Archive for ‘Webcomics’

Nebraska Speaks

Alan Rose checks in via email with a link to his memoir comic L’il Rose of Corn, a Sunday Paper-style strip about growing up in Nebraska, complete with newsprint colors to complete the illusion that it’s been printed (it hasn’t—yet).

I was impressed by the confidence and craftsmanship of both writing and art on display. It has a classic feel to it; bolstered by the simple fact that Alan’s stories are genuinely interesting.

In his email Alan shared a great quote attributed (perhaps wrongly) to H. L. Mencken about the great Nebraska-based writer Willa Cather: ”I don’t care how great of writer she is, nobody wants to read about Nebraska.”

After reading Rose’s memoir comic, I’ll upgrade “nobody” to “one” at least.

Friday Odds and Ends

Here’s a cool idea: Rene Engström and Rasmus Gran have a long distance relationship and have decided to chronicle it in parallel diary comics (I would say it’s a unique idea, but I’ve actually seen at least one other!).

From the site:

“Every Tuesday, since the 16th of March, Rasmus Gran and myself have documented our lives in the form of autobiographical comic strips. We have quite the buffer now so we feel pretty good about finally launching the comic. Our hopes are to give a little glimpse into the lives of a modern family spread out over the Swedish landscape, from downtown Östersund to Möllevången in Malmö. Sometimes we do things together but a large part of the time we have to live our lives apart.”

In other news, my host in Barcelona, David Macho Gomez, is launching Spanish comics site spanishinq.com.

For those of you who enjoyed Choose Your Own Carl (back in the Jurassic era), here’s another crossword-style comic.

And finally, on the work front, I’ve now finished the second rough draft of my graphic novel (working title The Sculptor). Next step: Beginning many months of finished art (and probably going back to make some more changes to the roughs, but that’s to be expected.) Wish me luck!

No, Seriously: Why??

Okay, first of all, gotta love Dean Haspiel. Great guy, great comics. He has a new one up at Zuda. Go take a look.

Unfortunately, I haven’t finished Dean’s story, because I have a book to draw and thanks to Zuda’s interface, it would take me half the morning to finish reading the thing.

I asked this once before and one of our posters (Matthew Marcus) had a theory, but I’m still unsatisfied.

Why, oh why, oh WHY does every single page turn in Zuda require blurring the page I was just on and subjecting me to an unreasonably slow loading bar?

Why can’t it remain in focus and simply put the progress bar out of the way so I can keep reading and get a head start on loading? Or perhaps dim the next button until the page is ready?

Why don’t I have the option of loading the whole comic in advance as I would a song or TV show? (or am I just missing that feature?)

Failing that, why doesn’t Zuda at least pre-load one or two pages in advance? (Note that if I walk away for 10 minutes, I’ll still have to wait just as long once I return).

Why is the load time for Zuda pages any slower than, say, this?

The reason I’m frustrated with Zuda has nothing to do with its business model (a separate issue for another day—also a moving target it turns out) or its corporate parent.

The reason I’m frustrated is because I actually LIKE the basic design of Zuda. The screen-fitting, full screen option is so natural. Such a great way to lose yourself in a story.

But with every page, the interface intrudes and rips you back out.


Friday Odds and Ends: BBC does Comics, True Swamp Online, and Serendipity via Twitter

Reader Jacob Stevens Corvidae emailed me with a link to “another Kick-Ass debate”; Kevin Smith on the BBC’s Newsnight Review, discussing both the film and the comic with author Jeanette Winterson (whose novels Jacob strongly recommends) and comedian Natalie Haynes (Part 3 above being especially lively).

A few quotes taken out of context might be depressing to comics enthusiasts, but I was actually delighted to see comics’ new rules of engagement in play. The medium’s potential for great work seemed a settled question (Winterson even name-checked City of Glass), so the debate centered instead on whether they were living up to that potential and that’s a question I’d love to see raised as often as possible.

Also, I just liked everybody on the show.

In other news, our old pal Jon Lewis has brought his ’90s classic True Swamp back to life via the Web. Gotta bookmark that.

And finally, Kazu tweeted a recommendation for this little gem by Luke Pearson so I’m passing it along. An odd but stimulating read.

Kickstarting E-Sheep

Patrick Farley is a friend, but I can say without hesitation that he’s one of the most innovative cartoonists of the last decade and the e-sheep archive (currently under reconstruction) is a treasure trove. Anything that helps him make more comics would be a very very good thing.

Friday Odds and Ends

Okay one more cool music video (via Lori M) playing with one of my favorite topics (as seen in UC chapter 5).

Nawlz returns with “Season 2: Real Werld Information Breakdown.”

Bravest Kid in America. (Imagine going to school the next morning? She did it.)

Also note sidebar: Italy in April, London in May, and South Bend in 12 days. And when not traveling: 11 hours a day, 7 days a week on the book—and loving it.

Back to work!

Seven Languages Plus One

Zahra’s Paradise is a new comic being offered online by First Second. From what we’ve seen, it promises to be an absorbing true story and I like the art. It’s being released simultaneously in English, Farsi, Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutchs—seven languages in all. Eight, if you count the language of comics.

Zahra’s release follows closely on the heels of Valentine, released in a whopping twelve languages simultaneously. If this is a trend, I like it.

[Edit to add: In the original post, I'd referred to Valentine as "Robot Comics' Valentine"—it's actually available from Robot Comics, Comixology, Ave! Comics in France, and others soon. Needless to say, the multiple publishers aspect may be even more important in the long run if that trend also continues. Oh, and they're already up to 14 languages.]

Understanding Comics has been translated over the years into 16 languages, but like any book project, the process of getting it printed and distributed from scratch in each country requires an enormous amount of effort for its respective publishers.

The idea that all these dammed-up rivers of art and story might start breaking free all over the world soon is encouraging.



Why is nearly every ice bag in nearly every ice bucket in nearly every hotel in America too small for the bucket??


Why do Zuda’s webcomics blur needlessly between pages??


Why is it so hard to find black bottled ice tea without any kind of sweetener in it?? (Especially in NYC)


Why is it so hard to find official confirmation (instead of just message board chatter) on whether uncooked French green beans are really toxic or not (something I hadn’t even heard of until recently, but is apparently a “well known fact” in Europe—WTF??).


How can the employees at my local UPS office watch as people go in the wrong door due to the bad signage, day after day, month after month, year after year, FOR TEN YEARS yet never think to change the signs??

(Okay, that’s not something anyone can answer, but I had to get it out of my system).


Why are some people so passionately devoted to the movie Apollo 13? I mean, it’s a perfectly competent movie, and the box of junk scene is awesome, but what’s the big deal??


Why did it take centuries for people to realize they could put wheels on suitcases?? Is there another super-obvious design solution that we’re overlooking??

Back Home | Odds and Ends

Back home from my visit to the University of Houston. Thanks to everybody who came out Tuesday for the lecture and to my gracious hosts. I especially enjoyed my stay at the slightly bizarre Hotel Zaza, with two great art museums right next door. I even found a painting of people curling which I had to call and tell Ivy about.

(Yes, my wife has been curling. In Southern California. How cool is that?!)

Some odds and ends:

Favorite Kate Beaton panel yet.

Mobile comics outfits have been moving into the iPad space (thanks to Zach in the last post’s comments). I’d be curious to know how many will be rolling out content in time for March. At the very least, retrofitting printed comics for the iPad will involve less violent “repurposing,” but ultimately I’d be more interested in comics designed specifically for the new device and its inevitable imitators. Douglas Wolk offers some thoughts here too.

Without the load times, this interface is actually kind of cool.

In other news: Heh. I’m such a nerd. That totally worked for me.

Oh Crap! Hourly Comic Day!

It’s a testament to how completely I’m wrapped up in the graphic novel that I forgot to post about Hourly Comics Day (offspring of 24HCD) until reader T. Diaz reminded me by email just now.

Technically, It’s not over yet as I post this (Monday at 5:44pm), but… yeah… I suck.

Anyway Go! Look! Enjoy!