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Decrypting Rita

Here’s a cool-looking new webcomic: Decrypting Rita by Egypt Urnash.

According to my old pal Thomas Blue (a visually striking artist in his own right), Egypt has an animation background, did some work at Spumco, and she might include some NSFW scenes later so be warned [...or maybe not; see correction in comments].

I like the fact that Egypt does all her artwork in Adobe Illustrator. Haven’t seen many artists do that since Demian5′s legendary When I Am King.

I also appreciate the screen-shaped pages, but, y’know… We won’t go into that rant right now.

Just wondering, those of you who watch these things like me: Have we passed the point where new interesting cartoonists are now more likely to be women than men?

If the ranks of comics pros ever get to 50% is there any chance we might just keep going?

I, for one, wouldn’t mind a bit.

Update: Found Egypt’s personal site and at least one of her biographical details sheds an interesting new light on my crossing-fifty-percent comment above. Needless to say, Egypt’s case is not typical, though not unique either.


Friday Odds and Ends

Here’s a really lovely 3-pager by David Lasky from yesterday’s Bloomsday commemorations.

Also lovely: these people sketches by Lucy Knisley. Can you draw that well? Me neither.

The Interwubs are all abuzz this week with Colleen Coover’s super-adorable and very funny Lana Lang comic. (Oh if only the monthlies were like this…)

Finally, the legendary Eddie Campbell has sent along a link to another fine article tracing comics early origins, so check it out.

[first few links via Spurge, I think]

Have a great weekend!


Ever Feel Like This?

Sydney-based Karen Beilharz is putting together a handsome anthology of stories about depression and she could use some help.


Random-y Randomness

This looks kinda cool. And weird.

I also like the look of two relatively-recent Portland-based diary comics (both of which could benefit from a dedicated website): Natalie Nourigat’s Between Gears and Emi Lenox’s EmiTown.

Meanwhile, blog entries have been popping up about last weekend’s Comics and Medicine conference. Check out accounts by John P, Brian F, and Sarah L, plus Phoebe G’s Facebook page. Not surprisingly, I look like a dork in all the pictures.


I Have Nothing Interesting to Say Today

So here’s a picture of Patrick McGoohan and a telephone.


Chicago Follow-up

Just a quick note this morning (’cause I wanna get back to drawing!) but just wanted to thank everyone who came out to Northwestern yesterday for the lecture, and all those who contributed to making this year’s Comics and Medicine conference such a success.

Porcellino's latest: A collaborative exploration of suicide, which I read on the plane back and highly recommend.

Had the great pleasure of finally meeting David Small and Phoebe Gloeckner, getting better acquainted with John Porcellino, Brian Fies, Ethan Persoff, “The Man at the Crossroads” Paul Gravett, the good folks at Quimby’s (the only store I know that’s so cool, they actually alphabetize their minis) and several new cartoonists and creatively-inclined scholars and medical professionals doing important work in an area of study that I’ll bet many of you hadn’t even heard of before last week.

One of these days, I’ll have to cook up some kind of grand unified theory of visual communication (hint: that IEEE conference in Norway from two weeks ago and the Comics and Medicine conference have more in common than you might think) but for now, thanks to the organizers for a lovely trip to the windy city.


CHICAGO! Saturday, Northwestern, 3pm

This Saturday, June 11, join me at Northwestern University’s Thorne Auditorium at 3:00 pm for a free public lecture in association with this year’s Comics and Medicine Conference and the legendary Quimby’s.

It’s a big room, so tell your friends and spread the word! This is my only Chicago talk planned for the near future, so let’s seize the opportunity to meet.

IMPORTANT: My lecture is FREE and open to the public! You don’t have to be a registered conference participant to attend. Everybody is welcome.

Thursday is Sky’s graduation(!) and I fly early on Friday, so back to blogging Monday.

Be there:

Saturday, June 11, 2011
3:15 PM – 5:00 PM
Arthur Rubloff Building, Thorne Auditorium
375 E. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 6061

Map it


LLAMA FONT!

And the Internet justifies its existence, yet again.

(via Jen Wang)


Pay Attention, Comics

“But with individual titles costing between $1 and $3 for about five to 10 minutes of enjoyment, it quickly became a habit too costly to keep up.”

This article at GigaOm by Darrell Etherington points to what I’ve long thought of as the elephant in the room in all discussions of the comics industry: comics’ crappy cost-to-minute ratio.

While subscriptions might be an important part of the solution as Etherington suggests, I personally think that a 99 cents price point could be attractive for a one-off comics story. IF that comic was 50 pages long AND formatted to the screen.

Kurt Busiek has long made the argument that comic books took a wrong turn decades ago when they started cutting pages to keep the price the same. That less satisfying read plus a product not earning its shelf space for retailers, led to fewer copies sold, the loss of the economies of scale, and even higher prices in the long run; while in Japan, Manga’s cheap phone book sized anthologies were selling in the millions.

Now we actually have the opportunity, through a potentially more efficient distribution channel, to get prices down AND bulk up the page count (no printing cost for pixels!). Let’s not make the same mistake twice.

Rule #1: Is your comic a satisfying read?

Rule #2: Is the price low enough that your readers won’t mind paying it again and again?

Rule #3: See Rule #1. Repeat.


Norway through Thor’s Day

I’m off to Bergen, Norway this week, Monday through Thursday. Back to blogging Friday or Monday.

EuroVis 2011 is an IEEE conference focusing on data visualization, an area I’ve grown increasingly interested in, and a field which comics may increasingly find common cause with this decade.

My dad was an engineer and had hundreds of old IEEE Journals on a giant bookcase in the basement. As a kid, I’d read to him from their articles (he was blind). Years later, when I was actually cited in one, I think Mom could finally relax; secure in the knowledge that I had a real job.