Archive for April, 2009

Sky at 16 in Shanghai

Just time for a quick post from Shanghai. Celebrated Sky’s 16th Birthday here in one for the first cities that the April 12th sun hit (when it was still April 11th back home in California).

Just some photos for now (like this one from the Modern Art Museum) and hopefully some captions soon, but suffice it to say that it was a great birthday, thanks to our gracious hosts/guides Mikey and Alyssa from the Shanghai Community International School and David and Kim from the Shanghai American School.

With only two of twelve days complete, this has already been a trip to remember and Sky had a great time (though, as readers of the 50 tour blog will remember Sky rarely smiles for pictures!). I’ll throw in more news and updates as time allows.

The Shanghai Trip…

…starts Friday morning and will last 12 days, so updates to the blog might be a little spotty during this period, but I’ll see what I can post from the road.

From Monday to Friday of next week, I’ll be presenting lectures to school groups from the Shanghai American School, Shanghai Community International School, and Concordia International School (five lectures in all) and having discussions with students and attending some workshops. Then on Friday, I’ll be on hand to help kick off the Shanghai Student Film Festival. Should be an exciting week, to say the least!

Sky is coming with me and we’ll be celebrating her 16th Birthday in Shanghai this Sunday, and after the week of school visits, we’re also making a couple of neat side trips. Keep checking back starting in a couple of days and hopefully I’ll have more news and maybe even some pictures to share.

Ruben and Lullaby

Okay, not comics maybe, but you might want to check out this nicely executed choose-your-own-emotion game/story thingey by Erik Loyer and Ezra Clayton Daniels that I just downloaded to my iPhone.

Prezi + Webcomics = ?

The online presentation tool Prezi goes into public beta this week. It’s a zooming interface designed for presentations which caught the eye of a few of us in the lunatic fringe as having potential applications for you know what.

Neal Von Flue posted an in-depth look at the comics implications of this new tool on his Facebook page when a few of us got advanced notice of the private beta in February. Unpack the comments thread for input from Krisztián Kristóf, a cartoonist and developer on the Prezi team who is also considering these issues.

Together with developments like Microsoft’s embryonic Infinite Canvas Alpha and the likelihood of multi-touch netbooks in the near future, Prezi may be part of a general trend toward continuous-space navigation in communication and the arts. If that’s the case, I hope comics will be a part of that trend.


I think that the biggest reason readers get upset when cartoonists change styles suddenly is because all their favorite characters are suddenly replaced by *drawings* of their favorite characters.

Just a random thought, but it led to this unexpectedly interesting discussion on Facebook, so…

Is “Abstract Comics” An Oxymoron?

I don’t think so.

And neither do these artists.

Friday Round-Up

Some odds and ends:

Monday noon is the deadline to put your name down for my Manhattan Seminar taking place May 1 and 2.

Neil linked to it, so I should also let you know that Why I’m Not Neil Gaiman (2001) is online in case you’ve never read it.

Our old friend Matt (who was totally Thor in the Secret Wars Re-Enactment Society!) has been directing the wonderfully dark and twisted There Will Be Brawl, with co-creator Zach Grafton.

One week until China. Have a great weekend.

Easy on the Eyes: Take Two

In the comments to an earlier entry about formats and Lightbox 2, Chris Bolton links to a full screen version of the same approach that’s worth checking out as well.

Of course, this has precedents. Whatever you think of Zuda and their business model, I think they at least had their eyes on the ball when it came to design priorities. “Fit the screen/fill the screen” isn’t a bad way to go for page-to-page formats. Unlike strips, which can thrive in a terrarium of distractions, long form comics work best if all other distractions go away until the story is over. Sadly, both full screen modes seem to short-circuit keyboard commands, but we can’t have everything. (No wait. Screw that! Why can’t we?)

My dream “next page” button?: The spacebar.

Or better yet: Just tap and slide.

We’ll see.

The Spring Challenge

First reader to find the secret message wins.

[Warning. Read comments first. And notice the date.]