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Curse of ComixTALK

Neither alive nor dead, ComixTALK lumbers on.  Fire? Fire, bad!!!

ALSO ROBOTMAS IS COMING!!!

iWEBCOMICS:  So Apple made a big education announcement recently that included new tools for making iBooks. Richard Stevens took it as an opportunity to release a batch of his Diesel Sweeties comics as an ibook. I'm not going to add much educated analysis of Apple's new iBook standards in general since I haven't had time to wrap my brain cells around the technical, business and copyright issues of it.

BOOK 'EM DANNO: Free Mars, a webcomic I've been a fan of for quite sometime has signed with Ape Entertainment. Ape will publish a collection in July, which will be available in print and in digital on iVerse's Comics + iOS app.  If you haven't read this one, check it out. Lovely artwork, a fun story.

MORE HYPE: The Situation is all kinds of creepy weird goodness (h/t Lauren Davis).  Get you there to read it and while you're there, remind yourself that Tor Publishing posts some pretty amazing webcomics to its website.

DEAR DIARY: Lauren Davis collects 17 journal webcomics worth paging through furtively.

MAILBAG: Greg Carter writes that the next LOVE IS IN THE BLOOD story is starting up on Valentine's Day! Art on the next story will be from Gina Biggs.  I have to admit I have not read this yet, but Greg has been crafting quality webcomics for sometime now so I have it bookmarked!

Blind Date III: The Date Blindening!

This has been 'round the twitters and I need to post it here too -- Fes of the Webcomic Beacon podcast is organizing a Blind Date webcomic-making event this year.  This is CANON folks! :) We did the first couple of editions of the webcomic Blind Date event here at ComixTALK (the last one was waaay back in 2004) but I just don't have the time to organize it so I'm pretty dang happy Fes is doing this.

Here's the scoop for this year's event from Webcomic Beaconland:

Please email us by JANUARY 27th, 2012, indicating that you are a Writer, Artist, or if you can do either (this will help in the imbalance of entries). Also include if you have any restrictions (such as you can’t work over a PG rating, etc), or any other sort of things you want us to take into consideration. The idea is that the writer would write the comic (or single panel), and the artist would draw it. In the end you will have to work together. We will announce and post the pairings on the website, and also will like the links to the final products in time for Valentine’s Day!

Comix Talk for January 16, 2012

I have a dream that my comics will one day live in a world where they will not be judged by the means of their delivery but by the content of their... well, content. 

CHANGES: Paul Southworth handed over the art duties on Not Invented Here to Jeff Zugale. It's different, which I imagine is going to be more interesting and successful than simply aping Southworth.  But it will take awhile for me to get used to it.

ALL AGES: Saturday Morning Webtoons is a new portal to several all ages webcomics

NEW(ISH) STUFF

Andrew Bonia has a new webcomic, On the Bounty with a Dinosaur Comics approach to the art (or I guess I should say Angriest Dog in the World approach). Definitely worth clicking on for some funny dialogue.  Reusing the same art is a tough format though -- good luck to Bonia for as long as he can work with it.

Kevin Church's new webcomic is a Star Trek parody called Boldly Gone about another spaceship Captain living in the shadow of one James T. Kirk.

Comix Talk for January 10, 2012

I meant to have something up yesterday but was still feeling the effects of a much-needed vacation. 

AWARDS: Heads up, the Eisners are now accepting nominations up until March 6, 2012.  I don't think the webcomic category requirements have changed but in any event here they are:

The best digital comic category is open to any new, professionally produced long-form original comics work posted online in 2011. Webcomics must have a unique domain name or be part of a larger comics community to be considered. The work must be online-exclusive for a significant period prior to being collected in print form. The URL and any necessary access information should be emailed to Eisner Awards administrator Jackie Estrada: jackie@comic-con.org.

MILESTONES: Tom Brazelton announced yesterday that in six months time he'll be wrapping up Theater Hopper.  One of the nicer fellows I've met online and I wish the best of luck with this year's comics and whatever he turns to next.  Also worth mentioning (because I missed it while away) Comics Alliance covers the ending of Kevin Church's The Loneliest Astronauts, which is a great concept for a comic.

REVIEWS: Comics Alliance has a review of Raised on Ritalin, a comic memoir by Tyler Page. Tyler also does the webcomic Nothing Better, which follows two women students at a small religious college.

INTERVIEWS: Tim O'Shea interviews Thomas Scioli, the creator of the webcomic American Barbarian, which is being collected for a print version coming this year from AdHouse.

HYPE: Comics Worth Reading notes the return of an old comic by Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett, Section Zero, in webcomic format at MadGeniusComics.com. The web/comic is about a group investigating paranormal phenomena. In a blog post, Karl Kesel explains its revival on the web.

Let's Say G'Bai to 2011

Time to watch Old Man 2011 give Baby 2012 the great high five of life tonight.  I know I got sporadic on the posting schedule this past year, not sure yet what's in store for next year, but I will be AFK for ComixTalk until January 10th.

TOOLS: The Stumpy Pencil blog has some great digital art tools for Photoshop and other art asoftware available to download. These bubble texture brushes for photoshop are pretty cool. (I cannot write "pretty cool" anymore without hearing that SNL woman's impersonation of Miley Cyrus)

ARE WE NOT MEN?  Heard this on the Radio Lab podcast this week and luckily for me everyone blogged it up already.  The podcast is a cute overview of an import tax dispute where Marvel argued that the X-men were not humans so as to get a lower tax rate for toys than one applied to dolls.

WOMEN OF WEBCOMICS: Jezebel had a great list of women comic creators doing pretty cool stuff in 2011.

RANDOM HYPE: Hadn't read cartoonist/engineert Angela Melick's journal webcomic, Wasted Talent, in awhile but it's still pretty cool! INTENSE PORPOISE!

MORE RANDOM HYPE: Check out SCI-ENCE, a pretty cool comic with some actual scientific knowledge imparted.  The art is really good, jumping styles too, and it has a strong point of view (basically skeptical, rational) that is probably more important to the creators than delivering the funny, so it can have a bit of an editorial comic to it at times (but a hipper one like Tom Tomorrow or Ted Rall). Anyhow - good stuff there (h/t BAD ASTONOMY)

NOT QUITE WEBCOMICS: Victor Hertz's parodies of corporate logos are dang funny (and pretty cool!) stuff. And unlike some lazy mockery, Hertz's stuff is all pretty dead on in its skewering of the companies. 

Comix Talk for December 28, 2011

Thanks to Scholastic for sending the all ages Scooby-Doo: A Merry Scary Holiday which the x-kids enjoyed.  It has a pretty Scooby-Dooish plot (and the villian winds up having a Gary-like appearance, man that guy is everywhere!).  It's labeled Issue #2 so keep an eye out for future issues. Also thanks to Joe Williams and Tina Garceau for sending Monkey & Bird, featuring one of the odder animal romance pairings in comics (although frog and pig doesn't make any more sense when you think of it.

iWEBCOMICS: This is interesting - The Beat caught that the top selling digital comic on Amazon is from a self-published girl.  Heidi devles a bit into the manga influence on Rachel Book's art, but I think the self publishing aspect and that she's so young are fascinating. There's nothing fancy about her web presence -- I'm not sure what to make of this other than her book must be.... good? I haven't read it, but that's the most likely explanation for her success!

AMAZINGLY QUICK REVIEWS:  Maxime Garbarini's Close Call is published in both English and French. The art reminds one of Tintin immediately

MAILBAG: Terence Anthony writes about his online graphic novel Protege (written by Anthony and illustrated by Juan Romera) which is set in the world of high-tech espionage, international assassins and shadowy operatives and updates weekly. It follows freelance operatives Coltrane Wallace and Devin Edwards as they prepare for their last mission before Trane retires. Unfortunately a deadly young assassin code-named Allumette has been hired to eliminate their target, leading to a confrontation that will profoundly affect all their lives.

Comix Talk for December 27, 2011

Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. I'm an equal opportunity holidayist this year -- I'll take whatever I can get.

INTERVIEWS: I sometimes feel like The Comics Reporter is just a bit intimidating as Tom Spurgeon posts such an enormous amount of stories every day, many of which are as in-depth as his Holiday Interview series.  There's some big names in his interview series this year but don't miss this one with Jeff Parker, currently working with Erica Moen on the webcomic Bucko.

PODCASTANET: Kris Straub chats with Brad Guigar about humor and comics.

HOLIDAZE: Robot6 had a nice round-up of web/comic Christmastime comics.

BE SCENE: TCJ checks out the Austin comics scene.  This is one in a series from TCJ.

ZIPPITYDODAH: The Atlantic has a feature on Zippy the Pinhead and its creator Bill Griffith.

CRAFT: Chris Schweizer's "Guide to Spotting Tangents" is really interesting -- I never focused on tangents in comics art as a topic. And Kevin Huizenga shares his approach to thumbnailing his comics. Both h/t Drawn!

NOT COMICS: This Is My Jam is a kind of hyper-focused twitter-lite thing for music (maybe?). Anyhow it's easy to play and I've had some nice serendipidous discoveries through it. Sign up yourself and follow me there if it sounds interesting.  And speaking of music, hey it's another top 20 album list from John Allison of the webcomic Bad Machinery.

Comix Talk for Monday, December 19, 2011

I did an interview with the Webcomics Beacon podcast that was posted last week.  It was about Comix Talk stuff which, listening to it, mostly sounds like a bunch of projects I don't have time for anymore. The hosts - Fes and Mark - were nice dudes though.  I talked about Comixpedia.org and its birth from the Wikipedia webcomics purge. I talked about my personal webcomic efforts. (Here's a link to Ira Glass's quote on the gap between taste and ability that I mentioned -- it really is a mantra for me these days). We talked (I talked!) about possible tweaks to social-media-fy ComixTalk and another idea for a Meta Critics-like site for web/comics that I've only gotten to a rough, rough alpha stage. (Btw -- am I missing that a Rotten Tomatoes or Meta Critics for comics website already exists? Please tell me if it does).

Books!

2D Cloud sent me a couple of their recent books for review.  One of them is Things You Carry by Vincent Stall.  I had a hard time absorbing this wordless tale of a creature wandering.  But I was compelled to spend time with the book, just to sort through the visual imagery, take in this simple plot and figure out what it meant (if it means anything at all).  At first it struck me as an easy book to skim through, especially because Stall has a great knack for stylizing his imagery - densely detailed panels don't necessarily overwhelm you at first look.  You really have to linger over each panel.  When you do, you start to see the patterns but also the numerous details.  I honestly don't know what to make of the book -- the ending is meaningful but deeply ambiguous to me. I'm going to have to come back to this one but did want to make sure to point you toward the publisher's and creator's websites to check out their great work.  Also here's a video of Stall at his solo art show of the same name:

I also got a preview of chapters 1-4 from a new book coming out next year, Stereotypical Freaks by Howard Shapiro and Joe Pekar.  It's a coming of age type story about a couple of put-upon kids in highschool who enter a battle of the bands contest. There's a bit too much "telling" and not enough just showing in what I read and the story itself is a little cliche, but the art is crisp and the characters are well-rendered. And even if I've read this type of story several times before, it is a fun groove to retread.  They also sent me a poster by Jim Ford which is pretty nice although this random guy on the Internet really loved the poster so I'm going to let him show it to you:

MAILBAG

Julian Bynoe writes that he is serializing a comic called Lone Outpost: India, Portugal and the Goa Dispute 1946-1962 which examines the  little-known 1961 Goa Conflict in India. Bynoe's previous work includes  EU50: From Trade Bloc to Superstate 1957-2007 (2007-2011), a chronical of the European Union’s first half-century.  “I’ve had a fascination in studying Portugal’s colonial empire, which I first explored with Macau Fado when they handed its last colony back to China after four hundred and forty-two years.  With Lone Outpost, it talks about how Portugal was unwilling to give up one centimetre of its overseas empire under the fascist dictatorship of Antonio Salazar in the latter-half of the twentieth century at a time when most of the European powers were reconsidering their colonies in the post-war era. Compared to Fado, it goes to show how far the Portuguese had come since that time.”

Shannon Muir and Kevin Broden's Flying Glory and the Hounds of Glory webcomic features the adventures of super powered teen Debra Clay, known as Flying Glory, and her backing band the Hounds of Glory.  The duo has put out a book, Flying Glory Flashback: Celebrating 10 Years of the Lyrics, Words and History that if I'm reading the press release right is a collection of the lyrics to the songs that the band in the webcomic "played" along with some other special features from the history of the comic (but not the actual comics themselves).  

Oliver Knörzer writes to let us know about his webcomic Gaia, with artist Powree -- the creators of the comic Sandra and Woo. The comic takes place in the self-created world of Gaia where political tension between the two most powerful countries Cania and Midgard has grown in recent years. Similar to several of his classmates at the "Academy for Arcane Studies and Material Arts", the young warrior Ilias Oter is much more interested in the beautiful wizard Lilith Caillean than in politics. But soon he has to learn that Lilith is standing in the eye of a dark storm that is going to sweep across the whole world.

Comix Talk for Monday, December 12, 2011

Haps to the holidays y'all, as I'm sure no one ever said ever, even back in the day.

HYPE: I saw the writer, Maria Burnham, post about her webcomic Jesus Loves Lesbians Too on Huffington Post.  It's a little disjointed at times, but honest and often touchingly funny. And the art by Maggie Siegel-Berele is really nice.  I wish they had a better archive system but for right now it's not a huge backlog to read.

HYPE: Lauren Davis says, "Hobo Lobo of Hamelinis a witty retelling of The Pied Piper, and the side scrolling effect creates the impression that you're watching the whole thing played inside a diorama."  It is pretty amazing, one of the first webby webcomics I've seen in a few years.  Easily the most impressive experimental webcomic I've read this year.  The 3D effect is excellent (I think there was some Z-layer CSS going on there) and you have to linger and play around with the panels to get the full experience.  Read Lauren's full review at IO9.

BEAR AMERICA: I want to make a movie, video game and Comedy Central animated series out of Ethan Nicolle's Bearmageddon.

OCCUPY PIXELS: Stephanie McMillan has been out occupying Occupy protests and is making comics about her experience.

MILESTONES: Kraig Furtado's Troops of Doom reaches 400 episodes this week. Troops of Doom uses photos of action figures for its visuals and its story is a mashup of Star Wars, G.I. Joe and lego.

GIFT LIST: Comics Alliance assembles a whole bunch of webcomic related stuff any one of your loved or liked ones would be happy to receive.

MAILBAG

  • Jason Gurley writes about his new graphic novel Eleanor that he's serializing on the web (two chapters are available on the web site, and a third is in progress). Gurley writes that he was writing this as a novel but felt like it needed to be told as a comic. First off the website is seriously kickass, and I just liked the combination of colors and the virtual "book and a shelf" feel the first page gives you.  Second, the art is surprisingly good, the characters are drawn simply, but Gurley knows what he's doing (or at least is faking it really well!).  Eleanor is hard to describe -- it feels very metaphorical so far.  Gurley described it in an interview as "Eleanor‘s dislocation is really about that search for truth: pawing around in a dark void, sometimes hopelessly, sometimes finding brilliance, looking for anything to hold onto. Her conversation fills that void for her."
     
  • Alex Aberle writes that he is restoring the archives of his webcomic Sara and David -- "The World's First 3D Anime Webcomic."  Well I hate to be the one to break the news but I'm not seeing 3D here so I wouldn't bill it like that (and I'd probably refrain from "world" "first" or "anime" as well).  I think it's always a mixed bag to put up old work just to post more things to the 'net.  I'm not talking about the normal course of serializing a webcomic -- by definition you have older work up eventually -- I'm talking about putting up something that never was on the web (or you took down previously). On the other hand I change my mind about this question all the time.

DEAD TREE and OTHER PAPER STUFF:  JT Yost has a new mini-comic, Thinger Dingers, out along with some Snoop Doggy Dog--Snoopy mashup tee shirts for sale.  Check it out at his website.  JT has done some cool comics before - just throw his name in the ComixTALK search box to see some review of his mini-comics.

Meanwhile... Jason Shiga's Meanwhile gets ported to the iPad

I wish I had an iPad so I could try this out.  Johanna got a preview version to play with -- check out her thoughts here.  And here's a blog post from the developer about the project.