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Nominees for Eisner Award: Digital Comics Category

The nominees for the Eisners are out - here's the Digital Comics category:

An interesting mix of new and familiar names (to me at least) and a range of styles and subject matters to boot.  I haven't read any of these so here's my quick ill-informed reactions and/or paraphrasing of the about pages:

 

The full title of John Neufeld's webcomic is Bahrain: Lines In Ink, Lines In The Sand and follows Mohammed and Sara, two young Bahraini editorial cartoonists who found themselves on opposite sides of Bahrain's short-lived Pearl Revolution. Neufeld met Mohammed and Sara at workshops he led while visiting the tiny Persian Gulf country on a U.S. State Department trip. Neufeld documents their impressions of the events, through their words, experiences, and their own cartoons, which were published as events unfolded.  A self-contained, non-fiction, journalistic effort.

Mike Norton's webcomic is about a giant pug. OMIGOD PUPPY!!  On-going serialized comedic, fantasy adventure tale.

Tony Cliff's webcomic takes place in 19th-century Turkey where an officer in the Janissary army must struggle to repay a brash adventuress for saving his life, even though she was the one who endangered it in the first place.  Another serialized adventure story albeit much less wacky than Battlepug.

Dylan Meconis' is a fable brought to webcomic form.

Ryan Andrew's webcomic also has the feel of a fable or better still an alegory.  Both Dylan's and Ryan's efforts are self-contained, completed works of fiction.

I realize this is far from the due diligence of actual reviews but even so, it's striking how challenging it must be to try to compare the merits of such diverse work with such clearly different artistic and other goals.  This year's nominees in particular feel like a world where instead of the Emmy awards, the Motion Picture Academy had just added a "Best Television Movie" category to the Oscars.

Comix Talks the Talk; Walks the Walk

Hello hello hello.  Let's call today's post a rally round the flag, consider splashing some cash kind of all KICKSTART MY ART post.  It's amazing how many webcomic projects have been funded now through Kickstarter.

MULTIPLEX BOOK 2:  Gordon McAlpin was one of the first webcomic creators to use Kickstarter and now he's back to raise funds to put out Book 2 of his webcomic Multiplex.  He's still got a ways to go but 20 days should be enough time to make it.  If you're a fan of this webcomic pledge pledge pledge!

ALL NEW ISSUES: This webcomic is running a drive to print its first book.  You can check out the webcomic here before deciding whether to pledge or not.

GOATS IV: BACK IN THE SADDLE: It's finally over and I managed to get my pledge in before it finished.  Looking forward to my autographed book. Pledges passed $50,000 easily.  People love goats I guess.  

Fubar Press: These guys have made their goal but they've still got nine days to go. Their project is to print up an anthology to give away on Free Comic Book Day this year. Free comic book day is an annual event, held on the first Saturday in May where just about every major comic book company distributes a few titles for free to comic shops all across the country. The idea is to bring in new fans and get old fans back in on what ends up being one of the busiest days of the year for comic shops.   

CARPE CHAOS:  These guys are down to the wire trying to raise 7,500 and they have less than 24 hours to go (more or less).  The drama of Kickstarter! Jason Bane, Eric Carter, Anthony Cournoyer, Daniel Allen, Joe Slucher, and  others create Carpe Chaos, a free web-based sci-fi graphic novel series.  They want to create a concept art book called The Art of Carpe Chaos that will featureall of the artwork they produced when we were creating the universe. 

We've got a ton of material, we've got graphic designer Christopher Kosek to help us, and we've got a $7,500 quote from a printer. Whether we get 250 books or 1000, the price doesn't change much because most of the printing costs are for getting everything set up to print in the first place. 100% funding means a print run for us! 

YEAR OF THE DWAGON: This one is also over but Rob Balder met his goal for Erfworld and ran a pretty impressive Kickstarter campaign while he was at it.  Did I say "met his goal"? I meant smashed it, raising almost $85,000.

Bye Bye P.O. Box

Hey, please note we are giving up our P.O. Box -- do not send anything anymore to it!  Go ahead and cross it out! P.O. Box 3362, Arlington, Virginia 22203  Just like that!  If you do want to send a physical object to ComixTalk please email us beforehand and we'll provide you with information on where to send it.  Thanks!

The ComixTalk 2010 Roundtable

For this year's roundtable we talked about favorite and new webcomics from 2010, the impact of the iPad and other digital devices, the changes in the comics industry landscape, awards for webcomics and much more about the state of digital comics in 2010.  I'm joined by Brigid Alverson, Larry Cruz, Lauren Davis, Brian Heater, Heidi MacDonald, Rick Marshall and Gary Tyrrell.  

SPX and Intervention 2010 Report

SPX 2010Intervention 2010Wow! SPX and Intervention in one long weekend of comics; it took me awhile to recover and get back to writing up lessons learned.  I felt a little stretched trying to cover ground at both conventions --  but it looks like no one will have to do that again as Intervention will almost certainly be on a different weekend in the Fall next year. Ideally, Intervention would be in the summer or spring to really separate it from SPX, but co-creator Oni Hartstein explained that a Spring date for the show would be cost prohibitive.

SPX was more of the same as it has been since the move to the Bethesda Convention Center -- one big room filled with rows and rows of comic creators talking about their comics with books and swag to sell.  The presence of webcomics at the show grows every year -- this year Kate Beaton was the rock star of the show, with lines longer than anyone else had.  Jeph Jacques' table and a whole group of webcomics at one corner of the room were all pretty constantly crowded from what I could tell.  It's kind of a no-brainer when you say it out loud, but if you have a webcomic with a decent to more than decent sized audience, SPX is potentially a really good show.  People are there for the comics and outside of New York, this is one of the best places on the East Coast to see a whole lot of the entire spectrum of comics.

Grey Vampires and Green Cowboys

Gus and His Gang by Christophe Blain
First Second

Vampire Loves by Joann Sfar
First Second

This is a quick examination of some color, drawing and design techniques used in two great bandes dessinées. I've kept Vampire Loves close to my drawing table for some time now, trying to glean some ideas and inspiration from Sfar's art. More recently I picked up Gus and His Gang and that's also been both enjoyable to read and to look over, saying "How did Blain do that ...?" Both artists have versatile, energetic, and very "cartoony" art styles, in the best sense of using all the tools of caricature, exaggeration, and symbolism that are available to cartoonists. They are Big Guns and worth close study. Some other artists in this vein that I enjoy, but didn't have time to fold into this post, are Kerascoet and Emile Bravo, both of whom have some work available in English (and probably a much vaster amount in French.) I hope you'll look them up!

The ComixTalk 2009 Roundtable

It's the end of the year and what better time to talk webcomics with a great group of interesting creators and commentators.  For this year's roundtable we talked about favorite and new webcomics from 2009; iPhones and iTablets; developments in the business of comics; developments in the subject matter of comics; webcomic awards; and predictions for 2010!  I'm joined by Gary Tyrrell, Delos Woodruff, Shaenon Garrity, Fesworks, Derik Badman, Larry Cruz, Brigid Alverson and Johanna Draper Carlson.

A Survey of Digital Comics Readers

This article was originally published on webcomics.com in 2008.

Every few years, a traditional comics publisher makes a renewed plunge into the webcomics market. And each time they do, they feel the need to introduce some “revolutionary” new piece of comics presentation software, as if this is what some purely hypothetical online comics industry has been waiting for. “Finally,” we are meant to exclaim, “we can actually read comics online!”

Given how the vast majority of webcomics do just fine as a succession of image files on web pages, it is a curious phenomenon.

A Stray Thought on Digital Comics Hardware

This article was originally published on webcomics.com in 2008.

When reviewing reader applications for online comics, I was struck by just how much effort Marvel put into solving the problem of presenting vertically oriented comics on a horizontal screen. With multiple layout options, including full page, double page, various zooms, and their elaborate Smart Panels solution, Marvel’s designers might be a bit overly concerned with this problem; after all, most readers don’t get up in arms over vertical scrolls these days. But I do have to admit, it really would be nicer to be able to see a full page of art at a readable size, rather than having to choose between full pages with illegibly small text, or readable text on incomplete pages.

Still, after reviewing five different comics readers, all of which attempt to address this issue to one extent or another, none entirely satisfactorily, I can’t help thinking that the final answer to this issue won’t be new software, but rather new hardware.

Three Technologies I'm Just Not that Excited About

This article was originally published on webcomics.com in 2008.

I love technology. Whether it’s little gadgets like my iPod, or useful applications like Google Calendar, I love all the little tech innovations that make life easier and more fun. The first time I heard about webcomics, I was thrilled. Automated content management? Fantastic! Integration of multi-media elements into webcomics? All over it. Do I want an iPhone or a Kindle? Oh my god, yes. Can I afford them? Not remotely. But I want them nonetheless.