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Marvel + Jeep = webcomics

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 3:54 pm

Saw this in my Detroit News:

Jeep has called on Marvel Comics’ super powers and the creative thinking of the masses to help promote its new 2007 Jeep Patriot compact SUV. In a Web-based marketing campaign, consumers can submit dialogue and plot for how they think four young protagonists should handle villains and solve a mystery in an online comic called “The Patriot Factor.” The Chrysler Group, which includes Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler vehicles, and Marvel Comics paired up to create the comic, which can be viewed at …

Full Disclosure: The Detroit News writes me occasional checks for artwork and/or blogging about Chewbacca arrests, mummified Russians.

- Eric


My Nominee for Outstanding Use of Infinite Bullshit

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 12:47 pm

Web Cartoonists’ Choice Awards Chairman Mark Mekkes on Sunday, June 18, 2006:

Also please be advised that after extensive review, it has been determined by the WCCA Committee that Foetus-X’s [sic] nomination for “Outstanding Romance Comic” does not comply with the Outstanding Romance Comic category’s genre criteria … As a result, Foetus-X [sic] has been removed from the final ballot for the “Outstanding Romance Comic” category …

Web Cartoonists’ Choice Awards Chairman Mark Mekkes on Monday, February 5, 2007:

Our approach has always been to allow the voters to help define the awards, the categories and the direction they take. We never want to limit the voters choices in any way. … It’s been very important that we not “water down” these awards by controlling the results and I believe that the list of winners have stood up to that decision.

What a fucking joke.

- Eric

(x-posted to My Livejournal)


The Poem as Comic Strip

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 2:47 pm

Tom Spurgeon at Comics Reporter hipped me to this interesting project:

As a way to help readers discover (or rediscover) our archive, has invited some of today’s most vital graphic novelists to interpret a poem of their choice from the more than 4,500 poems in our archive, reaching from Beowulf to the present. Kicking things off is David Heatley, best known for his meticulous renderings of his dreams, always haunting and frequently hilarious. Heatley brings his faux-naïve draftsmanship and masterful color sense to the first two stanzas of Diane Wakoski’s 1966 poem “Belly Dancer.”

I was lucky enough to study poetry writing under Wakoski in the ’90s. I will always remember her really digging my Shakespearean sonnets with the injury-to-the-eye motif. That, and her completely tearing a new ass on some dude who thought that “poetry is open to interpretation” so his idiotic theories could never be wrong. Good times.

Now that I think about it, poetry and painting crits were more hardcore than any message board flame war.

- Eric


2007 Web Cartoonists’ Choice Awards

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 1:35 pm

It looks like it’s official: The 2007 Results for the Web Cartoonists’ Choice Awards are posted here and every category is like a five-way tie! Either that, or these are nominations mis-labeled as results.

Everyone’s a winner, but it looks like there are no really huge winners this year. Last time it seemed like several artists were nominated in half a dozen categories; this year it looks like the most nominations a single artist recieved were like four. What does this mean? Maybe there were no big break-away hits this year. Maybe a wider variety of artists are involved in the nominations, and so a wider variety of comics are being nominated. Maybe any comic with more than four nominations was automatically disqualified from two of them. Maybe the new bi-annual schedule has everybody totally confused as to what to vote for.

Here are some of the Modern Tales-related artists that totally brought it real strong. Congratulations to all of them as well as the other nominees.

Spike (Outstanding Comic, Character Rendering, Character Writing)
Shaenon Garrity (Outstanding Comic, Writer)
Ursula Vernon (Outstanding Black & White Art, Anthropomorphic Comic)
Eric Millikin Hey That’s Me (Outstanding Romantic Comic, Single Panel Comic)
David Malki! (Outstanding Comedic Comic)
Ryan North (Outstanding Writer)

AND YES! I know you are all excited that I have been nominated for Outstanding Romantic Comic after having been disqualified last year by the romantically retarded. I’d like to thank everybody who nominated me knowing full well that they were probably throwing away their vote. Before you start partying too hard, I’ll remind you that I was also totally nominated last year, right before getting disqualified, so there’s no guarantee I won’t be disqualified again by somebody who thinks that character with the long blonde hair in my comics is my mom.

OH AND, what exactly is the connection between this thing and Keenspot? The WCCA site has been running big banner ads for the Keenspot comics that were nominated, and there’s a big Keenspot icon next to the address. Anybody know the story on this?

Talk to me, people.

- Eric


I’ve got the 2007 WCCA Results?!

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 1:03 pm

Little birdies sent me a link to this page on the always entertaining Web Cartonist Choice Awards site. I don’t know if it’s meant for public consumption yet, because it’s labeled “2007 results” when it’s pretty clearly at best a couple of 2007’s nominees, it’s right next to a timeline that says “January 22 - Top nominees announced, final voting round begins,” the adresss bar shows a big Keenspot favicon, etc. So, it may be a work in progress, it may be completely unofficial, and it may get yanked down ten seconds after I link to it, but here it is and I’m pretty sure it’s not a hoax. Or maybe it is. If someone made a joke WCCA page, how would you tell?

Anyway, if it gets taken down by the time you read this, here is what it says:

Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio
Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell
Narbonic by Shaenon Garrity
Perry Bible Fellowship by Nicholas Gurewitch
Scary Go Round by John Allison
Templar Arizona by Spike

Congratulations to those nominees, if in fact these even are nominees. They’re all great comics.

Also, if anyone has the link to the page that has the list of which awards I’ve been disqualified from this year, leave it in comments or send it to eric-at-fetusx-dot-com.



TV programme reveals Cold War Frankensteins behind 2-headed dog

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 8:34 pm

I post all sorts of wondrous items over at my Bizarro research journal that I keep for The Detroit News. Check out this particular story:

“As revealed in a National Geographic documentary to be screened later this month, the creation of the two-headed dog was the first step in an astonishing race by Cold War scientists to achieve the seemingly impossible - the first ever human head transplant. In pursuing this medical goal, Vladimir Demikhov - and his American rival, Robert White - may seem to be the epitome of immoral scientists who ignored all ethical considerations in their pursuit of scientific advance. But in their own minds, they were brilliant pioneers prepared to think the unthinkable for the greater good of mankind.”

TVData has video.

Eric Millikin
Brilliant pioneer prepared to think the unthinkable for the greater good of mankind


Comic struggle: A new book collects works of Archie Comics artist Dan DeCarlo

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 2:04 pm

Honolulu Star-Bulletin reviews Fantagraphics’ new Innocence And Seduction: The Art of Dan DeCarlo:

You’d think that cartoonists have a happy life, drawing such funny stuff all day long. And yet, it’s a cutthroat business, and the captains of industry are quick to crush the life out of the creative team if they think another buck can be squeezed out of them.

The case of Dan DeCarlo comes to mind. … He invented Josie and the Pussycats for Archie, and the comic book was a hit. … DeCarlo learned totally by accident of the subsequent “Josie and the Pussycats” movie that was released in 2001; Archie Comics neglected to inform him. When DeCarlo, exhausting other means, hired a lawyer to investigate his legal rights to the character, Archie dropped him cold, after a 40-year working relationship.

- Eric

Search terms

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 1:51 pm

Xerexes over at Comixpedia points out this blog post about “how to better capture value from readers who arrive via search.”

This is something I spend a lot of time thinking about. Now that my site is in the top ten yahoo search results for dick frozen to flagpole, how can I make sure I capture the most value from these visitors?

- Eric


Don Hertzfeldt at Sundance

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 12:07 pm

Inside Bay Area reports that “Don Hertzfeldt has transformed his online comic strip, ‘Bill,’ into a 17-minute animation short titled ‘Everything Will Be OK.’ The 30-year-old’s third Sundance entry centers on a character that Hertzfeldt has grown to love.”

Don is of course also the creator of the comic “Dance of the Sugar Plums (or, Last Month on Earth)” that was in Flight Volume 2, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his short “Rejected” that toured with Spike and Mike’s ferstival a few years ago. You know, the “My ass is bleeding” one.

- Eric


Webcomics of Love

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 6:19 pm

A few weeks back I swore to make one post about using comics to score with hunks and babes for every one that Joey posts about business matters. This is because Joey’s genius business acumen perfectly complements my position as the world’s foremost authority on the topic of romance comics. He’s the Yin to my Yang; the Nikolai Volkoff to my Iron Sheik, if you will. Anyway:

Websnark blogger and former Modern Tales editor Eric Burns shows how it’s done, enlisting the help of Ursula Vernon, Rich Burlew, Howard Tayler, Jon Rosenberg, Shaenon Garrity, Meaghan Quinn, and others to help him get totally married and stuff. Shit, three panels into it *I* almost married him!

This is pretty awesome, as this chart clearly shows:

a|           / w|          /
e|       /\/ s|      /
o|     /
m|    / e|   /
n|  /
e| / s|/

Source: American Center for Totally Sweet Awesomeness

Congratulations Eric B. and Wednesday!

– Eric M.


Things I’ve learned from my livejournal

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 1:05 pm

Shaenon has a year-end manga update to her Overlooked Manga Festival. You, too, can learn not to overlook “creepy-ass horror from the 1970s” and “levels of batshittery and badassitude that make the previous 18 volumes of Knights of the Zodiac look positively sedate.”

The Ferret has a Weekly Webcomic Review in which he makes his picks for this year’s (or this 6-months’ ?) Web Cartoonist’s Choice Awards. Like all upstanding citizens of Earth, his plans start with the brilliant: “I mean, what the hell - I don’t read Romance comics, so I’ll nominate Fetus-X!” I think it’s great that my reputation as a romance comics artist has spread outside of those who normally read romance comics. Yes, this will be the year that we teach the internets the true meaning of love which may or may not resemble a Pat Benatar song.

Urbanum posted this. He’s in Russia, so, no, I have no idea what the fuck.

Peace out,
Eric M.


On sale NOW: TCJ #280

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 1:00 pm

Also from Joey’s favorite muckrakers, the latest issue of The Comics Journal is in stores this week, on the web site for subscribers, and probably being read by my mailman as I type this. Of particular interest to friends of Talk About Comics may be the review of Scott McCloud’s “Making Comics.” Over on the TCJ board, former Modern Tales artist Jesse Hamm asks reviewer Noah Berlatsky, “Did you read the book while passing kidney stones? I can’t imagine why else your reaction would be so vituperative.”

Also, there’s a Frank Thorne interview by Gary Groth, a Farewell to Playboy Cartoon Editor Michelle Urry compiled by yours truly, a Carla Speed McNeil interview by Markisan Naso, and Time Out of Joint: A Column in Cultural Criticism: The Crypto-Revolution of Our Age XVII: The Lords of Chaos by Kenneth Smith.

- Eric M.


The Beat’s Annual Year End Survey, 2007 Edition

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 11:40 am

“Every year [The Beat] invite[s] a selection of creators, publishers, retailers, commentators and other comics observers to give us a quick look at the year that was, and a hint of the year that may be.” The first half is over on Publisher’s Weekly’s site, and features such friends of TalkAbout Comics as Nick Bertozzi (former and future serializer), Tom Devlin (former serializer), Jeffrey Brown (former serializer), Dylan Meconis (former girlamaticer), James Kochalka (American Elf), and Jackie Estrada (edits Supernatural Law on WCN).

- Eric


Metaphrog part of Lost in Translation panel discussion

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 12:23 pm

Serializer artists John and Sandra from Metaphrog were part of a panel discussion at the Lost In Translation event held on Friday 3rd November by the Goethe Institute and Alliance Française, Park Circus, Glasgow. Forbidden Planet has the transcript. There’s a lot of good information and strategy here, for example:

Sandra: “… we wanted to kind of disguise adult themes under a kind of happy or colourful veneer. That’s why we decided to use a small character with very rounded features, living in a really colourful environment, even though it’s very oppressive because everyone is in little boxes, like little houses with fences …”


Gene Yang responds to idea that graphic novels aren’t real novels

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 1:03 am

You might remember, Tony Long, the Wired News blogger that was whining (his description, not mine!) that Gene Yang’s America Born Chinese was nominated for a National Book Award. “This is simply to say that, as literature, the comic book does not deserve equal status with real novels, or short stories. It’s apples and oranges. If you’ve ever tried writing a real novel, you’ll know where I’m coming from.”

I like this logic. “If you’ve ever tried to write a real novel, you know it was really hard. If you’ve never written a graphic novel, you know it must not be very hard. Any idiot can write and draw; it takes real skill to just write.”

Dirk at Journalista points to Gene’s response. In part: “[Long thinks] Prose is an inherently superior medium. (And more difficult to create than comics.) And here’s how I respond: [That] is just plain stupid. Different media have different strengths. There are some things that comics is better at, and some things that prose is better at. Try writing prose instructions on how to put together Ikea furniture and tell me how it goes.”

It’s also worth pointing out (and Gene gets into this some) that many of the other nominees are hardly traditional novels or short stories themselves. “The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing” is told through multiple formats like letters, newspaper clippings, scientific papers, etc. “Sold” is often written in free verse.

Free Verse?!

On an administrataive note, I expect my blogging will be light this week as I adapt my Ikea instructions into free verse.


Kean Soo schools you on Neil Babra

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 5:44 pm

Over on the Flight comics blog, Kean Soo gives a brief history lesson on Neil Babra’s wonderful comics. Neil has been a contributor to Fight volumes 1-3, Serializer, and Neil is currently drawing the Shaenon Garrity written “Li’l Mell and Sergio” on Girlamatic.


Sawlogs: Collaborative, searchable dream journal

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 4:58 am

Brought to you by Rick Smith (who is along with Tania Menesse created “Shuck” for Modern Tales and later Serializer), we have a newly designed Sawlogs. “Sawlogs is a way to store, search, sort and share your dream journal. With Sawlogs you can: Keep your dream journal online. Discover who dreams like you. Discuss dreams. Get stats and facts about your dreams.”

I just signed up. Now, if I could just ever get some sleep …


WINTERVIEW #1: Featuring Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 1:00 pm

Video at Comic Book Resouces:

Join Winter McCloud (age 11) as she visits Queens, New York to interview cartoonist couple extraordinaire Raina Telgemeier (of “Smile” and “Babysitters Club” fame) and Dave Roman (associate editor at Nickelodeon and creator of “Astronaut Elementary” and “Agnes Quill”). The Winterview’s are produced and edited by Winter’s big sister Sky (age 13). An all-kid production!


Websnark on Modern Tales fall lineup

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 12:14 pm

Shaenon mentioned this briefly below, but I’ll give it its own post: Websnark blogger Eric Burns breaks down the new faces in the Modern Tales fall schedule, doing mini reviews of each new comic.

Among many other things, he writes: “One thing I think is really, really healthy both for Modern Tales and for we the fans of webcomics is an increase of style and diversity in the new lineup.”

I agree with that completely. To me, Modern Tales was always the most eclectic of all the MT sites, and far more eclectic than any other publisher or collective I can think of. And now it’s even more so. Without going in to extreme micro-niche genres, I can’t think of any type of comic Modern Tales doesn’t have.


Eric Burns returns to Websnark blogging

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 11:35 am

Former Moden Tales editor Eric Burns appears to have returned to his regularly scheduled Websnark blogging. That’s cool, not only because it gives you things to read, but because it must mean Burns’ life has ascended from the pits of total chaos and he’s now soaring like an eagle through the pits of something closer to 95% choas.

Last week Burns brought an analysis of recent plot twists and character developments in current Modern Tales editor Shaenon Garrity’s science-fiction comedy strip Narbonic. Burns warns of “Destruction, death, brain-tanks, President Mell, [and] Universal Oblivion.”

This week he takes a look at my own painted-poetry-on-zombie-flesh comic Fetus-X. “Daaaaaymn,” says Burns of recent Fetus-X, “I like everything about this. … [It’s] right out of the park.”

The comments sections of these things are often as interesting as Burn’s posts themselves. There are about 50 different predictions posted for what may happen next in Narbonic. “[S]ince Narbonic is supposed to end at the end of 2006, how is Garrity going to destroy the universe in four months?”

The discussion of Fetus-X ranges from the excited (”I’m going to read this damn comic and finally find out what the fuss is all about”) to the confused (”I wonder what its referring to”) to perhaps the faintest praise I’ve ever received as a professional artist (”I’m not going to say it’s bad art, ’cause from what I can tell, it’s not unskilled”). I love this stuff.

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