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Archive for ‘Community’


Flight 7 Preview

Via Kazu’s blog comes word that the Flight 7 preview is up. And—no surprise—it looks gorgeous.

Volume 7 will be the last penultimate(?) Flight (at least in its current incarnation). Volume 1 came out in July of 2004, only six years ago, so I might be overreaching to tag this with “Comics History,” but it feels that way to me.

One of my favorite memories of Comic-Con 2004 was when the boxes of Volume 1 arrived at the Flight booth and I ran over from our funky, inflatable furniture-filled booth nearby, in time to see them opening the first one with a box cutter.

I asked if I could buy the first copy. Someone (probably Kazu himself) offered to give me a copy since I’d written an afterword, but I said Hell No, I wanted to buy the thing and insisted on giving them a twenty.

Nobody cares who gets the first “comp copy.” I wanted to be Flight’s first paying customer, and so I was.

A small moment in comics history, maybe, but one I’ll always remember fondly.


All the World is Sharing

So a few years ago I did an interview which wound up on the Hellboy 3-Disk DVD. The interview was pretty good (although the “examples” they showed had nothing to do with what I was saying).

Anyway, it came out, some people bought it, and from its Amazon ranking, it still sells from time to time.

But…

Like all movies, it wound up on sharing/streaming sites. Now, when I egosurf, I see references to the piece all the time, and I know they’re all bootlegs because they’ve apparently been translated into other languages and then translated back.

Just a few of the names:

A Expeditiously Guide to Thought Comics with Scott McCloud

A Fleet Guide to Concept Comics with Scott McCloud

A Fast Guide to Belief Comics with Scott McCloud

A Hastily Guide to Conception Comics with Scott McCloud

A Lickety-split Guide to Conception Comics with Scott McCloud

A Like A Flash Guide to Notion Comics with Scott McCloud

A Mercurial Guide to Idea Comics with Scott McCloud

A Posthaste Guide to Opinion Comics with Scott McCloud

A Rapidly Guide to Idea Comics with Scott McCloud

A Snappy Guide to Plan Comics with Scott McCloud

A Speedily Guide to Idea Comics with Scott McCloud

A Swiftly Guide to Plan Comics with Scott McCloud

I’ve always held back from vilifying file-sharing like some of my peers who work in the “content” industry. I’m a boy scout myself—nearly all my songs and videos are straight from iTunes or equivalent sources—but I would rather live in a world that allows sharing and tries to build markets from willing sellers and willing buyers, than a world where the Net is so controlled that it can be effectively shut down.

Still, it’s sobering to see the scale of the phenomenon and how rarely these sessions pull up the actual name of the original segment:

A Quick Guide to Understanding Comics with Scott McCloud


Art is Everything

A great story from Larry saves me the trouble of coming up with one of my own this morning.

Back to work!


Five Days to Go

Jess Smart Smiley is Kickstarting a 500 copy run of his cool short story comic “A Map in the Dirt.”

Both Jess and Patrick Farley are five days from their goal (as I write this) and well within striking distance of making it (and they both deserve to). Feel free to help them over the finish line if you like what you see.

I’m intrigued by the Kickstarter phenomenon which seems to be getting a bit more traction than I would have expected. Looks like the arts community is getting increasingly comfortable with this sort of thing.

Donations have been around for a long time of course, but they’ve had a spotty history (Joey Manley once famously said “begging is not a business model” and he had a point at the time). Maybe all we needed was a central clearinghouse to make it viable.

Giving is getting easier! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been really grateful to see things like text message donations and supermarket check-out donations popping up lately.

I give more now, not because my conscience has evolved or anything but just because I’m lazy, and I know I’m not alone. It’s a great trend.

[Edit to add: Both Jess and Patrick made their goals with 3 days to spare! Congratulations to both.]


Dreams and Memes

Shaenon Garrity has a dream in Slow Wave this week. Good excuse to link again to this delightful, long-running archive of reader-submitted dreams, drawn by Jesse Reklaw.

Meanwhile, here’s an embryonic meme that might catch on (if it can escape the Livejournal tarpits): Jason Turner’s Page 100 Project, now picked up by Rebecca Dart and others.


“…the River in Which We Sink or Swim…”

Bill Griffith recently offered his Top 40 List on Comics and their Creation and it got me thinking about the influence of his generation—the RAW/Arcade generation you might call it—not only on comics but on popular culture generally.

If there’s one document that sums it up beautifully, it’s Gary Panter’s funny, screwed-up, poetic, and profound Rozz Tox Manifesto from 1980; a call for artists to infiltrate the lumbering machines of popular culture and start messing with the gears.

Through twisted masterpieces like Panter’s designs for Pee Wee’s Playhouse, or his friend Matt Groening’s long-running, society-scouring The Simpsons, it’s become clear in retrospect that these guys were (at least partially) dead serious about many of these ideas.

As of the last ten years, the idea of infiltrating mass media can seem almost redundant. The great mass of media is increasingly generated by a decentralized confederation of unaffiliated knuckleheads like you and me. But as long as there’s a hellish laugh track still running somewhere, Panter’s virus still has work to do.


Mr. Bissette Remembers

Battle-scarred freelance veteran and CCS teacher Steve Bissette has been posting his remembrances of some “Forgotten Comics Wars” over at his blog. It’s a fascinating series covering debates that were raging during the years I was just entering the business.

Since the series took the form of scattered blog posts, Mark Evanier has done us all the favor of collecting the links for all 12 parts and offers his own commentary here.

Get ready to start a few tabs:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

…and enjoy a blast from the past.

A lot has changed at “The Big Two” over the years and a lot remains the same, but with recent developments like Marvel’s new Editor-in-Chief, I’m cautiously optimistic.


Moving with the Beat

Heidi MacDonald’s comics news site The Beat has jumped to its own domain comicsbeat.com after 3 and 1/2 years under the Publishers Weekly umbrella.

The Beat is one of three comics news sites that I’d take to a desert island with me (you know that desert island with wifi and electricity, but a strange way of limiting which IP addresses you can… okay, maybe that metaphor doesn’t work anymore).

Of those three, no one’s coverage is more comprehensive than Dirk’s and no one takes a deeper look at the scene than Tom, but somehow Heidi’s style of coverage managed to embody the tone of the last ten years as—against all odds—comics and geek culture not only joined the mainstream, but in some moments nearly became the mainstream.

Looking forward to her take on the next ten.


Year End’s Odds and Ends

Belated Happy Birthday to Ivy! We went to Disneyland for her birthday on Tuesday after a very full day of work Monday, and yesterday was a lot printing and mailing, so I didn’t get much blogging, tweeting, or, um… facing… in this week.

Round One of the “rough draft” for the graphic novel is done! I’ll be working on revisions/rewrites for the next couple of months and then, starting in March, I’ll be doing finished art for two years. The book is currently at a whopping 461 pages, but I’m hoping it’ll get shorter in revisions. (Note that my “rough draft” is basically just a rough sketched-out version of what the finished book will look like, all captions and balloons in).

Fun fact: My roughs are done forty pages at a time in a single photoshop document so I can slide panels back and forth and think of the flow more organically and not let the page dictate pacing too much. They’re really big files!

The whole family is getting into the Avett Brothers this year.

Winter and I finally finished watching Deathnote on DVD. All the kids in anime club were yelling at her to finish it already so they could talk about it. That is one crazy show! (And oh, man, that opening theme and animation for Season 2…)

Still loving Mad Men.

The preview for Iron Man 2 makes me feel 14 years old again. In a good way.

Best comic of the year? For me, probably Asterios Polyp, but now that I have a bit of free time, I need to read a few more contenders.

Creatively, I thought 2009 was a great year for comics, music, and movies. Financially, though, it sucked donkey balls for a lot of people in our community. Let’s hope ’10 is better.

Happy New Year!


Are You Insured?

“It turns out though, that because most of my friends are cartoonists, they’re uninsured too…”

Julia Wertz on living with lupus and being uninsured. (link via Mike Lynch)

Ivy and I were uninsured for the first several years of our marriage. Then Winter swallowed a penny when she was two and it cost us seven hundred thousand pennies to get it out.

Getting health insurance is a really good idea (as is fixing the whole system, though that’s another topic). It’s sad that so few in this business—at least on the alternative/small press end—feel they can afford it.

[More on this topic from Evan Dorkin, plus (via Tom in the comments) here's some older, but still relevant info from Colleen Doran.]