Skip to main content

Sluggy Freelance

Pimpin' Ain't Easy, But It's Necessary

One of the phenomenal cosmic powers bestowed upon bloggers by the gods of the internet (including but not limited to the former vice president Al Gore and that poor fat kid with the invisible light saber) is the ability to foist their opinions on unsuspecting victims. This is a power this reader relishes. So today I am going to pimp some comics I think you should be reading: Cosmobear, Havesomehats and Sluggy Freelance.

Biggie Panda: Old Skool Webcomics

One way to think of the history of webcomics is as the big bang of comics. At the beginning there were far fewer webcomic creators and they were (virtually) clustered together much more tightly (hence all the wistful talk of "webcomic community") and then, if the inflationary webcomicology theory is correct, those early webcomic exploded into the universe of comics online we have today.

Bitpass closing

Just got this in the inbox:

Dear Valued Bitpass Merchant,

We want to thank you for your past business, however due to circumstances beyond our control, we are discontinuing our operations.

We have partnered with Digital River to provide operational support during the period prior to shut down. As of today, January 19, 2007, all Bitpass Buyers with US dollar denominated accounts are being notified that they will have seven (7) days to spend any amounts that currently exist in their Bitpass Account.

During this seven day period, US Buyers will not be able to add additional funds into their account.

On January 26, all US Bitpass Buyer accounts will be closed and we will begin the process of refunding all unspent monies to the accountholder.

Bitpass Merchant Accounts will be available for viewing until February 28, 2007. At that time any funds that you have on account or owed to you will be refunded or paid. All account records and materials will be retained for 60 days and available upon request.

Again we would like to thank you for your business and support.

Do large archives scare folks away?

I've been experiencing this problem for a while, where potential readers are immediatly turned off by the size of my archives. Even people I talk to on msn say things like "I'll get around to reading it one day" as if it's a chore.

News For Thursday, January 11, 2007

INTERVIEWS

JUSTIFY MY HYPE

  • Random Assembly: Samatha Allen has really improved her art chops since this webcomics started. She also knows how to frame a joke or a bit well. I'm not sure the fairly random, slice-of-life nature of this webcomic is the best vehicle for her but (especially from 2006 on) it's a good read.

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 BLOGS

News For Tuesday December 19, 2006 (UPDATED)

MAGAZINE

  • A smaller December issue then years past but still full of great webcomic recommendations and plenty of opinions to discuss. There's a slight chance we'll have a few more pieces, but I may hold those until January.
  • I just wanted to say thanks and congrats to Kris Straub who has contributed to Comixpedia for a couple years - first with Modern Humor Authority and this year with Checkerboard Nightmare. Kris' plate has gotten considerably more full lately so he won't have time to contribute next year.

    We'll see you in Xanadu, Mr. Straub... They call it Xanadu.

  • If you have a minute please vote for the Roundtable and People of Webcomics articles over at ComicNe.ws - it's a different crowd at CBR and having Comixpedia articles on the front page over there has helped bring some of their readers over here to check out Comixpedia. At this point it only takes about 6 votes to get something on the front page over there so click that little "c" below your posts if you think it might be of interest.

BUSINESS

A warning to those using google ads and placing images near the ads themselves - that appears to be against Google Adsense's new policy:

Can I place small images next to my Google ads?

We ask that publishers not line up images and ads in a way that suggests arelationship between the images and the ads. If your visitors believe that the images and the ads are directly associated, or that the advertiser is offering the exact item found in the neighboring image, they may click the ad expecting to find something that isn't actually being offered. That's nota good experience for users or advertisers.

Let's All Go To The Movies

Journalista has a significant section today on Scott Rosenberg and Platinum Studios called "Meet the new Scott Rosenberg, the same as the old Scott Rosenberg." (A side note: Rosenberg was included in our People Of Webcomics list this year.) Obviously anyone who has followed Rosenberg in the news this year knows at this point he's been around comics in various ventures for quite some time. A chief, recurring, criticism seems to be that Rosenberg is interesting in comics properties solely for their potential to be licensed to filmmakers and that he does not actual perform the basic publishing function of a comics publisher.

I can't comment too much because I haven't done my homework on this subject, but it does strike me as odd that when numerous creators are abandoning the monthly comic book format for webcomics (albeit with a goal to collection in a graphic novel) that there is an expectation that Platinum would want to vigorously compete in the direct market. It also seems odd to criticize Platinum for using a creator-for-hire approach on its first comic book, Cowboy & Aliens -- isn't that the standard model for the majority of the industry (you know, DC and Marvel)? Deppey reports that a deal from 2004 may require Platinum to put out comic books in order to comply with the deal - to the extent that Platinum is treating such publication as an expense rather than a profit center, I'd think the most obvious question is what does that say about the health of the direct market?

If this is of interest, there's lot more on the topic at Journalista! today.

NEWS ABOUT COMICS NEWS SITES

I didn't realize that it was a common practice for comics publishers to own comics journalists, but today's Journalista! also alerted me to the fact that Platinum Studios bought the comics news site Broken Frontiers earlier this month. (Similarly, Journalista! and TCJ are owned by publisher Fantagraphics.) I'm sincere in asking how do such journalists deal with the obvious conflict of interest this presents? Is there a corporate separation that protects the ability of the journalists to cover the news without interference or does the journalist just not cover their owners?

JUSTIFY MY HYPE

If you haven't been reading ICE by Faith Erin Hicks get over there and check it out (the archives aren't that long). I'm not sure I like the black & white as much as the earlier coloring but that's only as a comparative matter - both periods of the comic are amazing. If you have been reading, the current scene is getting particularly tense as major plots points are revealed.

NOT COMICS

Joe Barbera passed away. I thought this guy's name meant animation when I was a kid.

Around The World in 80 BLOGS

Monthly Themes for 2007?

Many Comixpedia monthly issues have themes where the magazine articles focus on a particular subject. Tell us your ideas for what to cover next year. Some past themes we could return to include: journal comics; webcomics in print; women in webcomics; and webcomics theory.

I Really Can't Stay/Baby It's Cold

Our December issue begins! A great cover from Tom Siddell, creator of Gunnerkrigg Court kicked it off and now we have Al Schroeder's interview with Tom as well as a second interview with Tyson Smith, creator of Pirate and Alien.

SITE NOTES

Thanks to the uber-talented Tyler Martin (Wally & Osborne) for updating some of the graphics on the Comixpedia website. If you want to find out more about Tyler's graphic design-jujitsu check out Mind Faucet, his design website. (I also made our forums look more "forum-y". Don't forget every user can add an avatar to their account by going to their "my account" page and clicking on "edit" - scroll down for the section to add a "picture" to your account.)

MILESTONES

EVENTS

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 BLOGS

  • David Malki (Wondermark) is holding three auctions to benefit Penny Arcade’s Child’s Play charity. (link from Kris Straub)
  • A round-up of recent webcomics in print at Webcomics In Print including books from Jesus and Mo, Silent Kimbly, and Little Gamers among others.
  • Tom Brazelton (Theater Hopper) will be webcasting a podcast talkcast tonight. Listeners can call in and talk to Tom live. The show is at 10:00 CST tonight (you need the TalkShoe application and a copy of Skype). My free marketing advice of the day: Tom, Joe and Gordon should get together and do a regular movie/comics webshow - that could be huge. (They should also have me on as a regular guest - since I get around to seeing everything about 5 years after it comes out I can provide up-to-the-minute reviews for parents with young children and other culturally-handicapped individuals.)

THE DECLINE AND FALL OF NEWSPAPERS, PART XXXII

Another newspaper axes some long-running, but creatively exhausted comics from its page, and gets some reader complaints (just a tip to newspapers - if you want to gauge your target market try conducting scientifically valid surveys instead of of relying on letters from old man Withers). Omigawd - 375 reader complaints! In reaction, the North Carolina paper wrote "The News & Observer has done some pretty controversial things in the past year -- its coverage of the Jim Black scandal and the Duke lacrosse case, eliminating most stock tables -- but perhaps none more traumatizing than this: Last week, The N&O replaced four comic strips." And how about this "You think readers care about war in Iraq or midterm elections? Try taking away "Cathy." Lovely. To me, this little snippet all at once summarizes the morbid stupidity of the newspaper business, the state of journalism and the decline of newspaper comics.

Further Thoughts On the Most Read Project

It's been two years since Comixpedia published an update to our Most Read project which tracked the audience shares of webcomics.

It was difficult to determine readership numbers then, it's just as difficult to conduct any kind of "Internet ratings" now. But it's an extremely useful process for Comixpedia as it helps to ensure that we are not overlooking significantly popular webcomics in our coverage (It is not a prerequisite that a webcomic be "popular" to merit coverage. The strength of readership of a particular webcomic, however, is a legitimate tool for deciding what we should write about). If you have suggestions for future efforts in this area feel free to post a comment here.

What Stories Should Comixpedia Work On?

What stories are you interested in Comixpedia writing about in the upcoming months? I'm not asking here for comics to review or people to interview, but subjects that we could focus on writing about in-depth. What do you want to read about?