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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Webcomics, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 477
1. Weekend Webcomics: Michael DeForge’s “Winter Break” will make you want to eat turkey

hol02 Weekend Webcomics: Michael DeForges Winter Break will make you want to eat turkey

Here’s a little holiday jam to get you in the mood for next week’s Turkey Marathon.

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2. Webcomic alert: The White Snake by Jen Wang

page000 Webcomic alert: The White Snake by Jen Wang

Jen Wang has built up a nice little shelf of graphic novels for herself—Koko Beware, which she wrote and drew, and In Real Life, which she drew from Cory Doctorow’s story.

And now she’s launched a new webcomics called THE WHITE SNAKE, which will update when new chapters are done.

The first chapter is a dandy one, opening with a mysterious murder by…snake? But which snake, and why, and what happened to the snake?

I think you’ll be hooked by this as I was. Follow Wang on Twitter for updates.

page001 Webcomic alert: The White Snake by Jen Wang

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3. Webcomic alert: Control Room by Jed McGowen

control room scroll2 Webcomic alert: Control Room by Jed McGowen
We’ve linked to a few of Jed McGowan’s wordless comics before—including Hawaii, a best in show among geological comics, and Voyager, a wordless comic about a space probe. Despite the dry-sounding material, Xeris-winner McGowan (Lone Pines) presents them in a visually arresting way.

This time out, he’s got a story to tell, and it’s a strange and eerie one entitled Control Room. What happens when that space probe lands on Mars with several sisters aboard? Hit the link to find out.

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4. 24 Hours of Halloween: The Last Halloween by Abby Howard

last halloween 24 Hours of Halloween: The Last Halloween by Abby Howard

The long running The Last Halloween is an engrossing tale about a girl and some monsters.

The Last Halloween is the story of Mona and her unusual friends, who must work together to defend humanity from countless horrific monstrosities! Perhaps they will succeed, and humanity will prevail as it always has. Or perhaps this will be… The Last Halloween

It’s all in the execution!

Howard came up with the idea after participating on Strip Search.

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5. Kickstarter alert: Comic Chameleon goes Android

3042d2a6613392420063e64fd4e44079 large Kickstarter alert: Comic Chameleon goes Android

While digital comics have changed the medium for good, individual comics apps haven’t really taken off as much as you might think. But there are some good ones out there: Comic Chameleon is a webcomic aggregator that actually picks up popular webcomics like  Questionable COntent, Girls with Slingshots and the like. And with permission. They’ve been around on iOS for a while, but now they’ve got a Kickstrter fo develop an Android version. It’s about halfway to a $13,000 goal, so it looks pretty solid to go all the way. But in a twist, some of the Kickstarter money will go to creators:

10% of the campaign will go to the artists of your choice

If you care about supporting independent webcomic artists as much as we do, you’ll be happy to know that when you contribute to our campaign, 10% of your pledge will go to up to 3 artists of your choice who publish with our app. We’ve always been as much about supporting artists as we’ve been about entertaining you, and our Kickstarter is no different.

We’ve talked to head guy Bersie Sou a few times and he seems like an on the level guy. This is another strong move.

How about it, Beaterati? Do you read comics on your phone via apps like Comic Chameleon? Why or why not?

 

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6. NYCC ’14 panels you missed: Geeks of Color Go Pro

by Edie Nugent

geeksofcolor 1000x635 NYCC 14 panels you missed: Geeks of Color Go Pro

From L to R: Diana Pho, LeSean Thomas, Alice Meichi Li, Daniel Jose Older, I.W. Gregorio and Tracey J. John

The main stage spectacles of NYCC saw panels filled with celebrity actors and moderators alike, whipping thousands of screaming audience members into a frenzy. No less intense or enthusiastic, however, were the panels scheduled towards the end of the night in the smaller conference rooms at the Javits Center. Once such panel —Geeks of Color Go Pro —filled its room to capacity with a diverse audience of fans and comic book industry hopefuls cheering just as passionately as fans in the rooms twice its size.

“Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo,” declared Tracy J. John, writer for such marquee video game franchises as Oregon Trail and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  This comment, which came later in the proceedings, proved to be a kind of mission statement for the panel as a whole. Moderated by Tor Books editor Diana Pho, the panel participants represented a diversity of gender, race, and sexual orientation.

Pho opened by asking the panel to tell their “origin stories,” referring to how they arrived at their current careers within an industry that has long suffered from a dearth of diversity.  Tracey J. John kicked things off, saying: “a long long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…I went to NYU and got a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies.” She went on to say that she garnered an internship at MTV News, which led to a job working for MTV.com. “We wrote about these things called ‘music videos,’” she joked. This job placed her in the perfect spot to capitalize on her World of Warcraft addiction when MTV looked to launch a video game focused section of its website. She recalled thinking, “whoa, I can get paid to write about video games?” She later turned to freelance work for Wired, NY Post, and Playstation Magazine. Desirous of a more stable paycheck, she turned to a job at Gameloft and worked in game development. Recently she decided to shake things up again, and has returned to freelance work.

I.W. Gregorio, who claims she’s still getting used to being addressed by the pen name her day job requires, opened by speaking the question on the minds of many an audience member:  “How did a urologist end up being a YA author?” She went on to explain she felt the better question to be “why would an aspiring author become a doctor?” She spoke of her racially isolated childhood where she knew immediately she wanted to be a writer, but felt family pressure “like a lot of kids of color” to enter either law or medicine to be deemed a ‘success’ culturally. Her talents in math and science led her to choose the path of medicine, “enough people had told me that I wanted to be a doctor that I ended up being one.” She did attempt, in her words, to “try to have my cake and eat it too” also studying English while in college. She went on to pursue medicine and take a 10 year break from writing before her passion was reignited during her residency. She is, however, grateful to be a doctor because it “enables my writing career…and gives me a lot of stories.” She described how her new book None of the Above was inspired by an intersex teenager she treated during her residency.

Daniel Jose Older, author of the upcoming Half-Resurrection Blues, the first book in what is to be an ongoing urban fantasy series for Penguin Book’s Roc imprint, began by saying that Gregorio’s story “actually really connects to mine. In 2009 I was a paramedic and community organizer doing work on gender violence and intersections of racism. I was trying how to figure out how to have a voice and what that meant as a writer.” He  explained that he loved Star Wars and Harry Potter, but that he and the kids of color he was working work didn’t see themselves in those stories, “and there was a disconnect.” This inspired him to “sit down and write Shadowshaper which got picked up by the folks at Scholastic that put out Harry Potter, so it was this really big dream come true.” He went on to explain that the process of publishing that first work took over 6 years and that “publishing will make you learn patience” which drew a big laugh from the crowd. He continued to work on stories during that time, and work on adult fiction, which led him to Half-Resurrection Blues, due out in 2015. He explained that his background as a paramedic directed inspired the new book, saying: “a lot of this comes from being on the front lines…dealing with life and death.”

Author Alice Meichi Li knew she wanted to be an artist since the age of five. “I grew up in a Chinese restaurant in a really rough part of Detroit,” she said. She explained how this kept her indoors for her own safety, drawing on the back of the placemats of her parents’ restaurant. She also felt pushed towards a career in more economically dependable fields like law, medicine, or IT technologies. “When faced with the prospect of applying for college, all I could think about was arts school. I was in Army Junior ROTC and my Staff Sargent saw some of my art and he said: what are you doing here? You should be taking art class, you should be pursuing this.” She eagerly took his advice, worrying her family regarding her future. As she graduated High School at the top of her class, they told her she should be making “six-figures somewhere”—not becoming a starving artist. She conceded that’s “pretty much what happened” to the amusement of the audience, “I did have to end up balancing a day job,” with her art career, working at the well-known comic book store Forbidden Planet. “But I was doing Artist’s Alleys and that’s how I made a lot of my connections. If you’re trying to be an artist in comics that’s pretty much your best bet.”

“Everybody’s got all these cool stories,” remarked Black Dynamite producer and director LeSean Thomas. “I was born and raised in the South Bronx, John Adams projects at 152nd Street,” some in the crowd applauded at this mention—then laughed as Thomas joked that he was in the part of the Bronx that exists “past Yankee Stadium” where most New Yorkers’ familiarity with the Bronx begins and ends. “I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons, reading comics books, “ he recalled, saying that he felt comic books was a more realistic career path for him, as the tools used to produce comics were more affordable than that of cartoon animation: “they don’t sell light-boxes at the bodegas,” he quipped.

Thomas ended up in a High School arts program called Talent Unlimited. Following High School he took a job at a sporting goods store to make ends meet. While working there, he was spotted sketching by his store manager whose wife worked at a children’s accessories company. The company quickly employed him to work on designs for accessories featuring licensed characters. Through his work there, he met Joe Rodgers who mentored the young artist and eventually Thomas “became a flash artist/storyboard artist on this web-cartoon called WorldGirl, and it got picked up by Showtime, I think it was the first cartoon to get picked up by a major network.” His success there led to his meeting Carl Jones, who moved to Los Angeles and teamed with The Boondocks creator Aaron MacGruder on the now famous Cartoon Network series based on MacGruder’s comic strip of the same name. “He needed people who could understand Hip-Hop culture, Anime, and social political racial satire, and it was very hard to find that kind of talent in Hollywood,” he paused as the crowd laughed before putting it bluntly: “let alone somebody who could draw a black person.” This led him to move to Los Angeles to work on the show, which he feared would soon be canceled due to its controversial and sometimes “wildly inappropriate” content.

The series proved a critical and ratings success for Cartoon Network, and Thomas felt liberated by the mostly black racial makeup of The Boondocks’ creative team. “I grew up in a society where the White male was the dominant character…to be able to work on a show where my boss was Black, the characters we were creating were Black and we were saying the things we wanted to say without caring what other people thought, Black or White, was really liberating and was one of the best experiences for me.” He went on to comment that his experience working on The Boondocks “catapulted his career,” gave him the chance to move overseas, and opened many career opportunities for him-not the least of which was his teaming up producer Carl Jones to produce the Adult Swim series Black Dynamite. He noted how rare it was to have three shows in a row to his credit that found him working under Black people, on shows starting Black characters: The Boondocks, Legend of Korra, and Black Dynamite.

“I guess I should pitch in about myself, and I thought: oh, I’m the moderator—just sit here and look pretty,” joked Diana Pho, before continuing:  “I grew up in New England, in a very White town. I was always the only Asian girl in my class and my family is from Vietnam: no one knew where Vietnam was, because actually in my High School they never talked about the Vietnam War.” This statement elicited shocked sounds from the assembled crowd, but also some knowing murmurs that appeared to understand all too well the sort of erasure her statement described. Pho explained that she found escape from her outsider status through books, especially science fiction and fantasy novels. While studying English at college, she knew felt her options for employment were limited to work as a teacher, continuing her studies of Russian-her minor field-in order to obtain her Master’s Degree in it, or something else. “I chose something else,” she said, “and that was publishing.”

She explained she felt publishing to be a small field, insular in nature-and a field where it “has to do with the connections you make, that’s what I learned” and mentioned that her first job involved editing test books for college admissions for a summer. “What it did provide me was internship experience in marketing,” Pho remarked, explaining that this led to her getting a job with Hachette Press. She worked there in sales and marketing for several years before a colleague recommended her for a position at the Science Fiction Book Club making catalogues. She ended up following this with a Master’s in Performance Studies-doing her thesis in Steampunk performance-and graduated to assume her current role at Tor Books.

The panel then opened up for questions from the audience where Pho asked that the questions be “tweet-sized” to try and get to everyone’s question , but the line for the microphone grew long enough that the panel was forced to wrap up with audience members still on line. When asked: “what was one thing that you wish you knew when you started out that you know now?” Gregorio explained that as a representative of the We Need Diverse Books campaign (weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com) “I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that there are obviously challenges for diverse authors, the first book I wrote had and Asian-American multicultural protagonist-and three different editors said: oh, it’s too similar to another book with an Asian-American character.” She explained that she knew other authors of color who had run into enough of the same problem that they feared they might have to only write about White characters going forward. “The We Need Diverse Books campaign is most effective because it’s been showing the gatekeepers that they are wrong. Fifty percent of children in schools today are children of color, but only ten percent of books have minority protagonists.” She also called upon the audience to open up their wallets and support works by authors of color and/or featuring main characters of color.

John added on to Gregorio’s comments by telling the audience to not be afraid of the status quo, and gave an example of her work in gaming journalism. “Things that I did…aside from asking the questions I needed to do my job, I’d throw in some poignant questions, I’ve asked Shigeru Miyamoto: why does Princess Peach need saving again? Didn’t she get some self-defense classes by then? Or the developer of a family game why there wasn’t an option to be a Black person, they just had different tans? Ask those kinds of questions. It can be intimidating: Oh I have this opportunity to interview a game developer, I don’t want to screw it up. I’d say ask the normal questions and then save those for the end.”

“When you’re starting out as a writer there’s a lot of advice given out to you, like: you have to build your platform, you have to network! And there’s this very common, very White Western narrative of breaking out as an author. Where you’re that singular rocket ship that flies away to become famous overnight…what it requires us to do, especially as writers and creators of color, is to really reimagine what success means to us anytime we’re entering into any kind of project or career.” He went on to emphasize the need to build community, outside of a “putting points on your resume” style of thinking. “What will sustain you is unity. That’s what will have your back when things are hard, and things will be hard.” He noted that more than fans, writers need people who will tell them the truth-people who will give them the “hard critique.” He also said he wanted to shout-out to: fanbros.com, nerdgasmnoire.net as well as blackgirlnerds.com, saying of the organizations: “these groups are collectives of people of color, proudly nerds, proudly of color, talking about racism, talking about Sleepy Hollow. We need to talk about these things because that’s community” to many loud cheers.

Li wished to add “a piece of advice I hear a lot: you are the average of the five people you interact with most in life. So if you have a bunch of people who are ambitious, who are trying to do what you’re trying to do you’re going to kind of automatically get lifted up with them. So you want at least three of them to be in a place where you aspire to be. I add that you should look for someone who is: 1) an older mentor, to get advice from, 2) an equal, that you can be a comrade-at-arms with and share you career path with and 3) someone you can mentor, because you can learn a lot from teaching.”

“The thing that I wish I’d known before getting into animation, that I do now is that all the animation jobs are in California,” said Thomas, to the laughter of the crowd. Thomas clearly meant the comment seriously, adding: “I wouldn’t have stayed in New York as long if I’d have known there were no real animation jobs in New York the way there are in California…I probably would’ve made my pilgrimage a lot sooner.”

Another attendee asked how the artists dealt with accusations of racism. “I just got called racist the other day, so that was fun,” recounted Older, saying that because the bad guys in a recent story were White he had the accusation leveled at him. “There’s no easy answer, but you have to go with your gut and trust your instincts because when the shit flies, you have to be able to stand up for your work. I know what I did in that story—and I have much worse stories about White people than that,” he said, laughing.

Gregorio added: “publishing is a team sport, you’re going to have editors and marketing people-they’ll catch anything really bad. And also you have to realize we’re all going to get criticism. Haters are gonna’ hate, it’s alright!”

A reporter asked if the panel felt any responsibility towards social justice storylines. Thomas replied, “You know on Black Dynamite me and Carl Jones, the executive producer, always used to joke that we were like social workers in animation, not to belittle social work, but we liked to joke that because we were one of the few [shows] that touched on those issues. The most important thing for us is that it has to be funny, that’s the golden rule. The second rule is that it has to be genuine. If it’s honest, if it comes from a good place there’s always humor in it….and the third is to make people uncomfortable, not in a negative way but to make them think outside what they normally expect.”

The final question came from a Bleeding Cool reporter who asked, “Why are we still having this conversation? I feel like we’re constantly having the same conversation: do you see an end to it, do you think? Where we’re not going to need to have ‘Geeks of Color’ in the corner at 8:00pm?”

“So you’re saying Geeks of Color needs to be at noon, is what you’re saying? I agree I think it should be much earlier.” Thomas joked.

Pho added: “we’re going to keep having this conversation until we hit critical mass,” she explained that critical mass was not when people stopped asking questions, but rather that “we need a critical mass of answers from all over the place, not just from us but from you guys—not just from you guys but from everyone at this convention, and not just this convention—about how pop culture functions, how media functions…we all have to hit that critical mass point and that’s when the conversation stops.”

“I feel your point a lot,” Older added, indicating the reporter, “we do need this and part of the reason is the industry is still very racist, still very White, and so we need to have these conversations…the job and the struggle and the challenge for us is to push the conversation forward so it’s not so circular. So that’s why we need diverse books, which is such an important way to get everyone together. We need to talk about power analysis.” Older also stressed that he felt there were necessary conversations that weren’t had before this generation of creators and it was important to recognize: “we’re here because the folks before us fought their fight, so we’re fighting our fight for the next generation of artist of color, writers of color…and that involves getting together and having ‘geeks of color’ panels which makes people uncomfortable, which is good, as it should.”

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7. Jason Shiga’s Patreon for Demon reaches $1000 a month

4024339 01 Jason Shigas Patreon for Demon reaches $1000 a month

A lot of cartoonists—and many blogs, ahem—have taken to PAtreon as a means to finance the creation of comics. There are quite a few (a round up post is called for, maybe later this week) and Patreon doesn’t make it clear who makes the most, the way Kickstarter does, but Jason Shiga recently hit $1000 a month for his Ignatz winning webcomic Demon. Given his analytic background, there’s much of that in the post, but here’s an excerpt:

I know it’s an arbitrary number, but the $1000 mark is significant for a couple reasons. First, it amounts to the opportunity cost of not going with a larger publisher for this project. Second, someone could theoretically live on $1000. They’d have to be childless, live in a hovel in Detroit with 4 other dudes eating beans and rice 3 times a day. But man, if you were to describe that life to my 20 year old self, I’d tell you that sounds pretty nice. I know a lot of my readers here are cartoonists so maybe you can relate to that feeling of knowing so clearly in your bones that you were meant to do this one thing. But then there you are screwing in widgets all day, waiting for that whistle to blow so you can bike home and draw again. When I started out making comics, I didn’t want to be rich or famous. I just wanted to make more comics. I still do.

The lifestyle that $100 a month affords you is not a very appealing one, but, as he says, it makes the project officially a success. As he explains, he started out with usual business model of selling print editions, art and digital subs. This level of income for a regular webcomic would thrill many cartoonists, but given Shiga’s 15 year career, and the success of Meanwhile (which led me to coin the term The Shiga Index when analyzing sales charts.)

My own Patreon is nearing $700, which is a pretty good number all things considered. I’m very fortunate to have this level of success and appreciate each and every patron. Obviously it isn’t enough to live on, but it had taken care of paying for the backend, investing in the site more, and yes, paying some of those New York City bills. Patreon still doesn’t have the “excitement” level of Kickstarter, but it is beginning to afford a bunch of people at least some return on their work.

PS: Demon is totally dope. It’s a cross between Unbreakable, Groundhog Day and Shiga’s own classic Fleep. READ IT.

4 Comments on Jason Shiga’s Patreon for Demon reaches $1000 a month, last added: 10/23/2014
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8. Jason Shiga’s Patreon for Demon reaches $1000 a month

A lot of cartoonists—and many blogs, ahem—have taken to PAtreon as a means to finance the creation of comics. There are quite a few (a round up post is called for, maybe later this week) and Patreon doesn’t make it clear who makes the most, the way Kickstarter does, but Jason Shiga recently hit $1000 a month for his Ignatz winning webcomic Demon. Given his analytic background, there’s much of that in the post, but here’s an excerpt:

4024339 01 Jason Shigas Patreon for Demon reaches $1000 a month

Jason Shiga’s Patreon for Demon reaches $1000 a month was originally published on The Beat

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9. Webcomic alert: The Underdog Myth by Mike Dawson

1 fEbtChcqL FI62nqv3p9tw Webcomic alert: The Underdog Myth by Mike Dawson

Up at The Nib:

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10. Webcomic Alert: The Utopian City That Wasn’t by Eleri Mai Harris

utopia harris Webcomic Alert: The Utopian City That Wasn’t by Eleri Mai Harris

Australian cartoonist/journalist Eleri Mai Harris isn’t just an editor at The Nib, Medium’s marvelous comics section, run by Matt Bors. She’s a trained journalist who turned to comics to tell stories and in today’s Nib she has a good one: the story of the abortive designs for Canberra, the capital of Australia. Like a few other planned capital cities—Celebration and Brasilia comes to mind—the structural, utopian approach to city design rarely works out. The story also includes a dandy forgotten woman—Frank Lloyd Wright’s associate Marion Mahony Griffin. So sit back and learn some Australian and architectural history.

1 Comments on Webcomic Alert: The Utopian City That Wasn’t by Eleri Mai Harris, last added: 9/26/2014
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11. Webcomics alert: Me and the Universe by Anders Nilsen

This Sunday’s New York Times will contain what I would guess to be a full page printed version of the comicMe and the Universe by Anders Nilsen, so you may want to wait for that version to put into your scrapbook. But if you don’t want to get ink on your fingers, here’s a web version of a diagrammatic image of Nilsen’s place in the universe.

Nilsen’s last book was the “Leporello/foldout” Rage of Poseidon and he’s been mostly doing illos lately. Hopefully some new long form comics are in the works.

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12. Brian K. Vaughan’s PRIVATE EYE announces a new issue, six-figures sales

 Brian K. Vaughans PRIVATE EYE announces a new issue, six figures salesThe good news is that a new issue of THE PRIVATE EYE is available. This webcomcis by Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Munsta Vicente posits a world where an eruption in the cloud has made privacy the most valued social element.

Oh did you say “torn from today’s headlines”? When this started running last year it seemed a little farfetechd but after the burst cloud hgas spilled all of our secrets, BKV looks prescient again.

THE PRIVATE EYE is run on a “pay what you want” DRM-free download scheme, and it seems that readers want to pay quite a bit. Vaughan announced that the book has already sold more than six figures in both issues and in dollars:

Even though readers can still pay whatever they want for our DRM-free files (including nothing!), artist Marcos Martin, colorist Muntsa Vicente and I are proud to reveal that The Private Eye is already well into the six figures for both issues downloaded AND dollars earned… and that’s without advertising, corporate backers, Comixology-like distributors, or even a Kickstarter campaign. It’s all because of small contributions from readers around the world, so sincere thanks again for your coverage of our ongoing experiment.

Given that there are NO MIDDLE men for The Private Eye, that’s six figures of pure profit for well deserving creators.

Vaughan has been teasing an expansion of the Panel Syndicate tem for a while, and in his email he nopted:

And we’re also excited to say that we’ve just received the first issue of our NEXT new series at Panel Syndicate, by a very surprising creator we’ll be announcing soon. Stay tuned.  

For now, please enjoy Marcos’ striking cover for #8, featuring Gramps, an elderly Millennial struggling to make sense of the year 2076…

 

4 Comments on Brian K. Vaughan’s PRIVATE EYE announces a new issue, six-figures sales, last added: 9/22/2014
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13. Update: People had a good time at Intervention

intervention6inmasthead.jpg

Yesterday I pointed out some negative tweeting about last weekend’s Intervention in Rockville, MD, a small webcomics/blogging focused show in its fifth year. Past guests Andrew Farago and Shaenon Garrity showed up in the comments to defend InterventionCon from complainer Jon Rosenberg, and then there was a bit of a sub-tweeting war between Rosenberg and Farago.

I did get some background via someone who preferred to stay anonymous. While allowing that Intervention is small show—the FAQ states that attendance is only a few hundred people—it is more of a networking weekend, and those who go in with that expectation have a great time.

Guest speakers at this event included full time webcomickers like Pete Abrams (Sluggy Freelance) and Rob Balder (Erfworld.) They’ve both been back many times. Shannon Garrity is also a regular attendee, but couldn’t make it due to her baby. I understand she’ll be back next year. Outside of comics, there were Boing Boing bloggers, the head of Toonseum and more. It’s really a unique experience to get all these people in one room and be able to pick their brains. That’s what this con is about.


My commenter and Farago both thought it was poor form of Rosenberg to get paid expenses for the weekend and then complain about the con, especially during the show. I’m told his discontent throughout the show was known by many attendees and some wanted to get refunds on their purchases from him.

Be that as it may, some people are happy with low key events, others expect something different. I don’t think Intervention was billed as a lollapalooza, and I expect it will be back for a successful year six.

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14. Weekend con report: The kinds of cons that cartoonists avoid


While the legend of DashCon and its bouncy castle continues to elicit laughter and jokes as perhaps the worst run con ever, it’s still a mixed bag out there. A lot of smaller “Maker” shows are emerging out there, and your mileage may vary. InterventionCon is now in its fifth year and is billed as a show highlighting webcomics and blogs and that kind of thing. I’ve heard good things about it in the past, but guest Jon Rosenberg had some pretty dispiriting tweets over the weekend, showing small turnouts for his panels, and leading to this conversation with Jim Zub.


ON THE OTHER HAND, this LJ user had a pretty good time, although it seems the show needed to freshen things up:

Well, as always, Intervention is a well-run, fun con.

I stayed for all three days, beginning to end, and kept entertained throughout. I had sorta a weird mix of feeling a lot of the webcomic people were ‘the usual suspects’ who were at the prior Interventions, but on the flip side I bought more webcomic books and stuff than ever before, so, more minor ones. I think the webcomic panelage wasn’t quite as good (or, I should say, as *fresh*, the ones I went to are good but I skipped over some because I saw the same people on the topics in prior years), because it was the usual suspects to me (and of the usuals, Shaenon Garrity wasn’t there- for very obvious reasons of a newborn! She tends to do creative panels so I’m hoping she’ll be back next year). That said, I saw plenty of other good panels in addition to the webcomic ones, and I hit some I’d never checked before, like a talent show (heard a very good raunchy folk ballad on acoustic guitar). One interesting one was about My Little Pony, but largely talking about why Hasbro does what it does in respects to fans, toys, etc., as well as things like similaries between shows and fandoms (original Star Trek and it’s habit of keeping extras in the same uniforms and jobs was used in comparison to the reoccurring background ponies)- and since it was at the end of the day with no panels after they kept talking for the next 20 minutes, and after *that* I talked to some of the panelists longer about different conventions and stuff. A lot of the other panels were behind-the-scenes, how-to-do X stuff (X being podcasts, independent films, blogs, etc.), which sound useful if you’re interested but aren’t my thing. I think next time I may scale things back to just hitting the main day, largely due to the usual-suspect factor.

I’m not trying to bag on InterventionCon — I’ve spoken to the folks running it and they seem nice, and I’m sure it was all nice. But folks expectations for even smaller shows have been raised by the SuperCons and guests certainly have a lot of shows to choose from. Everyone is going to have to up their game a bit.

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15. Webcomic alert: The Spirit of BACARDÍ by Warren Ellis and Mike Allred

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One’s an atheist who lives on Red Bull and whiskey. One’s a Mormon who never drinks. But Warren Ellis and Mike Allred have teamed up onThe Spirit of BACARDÍ a 20 page comics about Emilio Bacardí, son of founder Don Facundo Bacardí Massó, and his doings in Cuba in the 1800s. When I first saw those Bacardi ads full of drama and intrigue I thought it was like those John Jameson ads, a little exaggeration, but no, it turns out there really was some adventure and freedom fighting involved. Which you can learn all about in this comic.

Corporate branding. You never know what it will turn up.
 
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1 Comments on Webcomic alert: The Spirit of BACARDÍ by Warren Ellis and Mike Allred, last added: 8/11/2014
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16. SDCC ’14: Fantagraphics to Collect Liz Suburbia’s ‘Sacred Heart’ as Graphic Novel

More news through from San Diego, as Fantagraphics have announced that they’ll be collecting the webcomic ‘Sacred Heart’, by Liz Suburbia, as a one-shot graphic novel in 2015.

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The publication of this collection is pretty interesting, as Suburbia will be completely redrawing the story for the book – which presumably would also give her a chance to tweak the storytelling as she sees fit, perhaps.

Sacred Heart is a story about a town where all the adults have gone missing, leaving their kids to pick up society and run in as best they can. Whereas in most cases this would lead to anarchy and crossbows and yelling, in Sacred Heart the story shows that society can more or less keep on functioning even through a dire situation like this. Sure, some aspects of the world collapse and don’t return, and there’s a constant question of whether things can be sustained – but for the most part, the kids are managing to do a half-decent job of things.

Sacred Heart will be released in Summer 2015. You can find the webcomic, still open, right here. 

 

 

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17. Webcomic alert: Trigger Warning: Breakfast by Anonymous

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Has it really been stressed enough how great the comics that The Nib, edited by Matt Bors and Eleri Mai Harris, is publishing are? Here’s a new one called Trigger Warning: Breakfast and i have towarn you it is not a pleasant read, but it is powerful. The author is anonymous. For reasons you will understand when you read it.

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18. Webcomic alert: Lauren Weinstein’s ‘Carriers’

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Lauren Weinstein is running a five part webcomic at Nautilus about discovering that both she and her husband (TCJ.com editor Tim Hodler) were carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene, and their unborn child had a 25% chance of having the incurable disease.

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19. Jeff Smith’s Tüki Save the Humans gets a full color comic

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It’s been a voyage of discovery for Tüki Save the Humans, Jeff Smith’s ongoing webcomic. It was always expected to go to print, but originally in black and white. However, it’s now been announced that the July debut will be in full color, just like the webcomic.

But since TUKI has appeared in color on boneville.com, comics fans are overwhelmingly supportive of a full color print version. “That’s what I hear over and over while I’m on the road at comic shows,” said Smith, “To which I say: It’s on!”  TUKI #1 will ship in July and will be in full color with no change in price. Pre-order TUKI #1 at your comic shop using Diamond Item Code: MAY141240. TUKI#1 Written & drawn by Jeff Smith with color by Tom Gaadt, will be 32 pages, four color, and retail for $3.99

 
Good news…AND a new episode begins on Friday!

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20. Kickstarter Power Hour: Strong Female Protagonist

The webcomic series Strong Female Protagonist has a Kickstarter running to take the series to print, and has already crushed the original target funding harder than Godzilla stamping on innocent civilians. From the creative team of Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag, the funding for the project is currently somewhere above the $20000 range, after they asked for $8000.

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Blimey. The power of webcomics strikes once more, for this series about a superpowered hero called Alison Green who used to spend her days pummelling villains and beating up evil robots. But one day she fights a mindreading enemy who shows her evidence of some far bigger problems out there which can’t be solved through punching – and Alison goes on a journey of discovery.

Living in New York, she spends her time trying to live a socially-conscious day life, but finds that supercrime keeps finding her. Struggling to maintain her regular life, sort out her worldview, AND punch up monsters, the series is a brilliantly realised look at the unexpectedly tangled life of a superhero.

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And hey, this comes Beat-approved, as Hannah picked it for one of her favourite webcomics.

They’ve already hit their target, but you can take a look for yourself by heading here!

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21. Webcomic alert: HOLLOW part I by Sam Alden

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Sam Alden has just posted the first part of a longer story called HOLLOW part I—it’s a digital version of a comic he had print copies of for sale at TCAF. It’s interesting to see him developing an almost animated style for this—like reading storyboards as comics.

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I shuddered when I read that panel.

Speaking of Alden, some glowing reviews for his work. Tom Murphy reviews Wicked Chicken Queen for Broken Frontier:

Like a strange lysergic Richard Scarry book, each page is filled with little vignettes of how this weird little island society works. Even the island itself is a protean organic landscape. (Click to enlarge) In addition, the apparent simplicity of the narrative masks a rich metaphorical resonance that invites multiple readings to get to the heart of what Alden is saying about history, power and society.

And Rob Kirby on It Never Happened Again in TCJ:

The two stories featured in It Never Happened Again display Alden’s impressive strengths as a visual storyteller. They feature completely different settings and characters, but have in common protagonists in search of things ineffable—perhaps unattainable. Each story casts its own strange sort of spell, making for a very strong debut book.

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22. Interview: Christian Beranek Offers ‘Validation’

Christian Beranek is the writer of Validation, a webcomic telling stories from the life of a trans girl living in the city. The series addresses the idea of her looking for a place in society as she finds friends, goes dating, reads a lot of comics (of course) and gets involved in the comics community. It’s a bold comic – honest and open, without ever coming across as melodramatic or overwrought. The central character, Ally, is a wonderfully drawn protagonist, and Beranek’s writing puts you right inside her thoughts as she lives her life. Along with artist Kelci Crawford, it’s a comic which has started to build up a real fan community around it – and rightfully so.

Also the co-creator of The Webcomic Factory, Beranek puts out an incredible amount of content onto the internet every single week – but still managed to find time to have a chat with me about her work, her writing, and webcomics.

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Steve: What is the general idea of the series? What is the story you want to tell with Validation?

Christian: Validation is the story of Ally, a trans girl doing her best to live a fulfilling day-to-day life. She faces a myriad of challenges and interacts with all sorts of different people along the way.

What co-creator Kelci Crawford and I are trying to accomplish is to produce an ongoing webcomic that tackles trans and geek issues in an entertaining way.

Steve: How did the series come about? 

Christian: I had the idea knocking about for a few years. When I was living in Los Angeles I knew quite a few trans people and was obviously dealing with my own feelings. I wanted to create a comic that dealt with the trans experience in a positive way.

I wrote down a bunch of ideas for stories but they were either way too serious or way too silly. I scrapped a bunch of potential takes before the right one came along. And that was Ally. When I began writing in her voice it just started to flow. I don’t gatekeep anything she says, I just let her do her thing.

Steve: Was the plan always for this to be published digitally? What do you feel were the advantages of running the story as a webcomic?

Christian: I like publishing online, especially with an ongoing series like this.

Webcomics present an amazing opportunity for creators to take chances on stories that might need a little more time to find an audience. And that really is the main advantage: Building up a readership.

Another big plus is the ability to interact with our audience on a daily basis. Kelci and I appreciate feedback and the strong loyalty readers have to our characters. It’s fun when they speculate on outcomes of storylines and react to events. It inspires you as a creator to keep doing your best work.

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The one thing you have to make sure of if you are doing an ongoing webcomic is to deliver consistently. As with print comics, running late can make your audience lose interest. If you say you’re going to update on a schedule readers will wonder what is up if you start falling off track. The best way to handle that is to create a buffer so you’re always ahead in case life stuff happens. For example, Kelci broke her wrist early on but we had a few months of strips ready to go so we were able to keep up until she was able to draw again.

Steve: How do you plan out the story? You don’t deviate from the three-panel format, which must at times be somewhat frustrating – how do you manage a story which demands a set-up and punch-line within three panels? In fact – do you even view that as being the objective for a three-panel strip?

Christian: It’s all about the reveal.

I credit working with Tony DiGerolamo on the comic Post Apocalyptic Nick for showing me how to pace stories out in the three-panel format. There is indeed a rhythm to the format that is different from a traditional comic page. The key is to have a reveal and a cliffhanger if the comic leads is part of an arc. If it is a stand alone one, which we pepper in from time to time, there is the set up, reveal and then either a payoff or a final thought — and sometimes those are one and the same.

Steve: How did you decide on Validation as the title for the series? It’s a brilliant choice, but one which only starts to really reveal itself once you really get into the comic and read a chunk of it – the more wrapped into Ally’s life the reader gets, the more striking the title feels.

Christian: I appreciate that, thank you! There was a group of trans girls I knew in Los Angeles who used the word. If they felt they “passed” as women in society they called it “Validation”. Now, I am not a fan of the term “passable” or the concept of having to prove yourself to anyone. So, I thought it would be interesting to use Validation and reclaim it for validating one’s self.

Steve: You alternate scenes of Ally’s life with scenes of her processing her thoughts at home, whilst at her computer. Was this an intention from the series from the start, or something you developed along the way? It adds an interesting balance, and works as a solid way to really get into her head.

Christian: I think networking on our computers and mobile devices can be helpful at times but you have to get out and live life. The series starts with Ally on her laptop and after a particularly outlandish reply from someone in an online conversation she realizes she might be spending too much time in cyberspace.

The computer then shifts from her main source of connection to a place where she can touch base and download her thoughts.

We have a future storyline involving bloggers so we’ll explore those ideas more.

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Steve: The comic speaks disarmingly about Ally’s experiences as a trans woman. You offer the dismays as well as the triumphs she experiences, never letting one aspect overshadow the others. It could have been easy to give her everything she wanted, or to have her face overwhelming depression – how did you decide upon the way you wanted to present her life for readers?

Christian: That was the toughest balance to reach. I credit Kelci for being my barometer. I sent over a recent batch of scripts and was worried if I had gone too far. She responded: “No, this needs to happen.”

Life is a big mix of crazy and we’re all just trying to do our best.

Steve: You refuse to define her solely through her gender identity, instead highlighting her personality and interests. What do you think are the defining traits of her personality? What about her do you find most engaging, as a writer?

Christian: She is a romantic pragmatist. I wish I could be more like her, to be honest!

Steve: Does she ever surprise you, when you start writing her? Do you ever find that writing her character leads you into an unexpected direction?

Christian: Often! She is pretty fearless so it allows me to send her into some situations some people might think twice about before entering. That same fearlessness, however, causes her to say things sometimes that maybe should have been considered twice before uttering aloud.

I really enjoy writing the journey Ally is on and am excited to see where it goes.

Steve: How far ahead do you plan the series? Do you try and allow for more spur of the moment topical moments, or do you try to structure the series very carefully?

Christian: I have a general outline for where the series is going. Kelci and I typically like to have a month or two buffer of strips in the bank. We’re not reacting to anything as it happens but are definitely aware of current events.

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Steve: Because, on that note, the strip can be surprisingly topical at times! You address ideas like “fake geek girls” even as the discussion was first becoming live and happening on the net. How do you decide when to break from the central story and address and talk about current events in the comic, instead?

Christian: I had a sense that it was going to become a massive debate. It’s been building to a boiling point for many years now and I’m happy so many people are finally speaking out about it. Hopefully we can find some solutions to make comics a great place for all creators and readers to thrive in.

As for deciding when to break away… We do some self contained strips from time to time which allows us to address certain issues directly. They provide a natural break between storylines.

Steve: How did you first meet Kelci Crawford, and how did the idea of collaborating on this story come about?

Christian: I discovered Kelci on Tumblr and DeviantArt early last year. I was looking for an artist specifically for Validation and had a script for the first 15 comics ready to go. After she read through it she sent over a character sketch and I was like: “That’s her. That’s Ally.”

We built up a buffer of comics before launching and have done our best to stay ahead ever since.

Steve: What do you feel she brings to the story? You can see a notable progression in her artistic style across the 80-odd strips which have so far been released.

Christian: Kelci has always had the amazing ability to draw facial expressions and body language. That skill set has been instrumental to the success of the story. Over the course of the past year she has really improved with background designs and set pieces. She also always surprises me with the little “easter egg” pop culture references she incorporates into the comic.

I feel fortunate to be working with her and watch her progression! In speaking with Kelci about her own comic ideas I really think people should keep an eye out for her upcoming work.

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Steve: You also co-manage a website called The Webcomic Factory, which publishes a number of different webcomics. What’s the concept of the site? How did it come about?

Christian: My good friend Tony DiGerolamo and I get together a few times a year and brainstorm story ideas. We always come up with so many different concepts and in 2010 decided that we needed a place to test them out. We post a new comic every day of the week including Saturday and Sunday. It’s a big variety of stuff featuring loads of different genres.

Steve: Can you tell us about a few of the comics featured on the site? What sort of things can readers find at The Webcomic Factory?

Christian: We recently debuted a high school anthropomorphic comic called Millennials and a quirky vampire comedy called Lester Crenshaw is Dead. There are also several completed graphic novels you can read through on the site including Post Apocalyptic Nick, Dealers and Comic Book Mafia.

Steve: Do you try to follow a familiar tone or style for all the comics you feature – or the opposite? Are you actively looking to offer readers a wildly different, varied choice of stories?

Christian: The Webcomic Factory is an idea house and we are constantly trying to do different stuff. The main mode of consistency is to do our best to tell good stories. And yes, we are actively looking to provide a variety of comics while working with a multitude of artists. We are always on the look out for new collaborators.

Steve: What do you view as the key to a good comic? What advice would you give for people who are looking to set up and tell their own digital stories?

Christian: Matching great storytelling with great art is the key. Once you have that, set up a user friendly site that’s easy to navigate.

I suggest not trying to do too much or overly impress people with your first few comics. Just tell a good story. I would also advise staying away from mimicking the stories you grew up with. We all have our favorite comics by our favorite creators but those tales have already been told. Discover your own voice.

And above all: Be persistent! There have been overnight success stories but that’s like winning the lottery. It takes years to get noticed. Do the work and build up your catalogue and audience.

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Steve: Do you have any other projects coming up? Where else can we find you online?

Christian: I have several graphic novels I’ve been working on over the past few years. I pay my artists out of my own pocket so I have to pace myself production wise. I’m also looking for interesting writing gigs but I know the competition is fierce out there — seems the same ten people write all the books! I like all of them but hopefully we can see some more diversity in the future. Comics needs new voices.

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Many thanks to Christian for her time! You can find her online on Twitter and on Tumblr, and check out more from Validation right here. The Webcomic Factory also updates every day – you can find it here!

2 Comments on Interview: Christian Beranek Offers ‘Validation’, last added: 6/2/2014
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23. Interview: Sarah Burgess Falls Into ‘The Summer of Blake Sinclair’

After several years and countless surprising twists and turns in the lives of the main characters, Sarah Burgess’ long-running webcomic ‘The Summer of Blake Sinclair’ has come to an end. But now readers can start all over again, right from the start, as Burgess has brought the series to print via publishers ZetaBella.

Described by her as a cheesy student drama, the series is a lot more than just that – it’s a sprawling, vivid depiction of university life, with a cast who wander in and out of each others lives, trailing baggage, problems, love and laughter in their wake. A while back I listed it as one of the 24 Webcomics we spotlighted on The Beat as something special – with the launch of the series in print, I reached out to Sarah to find out more about the making of the series, and how it made the long journey to print.

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Steve: What is The Summer of Blake Sinclair about?

Sarah: It’s essentially a gentle drama about university students during their summer. The themes of the story are the exploration of ‘truth’ and identity, and it revolves around the relationships/stories of 5 characters- the main character being Blake Sinclair. Each character connects in some way to Blake, who whilst being the main character is quite flawed and lost as a human being!

Steve: Where did the idea for it come from? Does any of this draw from your own experiences as a student, perhaps?

Sarah: It’s definitely evolved, but the idea was originally an exploration of ‘generation Y’ (Hipster culture) which I think heavily reflects the identity and problems people my age and younger are going through. It’s most certainly based on my experiences of ‘hipster’ subculture which I was really a part of during college and university – and totally based on my personal experiences, relationships and worries as a twenty-something!

Steve: When you first came to the project, did you have any idea it would expand into this huge thing, this massive comic series with so many intercrossing characters?

Sarah: Not at all- in fact when I first came up with it, it was really basic and more like a simple ‘revenge’ love story. But the more I explored the idea of subcultures and identity the more I wanted to add interlocking stories and characters.

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Steve: Over time, do you think your focus changed? Did you have some main characters who faded away, or supporting characters you wanted to write more of?

Sarah: Although it might (hopefully) appear that the shift of focus on characters changes over time naturally, this was all pre-planned- I really wanted to portray how friend groups can shift, grow and change over time. One of the intentions of the comic was to have characters start off with strong relationships in one area, and finish in a completely different area. There are loads of side characters who have their separate backstories- I really want to do extra stories on them.

Steve: How pre-planned is the story? It’s thoroughly focused on character foremost – have there been points where the characters have naturally reached a point that surprised you?

Sarah: The main backbone of the story and the journey each character goes through is pre-planned – but the details, or how they get to each point in the story, wasn’t planned. Before I started drawing it, I really developed each character’s personality, and after that their reactions and interactions seem to just happen! I think most artists agree that sometimes your characters wind up controlling the story.

There are loads of crazy climaxes in this story which for real I wasn’t thinking would happen when I first planned the idea… Characters are scary.

Steve: What made you decide to put the series up online, and tell it as a webcomic?

Sarah: I guess I’ve grown up in a world where posting your stories online is normal! (like web comics are such a given to me!) I really didn’t put any thought behind it – it was just a personal project I really wanted to work hard on, and putting stuff online is good practice for your development I think. It’s really useful having both instant encouragement and thoughts on the story which really help you develop how clear and well told your comics can be.

Steve: How have you found the process of working, writing, drawing, creating the comic and getting it up for the internet deadline every week? Do you think that, over time, you’ve developed and changed the way you approach making the comics, as a result of having that constant deadline ahead of you? 

Sarah: When I started this, I had just finished university and had no jobs as an illustrator, so there was a sudden lack of routine and solidarity in my life. Doing this project and keeping to deadlines really helped me feel more stable in such an unstable environment- if you’re starting out as an artist I definitely recommend it just to keep from falling into a dry spell.

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It also has probably taught me to work much quicker, and as I said I think learn much more quickly. Imagine without the constant feedback that online comics allow, artists wouldn’t be able to evolve their style as quickly. It definitely also gives me more stamina, and the drive to draw bigger stories!

Steve: How did ZetaBella get involved in publishing the series in print? Was this always something you’d wanted to do with the series?

Sarah: Blake Sinclair was always intended as a personal project to develop my way of telling stories. I never expected it to get readers! I’ve tried selling and printing it myself but it was too expensive for me to make and people to buy, and people kept requesting it in cheaper but bigger volumes- thus I took it to ZetaBella. I was really surprised when they were stoked to publish it..!!

Steve: How many collections are planned for the series?

Sarah: There will be 4 volumes… the last volume might be kind of big…!

Steve: The series has just concluded chapter 16 online – do you have an end point set in place, at this point? 

Sarah: I sure do- the next chapter (chapter 17) will be the last one. It will end in a way that concludes all of the character’s stories. I may do some short stories afterwards involving the side characters.

Steve: What have you most enjoyed about making the series?

Sarah: I think what I’ve enjoyed most is the discussion on the characters between readers- sometimes people have had varying opinions and interpretations of the subjects and characters- when debate comes up it’s really exciting! Also this comic was partly done to work through understanding some personal issues, so it’s been enjoyably therapeutic.

Steve: What will you be working on once this series concludes? Do you have any other plans in mind?

Sarah: I plan to do a bunch of short stories after this, and slowly work on plans for bigger stories. I’m also collaborating with writer Hannah K. Chapman on a pretty epic comic!

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Many thanks to Sarah for her time! The Summer of Blake Sinclair should be available right now on Amazon, and will be heading to select book and comic shops across the rest of this year. You can also find Sarah on Tumblr here, on Twitter here, and her website here.

 

1 Comments on Interview: Sarah Burgess Falls Into ‘The Summer of Blake Sinclair’, last added: 6/7/2014
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24. Webcomic alert: Solo by Hope Larson

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Hope Larson has just launched a webcomic called Solo. She writes:

I wrote the script for Solo last year. This story has been in my brain, in one incarnation or another, since mid-2012, and I’m ready for it to go out into the world. I’ll be drawing the pages and slapping them up online the moment the ink’s dry, raw and fresh and full of mistakes. And full of swear words—the subject matter is fairly tame, but it’s not a kids’ comic.
I won’t be adhering to any sort of update schedule and I currently have no plans to publish Solo with a book or comics publisher[.]


Larson is the author of such fine graphic novels as Salamander Dreams, Mercury and A Wrinkle in Time. She’s also a filmmaker. Bookmarked.

1 Comments on Webcomic alert: Solo by Hope Larson, last added: 6/5/2014
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25. CrowdWatch: The Economics of Digital Comics by Todd Allen

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Frequent Beat contributor Todd Allen has just launched a Kickstarter for a new edition of his book The Economics of Digital Comics —the goal is quite modest—$500, and it’s already more than halfway there.

This book is an update of his previous The Economics of Web Comics which was last updated in 2007. As you might suspect, a thing or two has changed since then. There doesn’t seem to be a single book covering this topic, so if it gets funded expect me to be quoting from it liberally.

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