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Tuesday News & Blues

COMIXMEDIA UPDATE:  I'm still working on the site(s) upgrade. Current plan is to have this site rebranded as COMIXTALK by the beginning of July. I'll have another site called COMIXMEDIA as an umbrella site for comics-related projects I'm working on. The upgrade here went well except the current "theme" for the site is creating some problems so I need to get the site moved to a new theme pronto (current plan is to simply update the current theme to Drupal 5.1 specs)

Guest Bloggers Wanted: Interested in blogging about (web)comics on ComixTalk in July or August? Drop me a note at xerexes AT comixpedia DOT com

BUSINESS
Todd Allen breaks another piece of the story about DC Comics plans for the web. DC Comics' new online editor is Kwanza Johnson (who according to Allen had a similar job with Marvel back in 2000?!) Allen predicts a "big" 4th quarter roll-out of webcomics from DC.

Mike Strang posted about his unhappy experience working for Platinum on a work-for-hire contract and others (T Campbell) chimed in with comments. Joey Manley compared work-for-hire to sticking your hand in a meat grinder. My own personal opinion is that authors should keep their copyrights and that creativity and business are both better off under those circumstances. But in movies, television, music and especially comic books, work-for-hire arrangements have been used forever and are still being used. So long as you know what you're getting into I don't see anything inherently evil about it. Just be clear on the concept - work-for-hire means all of your creative work becomes someone else's property. (REMINDER: if you comment at ComixTalk please try to be civil and respectful of others.)

INTERVIEWS
T Campbell interviews Aaron Williams, creator of Nodwick, PS238, Full Frontal Nerdity, co-writer on Truth, Justin, and the American Way.

Jane Irwin interviewed Templar, AZ creator Spike about webcomics and "effectively whoring your way to higher pageviews." You can read the interview here.

Shaenon Garrity interviewed Rob Vollmar who writes the comic Inanna’s Tears (drawn by mpMann).

Lynn Lau interviewed Katie Shanahan creator of the off-the-wall journal comic Shrub Monkeys.

Finding Wonderland talks to American Born Chinese author Gene Yang. (link from Journalista!)

DEAD TREES: Life Meter Vol. 2 will debut at MOCCA. Life Meter is an anthology of video game- inspired comics, featuring stories and art by Bannister, Joel Carroll, Raina Telgemeier, Steve Hamaker, Jake Parker, Jeffrey Rowland, Queenie Chan, and many, many more.

JUSTIFY MY HYPE: I saw some plugs for Boxcar Astronaut and it is indeed a cute comic (it reminds me a bit of the syndicated Red Rover comic strip).

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 BLOGS
FLEEN speculates on whether Elfquest creators Wendy and Richard Pini will follow the path of Phil and Kaja Foglio to the web.

At the Webcomicker blog, Gilead writes about Dominic Deegan:

If there’s one thing I like about Dominic Deegan, it’s that the storylines move forward progressively. The comic tends to have storylines which are fairly self-contained, with a specific villian or villians wreaking havoc with a specific set of goals and a specific set of heroes undergoing a specific set of actions in order to thwart said villians. But instead of each storyline coming around the full circle and leaving the heroes in basically the same place as they were when they started in classic comic book “and so the world was saved once again, and John D and Suzy Q were able to return to their normal lives” fashion, the characters in Dominic Deegan mature and grow from their experiences, and with each storyline move progressively closer to the “happily ever after.”

Joystiq readers pick their favorite comic.

Odd factoid of the day - according to this blog post, VG Cats creator Scott Ramsoomair used to babysit this guy.

The Summer Slump

I've had at least a few thousand readers for at least three years now. In that time, I've noticed that there are distinct patterns of website traffic every year that roughly correspond to the time high school and college students are in school. That is to say, September through Mid December and Mid January through May tend to be high growth periods. Summer tends to bring stagnation, slow growth, or even traffic loss. The winter holidays bring a brief but steep traffic drop.

Appreciation and Analysis of Webcomic Artists

One of the types of features I'd like to run more of are the sort of appreciation and analysis of an artist/writer that Shaenon Garrity gave to Jason Shiga back in our February 2003 issue. Besides giving me an excuse to link to an article that is still a good read, I'd like to ask folks to suggest the names of creators who you'd like to see Comixpedia write up in this kind of a profile.

Updating the Feed Lists

When we switched to Drupal one of the nice things I was able to set up was pulling in the RSS feeds of other sites to Comixpedia. That way we do less "link" blogging here but you can still get a sense of what's going on in webcomicland from the syndicated headlines.

Webcomics And The Direct Market

Warren Ellis' forum The Engine has a thread on webcomics and the direct market (i.e. comic book shops). The discussion ends up being more about the problem retailers see with creators debuting their comics at cons without offering them at shops at the same time, but also has some interesting discussion for webcomics with an eye on the traditional comics market.

Retailer Brian Hibbs:

In most cases, my knee-jerk reaction to something (anything) that is being made available to me secondarily is going to be minimal if not nil orders. [...]I've got no real concern about creators having an equal or better crack at the hardcopy sales, but where the advantage directly turns against me (ie: offering for sale BEFORE I have a fair crack at the work... be that on-line, or, yup, even in person at a convention or something), then I'm way way WAY less likely to support that work with my purchasing dollars as a retailer.

Hibbs elaborates a bit on this saying that he does not see as big a problem with comics offered free online. The problem is if the consumer has already paid for the comic in some format, which would make him/her less likely to buy it again through a store.

Women in Comics: Templar, Arizona

I went to Wonder-Con this past weekend, and overall had a pretty good time -- a lot of interesting folks, intriguing conversations, and comic discussion panels, some better than others. One of the less-than-stellar panels was Girls Kick Ass! Female Protagonists in Print and Beyond. But instead of complaining about it here -- at least for the moment -- I'm going to spend the week telling you about some of my favorite female webcomic protagonists who do, indeed, kick ass.

First up: Reagan, from Templar, Arizona.

Who's Making A Living At This?

I'm a little depressed this week, because I had to divert much of my time away from making webcomics to beginning new web design contract jobs, which makes up the majority of my income.

2007 Glyph Awards Announced--GAAK Nominated!!!

The 2007 Glyph Awards recognizing black comic creators achievements in the various aspects of comic/webcomic medium from writing and artwork, to cover design, and character developement have just been announced.

Notable webcomic creators getting recognized for their work are Darryl Hughes and Monique MacNaughton (nominees "Rising Star" category) for G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures and Spike (nominee "Best comic strip" category) for Templar, Arizona.

WCCA Nominations Out

The full list of nominations for the upcoming WCCAs is out - get the list here or click read more (the WCCA site is slow today so I copied it into this post here).

 

Nominees for 2007 WCCAs

WCCAThe WCCA nominations are dribbling out today:

OUTSTANDING COMIC FINALISTS:

OUTSTANDING NEWCOMER FINALISTS:

That is a really strong group of candidates for Outstanding Comic, including last year's Outstanding Newcomer winner (Gunnerkrigg Court). I haven't read all of the nominees for Outstanding Newcomer for this year - that's probably just more evidence of how many webcomics there are now...

UPDATE: We have an interview with the creators of What Birds Know in this month's magazine - click here to read.