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Daniel Merlin Goodbrey

Experimental Comics Roundup

Exciting, boundary pushing comics, particularly webcomics don’t seem to be as common as they once were.  Some experimental creators have moved on to more mainstream projects, some have stopped making comics.   And some comics that once were daring in their format, like Dinosaur Comics, have just ceased to seem experimental as they’ve become mainstays of the webcomics scene.  That last is a good thing, of course—normalizing ideas that were once bold is how the doors to further new ideas are opened wider.

Of course, unusual projects do still come along, so here are a few that have caught my notice recently.

Webcomics That Will Be Ending Soon Roundup

As a fan of comics that tell complete stories with solid conclusions, I tend to believe that the best time to read a webcomic is after it has wrapped up entirely.  With that in mind, here are several very interesting webcomics that will be wrapping up in the foreseeable future, making now a good time to bookmark them.

Comix Talk for Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Culture Pop by Seth Kushnar

Seth Kushnar's CulturePop debuted this week.  The first one is about Alyssa Loveless talking about performing and her music.  I really dig Kushnar's website Graphic NYC, and this comic project looks very promising.  Different vibe but its somewhat similar to a great journalistic comic called CulturePulp by Mike Russell.

BUSINESS: Tom Tomorrow's current comic is a funny take on the Internet but a little bitter about the changes waste the Internet is laying to existing business models.  Tomorrow and Reuben Bolling are two extremely talented cartoonists that should be able to make it in the Internet world.  Maybe they need their own Robert Khoo business guru but if nothing else they ought to talk to Jeff Rowland at Topataco and see what they can do with taking control of their merchandizing opportunities.

LEGAL: Linda Joy Kattwinkel, Esq., Intellectual Property and Arts Attorney at Owen, Wickersham & Erickson writes a post on what to do when your artwork is being ripped off.  Good advice.

AWARDS: James Hudnall writes about his experience being a judge for the Eisner nominations this year.

MILESTONES: Shaenon Garrity reports that Daniel Merlin Goodbrey has concluded his webcomic All Knowledge Is Strange and started a new webcomic 100 Planets.

REVIEWS: LeftyFilms.com reviews this month's Zuda contestants. (h/t Artpatient.com)

HYPE: BleedingCool.com has a bit more and pix on the upcoming book Kill Shakespeare.  Plus a take from a Shakespeare scholar.

NOT WEBCOMICS: BleeedingCool.com has a round-up of the recent uncovering of work Jack King Kirby did for an animation house in the 80s.  Neat to see even more ideas from the comics legend.

Comix Talk for February 1, 2010

Child's Play CharityGood morning world. The Cranky Old Gnome blog offers an essay on webcomics called "Critiquing Free Content". (h/t Paperless Comics):

It got me wondering–to what extent can free content like a webcomic be criticized?  How much does the audience have a right to expect from the artist, and when do they cross that line?

iWebcomics: Paperless Comics has more reactions to the iPad announcement last week.

INTERVIEWS: Growly Beast has an interview with Gitte Tang Jensen of B.I.B.L.E. and Forbidden Planet has an interview with Daniel "Merlin" Goodbrey and his collaborator Sean Azzopardi on their comic Necessary Monsters.

VIDEO GAMES, VIDEO GAMES, VIDEO GAMES: Congrats - the 2010 Game Developers Choice Awards are honoring Jerry, Mike and Robert of Penny Arcade, Inc. with an  Ambassador Award for their Child's Play Charity work.

AWARDS: SPACE handed out some awards and Ryan Dow won in the webcomics category for Introspective Comics.

REVIEWS: Delos reviews Urban Jungle by David Willborn, "a gag comic which mostly covers cubicle humor but also has geek humor, tech humor, animal humor, pokes fun at comics and talks about issues and culture without being preachy."

JUSTIFY MY HYPE: Sailor Twain or the Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel. (h/t Scott McCloud); and David Lasky draws the ULTIMATE GRAPHIC NOVEL (in six panels).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hope everyone is having a good week and maybe, reflecting on a good year?  Or maybe looking ahead to the next one!

First off, congrats to everyone who donated and is helping with Penny Arcade Inc.'s Child’s Play charity drive.  They've reportedly raised over a million dollars already!  Wow - for something that started in part to give the finger to Jack Thompson, this has turned into a wonderful institution.

Next, are you on The Comics Reporters' Local Scene list?  If not and you are a comics-type person, you should email Tom Spurgeon with your vitals.

REVIEW
Robot 6 reviews Princess Planet and Merlin's All Knowledge Is Strange.  It's good to check in with Merlin every so often to see if he's off on another experimental stretching-the-boundaries-of-comics kind of project.  This isn't one of those but it's entertaining nonetheless.

JUSTIFY MY HYPE
Derik Badman completes his 30 days of comics project.  Derik's one of the smarter people in comics I've met (online at least) and his comics are always a bit challenging (in a good way).  He reminds me sometimes of an old favorite of mine -- Russ Williams' Ko Fight Club.

Cameron Steward used the Brushes app on his iPhone to keep a sketchbook while traveling in Europe. Fantastic stuff!  (Here's a link to the Brushes app)

DEAD TREES
Optimum Wound blog has a guide for submissions to a whole lot of comics publishers.  (h/t Journalista!)

Strip News 10-23-9

It’s like you guys are trying to get all this great stuff in before the daylight savings switch next weekend or something…

A Survey of Digital Comics Readers

This article was originally published on webcomics.com in 2008.

Every few years, a traditional comics publisher makes a renewed plunge into the webcomics market. And each time they do, they feel the need to introduce some “revolutionary” new piece of comics presentation software, as if this is what some purely hypothetical online comics industry has been waiting for. “Finally,” we are meant to exclaim, “we can actually read comics online!”

Given how the vast majority of webcomics do just fine as a succession of image files on web pages, it is a curious phenomenon.

Three Technologies I'm Just Not that Excited About

This article was originally published on webcomics.com in 2008.

I love technology. Whether it’s little gadgets like my iPod, or useful applications like Google Calendar, I love all the little tech innovations that make life easier and more fun. The first time I heard about webcomics, I was thrilled. Automated content management? Fantastic! Integration of multi-media elements into webcomics? All over it. Do I want an iPhone or a Kindle? Oh my god, yes. Can I afford them? Not remotely. But I want them nonetheless.

Old Articles Re-Posted

Two of the articles I originally published at Webcomics.com have just been archived at Comixtalk.com. These have been unavailable since Webcomics.com changed hands, which is a shame since I'm actually pretty happy with how most of my writing there turned out.

The Old Made New: A Look at the Static Comics of Daniel Merlin Goodbrey

This article was originally published on webcomics.com in 2008.

“I’ve always felt driven to keep trying new things creatively and experimental web comics just started to feel a little too familiar, y’know? Too safe. I wasn’t going to improve as a creator sticking to that ground.”

–Daniel Merlin Goodbrey

Best known for his impressive formalist experiments, usually featuring Flash interfaces (eventually culminating in his Tarquin Engine), Goodbrey was one of the early pioneers of the new artistic realms that web publishing opened to comics creators (For my thoughts on Goodbrey’s early works, see my contribution to The Webcomics Examiner’s article "Aggressive Experiments"). In the past three years, however, Goodbrey has produced only one of his “hypercomics,” the 24-hour comic Never Shoot the Chronopath, which he published this past December. Most of his efforts these days have gone into more traditional seeming fare: two static humor strips and a longform tale of undead cowboys.

It would be a mistake to think that Goodbrey has given up on pushing himself creatively just because he isn’t inventing wild new interfaces, though. “Experimental” is a relative term, and nothing stymies innovation faster than repeating oneself. And even the most traditional methods can help a creator to break new ground if they’ve never tried those methods before. In fact, the least interesting work that Goodbrey has produced in recent years is the most overtly experimental; “Never Shoot the Chronopath” is an enjoyable little comic, but nothing we haven’t seen Goodbrey do before.

On the other hand, Goodbrey’s Brain Fist, All Knowledge is Strange, and The Rule of Death all incorporate forms and ideas that are new to Goodbrey’s body of work, even if they don’t look so different from the kinds of comics most people read every day.