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September 5, 2001

From Hell

I have recently re-read Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's acclaimed Jack the Ripper saga From Hell, soon to be a major motion picture. Lately, I've often found myself rereading old favourites and going "What a load of crap", but not with this one. Granted, it did have some iffy moments at the start, where Eddie Campbell's scratchy drawings look a little too crude for what he's trying to do, and the long explanation of London as a magical constellation early on now looks forced, but once that's out of the way, the writing settles in this relentless groove, the art becomes more and more sophisticated and From Hell quickly becomes one of those books that you can't put down. Read it now before that movie hits the theaters (which it may already have done in the US).

Get it from Amazon.com in the US or from Amazon.co.uk in Europe

This is a backdated entry from before this blog was started. It was originally published on rocr.net

June 18, 2002

Wake

Publicity image of Navee, swiped from bdsillage.free.fr

For well-drawn, well-written escapism, check out Wake. Wake is the story of a human girl marooned on a jungle planet and picked up by a nomadic space community seeking to colonise planets for the many sentient races the Wake consists of. Young Navee is quite happy living the life of a solitary hunter-gatherer in the jungle she grew up in, but the Hottards, a species requiring extremely hot, dry weather, has chosen the planet to settle on. Because the Wake's definition of intelligence includes telepathic ability, Navee is not recognised as a sentient being, and is slated to fry along with the other animals living on the planet. The first album, Fire and Ash, is about Navee's battle to stay alive, ending with her being taken along as a research subject (if you think this is a spoiler, think again. As an origin story, it could only end that way, and in any case, the journey is a lot more important than the destination). The following books document her growing up and becoming integrated in the traveling community, becoming an undercover agent and adventurer. The fourth book, not yet available in English, seems to be the beginning of a new cycle in which Navee begins to uncover corruption within the system she's serving.
Wake has excellent stories and presents a thoroughly developed, original Science Fiction universe with many interesting, believable alien species. I was impressed by the way the ostensible villain of the first story got to put in his defense at the end. What really makes the series special, though, is the art, which is clean, complex, spectacular and gets better with each new book. Page layouts and colors are breath-taking. If you enjoy science fiction comics, you'll want to check out this series.

Book 1: Fire and Ash
Book 2: Private Collection
Book 3: Gearing Up

This is a backdated entry from before this weblog was started. It was originally posted on rocr.net.

February 29, 2004

Comics museum to open in "late April"

Het Dagblad van het Noorden reports that Groningen's Comics Museum will open its doors at the end of April, and not April 8 as originally reported in Zozolala. Wrangling over the rights for the materials used in the museum is said to be one cause of the delay.
The McDonalds franchise sharing the museum's front door will open on April 8 though.

March 1, 2004

Webpage for the Groningen Comics Museum

While doing a project for the comics museum in Groningen, I've been somewhat embarrassed by the lack of a website for people involved to link to. Now, at least, there is a web page about the project by Libema, who are sponsoring and developing the venue.

Those are real men's foreskins, those are!

cmkaapjes' recent post about lego reminded me of The Brick Testament, by the Reverend Brendan Powell Smith. It's the Bible in Legos, and it rocks.

March 3, 2004

Museum progress

Today I've been to the Comics Museum to pick up a computer to set up the digital exhibit on. Work on the Museum is now definitely progressing.

I caught a glimpse of the pillars in which the computers will be mounted! The artwork is looking really good; it should, for the work involved in the production of the files drove me nuts. I've taken some pictures which I'll upload and post as soon as I've located the cable that came with my camera.

March 9, 2004

Comics in the exhibit (1)

One advantage of setting up a webcomics exhibit is that it's a good reason to finally read the archives of famous webcomics that you know you should be reading anyway. One disadvantage is that you get to slog through huge webcomics archives in a short period of time.

This week, I'll be listing some of the comics in the exhibit. I want to start off with two that distinguished themselves by having a "best of" page in which I could easily find their most-loved work:
Boxjam's Doodle and Sluggy Freelance. Both are well-known (or should be) but deserve extra mention anyway for this good practice.

Comics in the exhibit (2)

Another comic that follows the "best practice" of having a Best Of archive and therefore deserves an early mention is Hans Bjordahl's pioneering Where the Buffalo Roam. On the internet before there was a web, WTBR doesn't quite have the polish of many modern-day webcomisc and takes little or no advantage of the formal possibilities offered by online publication. It's simply a humorous strip, probably made with newspaper syndication in mind. And Columbus was just a schlub who got lost...

Comics for the exhibit (3)

Another one that tried to make my work easier (although I ended up making my own selection from mostly the earlier ones) is Dr. Fun by David Farley. A very early, Far Side-inspired cartoon series that may well have been the first Webcomic, and is still going.

March 10, 2004

Sketchbook update

In addition to the ones that I've been posting along with the day's ROCR comics, there are some new sketches for some earlier ROCR installments in the Book of All Things. Some more will appear in the next few days.

Comics in the exhibit (4)

Two creators who went above and beyond the call of duty: Maritza Campos of College Roomies from Hell!!!, and Adrian Ramos of Count Your Sheep.
Maritza made available color versions of her comics, which are not currently in her online archive. They may be back there some day, but until then, the museum has a nice rarity on its hard drives.
Adrian went one further and (at my request) had 20 comics translated into Dutch so that Dutch-speaking children could read them. There are very few comics online that are appealing to young readers and Count Your Sheep, while not being strictly a kids' comic, is among the very best of them.

March 11, 2004

Comics in the exhibit (5)

Bruno is one of those comics that you know you should read, but whose archives are a bit intimidating. I've finally done it, and feel humbled. Christopher Baldwin does realism extremely well, to the point where I start to wonder what I'm doing writing a fantasy comic. Then in the ghost story and the dream sequence he also proves that he can do fantasy better than almost anyone.
There is no other comic remotely like Bruno, to the best of my knowledge. A shoo-in for the exhibit.

Studio-mate Jeroen was impressed by the art when he saw me rooting through the Vast and Intimidating Archive and later asked me for the URL.

Comic: Desperately Seeking

Almost immediately after finishing Pin Drop, I started work on a second volume of wordless comics. I drew several stories but because I started on a very busy job that year, the project fell by the wayside. Later, there was the launch of rocr.net in 2000 and all the other, newer comics work I was doing.

I wrote and drew this story, Desperately Seeking in 1998 but never published or indeed finished the last panel until now.

Page 1Page 2Page 3.pngPage 4.png


March 12, 2004

Reinder orders you to like this!

(Or: Comics for the exhibit, part the sixth)

Yet another comic with intimidatingly large archives, Narbonic. I still haven't finished reading but recommend the Smart Gerbils storyline as a good (i.e. side-splittingly funny) starting point. This is what I've chosen for the exhibit.

You need a Modern Tales subscription to read this great story. I order you to want one!

March 13, 2004

Webcomics crossovers

Nifty idea: a database in which you can look up crossovers between webcomics. May be helpful for following the big mess that the FRAMED!!! Great Escape has become...

March 14, 2004

Comics in the exhibit (7)

More artists who went above and beyond the call of duty for the Comics Museum's digital exhibit:

Jesse Hamm of Happygoth
Charley Parker ofArgon Zark
Donna Barr of Stinz
Cayetano Garza, Jr. of Whimville
T. Campbell and the Waltrip brothers of Fans and Rip & Teri
Jeroen Jager of Capn
Scott McCloud

All these artists (and Adrian Ramos who I have mentioned several times before) have contributed hi-res art for the display columns
at very short notice, with little information from me about what was needed (because I was still figuring it out).

Interview with Joost Pollman

Dagblad van het Noorden has an interview with Joost Pollman, curator of the Comics Museum.

Quick summary by yours truly:

  • No precise date has been picked for the opening, but it will be in April
  • Joost is kept awake at night by all the stuff that still needs to be done (I know how that feels)
  • Attractions will include a "Moving Theatre" introducing comics to the masses, a "studio" demonstrating the modus operandi of several famous cartoonists, a coloring room where (presumably young) visitors can try their hands at working on a comic, and the webcomics room.
  • Joost is not a great comics lover, but an experienced exhibit organiser. Even his brother Peter Pontiac was hardly represented in his book collection.
  • Joost also discusses some of the constraints in which he has to work. The museum has no collection of its own and will not be able to do research. Also, a lot of work on the museum's charter content was already done, and the museum's focus was pre-destined to be on popular works from the Netherlands: Franka, Jan, Jans en de Kinderen and Heer Bommel among others.
  • Despite these constraints, Joost has a wish list of comics he wishes to exhibit. The range is pretty wide: he is working on an exhibit on Archie, Man of Steel but also supports the inclusion of young Dutch artists.
  • He says the museum will be aimed at a wider audience, not just hardcore fans.

March 15, 2004

Skirting Danger

Webcomic Skirting Danger has moved from Graphic Smash to Keenspot. The new website has a nice design, and I just love the way Meredith Gran courts Keenspot's key demographic in its very first episode as a Keenspot comic. Betcha she won't deliver any of what she promises on Wednesday!

DAFTSOD on Graphic Smash!

Yay! I'm happy to announce that my pet project with Adam Cuerden is going to be featured on GraphicSmash! Dangerous and Fluffy: the Sheep of Doom. Quite astonishing if you consider the fact that we only got together march 1st. Since then plans for a joint venture rapidly evolved and due to fortunate timing, we're turning pro. Pretty weird considering my webcomics Cap'n and Belle never got that much attention.
Happy Camper :)

Oh! Thank you Reinder, for introducing us :)

March 17, 2004

Tree Test (archival comic)

This comic was made for the Bries Anthology Wind, published in 1999. I think it was later re-published online in the now defunct Webzine Cartoozine, in color, but I can't find the files.


Keenspot revenues, new comics

Via Carson Fire:

Keenspot has announced its revenues for 2003. Money quotes (quite literally):

"Our 2003 gross of $188,475 is an 81.2% jump over 2002's $103,976 in revenues," said Chris Crosby, Keenspot Co-CEO "These numbers certainly aren't spectacular in comparison to major traditional print publishers, but they show that webcomics are a thriving, growing industry that could be a major force in the future of entertainment."

Chris is right about it not being spectacular in comparison to major traditional print publishers. Indeed it's worrying that after 4 years, the company still isn't making a living for absolutely anyone involved. Nevertheless, with 4 years of learning everything the hard way under their belts, the Keen people now have something to build upon. The latest batch of promotions is proof of that. Skirting Danger which I blogged about earlier, got 17,000 visitors and 208,000 pageviews on its first day at Keenspot. Sore Thumbs also posted very high visitor numbers on its premiere day. (Their Extreme Tracker says 21,534.) Those are numbers that I'm sure many a Modern Tales cartoonist would murder for.

Keenspot knows its target audience, raises the quality bar for new comics a little bit with every new wave of acquisitions, and uses the popularity of the comics already present to drive the marketing machinery for new comics. Unless the web advertising market tanks again (always a real possibility) they could well double their takings again. And that means even more cartoonists get a Four! Figure! Check! every quarter.

March 18, 2004

Comics for the Exhibit (8)

One of the great things about doing this exhibit is that I get to rediscover and re-appraise.

While looking for Holeboy a pioneering webcomic that other webcomics histories have so far neglected to mention, I was delighted to find that not only was it still online, but that the artist's other, regular strip, CultuRe Trap had returned in a new format. CultuRe Trap was what made me discover Christian Cosas's work in the early 1990s, that strange time when people complained about a webcomics glut because there were dozens of them to choose from. I even interviewed him for a magazine I was editing at the time.
True to form, Christian has only produced a few new comics, but it's still fun to see how the characters and style have evolved. And it's interesting for me to see how he's done his entire site in Moveable Type.
Christian should probably have been mentioned among those who went "above and beyond" in my earlier museum-related blog entries, because I asked him to submit material from Holeboy for the columns, but forgot to tell him two weeks later that I'd got enough material from other contributors. At the time, he was still looking for his original files from way back when. So to compensate for this unintentional snub, go and take a look at Holeboy, one of the first webcomics to explore the possibilities of the screen.


When someone suggested I include Ozy and Millie as part of the "Kids" section of the exhibit, my initial reaction was "nah". I'd read it a bit before, and didn't think it was all that hot, and something in one of artist D.C. Simpson's opinion pieces just rubbed me up the wrong way. I don't remember what it was he said, or even on which subject, but I did remember thinking he was a bit of a closed-minded stick-in-the-mud for saying it. I try to avoid people like that. So imagine my surprise when I went to give it another look, to find that not only was it a lot, really a lot, better than I remembered (I must have had a bad day when I read it the first time), but also that in his newer opinion pieces he showed a much greater maturity of opinion than I remembered from back then. I am now reading those pieces in reverse-chronological order, so I'll eventually rediscover that old article. I'll probably find that I was a bit of a closed-minded stick-in-the-mud for reacting like that in the first place.

Cory Doctorow on E-books, copyright

Cory Doctorow shares his thoughts on E-books in a long, rambling text that deserves to be read in its entirety.

March 22, 2004

Meanwhile, in another world

In Chasing the Sunset, Feiht has now returned from her little escapade into the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan universe. See if you regular ROCR readers can tell anything different about her...

March 24, 2004

The end of Cerebus, as read by a drooling fanboy

Andrew Rilstone's ongoing coverage of his love/hate relationship with Cerebus has got very little attention from the comics blogosphere, possibly because he is not part of that blogosphere. Too bad for them, because he is easily the most accomplished critic of Dave Sim's seminal work. The lengthy and detailed commentary on the last issue is just fascinating, to the point where it makes me regret not having snapped up the final issue. (Is that available for download somewhere? I promise to buy it if I see it...)

In his preamble to the critique of issue 300, he also asks this question:

Question: Moore has not been vilified for Promethea to anything like the extent that Sim has been vilified for 'Chasing YHWH'. Is there a prejudice which says that Tarot cards and worshipping snakes is 'New Age' and therefore good; but studying the Torah and fasting is 'religious' and therefore bad? Both (in the forms that they take for Sim and Moore) seem pretty barking to be.

This is worth an answer. For a long time I for one have been willing to let Alan Moore off the hook, arguing that his barking mad beardie-weirdie-ness is merely a postmodern retreat into subjective reality. Nowadays, I would leave out the "merely", note that subjective reality isn't reality at all (and that such a retreat is more damaging than it seems), and observe that there is probably a direct line between Moore's theology in "Dialogue: From Hell" and Sim's later loonie-tunes theologising about a divinity that is neither Light nor Void but instead - whatever it is that Sim thinks is the nature of God. In that light, Sim's preface to the reprint of "Dialogue: From Hell" in Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman can be seen as a sort of theological father-killing.

But those are just off the cuff remarks. To consider Andy's question, and that of the balance between an artist's crackpot ideas and the genius of that artist's work in any more thorough way, I'd have to catch up with Cerebus and read Alan Moore's work and pronouncements more extensively. This will take time, but I think I will do it anyway.


[Update: I have now started reading Latter Days. It's much better than I'd expected - even the bad, nonsensical bits are still pretty readable.... right up to the point where the little grey bastard starts commenting on the Torah. I will probably have to revise some of what I've written above in the light of what is said in that section, and the notes in the back of the book, because it's turning out a bit different from what I'd inferred from the commentary on Sim's ideas on the Internet.]

[Update no.2: Despite using the Freud-derived term "father-killing" above as a convenient shorthand for "distancing yourself from those who have influenced you in order to better ignore this influence", which is how I've always seen it used in situations where the influenced dissed the influencer, I don't have a very high opinion of Freud. Not that mentioning this would stop Sim from lumping me in with the Feminist-Marxist-Atheist-Psychologist-Hypochondriac Axis of Not-Sim...]

March 27, 2004

An Elf's Life is a hard life...

When I started this blog 4 weeks ago, I made a point of not wanting to bang on about the sort of things that I usually bang on about. That's why there's only one post about Jethro Tull so far, and none about Deep Purple . It's also why you haven's seen me telling you to drop by at Elf Life and go through the archives until now. But there's gotta be a first time, and it's now.

Y'see, the artist, Carson Fire, has finally started a set sale of his original art, which I've been telling him to do for some time. "Good for him," I hear you say, and "Rah!" and "Arr!" because a lot of my friends have been saying "Arr!" in my presence lately. But the way he's going about this, and the reason he's going about it this way, both make me uncomfortable.

Continue reading "An Elf's Life is a hard life..." »

March 29, 2004

One advantage of reading Cerebus again...

... is that I get this itch to play Dave Sim and work on non-standard layouts! Here's the art for Friday's ROCR episode:
Character art

I have not drawn in the backgrounds, because while drawing it, it struck me that someone else might want to play Gerhard and draw the backgrounds in. And you can! If you are interested, fetch the high-res scan, and go nuts!

I'll probably do my own version unless someone sends a version back to me really quickly, but it would be interesting to see how different people approach the background. The only thing you need to know is that it's set inside the Gnomian Parliament, and that Maghreid and Feiht are at a table in the background of panel 1.
In the future, I might want to work with a background artist to ease my workload, but for now, this is just for the challenge and the fun of it, OK?

Dangerous and Fluffy: The Sheep of Doom!

Well, it's 6 more hours before my first webcomic goes live, and I suppose I ought to take this chance to describe how it all came together.

The seeds for D.A. - No, mustn't use the acronym - Dangerous and Fluffy: The Sheep of Doom were sown many years ago - I can remember toying with the idea of a farmer superhero when I was nobbut eighteen or so, but it wasn't until about two years ago that I actually commited pen to paper, with a short dialogue between young Gregory Senthwaite and his parents, which is roughly equivelent to this coming update and the first page of the next update (it ends just before the "Clawed Death From Above" sequence on page 4), though various scribbled down notes set out the plot until just before the appearance of Bledlow (the cheerful, nautical-looking individual you may have seen in our promotional art). Everything after that point, with the exception of a single page that will come right at the end of Chapter 1, several months in the future, is new material.

For those of you who are interested in such things, the original title was Superfarmer, changed to the rather more interesting sounding Gregory Senthwaite and the Sheep of Doom before I closed my notes on it two years ago, and changed to the current title just before we started drawing.

About a year ago, I remember showing these little story notes to a friend, who asked me if it was going to become a comic. And I replied that there was no way it would become a comic, it was doomed to remain a story. I may have privately thought it would be nice to have it as a comic, but saw no real chance of it becoming one, and was resigned to having it as an amusing tale.

Fate has made me eat my words. It's crafty like that.

Late last year, I thought it might be fun to do a guest comic for Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan. I didn't have much talent, but thought if I carefully wrote the script, I could get away with only drawing people from the front. That... was hopeless. I ended up with a fun script that I was completely incapable of drawing. But Reinder came to the rescue and introduced me to Jeroen Jager. It was a fun project for both of us, and gret fun, but afterwards, we lost touch again.

It's probably only my Gilbert and Sullivan obsession that leads me to compare this to Gilbert and Sullivan meeting to do an odd little play called Thespis, which went largely unnoticed, then several years later being thrown together again to do Trial by Jury and begining the famous Gilbert and Sullivan Operas, so well loved even now... but I fear my internal scholar is showing. As you may have guessed, another event - me learning about the start of Cap'n, being greatly amused and quite shocked that he was mining the vein of subtle, bizarre, and perhaps just a teensy bit perverted humour that I often use, perhaps a bit more sparingly than in the first three comics of the Cap'n restart, but, well, those aliens that Thomas talks about in our first update and who have slept in my files for these many years are in that same style of humour through embarrassing revelations as Jeroen was using. I had to spread the word about this comic, and doing so caught Jeroen's attention, and lead to us agreeing to collaborate.

His character designs could have been drawn directly from my imagination. I was shocked - and delighted. We soon got the first two pages of our comic together, whilst wondering what to do with it noticed that Graphic Smash was about to finish up a comics selection period, sent the comics to T on the off chance....

And here we are!


-Adam Cuerden

Dangerous and Fluffy: The Sheep of Doom!

April 1, 2004

Potential Myazaki-gasm, or dud?

Viz comics has put out a manga-ized version of Spirited Away consisting simply of stills from the animated cartoon movie edited into a comic with word balloons. I've been meaning to buy the DVD but as a reader rather than a viewer, and as a cartoonist who likes to explore still pictures for stealing inspiration, I may enjoy these more in the long run. Or would I? It is co-opted art, and rather steeply priced... are these books worth having?

April 2, 2004

Manley man blogs optimistically.

Joey Manley thinks the difficulty of making money in webcomics is, on the whole, good for webcartoonists.

Money quote:
If making money from web content were easy, if it were simply a matter of applying one perfect strategy to the problem, you and I wouldn't stand a chance. Disney, AOL/TimeWarner, Rupert Murdoch, whoever -- you know, the suits -- would have slapped down their x's and their o's in every corner of the board, and won the game, years ago. That's exactly what they were trying to do during the dotcom bubble, doncha know: establish utter domination, as quickly as possible, and as coldly. That's what they do. This does not mean, by the way, that they are evil. It just means that they are large corporations.

But back to the point: if this game were easy, you and I wouldn't even be allowed to play.

Girly!

A day or so ago I finally bought a subscription to Girlamatic completing my set of Modern Tales anthology site subscriptions. I'm now digging through the archives.

First impressions:
1. A lot of comics have archives consisting of multiple pages, each of which offers only a second or so's worth of reading. This is annoying and destroys the pacing of these comics. Long, scrolling archive pages, please!
2. Favorite comics so far: Sparkneedle and the ultra-cute Jeepers but both of these were my faves before I subscribed.
3. Currently reading: Lucas and Odessa by the same artist as Sparkneedle and Arcana Jayne - Hair of the Dog by Lisa Jonte and MP Mann. So far, Lucas and Odessa hasn't impressed me as much as Sparkneedle, which is a staggeringly original creation with an even more staggering consistency of style. Arcana Jayne - HOTD starts out very well, but runs into difficulty sustaining the energy of the beginning. The chopped, paginated display doesn't help. I'll probably finish reading it though.

April 4, 2004

Original art for sale!

For the first time in many years, possibly ever, I've drawn an original page that is a nice-looking work of art in its own right. So I'm flogging it! The comic that the artwork is the original for will run on Monday, April 12, which is when the artwork will go on sale in the Modern Tales Swapmeet. So watch that space!

April 5, 2004

A little note on Monday's update

I've blogged here about the financial difficulties webcartoonists can land into. Some two years ago, a webcomics reader known as TGIF was one of a small group of people who had been trying to help a webcartoonist get his hands on much-needed equipment, and he had also been discussing the creation of a fund that would give out loans to cartoonists to cover financial emergencies. A way to keep them working without having them be dependent on the unpredictable charity of individuals. Ironically, around that time, TGIF began to suffer from a rare mitochondrial illness. This has rendered him unable to work and has devastated his family' s finances.

A man who went much further than he had to to help cartoonists as a group now needs help himself. Today, in lieu of a page rate for Yonaka who drew the background for today's ROCR episode, I've made a donation to him, and just this once I'd like to ask you to consider doing the same. Using the button below will send directly to TGIF under his real name.








April 7, 2004

24-hour comic day!

Announcement: If I'm at all fit to do it, I intend to take part in 24-hour Comics Day. I will start work at midnight, California time (because Scott McCloud who first thought of 24-hour comics lives in California, see) and finish 24 hours later (duh). I'll work at either my own studio or one of the Stripmuseum's public studios (if the museum receives and approves this idea in time - they're all in ultra-crunch mode so they might not be open to it) ; in the former case, I'll webcam it, and in the latter case the museum's visitors will be able to gawp at me.

I intend to go in almost completely blank. No sketches, no developed ideas, and come out with a finished comic.

April 13, 2004

Two webcomics I didn't run in the exhibit...

... because the people involved didn't get my mails, got them but didn't answer them, got them and answered them but I didn't get their replies, got them and answered them and I got their replies but lost them...

The Spiders by Patrick Farley;
Player Versus Player by Scott Kurtz.

I still want both, and have in fact prepared archives for both, in case they email me back to confirm (if they email me back to say no, I'll just delete the archives). You probably know PVP, but if you don't, go check it out. Patrick Farley's The Spiders is a favorite among the arty, innovative webcomics crowd, and rightly so. It also has a great story.

(Forgot to post this one before leaving. Sorry)

April 17, 2004

X!Gloop revisited

This comic from 1991 has been in my Gallery for some time, but as I'm no longer updating that (something in the server setting has changed so I can't post anything), I might as well repost it for new readers to boggle at!



As Adam Cuerden said back when I posted it: "Heh heh heh! Delightfully mad! =)"

April 19, 2004

Two more who've got it bad

I promise, I'm not going to make this the place where I talk about how bad we poor widdle cartoonists have it, but two more of my favorite people in comics have got serious problems to deal with.

Scritch cartoonist Lucas Phelps has been jailed on a manslaughter charge (not for manslaughter as Comixpedia's header on the case says). The contents of the article at Comixpedia are copied straight from Graphic Smash's press release:

[The charge] is the result of an auto accident that took place almost two years ago, well before he began Skritch.

In the time that I've known him, Phelps has been a dapper professional, the precise opposite of his selfish, nasty title character. His quirky sense of humor and adventure makes for a delightful read, and has propelled Skritch from a slow start into one of Graphic Smash's most popular features.

I am in communication with Phelps's wife Jennifer. She informs me that Lucas is planning to write, draw and ink new Skritch episodes from the inside... as soon as she can get him supplies. But even after that, his new circumstances present challenges to the production process. He'll have to mail the strips to her for coloring. Under such circumstances, his work has to be placed on indefinite hiatus.

He'll be missed, and his return will be welcomed.

I agree, and although I don't know the particulars, I hope he gets cleared of all
charges. The two-year delay seems dodgy to me in any case.

[Update: T Campbell reports that Lucas pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 3 1/2 years. T also writes:


I have to come to terms with my own hypocrisy, here. If I had known the victim and not Lucas, I would probably hate Lucas for this. How many others have I condemned in my thoughts as totally evil based upon a single moment of astonishingly poor judgment?

Don't misunderstand me: manslaughter is a grievous wrong. And I accept that he deserves punishment. But I insist he also deserves the chance to continue his art. He plans to: as I write this, his wife is working to get him art supplies. As I said in the original announcement about this, "he will be missed, and his return will be welcomed."

And with that, too, I'm in complete agreement.
]


Carol Lay has found out that the tall, handsome and funny charmer she married a few years ago has racked up $24,000 in secret credit card bills, and stolen and lied about money. To get him out of his life, she needs to buy him off, so she's selling a lot of her originals cheap. read all about it at the Comics Journal Message Board.

April 23, 2004

My influence is felt everywhere! Muahaha!

Girls before wall of magazines

This picture was on the front page of the Dagblad van het Noorden on Thursday. I couldn't find it on their website, so thanks to my parents for scanning it in!
The picture shows two girls looking at a wall of old Stripschrift covers inside the Stripmuseum Groningen on the day of the opening. As it happened, I'd spoken to the girl in the back in the museum's Teaching Room the same day. She is a former student of mine (and yes, I do get a kick out of saying that line); Barbara and I taught her and 14 others for a week as a special project on comics for first-year art college students. I'm terrible at remembering the names of people I teach, but we did recognise each other, and she told me that she had submitted the comic that she made for the project to the museum's talent competition, and had come out as one of the runners-up! A page from it was displayed on the wall in the Teaching Room. Is that cool or what?

In a few years' time, the 9-to-11-year-olds I've been giving introductory cartooning workshops to these past few weeks will be winning cartooning contests (not to mention Stripschapsprijzen, Reubens and Eisners) left and right. I'm sure of it. It will be world domination by proxy!

May 1, 2004

I always said that boy would get far!

Just a week after The Wisdom of Moo, Adrian Ramos' newest comic, debuted on Girlamatic, news comes in that he has "enthusiastically accepted" an invitation for his "older" comic Count Your Sheep to join Keenspot.

This again proves the predictive value of the short links list on the ROCR front page, although predicting success for CYS is like shooting fish in a barrel.

I don't have anything to link to for the announcement but that interminable Keenspace forum thread, but it's from Chris Crosby so it's as official as it gets.

May 5, 2004

The Keenspace Curse strikes again

If you're reading your webcomics early in the morning, you'll find that many keenspace-hosted comics aren't responding, and according to The Belfry's Keenspace Tracker, the server itself is not responding. Of course, this had to happen on Online Comics Day. If Murphy's Law applied as effectively in the physical world as on Keenspace's servers, The Netherlands and Mexico would both be invaded by evil foreign powers today.

Still, it's early. I'm sure the brilliant Kisai is e'en now pounding away at the servers trying to figure out what has gone wrong, and fix it. And by the time American readers fall out of their beds, things will be hunky dory again. Have faith, little server!

[Update: Keenspace came back some time in the afternoon (CET), with the comics updated, and all is well again.]

Murph's not dead

Speaking of Murphy...

One of the great things about the Web is that you can use it to correct print reports that haven't made it to the reader's snail mailboxes yet. The Comics Journal writes:

Contrary to reports you may have read online and one which you may be about to read in issue #259 of The Comics Journal when it ships next week, retired Prince Valiant cartoonist John Cullen Murphy is not dead. Not even slightly. Based on erroneous reports, the News Briefs section of Newswatch in issue #259 includes a notice that an obituary for Murphy is slated to appear in issue #260. That is unlikely to happen since the cartoonist is not in fact dead. The Journal sincerely regrets the error, for which the stupid, stupid, stupid news editor, Michael Dean, is entirely responsible. A correction will appear in issue #260.

May 21, 2004

Nah, can't be bothered

The Cartoonist's Choice Awards are on again, for the fourth time. The first two years I was quite enthusiastic about taking part, using my website to suggest possible nominees as well as asking my own readers to nominate Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan. Last year and this year, though, I don't think I can be arsed, frankly.
Why is this? I don't really know. It's just a feeling I have, but thinking about it:
It may have something to do with the way it creates bad blood in the "Webcomics Community" (as if there is such a thing) each year. There's always a lot of criticism and when I take part I always end up weighing in. Bleah.
Also, there isn't much in it for my own comics. I got a few nominations in the past, but right now, ROCR isn't a fresh comic -- it has become part of the landscape. And nobody nominates the landscape. If it was going to generate a big buzz it would have done so in 2001/2.
Other, newer cartoonists may still want to take part though.

May 27, 2004

Something I already knew but need to remind myself of occasionally

Get Your War On rocks the hizbah.

May 29, 2004

Whoa!

Finally, a webcomic that isn't too small to read comfortably. Problem is, it doesn't fit on my 1280 x 1024 pixel screen!

I think this is where webcomics need to go before we even begin to tackle the question of whether horizontal or vertical formats are more comfortable for online reading in earnest. Really. As long as the choice is between making a comic the pixel-size equivalent of a postage stamp (or in more recent years, two postage stamps either stacked on top of one another or put side by side), the question of whether the stamp is horizontal or vertical should be the least of the webcartoonist's concerns. But I think it may be a little to early to start putting them online at 1225 x 2008 pixels like sizes like this episode of Seven Plains . The comic looks promising, by the way.

[Update: the episode I linked to is the only oversized one in the series so far. The others are on the high end of webcomics sizes but should fit most monitors]

June 6, 2004

Gil-Les! Gil-Les!

Gillesdegeus.tk is a fansite for the Dutch comic Gilles de Geus. Gilles is a humorous historical comic that makes recent Asterix books look like the pale imitations of a once-great comic that they are. Set during the 80 Years' War, it's funny, well-drawn, tightly-written and impeccably researched.It deserves huge success outside the Netherlands as well as inside. However, only one volume has been translated into English so far (as Bryant the Brigand). So even if this unofficial website isn't the best-designed site in the world, it provides a valuable public service by showing the rest of the world a glimpse of what they've been missing these past 20-odd years.

The site also has a page showcasing other comics from the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain, but as a result of the URL redirection used, I can't link to that one directly.

June 16, 2004

Heavenly creatures: Cerebus and Bone

Salon (day-pass, or, better yet, subscription required) has a combined write-up of Cerebus and Bone, two long-running comics which both ended this year. It's not very in-depth but for those of you who have sort of heard of these series and wonder what the fuss was about, it's a good summary.


"Bone" and "Cerebus" share superficial similarities. They're both drawn in black-and-white and self-published by their creators. In both, quirky, anthropomorphic beings shed light on mankind's foibles and virtues. Both books extend their lives outside the comic shops through hefty, trade-paperback reprint volumes available at bookstore super chains. The 16th and last "Cerebus" collection, "The Last Day," chronicles the aardvark's final hours and publishes this month, while Smith will sandwich all 1,300 pages of "Bone" between two covers in a volume due to publish in July.

But beneath the surface, "Bone" and "Cerebus" prove to be so different, they're almost like photographic negatives of each other. "Bone" celebrates optimism and narrative simplicity, while "Cerebus" embraces cynicism and experimentation worthy of a mad scientist. Sim and Smith started as comrades in arms, yet their relationship soured into one of the industry's strangest feuds. "Bone" and "Cerebus" mark opposite ends of the comic-book spectrum in tone and complexity. Their heroes aren't technically human, but you can place virtually all modern graphic novels somewhere between them.

There's more. Read it. Don't fear the Day Pass.

Deleria!

sample panel

I got the Scare-O-Deleria book in the mail from Scary Go Round the other day. It's nothing that's gonna change the world, but it's a fun, lightweight little story in black and white featuring John Allison's trademark humour and the wonderful scrawl of his hand-drawn art, which is very different from his computer art, but at least as nice to look at. I'd subscribe to this if it was a series, and so should you!

Which reminds me... I have nothing new to report on the series of minis that I proposed on the Reinder Dijkhuis forum back in February. I suppose I still want to do this, but I'm just so pessimistic about having enough of a reader base to make them a success even by the very modest standards of minicomicking. Even the Eye of The Underworld mini-comic only got a handful of buyers! Perhaps I should have pushed it more, but unless that is pretty much guaranteed to make sales jump up by several orders of magnitude, it's discouragingly un-lucrative. A guy like John Allison with many thousands of readers who are known to enjoy buying his products, on the other hand, can use minis to keep people interested, even if they're not directly profitable.

Gosh, my reviews of other people's comics all end up being about me, don't they? John's one of my favorite webcartoonists. I wish he'd stuck around on Modern Tales, but if he had, he probably wouldn't have graced us with so much stuff in hardcopy (his T-shirts are also something to behold, and wear).

June 18, 2004

Newspaper editors are pantywaists, film at 11

(via The comics Journal forums, where the poster's choice of a subject line completely mischaracterises the content of the article)

Long article about the state of newspaper strips, the pernicious influence of the cowardice of newpaper editors, and how webcomics may come to realise Bill Watterson's artistic vision.

Continue reading "Newspaper editors are pantywaists, film at 11" »

June 22, 2004

Whoo!

Scary Go Round
Zombie Shelley is back!

June 24, 2004

Color-blindness filter!

Via Comixpedia:

The Wickline Color Blindness Filter allows you to test how your web page or image looks to a color blind person. Useful, but also entertaining, as these sample ROCR pages will show:
(large images below the fold)

Continue reading "Color-blindness filter!" »

July 2, 2004

Pasta Defender Heliotrope

(Hat tip to Drooling Fan Girl)
Jennifer Diane Reitz writes:


And that is when it hit me. The teflon nibs were exactly -EXACTLY- the diameter of a single strand of Barilla brand Italian spaghetti. And, this gave me a wild idea.

I ran downstairs to the kitchen and took a strand of spaghetti, and returned to my room. I broke off a length slightly longer than the overly short teflon nibs, and inserted into my old, broken pen. And you know what? THE PEN WORKS NOW!

Seriously. Oh, it cannot do any fine linework, it can only do the thick, standard lines devoid of pressure sensitivity that I have been used to for the past several months...but it works otherwise. Perfectly, for basic, normal functions, such as standard line work, coloring, and erasing. Grunt work.

Which is why, now, I have two pens in service.

One is my brand new pen, which can still do pressure sensitive work. It has not lost that apparently fragile capacity yet. And I intend that it keep that capacity for a long time to come.

My plan is to use the new pen only for times when I want to do special, calligraphic, beautiful lines...for alien text, or fine eye details, or for graphic flourishes. But for the grunt work, I will continue to use my old pen, now made functional only because of a length of Barilla spaghetti inserted into the shaft, a dried pasta nib.

I did today's page entirely with that spaghetti nib. I painted digitally with real spaghetti.

July 4, 2004

Wapsi Square frequency increase.

Wapsi Square will start updating 5 times a week starting on Monday.

Cool. It would allow for storylines to become more developed and still resolve faster. Wapsi is one of my favorite webcomics of the moment. It has engaging characters and good line art. It's more story- than gag-driven so it can use the extra updates.

I wonder if it's Keenspot's increased payouts that make this possible? The time required to draw Wapsi has to come from somewhere...

July 6, 2004

You wanted Tamlin? You got Tamlin!

Tamlin cameo in today's Dangerous and Fluffy, on Graphic Smash. Go there now, before it disappears behind the subscription wall (Or subscribe and get access to the archives, and those of Fans, Digger, Flick and a wide range of other action-oriented comics.)

Fearless Leader explains, again, for uneducated masses

A while ago, I promised to write a long report on recent developments in webcomics. I still haven't got around to doing that, but while you're eagerly waiting for it, read Joey Manley's most recent thoughts on the matter:

Consider the fact that several webcomics (Sluggy Freelance, Penny-Arcade, and PvP, just to name three) can boast documented audience sizes that rival -- or blow out of the water -- the audience for a typical Marvel or DC comic book.

"Sure, they're popular," you may say. "But they're giving it away. Of course they're more popular."

Maybe.

Let's imagine a situation where an unknown rock band could put out an album online and have more listeners than whoever's at the top of the pop charts.

Can't imagine it?

Neither can I.

Even giving away their work, that band wouldn't have a chance in hell of getting even close to the popularity of this week's Top Ten flavor of the month.

On the other hand...

We're still not making enough money.

...if I had the resources to not need to look for outside work such as this, and could cover my expenses such as childcare, it would technically be feasible for me to do not one episode of Circle Weave each week, fully colored and on time. No, not one episode, not even two.

No, I could do at least three episodes a week, possibly even as many as 5. At that rate I'd be through chapter four in two weeks, and Chapter Five would be done about 9 weeks later. Following that math all through the rest of the story, Apprentice To A God would be complete in another two years.

And knowing that I'm capable of doing that, but for a few thousand dollars a month, is what is slowly killing me.

July 7, 2004

On the shelf

Last week a writer I know asked me to create a comic with him. A spot was opening in the university paper, and he assured me, with our combined talents, we'd have a pretty good chance of getting the job. The spot was for a three-panel gag strip, something I'd never done before, so there lay quite a challenge for me. After a couple of days I managed to come up with this:



I was quite pleased with the result, especially since I had only two days to come up with it.

Unfortunately the writer had also approached another artist, whom he at first couldn't reach. And ofcourse he got the job...

So now it'll rest on a shelf, waiting for another opportunity. At least it will look allright in my portfolio.

I won't bother to translate the joke, especially since it isn't that funny anyway...

July 8, 2004

Separated at birth?

Atra / The Hag. I should ask UrsulaV about this.

(Link will probably stop showing the current page by Tuesday, but may show pages featuring the hag for some time)

July 9, 2004

Dangerous and Fluffy - a detail

As you can see in this somewhat small detail from next week's Dangerous and Fluffy, Jeroen has chosen to use black lines around his characters, thus connecting himself with an ancient tradition that goes from Woodcuttings and even before through the cartoons of Leonardo Di Vinci to such respected comics as Li'l Abner, Krazy Kat, Peanuts*, Bruno the Bandit, and Digger.

Of course, other, far inferior options exist, such as coloured borders, computer modelling of the characters, even (god forbid) sprite comics, with their foul original sprites.**

Yes - Evil lies all around us in the form of these blasphemers, but we at Dangerous and Fluffy will stamp them out with our hobnailed boots, overcome them with sheep, and squash them with leaping kangaroos! Mwahahahaha!

* Every article about comics MUST reference Peanuts, even though Calvin and Hobbes is actually far superior.

** We shall not mention the comics that do not have original sprites. They scare us.

July 13, 2004

Time to start shopping around, I think

Cartoonist Mary Fleener has got into trouble with Paypal, and she's not the first. This Comics Journal thread discusses inconsistencies in the way Paypal applies its acceptable use policy. Andrew Farago asks the $ 64,000 question:

Wait a minute--

To get a PayPal account, you need to have a bank account and a credit card, right?

To get a credit card, you've got to be 18, right?

Once you're 18, you can look at and buy whatever you please, right?

Am I missing something here?

Mary Fleener does not appear to be taking this lying down. Good. Paypal was a Godsend for cartoonists when they first appeared but they're not the only game in town, nor should they be.

July 15, 2004

...

...In the Modern tales Newsletter this week, Ursula Vernon praises Dangerous and Fluffy.

...Ursula Vernon's Digger is the webcomic I judge my work against. Her brilliantly unique, funny, and incrediably creative tale of wombats, Hindu Gods, and Shadow Creatures is such a wonderfully unique voice - the only thing I can think of that one can compare it to is China Mieville's Perdido Street Station. The river of sheer creativity washes you away, and before you know it you've lost yourself in an entirely unique world.

...And yet, evidently, she's excited by my comic. I'm really not sure I can absorb this properly yet.

July 19, 2004

You could wait for this review to happen

Slightly predictable but funny in the execution: at the new parody webcomics review site Modern Humor Authority, there's a contrarian review of Chris Crosby and Owen Gieni's insight-free political satire/gaming comic Sore Thumbs:

Owing equal amounts to Paul Conrad and Calvin and Hobbes, Chris Crosby and Owen Gieni's Sore Thumbs is a blunt yet pointed satire of leftist thought in the United States. The strip uses the device of its protagonist's fantasy world to poke fun at popular Democratic-party standards, while simultaneously endorsing the creators' own ultraconservative ideals in the subtext.

It's easy to mistake the strip as a raucous, nasal Democratic broadside, and no doubt some readers remain blissfully ignorant in that belief....

The punchline:

...The double-edged politico-comic is a clever idea, but leftist Bruce Tinsley has been doing the same thing with his own Mallard Fillmore for over a decade.

Hold off on the tort reform until Geir and I have raked in our millions, please.

Geir just emailed me a link to the website for George Lucas' forthcoming Sky Captain movie. This is what White House in Orbit would look like if it had a mega budget and some actual creative talent at its disposal. Even the character names are similar! "Polly Perkins"? From now on that will be President Samuel T. Perkins' wife's name.

Professor Buttumsup is still a lot cooler than "Dex" though.

Anyway, we're contacting our lawyers and as soon as we find one that isn't afraid of being eaten alive by George Lucas' lawyers, or his neck, vengeance will be OURS! Muahahaha!

July 20, 2004

Bring your own cigars and brandy

I'm having a friendly chat with René van Densen of The Grim DotCom. If you can speak Dutch, read it, and throw peanuts at us from the sideline.

July 22, 2004

Must... resist... lure... of... Great Escape!

Over at the Keenspace Forums, people are discussing another Great Escape. The Great Escape was the biggest webcomics crossover ever, organised by the sick mind of Damonk, and put into place by the computer-stained fingers of Damonk. It was one of the most hair-raising things I ever did as a cartoonist. I was teamed up with Glych of No Stereotypes, Scrubbo of Silly Cone V and Pam of Purple Duck Mambo. Despite Glych being overworked and Pam having trouble finding the time when real life was interfering, we completed our sub-section of the crossover story, only to find that it started breaking almost at once. The day we were supposed to launch, Keenspace, which at the time hosted all of us, went on a multi-day outage. In the months after that, Damonk's site which served as the hub for the event, was eaten by another server failure, and still hasn't been fully reconstructed. Then Glych and I both moved to Modern Tales, breaking the continuity. There has been occasional discussion of ways to make our archived material available on a central location so that everyone could read it without going "Huh?" or at least going "Huh" in any other way than we intended, but nothing ever came of it. The thing has been a constant headache since August 2001.

And yet...

Even though the consensus in our sub-group was "that was fun, let's never do it again", the idea of doing it again now seems strangely alluring. If we can Murphy-proof it while still having a story idea that is fun to do, I would probably want to take part in a Memorial Edition of the Return of the Son of The Great Escape. My big question, though, is, who'd be crazy enough to organise it? Who has Damonk's mad knowledge of the online comics world?

Salon interviews the bearded one!

Salon has a lengthy interview with Alan Moore.

July 25, 2004

From the heart of the Marxist-Feminist Axis...

The Village Voice reviews Cerebus:

But despite Sim's anti-feminist crusade, Cerebus stands on its own as a ferocious critique of power. Sim believes that freedom is an absolute, and to this end he has self-published Cerebus, advocated for artists' rights, and bucked intellectual-property laws wherever possible (after his and Gerhard's deaths, Cerebus will become public domain). In an era when selling out is considered synonymous with success, Sim's resistance is bracing. But independence comes at a cost, and the price of Sim's is that his 26-year project, his life's work, is ending largely in silence. Tired of his grandstanding, most people long ago tuned him out. But for the scale of its ambition, the intricacy of its characters, the beauty of its artwork, and its commitment to mapping the at times objectionable mind of its creator without ever blinking or looking away, Cerebus remains a staggering declaration of independence.

July 29, 2004

Oi!

I'm fairly deep into the internal workings of the vast and evil Modern Tales empire. I'm in the know, in the loop and in the swing of things.
So why didn't I know that Ursula Vernon was drawing Fans?

ZUM reviews Pin Drop

A pretty fair and positive review by Pete Doree of my collection of wordless comics Pin Drop in ZUM!. I think I've got some of his work, but can't recall.

What makes this review extra-noticeable is that it appears six years after the book came out! I think the ZUM! people got this when I went to the CAPTION convention in 1998...

July 31, 2004

Help Maritza color

Maritza Campos has carpal tunnel syndrome and wants a drawing tablet so she won't have to color with the mouse anymore. Good choice, and a worthy cause to donate a bit of money to. I've found, based on my own long term carpal tunnel/RSI experiences that working with a tablet makes the difference between coloring with relative ease for long sessions with no lasting ill effect, and becoming completely crippled in the arms.
However, the difference is already made with a $100 Wacom Graphire, and it's not strictly necessary to switch to the solution that Maritza has got her eye on, a $1700 Cintiq 15x. I'm not sure the extra $1600 makes that much extra difference. Not that I begrudge her a really nice tablet; it looks really useful, productivity-enhancing and generally nice if you can get it. In fact I donated a bit of money before writing this up. I'm a fan, and I'm all for hitting up on your fans for the means of production as one of webcartooning's few perks. But the medical case can be served much more cheaply.

August 1, 2004

An offer they can't refuse possibly maybe.

When Scott Kurtz gets serious for a moment, you'd better listen. From his talk at San Diego Comic-Con, 2004:

...If Coca-cola wants to use newspaper advertising to strengthen it's brand, it has to pay for that kind of exposure. The syndicates makes millions from their comic features via books, television, movies and merchandise. The only way they are able to sustain that kind of income is due to the exposure and advertising that the newspapers give them. But the syndicates offer nothing in return. The funny pages are full of retreaded old strips that have lived way past their prime. Entertainment wise, they provide nothing. The syndicates really got a sweet deal. But that's about to change.

...

This year, the California based company Knight Ridder, which owns 31 daily papers around the country, has demanded a 20 percent reduction in the rates its papers pay for comic strips. If the syndicates don't comply, Knight Ridder is threatening to cancel more than 100,000 dollars worth of business. The newspapers are wising up and they're unwilling to pay. The Syndicates have nothing to offer them save a large bill. I've talked to a couple of syndicated cartoonists and even they see the writing's on the wall. One cartoonist, who I won't name, said to me "If any one newspaper would get the balls to just 86 their comics page, and suffer through the months of letters they would receive, we'd be done for. Once the papers realize they can survive dropping the comics page, everyone will do it."

He discusses being approached by a syndicate only to find that they wouldn't allow him to retain the rights to it. So instead of taking the syndicate's offer, he makes one himself:

In the coming months, I'll be putting into effect, a program in which papers can receive PVP for free. That's right, free. They don't have to pay me a cent for it. I will provide for the papers, a comic strip with a larger established audience then any new syndicated feature, a years worth of strips in advance, and I won't charge them a cent for it.

The exposure and prestige of PvP appearing in daily papers would more than pay for itself in a months time. In exchange, I can offer the papers a comics feature that's tried and tested, funny and best of all, free. They have nothing to lose or risk financially. They can see, in advance, a years worth of strips so they don't risk me flaking out on them. Most of all, I can provide them with yet another bargaining chip against the very syndicates. This is the perfect climate to take this step.

I've always been wary of trading free work for exposure, except when, like in Scott's case, the trade-off is offered by the one doing the work. Scott generally knows what he's doing (witness the success of PVP online and the PVP comic books) It'll be interesting to see how this pans out in a year's time.

August 7, 2004

Arr....

Arr... well, it looks like I may have gotten the script to Jeroen a bit late, and I haven't seen him all today. I'm a bit worried about whether we'll be able to update properly, but, happily, I have a lot of the original sketches he did before the comic started, and if all else fails, I can make an update with them.

Basically, the problem was that I knew I had my grandmother's memorial and various other things coming up, and made appropriate allowances. What I didn't expect was to not get any work done during the family reunion that surrounded the memorial, nor did I expect to suffer from really horrible jetlag on my arrival back.

However, we're near the end of a chapter. There's only three scenes left to be done, and all of them are terribly visually complex, and I only got scripts to Jeroen on Thursday because of the aforementioned Jetlag (well, actually, he had one of them on Wednesday, but it was the strip that should rightfully go after the next one.)

...In other words, I goofed. Ah, well. First major goof since the comic started.

-Adam.

P.S. Will update once I track down Jeroen and learn more.

August 8, 2004

...Well then!

...My fears were unfounded: Jeroen's pulled together and done a truly marvellous job, despite the severely limited time he had, and even despite it being our longest update yet. Here's a sample!

23sample.png

This update should be great.

August 11, 2004

Laboratory, obsession, self-consciousness

The Webcomics Examiner's Michael Whitney reviews the evolution of Scary Go Round so I don't have to do that here, at great and gushing length.
In the same issue, Mike Meginnis reviews another perennial favorite of mine, Framed.

August 12, 2004

Keenspot to work to support local community

(Hat tip to Smilodon)
Keenspot has relocated to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and are characteristically optimistic not just about themselves, but also about the community they have moved into:

Crosby said, "It's sad that so many schools are closing down, but I'm really happy that we found this one because it's beautiful here, the people are so nice and we really love it here."

Teri Crosby and her son brought there business from California to South Dakota in hopes of expanding a company on the rise. Crosby owns Keenspot Comics which publishes cartoonists works in books and over the internet.

Crosby said, "It's gigantic and the web has made it so that anyone can get on there and do what they want to do where newspapers are so limited."

Crosby is already talking about expanding her business at old Cresbard High School taking one of the old classrooms and making it a studio which will change the book of comics into animated cartoons. Now the building and the town have room for potential growth.


Mayor Kretschmer said, "So many times these small towns, that these schools when they close that's the end and you just don't get a second chance."

Now the community believes it can have a prosperous future thanks to a company that has Cresbard in its future.

[...]

The community could get back some of the school. The town is working with Keenspot to open a library in part of the building and save the gym for community events. Long range plans include transforming the old football field into a drive-in movie theater.


Source: Keloland television.

August 13, 2004

Bizarre legs

I've always been a fan of the Bizarre Breasts feature at Sequential Tart, and I'm anxiously awaiting its return some time possibly maybe. While I'm waiting, this little gem posted by Fearless Leader will fill the gap and assure the readers that there is still plenty to mock in corporate comics.

August 14, 2004

Irrational Fears

More proof that Ursula Vernon rocks
Looks like the dominant theme for the day has been to plug stuff. Let me finish off with one more:

Irrational Fears, August's Modern Tales Longplay comic, is worth the price of a Modern Tales subscription all by itself. It's by Ursula Vernon, and features a chupacabra representation of herself battling monsters, aided by a dust bunny. It has the same dry humor that makes her fantastic Graphic Smash feature Digger such a joy, and best of all: it's all in color! She's pretty damned good at that too! A must-read.

Shaenon Garritty, Modern Tales Longplay's editor, decribes it as follows:

Ursula Vernon is one of my favorite new webcartoonists. Her fantasy epic Digger, about a resourceful wombat lost in a distant land of Hindu gods, shadow children, and library rats, is frequently and rightly cited as one of the highlights of the Modern Tales sister site Graphic Smash. She also does illustration work for novels and RPGs. All in all, she's pretty amazing.

Which is why I'm tickled six shades of pink by the opportunity to publish "Irrational Fears," a full-length, full-color story which just happens to be Vernon's first completed comic. Thrill as a subconscious chupacabra descends into the depths under the bed to confront our greatest irrational fears! Go, on, thrill! I promise you'll enjoy it.

So that's me, and one of webcomics' coolest cartoonists recommending the work of another one of webcomics' coolest cartoonists. You can't go wrong with this. And if you sign up for this comic, you get to finally read ROCR's archives as well.

Continue reading "Irrational Fears" »

August 16, 2004

Dyson's Creek

Ned from Dyson's CreekDyson's Creek is, by its own admission, stylistically derivative of Scary Go Round (which I don't think I have to link to again). At times, it gets eerily close. The few strips that I've read are pretty funny though.

Creator Ned Hugar stays close to his own life experiences, meaning we get a queer arts student angle which sets it apart from its main example. One to watch.

August 22, 2004

Nostradijkhuis strikes again!

Stephen Crowley of Magellan (no link pending address change) just announced that he is moving the comic to Graphic Smash! Congratulations Stephen!

Now, let me draw the reader's attention to the list of comics links on the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan front page, where a link to Magellan was added just a week ago. As you may know, the link list has been a very good predictor of which comics are moving up in the world. But it gets better: before including the comic in the link list, I wrote this:

I've known Stephen, the artist, online for some time, and I'm glad to see that having the comic on Keenspace has revitalised it and brought it many new readers! He has another comic, Magellan, on there as well now, which I recommend the Graphic Smash people to look into because the combination of superheroes and a European-inspired clear-line style is very appealing and the writing is really strong.

God, I'm good.

August 25, 2004

Earth-pig born reviewed again

Adam White at Indy Magazine reviews the entire 300-issue run of Cerebus. The review is detailed and illustrated with full pages and cover art from all stages of the series, and is a must-read. I wonder how many people would agree with his high praise of the Going Home sequence over High Society or Church and State.

As an aside, I think there is a good essay waiting to be written about the failures of world-building in the sequence as a whole. Smith inadvertently points out one of them:

One of the most curious aspects of Cerebus becomes conspicuous in this book by its absence: music. Jaka is a dancer by trade, and we see her practice that trade here. Certainly, the inclusion of a band in the bar where she works would have been intrusive. The extra characters would have ruined the quiet, intimate tone of the story. However, the idea of a dancer who dances without music is bizarre. Comics do not have soundtracks other than the ones we conjure mentally, but it is strange that the mental soundtrack for this book is so very quiet. As a dancer, music must necessarily be important to Jaka. The fact that it is not so to Sim indicates perhaps a certain ignorance on the author's part of his own character. Throughout Cerebus, one senses that there is something about Jaka that one cannot know, possibly because the cartoonist does not know himself.

As an alternative explanation, Sim has written in the back pages of the comic that he fundamentally dislikes music. But a simpler explanation would surely be that Sim didn' t think about how music would work in a setting without electricity. In a modern bar, including one with, ahem, dancers, music would come from a PA system instead of live musicians with instruments and sweaty armpits. The scene really only works at all in a setting that has mechanically reproduced music. But because Sim chose a quasi-historical world to set his comic in, he couldn't have those. Either he didn't think about this problem at all, or he realised it too late and decided to brazen it out and do the scene without musicians hoping that the readers wouldn't mind.

August 26, 2004

The Wotch

Fans of El Goonish Shive will probably also enjoy The Wotch which has a similar style, setting and sense of humour. The Wotch is set at a high school and has cute characters, lycanthropy and transformations. It's derivative (and artist Anne gives credit to EGS for getting her to try her hand at cartooning in her links page), but it is also funny, lighthearted and not bad at all.

(Via Wapsi Square)

August 30, 2004

I can't keep up!

If you ever find yourselves thinking "Hmmm... Waffle is updating a bit sporadically lately", go to Websnark for ultra-fast blogging on comics and pop culture. It hasn't been around for long, but look at that post count! It's pretty readable as well, cramming substantial criticism into short, short posts.

August 31, 2004

Getting Away With It: Maritza Campos

Maritza Campos of College Roommates From Hell!!! has recently begun a storyline involving Blue, in her school uniform, interacting with Dave. As Blue's school uniform is a Tartan skirt, she makes use of one of my personal pet peeves: Scanned tartans.

Scanned Tartans in comics can be incrediably hideous: They don't follow the curve of the kilt (or skirt), forcing the unforunate Scotsman or schoolgirl to have a two-dimensional groin region. In animation, it can be even worse, as the tartan often won't even move with the character wearing it, making it incrediably hideous.

Yet, by using the attention to detail which is one of the trademarks of all modern CRFH strips, Maritza makes it work. Let's look at a sample:

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Note how by shifting the tartan up and down the tartan seems to follow the folds of the skirt, instantly giving it a third dimension. Admittedly, it's not perfect: Some skew would be needed to slightly tilt the tartan's horizontal lines, and, particularly near the back of the skirt, gently curving the vertical lines to make them follow the skirt would be more ideal. Still, it takes close analysis to spot the minor flaws remaining, and, given it's the best use of a scanned fabric I have ever seen in my life, I can only approve of Maritza's successful use of an idea that i have only seen result in hideous failure before. Bravo!

September 1, 2004

Shadow at MT

Jeroen's graduation project Shadow is this month's Modern Tales Longplay comic. Shadow is a fictionalised report of the "police actions" carried out by the Dutch army in Indonesia after World War II, based on notes left behind by Jeroen's grandfather.
Shadow was nominated for a Minerva award.

September 10, 2004

Clan of the Cats in trouble

A worrying message from Clan of the Cats author Jamie Robertson:

I recently lost my job and COTC takes so much time to do that I fear I'll have to give it up soon.

I'd be really sad to see COTC go. It's been one of my favorite webcomics for years. It's an engaging if occasionally slow read which many ROCR readers would like. I know that because I could easily rattle off a dozen names of ROCR readers who have told me they enjoy COTC as well. Protagonist Chelsea Chattan is not unlike Kel in basic personality.

Go take a look if you're not familiar with it yet. It's ad-supported so just reading the comic will help Jamie (he may want to ask Keenspot for an advance to tide him over although there's no way for me to know if that will add up to anything), and you will probably find the time well spent. There are various subscription and donation options available, but before you look into those, just do yourself a favour and read the archive.

By the way, Jamie has contributed two guest comics to Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan: this one and this one. I contributed two guest comics to Clan of the Cats as well: this one and this one. The least, the very least you can do is check those out!

Update: Jamie has just announced that the comic will end, uncompleted, this Christmas. I'm not sure how final that is - 3 1/2 months is a lot of time to save a comic. Let's get cracking!

Continue reading "Clan of the Cats in trouble" »

September 14, 2004

Cap'n

Cap'n is back from hiatus! Being my experimental outlet, I don't always have the inspiration or the drive to keep it going on a regular basis. I'm not sure how my reader-base would look if I did; it is a pretty experimental comic. I'm confident the art is good enough to attract readers, but the story and the changes in art-style will not appeal to everyone. I don't really mind: this way I can keep experimenting without worrying about losing readers if I do...

September 18, 2004

Meget morsomt

The Comics Journal forum denizens having fun with language, after a few Scandahoovian readers question Kim Thompson's ability to translate Norwegian cartoonist Jason's work.

Bite me, bite me not

Adam alerted me that Bite Me has ended, which should be a good occasion for me to go through the archive. If it is half as funny as artist Dylan Meconis´s parting message, it should be a gem±

The best compliment I ever inadvertently got was when somebody commented that the comic read like a Bugs Bunny short. If so, I have in some measure succeeded. If vampires were vulnerable to falling anvils, believe me. There would've been one.

September 21, 2004

Prepare for even more Schlock!

Howard Tayler reports that God has told him to quit his job!

Let me start this way: there are numerous reasons why one MIGHT choose to leave a lucrative position as a visionary with a leading technology company, and most of them have little or nothing to do with what really happened in my case. What it really boiled down to was the simple fact that God told me it was time to quit.

God did not say why. He also did not offer me any specific bits of encouragement, like saying "Schlock Mercenary will be netting you a high five-figure income by the end of 2005" (which revelation I would have greeted with all kinds of jubilant praise, yessirree, halle-LOO-ya.) No, for all I know the spiritual experience I've had in conjunction with this decision is leading me on a path that involves poverty, desperation, abject humility, and then a return to Novell as someone hungry enough to really get down to business.

The truly spiritual person doesn't care about the destination in cases like this. For saints, it's enough to know that the decision is the right one, and that God's ways are not necessarily understandable to mortals.

I'm no saint. I'm scared spitless. But I've had this kind of spiritual prompting in my life on three other occasions, and I know that for all my fears, things will work out okay. I just don't have a specific value for "okay" yet.

The Keenspot people had better upgrade their update system, because Howard managed 7 updates a week even while he was working as a visionary with a leading technology company. He'll have a one-year buffer in no time, and then he'll be looking at updating twice daily.

September 24, 2004

Loxie and Zoot book

Loxie and Zoot artist Stephen Crowley writes:

If you've ever even remotely thought about purchasing the book you've got until October 31 2004 to make your order... after that there will be no more books to be had... buy it now, don't let the following (hypothetical) scenario happen to you!

It's probably none of my business, but I get a bit uneasy about this sort of thing. From Stephen's comments over time, I didn't get the impression that the book was selling out, and I don't think it's POD (I have it). So what's he going to do with the unsold books? As someone who reveres books (they may get a bit battered in my hands, but I hang on to them through thick and thin), I don't like the idea of them getting pulped like what happened to Inigo Kelleigh's old small press books.
Stephen's LiveJournal, which he uses in lieu of a forum, doesn't mention the reasons for the October 31 deadline, and I can't just go in and ask.

September 28, 2004

Stillborn puppy


I don't like rejection. Who does? But you don't get through 4 years of art college without learning to deal with it. Still, this particular rejection got to me. I was asked to submit a comic for a Dutch alternative comics magazine Zone5300. I submitted a four page story written bij the chief editor of the magazine mid-August, had a positive response from said editor and a parting senior editor. But then out of the blue, yesterday, 5 or 6 weeks later, I got an email they've decided to reject the comic after all. The reason they waited this long is because they wanted to consider it properly. Which sounds like a rather lame excuse for "Hmm, this might do as a filler, let's first see what else we get and not let him know we think it's sub-par anyway." Sub-par comics being the reason I cancelled my subscription to the magazine a couple of years ago. Which makes me fear I turned in really crappy work. Well, see for yourself, here it is online, and feel free to let me know what you think... Read on for a quick translation

Continue reading "Stillborn puppy" »

October 1, 2004

Dangerous and Fluffy Mary Sue test

After trying all the RoCR characters for Mary-Sueness, Reinder challenged me to subject Dangerous and Fluffy to the same treatment. So, does Dangerous and Fluffy contain Mary Sues? Let's find out!

Continue reading "Dangerous and Fluffy Mary Sue test" »

October 4, 2004

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Today marks the last day I draw Dangerous And Fluffy: The Sheep Of Doom. Unfortunately, I cannot any longer spare time and energy to continue draw it.
I am very glad, though, that Timmerryn has agreed to take over, and I have all confidence Adam and Timm will keep entertaining any and all readers engrossed in the goings on in the town of Greepwhittle. I know I'll remain a fan :)
Thank you, all who read it, and thank you Adam for putting up with me ;)

October 8, 2004

Signs of the impending apocalypse

Harrumph. Not much stuff on the impending apocalypse here lately. About time somebody took charge and did something about it!

So gather around brothers and sisters, and hear this weeks summary of foreboding signs in the skies and bumps in the night.

For ye of the dark disposition: In time for Christmas (or perhaps she's aiming for Halloween), our favorite Goth Nemi appears for the first time between hard covers in a hefty collection of the series first four years (1997 - 2000): "Enhj�rninger og avsagde hagler". For the Norwegian impaired, that means "Unicorns and sawn-off shotguns". It's NOK 298 for 168 pages, and it should be worth it: This is vintage Nemi from before artist Lise Myhre got her current bout of verbosititis.

Those of you who're not willing to learn Norwegian to catch up on your Nemi, will for the time being have to make do with Metro's English translation.

Since there's four more years worth of Nemi material, I prophesy that Armageddon is still one publishing event away.

Or maybe not. It MAY be just 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. The director's cut of Donnie Darko - the semi-cult movie of giant, scary bunnies, falling jet engines and suburban American apocalypse that weirdly fitting crashed at the box office after premiering shortly before 9.11.2001 ---is out on DVD.

It's another buy that's well worth the money. But irritatingly, director Richard Kelly has decided to NOT add the original cut to the 2-DVD package. Apparantly he has a major issue with fans making the movie "theirs", and has gone out of his way not only to make a definite edition but also a definite interpretation. I'm not sure I like that. It may mean I'll have to fork out for the original also. And now I'll have to get it before the end of the month...

October 15, 2004

Eldritch unspeakable horrors that man was not meant to witness

Forum thread showcasing hideous statuettes of mostly European comics characters. The link goes to the second page of the thread, but the unspeakable abominations don't really start until page 3, featuring ghastly 3-D renditions of Alix, Ric Hochet, a nude woman taking a shower, Rahan, Blake, Mortimer, Olric and two pantsless Manara girls that creatures of gruesome taste and accursed mien can use as bookends to support the grisly and revolting tomes in their dread collections. I'm sure that the loathsome, tentacled denizens of the forum will soon add some more appalling examples the sight of which will break a strong man's mind, leaving those wretched unfortunates who behold them as pale, empty, hollow-faced shells of their former selves!!! Aiiiii!!!!!

(Sorry, I've been hanging out at the Ancient and Hermetic Order of the Shrill a little too much, and reading Lovecraft, lately).

October 18, 2004

It's a rahball!

Hello, it's me!

That is to say the entity better known as Timm, the author of The Pantheon and recently the artist for Dangerous and Fluffy on Graphic Smash (yay!)

I also make 3D things like soft toys and sculptures, which I sell through my CRE'ATURES website. Am hoping to expand this into a business, as I want to do something arty after I finish my honours year in June. Much as I love invertebrates, I've had enough of writing those science papers!

*flop*

October 21, 2004

Liliane, Bi-Dyke

I'd seen Liliane, Bi-Dyke somewhere before, and kind of liked it. In print, I think it was. So I'm a bit surprised to see that it has a lowly Keenspace site! I'll have to give it the ole archive trawl treatment sometime.

(Found via an ad on Talkaboutcomics. Cartoonists: these ads work! The so-called ultra-cheap phase of the program may look a bit pricy, but if my own response is representative, people will click on those ads and find comics through them. Check out the rates.)

Wasting advertisers' money

Speaking of ads, this ad:
Change your sexual taste and scent, is what it says
belongs on Sexy Losers. It belongs on Ghastly's Ghastly Comics.
It does not belong on General Protection Fault or Schlock Mercenary. This isn't just because the owners of those last two sites would find those ads inappropriate or offensive, but also because the viewers of the former sites would click on the ad in droves, and the viewers of the latter would not. Some of them would, I'm sure, but not nearly as many. By not having a system in place to show ads on adult-oriented comics, Keenspot are throwing advertisers' money away. Admittedly, what with having to work with so many different networks, developing such a system is probably more difficult than it looks.

Me, I don't think ROCR would be a great match for the ads. But it'd be a better one than GPF and Schlock, and I'd take the advertiser's money with great enthusiasm.

Advertising on Keenspot does yield pretty good results for cartoonists, though. Really, there are a lot of gaps to be filled, and any cartoonist who has advertised on the Modern Tales network should also consider putting ads on the Keen network. I've done it in the past and I'm going to do it again in November.

October 31, 2004

Dangerous and Fluffy Halloween comic

Don't miss today's Dangerous and Fluffy Halloween comic!

Ten men survive the wreck of the Nancy Bell.

Then they started getting hungry...

Happily, everyone else was delicious.

Political cartoons that don't suck!

It's probably symbolic or other that this batch of political cartoons that are actually funny and hardly made me wince at all comes from a Swiss cartoonist.

November 3, 2004

Is there good on keenspace? Part I

Is there good on Keenspace? Oh yes, certainly! Admidst many a strange sprite comic are some true gems. Let's look at a few of the best obscure fantasy comics in the start of this regular feature!

All images are, of course, copyright their respective comics and are only copied here to help review them

Tales of the Questor
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This comic is simply delightful. Overloaded with goodnatured wit and fun, an incrediably lovable cast, and a really cracking plot, it's an absolute delight suitable for all ages.

Minions for Hire
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Minions for hire moves a bit slowly, with most strips only having one or two large panels. That said, these three minor villains on a grand quest to become true warlords are absolutely delightful. Read this comic and you two can be booing the paladins, guards, and other forces of goodness that try and stop them!

Stuff of Legends
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The very stylish art drew me in, the hilarious tale of a young optomistic boy latching on to an old pessimistic hero who's trying his best to retire caused this comic to rise to one of my favourites.


Dwarf Tossing
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You know, I can never decide about Dwarf Tossing's art. if you glance at certain episodes, they look bad, but if you look at thrm for a bit longer, you notice it's actually rather well done. Never really understood that. Jeroen calls it "naive". In any case, it is a rather fun read. Rather rougher around the edges than the other comics in this offering, but it's improving quite rapidly, and the characters really do grow on you, stupid and foolhearty as they are. However, it is a webcomic in the very early stages of its development. It wasn't until after I started reading it that it gained navigation buttons, which are still a little chancy even now.

But if you can't support a fledgling webcomic, what can you support? And I do love dwarves.


I hope you enjoyed my overview of keenspace. Keep an eye on this spot as Adam braves the wilds of keenspace, finding the true gems hidden amongst comics that make you want to stab your eyes out, lest you miss the very good because of the very bad.

Alas, poor Theo

After a rather lame first response, this batch of Fokke & Sukke cartoons responding to the murder of Theo van Gogh and the sudden death of cycling champ Gerrie Knetemann turned out a lot stronger. And the intrepid avians score another point in Stalinism.com's So What Purity Test.

Lies, I tell you! Filthy lies!!!

Reading a bunch of Filthy Lies comics mocking the President-apparent has made me feel better about things. This episode is still my favourite.

4-star general

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From Courtly Manners
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From Wickedtemptations.com, found by Eric Millikin


November 19, 2004

Fell, adj. : evil, ferocious

Via Father of the Earth-Pig Born:
Something Fell is a long series of reviews/critiques/summaries of Cerebus starting with book 1 and slogging through all the books through to the end. Lacking in critical depth, but full of detail, and good enough to serve as a kind of Cliff Notes for those of you who'd rather skip the Torah exegesis.

November 22, 2004

Thor

I don't read superhero comics as a rule (I've been looking at a few Batman titles provided by a studio-mate, because he's a visually and psychologically appealing character when done right — but even in my studio-mate's selection he's rarely ever done right. Coincidentally, Alexander Danner asked about Batman on the Modern Tales mailing list just as I had finally broken down and asked my studio mate for some of the best Batbooks), but I'm sure one or two readers of/contributors to this blog will be interested in reading this review of The Mighty Thor #80-85 at The Hurting (scroll down to read the review). Thor is another potentially appealing character who's rarely done right. Hell, any Norse God would be a good superhero character, as would many Greek, Celtic, Egyptian or Elder gods. And it looks like the series's current writer knows it:

Thor is probably the hardest character out of the classic Marvel pantheon to do well. Just look at how many mediocre-to-bad Thor comics have been published in the many decades since Kirby left Marvel. Walt Simonson’s run is almost twenty years old. I am happy to report that Michael Avon Oeming and Andrea DiVito have produced the best Thor story since Simonson left the book all those years ago.

The key to their success has been a whole-hearted embrace of the icky mythological elements that compose the character’s backbone. Instead of playing up the superhero aspect, they chose to accentuate the character’s cosmic fantasy elements. That, as much as anything, grants the character a semblance of dignity that many of his peers could never hope to evoke. Sure, most of the fantasy elements in Thor are silly on the face of them, just as with the superhero elements – but when done well, they carry the imprimatur of Kirby’s indefinable cosmic grandeur as well as the source myths’ historical pedigree. Tellingly, this story stays closer to the actual myths than most Marvel interpretations of myth, including some of the gruesome depictions of Odin’s trials and death.

November 24, 2004

Clickburg

Clickburg is the website of a new comics convention to be held in Tilburg, the Netherlands. I can't find the date for the convention on the website yet, but Ren� van Densen who occasionally comments here is one of the organisers so he'll undoubtedly tell me.
What makes this convention special is that it's a European convention dedicated to webcomics - Dutch ones specifically, although that may change eventually (I rather hope it does, to include Belgian/German/Scandinavian web artists as well, because I think the focus on Dutch work is too narrow. But these guys may prove me wrong on that).
I've been thinking about reorienting myself to the European market these past few months, because I've been less than succesful at getting money out of American readers, and the money that I do make is devaluing by the week. I needs me some hard Euros! So it's important to have my eyes open to events like this one, which may help me reintroduce myself to the creative community and readers on the home front. I'll be there, unless they plan it on a completely impossible day.
Update: Serves me right for not checking the stripped-down URL. I had found the site because an internal page linked to rocr.net. I've now changed the URL to an internal welcome page that at least shows you the forum and placeholder links for the other stuff they want to incorporate.
Update to the update: In the comments, Ren� asks me to link to the splash page again, because the site is still very much in development. I won't do that, because this whole entry wouldn't make any sense if I did, but I will note that all contents may change and the link I do use may stop working. For what it's worth, I found the site through ROCR.net's referrals, so people are already reading it.

November 25, 2004

Oooh!

Well, it looks like Ursula Vernon is in a new comic magazine, Quixotica. I'm certainly excited by it, and have already placed my order. - It looks to be really good!

November 26, 2004

UK Webcomix thing

The other day I talked to Adam about Clickburg, because he's interested in going there. He mentioned that he didn't think there were any such conventions in the UK... I mentioned Caption which is downright venerable if small in scale and creator-oriented, but didn't mention UK Web and Mini Comics Thing which is probably more interesting for web-oriented folk.


Confirmed: The UK Web & Mini Comix Thing 2005 will go ahead on Saturday March 19 2005 at the Great Hall, Mile End. We are now looking for exhibitors, organisers, sponsors and people to draw the artwork for the event.

GOSH!!!: Gosh!!!, Gosh! have decided to sponsor the thing for a second year!!!! Not only are they sponsoring the event but they'll be exhibiting and making a fantastic collection of good quality comic books available on the day as well. More to come!!!

The 24 Minute Comic!!!: There will be a 24 minute comic event run by Ade Brown on the day. Ade is taking names now for the 24 individuals or teams to take part now. Each team will have 24 minutes to draw a page based on certain keywords. At the end of the 24 minutes the pages are collected, collated & printed and will be on sale by 4pm. Check out the attractions page for more details!!!! Or e-mail Ade now!!!

December 2, 2004

GraphicSmash

I should start by mentioning I haven't read every comic on ModernTales and GraphicSmash, and probably won't until my next bout of mild depression (which usually causes me to seek out comics and read archives in a sitting to cheer meself up). That said...

I probably wouldn't have started reading GraphicSmash without a bit of a nudge. I just don't like violence much, particularly graphic violence, and was under the impression that GraphicSmash was rather violent.

...Except it's not, really. Between the bizarre comedy of Kilroy and Tina, the charm of Digger, the... I feel compelled to phrase it this way. Please forgive me.... the fun of More Fun, and even the very violent-sounding but actually highly intellectual Gun Street Girl, (Grr. I keep thinking of others I should list. Very well: Fans, Flex Time, The Replacements, and probably Jaded though I've only just started reading the archives of that one. And Mnemesis. And probably a couple others.) I've fallen in love with the site.

Which leads one to ask: Is GraphicSmash branded correctly? It's a very strong lineup of very good comics. But by concentrating on the Action-Adventure genre they all (supposedly) fit in, one rather wonders if we're missing out on a major block of the potential audience. I don't know.

Two Kinds

While staying at home, too sick to work but not too sick to get bored, I've been reading webcomics. One of them that caught my attention is the fantasy comic Two Kinds by Tom Fischbach. It's not that it's a perfect comic; far from it: the style is a little too generic and Tom seems unable to write characters as having any other perspective than that of a teenager. But it's entertaining from beginning to end despite these flaws, and even the flaws fall into place when the artist announces, nine months into the comic, that he has just turned seventeen! This comic is far too good to be made by someone that young. Tom's going to go places with his art and writing, mark my words.

December 3, 2004

Guest Art for Dangerous and Fluffy?

I'm very ill, and just can't get the scripts together for Dangerous and Fluffy this week. Please help. Address is farmer_giles@tiscali.co.uk

Thank you,
Adam

December 4, 2004

Spawn of Mari

Another webcartoonist who's been feeling a bit under the weather lately is College Roomies From Hell!!! creator Maritza Campos. As it turns out, this is because a something's been growing inside her. Congratulations, Mari! I'm sure that with your kid's help you'll be able to deliver twice the insanity at the same low price!

December 7, 2004

Kiagi Swordscat

The_Note_2.pngThe one good thing about being sick is that I get to goof around and read. Unfortunately my brain has been so addled that reading novels or non-fiction is beyond my capacities right now, but I can still handle webcomics.

Kiagi Swordscat is a fun read for the addled brain. It piles on the Funny and in addition to the gags themselves it has some wonderfully absurd touches. Like the panel at left. The bananas add a touch of mystery and intrigue. Why is Kiagi carrying a banana in both hands? Which one will he eat first? It's never explained, flying in the face of Tolstoj's maxim that "if there's a banana over the mantleplace in the opening scene, it better be fired during the fourth act". I likes that.

December 9, 2004

Fascinating like a train wreck or like a fascinatingly beautiful thing? You decide

I keep going back to the comment threads in these two Websnark postings:
Also, they're good at banter. But then, they would be, wouldn't they?
When did we become the No Fat Chicks club? I think I need to see the bylaws.

In the first post, Eric compliments Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content on his rendering of the body types of the three female protagonists in the recent QC storyline, and a number of commenters disagree, a few of them quite vehemently. I'm slightly more with the disagreeers — I think the main reason we know that Dora is squishy is because it is mentioned often in the dialogue. However, I think Jeph is trying within his abilities to render different body types, and deserves kudos, praise, biscuits and free heroin for that. Also the hysterical tone of at least of the disagreeers turns me off in the same way that second amendment absolutists who bring up the holocaust turn me off, making an argument I'd be viscerally sympathetic to look silly.
The second thread is inspired by the fallout from the first, and deals with body type, especially female body type, in comics in more general terms. My own perspective on this is that artists have to constantly remind themselves to draw different body types, otherwise through a combination of lazyness, deadlines, forgetfulness and simple preference (the discussion on the thread emphasises preference only, but that's only part of the story), a single body type will dominate throughout. Typically, my characters, male or female, are more different from one another at the design stage than after they've been in a few dozen finished pages, and I've made a habit of referring back to the early sketches and early appearances to remind myself of the distinctive physical characteristics of the characters.
But the comment about balding, bearded, beer-bellied blokes in comics still hit home.

December 13, 2004

Out of the shadows, into the light


After getting my very first paycheck ever for making comics last week, on friday there was another first: my very first review in a quality newspaper. Joost Pollmann, former conservator of the Dutch Comics Museum and comics journalist wrote a nice little piece about two comics set in the former Dutch colony of Indonesia. First about Rampokan by Peter van Dongen, the long awaited second part. It took him 13 (!) years to complete both books. The second part of the article is devoted to "Shadow" by l'il ol' me. Pollmann says little about why he likes my book, though he clearly does. He has rather a descriptive style of writing, which makes it hard to get a good quote. Thankfully Joe Zabel provided a nice one after reading "Shadow" as a Modern Tales longplay feature: "I really liked this piece. Beautifully illustrated, with a fascinating variation of approaches. It really develops a strong sense of atmosphere and realism."

We'll see where (if anywhere) this media coverage 'll lead: for now I'm happy for that half page of fame.

December 17, 2004

Freefall

I just adore this comic! It's absolutely hilarious, whilst being Science fiction done more-or-less straight. Wonderful stuff! How have I missed it?
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Freefall is found at http://freefall.purrsia.com Read it now!

Add one to the ranks

I missed this because I don't check the comic regularly, but Anne Onymous (groan) of The Wotch has quit her job after a successful donation campaign, enabling her to resume regular work on her comic. Congratulations on reaching this milestone, Anne!
It's not quite a Randy Milholland level achievement because Anne is younger and has more modest needs than Randy (I can't tell how much she has raised but the job it replaces is part-time janitorial work), but it's still a cool thing for her to accomplish.
I took a look at Anne's art commission info page, and lemme tell ya, the girl knows how to find a niche and fill it! For only $ 70, you can buy a "Single-Character Four-Panel Transformation sequence, with bystander". Even Dan Shive hasn't thought of that, I'm sure.

Meanwhile, Clan of the Cats is out of the woods for the foreseeable future.

December 23, 2004

Out of the Shadow part II

schaduw

After being featured in de Volkskrant just over a week ago, people are really starting to notice my book. So far there has been more interest by journalists then actual buyers, but even those are now starting to pop up. Biggest problem being I've run out of copies and have a distribution problem. Both I'll probably be able to fix in January. In the mean time, today there's an article on "Schaduw" in het Parool, an Amsterdam based newspaper targeting mostly inhabitants of said city. I'm hoping the right people will see it though. We'll see. Good thing my URL is mentioned. I'll be checking my stats regularly.

January 14, 2005

Because Jeroen hasn't mentioned it yet...

Capn and Belle are now listed on Onlinecomics.net. Both comics are on extended hiatuses, but the archived installments are fine, fine bodies of work. Go read them, or if you already have, send them some luvvin' through the Onlinecomics.net commenting/favorites system! It just might help Jeroen get himself into gear again.

January 17, 2005

Fred Julsing, RIP

Another icon from my childhood has passed away. Fred Julsing was the brilliant cartoonist whose fairytale adaptations dazzled me when they ran in Malmberg Educational magazines Jippo and Taptoe in the early 1980s. Throughout his career, Julsing was under criticism for his writing and storytelling, but working with traditional stories like The Brave Little Tailor and The Pied Piper of Hameln, he got it right, to my pre-teen eyes. His visual imagination never failed to amaze, and his clear, bright lines and unusual figure designs, not to mention costume designs unlike any I've seen anywhere else, will stay with me until my dying day.

biography in Dutch with more pictures than the English-language version.
Julsing's new age art from the 1990s-2004.

January 25, 2005

Dangerous and Fluffy team approve of Piratemonkeysinc

Mary Sue Battle at HogwartsThis untitled comic by Snape-obsessed artist Gmonkey got a "Bwa ha ha" out of Einar and a delighted "Squee!" out of Timm. It made me laugh as well when I found it in the comments to a limyaael Livejournal rant. Gmonkey is no Michaelangelo, but her interpretations of the Harry Potter characters work, and her story is funny as hell. And she knows her Mary Sues:

"Sadly, I am the last of my kind." "How sad! It must be hard for you, with all the prejudice against Catpeople, despite the fact that they have really powerful magic and stuff."

Read it. It's short and sweet. Her other Snape comics are worth reading as well.

January 26, 2005

More on Fred Julsing

Cartoonist Dirk-Arend has put together a tribute to Fred Julsing on his blog. It's in Dutch, but definitely worth a look, because it has many illustrations, including some of the dailies he penciled for Toonder studios. And (Squeeeee!) it has some old Jippo covers by Julsing. I have these magazines lying around somewhere, still....
Many images can be enlarged. The article also links to some very nicely done Flash presentations at the semi-official Julsing Fansite.

January 30, 2005

In the future, everything will be a blog

Talk About Comics has come back online, and is now a blog. It's looking like a mighty good'un, except that for some reason I have posting privileges there so I will spoil everyone's enjoyment with my wittering.
Fearless Leader explains the change.
I'll add it to the blogroll, and maybe plug it into my blog, or plug my blog into it. Or I'll plug both into my webcomic, which is also a blog.

In the future, everything will be a blog. We will fly to our blogging jobs at McBlogblog using rocket-powered blogs strapped to our shoulders and wearing silver suits that will also have blogs on them. We will spend all our time plugging every blog we can find into every other blog we can find and then go home plugging the day's work into our Livejournals and vice versa. This is good, because we will still be able to find productive work, for a new and somewhat loose definition of productive, while robots do all the farming and building. Together, robots and blogs are the answer to all social problems.

There are still forums to discuss stuff on. They too are pretty good, and should now be a lot more stable, but they are not blogs, yet.

Update: Comixpedia has got in on this "putting stuff inside other stuff" act early. They've got the headlines from TAC on their front page before I'd even got it to show up properly in Bloglines.

January 31, 2005

On the Playground

Update: Broken link fixed. Thanks to reader Mithandir for pointing it out.
Damonk mentions in passing that the artist of On the Playground is only twelve years old. Wow. OTP is a funny strip. The drawing is only good for a twelve-year-old, but learning to draw takes a lot of time, and I'm sure Alan Anderson will develop just fine. The gag-writing, on the other hand, goes way beyond that level. The timing, dialogue, characters, and the gag ideas themselves just work which is hard to do at any age. And you don't get the feeling that there's a child's sense of humour at work. It has a child's perspective on the lives of younger children, but that's a good thing. Alan knows these characters well.

Count Your Sheep fans, take note of this Ship Cameo. In fact, this strip deserves special praise, because Alan has given the teacher a personality and an imagination. There are many who wouldn't bother with that and make the authority figure a faceless dullard.

Share the Love: Crab Allan

Crossposted to Talk About Comics:
Share the Love: Reinder Dijkhuis loves and hates L. Frank Weber's Crab Allan

Continue reading "Share the Love: Crab Allan" »

February 1, 2005

Lovarian Adventures to join Graphic Smash

Just posted on Talk About Comics:
GRAPHIC SMASH welcomes STEVE HOGAN, ZACK GIALLONGO, and GABRIEL FUA to the action-adventure family!

Continue reading "Lovarian Adventures to join Graphic Smash" »

February 2, 2005

Out of the Shadows III

The media coverage of my book Shadow continues. Today the new issue of Stripschrift, a Dutch comics magazine came out, and there was a pretty good review of the book in it. It got 4 out of a possible five !!!!'s, which is fine, I guess. The reporter noted a mistake I made which I had not yet noticed myself, nor any of my proof readers(!): on the back cover I used the word "brigade" where I should have used "divisie." In the very next sentence the reporter makes a mistake of her own: she says my grandfather was a "KNIL-soldier," which he was not. Which is rather annoying as the KNIL army consisted of Indonesian soldiers, and my grandfather was obviously Dutch.
Orders keep coming in, though I have no idea when I can get a reprint done. I'm trying to get it published professionally, but that seems to take a lot of time. I'm not sure what to do now, print a limited amount of copies for these people, or do it properly and getting it in bookstores, with a delay of at least several months.
Don't forget you can still read Shadow at Modern Tales!

February 3, 2005

Share the Love: Reinder Dijkhuis Loves Michael Oscarsson's Flick

Crossposted to Talk About Comics:
Share the Love: Reinder Dijkhuis loves Michael Oscarsson's Flick

Continue reading "Share the Love: Reinder Dijkhuis Loves Michael Oscarsson's Flick" »

February 4, 2005

Peter Breedveld interviews Craig Thompson, or did so a while ago

I think this interview with Craig Thompson was the one that journalist Peter Breedveld published on the Comics Journal forums, and then pulled after the thread following it became a flame-fest.

February 6, 2005

Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan to update daily this week!

Cocoricooo!Next week, Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan will update 5 times to make up for lost time during last week's computer troubles. Last week, I posted filler art, but continued working on the comics so that I could catch up as soon as I was able to.
This means that there will be extra updates on Tuesday and Thursday. If you don't have a Modern Tales subscription, be sure to check the website on those days.
Also, a new chapter will start on Monday, the final one of the long Rite of Serfdom storyline. That means that on Tuesday, the previous 19-page chapter, Grimborg, will stop being free to non-subscribers, and the new chapter, called Home, will become the new free chapter. That's one more day to catch up with the events of the night before the new chapter!

Continue reading "Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan to update daily this week!" »

February 7, 2005

Here's some more cock, in Pishio the Cat

Cock, I tell you! Cock!
After reading the first two pages of The Tenth Life of Pishio the Cat, I almost didn't read on to the third, because I didn't like the pseudo-primitive style of those two pages. But on the third page, the style changed to a more realistic, but still cartoony one, with really nice black and white blocking, interesting story content, and a big ole cock! The only downside is that the cock isn't French like the one in my comic tomorrow. On the other hand, this one does poetry, which Jean-Pierre isn't bright enough to do.
Seriously, I'm a sucker for styles like that, and may find myself falling for this comic like I've done for the work of Ursula Vernon and Jesse Hamm. But it's early days. We'll see.

February 14, 2005

Review with anatomy lesson

I really miss the old "Bizarre Breasts" feature on Sequential Tart, but fortunately Ping Teo has picked up the baton. Her review of the fantasy comic Twelve Dragons came with a free anatomy lesson. As well as generous helpings of Limyaael-esque common sense.

Continue reading "Review with anatomy lesson" »

February 15, 2005

Jay Hosler, Biologist, Cartoonist

Darwin takes a stroll
Found through the Comics Journal Forum (So yes, it's good for something):
Jay Hosler is Assistant Professor of Biology at Juniata College. He is also


the 6-time Eisner Award nominee and Xeric Award winning creator of Clan Apis and The Sandwalk Adventures. His comics have been featured in Science, The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Booklist, The London Times Higher Education Supplement, Discover Magazine, The New Scientist, Skeptical Inquirer, The Association for Women in Science Magazine and The Comics Journal.

Continue reading "Jay Hosler, Biologist, Cartoonist" »

March 1, 2005

Comics Curmudgeon.

My pal Danny pointed me to The Comics Curmudgeon which I hadn't seen yet ("unlike nearly every other link he sends me," he sneered sarcastically). Josh reads comics so we don't have to, and what he reads is the crap that's in the paper. A few random comments:

Continue reading "Comics Curmudgeon." »

March 8, 2005

Well-wishes to Jamie

Jamie Robertson of Clan of the Cats has come down with a blood clot in his leg, which, to put it mildly, can't be fun. On his website, he claims he'll be out of commission for a few days, and his comic will take a break until next Monday. Hang in there, Jamie, and may you recover quickly!

Clan of the Cats has grown in leaps and bounds, art-wise, since Jamie was laid off from his old job. If you have a bit of time to spare for comics-reading, give this urban horror/fantasy a try.

Cerberus!

I made a soft toy of Cerberus today. :)


And the other day I updated The Pantheon!

Aaaaand.. Reinder's guest comic, from the previous update, is now visible. Keenspace was so distressed by the files being called jpegs when they were really pngs, it did a Bugblatter Beast Of Traal and refused to look at them, so they wouldn't be able to attack it.

March 11, 2005

Good heavens!

The Pantheon has a new index page! Now you can almost see the comic when you first enter the site. :)

Twill be a bit of a shock to all of ye who grew used to the old format over the years..

And speaking of old formats, the pencil colouring is back. Oh, at last! I hear you cry. At least, I think you do. The scanner didn't like it very much, though, it turned all the palest bits into white and did odd things to the sky.

And Jeroen finally got into my brain and made me see the Comic Sans Invasion Of The Universe and I decided I wouldn't use it any more. So my new font is One Stroke Script LET.
I dunno where fonts come from, I think every time you install a new program it brings its fonts with it, because every time I open Word it has a new font in it I would swear wasn't there yesterday..

March 12, 2005

Something positive



R*K*Milholland from Something Positive is reading all keenspace comics to prove there are indeed good ones among them. Apparently he has reached "C" and found Cap'n interesting:

Cap'n by Jeroen... just has to be seen to be believed. And there's almost four years of archives and it's still going.

As the image shows, Cap'n stats went through the roof :D
I'm not sure how many people will keep reading, but man, the influence of the Big Guns!

March 17, 2005

What a difference colour can make

I spent much of last year exploring opportunities for re-use of old drawings (and I'm doing it again now for the purpose of creating banner ads) But Stephen Crowley of the naturist comic Loxie and Zoot has just proven himself a master at this. Compare and contrast:

Loxie and Zoot, October 25, 2004
Loxie and Zoot, March 15, 2005

It's amazing how much difference you can make by taking an old page and just adding different colours and new word balloons! It's lazy, but lazy in an interesting, instructive way. I hope he gets to put a few more remixed, revamped pages in there.

There's an emerging tradition in the webcomics world, started by Websnark, to reward outstanding performances with baked goodies. I don't have any biscuits right now, but for taking the lessons of the remix era to heart, Stephen gets a waffle. A vegan one, for him.

Mmm, tasty, tasty waffle.

March 18, 2005

Nude backlash advertising

nude chick flick - dominant damsels
Let no one say I can't tell a good bandwagon to jump on when I see one.
Some of the cartoonists of the Modern Tales family of cartoonists are having great fun designing ads for their work to show on Talk About Comics (the blog and the forum). The gem shown on your right, an ad for the excellent serial Flick is the most succesful internet ad I've ever seen - its clickthrough is in the region of 10% and has been for two weeks. Readers are clicking on it like hyperactive monkeys. The lesson here isn't that skin sells, but that well-drawn skin in an interesting style sells if there aren't any other distracting elements in the graphic. There are other ads with nudity in there but none of them is getting people interested like this one.
As site owner Joey Manley predicted, the use of nude images in the advertising would eventually provoke a backlash, and people have indeed been complaining. Below are some ads made by the various cartoonists in response to the complaints (note large images below the cut):

Continue reading "Nude backlash advertising" »

March 21, 2005

Courtly Manners 2

Poof!
Courtly Manners #2 has started. In this sequel to the story of Kel and Krakatoa's introduction at the Witch Queen's court, we find our young witches again invited to the court, to the chagrin of one and the excietment of another. But how can this be? After last year's mishaps, how could the Queen invite them again, and personally this time? As it turns out, someone has a nefarious!!! purpose!!! in inviting the two!!!
Courtly Manners # 2 was written by Geir Strøm of White House in Orbit, Belle and The Eye of the Underworld, among many other things. It's always a pleasure for me to work with Geir, and I wish I could spare more time to draw his scripts. He's completed another Courtly Manners story and several others.
Like the first series, Courtly Manners #2 comes with epic poetry by Timmerryn (coming soon - expect a slight lag between each published episode of the series and the arrival of the epic poetry).

March 26, 2005

Return of the son of continuing technical problems

Keenspace, webhost of the main Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan site, Capn, The Pantheon and sundry other works created by the people who write in this blog, is down for the count yet again. Apologies for the inconvenience if you're a reader of one of these comics.
Alternate location for Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan/Courtly Manners
Alternate location for The Pantheon

In related news, and on a different website, I have redesigned the web pages for The Eye of the Underworld to be more consistent with the look of other sites. After only 7 years online, the story now has its own logo graphic! Other one-shots will also be redesigned and re-scanned.

April 1, 2005

Schlock Mercenary leaves Keenspot

I thought it looked different...
Schlock Mercenary has left Keenspot. Howard Tayler writes:

Continue reading "Schlock Mercenary leaves Keenspot" »

Some April Fools jokes are just too good

Chasing the Sunset's April Fools joke got a bit out of hand. The creators posted a very realistic looking Cease and Desist letter from the law firm for New Line Cinema, and the readers ate it up, and passed the link around. Eventually, writer Mithandir had to reveal the hoax early to stop readers from contacting the law firm or New Line Cinema.
Most April Fools "pranks" in webcomics are mere creator swaps, which has got a bit old by now, although they can be entertaining if done well. This one fooled people into action, which is what the tradition is all about. Good one, guys, but next time leave a few more clues for the gullible.

April 2, 2005

From the Webcomics community

"If you don't carry out your webcartooning duties the way I think you should, someone else will remove you from Favorites!"

No, not aimed at me, thank God. I have a mature readership. Thank you all for not being like those people.

April 8, 2005

A few temporary URLs

Modern Tales is back up, but DNS isn't resolving quite rightly yet. Here are the places to go, for now.

Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan on Modern Tales. The full archive view isn't working yet. Subscribers can page back on a chapter by chapter basis though.
Courtly Manners on Modern Tales. Ditto.

Timm and Adam's Dangerous and Fluffy is on Graphic Smash, whose DNS is resolving normally. The problem with the archive views applies though.

Yesterday, in the text below the ROCR comic, I encouraged readers to subscribe to get to the archived goodies. As it happens, Modern Tales isn't quite ready to take on new subscribers again (and I haven't had the time yet to re-enter the remastered comics into the new database). But if you like these comics, think about it, OK? There's a lot of good stuff in the archives, delivered in easy to read elevator scroll pages which would be too costly to deliver in an advertising-based model, and it keeps the artists fed so they can make more comics.
And if you're in Europe, it's hella cheap! Come on, use the Power of the Euro to buy stuff cheaply! You want to!


April 10, 2005

Printing comic books

Of possibly lasting interest to webcartoonists intending to self-publish in print: John faub Fortman's Printing Comics Tutorial. I'll read it in my copious spare time.

April 12, 2005

scary-go-cap'n



Just when John Allison goes back to pen and paper, I've finally gone and tried to teach myself the basics of Illustrator to bring you: scary-go-cap'n! In my quest of creating the weirdest images it's rather surprising it took me 4 years before I finally did one in Illustrator. I postponed learning the program for ever, though I'm not sure why. I quite like it, and mean to experiment with it a lot the coming time.

April 13, 2005

Poepoe

For a guy who's supposed to be the brains behind a webcomics exhibit and a nominee for a Dutch webcomics award, I'm remarkably unfamiliar with the work of most of the other nominees. However, I can safely say that Poepoe by Fokke & Sukke artist Jean-Marc van Tol is fast becoming one of my favourite comics.

The downside to this is that I'll have to add a comic to my front page hotlist which will never be promoted to Keenspot or the Modern Tales family, because Poepoe is very much a hobby for the creator, who makes a fine living indeed from Fokke & Sukke. There goes Nostradijkhuis' track record down the crapper...

April 14, 2005

This is probably uncollegial and unsporting of me

... but I tried to get into fellow Clickie nominee Han Hoogerbrugge's Hotel and all I got out of it was confirmation of my prejudice that Flash is really only good for crude political satire with squirrels in it.

That's not to say there isn't some interesting stuff going on, visually, but for me, it's not enough to justify sitting through the whole thing, alternately waiting for the next thing to happen or hunting for things to click on. And the repetitive music drives me nuts!

I've always thought that the point of interactivity was to give the audience more control over their experience of the work. This just makes me feel lost and frustrated. Give me singing squirrels any day.

Edit: As a fellow Clickie nominee I must protest.
It is also great for putting a frog in a blender.

edited by Cmkaapjes

Bignose and Overbite

This Clickie contender: Bignose and Overbite I like a lot better! It has nice, light art that reminds me a bit of Andy Konky Kru and a storyline that starts out seemingly aimless and improvised but ends up rather intricate. It doesn't go very deep, but the formal play is interesting and entertaining without being obtrusive, and many of the jokes are funny.

April 15, 2005

Albo Helm's comics

Since I've already blathered on at great length about my own comic in this blog over the past year, and won't add anything to what I've already said about my friend Jeroen's Shadow other than that you can now read it for free, there's only one Clickie contender in the "Epic" category left to discuss.

The work on Albo Helm's site is of a very high quality, but for the purposes of the contest I think it has two counts against it. One is that it isn't really a single epic - It's a collection of unrelated stories and more than a few gag comics. The jury should really have picked a single story to nominate. The other is that a lot of the material on display wasn't made for the web, and it shows. I'm no purist, you'll understand. About a quarter of all the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan material ever published on the web wasn't made especially for it, and this fraction will go up once I start on the publication of The Stone of Contention. But it was carefully adapted to the web: the lettering enlarged in proportion to what I'd have done in print, images endlessly massaged until they'd look good on screen. I miss that aspect in Albo's work. Like many of Donna Barr's early comics scanned for the web, much of the work on Albo's site doesn't read well (Donna learned quickly though, and the web versions of storylines like "Bosom Enemies" read very well on the web indeed).
That said, it's appealing stuff! I'd already seen Würzeln in print back in '99, but Oudegracht and Mouth Almighty both justify Albo's nomination.

April 16, 2005

Nine Lives, Many Masters

I wouldn't say Nine Lives, Many Masters is a great strip, but from what I've read so far, it's got a few things going for it. For one, it actually has a sense of humour about paganism in its many, often quite silly, variants. For another, it has a nice perspective on a large part of fan culture, especially that part that uses the M-word to denote people with lives. So far, I've gotten quite a few chuckles out of it. And the author gives good lines to unsympathetic characters like the toad.

I just noticed that the comic on the front page is the first episode, not the last as is common with many webcomics. This is because the series has ended. Its 53 episodes will make for a nice, quick read, with gags that would have many a pagan demand R.K. Milholland's head if he used them.
(via Amanita's Pagan Place)

Godspeed, No Stereotypes!

No Stereotypes (no link because I haven't got one handy right now for reasons mentioned below) is leaving Modern Tales. This was supposed to be a bit of a secret, but the crash of late March ate the NS archives and forced creator Amber "glych" Greenlee's hand. She has now admitted her intentions on the forum.
No Stereotypes joined Modern Tales about six months after Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan did, with a restart of the main storyline. And now it's gone already. Kind of makes me wonder if Modern Tales is delivering the goods, really.

Continue reading "Godspeed, No Stereotypes!" »

April 19, 2005

Mirck and van Tol on the radio

On the radio a few minutes ago, cartoonist Jean-Marc van Tol and journalist/Clickie juror Jeroen Mirck, discussing webcomics in general and Clickburg in particular on Radio 1's Radio online. The interview was a fairly standard introduction to webcomics for a general audience, but one thing was notable: when the money question was asked, Jeroen Mirck told the R.K. Milholland story as if it were morphed into the Carson Fire story. There's an irony there, for someone.

Update: Clickburg has the interview on mp3. It's in Dutch, by the way.

April 23, 2005

24-hour comic roundup

Today is 24-Hour Comic Day. Needless to say, I'm not taking part although I'm one of the people who could really benefit from it. Here are some artists who are taking part (co-bloggers, feel free to insert other links you find, but only to the actual 24-hour comics, after they've started showing content)

Margreet de Heer has started early, using Tokyo time.
Flo has content up now.
Poepoe has a directory where the comics should go. At least it's some sort of permalink.
That's more than I can say for Tommy A. Apparently the comic now on his front page is part of his 24-hour comic, but how I should be able to tell is beyond me.
David de Rooij now has stuff online.
Albo Helm's effort has also started.
Stephan Brusche yadda yadda yadda.
Kirk is posting his updates in his forum.


Update: The day is now over, and I'm mighty impressed with the quality of the work from some of the Dutch cartoonists above. Especially Flo and Jean-Marc, although both of them went a bit wobbly towards the end.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, Ghastly has done something, er, ghastly.
Faith Erin Hicks has a wordless thing that provides the missing link between Hole Boy and Pin Drop. It's also very well-drawn from beginning to end.

April 25, 2005

Tangents

He's been at it for a week now, and he's not slowing down just yet: ROCR reader Rob Howard has changed his old Keenspace site Tangents into a webcomics review site. (I told him he should use a proper blogging service, but he's attached to his old hub, and with a tagboard, a Keenspace forum and promotion-by-the-sweat-of-his-brow, he can achieve everything a blog can achieve, except a decent RSS feed.)

It's a good read. Rob writes with enthusiasm and discusses at least three comics a day in a style similar to that of Websnark. That is, he focuses on individual episodes he comes across during his daily webcomics trawl. Worth a read if you want to be pointed to outstanding webcomics episodes.

May 1, 2005

Back from Clickburg

It was hot. Full report later. Tired now, feet killing me. Check out organiser René van Densen's The Grim Dot Com for contributions I and several others made to his comic to allow it to update only a few hours late.

May 2, 2005

Clickburg report

Well, it's a day later, and I've recovered a bit from the convention, which was fun but hard work for me. I won't do a full report because after reading other people's reports on the Clickburg forum I can no longer be arsed, but I do want to say a few things in no particular order (just like I did at my presentation).

Continue reading "Clickburg report" »

May 3, 2005

WCCA 2005

The nominations round for the 2005 Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards are about to start on May 8. You may remember that last year, I was a bit down on the whole thing, but this year, after the Clickie nomination, I've got a bit more of a taste for it again. I've come to accept that awards, like sausage and government policy, are things that you don't want to look at while they're being made; but at the same time, the end result is sometimes worthwhile. In other words, I wouldn't mind winning one of those.
The WCCAs are a peer award, meaning that to nominate or vote for someone you have to be a webcartoonist or webcomics writer yourself. So, if you're a webcartoonist, and you like Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, or Dangerous and Fluffy or Capn or Courtly manners or any of the other comics made by the five people posting on Waffle, do us a favour: register for the award and nominate us for any category you see fit in the first round. You may well qualify for one or more awards yourself!
I have registered. Don't worry, I won't nominate my own work. But I will shill for my own work this year.

May 10, 2005

Evolution vs. Norse mythology

For Odin!

This is one of the most hilarious takes on the subject I've seen.

May 15, 2005

Small-Press convention, Groningen, May 14, 2005

I'm a bit jealous of Jeroen right now. At the Small-Press Convention in Groningen on Saturday, he sold out of his new mini De Ballade van Kittepoes in just a few hours. Visitors, most of them female, were falling over one another to buy the book, which was priced at € 3 for a stapled A5 minicomic with a color cover and six pages of black and white art inside. Amazing.
Mind you, it is all very pretty, cute and stylized. Jeroen has created a cat character who works as a silhouette, creating an impression of cuddlyness while preserving a sense of a feline in motion. The design is very strong throughout, and the book as a whole is simply desirable to a lot of people. I need to create something as desirable as that, sometime.

Smash successes aside, I had a good time at the convention, hosted at Vera. I sold some books myself, but kept a better balance between holding down the fort and getting in touch with other cartoonists and comics people: journalist Joost Pollman, Stripster main man Henk Schouten, Tommy A, the Saiso girls, Liz Groenveld (who possesses blackmail material), Maaike Hartjes and many others. Mostly I reconnected with people I knew from the last time I did the convention thing with any regularity.
Had an interesting conversation with reader Michiel Prior who asked if I was feeling better now. That puzzled me a bit - while I've definitely had problems getting back into gear with comic production recently, they're basically the sort of thing one gets after completing a long and draining project. Now that I've given myself some time off, I'm actually feeling fine (apart from maybe feeling another cold coming up - we'll see in the morning) even if I'm still in a bit of a dry spell and finding it hard to get the work done. Professional satisfaction and personal happiness are different things after all.

What I didn't do was talk to the unfamiliar artists there. There were a couple of people there doing interesting stuff and in retrospect I should have taken the opportunity to get to know them better. Ah well, there's always a next time.

What else was there? The Lamelos crew had all dressed up as pirates, but they were upstaged by Hank and Lily from Canada who wandered the room in their stage costumes. Hank was a cowboy with a metal mask; Lily a deer-creature with antlers, carrying (somewhat disturbingly) a rucksack with a saw in it. They're multimedial, putting out comics and CDs, as well as performing live, which they would do in the evening.

Continue reading "Small-Press convention, Groningen, May 14, 2005" »

May 17, 2005

Pete Ashton on Andy Konky Kru

Pete Ashton has a long overview of Andy Konky Kru's massive body of creative and scholarly work. Read it if you want to feel inspired to accomplish something, even if it's something that seems a bit eccentric to many.

May 18, 2005

The warm embrace of a Grismoon

I have X!Gloop on my mind.

Out of context, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I'm not sure if it will make any sense once I've provided some context, but let's try.


The Grismoon, in which a deserted muck planet filled with booking agencies becomes the scene of a drama spanning many lifetimes


(click on image for full page. Opens in a new window)

I made the first page of The Grismoon, the first ever story featuring my character X!Gloop, one Tuesday evening in October of 1989. I had just read The Airtight Garage and decided to start doing a weird, incoherent, improvised comic as well. Just about anything that crossed my mind went into the comic. I wanted a weird monster? Weird monster it was! I had a book beside me in which the phrase "Exp?Zworp" was used, so the lead character got the name X!Gloop. There was a music programme on the radio in which a musician discussed booking agencies, so mention of booking agencies was worked into the dialogue. And I'd just started my English Language and Literature studies and was introduced to a wide range of analyses of both grammar and the internal workings of literary forms, so those were introduced as well. For all that's fantastic about the first page, it's a perfect picture of the time it was made.

Continue reading "The warm embrace of a Grismoon" »

June 14, 2005

Get Medieval

Via Bo Lindbergh, Get Medieval is pretty funny, sort of like a Narbonic set in the 14th Century. It's a bit unfortunate that it's published on Livejournal instead of on a website structured to support serial webcomic publishing, but the artist has done a decent job in letting the Livejournal interface get out of the way, so the comic can be followed. The link goes to the first episode, by the way.

July 7, 2005

Nostra-foksuk

Tooting his own horn on his stripblog Poepoe, Jean-Marc van Tol of Fokke and Sukke mentions that they ran this cartoon yesterday:

The top caption reads: "Fokke and Sukke finally know the delivery address". Terrorist!Fokke is saying "But we will need the Semtex before 2012". Terrorist!Sukke: "Can you do that?"

On Poepoe, JMvT shows a possible follow-up suggested by a reader, but the FokSuk team has quite sensibly decided to run the cartoon they'd already planned for today.

By the way: I generally agree with Tim Worstall's admonishment to avoid speculation, political point-scoring and unloading barrels full of hate until the dust has settled and the bodies are buried. But I don't think that applies to joking about it. As Nosemonkey puts it:


Cheers for the messages of support. London's grateful. And we're going to keep our heads. Stiff upper lip and all that - wouldn't do to get all emotional. Hardly British - and if we stop being British about it, the bastards have won. So we'll have a few beers, make as many sick jokes about it in pubs up and down the land as we can, and get on with our lives as normal. Other than causing the grief of too many innocent people, these cunts will have achieved precisely fuck all. We shall not be moved.

So I'm quite in favour of having that reader-suggested cartoon on the Poepoe website, or this from John B, or this short message from a fella called Andrew who was very close to one of the blasts:


An open letter

to the terrorist cunts who tried to kill me today:

Fuck you. You missed me. Better luck next time.

It's a way to cope.

July 10, 2005

Nostra-Dijkhuis takes a flutter, and other stuff

I've added Get Medieval to the short link list on the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan homepages. I've been following it for a while now, and yes, I expect it will end up going places, although we may need to re-define "Going Places" somewhat. Let's see. I predict that it will receive an offer from a major web publisher sometime in the next 12 months (as with Wings of Change, it still counts as a "hit" if the artist turns the offer down), or get a major award or some other significant form of recognition within the comics world within that same time frame.

I'm looking for two other comics I saw on one of my trawls. One was an urban fantasy with fantasy creatures trying to survive in the real world. It had a hilarious scene in which a pixie/fairy mistook a Ken doll for a potential boyfriend. The other had a bit of a 1970s underground feel going, with lots of action, gunplay and a naked blue girl. As I remember, it was a bit rough, but I'd like to keep tabs on it every once in a while to see where it goes. I think both comics were on Keenspace. If you recognise these comics, or are the author of one or both of them, contact me.

While I'm talking comics, I might as well mention that The Lives of X!Gloop updated this weekend, right through a brief outage at Xepher.net, and that The Double by Daniel Østvold and Geir Strøm starts on August 1, on my Webcomicsnation site, Chronicles of the Witch Queen. Soon, there'll be 12 Reinder-Dijkhuis-related webcomics update a week!

July 13, 2005

Cartoonists: Use the Belfry!

Once again The Belfry proves its usefulness. Since The Lives of X!Gloop was added to its listing, daily visits to the comic have more than tripled. OK, so it's only from about 12 to about 45 a day. OK, so it will tail off again once the comic stops being listed as new (but hopefully by then it will have gathered a few fans). OK, so there are many things about the Belfry that could be better (more usable, searchable info about the comics listed and a better genre division would be a good start). But over the years, it's proved to be the most consistent listings resource for Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan and other comics I submitted there, simply because it's very widely used and very inclusive. If you've got a webcomic that's only a handful of pages in and is still building its audience, get yourself listed on The Belfry.

X!Gloop is still pending approval at OnlineComics. I've just submitted it to The Webcomics List. Both sites are also inbound traffic powerhouses, but Belfry just keeps on giving.

July 27, 2005

Marten Toonder 1912-2005

Cartoonist Marten Toonder died today aged 93. Toonder was arguably the greatest European cartoonist ever - his Heer Bommel series ran in newspapers across the continent for nearly 45 years, and were re-run in some Swedish and Dutch newspapers well into the 1990s - more than a decade after Toonder retired.

End feast


Toonder stuck to the traditional format of a two-tier strip in which the top row consisted of panels without dialogue, and the bottom row contained prose captions, in a flowery, witty style. Due to Toonder's influence, this way of presenting comics still had adepts in the Netherlands long after it died out in other countries. (As an aside, Toonder influenced my own attempts at working in this format, in the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan story "The Corby Tribe".)

Heer Bommel acquired literary status in the Netherlands, with all stories being reprinted in a novel-like format with the drawings reduced in comparison to the words. This is unfortunate because the art, done with the assistence of artists who themselves would go on to count among the Netherlands' finest cartoonists, such as Piet Wijn, Dick Matena, and Fred Julsing, is among the best ever made in comics. Each panel excelled in composition, line quality, liveliness and atmosphere.

Through Heer Bommel, Toonder expanded the Dutch language with words such as "Minkukel" meaning a dimwit and "Denkraam" ("Thought-frame") which were used satirically in the strips but gained currency as real expressions, separate from their fictional context.

And Bommel was only one of Toonder's comics. He and his studio came up with dozens of others, such as Koning Hollewijn, Kappie (based largely on the personality of Toonder's father, a sea captain), and one series I used to cut out of the newspaper as a kid, Panda. Panda had word balloons and was easier to read; it also featured art by Piet Wijn and stories by script-writing genius Lo Hartog van Banda. Many of the comics showcased Toonder's philosophical concerns, such as the encroachment of technology-driven society on the natural world. These concerns came to the foreground even more after the mid-1960s when Toonder, by then a wealthy man, moved to a mansion in Ireland.

The Toonder studios had always been involved in animation, and had even done some innovative work in the field, but it wasn't until 1983 that an animated feature film was made based on two Heer Bommel stories. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out as good as Toonder had hoped; the pacing and voice work wasn't up to the high standard of both the comic and earlier, shorter Bommel animations, and the foreground animation didn't always work with the backgrounds. (Toonder did approve of the realistic movement of the title character's checked coat, a feat that required attention to detail.)
Many in the audience, moreover, felt that the movie missed an edge. Over time, Mr. Bommel's facial expressions had got to resemble those of his creator more and more, and so viewers felt that the character could only have worked in animation if he'd also had Toonders voice, even though there was no reason to assume that Toonder could do voice work.

Toonder retired in 1986, but made several short-lived returns to the field as a writer. He wrote four volumes of memoirs before failing health and loneliness forced him to return to the Netherlands. Toonder was twice widowed; his first wife, cartoonist and children's book illustrator Phiny Dick, passed away in 1990, his second, composer Tera de Marez Oyens, in 1996. In recent years, Toonder, who was also pre-deceased by three of his four children, had got fed up with life. He died peacefully in his sleep.

Very little of Toonder's output can be seen online. In addition to the Lambiek biography, check out Pressibus.org for a rare online glimpse at Toonder's work.
Wikipedia entry on Marten Toonder, in Dutch.

July 29, 2005

Webcomicsnation

has launched.

August 9, 2005

Great Big Penises Not Rude Enough!

The other day I sent Joey Manley an email. The substance of it said:

"The Pantheon (www.pantheoncomic.com) would like to play on AWC, if it may. Satan says it sounds like a good idea."

To which he responded:


"Is this 'adult'? I don't see any signs that this couldn't go up on
WCN, Modern Tales, Keenspot, or any other mainstream webcomics service ... adultwebcomics.com is strictly for, to put it bluntly, porn."

A little taken aback, I replied:

"Heh, that's the first time anyone's thought Pantheon was tame!
Reinder thought it would be too rude for WCN or Moderntales because of the sexual references and penises bouncing about the place (did you get as far as this storyline? Surely Paypal would object?)
http://www.pantheoncomic.com/d/20030217.html..."
(this links to the 'Day of the Phallus' storyline)
"...But if you think it's too highbrow, I'll just bung it up on WCN :D "

Having observed Priapus' giant organ of procreation, he came back with:
"Okay, Pantheon is just BARELY dirty enough for AWC. I'll put you on the list! But you gotta make it dirtier! (grins)"

What's the world coming to when Americans aren't afraid of penises any more?

August 14, 2005

Inverloch

On the recommendation of reader Boreger in IRC (and the recommendation service at OnlineComics.net, which seems to recommend this popular comic to everyone), I've been reading Inverloch. Perhaps surprisingly considering the sort of comic I make, I don't read a lot of comics involving typical fantasy tropes and quests these days, and the ones I do read are old, old favorites. If it has elves in, I'm usually not interested, and if it has anthropomorphics, I'm going to be aggressively disinterested unless it's brilliant.

Continue reading "Inverloch" »

August 17, 2005

Snark of the day

I like Paul Krugman's op-eds because they're well-written, understandable and very close to my own worldview while being better informed than me. But if I want to read his old op-eds online, like, say, this one, I have to send money to something called the New York Times. What's that all about?

Websnark has more. Update: Ping Teo attempts to insert some rationality into the debate over the NY Times article.

September 1, 2005

Webcomics Telethon benefiting New Orleans disaster relief

Brad Guigar writes:

Some of you might remember the Webcomics Telethon for MDA that I organized through AltBrand Comics. You can see the site here: http://mda.altbrand.com/01mda.shtml.

The site updated with new comics from participants throughout three days, so there were plenty of reasons for readers to keep tuning in to the Web site. Donations were accepted through PayPal and then donated on behalf of the Webcomics Telethon.

I'm thinking it might be time to dust off the Telethon and re-purpose it for the people devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Blank Label Comics is going to host a Webcomics Telethon for Hurricane Katrina Victims the week of Sept. 12. I have registered www.webcomictelethon.com for this purpose. I'm going to wait to see how many participants I get before I specify how many days it will go.
Depending on how many participants we get, we could make it a two- or even three-day gig.

ALL of the money collected, including donations and money generated from the ads on the site, will be donated to the Red Cross.

Interested parties should:

(1) E-mail me at bguigar@yahoo.com so I can start generating a head count.

(2) Prepare a special comic strip for the Telethon. We don't have much time, so please do it now, while you're thinking about it. It does not have to be about hurricanes or donating money unless you want it to be. Look through the AltBrand Telethon site... there was some fantastic comics generated out of that. Keep it under 600 pixels wide. Any depth.

(3) Spread the word.

September 6, 2005

Webcomics hell

If this is true, then I'm in trouble too.

September 7, 2005

Those girlies, they're such teases!

Girlamatic is running "tease" posts to pre-announce the new cartoonist or cartoonists that will be added to their roster. I've already had one reader ask me if one of the people whose art was shown was me. Unfortunately (it was a very nice drawing) it wasn't. They look familiar, but I can't put my finger on any of them, yet.

Continue reading "Those girlies, they're such teases!" »

September 8, 2005

Another webcomics telethon

White Lightning Productions is running an adult webcomics telethon in parallel with the Webcomics Telethon organised by Blank Label Comics. Could be useful for artists like Eric M who have been asked to keep the content of their comics for the Blank Label-organised Telethon family-friendly.
I wasn't explicitly asked to do that myself, by the way, but I figured that the event was going to be for a wide, general audience so both the false-start ideas I had and the script I eventually went with were kept within g-rated limits – just. But that may well have been the wrong idea – for all we know, White Lightning's porny offerings will bring in more money for the relief effort. That will be interesting to watch.

September 12, 2005

They do make a cute couple

Another comics-based relationship: Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier just got engaged and made a comic about it. Congratulations! (Via)

September 13, 2005

Webcomic Telethons have started

The Webcomic Hurricane Relief Telethon has started. Every 20 minutes, there'll be a new comic added to the website. There will be four new Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan strips scattered throughout the event! Go read it, and go donate money for the Red Cross.

The Adult Webcomics Telethon has also started.

September 14, 2005

Telethon day 2, impressions so far

The Webcomic Hurricane Relief Telethon is in its second day. The second sponsor link showed up and the tally has grown to over $21,000. I am somewhat disappointed in the average quality of the work (I am also disappointed in the quality of my own contribution, which fell far short of what I had in mind initially, by the way). However, I believe that the fact that the producers let anyone in is a major contributing factor to the high level of donations so far. The inclusivity means people get involved and feel involved, so the event gets widely promoted and many people donate.
For the webcomic reader in a hurry, my own contribution is here. It's a bit in-jokey, referring to the events of not just one but two lost webcomics crossovers, and another one that isn't lost. Should be as comprehensible as many of the others though.

September 16, 2005

Adorable Laurel


redhead stroking pussy
Le site officiel de Laurel contient des dessins mignons, sexys et bien-faits. Ses BDs sont drôles aussi.
(Trouvé par Peter Breedveld)

(This is about all I have to show for the French I took for five years in secondary school. Sad how that gets rusty. But Laurel's drawings are quite lovely)

September 26, 2005

It's entirely possible that they do have headquarters like that

a glimpse at Foksuk headquarters From Poepoe. Click thumbnail for full-sized corporate comic policymaking.

Let me translate the dialogue for you:
Panel 1, Caption: Monday, April 22, 2002. Staff meeting of RGvT's executive management at their headquarters in the Fokke & Sukke Tower. On the agenda: InHolland's campaign request.
John Reid: Your reply to Janine was far too blunt, pal!
Jean-Marc van Tol: But John! All I said was "Thanks, but no thanks!"
Panel 2. Jean-Marc van Tol: I told Janine we only take on jobs like that anymore if they're either a lot of fun or very well-paid...
Panel 3. Bastiaan Geleijnse: ...whereupon you said that neither condition was met in this case and that she and her campaign could therefore go fuck themselves.
John Reid: That is a bit blunt, J.M.
Panel 4. Bastiaan Geleijse: They are still our one of our clients...
Jean-Marc van Tol: All right! I'll apologise for my rude answer and tell her we're simply too busy to take the job.
John Reid:: You are a gentleman.
The story will continue tomorrow...

Cartoonists are undervalued. The story Jean-Marc is telling is one in which a prominent educational institution offered the makers of Fokke & Sukke, then as now one of the major names in Dutch cartooning, a mere € 2000 for five cartoons which were to be featured in a multimedia campaign involving posters, postcards, magazines, billboards, you name it. Now, I'm used to working for a pittance, but even I would have had the good sense to negotiate that amount upwards (considering the use to which it was to be put and my earlier experiences working with schools). Fokke & Sukke are worth a lot more. The person making the offer knew this, and tried to soften the trio up by mentioning that it would be good publicity for them as well. (This episode) This argument is often used on beginning cartoonists; to assume that the succesful Foksuk collective would buy it is to insult their intelligence.
We are undervalued. And to a large extent, that's our own fault. We tend to be bad at business skills like administration or putting a value on our time, we tend to forget about things like price indexing come contract renegotiation time, we put up with standard contracts even after we're in a position to negotiate better ones. Myself, I'm very bad at negotiation — this year I managed to turn a situation in which I had leverage to ask for an increase from my biggest client into one where I was put on the spot to make decisions or else lose the job. I hope I won't make that mistake again.
Jean-Marc has been working for years to enable cartoonists to do better: to stop putting up with low bids, not work for clients who are cheap or who try to screw you over (and to recognise when this is the case). With this new story on his stripblog Poepoe, he's showing a concrete, real-world example of the actions of a bad client. And while he's at it, he tackles another cause of the undervaluation of cartoonists: our own portrayal of ourselves.
Of course, Fokke & Sukke isn't produced from a Trump-style tower. Maybe it is these days, but it wasn't back then. Yes, they were raking in the cash, but they were only using conventional rakes, not the combine harvester they have to use now. But consider how he could also have portrayed the trio discussing the matter: he could have pretended the meeting was set in some seedy dive, with each of the three creators hunched over a bottle, drinking away their sorrows and angsting over how they are being exploited. And that, I'm afraid, is how many of us would have portrayed ourselves. I've seen plenty of examples in the past that were Portraits of the Cartoonist as a Drunken Hack.
Clients see those portrayals as well, as do other cartoonists. It feeds into our self-image as a group, and it feeds into the outside world's image of us. It's refreshing to see another image instead: that of cartoonists as hard-headed bastards who know what their work is worth. Jean-Marc has been kind enough to show the corporate headquarters of other cartoonists in the first panel: [Barbara] Stok Palace, the [Maaike Hartjes] building, Dirk-Jan Flats, Heinz-the-Movie Studios and the Sigmund Institute.
OK... not really all that hard-hearted. JM still allows for the possibility of doing jobs just for fun, and his co-creators want him to be more tactful. But it's still a refreshing change. Take it further, Jean-Marc!

September 27, 2005

Uderzo chez les Belges

One cartoonist who probably could have his own skyscraper to run operations from is Albert Uderzo. With a new Asterix book on the way, the 78-year-old artist is showing up in one or two places:
Four-page report of Uderzo being fêted in Brussels for four days.

It's a safe bet that the new Asterix will again be criticized for weak writing. It's likely, if the cover art is any indication, that the art will also fall short of the standards of earlier books:
German Asterix 33 cover
And it's a dead cert that the first-edition print run of the new book will once again exceed that of the last. The report cites a run of 8 million copies in 27 countries — if I remember correctly, the last one started with 6 million.
Many people with an above-average interest in comics resent this. They argue that Uderzo is pissing on René Goscinny's memory, that Asterix is only interesting anymore to collectors who want to keep their series complete, and that Uderzo should stop or that buyers would get more enjoyment out of buying some other comic instead. I've made all these arguments in the past. I will not make them anymore.
Uderzo still enjoys making Asterix. The public still enjoys buying it. The writing is only weak in comparison to Goscinny's – it's actually still written at a high, professional standard (likewise the cover art. It's a bit boring and the composition is off, but I've seen worse in the shops, oh yes). The difference between the new book's initial print run and the last one's isn't made up out of people who bought the entire series and became completists in the last two years; it's probably made up out of people who borrowed the other books and want to buy this one because it's more convenient.
Also Asterix is a major force in comics publishing. It's sold in supermarkets as well as bookstores; in spite of this, it will be sold in comics stores in large enough numbers to turn the year around for one or two retailers who might be in trouble right now. Even if I still believed that Asterix should stop for artistic reasons, I couldn't ignore that. That € 80 million turnover will be keeping people employed.
So let's have this new album, Albert! I for one won't buy it, but I can't fault ya for having another go.

September 28, 2005

Pictures and Words reviewed

Pete Ashton reviews Pictures and Words by Roanne Bell and Mark Sinclair.


[...Pictures and Words] is an interesting book because it attempts to tackle the thorny issue of narrative head on yet still come at things from at Art perspective. To this end the focus is on emerging and cutting edge cartoonists with a smattering of non-comics artists whose work could be considered to be if not comics then narrative. The authors also give a good third of the book over to single-panel illustration, in other words gallery-friendly comics, which rather that be a cop out is actually quite revolutionary for this kind of criticism as they look at narrative flow within the illustration or across physically disconnected pieces.

and

It's always been the view of this aficionado that comics are everywhere, that almost everything can be viewed as a comic in some form of other. The landscape that surrounds us, man made or natural, is a tapestry of comic art and can be read sequentially as a narrative, from a countryside panorama to a collage of photographs on a teenager's wall. Everything is interconnected, discrete objects that when considered in connection to their neighbours taken on a deeper, richer meaning, a narrative told by the mind of the viewer as the gaps are filled by the imagination and we experience the world as poetry.

And yes, I accept I'm an extremist in this respect, but I think it's a valid point of view, that an understanding of how comics work can give a fresh and useful perspective on other forms of art. With Pictures and Words, Bell and Sinclair appear to be doing just this. It would be easy to show how comics work using "normal" comics (as Scott McCloud did over a decade ago in Understanding Comics) but to apply this understanding not just to emerging cartoonists but to the work of art school graduates is actually quite daring....

Read the rest.

Whores!

Speaking of reputation, that series Poepoe I mentioned a few days ago now has got to where the artists suffer the backlash from InHolland's publicity campaign, which they weren't involved in but which allegedly looked like they were involved in it.

This series may well turn out to be a classic.

Terrible art or not...

You know? Unfettered By Talent is oddly compelling, in a Pokey the Penguin-like way.
(Nyer!)
Update: This is now a meme!

October 8, 2005

The Duck and the Canary in English

It Hit Home has a few cartoons from the recent English-language Fokke & Sukke collection. I saw that in the shops and flicked through it. In translation, not all gags are golden, but the ones reproduced on the blog are pretty good.

It Hit Home also has the latest Kate Bush publicity pics in a long blog post about her career. Clearly a blogger of impeccable taste!

October 13, 2005

Asterix...

I have had the privilege to see some pages from the new Asterix album on a private forum. You won't have to look all that hard to get a sample, anyway. It's very hard, considering Asterix's importance to European comics and even to the European publishing industry, to keep that stuff a secret. But I've got a good eyeful of it.

How can I put this? Yes, it is true that attaching Goscinny's mortal remains to a generator right now would solve the world's energy problem in no time. It's as far removed from his original vision for the series as it could possibly get.

In fact, it's so far removed from Goscinny's original vision that I'm actually getting more interested in the book than I've been for a long, long time. Either Uderzo's gone nuts, or he's just made the most daring move in his long career. We'll see in 10 hours, when the shops open tomorrow.

October 17, 2005

"Things I Did As A Kid But Aren't Sure Why"

If Dave Ronan keeps on making comics like Things I Did As A Kid But Aren't Sure Why, I'm going to have no choice but to blogroll him. It'll all end in tears, I tell ya!

October 21, 2005

The Skunk Defense

Today in Fight Cast or Evade, author Matt Trepal finally makes good on a promise! Back when I submitted this guest art to him, which was, er... three or four years ago, he mentioned that he'd got plans to have the character Portia save herself from a tight spot in the same way as I had shown in the guest comic. Well, it's taken a while, but he's finally got there.

That guest comic was fun to do, by the way. Look, furry versions of the Rogues:
fceguest-300.png
Click for full page at DeviantArt

November 6, 2005

Debt to Keenspot? Er, what?

I've been following this Keenspot forum thread because of its strong potential for TEH WEBCOMICS DRAMAAAH. So far, that hasn't happened, but Tiffany Ross reveals something interesting about Keenspot's terms that I should very much like to know more about (from the second page of the thread):

Without ads, keeping the site there does nothing for Keenspot and nothing for me but possibly starts building debt (I don't want to imagine what pull over 2mill pageviews a month is financially, especially not with anything to balance it out if most of them aren't displaying anything) and I already owe Keenspot enough money. (I imagine I'll find out when the quarter shows.)

What? I had heard things about Keenspot's terms before. I knew that Keenspot deducted hosting costs for any comic from that comic's share of ad revenue, but my understanding was always that cartoonists would not end up paying for Keenspot hosting them. Was I wrong?
If Keenspot cartoonists end up with a big invoice at the end of each quarter, then they are better off elsewhere, either self-hosting, forming a new network or paying $10 a month for a Webcomicsnation site. Those are not good terms for a publishing operation.

Update (November 8, 2005): It now appears that Keenspot foots its own server bills and that artists can't run up debts to them.

November 7, 2005

Oh, no Robot transcriptions

I may need something like this: Oh no Robot

If you've got a webcomic, you probably know how it can be difficult for both you and your readers to find a particular comic. What was the one where your characters were all, "WHAT"?
It would be great to have a way to search these comics.

That's where we come in! By adding a small bit of code to your comics pages, you make it possible for yourself and your readers to transcribe each comic, quickly and accurately building your own personalized comic search engine! There is no catch.

As a comic reader, you can help out your favourite comic with a transcription or two - it takes very little time, and the result is totally worth it.
As a comic creator, you can let your readers help you out in the task of transcription, getting the job done quickly. You can approve and edit each transcription before it appears on your site - nothing shows up that you don't approve.

...

How it works:
Step 1: You, as a comic owner, add a few lines of copy-and-paste Javascript code to your comics display pages. This will make a customizable 'click here to transcribe this comic' image appear on the pages of comics that require transcriptions.
Step 2: You and your readers transcribe comics at your leisure.
Step 3: Every time there is a new transcription submitted, you can check it for content, spelling and grammar, and make alterations if you want. Nothing goes online that you don't approve! As each new transcription is approved, your search engine becomes more and more complete.
...

There's a few comics that already have their own search engine but would also like to be included in our search results. This is not only possible, it's pretty easy! You can import your comic's existing transcription information onto our site through a simple API, and keeping this information up to date is just as easy. Drop us a line, and we'll hook you up!

I need more findable text on my comics pages - I would probably publish the transcripts on the archive pages somewhere unobtrusive. But I dread the very thought of doing the data entry. So I'll have to look into this.

November 8, 2005

I'd been meaning to post a rant like this

...but Bustertheclown on the Comicgenesis forums beat me to it:

The [manga] being imported these days, for the most part, isn't classic stuff. It doesn't even have the makings of classic stuff. A huge percentage of it is trite pop fluff. That's understandable, since publishers like TokyoPOP are in the game to make a healthy profit, which they are. The part I don't like is that now the trite pop fluff is the stuff that's influencing people. ... I see a trend of clueless youth shunning the old hat title of cartoonist for the perceived glitz and glamor that is manga-ka.

Believe me, the tactics are there. "Read it backwards! Pretend you're Japanese!" Sorry folks. When I'm reading English, I want to read it from left to right. It gives me a headache otherwise. If I read it in Japanese, I'll read it Japanese style. "Big eyes are more expressive!" Yeah. Bullshit. Big eyes, small eyes, no eyes; if you don't know the rules of caricatured expression, all your characters are just going to look like mannequins. "The page layout is so much more open and fluid!" Fluid, to me, means having a readable narrative sequence, i.e. looking at a given page or strip, and understanding what the hell is going on. I'm sorry, but when it comes to forming a sequential narrative, I'd pick American cartoonists over Japanese manga-ka any day of the week.

The stuff in quotations are all arguments I've heard being fed from publishers and purveyors to readers for the past few years (and, of course, my responses to those arguments). When you dispute them, the standard retort is "you just don't understand Japanese culture!" Well, I understand it well enough to know that I'm not Japanese!... I don't understand why, in manga, when a young man sees a girl scantily clad, he either starts crying or gets a gushing nosebleed, because an American comics, when a young man sees a scantily clad girl, he usually starts wrestling with her.

These are cultural differences which have been developed over generations! As a man who's interested in the cultures of the world, enough to try to learn many different languages, and enough to surround himself in the last six months with dozens of new friends form all over the world, I'm very concerned that the cultural sampling that's taking place in the instance of cartoons is not terribly healthy. In bringing in so much manga and anime in so many venues so quickly, and almost ignoring other forms of cartooning, a truly American artform is being diminished at it's core.

I don't agree with Bustertheclown in every particular, because I see comics as an international art form, but the wasted potential in American and European pseudo-manga irritates me as well. There's so much that Japanese comics can add to a cartoonist's expressive vocabulary, but instead, western imitators latch on to the lamest aspects: the stupid clichés involving big nosebleeds, sweat drops, blood types in character profiles, giant hair and giant eyes. It's dull and turns the less knowledgeable reader off the great work that has come out of Japan because they are trained to expect nothing but that rubbish.

December 15, 2005

Symbolia

Cartoon Symbolia has names for all those stink lines, drop shapes, wavy sunray-representing lines and other graphic symbols found in comics, with funny comics to demonstrate them. There's even a story woven into his depictions of plewds, briffits, vulgarats and fumix. Very nice.

December 18, 2005

Duckbirdie

There is now an English-language website for the popular Dutch cartoon Fokke & Sukke: Duck and Birdie. I wonder why they didn't go with the original names for the characters - they're every bit as suggestive in Dutch as in English. (On the page explaining the name change, whoever wrote that copy is being unduly coy about both the names and the "little feathered tails". Come on! We've seen what happens to those "tails" when the birds get excited.)

I'm not sure if the comic will work as well in English as it does in Dutch. When I saw the English-language Fokke & Sukke book, I didn't think it did, to be honest. But then I'm familiar with the gags already and they have long lost the element of surprise.
What I do like is the clean, uncluttered website, especially in comparison to the original Dutch version, which, by the way, is one of the longest-running webcomics. The authors started putting comics online in the late 1990s when one of them was traveling and needed a way to stay in touch with the comics as published. Over time, the site went through the normal life cycle, accumulating clutter as it evolved. I'm sure that the new site will also have ads on it eventually, but it starts out looking prettier than the old site ever did.

December 27, 2005

Zita Space Girl

Joey Manley found this:
Zita Space Girl
Zita and Robot Randy

It's cute, funny and well-drawn. Me like. Me like lot. Me go "Squee!" and forget grammar. You read too. Now.

January 18, 2006

Strips in Stereo

Poepoe is showing previews of Strips in Stereo a forthcoming project in which Dutch hit songs are adapted into comics. The first one by Barbara Stok, based on the Doe Maar hit "Is Dit Alles" is making me very very interested in the result:

Continue reading "Strips in Stereo" »

February 3, 2006

Lo Hartog van Banda dead at 89.

The Man Who Wrote Everything, Lo Hartog van Banda died on February the second at age 89. Apart from being a prolific comics writer working mainly for the Marten Toonder studios, Banda wrote many children's series for television, including my favorite when I was five years old, De Bereboot.. He also wrote the classic childrens's series Ti Ta Tovenaar, another series I watched when I was little.
Googling for Banda now, I realise that he really did write everything I used to watch or read. When I was a bit older than that I used to borrow the black and white Blook and De Argonautjes (with art by a very young Dick Matena) books, and the colour Arad & Maya books (drawn by Jan Steeman at the time his style was transforming itself) from the library again and again.
And of course he was a ghost writer on several of the properties that came out under Toonder's name. He contributed to Tom Puss & Mr. Bumble, Panda, Kappie (a comic whose concepts he would later re-use on Bereboot) and Koning Hollewijn. Banda resigned from the Toonder studios and rejoined them several times.

Banda's work was very much of its place and time. Jeroen tells me he watched the old Bereboot episodes when they were repeated a few years ago and was shocked by the racial stereotyping in it, which toddlers of the 1970s were blithely exposed to. Only few of his works reached audiences outside of the Netherlands, particularly his three Lucky Luke scripts of the 1980s and '90s, the first of which sold enough to make him a millionnaire. Many readers in the Netherlands consider him the only Lucky Luke writer who even came close to the quality of Goscinny's work.

Banda was still working as of a few years ago, but had recently been plagued by poor health.

February 6, 2006

[Rahball] Note to Pantheon fans

Are there any of you out there?
Well, there's a note coming on Pantheon to the effect that I want to give you some new updating content on that website, but I can't make it Pantheon. However, it will still be about gods and demons.

Then there's a link to my Livejournal, where I enumerate all the Pantheon-related things I *would* like to create for you, and ask for your comments.

Read up. :)

March 16, 2006

InkaLill on WCN

One of the most encouraging trends in webcomics lately has been the arrival of older, more established cartoonists from the print world onto the Web. It looks like more of these turn up on Webcomicsnation than elsewhere, probably because WCN is widely publicised and very easy for web novices to use.

One cartoonist I'm very happy to see online is Norwegian fantasy cartoonist InkaLill, whose work Geir alerted me to when I first visited Norway ten years (ten years!) ago. She is putting her long-running comic The Knights of Dor on the web, in English, starting with the very early work that I don't currently own in print.
The web processing, to be honest, needs some work, and like most of us, InkaLill did not exactly put out virtuoso work right from the start. But over the run of Knights of Dor, she learned a thing or two, especially about drawing expressive female characters and creating consistent fantasy environments. So this is one series to look out for. The second book seems to be subscriber-only, although it's not clear if there is anything other than the front page online yet at all.

March 20, 2006

No Pink Ponies

No Pink Ponies by Remy "Eisu" Mokhtar gave me a few chuckles this afternoon. The "hot geek-girl in a world of smelly boy-nerds" schtick has been done before, but Mokhtar handles it well, and his art is nice to look at. It reminds me a bit of Candi only with better art.

No Pink Ponies is quite new, so checking out the archives to see if you like it will only take a few minutes.

March 30, 2006

Lucifer # 16 on Scans_Daily

I love Creation/Fall stories (and am happy that When We Had Tails has stood up so well in the 8 years since Geir sent me the script) and this comic from the series Lucifer is no exception. I had never heard of this comic, which I presume is spun off from Sandman (checks the "Lucifer" tag in the community - yep, looks like it). I never got into Sandman for some reason even though I quite like what I have read of Neil Gaiman's writing.

This story's a good one. Take some time to read it.

Praise for meta-post

Introduction with link to post in blog.

Salient quotation with extra-salient bit in bold.

Equivalent of "Heh, indeed".

Obligatory reference to webcomic doing it first. Implicit challenge to provide earlier examples.

May 23, 2006

[Adam Cuerden (a.k.a. Einar)] Web Comic Problems

Growth of power. It's a particular problem for any long-running comic or story, and really shouldn't be: We should be glad that the heroes are moving up in the world a bit. However, not when the protagonist starts always having the perfect power for a situation.

EXAMPLE COMIC:
The local grouchy wizard isn't particularly powerful, but has enough talent to be able to eke out a living helping villagers with their petty problems. He'd probably take it better if half the men weren't always asking for spells to enlarge their manhood. After a while as a gag comic, the writer decides to add a bit more plot, and so begins to add more quirky, eccentric characters to the mix: relatives, friends, and a romantic interest for our wizard, all of which have flaws that keep them as underdogs. The wizard's magic, low-level as it is, begins to find a certain amount of use in helping and protecting his friends.

So far, so good. It's an interesting story, and if the characters are good, it'll be fun to read. However, problems could well arise...

These side adventures lead the author in a new direction, and, having played out the village, he conspires to have the wizard thrown out of it.

Actually, this may be a very good idea. Forcing your characters to uproot allows new plots: We can see how the wizard struggles without his source of income. However, all is not well if, despite the repeated references to our wizard being poor, we never see him work or get paid again.

The plots begin getting more complex, and so the wizard's power "has" to increase to let him battle the new challenges. His magic begins becoming rather more impressive and far more useful with little explanation why.

...No, no, no. You CAN make him more powerful, but have to make it fairly. Either let him study to prepare for a challenge or other "fair" way of increasing power, let him learn to use his old power more effectively [e.g. whereas before it took him quite a lot of time to prepare a large sphere of silence to allow the group to slip into hostile territory, now he just puts it on the soles of their shoes and the hinges of ny doors they come across.], or have all this practice slightly increase his power. If the only way to resolve the plot is to give one or more of your characters a rather major and unprecedented new power, then:

A. You need to think of another way of resolving the plot,

B. They're going to fail, then. Institute damage limitation by them with what power they have, and start a new plot to deal with the consequences of that failure,

or

C. Set things up in advance. Well in advance and subtly: The readers can see an undisguised McGuffin a mile off. (It is, of course, acceptable to surprise the reader, so long as theey can go back and see the hints.)

However... there's more problems ahead for our heroes...

In an exciting plot, an important and well-liked secondary character manages to overcome a major weakness that was almost defining to his character due to how much it limited him.

Well... yes. That could be a good plot, and done well, I'll be cheering for him. However, it becomes a major problem if this leads to flawscrubbing: The removal of all weaknesses from a character. By all means, let this open up new pathways for him, allow him to do new things he couldn't before - but leave him some flaws and things he can't do.

Also, realise it's going to take him some time to get used to his new freedom: He may well keep thinking he has the weakness, and use the techniques he developed to work around it for some time. Indeed, there could be further problems: I didn't have the glasses I needed whilst growing up until I had been rather badly nearsighted for some time. Even now, over a decade later, I have to think about it to pay much attention to the more distant scenery that always used to be blurry, and tend to walk paying attention mostly to the ground 15' in front of me until hazards like roads mean I have to look up and look around.

The wizard begins to get more and more powerful, and the secondary cast become more and more dependant on him.

Ooh. Bad. Bad bad bad! No character should be the centre of a universe.

The rest of the secondary characters are either flawscrubbed or disappear from the comic. Everything now centres around the hero or the most important secondary character, the villains now become either very powerful politician types or demons and other superbeings themselves, with the loss of all grey areas, and any plot snippet generally runs as follows:

Character tries to do thing himself, manages to some extent, then calls on the now godly main character to finish things off.

By the time it reaches this stage, the comic is unsalvagable. Don't make your character godly. It's never a good idea.

Here are some things to avoid:

1. "The Chosen One": Suddenly, your ordinary character is the only one that can save the world, and he'll need to work hard to get the incredible amount of power he needs to save it. It's that last clause that causes the problem. This storyline is going to ramp your character up to cosmic power, able to save the world from the worst threats. So... what now? The world's in trouble EVERY BLOODY WEEK? I mean, bet with all that power any plot with anything less'd be a sinch. Also, you've just pushed one character far above all the others, demoting them from his equals or near-equals into groupies.

Please don't go on to raise each secondary character to cosmic power in turn. That's just painful.

2. The stupid weakness: He may be all-powerful, but the colour yellow makes him useless. Er, unless he tries really hard to overcome it. ...I'd say that noone'd be quite that stupid and transparent about their false-dramatic plot device, except that it exists. This just changes "The solution to every secondary character's problem is the hero" to "Almost every storyline culminates in the hero either making a great effort and overcoming his weakness briefly, or the secondary characters coming along and pulling the weakness away so he can finish up." Please don't make your plot arcs all identical.

3. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away: Whilst he has any power he should need, it's immediately forgotten about after the story. Again, results in every plotline being the same: Everyone mucks about, then the hero manifests the ideal power to save the day.

4. And the angel came unto Joseph, and said unto him, "UP UP DOWN DOWN LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT B A SELECT START" Possibly the worst of all: The character has some sort of mystical experience or meets a supernatural being, and suddenly gets one or more new talents. Only time this works is when the information given is really MINOR, e.g. the location of a keyhole, or if your name is Diana Wynne Jones (who seems to be able to take anything that's normally a hallmark of an awful story and somehow find the hidden potential in it to make pure gold).

This might *JUST* work for languages, as, let's face it, it's no stupider than any other way heroes commonly learn them. And, of course, if the character is a robot or automata, this might be more valid, as long as you don't go overboard.

In short, by all means, let your characters grow more powerful, but let us see their struggles to become it. We'll cheer all the more when they finally get a bit of recognition. But don't go too far: You'll either force all your stories to be samey, sap out the life of everyone but your protagonist, create a rampaging Gary-Stu out of what used to be a rather interesting character, or, most likely, all three.

Remember: everyone likes the underdog. If you want to keep them the underdog, don't try and kid us by saying that one character is demonstratably the most powerful person on the planet, but he still has all these problems because.... er... Well, because he stupidly doesn't use his powers expept where plot convenient, I guess.

June 22, 2006

"Our chief weapon is surprise!"

OK, this, posted at scans_daily , is making me feel better about the Monty Python lifts in my early comics. If DC comics got away with it in one of their flagship titles, so should I.

July 14, 2006

The Webcomic Crossover & Cameo Archive

The Webcomic Crossover & Cameo Archive is handy when you want to know exactly when a character from webcomic A appeared in Webcomic B, or which of the FRAMED!!! Great Escape comics survive where, sort of thing. It's been around for quite a while and appears to be in good working order, with an active forum and livejournal. Webcomics cross over with one another all the time, so it's good to know that someone is keeping track.

July 17, 2006

Changes at Modern Tales.

After a long wait, Modern Tales has finally changed to its new codebase and editorial formula. Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan is featured as part of the "Strip Lounge" section, meaning that the comics that were on Modern Tales before October, 2005 can now be read on Modern Tales for free, by anyone.
Yes, I do intend to start updating there again. As soon as I get the hang of the new control panel and have some time to catch up.

Joey Manley on the changes and the reasons for them.

Continue reading "Changes at Modern Tales." »

July 20, 2006

Adultwebcomics.com

Now that the Modern Tales relaunch is off the ground, there's finally some movement on the Adultwebcomics front.

AdultWebcomics.com is seeking submissions of one-panel cartoon gags, ongoing comic strips, graphic novels, and short stories in sequential art form, in the genres of sexual humor and/or erotica.

AdultWebcomics is the newest project from some of the people who brought you Modern Tales and Webcomics Nation. Because of certain limitations imposed on those sites by some of our business partners, we are unable to host "mature" content on our other, currently more-famous sites. AWC is meant to work around those limitations by providing cartoonists with an uninhibited playground, where the fine scatological and erotic traditions of cartoon art can be honored and extended. We are looking for the best of the best in the genre.

In other words, send us the stuff that's too "hot" for Modern Tales — or for our competitors, for that matter (all of whom have similar restrictions on adult content).

AdultWebcomics only seeks a non-exclusive right to post your work on our website. This means that the material may also appear elsewhere on the web — on your own website, or on a portal, or anywhere else you choose to put it — at the same time it appears at AdultWebcomics.com.

Submissions should be sent to: adultwebcomics@gmail.com

It's surprisingly difficult to build a business on adult (as in erotic, pornographic or containing sexual humour) webcomics. The potentially greater mass appeal is off-set by a much larger number of obstacles the adult-oriented cartoonist finds in his way: mainstream, non-porn advertisers are less likely to want to work with you, credit card companies insist on having you pay punitive rates, online payment providers find themselves acting as proxies for the credit card companies and either forcing you to pay punitive rates themselves or refusing to do business with you outright. This is the reason why AWC:
a) exists at all - having adult webcomics on webcomicsnation would cause the entire service to be treated as an adult content site; and
b) morphed from being a web service provider like webcomicsnation to being an edited, but not subscription-based website similar to the free parts of Modern Tales. I don't quite remember the details - and some of them came up in private discussion groups that I oughtn't to quote from anyway - but there were additional risks associated with not having an editor stand between the contributors and the website.

Nevertheless, it's about to be launched now, and could provide opportunities for webcartoonists who like to draw more risqué, sexy material.

July 23, 2006

Commision Carson Fire

While looking for more blogospheric criticism of Day by Day (it's been one of those days), I found a mention of Carson Fire's Winger on Alicublog, of all places, read the comments, followed one link to the comic and found out that Carson's behind with his rent again. So far, I've avoided linking to Winger or mentioning it in this blog for any reason, because even to denounce it would cause compulsive rubberneckers to waste their time on it. But I like Cars's other work, especially Elf Life, and while we haven't spoken in quite a while, I still don't like the idea of him being turned out of his home. He's taking commissions sending bonus artworks to people donating $20 or more. Perhaps a bunch of readers could club together to pay him for new Elf Life updates? Just a thought.

Orem ain't got no head cheese

Wow.

Dismemberment, cannibalism, psychosis, hillbilly cousin-cest, monsters made of malignant brain tumours and entrails... all in wonderfully gnarly black and white with perfect pacing and composition. Warren horror comics really rocked the hizbah like the hizbah hasn't been rocked since. And some people say webcomics get a bit too raucous?

July 24, 2006

Dresden Codak

If you think Scary Go Round is a bit too staid and predictable, you need to read Dresden Codak which rocks very hard and is made of mad science.

Bug Powder on the other hand, is giving away live dinosaurs and killer robots to its visitors, because that's the only way they can improve on their coverage of british web and small press comics. Seriously, they do a great job.

July 25, 2006

Sequential Art, a comic

Sequential Art has a rather slapdash cast (Why catgirls? The artist likes them, I guess) and a rather awkward web interface, but it is funny as hell. If you like gags about the heatwave, platypuses and, I suppose, catgirls, check out the 150 comics already published.

July 28, 2006

Lackadaisy

Lackadaisy by Tracy J. Butler has only just started, but could turn out to be a good'un. The sepia-toned art has a nice combination of anthropomorphic cat characters and a 1920s retro setting. The artist can definitely draw backgrounds and isn't afraid to post large, complex pages on the web. He also uses his documentation well although one suspects that some of the cars were traced from photographs. Well, that's no biggy. I'll be keeping an eye on this comic.

Don't miss the tutorial.

September 6, 2006

Housefire at Lea Hernandez

Via Talk About Comics, I hear that cartoonist and former Girlamatic editor Lea Hernandez's house has been destroyed in a fire. There's no word on what she might need/want people to do to help, but it's likely something will be organised soon.
Update: Please help Lea by donating money via Paypal to divalea@gmail.com . This will go towards clothes, shoes and the materials (digital and traditional) Lea needs to be able to work.

September 20, 2006

The Essential Bowdlerised Marvel

Martin Wisse points to an overview of "edits" to The Essential Tomb of Dracula, a collection of Marvel schlock-horror comics, as well as some original Italian schlock-horror pocket comics. Interesting stuff, and kudos to The Groovy Age of Horror for providing us with large scans to set the record straight with.

Martin writes:

Now I'm in two minds about this. On the one hand, I dislike reprints that tamper with the original, especially when it's not done by the original creators. On the other hand, this is not like covering up Lady Justice bare breasts: it wasn't great art, just cheap titillation and little is lost by the alterations. On the gripping hand, it is indictive of the current climate in the US, that things that could be sold with no trouble at newsstands in 1979 now need to be censored to sell in bookstores!

I'm not in two minds. This is vandalism. Compare and contrast:
The original version of Viktor's experiment
Viktor, who I presume is the good guy, judging from the captions, is taking some sensible precautions in case his plan for separating the vampire from her host body fails. He straps her to his table so he doesn't get a face full of vampire if his technique doesn't work.
The bowdlerised version with boob-straps
Now Viktor is tying the vampire by her breasts, the perv. This makes him look like a complete amateur - surely that strap is going to snap loose unless those titties are made of reinforced concrete. Did the change degrade the comic? You bet it did!

Scans_daily-type snark aside, I really don't think it matters whether the censored art is cheap titillation or the expensive kinda monument for the ages. For one thing, that's for the ages to decide; for another, the people on whose behalf Marvel photoshopped away the exposed mammaries are famous for not taking "yes" for an answer: you give them an inch, they'll take a mile and then complain about being unfairly denied another mile. I can sympathise with the editors for feeling that they had the choice between bowdlerising the art or canceling the book. Perhaps I would have made the same choice in their place. But it's time for a pushback. And that begins with, among many, many other things, the people who buy classic comics knowing that they're not being offered the classic comics in their original state and refusing to stand for it.

September 26, 2006

First one down

It's very late, and I've spent the evening working on Gang of Four way past the point where I hate every line of the art, but I wanted to mention that The Lazy Grind now definitely has claimed its first victim. We bid goodbye to Peacekeepers, which by the way really looks very good. I hope Ewan Baird won't be too discouraged from picking up the comic soon enough.
Ah well. That's me saved from ignominy. And now that the first one's out, there's likely to be a wave of people exhaling slowly and dropping out at the next update or the one after that.

September 29, 2006

Fokke and Sukke have fallen into the hands of the Americans

foksuk20060929.gif
"...Oof! And that was just the good cop!"

Just so Americans know how the world will perceive them from now on. From Fokke & Sukke.

October 7, 2006

24-hour comics at the Stripmuseum

Today's 24-hour comic day and a group of cartoonists in Groningen will spend the day pounding away at their desks at the Stripmuseum Groningen. I'm not taking part, but studio-mates Jeroen and Jelena are. I'll be dropping by periodically to distract themlend moral support. They'll be posting their work hourly (roughly) at the Groningen 24-hour comic blog. Event starts at 11 AM, CET.

Interestingly, a bit of a rivalry has sprung up between the Groningen group and the 24-hour cartoonists at comic shop Lambiek in Amsterdam. It seems those stuck-up westerners don't like having their thunder stolen by the museum's parent company Libéma's mighty press machinery. Ha! We'll do better comics too! And have better-tasting pizza and stronger coffee! And if that's a problem to you we'll cut off your gas supply, so there!

Mid-event update (11 PM): The event is now halfway through. Jelena has posted two large updates, enough to see the shape the story is taking. Others have posted smaller updates. Some have posted none, but that doesn't mean they are necessarily catastrophically behind. I noticed during my visit to the museum that Erik Wielaert was mapping out his entire project for the day in rough sketches - a risky strategy but what with him being the demon draughtsman that he is, he just might pull it off. Sigrid de Jong is drawing on A3 originals which don't fit under the scanner.
As far as the others are concerned, I don't know.

Martin Wisse reads between the lines of my original post and guesses that the Groningen crowd is desperate to start a rivalry with the Amsterdam group. Well, not really - it was just me sensing an opportunity to trash-talk. Both groups get along just fine, and G. Wasco arguably belongs to both. However, I had heard that some of the Lambiek people were genuinely a bit miffed at the way the Stripmuseum's corporate propaganda machine got the Groningen event into the national media. Of course, that had nothing to do with the artists involved on either side.

Late night update (2:30 AM on Sunday): My official reason for not taking part in the 24-hour comic day is that I was planning to run the 4 Mijl van Groningen today. That is very much the lesser challenge, though, and to be honest it's quite clear to me that right now, I'm not up to the bigger one. Case in point: I left the studio at 1:30 AM today having finished the line art on exactly one not particularly complicated Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan page. I spent 8 hours on that, so I guess if I had stuck it out for 24 hours I could have got 3 pages scanner-ready. Maybe 4; the page I worked on today had a few things in it that I didn't really know how to draw, so that slowed me down. But that's about it. I really respect anyone who can work at the pace of a 24-hour comic and come up with anything above the level of scribbles.

After work, I paid the Groningen crew another visit and I'm pleased to report they're doing quite well. Erik Wielaert had started inking (and the work I saw didn't disappoint! I hope some of it shows up on the event's blog before next morning); Jeroen had 17 pages done and was ahead a bit; Jelena was keeping up; and as far as I could see, so were all the others. I took some pictures with Jelena's camera, which I'm sure will be showing up somewhere soon enough.

One good thing they're doing is giving themselves time for little breaks. There's a temptation to just keep on pushing on, but the occasional opportunity to relax is essential. Jeroen, who has a part-time day job at the museum, gave the others a ride on the animatronic carrousel that essentially shows a 3-dimensional 8-minute commercial for the museum itself. They'll all claim to have enjoyed it ironically, I'm sure. Eight minutes is probably just the right length.

I plan to pay one more visit in the morning. They're getting a call from a radio show at six-ish, because there's nothing that late-night, early-morning radio show producers like better than to have someone at the other end of a phone line babbling incoherently. Also, by the end of the event, the RTL 4 camera crew that was there on Saturday morning will be back in the hope of shooting some credible zombie footage for their secret horror project. I don't know if I'll make it to the museum before 11 AM, but I'll try.

October 17, 2006

Things I meant to mention but kept forgetting

Jeroen's 24-hour comic from October 7;
Jelena's 24-hour comic.
I haven't seen much of Erik Wielaert's 24-hour comic, which he's now shopping around to print publishers. I'll probably buy it when it comes out.

My old pal Sven van der Hart and his brother are opening a new Apple Store in Tilburg on Saturday, October 21. They didn't want to sponsor me, the bastards, but maybe if those of you living in or around Tilburg drop by on opening day and tell them Reinder sent you, they might change their minds. The brothers have a cute photo comic about themselves, by the way.

I have just finished Friday's Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan update, which means that I'm somewhat buffered again, and will have lasted six weeks in the Lazy Grind. I'm not sure how I'm going to get through week 7 - if I finish the next Gang of Four page by Friday, I should be able to get some more updates out, but that's a big if, considering how slowly work on the past few pages went. I don't quite know why they take me so long, but I have been eliminating distractions from my work space lately, which should help.
Next week's work is going to be complicated, involving a lot of new character design and environment design. The Rogues' homestead should be expanded and brought up to date so it fits the style in which the costumes are drawn. I was unhappy with the look of buildings in the scenes set in and around the Sheriff's office; buildings and interiors are a weak spot that I still need to work on.

I do believe I'm taking progressively more difficult hurdles while keeping ROCR on track. Initially, I had a bit of a lull in my workload, with nothing else demanding my attention other than Gang of Four. This month, work for the Comics Museum was added to my load; in November, it will be many hours of teaching in Drenthe, much of which will be for teenagers with special needs. That's going to take a lot of time in preparation and travel.

In December? Well, I hope I'll have another lull, but it's equally likely that the teaching engagements continue to trickle in. I'm already pre-booked for a series of introductory workshops at schools in Groningen in January as well, so keeping up the level of work to create three updates a week of a similar quality to the most recent ones will continue to be difficult.

December 5, 2006

Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic

Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic is much more fun than the title promises, and rather well-drawn. I wish it wasn't done in un-inked pencils, and I wish I'd find more fantasy comics that took their influence from fantasy literature (or better yet, the legends that form the source material for other forms of fantasy, or better yet, entirely from the artists' own fevered imaginations, though in the case of a parody comic like this, that wouldn't have worked anyway) rather than roleplaying games, but given these niggling objections, I found this one funny, easy on the eyes and a good way to procrastinate for an hour or so. If you like the manic energy of early Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan or the low-brow sillyness of Pawn, then spend some time in the world of Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic.

December 11, 2006

Feedbackrunde

Creatures that saw open a guy's head and mess with his brain = comedy gold. Best line: Mit oder ohne Hirn - er guckt immer gleich blöd aus der Wäsche. Reminds me of Gotlib a bit.

January 20, 2007

Dangerous and Fluffy back, now on Webcomicsnation, plus Planet Karen.

Dangerous and Fluffy, the Sheep of Doom, by Adam Cuerden, Jeroen Jager and Timmerryn "Rahball" Brand, has returned to the web after a long absense. This strange rustic comedy about a farm boy with superpowers never got the readership it deserved while it was still posted as a subscription comic on Graphic Smash; I hope it fares better on this second outing as a free comic on Webcomicsnation.

I'd like to note in passing that Planet Karen is pretty cute. Actually, saying that it's cute doesn't do it justice, but she's advertising on ROCR.net right now, and I want to avoid a conflict of interest, or even the appearance thereof, so "Cute"; is all artist and main character Karen is going to get right now. Doing it justice will have to wait.

January 22, 2007

Gorgeous Princess Creamy Beamy

Gorgeous Princess Creamy Beamy is a fast, hyper-energetic comedy manga about a school girl who turns out to be an alien princess. That may not sound like a glowing recommendation, and there are one or two other aspects to the comic that will make many readers run for the hills (for example: feederism, while not as sad as some other fetishes I've been confronted with over the years, is usually my cue to STOP. READING. RIGHT. NOW), but GPCB is really, really funny and full of quotable lines. This thing's ontogeny is recapitulating the fuck out of its philogeny! is my favourite, so far.

February 19, 2007

22 Panels challenge, Science/Faith flowchart

Peter Venables' 22 panels challenge. Peter has re-worked Wallace Wood's famous 22 pictures that always work in his own style. I'll take this challenge some day, but not now.

Wellington Grey explains how science and faith work in nifty flow charts. His website and journal are also great, except that for some reason he wants to stop people posting cat pictures on the internet, which tells me there's something not quite right about him. He'll be calling for a ban on internet porn next (via Boing Boing).

Wellington Grey's going to hate this: 1700+ pictures of cats found on the internet (via Pete Ashton, who asks "what more do you need? " Er, another 1700 pictures of cats?)

February 22, 2007

WCCA 2007

For all the criticism the Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards for 2007 have received (admittedly, I could write that opening line about each previous edition of the awards), they do reflect a trend in webcomics towards more technically sophisticated material. In particular, the artistic standards of the nominated comics have been higher than ever this year.

The awards ceremony itself, which is in comics form, goes on for far too long, though. If there's one piece of advice I'd presume to give the organising committee, it's "fewer awards categories, please, pretty please for the love of kittens". It's not fair to the nominees, winners, and ceremony creators down the bottom of the list, like - well, that's my point, really. Reading the ceremony late at night, I basically skimmed through the last five or six I read, and then skipped the last however many there are. Even for the last few I did "read" I have no idea who the artists involved were.

Pare it down to something that can be read in a single sitting... or serialise it.

February 26, 2007

...What the hell is wrong with these people?

I've been a fan of Girls Reading Comics for a while now. However, today, they pointed out a review of Spiderman showing the hands-down the worst idea I've ever heard of: That whole radioactive spider biting him thing leads to him killing his girlfriend through radioactive semen. And, no, it's not a fanfic, this is an official Marvel comic.

"Oh God, I'm sorry! The doctors didn't understand how it happened! How you had been poisoned by radioactivity! How your body slowly became riddled with cancer! I did. I was... I am filled with radioactive blood. And not just blood. Every fluid. Touching me... loving me... Loving me killed you! Like a spider, crawling up inside your body and laying a thousand eggs of cancer... I killed you."

...See, this is why I avoided comics for decades, and only finally started reading webcomics, Castle Waiting, Sandman, Cerebus and The Goon in my 20s. For God's sake, Marvel and DC, hire people who can write! Stop giving all comics a bad name.


February 28, 2007

Crossover Wars

Anicrossover.gif
I guess now would be a good time to mention that there's a series of webcomics Crossover Wars going on involving several dozen webcomics, including Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan. The hub site has been live for a couple of weeks and has a very thorough overview of everything that's been going on so far. Core comics are CameoComic and Evil Overlords United, both of which were created especially for the event.

After the FRAMED!!! Great Escape, I told myself and others that it had been great fun and let's not do it again. But I got myself suckered into doing another big mega-crossover. And it's fun. And hair-raising. Again. Once it's over, I'll never do it again.

March 2, 2007

Metacalyptic Apostasy returns to your screen


In 2006 I hardly drew any comics being rather preoccupied with making money. I've recently taken it up again with renewed vigor and one of the consequences is todays return of terribly weird sci-fi epic Cap'n.
The stats reveal there still has been a steady flow of visitors taking a peek if perhaps Cap'n hadn't secretly returned. I'm glad to say that it has and will be updating on Fridays for the time being. You may have lost track of the storyline after the one and a half year hiatus: the current storyline starts here.
I hope one day to be recognized for the bold and daring lack of unity in style, lazy artwork and unintelligable storyline. If anyone knows about such an award, please let me know.
In any case: hope you enjoy the return of Cap'n!

April 20, 2007

This post is work-safe, if you're self-employed

From IRC, just now:


reinder: http://comics212.net/2007/04/19/afraid-of-cock/
M___ is not going to follow that link from a work PC
M___: In fact I think I'll go crash the server to corrupt the logs just in case
reinder :As far as I've read it, it's safe for work
reinder: Except if you're afraid of cock, I guess.
M___: See, that word ... it's not safe for work
M___: I think you're confused because of being self-employed

He's got a point. I make a point of taking full advantage of my self-employed-ness: I may be permanently stressed-out and one month away from eviction, but at least I can set my own hours and I can read the word "cock" on a computer I also work on.

The article with the word "cock" in it is a hilarious look at cock, specifically, cock appearing in an Alex Ross-painted cover sollicitation for Justice Society of America # 7 and the fanboys' reaction to it.


First and foremost, there's a reason that "Comics Should Be Good" isn't linked from my site, and the above is a good indicator of why. Second, that's what "Queer Fear" is, in case you were wondering. Brian and his 'buddy' Jake are 'creeped out' by a bulge in another guy's pants (artistic or otherwise). The idea that an artist chose to give a character an impressively-rendered package is actually frightening to these fellas, and the idea that his model might've had a good-sized package in real life? And Alex Ross decided NOT to neuterhim for some insane reason? Equally as creepy.

Needless to say, I'm pro-cock. Even as a kid, I found it vaguely annoying that so many comic characters had nothing whatsoever in their pants. It wasn't a showstopper of a flaw, but it did make many characters look more than a bit freaky. And in today's more adult-oriented comics culture, there's clearly been a double standard for some time. Read the article, which is lovingly backed up by reference pictures of male underwear models. Who have cocks. Cock-cock-cockkity-cock cocks. (Via Journalista!)

April 27, 2007

Jon Swift has a drawing assignment for you

Jon Swift:


If Chris Muir drew Charles Schulz's Peanuts, for example, he wouldn't have bothered drawing a panel showing Lucy pulling the football away at the last minute when Charlie Brown tries to kick it. That would be too Old School for him. Instead, Muir would just have Lucy say, "Democrats always pull the football away at the last minute when you are trying to kick it, Charlie Brown." Lucy and Charlie Brown would also probably be in their underwear.

Internet meme in 5... 4... 3....

May 15, 2007

[Adam Cuerden] Groningen bij Dag

Well, I'm back from my holiday, and really should do the rest of that 75% finished Baraminology post. It even has nevw illustrative material. But first, the visit to co-bloggers Reinder, Jeroen, and Secret Guest Co-Blogger who May or May Not post.

It was a fun, if somewhat subdued trip, due to me recovering from a rather long illness. Got quite a lot of Dutch comics at the Stripmuseum, got enough liquorice to be sick of it for a while, practiced drawing and finally finished some old art and generally had fun with friends.

But the reason for this weekend in particular was to make fun of Eurovision, so, let's begin. I type up my notes as taken on the day, without much commentary. It's much more fun that way.

Bosnia and Herzegovenia: Very poor visuals, but a good, well-written Eastern European folksong. The lead singer was wearing a dress like a cabbage, surrounded by women staying perfectly still in odd poses and some idiotic-looking fellow with some folk-guitar - probably a balalika - serenaded her.

Spain Endlessly repetitive, but energeticly agressive song. Four posers in white suits dancing quite well, but over-choreographed. Terrible background.

Belarus At first, I thought this might be alright, then they started singing.Nice visuals, good effects with people seeing to become attached to walls.

(This was followed by a transition featuring a particularly ugly man wearing almost nothing diving into a hot spring.)

Ireland It was something like a stereotypical Irish song sung by a woman who was... either panicked or on drugs. I suspect there will be more blogging on this entry over the next few days.

Finland Elvira, Mistress of the Dark returns! And sings a not half-bad song. Sounded like something Cher would sing. Not crap, not great.

Macedonia Pure crap.

(This was followed by a transition which involved making an ice sculpture, then setting it on fire. What the hell?)

Slovenia Gothic music meets Eastern European folk music with a snappy disco beat. It... kind of works.

Hungary A pretty good blues song by a person with a good voice and a pleasant girl-next-door appearance. Probably the best so far by a long ways. One of the few I'd happily listen to again, though, admittedly, listening to it again as I type it up, it's still pretty good, but not as good as I remembered it. Singer's great though.

Lithuania Pretty average song, of the sort you'd find in a modern musical like Chess or as a background to a movie. Boring, but not ear-bleeding.

Greece Music to film porn to. If the lead singer's involved, gay porn.

Georgia Not bad, whatr's with the caucasian men dressed as Japanese warriors dancing with swords?
Sweden Crossdressing man singing a retro song out of the 70's. Catchy, but music to line dance to.

France Flaming homosexuals do country and western. Badly.

Latvia Very... old-fashioned song, in Italian. That will not end, Augh!!!!! [Last four words underlined repeatedly]

Russia Five strong, agressive women's group singing a 1980's / 90's song with a strong, rocking beat. [I didn't write much on this one, probably because it was the best of the songs, and so I was distracted actually listening to it]

Germany 1940's cabaret, very well done.

Serbia Butch girl dressed as a man surrounded by beautiful women. Awfully like a bad Cher song, but far better sung.

Ukraine Bad transvestite. No further information too drunk from keychange dinking game. Keyc hanges every few seconds. At least 12. [This one's very poorly written. I was pretty drunk by then]

U.K. Stewardesses [spelt Stueurdesses - I was drunk] and stewards with inuendo by "Are You Being Served". That's about it. Done in the most awful, boriing manner, but while looking for the video, I found this version which is... far, far better, if still very silly. I suppose humour really is all in the performance, and the Eurovision performance... sucked mightily..

Romania: What the fuck? This cheesy song about love is like a children's program's theme song. Lots of key changes.

Bulgaria ...the Hell?

Turkey To quote what I wrote at the time: "I'm oo drunk to comment on this... thing. See 'Ukraine'." I'm too scared to watch it again to find out what I meant.

Armenia See Reinder's comments. At the time, I was only able to write "Can't stop laughing. What the hell?" I did laugh the entire time it was on, and could not stop. Sadly,. it still has that effect on me.

Moldova For some reason, I never wrote anything on this at the time. Watching a bit of it, I think my brain may be trying to block the memory. Nice use of classical modes, though. Pity they forgot about giving the singer a melody.


Conclusions: Russia by far the best. Hungary and Germany pretty good, a few others are alright. Several total clunkers. Don't know why Serbia won. Maybe people really like Cher and girls that look like fat 16 year old boys.

October 17, 2007

The 24 Hour Comic Day Groningen Blog is a blog about the 24-hour comic day in Groningen

I'll be taking part in 24 hour comic day on location at the Stripmuseum in Groningen on Saturday, October 20, into Sunday, October 21. The event will be blogged at the 24-hour comic day Groningen blog, with updates showing the latest work from the participants. There's even ominous talk of a webcam, so there's a chance you'll not only get to see what I look like, but also to see me and the creme de la creme of Groningen's cartooning subculture get completely zonked out and worn away to a pathetic stub of a human being over the course of 24 hours.

There's an impressive roster signed up already. Calvin is taking part, as is Jelena, but Jeroen, while listed, has mentioned that he might not have the energy this year as he's in the midst of moving house. But he might change his mind...

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