Archive for October, 2010

Have a Great Halloween Weekend!

UC-inspired costume courtesy of Aliki Chapple. Love that tilted angle.

Site might be down a bit in the next few days while we fix some things, but hope to be back to regular blogging on Monday.

As always, you can also find me on both my Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Information is Beautiful

Information is Beautiful has been around for a while, but it’s such a great site, I just wanted to give it a shout-out here.

In the last 100 years or so, many technology watchers (including Einstein, IIRC) have lamented how the human brain has barely changed while its many inventions continue to reshape our environment at a constantly accelerating pace.

Short of Eugenics 2.0 (probably NOT a good idea), we need to get smarter FAST, and recent advances in Visualizing Information are one of the fronts that look especially promising. To a cartoonist anyway.

Not all of the charts David McCandless offers up on his site are in the spirit of rigorous scholarship. Some are just rhetorical jabs. But see if you don’t feel your own brain crammed with ideas after a stroll through its pages.

PayPal Launches Micropayments, Uses Words like “Frictionless,” Pleases Cartoonist

THIS is so close, in almost every respect, to what we were asking for over a decade ago, it’s almost eerie. They’re even using the same language to describe it.

I’ve got a graphic novel to draw, so I’ll stay on the sidelines for a while, but you can bet I’ll be keeping an eye on this one, and I hope you do too.

And yes, if it flies, I’ll be gloating for a reeeally long time.

Ten Things to Know About the Future of Comics

Shaenon Garrity has a great post at Comixology this week. A little manifesto called Ten Things to Know About the Future of Comics.

Garrity has this unnerving habit of being right about everything, so I suggest you pay attention (though, if you disagree with any of her conclusions, I’d be curious to hear your views too, of course).

Please note that although I’m briefly name-checked in the article, I didn’t find out about this one through ego-surfing. It was actually via Barry Deutsch this time.


Cartoonists: Do you know that what you put in your panels is potentially far more interesting than how well you draw it?

Spot. School. Scroller. Stanford.

Some Friday Odds and Ends…

Came across this oilspot by the mailboxes Wednesday. Thanks, humanity, nature, and entropy. Good job there.

Here’s a great cause: Tom Hart (one of my all-time favorite people in the comics universe) is creating a new comics workshop in Gainesville, FL. Here’s your chance to help get it off to a great start!

Here’s a cool sidescroller with some nice art. (link via John Patten)

And finally: Heads up, Stanford University! Looks like I’ll be heading your way on Thursday November 18. More details shortly.

Have a great weekend.

Eleanor Davis!

New art from an artists’ artist.

NSFW. via.

Technical Difficulties…

Having some problems uploading new images this morning for the post I was planning, so instead, I might as well link to this curiosity: a rare video of me that doesn’t make me cringe (filmed at last year’s Barcelona convention).

Or, As We Say in Sweden…

Got an email the other day from a consultant named Ben Sauer, wondering what I thought of Flattr. He’d even Googled “Scott McCloud Flattr” with no luck.

If he was surprised that I’ve kept my mouth shut this long, I can’t blame him. I’m a little surprised myself.

Flattr is a “social micropayment” (or, if you like, micro-donation) system that gives users the option of donating a lump sum each month that can then be proportionally distributed among content creators that the user visits.

The amount is up to the user and can be as little as a few bucks.

It’s not a bad idea on the face of it, and it’s getting a little extra attention because of the involvement of Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde.

These days, when micropayments come up, I tend to stay on the sidelines. I’m enough of a poster boy for what didn’t (couldn’t?) work in 2005, that I doubt any favorable attention from me is going to do anyone any good.

But the Pirate Bay connection is an interesting one, because it highlights the fact that what we think of as paid content markets are, on some level, becoming de facto donation communities for those of us who could get content elsewhere for nothing, but just decide not to.

“Willing sellers and willing buyers” was the phrase I kept coming back to. Even in 2005, I wasn’t interested in unbreakable paywalls or DRM, I believed that if there was a simple way for users to pay a little for the content they liked, enough people would do so to keep comics afloat without the need for coercion.

I was marked down as wrong in 2005, and there’s no guarantee that the makers of Flattr won’t suffer the same fate, but I’m glad somebody out there is still trying.

If closed systems like app stores and dedicated devices wind up putting paid content back into the driver’s seat, a lot of comics pros and the companies they work for might have reason to celebrate, but a community-based solution would make me a lot happier.

Does Flattr look like a community-based solution any of you would want to support?

Forever Catching Up: Ulli Lust

Yet another interesting artist I’m just now catching up to…

Parts 1-4 of German cartoonist Ulli Lust’s travelogue comic “Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life” is available in English as a PDF download here and here. It has a warmth and playfulness I like.

Last month, TCJ ran an article by Matthias Wivel on Lust and her recent collection (w/second color) of the comic in German. Let’s hope someone puts out a similar English edition soon.

And, because I’m a format nerd, I just want to point out how well formatted Lust’s screen-fitting PDF’s are. Go full screen for a seamless click through.