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Achewood

5 Questions: How To Ask for Support?

There are basically two kinds of support webcomics creators need: moral/emotional and financial. Making webcomics can be a tough slog. It can seem, especially in the early years of a comic, that we're working in a vacuum and that maybe no one's reading. But, when you do get that occasional email from a fan - whoa, what a feeling! But when traffic stats are low or merchandise isn't selling or we get a terrible review, we need support and encouragement that keep us going.

Comix Talk for Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cleopatra in Space! by Mike Maihack

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  I grilled the heck out of some meat on Monday and good times were had by all.  Speaking of food, the Portland Mercury offers up a ballsy cooking lesson from Achewood creator Chris Onstad. (h/t Waxy).  I challenge you to read that one all the way to the end.

AWARDS: The 2010 National Cartoonist Society's Reuben Awards were announced -- According to the NCS members Zits by Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman is the best comic strip and Rhymes with Orange by Hilary Price is the best panel in the newspapers this year... I actually think Rhymes does have some amazing work but Zits, while extremely well-crafted, feels like a bland family sitcom translated to the newspaper.  These are both very safe choices although given the glacial rate of change in newspaperland there's not really much in the way of dangerous choices the NCS could have made.

ANTHOLOGY:  A new webcomic collective - or maybe better to say online anthology?  Space Dock 7 is a science fiction themed hub for seven new webcomics that have strategically adopted an update schedule staggering their weekly updates so that each has its own day.

HYPIN THE HYPE

I Want You To Feel the Pressure by M. Thomas Harding is interesting.  The first thing you might notice however is how much the art and format of it look like Dresdan Codak. In fact the main character of IWYTFTP is kind of similar visually to a prominent character in Dresdan.  It's worth mentioning that similarity, but it's not like Harding is slavishly copying -- his comic is set-up to be about a super spy and her friends, but the first chapter was mostly about a night at a club -- we'll see what the second chapter winds up focusing on.  He's making progress with making the characters distinct and interesting, he's decently adept with the plot and there are some good beats in the individual comics.  And his artwork is improving so possibly he'll get to a point where it doesn't seem to ape Dresdan so much.

Clockworks by Shawn Gaston is a lot of fun.  It's not perfect but it has a lot of things going right. Visually, the comic is fantastic -- Gaston has a great sense of color and design.  The artwork is almost iconic at times where the characters can be submerged into the larger pattern of the panel.  The whole world of Clockworks isn't necessarily unique but it's a well-done mashup of steampunk and fantasy images.  Although there's a largely dark palette at work the use of color is really well thought out - it's often just very nice to look at.  Story-wise after 90+ comics there's a bit more of the overall world revealed and you have a better sense of the characters.  There's a lot of mystery and a bit of confusion as to motivation sometimes but give Gaston props for sticking (mostly) to the show not tell rule of story-telling.  If you read the about page you learn that the webcomic is based on a roleplaying game that Gaston is running with a group of friends (inspired by this Dork Tower comic).  I don't know how to feel about that -- on the one hand, I now know that there's a structure to the world we're reading about that Gaston is borrowing, but on the other hand, the characters in the webcomic come from the roleplaying which may or may not lead to narrative coherence as the thing plays out (what makes a satisfying role-playing experience does not necessarily equal a satisfying narrative experience for the reader).  I am going to give Gaston the benefit of the doubt and encourage you to as well (particularly if this is the type of story you'd already like).

The ComixTalk 2009 Roundtable

It's the end of the year and what better time to talk webcomics with a great group of interesting creators and commentators.  For this year's roundtable we talked about favorite and new webcomics from 2009; iPhones and iTablets; developments in the business of comics; developments in the subject matter of comics; webcomic awards; and predictions for 2010!  I'm joined by Gary Tyrrell, Delos Woodruff, Shaenon Garrity, Fesworks, Derik Badman, Larry Cruz, Brigid Alverson and Johanna Draper Carlson.

Webcomics Headlines for Tuesday November 24, 2009

AWARDS
The Webcomics List is having an awards program this year.  According to their rules, "Everyone actively involved in webcomics in some way can nominate candidates for the awards. You can nominate up to three comics for each [category]."  Nominations are open until December 13th and the winners -- to be selected by panels of judges -- will be announced on January 24th.

AV Club includes two webcomics in its best comics of the decade listAchewood and American Elf. (h/t El Santo)

NOT COMICS
The Penny Arcade "reality show" is surprisingly moving -- really well done and looking forward to future episodes.  (Much better than the PA comic would suggest!)

BUSINESS
Sean Kleefeld comments on a recent story (one in a continuing series apparently) about how "the internet ate my comic" -- this story in the Peoria Journal focusing on comments of frustration with the Internet from Julie Larsone, the creaor of the Dinette Set comic.

Webcomics make the AV Clubs Best Comics of the Decade List

AV Club has been doing Best of the Decade lists all month, many of which have been excellent and surprising. Recently, the released their Best Comics of the Decade. Two webcomics made the cut, and they’re accompanied by interesting observations about the medium:

Webcomic Overlook's Top Ten Best Webcomics of the Decade

You want to know what’s really subjective? Top ten lists. No two people will ever agree on what the best ten of anything is as long as people have the ability to think for themselves. Isn’t merely the act of putting together such a list an example of arrogance? Probably.

Still, we love lists like the one I’m compiling below for one big reason: its fun to argue why something made the list, and why things were left off.

So, as we head into the Holiday Season and close out the aughts, here’s my list of what I think are the Ten Best Webcomics of the Decade (2000-2009): The Second Decade of Webcomics.

Seattle Types: Meet Tony Millionaire and Chris Onstad

PW Beat reports that Tony Millionaire (Sock Monkey) and Chris Onstad (Achewood) are visiting your favorite comic shop in the Northwest! Apparently the dudes already hit Portland two days ago. Hopefully, you fair denizens of the City of Roses caught that. The rest of their tour is in the Seattle-Tacoma area.

Pop-Culture References Made by Shaenon and Andrew in Conversation During One Week, 9/6/09-9/12/09

Once again, I got curious and started writing them down.

There's nothing like a Rolls! Not even a Bentley! A Bentley!
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, screenplay by Roger Ebert. It's hard not to say this when passing a Bentley dealership.

Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!
Plan Nine from Outer Space. Applicable to so many situations.

I'm your boyfriend now!

Worst Webcomic, Drawn on Ugliest Wacom Tablet

Hope everyone had a great summer - I guess it's officially FALL now.  Start off your autumnal reading with this post from Tony Piro (creator of Calamities of Nature) who recommends reading Dave Sims' writings about self-publishing as still relevant in a webcomic world.

REVIEWS
Caleb Mozzoocco reviews the newest Achewood book from Chris Onstad, Worst Song, Played On Ugliest Guitar
.

COPYRIGHT
Interesting post on copyright violations and how one artist deals with them. (h/t Journalista!)

TOOLS
More coverage of David Morgan-Mar's new custom-comics-RSS-feed service called Archive Binge.

JUSTIFY MY HYPE
Roadcrew looks pretty good - I started checking out the archives this morning.

Newsarama's blog will run Egg Embry’s Global Freezing webcomic from the beginning starting tomorrow. The strip, which will run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, has been running at Embry’s own “Comics By Egg” at www.comicsbyegg.com.

The Awesome Blossom is Blooming!

First off - Websnark has a second post up today - this one on the current Achewood saga. Nice to have Eric back (and writing about webcomics)!

INTERVIEWS
A great interview with Kate Beaton, creator of Hark A Vagrant.  Apparently we have Emily Horne of A Softer World to thank for encouraging Kate to put her comics online.

DEAD TREES
Shaenon Garrity writes about her experiences self-publishing the first print collection of her webcomic Skin Horse. Also worth noting is Garrity's new comics collective -- the Couscous Collective.

BUSINESS
Brigid Alverson has the scoop on Tokyopop's ambitious online undertaking.

Cory Doctorow writes on why free e-books should be part of a writers strategy - the advice seems worth considering for comics creators too.