Looking Back Through 2007
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.