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Rob Balder

Comix Talk for Friday, July 09, 2010

C'mon weekend!  Okay this first story struck me as a great project.  Jennifer Ouellette writes about a collective effort to create a webcomic telling the amazing story of 20-something Dutch primary school teacher, Hanny van Arkel, who discovered a strange blue/green smudge on an image of what was otherwise a standard spiral galaxy now referred to as "Hanny's Voorwerp."  The full comic will be released at Dragon-Con in Atlanta, Georgia, this fall.

MILESTONES: Wow, it's the FIFTH anniversary of Gordon McAlpin's Multiplex.  Congrats!  If you're not reading this smart comic about the crew working at a local multiplex definitely check it out.  A wonderful combination of character-driven and movie culture comedy.

iWEBCOMICS: Lauren Davis notes the release of a new version of the controversial webcomic app from Dale Zak. Noted without comment from me today as this is a topic that requires more time than I have this morning.

THE MORE YOU KNOW: Yesterday we noted Paul Bryant Johnson gave a class at a summer webcomics camp.  Today he posted online his presentation on "Finding the Balance Between Words, Pictures and Time in Making Comics."



  • Peter Conrad writes "I took down last year because of some hackers who used the site for nefarious purposes. I've relaunched it with way more content, and I'm uploading stuff every week now!"  Peter is another long-time webcomic creator who I'll always remember for creating Zeenster - an app to read comics on the Palm OS.
  • Tommie Kelly writes "I did the webcomics Road Crew and From Rags To Rockstars.  I have a new webcomic... There are about 70 strips online at the time of emailing and it updates five times a week. Mon to Fri...  It's called Something Wonderful and it deals with religion, beliefs, new age, spirituality and Mac owners among other things."
  • Stephanie O'Donnell writes "I'm Stephanie O'Donnell, artist for the webcomic Perfect Agent.  It is written by Greg Carter (creator of Abandon and Love Is In The Blood). It started last year and we're now 2 full stories in."


  • Hey it's San Diego Comicon time again -- FLEEN is all over getting you your guide to webcomic booths so be sure to check in there before you go!
  • Also in new webcomic convention on the block news, Intervention added award winning Sci-Fi author (and soon to be Webcomic author) Ben Bova to its inaugural lineup. Bova, Rob Balder, and Bill Holbrook will be debuting their new online webcomic collaboration at Intervention called Duel in the Somme.

Comix Talk for Monday, March 29, 2010

So here's a good question worth a think. Salon just let Reuben Bolling know it's canceling it's contract for Tom The Dancing Bug (which apparently means This Modern World is the last comic at Salon?)  Tom the Dancing Bug is a smart, funny comic and the question now is -- what's the business plan for Bolling going forward?  Seriously, if there's one cartoonist who I would volunteer time to help brainstorm and execute a new business model for, he'd be on the short list. 

Penny Arcade - Penny Arcade Expo: Hope PAX East was awesome.  I'll jealously read the reports trickling in today as attendees tell their tales of brushing against the PA crew and breaking into spontaneous nerdcore beatboxing in the hallways.  In honor of the recent PAX East here's a link to Geekosystem's Top 10 Most Obscure PA characters.

Also, the Penny Arcade crew announced they would not be making a third installment in their videogames series but you can still read Macgasm's refresher review of the first two episodes of On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness here.

OTHER CONVENTIONS: In other con news, I'm still trying to make sure my schedule allows me to attend, but it looks like Rob Balder of Erfworld will definitely be there.  Where? At Intervention of course. And don't forget the Comics Events calendar for dates for comic conventions and other events

Milestones: Gordon McAlpin finished Book Four of his Multiplex webcomic.  This comic has gotten better and better -- McAlpin does the character-driven material as well as the movie-driven stuff.

REVIEWS: El Santo reviews Evan Dahm's Rice Boy - it's another example of why El Santo is one of the best reviewers in comics right now.  (My review of Rice Boy is here.)

INTERVIEWS: Sequential Tart has an interview with Rene Engstrom, creator of the completed webcomic Anders Loves Maria.

Opinion: I'd rather have Tatsuya Ishida on the editorial pages than most working editorial cartoonists.  Ishida is at least as opinionated as 3/4 of them and his art runs laps (MULTIPLE FREAKIN' LAPS) over all of them. 

iWEBCOMICS: Johana Draper Carlson talks about Alex de Campi’s Valentine comic, particularly the effort de Campi's making to bring it to multiple platforms simultaneously.

AROUND THE BLOGS: Last week, Howard Tayler had a great post on ideas and their value in the world - worth reading still.  And Tom Spurgeon lists the webcomics suggested by readers of his site, The Comics Reporter.  Not a bad list...

THE MAILBAG: Jason Whitley wrote to alert us to the return of Sea Urchins, which apparently used to be a newspaper-only comic (there's a book collection of these available here).  The comic is by Whitley and Scott Eckelaert, but so far there's not much in the way of comics up on the website.

NOT WEBCOMICS: I've still only read one Scott Pilgrim book, but the trailer for the movie looks like great fun.  

New Convention: Intervention

Intervention Convention, Sept. 10-12

I'm pretty excited about hearing Onezumi Hartstein's news - she and webcomic web-guy Harknell have organized a new convention called Intervention: Your Online Life, In Person. A Convention with Webcomics, Videos, Music, and You. It looks very cool, very webcomic-friendly but also firmly rooted in online, not comic book

Intervention is about bringing together the people you read, watch, listen to, and connect with all in one location to party, educate, and appreciate the opportunities the Internet gives all of us.

The only wrinkle is that it's on the same weekend (September 10-12) as SPX which has become quite a webcomic-friendly forum too.  They are in the same general suburban area though (northish of Washington DC) so maybe a lot of people will do both this year (FLEEN seems to think this is possible) -- I think it would be well worth it for you to try.

The early guest list is starting off well, in addition to Onezumi and Harknell, there'll be an edition of Super Art Fight and these webcomic dudes:

Slim Pickings…

Slim Pickings…

Decisions… decisions…. What do you think Bob will choose?

Here was the original art – featuring a different looking Balder. I refined his design and redrew 2 panels early this morning.

This Day in ComixTalk: September 11th

This day in ComixTalk:

Faith Erin Hicks blogged about internal narration in comics; Platinum's purchase of Wowio was still shaking out in the news (a year later and there's still no evidence that Wowio has paid off all of its debts to creators and publishers.)

Platinum Studios filed for an IPO; and Phil Kahn posted video of numerous interviews he did at Connecticon with creators such as Chris Hastings and Kent Archer of Dr. McNinja and Rob Balder and Jami Noguchi of ErfWorld.

Jim Zubkavich announced the print version of his webcomic Makeshift Miracle.

Another update to Kris Straub's meta-meta-meta webcomic Modern Humor Authority; an interview with Maritza Campos of CRFH!!!; a review of School Spirit.

Also from the forums, RanJado wondered about how to draw distinctions between comics' readerships;

Jamie Robertson announced that he would stop working on his webcomic Clan of the Cats.  I'm not sure of the ends and outs of Robertson's work status on the comic every year since than, but I'm happy to report that right now he is working on the strip (there's an update today) and I think his work has gotten better every year.  Great strip full of of supernatural elements, adventure and relationships, all with really strong artwork.

James Kochalka won best online comic at the Ignatzs for American Elf.  He, however, did not accept his award in a gorilla suit.

It's Ain't Easy Being Green

Good morning Internet!  Swine flu even at PAX?! (see Mike/Gabe's message) -- nice to see that the Penny Arcade crew is broadcasting useful information via the website and encouraging everyone to take care of themselves.  That show seemed huge this year.  I am looking forward to my probably futile hopes to attend PAX East (futile because something always comes up to deflect my physical travels much like that damn leprechaun and his stale box of marshmallows and grains).

Rick Marshall scores an interview with Harvey Pekar about his new webcomic project.  How cool is that?!

A lovely interview with the talented Kate Beaton (no! you have not yet read enough interviews with Beaton this year!!  And... there WILL BE MORE! This Nostradamous predicts...)

Brigid Alverson gives a very good review to the first print collection of Skin Horse by Shaenon Garrity and some dude (Jeffrey C. Wells: just kidding!!!!!!!).

Met up with the Washtington Webcomics crew last night: Rob Balder (still erfing the world); Chris Impink (um gravitating the fragile... hmm ), Chris Flick (caping the babes? okay this nickname scheme isn't working out all that well) and just met Joe Zuniga who does the relatively new comic Made Up.

Two Great Panels from Katsucon 15

Two great panels - first with Kris Straub, Dave Kellett, Rob Balder, Phil Foglio, Barb Fischer of Fragile Gravity, Nick Borkowicz of Art Fight High School, and Chris "Kilika" Malone of Blue & Blond.

Katsucon 15: Print, Web, or Both: What Should a Comic Artist Do? from kaiki on Vimeo.

Second with Michael "Mookie" Terracciano, Marty Day, Kris Straub, Dave Kellett, Brian Prindiville and Ross Nover and Brad Guigar.

Katuscon 15: How To Make Webcomics: From Sketch to Posting and All Points in Between. from kaiki on Vimeo.

Erfworld by Balder and Noguchi

Partially Clips by Rob Balder

American Erfs: Rob Balder and Jamie Noguchi

Erfworld is a hilarious adventure comic set in a world that seems to operate according to the laws of a role playing game like Dungeons and Dragons.  The main character Parson is from our world and he is suddenly thrust into the world of Erfworld in the midst of a titantic battle between various factions.  It's funny on a lot of levels.  Yes you will probably laugh more and longer if you've ever played a role playing game but even if you haven't Rob Balder's wordplay and Jamie Noguchi's artwork will still entertain you.

Rob Balder is well known to many webcomic creators and readers for his work on Partially Clips, a satirical comic that uses clip art.  He's also a musician and an associate editor of the fiction and fandom 'zine Nth DegreeWe interviewed Rob for ComixTALK once before back in 2004.  Jamie Noguchi currently has a day job as a self-described "multimedia monkey" for NASA and used to work as a colorist with UDON Entertainment.  He also illustrates various things including Erfworld and hopes to someday move into doing full time illustration.

I've known Rob and Jamie for years now - I met Rob initially at SPX and have hung out with both at local Washington Webcomics meetings.  They both strike me as passionate about comics and story-telling and I was not at all surprised at the success of Erfworld.  I got a chance to interview them by email about the state of Erfworld and plans for 2009.