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Warren Ellis

Comix Talk for Friday, September 24, 2010

The week is slipping away... I'll probably update this post later today but here's the AM version:


DEAD TREES WALKING  This story on the future fate of DC Comics is pretty plausible -- I'm not sure how likely it is, but doesn't it seem like something a big conglomerate like Warner Bros would easily consider.

WHERE SHOULD I BE?  Erika Moen explains the pros and cons of Portland.

Comix Talk for September 16, 2010

Wow I was completely zapped by three days of con-mania this past weekend.  In any event, I've posted some photos, my first "live" interviews - well first I've recorded and shared with peoples like yourselves. I've got a few more to edit and post -- hopefully by the end of the week along with a convention-report style wrap-up.  There's been a lot of posts on SPX (Tom Spurgeon's round-up of such posts is here).  I missed the panel there with Richard Thompson, creator of the best new comic strip in recent years -- Cul de Sac but moderator Mike Rhode posted the audio from the panel.


Warren Ellis posted a little blurb about ideal digital format and pricing for comics.  There were some recent posts about the current price of monthly comic books pamphlets floppies 32 pages with staples thingees lately -- prices have gone way up and that format is really not a cheap buy for entertainment anymore.  Digital comics could be.  Webcomics surely are -- free is the ultimate sampler price.  I also missed posting about the speech on this future for comics that Mark Waid gave at the Harvey Awards ceremony -- Waid followed up with a blog post containing a more polished version of the speech here -- it's well worth reading.


David Willis -- who I got to meet at Intervention -- launched his brand spankin' new Dumbing Of Age webcomic.


John Allison writes that he's going to stop posting Bad Machinery as a webcomic, but instead turn towards finding a publisher for it.  Presumably to put out a print version that would help it to find more younger readers? 


Co-creator Eben E.B. Burgoon writes that the 3rd anniversary of Eben 07 was this month plus they have a 3rd print collection out, titled Operation: 3-Ring Bound. To celebrate, they're holding a contest for a $20 amazon gift card & the line art of a celebratory anniversary poster drawn by D. Bethel  -- anybody that comments on a comic during September will be entered to win.


El Santo writes a round-up of attempts to chronicle the history of webcomics including T Campbell's series on it here at ComixTalk.


  • Charles Cutting wrote to let us know that the Illustrated Ape website is hosting the first installment of his webcomic The Dream Quest of Randolph Carter. The next episode will be posted as soon as it is finished (Cutting says hopefully no later than November the 1st).
  • J.T. Yost debuted some new mini comics at SPX including It's Dream Time, Snoop Doggy Dogg.  I got a review copy and hope to have a review up later this month.  I interviewed Yost at SPX -- it's part of the 5 interview video here.
  • Stan Wojohowitz wrote that he's launched a new webcomic after 18 months of development called The Psychotic Episodes.  It's about characters exploring issues of psychiatry and mental health.  The first issue, including related blog posts, seems to be about mental health issues for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
  • Stefan Strasser writes out with a different pitch for his webcomic, "Most webcomics start out with a lavish update schedule and then cut down the number of new strips during the course of time. Chicken Wings is now going the opposite way. Starting this week, the comic will update three times a week instead of just one.  Chicken Wings is a comic aimed at aviation enthusiasts and about a bunch of chickens working in a small aviation company.

Comix Talk for Tuesday, April 20, 2010

REVIEW: Gavin Lees gives a pretty positive review to Kate Beaton's Never Learn Anything From History collection.


From the Mailbag:  Patric Lewandowski started a fundraising project at Kickstarter with a goal towards funding a comic called Terminal Life.

In 1989, when I was 9 years old, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. He underwent surgery which removed an entire lung from his body. For the next nine years, he was in and out of the hospital and always near death. I grew up with a terminally ill parent and it had a profound impact on who I became as a person.  This graphic novel, tentatively titled "Terminal Life" is about that first year when my father was diagnosed, had surgery, and it became apparent that my life had changed forever. 

ComixTalk for Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Greystone Inn by Brad GuigarWe had the Son of Snowpocalypse in Washington DC yesterday.  Not all that exciting actually.  Also finally saw AVATAR in 3D on Sunday night. (Ain't Mrs X cool to take me to that for Valentines Day?!)  Reviews were dead-on; awesome world-building and special effects to carry it off, story was Dances With Wolves With Four Eyes and Gil Slits.  All in all, a great movie experience.

AWARDS: Tom Spurgeon has a list of the nominees for this year's Glyph awards.

MILESTONES: Congrats to Brad Guigar on 10 years of comicking!  Brad has had a heck of a decade pioneering this thing we call webcomics and I hope there's lots more to come.  In his blog post there's a BIG hint that a full collection of his first strip, Greystone Inn, will be coming to print.

Also docking in close to 10 years is the Flight anthology series.  Kazu Kibuishi announces that Flight 8 will be the last edition of that very successful project.

INTERVIEWS: Growly Beast has an interview with Tom Dell'Aringa of Marooned and The Internet Review of Science Fiction has a fairly indepth interview with Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary.  UPDATE: Graphic NYC has an interview with Raina Telgemeier, who's most recent work is the graphic novel Smile.


AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 BLOGS:  Kids book author/illustrator Mo Willems takes a crack at Hilary Price's Rhymes With Oranges this week.  Also details on Hilary's trip to Cuba with Jeannie Schulz and other cartoonists including Alexis Fajardo.  Haven't talked with Alexis in years - maybe I better catch up with him! :)  (h/t Daily Cartoonist)

SECRET SCIENCE ALLIANCE ACTIVATE!  The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis won this year's CYBIL award for the graphic novel category. The CYBILs are the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards.  And TCJ posted a four part interview with Eleanor, husband Drew Weing and the rest of the creative crew from the Secret Science Alliance book.  Here's part one (with links to part 1 & 2 and part 3 & 4):

Comix Talk for Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Freak Angels by Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield

It's day 4 of Snowapalooza in Washington DC.  I consider this a trial run for if I ever decided to move to Canada and so far... I don't think I'd make it.  But being snow-bound has been great for catching up on comics.  I also wanted to flag a few features at ComixTalk -- the calendar of comic events is available here, but you can also add it a number of other calendar programs and I'm always interested in co-maintainers.  In fact I'd be very happy to see other blogs and sites join me in maintaining it and embedding it on their sites too. I also set up a hub page for the four webcomic titles that have run at ComixTalk over its 8 year history - click to discover work from Ryan Estrada, Kris Straub and Bryant Paul Johnson.

Awards:  The Webcomics List, a hybrid tracking, popularity and news site for webcomics had a forum-organized awards program this year.  It felt a lot like the old WCCAs. This Week in Webcomics covers the resultsGunnerkrigg Court won the nod for Best Comic and Moon Town won for Best New Comic.  Coyote has a review of Moon Town here.

iWebcomics: So I'm kind of already burnt out on the iPad hype.  I want to wait until the thing is available to think more about it.  Others are though: Erik Larsen has an essay about it and Gizmodo salivated over how comics will look on the tablet device.

Dead Trees: Tyler Page talks numbers, costs and quality for taking the Print-On-Demand route for volume 2 of his Nothing Better webcomic.  And starting this week, for a couple of months, Gordon McAlpin is working full time on Multiplex — and, the Multiplex: Book 1 print collection.  This is all due to the funding he raised for the book through a Kickstarter drive.


  • The recent rock concert contest storyline at Ornery Boy has been great - both funny and Michael Lalonde has done an awesome job with animating key panels.  If you're going to do a flash comic than use it!  Ornery Boy makes great use of Flash's capabilities.
  • It's a been awhile since I've linked to Freak AngelsThings are happening again in the storyline and although I'm a bit annoyed that after a few years we still don't really understand the full logic of the "package" of the freak angels and their world, it's a hell of a comic.  I'll also just flag again that what Avatar is doing here seems like a pretty good model for a publisher-creator relationship in the webcomic world.  I'm not sure I've seen anyone else quite match it yet.
  • The latest issue of Dark Horse Presents is out with webcomics from Graham Annable and others.

SPX Updates From Jane Irwin and Paul Sizer

BPM by Paul Sizer

I got a chance to talk with Jane Irwin and Paul Sizer at SPX this year.  Last year I'd had a great talk with Jane, but missed Paul.  Jane is the creator of two great Vogelein novels and the Clockwork Game webcomic.  This year it was great to talk with both of them for a bit.

I picked up Paul's graphic novel BPM (only a year after I'd meant to but SPX is a great reminder for that sort of thing).  BPM, visually is pure gloss, vivid colors, with interesting integration of photo-realism into the mix.  Sizer's sense of design is really strong -- not only in the artwork but the whole sense of the book as a whole.  It's also a strong story with a really developed central character, Roxy.  So overall no question, I enjoyed this book, it's the kind of mainstream, uplifting tale that in any other medium would be the mainstream.  I will point out two things that made it less than perfect for me; one I didn't love the stretches of narration for Roxy's internal dialogue - I can see why Sizer went with it but I wish he'd used it even less and two, and I only say this in the high expectations for art I came to the book with, but there are a few panels where Sizer's anatomy seems off and took me a bit out of the story.

Where did I come by my high expectations for the art?  Well, for one thing Paul is the master of Warren Ellis' reboot forum over at WhiteChapel - Paul has come up with a number of wild reinterpretations of old D-level superhero characters that usually trump all other submissions.  Any number of them would be great to take and run with a full length story.  I actually asked him about some of the World War II superhero drawings he'd done and while he definitely had interest in the potential the prospect of researching the era for such a book seeming too daunting to want to pursue.  Part of that is Pauls' acknowledgment that Jane Irwin would never let him get away with making it up -- she's a firm believer in getting the details right.


Just another day in the home office in itstoodamnhotville...

It will be a sad day in Mudville when Scary Go Round steps up to the plate for the last time.  Even John Allison is getting verklempt.

Awhile ago Warren Ellis put out a call to creators to post about their webcomics at his Whitechapel forum. A long list ensued - much good stuff there, some of it new to me!  From there I found Border Crossings a suitably strange story but one with promise.  I can't tell if the two stories so far are meant to be interlocking or not but either way it has a creepy, odd tone -- both the art and the writing.  Definitely interesting so far.

Also reading Mister Crimson which has art very like Howard Chaykin's The Shadow comic book.  Actually the plot is a bit like putting The Shadow into the future.

Cartoonist Bob Flynn talks about the tools he uses making comics.

Reuben Bolling incites his fans to vote Tom the Dancing Bug to the top of the Rankopedia's list for best comic ever.  As far as lists go this is one of the most naked popularity contests I've seen in awhile.  I doubt Bolling is doing this out of anything other than a sense of fun and irony.

Kind of an interesting site - 30 Day Artist - features an artist each month making 40 pieces of art on the site.

Is Chris Hastings' dog (name: Commissioner Gordon) the cutest dog in the world?  

The Webcomic Overlook #89: Girl Genius

Some of my ideas for this site never pan out. A few weeks back, I had played around with doing a theme week. Specifically it was going to be Girl Power Week. (Motto: “Girls rule, boys drool!” Eh heh heh … so true.) A marathon session, reviewing webcomics with sassy, brassy ladies in the lead role! I even had a logo designed and an intro paragraph written (which can be found in The Black Cherry Bombshells review. OK, so it took me all of 3 minutes from googling “gurren lagann yoko” to slapping the logo together in photoshop. But still!

But, you know, actually finding the time to read webcomics and write about them takes forever. I finished about two-thirds of Girl Power Week: along with The Black Cherry Bombshells, I also finished the Earthsong review. But the third comic was too long to do properly. And now here we are, almost a month later.

More than one Webcomic Overlook reader has enthusiastically requested that I take a look at this comic. It’s one of the few comics set in the steampunk framework and does it right. It’s been nominated for Hugo Awards and Eisner Awards, and has won WCCAs and Squiddy Awards (whatever the hell that is). It’s the comic about “Adventure! Romance! Mad Science!”

Yup, you guessed it. The Webcomic Overlook finally reviews the infamous Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio. The webcomic takes a lot of surprise twists and turns, so I’ll try to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible. However, there will be some revelations (minor ones, I hope), so proceed reading this review at your own risk.

Warren Ellis: comics can help you perform sabotage, cure Alzheimer’s

Warren Ellis (who created the webcomic FreakAngels, among other things), gave a speech at Dundee University. He claims its was written in chickenscratch … but, as Abraham Lincoln could attest, sometimes the most timeless and memorable speeches come from concise yet powerful ideas that just mentally congeal into perfect nuggets of wisdom. For Ellis, comics are a superior medium. Here’s an excerpt:

Comics And Time

I pulled this from Warren Ellis’ blog.  Ellis is a bit of a hero to me, and this article is particularly well conceived: