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Chris Watkins

Comix Talk for Monday, February 14, 2011

Well happy Valentines Day! In the spirit of the day, check out the Comics Reporter round up of its readers' five favorite kisses from comics. In Xaviar X. Xerexes news, I am running again - I have this foolhardy notion that running a marathon this year is a life-affirming, motivational goal.  I have a long way to go to get ready for it.


REVIEW: Delos has a review of Yehuda Moon and The Kickstart Cyclery.

BUSINESS:  Brian Hibbs has his annual analysis of the Bookscan data for graphic novels.  A lot of data -- very interesting to get a sense of how bookstores did with comics last year.

NOT COMICS: Comic Riffs has an interview with Sylvain Chomet the creator of the Oscar-nominated animated feature, The Illusionist.

WORTH GETTING OFF OF THE COUCH: Nick Bertozzi is signing his new book on Lewis and Clark at Big Planet Comics in Bethesda on February 26th from 4-6 pm, and he's accompanied by Jason Little, whose book Motel Art Improvement Service was one of my favorites of 2010. (h/t ComicsDC)

Comix Talk for Friday, May 14, 2010

Hey still here!  Back from adventures in the far east and looking at a mound of email and links about comics.  I'm beginning to think this place would be better if it was more of a group project again.  Hmmm...

Odori Park by Chris Watkins

INTERVIEWS: Brigid Alverson interviews Chris Watkins about his east-meets-west romance comic, Odori Park.



Comix Talk for Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Work on Cover Art for DAR 2 by Erika Moen

Just got a bunch of books in from Microcosm Publishing that I will be taking a look at this week (thanks Jessie Duke!).  If you've got a book or other webcomic-related object you're interested in having reviewed send it to "Robert Tanner, P.O. Box 3362, Arlington VA 22203" -- I can't promise every book will get a full-blown review from someone (most do though) but they all get a mention on the site.

If you're going to read one thing today I'd recommend this great post on Will Eisner by Christopher Irving over at GraphicNYC.

CRAFT: Erika Moen shows you how she made the cover art for her second print volume of DAR.

MILESTONES: It's Odori Park's first year anniversary on the web his upcoming Saturday.  Creator Chris Watkins is soliciting guest strips to help celebrate - send them to him by March 15th.

TOOLS: At Webcomic Planet, Bryon Wilkins reviews the Comic Life software -- it's primarily marketed as a photo to but Wilkins talks about its comic-making usefulness.

JUSTIFY MY HYPE: It's Shark Week at Hockey Zombie!  It's also Hockey Zombie's fifth year anniversary.

JUSTIFY GENE's HYPE: Creator Gene Luen Yang reminds us that Derek Kirk Kim is serializing T.U.N.E. at RIGHT NOW (It's also planned to be published in dead tree format by First Second).

NOT WEBCOMICS: Ted Rall time - first, Scott Kurtz throws him into a recent comic -- unless you've followed the online Kurtz-Rall verbal fragfests I'm not sure that's a 4th panel-worthy cameo there.  Second, I saw this story on TechDirt where they reported that Rall recently argued "that Italy got it right in finding three Google execs criminally liable for a video some kids posted to Google Video."  Rall is now officially in the running with Wiley for the all-time webcomic-luddite title. 

Comix Talk for Monday, February 22, 2010

Young R.E.M. Meet Old R.E.M. by John Allison

Welcome to Monday! May I direct your attention to a review of several mini comics posted late Friday?  If you enjoyed John Allison's COMIX REMIX of the above photo, you might want to check out the entire series he posted to FLICKR.

REVIEWS: Delos reviews Odori Park by Chris Watkins and El Santo reviews the Xeric Grant-winning Haunted by Joshua Smeaton.

INTERVIEWS: Growly Beast has an interview with Alice Hunt and Tracy Williams of Goodbye Chains.

REMIX: The Webcomic Builder has a lengthy essay on fan-comics; something maybe we ought to relabel "remix comics"?

NOT WEBCOMICS: Kickstarter fund drive for an American Elf videogame?  I'd buy that for a dollar!


New Cover Art for September from Chris Watkins

A big thanks to Chris Watkins for coming up with beautiful cover art for ComixTalk (and on short notice!).  Be sure to click on the "view the entire cover" button - this is one of the covers that best takes advantage of that part of the cover art.

Chris is the creator of the absolutely charming Odori Park, a webcomic about "Japanese Arisa Nishimori, from snowy Hokkaido, Japan, and American Colin Easton, from Suburbia, U.S.A., navigating the culture shocks of romance, parenthood, family, friends, and making a living in an ever shrinking world. Colin and Arisa run the used bookstore A Book By Its Cover, and live in an apartment above the shop along with "Sprout," their multi-lingual toddler son."

Odori Park: Colin by Chris Watkins

September 2009 Cover Art

Cover art by Chris Watkins, creator of Odori Park.

Strip News 6-25-9

All this just from last Friday until Wednesday…my hat is off to all you comics folk. You work hard and keep yourselves busy…

New comic from Chris Watkins

Not totally Ur-rlated, but my pal Chris Watkins, who in the past ran the fantasy webcomic hub 'Borderwalker', and has done some illustration work for Goodman Games, has a new webcomic out. It's a reality-based strip feature some new parents and their small child. Might appeal to one of our number who just has new little addition to his family...

Hindsight is an exact science.

As the end of September approaches it might be interesting to look back at what webcomic events made the headlines.

Professional webcomicers
September saw two webcomic creators take the leap and try to turn their hobby into professional careers. In truth I suppose it would be more correct to say that Howard Tayler, creator of Schlock Mercenary, took the leap and Jeff Rowland, creator of Wigu, was pushed. While Taylor assures his readers that he and his family is in no critical financial situation as a result of his career change, Rowland notes that he needs the support of his readers.

I will need your support, however, in the coming weeks. As bad as I despise the entire "donations" aspect of Inter-Net art, I am going to ask for your help in a fund-raiser of sorts, if only to secure my habitation.

Will draw for food
Rowland is not the only webcomic creator that found himself forced to make a career change. Jamie Robertson also found himself out of a job and announced that Clan of the Cats would end at christmas without finishing the current Dracula story line. Robertson also has a fund-raiser of sorts as a possibility for continuing COTC, Sebo's kitty klub. I'm not sure how well that has worked, the only figure I heard was that he needed 250 subscribers and at the time of the announcement he had 16.

This was, however, not the last creator to turn to his readers in attempts to build a bussiness model in September. Michael Jantze, creator of The Norm, did the opposite of what many webcomicers aspire to and left syndication after finally becomming fed up with it. His wife apparently conviced him to try the webcomic route and he agreed IF she could get enough subscribers by November 1st.

How many subscribers do they need?
As previously noted Jamie Robertson needed at least 250 each paying 2,50 USD to keep doing his comic. Jantze needs 4000 subscribers to keep going, each paying at least 25 USD. Some swift calculations bring the sum of money to a minimum of 100 000 USD unless I'm mistaken... They currently have 661 subscribers. As an extra incentive they give away one ipod mini to a subscriber as they reach each 1000 subscriber plateau.

This made some ripples in the blog-pond as several people gave their opinion on these events. Most seemed to agree that 25 dollars was somewhat expensive. I'm reminded of the sister of a friend of mine who made a living as an artist. She an exhibit where she showed her latest works that were sheets of photopaper that had been run through an x-ray machine at the airport (or something like that). The pricetags on these artworks were, in my uneducated opinion, rather high and when I asked her about it she explained to me, much in the same way one explains something to a child, that if they were cheap no one would buy them.
Anyways, it is interesting that The Guardian online also had a story about online charity, or cyber-begging, including a couple of paragraphs on Randy Milholland. But perhaps the most interesting entry was by Eric Burns of websnark entitled "On supporting webcomics and the survival of the fittest fandoms".

The question is, how many fandoms is the average webcomic reader a part of, and how many of them can they afford to support

Who snarks the snark
Websnark is no doubt one of Septembers success stories. The quality and quantity of its entries propelled Websnark onto most "Must read"-lists. This quote from Joey Manley's blog pretty much sums it up. is the talk of webcomicsland right now. Everybody who's anybody (yes, I'm an elitist -- and so are you, actually) is reading it.

Modern tales
Speaking of Joey Manley ofcourse brings us to the topic of Modern tales. That Modern tales and its sister sites have relied on subscription sales as a bussiness model has probably noone missed, but now they also sell adspace.

Subscription support will continue to bear the most weight in our business model, but we have decided to try to mix it up a bit, especially now that banner advertising seems to be coming out of the post-dotcom-crash doldrums.

September also say the debut of Graphic novel review, edited by Alexander Danner. A strong first issue shows promise of greatness and even got plugged by USA today.

The Webcomic examiner
The webcomic examiner will be allowed to wrap up this little trip down memory lane. Septembers issue had a great cover by Chris Watkins as well as a focus on the work of Derek Kirk Kim. Some really good stuff and I do believe that they are starting to find "their voice". There was also a "guest editorial" of sorts by Barb Lien-Cooper entitled "Webcomics have rights".

While I'm the last person in the world who wants to cause trouble, something about comic book review sites on the web is starting to bother me. It's the fact that many web sites dedicated to comic book journalism simply refuse -- often without explanation -- to review web comics.

Replies to this at Cognitive dissonance blog and Trickle of consciousness did not agree with her sentiments though.

Well that ends Septembers round up of things. Got an opinion on this, I'm itching to hear it. Perhaps I'll try to add some actuall analysis of events for next months roundup (if I do one that is).