Kurtz, Dave Kellett, Kris Straub, and myself. If you get off on cartoonists talking shop, this is a must-listen. You can follow the RSS here. Episode 28 Show Notes: Print and Web cartoonists discuss the merits of both business models and if either is detrimental to the other. Guest starring Ted Rall. The conversation is a passionate dissection of a crucial turning point in the history of cartooning. I'll be honest with you.

Comics and Community Service 4: The Internet

The recent discussion at Fleen on the topic of offline and online cartooning has provoked some contemplation about what paradigm the next generation of cartoonists will have regarding their approach to comics and the potential influence comic-oriented community service projects like the Create a Comic Project (CCP) can have.

Webcomic Wire - 3/21/08

Drawn from sources all over the web…

Gordian Algebra reviews A Slice Of Life.
Fleen has coverage of the Webcomics: A Primer panel which included Dean Haspiel, Raina Telgemeier, Rich Stevens and Ted Rall. The discussion took place at the New York Center of Independent Publishing 
Shaenon K. Garrity shares some thoughts about the WCCA winners.
Dark Horse is [...]