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Comix Talk for Friday, September 30, 2011

BEATONMANIA: NPR interviews Kate Beaton about her new book. And it's a pretty good interview too!

iWEBCOMIC: ICv2 covers Amazon's announcement of $9.99 digital comic books for the Amazon Fire.

DEAD TREES TELL NO TALES: Chuck Whelon writes that he has a new book out, Drain of Chaos -- the fourth collection of his webcomic Pewfell. The world's most irresponsible wizard, is about to face his greatest challenge yet... fatherhood!  His wife pregnant and his home collapsing, Pewfell takes a job with the city sewer patrol. But with a zombie-mad dictator running the government and a bloodthirsty army of chaos outside the gates, this may not be the best time to start a family. The story features over 500 individual strips, revised and expanded from it's original appearance as a webcomic on ModernTales.com. Presented in a large-format, deluxe hard-cover edition with 160 full-color pages.

CAPTAIN CRUNCHTASTIC: Ed Piskor wrote that his recently completed Wizzywig graphic novel is still online for free, but will be going away when Top Shelf publishes it as a book in 2012.  It's an interesting tale through the worlds of hacking and phone phreaking.

HOLY KAW!: I got a press release on Frank Miller's Holy Terror comic book from publisher Legendary Comics. The book follows hard-boiled hero "The Fixer" and his cat burglar love interest, Natalie Stack, as they try to save Empire City from zealots determined to commit a horrific crime against humanity. The 120-page hardcover is Miller's provocative commentary on how society views its heroes in the era of modern terrorism.  You can catch Legendary Comics Editor-in-Chief Chief, Bob Schreck, and Frank Miller at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in New York City on Friday, October 14 from 7-9pm for a signing and discussion. 

MAILBOX:  Rick Brooks writes that he's launched a new weekly webcomic, Mr. Morris, which follows the misadventures of a first year teacher and his students.  Brooks added that he is literally drawing upon his many years of experience as a classroom teacher to create this strip. Only a couple of strips in the archives so far, but not bad. Brooks' challenge will be to develop an authentic teacher's voice in the webcomic and get past the cliches of the classroom scenario.

HYPE: Robot6 flagged Little Guardians as a new webcomic to check out.  I would second that.

Comix Talk for Wednesday, September 28, 2011

iWEBCOMIC: Sometime today Amazon is going to introduce a new color Kindle.  While earlier rumors speculated that it would be an ipad competitor, it now sounds like it'll be much closer to existing Kindle functionality.  I'm very curious as to how well it will support web/comics.

52 CARD PICKUP: I haven't paid a ton of attention to the DC reboot beyond some of the digital stuff because I don't buy monthlies (at least not on any regular basis).  But it is interesting to see that they've hired Nielsen to survey their readership.

Also, go buy Kate Beaton's book Hark! A Vagrant.  She cleverly skewers history, the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew equally well -- if you're the last person to discover her comics please check them out.

HYPETY HYPE: Justin Hall is drawing webcomics about webcomics for Slacktory --  How Artists Draw Themselves is kind of funny.  I also saw another funny comic there called Grandpa's Guide to the Computer with art by Monica Ekabutr who has an awesome tumblr blog (see above for one of my favorites).

Make Your Webcomics Site Multilingual Using ComicPress

I finally fulfilled a long-term dream of mine. I am proud to announce that SOUP Wars is the first 100% fully bilingual title in the Catnose Comics universe, both online and offline. You can now read any SOUP Wars page in English, or the language it was meant to be read in, Spanish. The whole process required a ton of work and the technical hiccups were spectacular. Thankfully, this project has finally been conquered.  

To change the language of any comic, follow the instructions above each one -- it works like magic! Try it now, even if you don’t read Spanish. It’s pretty freaking neat. If you do speak Spanish, find out why I like the version in my native language 10 million times better.  I am sure that many of you webcomic artists out there would love to know how to do this. I am very happy to share what I learned with you all.

I realized that with ComicPress 3.0 webcomic publishing theme for WordPress, you can actually display two separate comics on the single post separately.  The nice thing about this is that you don’t have to scroll like crazy to see the different comic pages.  Out of curiosity, I decided to upload the Spanish version of SOUP Wars to see if I could make the pages instantly translatable using this feature.  Once I got it going, it was a total dream, but it took a lot of trial and error.

The Last Mortician by Dean Haspiel and Tim Hall

The Last Mortician is coming to Tor.com in October.  Great story concept - looks like something Haspiel is going to knock out of the park too.

Return of the Makeshift

Jim Zubkavich is dropping all kinds of hints that a reboot/remake/re-something of his Makeshift Miracle comic is on the way next week.

Comix Talk for Thursday, September 22, 2011

To the right -- an amazing cover to a fondly remembered comic book Godzilla Versus Barkley -- based on a cool Nike commercial which inspired a hilarious SNL skit. Check out artist Rusty Shakles's website and the rest of the Covered blog.

INTERVIEW: Boldly Going Nowhere podcast interviews Jon Rosenberg of Scenes from A Multiverse.

All Digits All The Time: Todd Allen writes about publisher Slave Labor Graphics decision to ditch comic pamphlets for single issues digital downloads instead.  SLG, smartly, is offering a number of file formats for their comics, including the proprietary formats owned by the various comic apps, like ComiXology, Graphicly, and iVerse and open standards PDF, EPUB, and CBZ.  Comics Worth Reading also covers the announcement and adds that SLG first sold their publications digitally back in 2006, setting up their own web store and providing downloadable PDF or CBZ files.

iWare: Chris Ware has created an iPad-only comic, called Touch Sensitive, released inside the McSweeney's app -- it's 14 pages of art and animations by Ware (h/t Comics Reporter).

START MAKING SENSE: This is also promising digital news.  Marvel is offering a discounted purchase price for entire story arcs from its publication schedule.  Now we just need to see Marvel, DC and other publishers digitize and distribute in discrete packages the best of (if not all) of their valuable decades-long archives.

DO SCIENCE TO IT!: Darryl Cunningham posts the last chapter of his forthcoming graphic novel (see how that terms trips you up when talking about a non-fiction work?) Science Tales, out from Myriad Editions next year.  A heartfelt, logical plea of the importance of the scientific method.

Comix Talk for Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Did anyone miss me? ..... .... <cue the crickets!>  I've started throwing up shorter quicker links to all thing interesting (to me!) at another site I'm in the process of refurbishing (just look at the right hand column or click here).

REBOOT:  Okay, top story? Fleen has a note that strange things are afoot at the website of the classic early webcomic Makeshift Miracle. Stay tuned? Jim Zubkavich's fantasy webcomic was very well done for its time, particularly its coloring. It was also a nice twist on the other-world fantasy trope, not quite as mind-blowing as the recent inside-out take on Narnia in Lev Grossman's novel The Magicians but there might be some similarity of appeal.  While on the subject of Grossman, fans of his book should listen to this interview with Lev Grossman on the pending release of the sequel The Magician King.

ACROSS THE POND: Some U.K. news as these guys interviewed John "Bull" Allison of Bad Machinery while he was sketching for the masses at the SPX convention.  Also - Saveur tapped Allison for a recipe comix on the very British "Toad In The Hole" dish.

DOUBLE CHAI LATTE: I saw pretty recently that Darrin Bell, involved with two syndicated newspaper comics, his own Candorville and Rudy Park which he does the art on, moved his long-time comics discussion forum, Toon Talk, to a Facebook page.  There's a good interview with him here about his comics, how he got started and his recent collection of Candorville, The Starbucks at the End of the World.

HIPSTER THIS: The Comics Worth Reading blog posts a favorable review of Octopus Pie. I'm already a fan of Meredith Gran's comic, but this review does look favorably on a period when Gran shifted from everyday updates to longer, slightly less frequent updates.  That experimenting really helped Gran find the right format and tone for Octopus Pie and hopefully it continues work for her creatively and financially.

TRUE COLORS: Brittany Klontz wrote in about an infographic called Behind the Colors: A Closer Look at Comic Book Color Palettes that is nicely done. It's a run through common color schemes for heroes and villains.  I've seen the website it's on before -- Colour Lovers has a lot of good material on palettes on color selection.

UNRINGING THE BELL: Gabrielle Bell was nominated for an Ignatz Award for Outstanding Webcomic for a diary comic she took down. In an interview with Bell at CBR, Bell explains that she always intended to take them down (h/t Robot6).  It's something I've encountered before -- the ease of publishing on the web also enables (to some extent) unpublishing on the web.

MILESTONES: I also want to make sure I mention on this site the sad passing of Michael Hart, who was arguably the inventor of the E-Book and definitely the founder of Project Gutenberg. While e-books were probably inevitable, Hart saw it early and made it his life's work.

Mars Needs Music!

Free Mars is a comic book written by Dave Pauwels and arted by Nicolas R. Giacondino.  It's also a webcomic.  Mars is a blank template that authors have used to write stories about its imagined past and present and possible future.  Once we learned that Mars was more or less barren and lifeless, our stories turned from fantastical yarns to more plausible, if expensive and unlikely tales of a science fiction bent.

Free Mars is an adventure story set in one of those plausible futures (all the way out to 2339) where mankind colonizes Earth's sister planet.  A corporation runs Mars, of course, since humanity is there to mine it and make things.  And after some time, some of the people living there begin to identify as Martians and that's about the time when humans start asking questions like, "why are we being ruled by a king corporate headquarters across an ocean space?" and "do we really have to keep biting on their culture and fashions? maybe we could come up with our style?"  Both questions which coincidentally Free Mars is concerned about.

Intervention Convention

SPX was busy as heck and others though the same.  Most of the folks I talked to said it was a good show.  I certainly thought so - lots of great creators, most with new books and prints to buy.

But this coming weekend is the other DC area webcomics-friendly convention.  Starting Friday - it's the second annual edition of Intervention. A couple of podcasts have done interviews with Onezumi and Harknell, the founders and organizer of Intervention: Comics Coast to Coast talked to them in August and Jerzy Drozd interviewed them for the latest edition of his podcast, Comic Are Great.  I am not sure when I can stop by (life is hectic-crazy-busy for me) but I am going to be there.  Heck you should go if for no other reason than to the chance to win something; Intervention is giving away LOTS of stuff -- check out the swag here, here and here.

The guest list is great and includes some superstars of webcomics such as Shaenon Garrity and Jeffrey Wells, her co-creator on Skin Horse; Jennie Breeden, The Devil's Panties; Pete Abrams, Sluggy Freelance; Rob Balder, Erfworld; Christopher Baldwin, Spacetrawler; Bill Holbrook, Kevin and Kell; and Michael "Mookie" Terracciano,  Dominic Deegan.  Also a lot of cool, localish to DC folks such as Ross Nover, The System; Jamie Noguchi, Yellow Peril; Chris Impink and Barb Fischer, Sledge Bunny; T. Campbell and Phil Kahn, Guilded Age; Ben McCormick, Reality Amuck; and Chris Flick, Capes -N- Babes.

Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists

First Second Books has a great anthology in Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists which matches amazing cartoonists with classic nursery rhymes.  And there are just amazing folks involved with this book -- so much so that it's hard to flag any of them as more exciting than the rest... but some of my favorite webcomic creators contributed, including Kate Beaton, Vera Brosgol, Lucy Knisley, Dave Roman, Raina Telgemeier, and Drew Weing.  Really everyone involved in the project, whether well known or not, has already put out great comics and that amazing collection of talent really shows in the book.