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Archive for September, 2010


Still Alive…

Sorry for the radio silence. I’m still in New York, reference-taking for the GN after NBC’s thing on Monday and Tuesday.

Back to blogging Friday (tomorrow) morning.


AHOY, NEW ZEALAND…

…the whole family is coming your way in February for Webstock! I’m assured it’s the mostest bestest scientifically proven amazingest conference ever, so if you’re in the web design field or anything like it, convince your boss to let you to register today.

We’ll have more details on our trip in the coming weeks, but rest assured, we’re already slated to visit one of New Zealand’s greatest tourist attractions, the mighty Dylan Horrocks, before heading home.

As for the near future (and a slightly nearer destination) I’m off to NYC Saturday for next week’s Education Nation Summit. Back to Blogging next Friday. Have a great weekend!


The Internet of Things?

Not comics-related, but I found this article about the impending availability of more wireless spectrum kind of interesting, and I liked the little “Internet of Things” video IBM put together (found via Mark Essel). For a corporate promo, it does a decent job of visualizing legitimately interesting issues, without just shilling for a specific product.*

Big companies seem to be doing a better job of earning those little logos in the last few seconds of their videos ( the herding cats video for example). More are earning at least an “aww” or a “hmm” from us. Fewer just an “oy.”

*though, as the article points out, it may be shilling for a less-than-desirable world, privacy-wise.

Two Webcomics, Two Standards


Got two emails in the last few days with links to two new webcomics using navigation techniques that neatly sum up this interesting technological moment we’re in.

Turbo Defiant Kimecan by Mexican artist Ferran Daniel uses Flash to load one panel or element at a time. We’ve seen a few comics like it, but this one gets points for some pretty artwork. Curious to hear what people think of this sort of loading order, now that we’ve seen it a few times. (Maybe time to revisit this discussion?)

Meanwhile, along comes an HTML 5 comic, Never Mind the Bullets (cooked up by Steaw Web Design to show off Microsoft’s IE9). More proof-of-concept than anything else, but it’s kind of cool and got me thinking about how that layered effect could be used in other ways. (thanks again to Randy Oest for the tip).

Of course, the real shoot-out going on this year is between file formats, and with the recent back-and-forth in the mobile space over Flash and HTML 5, it’s helpful to have some concrete reminders of the very different creative directions each might take us in.

Impressions?

[Edit to Add: Since both are getting a sound beating in the comments section, I should probably make it clear that neither comic represent more than a tiny fraction of what can be (or has been) done with either Flash or HTML 5, and I'm not endorsing either approach as "the future of comics" or anything. But it's always interesting to see how many different reading models there are, and even failed attempts can sometimes contain useful ideas.]


Hey, It’s Out!

Delighted to realize yesterday that Jen Wang‘s eagerly anticipated first graphic novel Koko Be Good came out just last week.

Fortunately, if you’re in the Los Angeles area, you can still catch the LA release party at Secret Headquarters this Friday at 7:30pm, and be one of the first to buy a copy.

(And if you’re not, there’s always the Interwubz.)

Been salivating for this one ever since this effective little video hit earlier this year. Can’t wait to get my hands on the real thing!


Next Week: The NBC Education Nation Summit

I’m heading back to New York next week for NBC’s Education Nation Summit, a broadcast public forum on a variety of issues surrounding education in the 21st Century, held in Rockefeller Plaza.

I was actually invited a while ago, but was holding off a bit on an announcement until I had a better idea of what I’d be doing there. As it turns out, I’ll probably be doing little or no talking and a whole lot of listening (which is a nice change of pace, actually) but it should be an interesting couple of days, nevertheless.

It starts a week from today. I encourage everyone to listen in, since big chunks of the event will be broadcast or at least webcast by NBC in its various incarnations.

And in case you’re wondering why me, most of the invitees (roughly 300 of us) are directly involved with education (MIT’s president Susan Hockfield, for example), but they’ve also cast a wide net that includes other fields like politics, sports, music, and apparently comics.

Life is strange… but increasingly interesting.


Web Experiments, an 80-Foot Comic, and the South Korean Ministry of Defense

Some odds and ends, this being Friday.

Via Kickstarter, news of an 80-foot comic being created for Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. It seems to be piggybacking on a somewhat old-fashioned idea of the contents of the “comic book medium” [*shudder*], but you gotta give ‘em points for the form.

Via Randy Oest, the suggestion that these intriguing experiments with some emerging Web standards might be applicable to comics. It’s a good point. Anyone want to give it a whirl?

Finally, via Ed Spradley, news of the South Korean Ministry of Defense’s efforts to explain their position in the recent alleged sinking of a South Korean patrol boat by North Korea, using a non-fiction comic distributed to school children. The effort is getting mixed reactions apparently, but it’s certainly a striking reminder of how more fully-integrated comics are in the Manwha/Manga culture than here in the West.

Have a great weekend!


Happy 50th, Kurt Busiek!

The Syracuse years! Circa 1980. (Photo by ?)

Ha! Beat him to it by three months. (Wait, is that a good thing?)

As most of you know, Kurt, in addition to be being a great friend since before the time of Moses, is also the kid who insisted I try reading just a few of his comic books in 8th grade, thus changing the course of my life forever.

He’s also one of the smartest and best writers in comics, and has been giving me good advice for 27 years.

Many happy returns of the day!

You old geezer.


The Physics of Iconography

Via Dan Wallace, news of this concept video by TAT Technology.

2014 may seem kind of soon for a lot of what they’re showing, but it’s encouraging to see how close our imaginations are drawing toward the kind of pie-in-the-sky displays I was filling peoples’ heads with during Q & As in the late ’90s.

(Also, yeah, there’s a bit of gratis “product placement” in the first scene, though I swear that’s not why I’m linking to it!)

A lot of the progress we’re seeing in multi-touch display technology (the real thing, not just smoke-and-mirrors promo videos) falls into the broad category of introducing physics into visual iconography; something I’ve wanted to see comics embrace for over a decade.

If we treat comics as a still life of multiple static (or looping) images, then the way we navigate through that landscape matters. Hunting for tiny scrollbar arrows or next page links to click was always a temporary waystation.

When navigating through information is a process of grabbing, flinging, flipping, or stopping continuous images, we can finally delegate the common sense parts of our brain that’ve always known how to navigate the physical world to getting from panel to panel, and devote our attention to the world inside the panels and inside the stories we care about.

And that can’t happen soon enough.


Attention, Southern California:

This is the full 2-Day Workshop (given most recently at School of Visual Arts in Manhattan). 16 full hours of everything I can teach you through lectures and hands-on exercises.

An intense look at the art of telling stories visually.

Here’s the link to SIGN UP. As always, availability is limited. See you in December!