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Sam Costello

SPX and Intervention 2010 Report

SPX 2010Intervention 2010Wow! SPX and Intervention in one long weekend of comics; it took me awhile to recover and get back to writing up lessons learned.  I felt a little stretched trying to cover ground at both conventions --  but it looks like no one will have to do that again as Intervention will almost certainly be on a different weekend in the Fall next year. Ideally, Intervention would be in the summer or spring to really separate it from SPX, but co-creator Oni Hartstein explained that a Spring date for the show would be cost prohibitive.

SPX was more of the same as it has been since the move to the Bethesda Convention Center -- one big room filled with rows and rows of comic creators talking about their comics with books and swag to sell.  The presence of webcomics at the show grows every year -- this year Kate Beaton was the rock star of the show, with lines longer than anyone else had.  Jeph Jacques' table and a whole group of webcomics at one corner of the room were all pretty constantly crowded from what I could tell.  It's kind of a no-brainer when you say it out loud, but if you have a webcomic with a decent to more than decent sized audience, SPX is potentially a really good show.  People are there for the comics and outside of New York, this is one of the best places on the East Coast to see a whole lot of the entire spectrum of comics.

SPX 2010 Photos (Part 1)

Photos of creators from this year's SPX (part 1)

5 Questions: Introductions

Hi, I'm Sam Costello. I'm the creator and writer of Split Lip, a horror webcomic in the vein of the Twilight Zone, which features work by artists from all over the world.

In thinking about what to write for the guest blog posts that Xaviar asked me to write, I realized that I'd been asking myself a lot of questions about webcomics recently (especially questions about Split Lip, many of which were prompted by my recent series of columns about making it at iFanboy). I had thoughts about the questions, but not enough answers. I don't know if anyone does, but I'm guessing the discussion we'll have about these questions will be useful to many of us - creators and readers alike. I'm looking forward to talking with you all this week.

Guest Bloggers Week 3

Let me repeat my thanks to all of the guest bloggers for posting so many great posts in my absence.  Thanks to last week's bloggers: Alexander Danner, Brian Moore, John Baird and Max Vaehling.  My biggest regret is that I didn't give them all their own week (if you weren't able to check out the last week flip through the archives for a ton of advice on writing, review and links to great comics).  And one more thanks to the week one bloggers: Ben McCormick, and Amanda & Daniel Potter.

For this week we've got a great group of comic creators and instigators.  They'll all be introducing themselves but here's a brief summary:

Steve Troop is the creator of the comedy sci-fi comic Melonpool and the comic CryptoZooey.  He's been making comics for over 10 years now.  He's also made some excellent puppets and they have appeared in several places including a They Might Be Giants video the Kobe and Lebron MVPuppets commercials.

Sam Costello is the prolific writer and creator behind Split Lip the horror webcomic series.

Harknell and Onezumi are a force to be reckoned with!  Onezumi is a webcomic creator and Harknell is a website coding ninja.  Both are very cool folks and longtime supporters of this site as well as their own webcomic community sites.  We're lucky to have a bit of their time as they are gearing up for the first edition of the convention they've created: Intervention which is coming very soon in September.

Comix Talk for Monday, July 26, 2010

Magpie Luck by Katie Sekelsky


AWARDS: Congrats to Cameron Stewart for his webcomic Sin Titulo winning the Eisner for Best Digital Comic this year.

HYPE: The prequel comic to the movie Inception is pretty good actually.



Steve "Fabricari" Harrison writes "After taking a couple years on hiatus upon completion of my webcomic Fabricari: Ad Hoc, I've decided to cull together all of my Fabricari related comics and art in preparation for some sort of omnibus thinger. I've re-lettered and posted issues one and two online.  As a bonus, I found a fifteen year-old uninked short story, the very first Fabricari comic; I inked it and also posted it on my site. It's a weird collaboration between my 19 and 34 year old self. It's a bit weird, but I couldn't be happier with the results.  And coming soon: The re-scanned, re-lettered pages from issue three!

Sam Costello writes:  I've got a new Split Lip site - now on its own domain at  The main benefits of the new site are that the art is much bigger (about a third bigger), which makes for a much nicer reading experience. It also has a blog from me. It's got all 31 Split Lip stories - nearly 500 pages of free horror comics.

Christopher Baldwin writes about his wonderful (not just my opinion - check out the io9 review) new science fiction webcomic, Spacetrawler which has been running since January of this year.

I am planning it to be a 3 year project, with one book per year (it runs twice-weekly, so approx 104 pages per book). It is full color. The books will be divided similar to the Star Wars movies, where each stands alone but there is also an over-arching plot.  Although a gag strip, there is a lot of depth in character and plot. And the cast is large enough that it took me about 5 months just to fully introduce everyone. Now that I have, things have begun happening en force, and judging by the comments on my page, people are loving that.

Comix Talk for Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rogues of Clwyd-RhanThis is fun - Haplog is a website that pulls together a bunch of different publicly available data about a website and then estimates its "worth".  Estimates in webcomicland range -- the top may be xkcd which gets a $1.7 million score followed by Penny Arcade at $669,725 and Questionable Content comes in at around $480,000.

MILESTONES: This month marks the 10th anniversary of the English-language run of the fantasy webcomic Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan.  Congrats to creator Reinder Dijkhuis!  

iWebcomics: Brigid does a round up of all the recent "digital" news.  While there is something to chew on in thinking over the disclosure of DC's plans for compensation for digital editions of its works, in general I'm fairly underwhelmed by the recent announcements.  The true business-shifting pitch for DC or Marvel is something like rhapsody for comics.  I'm also glad to read that Ron Peraza of DC mention that he will either bring Zuda creators into DC proper or work to let them out of their contracts with their rights back.  The whole interview with Peraza at Robot6 is worth reading for more insight into the shutdown of Zuda.

As far as DC's compensation scheme goes, Bleeding Cool reports that DC offered "for every work published by DC in a digital format, writers and pencilers will each receive additional compensation equal to 5% of DC’s net receipts derived from the sale of that work. Inkers will receive 3% of DC’s net receipts. Those of you who have a creator-owned deal in place with us will receive a creator royalty of 3% of DC’s net receipts."

INTERVIEW: Tom Spurgeon presents an edited transcript of his panel with Richard Thompson, Cul De Sac, at Heroes Con. Thompson is the creator of one of the best new comics in the newpaper (or anywhere really).

FROM THE MAILBAG: Sam Costello is back with another comic in his Split Lip horror series – Make Westing adapts Jack London's classic tale of high-seas murder to comics.  Written by Costello and drawn by Anthony Peruzzo, it follows a ship stuck for months trying to catch the wind to round Cape Horn and the lengths to which its captain will go to catch a westward gust. 


NOT WEBCOMICS: Apparently the video below almost got Best Buy employee and webcomic creator Brian Maupin fired.  It's $@^ing hilarious (but some of the language NSFW). Be sure to check out his webcomic Also Coin Operated.

Comix Talk for Friday, June 25, 2010

Hey it's Friday -- let's do this thing and then blow this popsicle stand!

Lost in Comics by JJ Harrison

HYPEY MCHYPE: I've been meaning to link Lost in Comics for awhile now -- a very nice comic inspired by the now-ended teevee series Lost. I really like the art from JJ Harrison on this.

DEAD TREES: Dylan Meconis shows off the book version of her webcomic Family Man.

CODE:  Frumph, the lead programming developer for ComicPress is going to appear at the Intervention convention to host panels and hands-on workshops for CSS, WordPress, and ComicPress set up and tweaking.

BUSINESS: The Daily Cartoonist reports that 8 newspaper cartoonists have created a website together.  The eight cartoonists are: Tom Batiuk (Funky Winkerbean), Dave Coverly (Speed Bump), Greg Evans (Luanne), Peter Guren (Ask Shagg), Jeff Keane (The Family Circus), Rick Kirkman (Baby Blues), Mike Luckovich (editorial cartoonist/Atlanta Journal Constitution) and Jerry Scott (Baby BluesZits).


  • Paul Dwyer writes that he has two new books coming out collecting his experimental comics. Full previews of both books (and links to where to purchase) are available at Comex BooksComics Experiments features various short comics stories, ranging from one page abstract pieces to the thirty-page "Omega", a comic based on images from old public domain movies; and Codex Optica, volume 1 collects the first arc of Dwyer's ongoing webcomic which consists of a progressively changing five-by-five grid of photographic images.  Dwyer is also the creator of the webcomics I Shot Roy!.
  • Chuck Whelon writes that he's been illustrating board and card games for Minion Games including: Those Pesky Humans, Nile, Sturgeon, and Legitimacy. They'll be available for purchase in late July 2010.  Lots more details at Chuck blog here -- including a way to get a 10% discount.  Chuck is the creator of the very funny, fantasy webcomic, Pewfell.
  • Shaun Gardiner writes that the next part of The Boy with Nails for Eyes is available online. ComixTalk looked at the first chapter of this webcomic back in April.
  • Sam Costello writes that Departing for the Third Heaven is now up at the Split Lip website.  It tells the tale of a cat given by one friend to another and the strange bond that cat develops with his new owner - one that extends beyond the grave.  The new webcomic in the Split Lip horror series was written by Sam Costello and drawn by Providence-based painter and illustrator Josie Morway.

Comix Talk for Thursday, April 8, 2010

Split Lip Volume 2 by Sam CostelloFleen reported yesterday that Phil Foglio caught that Merriam Webster had "webcomic" up as a new word for April 2010.  I've always liked webcomic because (1) it's self-explanatory and (2) no one calls comedians doing something online "webcomics".

CONVENTIONS: MoCCA is this weekend.  Sam Costello the creator of the horror webcomic Split Lip will be debuting a special limited edition of its Volume 2 trade paperback with a new, previously unpublished story and a new cover by Shane Oakley.  The 10 stories in the collection offer 160 pages of disturbing, intellectual horror stories with art by Sami Makkonen (Hatter M vol. 2), Anthony Perruzo (Zuda), John Bivens (Comic book Tattoo), and Jason Ho (Agnes Quill). 

And Brigid Alverson has a round-up of lots more great books that will be available at MoCCA.

INTERVIEWS: The Beat has an interview with Hope Larson and Raina Telgemeier.  Together they're hosting the "Drink & Draw Like A Lady" event.

AWARDS: You can make nominations for the Eagle awards now.  Go Intertubes go...


So The Boy with Nails for Eyes by Shaun Gardiner is pretty interesting.  It's a webcomic with music, and a kind of delayed, cinematic presentation of the panels on a "page" that pushes -- but in my mind mostly doesn't break -- the boundary of comicness.  Really in terms of experimenting with the notion of a comic embedded in the web, this is fantastic stuff.  And the interface used to navigate within the "page" and to go from page to page is pretty easy.  So far there is only one chapter up of what is supposed to be a much longer story.  The art is fantastic, the brief text so far interesting, hard to guess if the work as a whole will be satisfying but certainly Gardiner's setting a high bar for himself.  I heartily recommend checking this out.

Nate Wunderman wrote to mention his webcomics E.I. and Time Corps.  Talk about extremes - I went from being immersed in the webbiness of The Boy with Nails for Eyes to Wunderman's comics which are all presented in pdf format.  I can't repeat this enough -- use an image format that's native to browsers.  You want to offer a .pdf as an alternate version, great, but start with something from the holy trinity of image formats; gif, jpg and png.