2007 was an incredibly busy year with great new work from veteran and newcomer creators; more webcomics gaining larger audiences both online and in print; major new business initiatives; significant updates to useful tools for webcomics; and all things, considered a minimum of drama.
In the first third of the year, we saw the end of Bitpass, arguably the most publicized of the micropayments systems. We had a major controversy when it was discovered that t-shirt and artwork from Todd Goldman had a more than striking similarity to a webcomic by Dave Kelly. We also had the first live presentation of the WCCAs at Megacon.
- PERSONAL: Former ComixTalk contributers Eric "Websnark" Burns and Wednesday White get engaged. (T Cambbell interviewed the pair in April; here’s a link to an MP3 files of the interview.)
- HISTORY: We give into nostalgia one more time and take a look back at the Big Panda-era of webcomics with comments from a long list of creators, including Chris Crosby and Darren "Gav" Bleuel, John Allison, Eight, John Robey, Josh Lesnick, David Willis and more.
- WIKI WATCH: Terrence Marks listed the roll of the deleted from Wikipedia. In February, Wikipedia considered deleting the entry for the Webcomic Creators’ Choice Awards (WCCAs). Roughly twelve months later ComixTalk actually got an entry at Wikipedia. Maybe we’ll see a little more balance and a more positive approach from Wikipedia to how it handles its deletion process. (Related wiki webcomic funnies: Irregular Webcomic, xkcd, Questionable Content)
- BUSINESS: Krishna M. Sadasivam begins auctioning off guest appearances in his webcomic PC Weenies.
- BUSINESS: The micropayments system Bitpass closed up shop.
- WEBCOMICS: David Morgan-Mar of Irregular Webcomic announces a new "open-sourced" webcomic that later adopts the name of Infinity On 30 Credits A Day.
- AWARDS: This year the schedule for the WCCAs shifted and we interviewed WCCA Chairman Mark Mekkes about the changes. The award nominees were selected in January to recognize work in 2006. The winners were announced in February. This was the first year the awards were presented in person — the ceremony was held at Megacon. The Gigcast recorded the event for posterity.
- AWARDS: Gene Yang won the Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association for excellence in literature for young adults for his graphic novel, American Born Chinese.
- COLLECTIVES: Lunchbox Funnies is an all-ages comics collective. There’s a blog post from co-founder Tyler Martin here and a bit in our interview with him.
- PODCASTS: The creators of three movie-themed webcomics (Tom Brazelton, Gordon McAlpin and Joe Dunn) get together for a weekly podcast called The Triple Feature.
- TECHNIQUE: Jon Morris created two comics entitled My Plea For Hand-Lettering (part 1 and part 2) that anyone creating webcomics should read and think about.
- BUSINESS: Top Cow announced plans to partner with IGN.com to offer PDF downloads of their comic books. It is later clarified that only year-old titles will be available online.
- BUSINESS: Rebellion, a computer game developer, acquired the comics-on-iPods publisher, Clickwheel.
- TOOLS: Terrence Marks writes about the useful webcomic reading site, Piperka. Piperka is how I read webcomics in 2007.
- DEAD TREES: Dark Horse signs up two prominent webcomics: Les McClaine’s Johnny Crossbones and Gina Briggs’ Red String.
- WIKI WATCH: Kris Straub submits for deletion the article on his own webcomic just to prove a point…. Or does he?!?!?
- MILESTONES: Gene Ambaum’s and Bill Barnes’ webcomic Unshelved reaches its 5th Year anniversary.
- MILESTONES: Slipshine, possibly the first adult webcomic site, begins its sixth year of operation.
- COLLECTIVES: ACT-I-VATE throws a party to celebrate its first year anniversary.
- HYPE: A review of the first episode of the animated PvP series from Scott Kurtz, Kris Straub and Blind Ferret Studio.
- HYPE: Chris Daily (Striptease) and Aeire (Queen of Wands) launch a new webcomic Punch an’ Pie. The webcomic is a spin-off of Queen of Wands, following the character of Angela.
- BUSINESS: Zach Miller’s Joe and Monkey is one of several webcomics that signs up with GoComics in 2007.
- COLLECTIVES: In a feature article, we looked at a wide range of existing webcomic collectives and conducted an interview in comic form with the new collective Sugar Skull.
- COLLECTIVES: A community interview with Blank Label Comics on their one year anniversary.
- TOOLS: Joey Manley announced support for the downloads of comics in the CBR format at his Modern Tales websites.
- PRESS: Time magazine covers webcomics, including Penny Arcade, PvP, Achewood, and Diesel Sweeties.
- MILESTONES: Modern Tales reaches its fifth year anniversary.
- HYPE: Gabe and Tycho announce that they’ll be working on a Penny Arcade videogame. Some art and comments from Gabe here.
- GOODBYES: Drew Hayes, the creator of Poison Elves passed away at age 37.
- LEGAL: T-shirt guy Todd Goldman looks like he has plagerized a Dave Kelly webcomic and Dave Kelly notices it. Online news sites and forums pick apart more of Todd Goldman t-shirt line. Goldman lawyers fire off cease and desist letters, including one to FLEEN. Journalista! had a good round-up of all of this (and Cartoon Brew does as well).
- LEGAL: The creator of Shonen Punk, accused a small-press manga publisher of re-publishing his webcomic in print without acquiring permission or providing compensation.
- BUSINESS: Comicspace adds support for creators to sell their artwork through the site.
- BUSINESS:Square Enix hires Scott Ransoomair, the creator of VG Cats, to create the official webcomic, Adventure Log, for the Final Fantasy XI MMORPG .
- BUSINESS: One positive development from the closing of the micropayments system Bitpass was Scott McCloud’s decision to publish online his The Right Number webcomic for free. Now that McCloud is done driving around the United States, maybe he’ll be able to finish this work.
- BUSINESS: Steven L. Cloud is the second Dumbrella member (after R. Stevens with Diesel Sweeties) to sign a syndication deal with United Media. The most immediate changes are that Cloud moved his webcomic Boy On A Stick and Slither to Comics.com and reformatted it to fit the standard newspaper format. The Webcomics In Print blog also interviewed Cloud about this move.
- MILESTONES: Mitch Clem, the creator of webcomics such as Nothing Nice to Say; Coffee Achievers and San Antonio Rock City writes about his five years making webcomics.
- MILESTONES: An interview with Ronson, who has published his webcomic The Gods of Arr-Kelaan on DrunkDuck (and been associated with that site) since 2003.
- AWARDS: The nominations for the Eisner Awards are released with six webcomics up for Best Digital Comic. In July, at the ceremony at Comicon, Sam and Max, by Steve Purcell won for Best Digital Comic.
- DEAD TREES: Steven Withrow and Alexander Danner’s new book Character Design for Graphic Novels is out.
- DEAD TREES: The Flight anthology series rolls on; Newsarama has a giant preview of the now available Flight 4.
- DEAD TREES: The Daily Crosshatch has a review of James Kochalka’s second big collection of his webcomic American Elf (vol. 2). (I reviewed the first collected volume for ComixTalk’s November 2004 issue.)
- HYPE: David Willis uses his webcomic Shortpacked! to do a hilarious parody of the popular newspaper comic strip Funky Winkerbean. In July, he adds a spot-on parody of For Better Or For Worse.
- HYPE: One of the best recent break-out webcomic hits is Breakfast of the Gods by Brendan Douglas Jones. Mike Russell did a full-color comic interview with Jones (the full-length, non-illustrated version of the interview is here).
- TOOLS: Brad Hawkins released stripShow, his webcomic "add-on" for WordPress.
In the middle third of the year, we had most of comics’ awards season with most of the major and minor awards now recognizing webcomics. Webcomic creators seemed to have an even bigger presence at Comicon in San Diego as well as many other major conventions.
- TOOLS: Joey Manley publishes a set of APIs for WebcomicsNation for developers to use in creating third party applications.
- MILESTONES: Chris Crosby hits 3000 episodes of his webcomic Superosity.
- MILESTONES: Matt Shepherd’s and James Duncan’s webcomic Man Man hits 1000 episodes.
- MILESTONES: Gina Biggs’ Red String, the webcomic turned Dark Horse comic book, celebrated its four year anniversary and its 600 page mark.
- AWARDS: Brian Fies wins the Lulu Blooker Award in the Comics category for his comic Mom’s Cancer. Mom’s Cancer originally appeared online as a webcomic and won the Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic in 2005
- AWARDS: Penny Arcade won the U.K. Eagle award for "Favourite Web-Based Comic".
- COLLECTIVES: Left ‘Toon Lane features political cartoons and artistic political satire including Hypnocrites, A Town Called Dobson, Monkey Law, Rock Garden Comics, Drunken Philosophy, and Happiechappie and Suriegirlie.
- EVENTS: Online Comics Day 2007 (formerly known as Webcomics Awareness Day).
- BUSINESS: T Campbell had an interview with Filip Sablik of the publisher Top Cow, which is one of the first direct-market companies to enter the digital marketplace.
- TOOLS: The first e-reader of the year comes out from Adobe. Later a much bigger splash accompanies the launch of Amazon’s Kindle.
- AWARDS: The nominations for the Harvey Awards are released with five webcomics up for Best Online Comics Work. Nick Gurewitch wins for Perry Bible Fellowship.
- DEAD TREES: A full run of Jon Morris’ webcomic Jeremy is available in print:Jeremy: The Complete Strip Collection.
- MOST READ: T Cambpell lists the most trafficed webcomic websites according to Alexa and Compete.
- DEAD TREES: MegaTokyo, the popular webcomic about two Americans in Japan, finally goes to print in Japan.
- BUSINESS: Shannon Eric Denton, part of the webcomics site, Komikwerks is moving into television production with CBS putting World Of Quest – an animated show based on the webcomic of the same name – on its Fall schedule. Denton has also done a deal for a pilot based on a second Komikwerks webcomic title, Wyoming.
- DEAD TREES: Amazon starts up CreateSpace which provides CD, DVD and Print-on-Demand publishing options.
- COLLECTIVES: The Chemistry Set webcomic collective hits its first year anniversary.
- VERSUS: Kris Straub starts up a science-fiction themed cross-over series spun out of his webcomic Starslip Crisis called Alterverse.
- CONVENTIONS: David Malki! has a new short video out asking one simple question: Me Vs. Comic-Con, who’s better?
- PROMOTIONS: Corey Marie writes about how to use social networking tools to promote a webcomic (part 1 and part 2).
- MILESTONES: Theater Hopper celebrates its fifth year anniversary.
- HYPE: Scott Adams mentors webcomics creator Scott Myers.
- HYPE: Blind Ferret Studios who previously have done the work for the Ctrl-Alt-Del and PvP animated series, announces their first feature-length project will be based on the webcomic Looking For Group.
In the last third of the year, webcomics were the subject of an exhibit at MoCCA. Clickwheel took aim at putting comics on the iPhone. Platinunm Studios filed for an IPO; DC launched Zuda; Marvel launched Digital Comics Unlimited; and Joey Manley and Josh Roberts announced the new Comicspace.
- ART: Bill Roundy and Jennifer Babcock curated the exhibit "The Infinite Canvas and The art of the Webcomic" at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) in New York. Anne Thalheimer has a review of the exhibit.
- TOOLS: Zachery Lewis releases the latest version of his webcomics archive and publishing system: SomeryC.
- BUSINESS: Clickwheel relaunches after the debut of the Apple iPhone.
- BUSINESS: DrunkDuck owner Platinum Studios files for an IPO (initial public offering). Todd Allen offers an analysis of their IPO filings.
- BUSINESS: Josh Roberts takes over ownership of the community-edited comics encyclopedia, Comixpedia (comixpedia.org).
- AWARDS: The nominations for the Ignatz awards are released, five webcomics are nominated for Outstanding Online Comic. Chris Onstand won for Achewood. Here’s video of his acceptance of the award from presenter Nick Gurewitch.
- HYPE: Ryan Estrada does a guest comic for almost every webcomic in existence.
- HYPE: Bomb Shelter Comics launches its Webcomic Idol 2.0 contest. After several rounds of elimination, Spike wins with her Templar, Arizona comic.
- MILESTONES: Pete Abrams celebrates 10 years of creating the webcomic Sluggy Freelance. This story has a link to the NPR interview with Abrams.
- MILESTONES: The Joy of Tech reaches 1000 episodes.
- BUSINESS: DC launches Zuda, its webcomics portal slash contest slash work-for-hire webcomic division. After folks get a chance to use the site, lots of reactions spill forth.
- BUSINESS: Joey Manley and Josh Roberts announce they are partnering in a new joint venture into which they will consolidate most of their webcomic-related properties. The new company will take the name ComicSpace. Todd Allen has an interview with Manley and one of the investors in the new venture. Tom Spurgeon has an interview with Manley and Roberts.
- DEAD TREES: The Jerzy Drozd-organized anthology, Sugary Serials is released.
- MILESTONES: Scott Kurtz celebrates 10 years of creating the webcomic PvP.
- MILESTONES: Krishna M. Sadasivam celebrates9 years of creating the webcomic PC Weenies.
- MILESTONES: Dave Kellet’s Sheldon hits the 2000 episode mark.
- CHARITY: Webcomic creators draw themselves in the nude for the Tastefully Done calendar, sales of which benefit Cancer Research UK.
- CHARITY: 50 webcomic creators each drew a page of the Kid’s Book Project, sales of which benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation International.
- BUSINESS: Marvel launches its webcomic subscription service: Digital Comics Unlimited. CBR interviewed Marvel DCU publisher Dan Buckley about the new site. Here’s a review in the LA Times.
- COLLECTIVES: Straub, Guigar and Kellett move from Blank Label Comics to new Halfpixel.
- LEGAL: DC and Marvel team up to go after sites that provide links to (presumedly illegal) digital copies of Marvel and DC comic books.
- MILESTONES: Thomas K. Dye celebrates ten years of his webcomic Newshounds.