AWARDS: The Doug Wright award nominees — which honor English-language Canadian comics — were announced last week. Kate Beaton's book Never Learn Anything From History is up for the Pigskin Peters Award (for unconventional, "nominally-narrative" comics); and among the finalists for finalists for Best Emerging Talent is Adam Bourret for his comic I'm Crazy. I gave I'm Crazy a mixed review, but Bourret certainly was a brave story-teller in his book and showed a lot of potential.
PLUG ONE: I haven't mentioned David Simon's Crimson Dark webcomic in quite awhile which is a shame because it's still one of the best 3d art webcomics I've seen. Not sure how it's working, but Simon started a "club" for supporters to subscribe to at $2 to $5 a month to help him with having the time to produce Crimson Dark.
PLUG TWO: The Covered blog which spotlights re-dos of classic comic book covers by new artists. I would love to see a webcomic spin on this.
Good morning y'all, I almost skipped updating the site today but than I saw this: Josh Lesnick's WEBCOMIC PONY PARTY. 'Nuff said.
DEAD TREES: Ben Costa posts that he won a xeric grant and has the cover art to the book he'll be self-publishing, Pang, The Wandering Shaolin Monk, Vol. 1: Refuge of the Heart. I'm looking forward to this book.
BUSINESS: The Daily Cross Hatch has an interview with Bellen creator Box Brown about the fundraising website Kickstarter. In related news, James Kochalka's Kickstarter drive to fund a video game he thought up has met its goal so GAME ON.
COPYRIGHT: Copyright is a weird thing sometimes in this age of MEDIA MEDIA MEDIA all around us. Take this example of a post examining Dave Devries series of paintings based on children's drawings. What's the kid's (c) versus what's Devries? You might think there's an obvious answer but take the questions seriously and I bet you start to think a bit harder about it.
REVIEW: El Santo reviews Natalie Dee.
JUSTIFY MY HYPE: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel. Also 'nuff said.
Pretty quiet today although check out this stunning creative innovation from the newspaper comic B.C. Wow! Now that's how you stay hip and current…
REVIEWS: Johanna Draper Carlson has a review of the new mega-Penny Arcade book, The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade. For all the reasons she's a bit lukewarm on it, I will probably love it.
BUSINESS: The Beat reports that Graphic.ly, "a fairly new but bold player in the digital comics distribution field", has announced the acquisition of iFanboy, the popular comics news and information community. Graphic.ly is in "private beta" — anyone using it right now?
I saw this blurb about Flattr over at Boing Boing today – a new micro
paymentsdonations service from Peter Sunde, a creator of the Pirate Bay. It's in beta though, not sure I'm going to sign up for it yet. In a nutshell, the idea is akin to a shared tip jar — people pay Flattr a monthly tip and than Flattr divides it up among all of the content creators you've clicked a Flattr button for that month.
It's day 4 of Snowapalooza in Washington DC. I consider this a trial run for if I ever decided to move to Canada and so far… I don't think I'd make it. But being snow-bound has been great for catching up on comics. I also wanted to flag a few features at ComixTalk — the calendar of comic events is available here, but you can also add it a number of other calendar programs and I'm always interested in co-maintainers. In fact I'd be very happy to see other blogs and sites join me in maintaining it and embedding it on their sites too. I also set up a hub page for the four webcomic titles that have run at ComixTalk over its 8 year history – click to discover work from Ryan Estrada, Kris Straub and Bryant Paul Johnson.
Awards: The Webcomics List, a hybrid tracking, popularity and news site for webcomics had a forum-organized awards program this year. It felt a lot like the old WCCAs. This Week in Webcomics covers the results. Gunnerkrigg Court won the nod for Best Comic and Moon Town won for Best New Comic. Coyote has a review of Moon Town here.
iWebcomics: So I'm kind of already burnt out on the iPad hype. I want to wait until the thing is available to think more about it. Others are though: Erik Larsen has an essay about it and Gizmodo salivated over how comics will look on the tablet device.
Dead Trees: Tyler Page talks numbers, costs and quality for taking the Print-On-Demand route for volume 2 of his Nothing Better webcomic. And starting this week, for a couple of months, Gordon McAlpin is working full time on Multiplex — and, the Multiplex: Book 1 print collection. This is all due to the funding he raised for the book through a Kickstarter drive.
JUSTIFY MY HYPE
- The recent rock concert contest storyline at Ornery Boy has been great – both funny and Michael Lalonde has done an awesome job with animating key panels. If you're going to do a flash comic than use it! Ornery Boy makes great use of Flash's capabilities.
- It's a been awhile since I've linked to Freak Angels. Things are happening again in the storyline and although I'm a bit annoyed that after a few years we still don't really understand the full logic of the "package" of the freak angels and their world, it's a hell of a comic. I'll also just flag again that what Avatar is doing here seems like a pretty good model for a publisher-creator relationship in the webcomic world. I'm not sure I've seen anyone else quite match it yet.
- The latest issue of Dark Horse Presents is out with webcomics from Graham Annable and others.
So today is the Second Coming? The rumored debut of Apple's oversized iPod has sent the newspaper business into a tizzy but it is potentially VERY interesting to the world of comics. I doubt the first generation of it (if it exists!) will be affordable enough but eventually this could become a serious platform for comics. IF IF IF IF….
In non-rapturous news of the day, congrats to Ben Costa for winning a Xeric Grant for Shi Long Pang. I look forward to buying that book! (h/t Paperless Comics) And in a true spirit of public service, Gary reads Platinum
Comics Licensing's press release to decipher the latest business plan: "an in-house version of CafePress."
INTERVIEW: Danielle Corsetto of Girls With Slingshots.
And how about some links to fill-out your morning read — here's the list of webcomics the readers of the Washington Post nominated for its Comics Riffs poll on "Best Webcomic of the Decade": "Devil's Panties" ; "Devin Crane" ; "Eric Monster Millikin" ; "Girl Genius" ; "Girls With Slingshots" ; "Hark! A Vagrant" ; "Jesus and Mo" ; "Kevin and Kell" ; "Least I Could Do" ; "Navy Bean" ; "The New Adventures of Queen Victoria" ; "Order of the Stick" ; "Penny Arcade" ; "Perry Bible Fellowship" ; "Pibgorn" ; "PvP" ; "Questionable Content" ; "Red String" ; "Schlock Mercenary" ; "Sinfest" ; "UserFriendly.Org" ; and "xkcd."
For what it's worth, I've got a fresh install of DRUPAL on the dev server at home, working up a streamlined version of ComixTALK. Laid out the basic theme (moving to a 2 column layout) and now tackling cleaning up the horror that the tag and category system at ComixTALK has mutated into…. Right now I'm debating whether to port ComixTALK as is to the new server or wait until I get the redo… done.
One story that caught my eye this morning was this rant by blogger-czar Jason Calacanis about comScore. Worth reading to think about. Another interesting story from Tom Spurgeon, who has an essay up at the Comics Reporter which I think one could summarize as "wow, there are a lot more good comics than when I was younger…" I guess I would add, "wow, there are a lot more good webcomics than 10 years ago…" And if you need a recap of recent webcomic news, Delos has a whole bunch of interesting links covering last week at Art Patient.
NEW BOOK: John Allison posted the cover art from the forthcoming 8th book collection of Scary Go Round: "Recklessly Yours."
Cory Likes Corndogs: Goats scores a favorable review from Boing Boing Blogger Cory Doctorow for the second book in the new series: The Corndog Imperative.
ZUDA IDOL SCANDAL? Digital Strips reports on the departure of one of the ten finalists from this month's Zuda popularity contest. Apparently The Thunderchickens had a good shot of winning it too, so the undisclosed reasons for its departure must be something non-trivial.
Psst. Super art fight this weekend..
I think I've mentioned it before but whatever compulsion I might have once had to share with you every scrap of webcomic-related stuff… well I ain't feeling it. So it's great that others are taking care of it and this week you can't go wrong with this round up of webcomic reviews, interviews and stories from Brigid Alverson's Paperless Comics.
SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT THE NEW NEW ECONOMY: Tom Spurgeon writes about Julie Larson's decision to move from a deal with Creator's Syndicate to self-syndication. You really can't extrapolate much from a story that includes one newspaper comic (Larson's) and one webcomic (Apokalips) as the basis for discussion. I feel bad for folks like Larson who are stuggling with the double whammy of tectonic shifts in technology and a bum economy. But I also think it's annoying and self-defeating to write about how the Internet is killing everything. The Internet is part of the environment now. It's the least-cost, most effective publishing tool ever invented — when before in history has ANYONE been able to potentially reach EVERYONE on the planet at the minimal costs needed to put up a website? That fact is AWESOME and no one in their right mind would trade it away for preservation of past pratices.
The other thing to keep in mind is that there used to be certain channels of content that we consumed because it was there in a format that required us to read/watch/listen to it on the format's terms. That's going, going, gone. Watch teevee when it's scheduled? Nope, TIVO. Listen to radio live? Nope, not if you don't want to – podcast, iTunes, etc. Read the daily comics in the morning at breakfast? Nope, even newspaper comics are ARCHIVED and available on the web. I can see it in my kids' habits. I used to come to the content in a lot of cases… for my kids all content is a library. They watch/listen/read their favorites — it's RARE that they ever engage with content because it's there. What does that mean? I'd bet a lot of things, but one thing that seems obvious is that FAVORITES will win an even bigger share of whatever new business models sustain creators. If in the past it made sense to appeal to the largest audience possible (which often meant a softening and blanding up of material) to get into the newspaper, I think creators have to understand that's probably a really BAD strategy now.
JUSTIFY TOM'S HYPE: Tom Spurgeon also linked to Smoke Signals, a free all comics newspaper based in Brooklyn. The first two editions are available for a free download at their website.