TalkAboutComics Blog Collaborative blog for the Modern Tales family of websitesMon, 19 Feb 2007 15:23:20 +0000 Malki! on Webcomics Not Being Comics, 19 Feb 2007 15:17:16 +0000Joey ManleyWebcomics (Non-MT)’ve heard that the best writers tell us what we didn’t realize we already knew.

In a guest essay over at Fleen today, MT cartoonist David Malki ! does just such a thing.

Here’s some of the meat of it (but please, do go and read the whole thing):

So instead of approaching the whole “webcomics problem” from the direction of comics — trying to win converts at syndicates, comics publishers, and mass media by saying “They’re just like regular comics! Honestly! Only online!” — we should be trying to win converts among fans of funny, interesting things on the Internet in general. The argument then goes, “They’re just as funny as YouTube videos! Just as interesting as blogs! Just as snarky as Something Awful or Fark or whatever! Honestly! Only in comics form!”

I’ve approached this line of thinking before, sidewise and clumsily, but have never been able to express it quite so clearly (and have always accomplished nothing but generate flamewars whenever I’ve tried). My experience has been that the dedicated cultists who currently “own” comics protect that ownership jealously and defensively (what Malki ! calls “the culture of comics” and the less-generous of us call “the fanboys being fanboys”) — and interpret these kinds of statements as meaning: “We hate you and think you’re stupid, blah” when really they just mean, “You’re not the center of our world, and we’re not going to go out of our way to cater to you, because doing so hurts us in terms of the big picture — but hey — really — you’re welcome to come along for the ride, if you want.”

I could be wrong.

Let’s see if Dick Joke draws himself hitting Malki ! in the face with a brick. Then we’ll know.

Can you out-Wally Wood?, 19 Feb 2007 06:23:43 +0000The William GGeneralWebcomics (Non-MT)Share the Love Venables recently came up with a nifty little artistic exercise and creative challenge involving Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Always Work.

I’ve taken up his challenge, and it’s a fairly simple one: You just need to draw the twenty two panels in your own way.

For example:

Big head

Easy as pie, and just as fun. So grab those art-tools folks, and give it a spin.

Rob Liefield on Platinum Studios, 18 Feb 2007 01:09:43 +0000Joey ManleyPrint Comics and Graphic Novels

“For years Platinum’s owner and I have existed in an uneasy truce. He has consistently presented characters from my catalogue without attributing me as their rightful creator. It is an insult to creator’s everywhere when their input and contributions are diminished. It is not a tradition I would encourage or pursue.”

From this week’s Lying in the Gutters.

There is also talk of legal maneuvering.

This might turn out to be interesting, especially to those webcomics creators who are contemplating signing over the rights to their creations to Platinum (owner of webcomics portal Drunk Duck) — or, for that matter, signing over their rights to anybody else. I have no specific opinion on the matter right now, but plan to watch this play out with great interest.

Change in Banner Ads on WCN Free, 17 Feb 2007 20:37:43 +0000Joey ManleyWCN News Free comics used to have banner ads at the top (in the WCN branding area) based on which genre they were in — so that people could buy ads just on Action-Adventure comics, for example, or Horror comics. That is no longer the case. WCN Free comics still don’t have quite enough traffic for this kind of granular sales pitch (the vast majority of all traffic on WCN goes to Premium comics, like Templar, Arizona, which has roughly twice as much traffic as all 2000 or so WCN Free comics combined, and Breakfast of the Gods, whose comparative numbers are similar). So anyway. I changed it. Now you just place one bid, and your ad can appear at the top of every single WCN Free comic. As with all Project Wonderful-powered ad banners, bidding starts at zero, so place your bids now — you can’t possibly lose out by getting in early. Quite the opposite. ]]> with Leia Weathington, 15 Feb 2007 11:07:58 +0000Lynn LauGeneralGirlamatic NewsCartoonist Interviews off the presses! Girlamatic introduces a new section called Outspoken! Interviews with Girlamatic Creators. Here, readers get exclusive insight into their favorite GAM creators through Creator Spotlight interviews, as well as special announcements and news releases as they come. Interviews are conducted by Lynn Lau.

In this debut edition of Outspoken, we turn the spotlight on Leia Weathington, creator of the popular Bold Riley series. Leia’s luscious lines and brushwork show off curves in their best fighting form, namely the Princess Rilavashna SanParite herself, Bold Riley. This isn’t your average once-upon-a-time.

Creator Spotlight: Leia Weathington of Bold Riley - February 15, 2007

For the benefit of new readers, tell us about you and about your comic.

My name is Leia Weathington and I’m the creator of the series The Legend of Bold Riley, a collection of tales featuring a lady adventurer and her lifetime of excitement. The first story to pop into my head, Witch in the Wild, was very simple when I began it in early 2005, but it quickly spun out of control as I began to wonder about how a middle-aged woman came to be pursuing her wife through a land so clearly not native to her. Hence the decision to tell Bold Riley’s entire story from cradle to grave.

You’ve just concluded Chapter 1 of Witch in the Wild, in which we learn about the cursed Jenny Tarfeather and the witch. You’re about to begin Chapter 2. What can readers expect to see in upcoming weeks?

Oh god, for one thing, a lot less of people standing around in the woods having a damn conversation for pages at a time!

In the second chapter, you’ll meet another unfortunate girl who has been ensnared by Dame Torto (the witch), and learn more about what exactly drove the witch so batshit in the first place. Riley also runs afoul of some of the Wild’s more terrifying denizens, The Bandywraiths. So yeah, waaaay more fighting and monsters.

Excellent. . . . Bold Riley has a folkloric feel to it, and its dialogue has a very literary style. Tell us about its major influences.

My parents! Both of them were huge book nuts, and fed me a steady diet of fables and fairy tales and historical accounts.

The other thing that really got me into the style of telling folk stories was actually Jim Henson. Between the ages of 4 and 8, I had to watch Labyrinth at least once a day. The Henson movies were this great mix of whimsy and terror, straightforward and subtle, which is something I try hard to put into the Bold Riley legends.

I also have to give mad props to Emma Donoghue and her book Kissing the Witch, and Ethel Johnston Phelps, author of The Maid of the North: Feminist Folk Tales from Around the World. Two book on folklore that changed my life.

You write another Bold Riley comic on your Webcomicsnation site, illustrated by Konstantin Pogorelov. These are just two of several other Bold Riley stories you have planned. How many are there in the series? What is it about Bold Riley that appeals to you?

I can’t answer as to how many at this point because the number keeps growing! Over a dozen at this point, all ranging from 10 pages long to over 150.

My plan is to have all of the different legends drawn by different artists. The entire Bold Riley saga will span her entire life and will cover a range of countries, landscapes and cultures, so I think the differing styles will lend more to the narrative than just using my own art every time.

Besides, there are a lot of people who can kick my ass at the drawing board. Konstanin, for one. . . .

Bold Riley is, in some ways, what I would most like my life to be like. Adventure, glory, hot ladies . . . it’s endless fun writing these stories. I’d have to say that that’s the biggest reason — it’s a fun escape. But an escape where I can also subtly inflict my worldview on an unsuspecting population.

One can immediately see Bold Riley is a lady who knows how to get the job done, just by the fact that she adroitly wields a skillet as a weapon. She is also a princess — or, as The Wicked Temple story puts it, she was once a princess. Will there be a comic about her as a young girl?

There will be a couple of comics dealing with her childhood. In particular, about how she gains her nickname (Bold Riley is a nickname, actually. Her full name is Rilavashna SanParite — Reel-a-vash-ah-na SAN Par-i-Tay), and about the culture of her homeland of Prakkalore, and the rules that a member of a royal family is raised with.

You went on break for a while to work on a comic project, collaborating with another talented artist. What can you tell us about it, if it isn’t too hush-hush?

Haha! I’m a little afraid to say too much, for fear it won’t work out. I can say, however, that it’s an all-new fairy tale, told with much more modern language. And that it should hopefully be drawn by a gentleman most talented at drawing cats. . . !

Leia Weathington is a freelance cartoonist, writer and illustrator living in San Francisco and attending the Academy of Art University. She draws Bold Riley and the Witch in the Wild at Girlamatic.

MT Interview: Steve Emond, 14 Feb 2007 19:41:03 +0000ShaenonModern Tales News Emond’s webcomic Steverino follows the relationship woes of the title character, a nerd with a romantic soul–maybe a little too romantic. Emond also draws the Slave Labor comic Emo Boy, a sendup of emo culture. He was kind enough to talk to me about the origins of Steverino, the Steverino movie, and BFFs.

Shaenon Garrity: What’s the origin of Steverino?

Steve Emond: “Steverino” was an evolution from a “Where’s Waldo”-themed book I had made during my senior year of high school. I used to draw these pictures of the school for my friend Bettina with all of our friends standing around doing things, and you’d have to find certain things. This led to me making really bad “Far Side” strips with the same group of friends, which led to a book of “Steverino” comic strips that I wanted to finish by graduation to give everyone so I’m not forgotten. I don’t ever want to be forgotten by anyone ever.

Over the summer, I kept drawing the cartoons, and my friend Mike had suggested I start a “fan club” and keep sending the issues out to everyone while they were at college. It became a neat little way of staying in touch with everyone. I did monthly 25-page books of these comic strips, and each month the art would improve, the jokes were stronger, and it felt more like a real comic strip. I started thinking about it as more of a real stab at syndication as opposed to a bunch of silly drawings for friends, and put more effort into building the world of “Steverino.” I kept doing it from 1997 right through about 2000, at which point I stopped doing a monthly book and started to do it as only an occasional submission. It was generally liked by syndicates, but no one was quite ready to bite. Despite the promise and the positive feedback, eventually I sold the idea of Emo Boy to SLG Publishing and abandoned the idea of “Steverino” to concentrate on that comic.
SG: How does “Steverino” relate to Emo Boy?

SE: Steverino and Emo Boy have a lot in common, and in some ways are exact opposites. Both of them are generally “loser” characters–they’re maligned, made fun of, abused, and generally scoffed at by society. The main difference between the two is that Steverino sees the glass as half full, and Emo Boy sees it as half empty. Steverino always has a smile on his face and never stops trying; he’s very optimistic and naive. Emo Boy is already crushed by the world and has little will to do anything at all. The tone of each project is very different as well. For the dark subject matter, “Steverino” is written very lightly and is intended to be a fun read. Emo Boy is a comedy also, but it’s far more subtle; even the crazy silly things are written as if they are very serious subjects. Some people find that a turn-off, but I think Emo Boy taking himself so seriously is what makes it funny. Movies like Wes Anderson’s films and Little Miss Sunshine make great use out of making comedy out of very dry straight-forward writing.
SG: How did the Steverino movie happen?

SE: Ha ha…well, that sounds more “official” than what we did…What happened was in 1998, my friend Mike (the same one who suggested the fan club idea) was off at film school, and I proposed the idea of doing a small movie based on the comic strip. He was into it, and that spring my friend Taryn and I wrote a screenplay that was too long and complicated to actually film. We took what we could actually film of it, and Mike improvised some of the weirder material, and we filmed it over the summer. Mike took it back up to school and edited it over the fall and by winter we had our movie, “Sweet Nothings.” Not to say anything every actually happened with it, but it was a cute film and really captured that era for me, at least. It’s especially touching for me as Taryn died the following year, and to have written that with her and have her in so much of the movie makes it really special to me.
SG: Why did you decide to start drawing “Steverino” again?

SE: A few reasons. For one, I was putting together a three-book collection of the entire “Steverino” run, and adding commentary and looking through sketchbooks, and re-reading old newspaper articles, and I guess I felt nostalgic for the characters (that I hadn’t drawn in a few years). I almost wanted to pick up right where I left off after that initial run, before I got too bogged down with trying to please syndicates. I wanted to put the skills that I’d acquired since then with the fun I had just doing comics about my friends, even though most of them I hadn’t seen in a long time. Back in August I got back in touch with Cori, who had always been Steverino’s dream girl. We were never as close as depicted in the comic strip, but when we started hanging out again back in the summer, we bonded very quickly and became great friends, and dare I say, BFFs. I think that made me want to go back to doing the comics as well. That, and I wanted to send out another syndicate submission as it had been a few years since I’d tried at all.
SG: You also run “Steverino” on MySpace and LiveJournal.  Does being on the blogosphere have an effect on the strip?

SE: That would imply I have any marketing sense at all…sadly, the only way I really know of to let people know this comic exists is by constantly reminding them. Luckily I have a few friends and fans of Emo Boy a bulletin post or LiveJournal entry away and can remind them when a new “Steverino” is up.
SG: How do you ink and color the strip?

SE: I keep a “print-ready” version of the strip for any print endeavours, but publishing the comic on the internet lets me really play with the look of it. The first dozen strips or so, I inked and then scanned into photoshop in black and white. Then I would print out the cartoon, paint with watercolors onto a seperate piece of paper, and then piece the two images together in photoshop. A few storylines in, I started to scan the inks in grayscale, so you can see where the ink gets darker and lighter. I think it gives the whole strip a looser, more artsy feel. While the painting is intentionally loose and sloppy, the drawings under them are actually very tight.
SG: What’s coming up in 2007 for “Steverino”?

SE: No huge plans just yet. At some point I’ll try to introduce some more long-term storylines, but for now I just want to introduce the characters and get everyone nice and familiar with them.
SG: Any final thoughts?

SE: I think my final thought will be “Please let there be more, I don’t want to rot in the ground forever!” But those are the bad thoughts. We don’t think about those.

Happy Valentines’ Day!, 14 Feb 2007 17:49:51 +0000Eric MillikinGeneral

More here.


P.S. You should leave more Valentines in comments.

Rhymer?, 14 Feb 2007 15:55:11 +0000T CampbellGeneralNon-Comics RelatedProgramming and Web Development’m just gonna put this out, here. It’s vaguely related to comics, as I’d like to apply it to the construction of comics.

Does anyone know where I can find a program that’ll sort large blocks of text by rhyme?

I’m looking for the ability to do something like this, but using actual rhymes, not words that just end with the same couple of letters (”stopped” does not rhyme with “glared”).

I’d be willing to pay for this, or pay to get it developed. Anyone know anything?

Reckless Life Back From Hiatus, Joins Bomb Shelter Comics, 13 Feb 2007 15:37:49 +0000timdemeterGeneralGraphic Smash News Reckless Life, the comic from the editor of Graphic Smash and Clickwheel detailing the zany criminal adventures of a thief named Locke, returns from a six week hiatus.  With the return, Reckless Life has also joined Bomb Shelter Comics, the masterminds behind Webcomic Idol.

If you’ve never read Reckless Life before, now is a great time to hop on board, as this latest chapter details the very earliest years of the lead character, and requires no archival reading to follow.  Just click here and see how Locke was born.  You won’t be disappointed whether you’ve been following the character for years, or are just meeting him now. Reckless Life updates every Tuesday and Thursday and, like most Graphic Smash comics, is completely free!

How Webcomics are Like Programming Languages, 12 Feb 2007 22:26:33 +0000Joey ManleyWebcomics (Non-MT) seems to be a long period of initial obscurity for any new webcomic. Then after that comes a long period of semi-obscurity, followed by total obscurity.

(Paraphrased from somebody named Paul Bissex talking about new computer languages, who was quoted on a programmer’s blog I happened to stumble onto today.)