Archive for ‘Technology’

Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!

Rudy Rucker writes to let us know that this Thursday, his daughter Isabel will debut “Unfurling,” a 400 foot long graphic novel drawn on a scroll of paper, at the SOMArts gallery in San Francisco. It’ll be on display through the 27th.

I didn’t see Rudy’s entry at first. Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing saw it and wrote about it Monday, but I didn’t see Cory’s entry right away either.

No, the reason I know that Cory Doctorow knows that Rudy Rucker’s daughter has a 400 foot long graphic novel scroll at a gallery in San Francisco is simply because the first comment on the BoingBoing thread (by “Shay Guy”) was “Somebody tell Scott McCloud.” And I was ego-surfing.

In the movie Beetlejuice, I always figured that the idea that you could summon the demon just by saying his name three times was meant to have a sort of childlike campfire ghost story quality to it. Ridiculous, but in a kid-logic, dreamtime way.

In Zot!, I played with the idea that all anyone had to do was type the proper name of my electric assassin 9-Jack-9 into any terminal anywhere in the world and he would appear. I figured that the unique quality of the name “J9AC9K” made the chance of anyone accidentally typing it infinitesimal, and therefore give it a certain weird credibility.

Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!


“Somebody tell Scott McCloud.”

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

– Arthur C. Clarke

The Letterers

The celebrated letterer Todd Klein was interviewed last week. Some find hand lettering tedious and prefer using fonts, but there’s no question that Todd’s hand lettering was a thing of beauty no font will ever match (though even Todd himself is working increasingly in the digital realm).

Still, after reading how he got started, I had to laugh at the thought of Todd on the job at DC for the first time (doing the sort of correction and paste-up in the production department that I would later do in the desk next to Todd’s in 1982) thinking to himself: ”Boy, this sure beats putting together instruction manuals for air conditioners!”

Todd lettered Zot! #1 and did the final version of the Zot logo. All but two of my subsequent comics, through Understanding Comics, were lettered by the great Bob Lappan. Since then, it’s been all fonts for this control freak, but I still consider the approach a work in progress, and there’s always a chance I might hand letter a (probably short) comic in the future.

I do still hand letter my rough layouts and try to make them readable for my editors. Even on the Cintiq tablet, zoomed in at 800 dpi to save my wrists, my technique is still the similar to what Todd taught me all those years ago.

(link via Dirk)

Random Thought

Forgive me if somebody has already said something like this, but is it possible that the Web has made it harder for others to lie to us and easier for us to lie to ourselves?

I’m thinking of how, on the one hand, governments and corporations are having trouble suppressing all kinds of unflattering info (yes, even in China), while fringe groups with extreme beliefs are able to erect comfy feedback-loop houses for others of their kind to dwell in and congratulate each other for being right.

In other news, anyone who disagrees with yesterday’s post about being open to criticism is just jealous of my shoes.

Google Map Comics?

Reader Sylvain Poitras emailed recently to suggest that the new ways people are using Google Maps to create online portfolios and game maps could also be applied to expanded canvas comics. It’s a cool idea. Anyone want to give it a try?

(And no, I have no idea why the last three blog post titles all ended in question marks.)

Landing on a Dime?

I honestly have no idea if this will fly or not, knee-deep as I am in the graphic novel, but iCents is at least offering a novel approach in some respects and if anyone out there wants to give it a closer look and offer your thoughts, I’d be curious to hear them.

Still having the tar and feathers from last time removed, so I’ll stay on the sideline regarding the more general debate about micropayments that’s been flairing up again recently (at least for now).

More importantly, the whole world is still busy sorting out whether there will even be intellectual property in a decade or two, so the question of what kinds of new industries it might generate could be on a lot of peoples’ back burners a while longer.

[Update: Marc Glasberg from iCents has hopped onto the comments section and has some illuminating answers for those interested in learning more about the system.]

Reconsidering the Shape of Comics?

Yesterday brought more information on Apple’s imminent multi-touch device, which looks to be aimed squarely at the print world.

Most of today’s comics publishers are likely to jump into the pool with their clothes on—print-style pages intact. But if Apple’s gadget is anything like what’s being described, we could see a shift over time from point-and-click fragmented delivery, like what we have on the Web today, to more continuous spatial metaphors of the sort a lot of us turn-of-the-century mad scientists were playing with. Should be interesting.

[Via Heidi and Gizmodo]

Checking Back with Live Labs

Artists have continued to toy with the Infinite Canvas engine from Microsoft’s Live Labs since we last checked in. In the current “featured”category is “Amhot” by Tam, a cool set of Vignettes worth checking out.

Also of interest, below the fold, is a long list of other recent comics, art projects, and random screwing around which use the engine.

As before, the comics themselves are a mixed bag, using a smattering of navigational models, some of which work better than others, but they point in interesting directions.

I’ll be curious to see what surprises might emerge from the slushpile in the future.


“And as you can see, it actually knows how to read the comic for you.”

Not the first nor the last to employ this strategy for getting around printed comics on mobile devices, but they certainly win the award for most chilling tagline.

Has anyone tried the various mobile readers out there and compared them yet? I’d be curious to hear others’ reactions.

More on Longbox

A pre-launch screencast on the much-anticipated Longbox (via Dirk).

It’s not on the sidebar, but I’m actually on muggy but beautiful Cape Cod at the moment (I left barely 24 hours after we landed in L.A. from Spain) doing a government thingey (unrelated to Obama’s visit, though I realized tonight that he’s reeeeely close to here), so blogging continues to be a bit irregular. Hope to return to regular updates Monday.

Misunderstanding Markup

Yeah, there are some things I’m kind of obligated to mention here.