Poorcraft by Spike and Diana Nock

Poorcraft: The Funnybook Fundamentals of Living Well on Less began as a successful Kickstarter effort back in late 2009.  It is now a real live book about to drop in on the world this May 20, 2012.  Written by C. Spike Trotman and drawn by Diana NockPoorcraft makes excellent use of the comics medium to deliver some very practical advice on how to make the most of your resources. A book that will be pretty handy not only for many starving comic artists but anyone trying to stretch their means, especially when just starting out on adult life.

Spike who is perhaps best known for her Twin Peakseque webcomic Templar, AZ, has done an impressive job here — the book is well organized and shows a tremendous amount of research and thought.  The book opens with a general chapter on the philosophy of "poorcraft" and then moves to chapters organized around practical issues like: housing, food, clothing and health.  Spike also covers transportation, education, emergencies and entertainment in other chapters. There is also a huge chapter with additional links and resources at the end of the book.  The idea of "poorcraft" is a collection of tips to do more with less, be financially savvy, and take more advantage of free and low-cost opportunities where they exist.

All of which might make this sound like a dry, dull resource book.  Nothing could be further from the truth. It's a very fun read with all of the information presented as a dialogue between the poorcraft-savvy Penny and her neighbor Mil, who like a lot of us has fallen into a lot of financial and lifestyle habits that most of us don't even stop to question why. Spike makes the comic as much a story as a how-to book, following Penny's efforts to help Mil learn poorcraft and get out of the many financial problems she has wandered into.  Between Spike's snappy dialogue for both characters and Diana Nock's fun, loopy, entertaining artwork, the book is a good, fast read. One that you will want to go back to individual chapters to review when you're interested in the particular advice on that subject.

Definitely worth checking out. If I was organizing a "gift guide" from comics — this would be a great gift for someone leaving the "nest" for the first time. Unlike countless other books on the subject this one is almost certainly going to be the most fun one to read.

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Spreading the Word

Increasing your readership is a little like trying to find love. You can't force it to happen; the best you can hope for is to improve your odds a bit. And if anyone tells you otherwise, they're probably trying to sell you something.

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5 Questions: How Do You Read Webcomics?

This may seem like the world's most basic question, but I'm not sure it is. I think there's a conventional wisdom that the vast majority of webcomics are read in a browser or RSS viewer. My habits – I use a web browser; I'm vaguely embarrassed to say that I've never really gotten the hang of RSS readers even though I imagine they're pretty simple – fall into that conventional wisdom, but I suspect there's some hidden diversity that both readers and webcomic creators can help us reveal.

So, I pose this question to readers: How do you read webcomics – web browser, RSS reader, email subscription, iPhone/iPad app, or something else? If you use more than one, which is your primary method? Which do you enjoy the most?

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Snakehead Games Webcomic Contest: $1000 Prizes

Colin Ferguson, Community Director for Snakehead Games, wrote to tell us about a webcomic award they're running within their community.  Snakehead runs two free browser games: Star Pirates and Spy Battle: 2165 and Ferguson said that they've been able to build their gaming community in large part due to partnerships with webcomics from familar folks like Howard Taylor, Kris Straub and Phil Foglio.  As a thank you, Snakehead is running a poll amongst its members to decide which of 10 remaining webcomics will win two $1000 awards: one a $1000 in Project Wonderful advertising and the other $1000 in cash.  The $1000 in advertising goes to the top vote getter and the $1000 in cash will be sort of a lottery (every vote cast in the “Round of 20″ will be put in a virtual hat. One of the votes will be selected, and that’s the winner).

Starslip Ad for Star Pirates

I remember seeing the custom ads for the game Star Pirates that various sci-fi themed webcomics designed and ran and that's a great way to partner with a webcomic.  Snakehead Games obviously hopes to get more members and traffic out of this but so what, it's a pretty cool idea and win-win for them and the webcomics involved.  The 10 webcomics remaining in their contest are Girl Genius, XKCD, Legostar Galactica, Erfworld, Looking for Group, Order of the Stick, Darths and Droids, Schlock Mercenary, Kevin and Kell, and Questionable Content.  Final results of this contest are expected to be announced in mid-June.

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Comix Talk for February 2, 2010

Octopus Pie: There Are No Stars in Brooklyn by Meredith Gran

Quick update this morning – The Escapist website is having a contest — more like an audition — to pick a regular webcomic for the The Escapist.  I haven't read the fine print so you should before you enter, but go check it out.  Btw, SLG Publishing is going to have a workshop for "aspiring comic creators" this March in San Jose, CA.

DEAD TREES:  Robot6 previews a lot of comics on book publishers' schedule for this year, includes several webcomics such as Goats, Octopus Pie and Penny Arcade.

INTERVIEWS:  Lots of folks linking to this interview with Bill Watterson of Calvin & Hobbes worship fame…  Be sure to check out Graphic Novel Reporter's interview with Kazu Kibuishi on his print collection of Copper.

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Comix Talk for January 29, 2010

Whew, made it to Friday.  Sometime next week a new version of ComixTalk at the new server will emerge — it won't be perfect but mostly what I need this year.  And it should mean the end of me starting posts writing about Drupal and CSS…

I got a fever, and the only prescription… is more AXE COP! You've all read Axe Cop, haven't you?  If I didn't know it was for real I might have thought Kris Straub was behind it…  Coupling really funny and well-done art with scripts from his 5 year old brother Malachai, artist Ethan Nicolle has created something that is a gimmick but I swear I laughed the whole time I was reading it. 

iWEBCOMICS: Paperless Comics has a nice round up of webcomic commenting on the iPad announcement.  I'm not going to think too hard about it until the damn thing is actually in the store, but even though it's not perfect I'm kind of leaning towards getting an iPad right now.  (I wonder if I can write it off as a business expense for this site?)

INTERVIEW: A really nice interview with Kean Soo, creator of the all ages comic Jellaby (and before that his journal comic at keaner.net)

REVIEWS: Tom Spurgeon has a glowing review of Kazu Kibuishi's book, Copper.  Copper has long been one of my favorite comics and I really do want to get a copy of the paper version at some point.  Missed it but earlier this month, Sean Kleefeld reviewed another all ages title — the prose/comics hybrid book Malice.


Seth Godin read Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics and thought it was… about marketing?

Over at Panel & Pixel forums, there's some information and discussion of how intellectual property rights in the U.S. work when a writer and artist collaborate. And another Panel & Pixel post covers creating model sheets for characters for your comic.

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Project Wonderful Updates

Project Wonderful: Project WonderfulProject Wonderful

Project Wonderful Talk reports that the auction-oriented advertising service, Project Wonderful has added a couple of new features: campaigns and minimum bids. Campaigns provide a means to place a number of bids on various sites automatically by specifying parameters in the publisher search menu. Minumum bids allow an advertiser to set a mininum bid price for an ad.

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