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New issue of The Webcomics Examiner!

Filed under: — joezabel @ 10:23 pm

September 30, 2005– In celebration of the tenth anniversary of webcomics as an artform, The Webcomics Examiner is conducting a roundtable on the Artistic History of Webcomics. In part one of a two-part series, T Campbell, Eric Millikin, Shaenon Garrity, William G., Mike Meginnis, Bob Stevenson, Eric Burns, Wednesday White, A. G. Hopkins and Rob Balder join moderator Joe Zabel in exploring the medium’s creative evolution, with profiles of Charley Parker, Pete Abrams, Scott McCloud, and many others, in the latest issue of The Webcomics Examiner.

The Webcomics Examiner is a quarterly forum of reviews, interviews, and critical articles evaluating webcomics as a fine art. The free-access website is at

This issue also headlines a major interview with Dinosaur Comics creator Ryan North. In a conversation with Mike Meginnis, North describes the origins of his unique, graphically-arrested series, and explores issues of art and language with remarkable candor and sophistication.

Also this issue:

* Cartoon Art Museum curator Andrew Farago speculates on the role of museums in preserving webcomics culture in “Curating Webcomics.”

* Tim Godek hears the sound of music in comics, spotlighting Cat Garza, Neal Von Flue, and Kean Soo in “Click to the Beat.”

* Andrew Wade chronicles the creation of a webcomic in “Diary of a Web Artist, by Someone Who Isn’t.”

* Alexander Danner reviews Steven Charles Manale’s series Superslackers.

This issue’s cover is by webcomics legend Cat Garza, creator of the critically-acclaimed Magic Inkwell series. The cover is accompanied by a soundtrack by Squarepegz, featuring Zen Boodamasta and Unknown Souljah.

Press contact: Joe Zabel,

9/28/2005 Next Week

Filed under: — L_Jonte @ 5:31 pm

There are some major changes in the works at, not the least of which will be the October 3rd debut of seven new series.

They are:

By the Wayside by Leigh Dragoon
Carnation Grows Up by Sushu Xai and Isaac Hoffer
Claviger by Ronnie Casson
Gypsy by John Peters
Hold My Life by Dale Ingram
Ironclad Petal by Lea Hernandez
Return of the Mad Bun by Rachel Hartman

That is all.

Instructions for Use

Filed under: — Alexander Danner @ 2:15 pm

Instructions for UseWhispered Apologies: Launched by Ryan North and Joey Comeau, two talented writers who don’t do much in the illustration department, the premise is that readers send in artwork, and then Ryan and Joey write captions and dialogue to fit. The results are often very funny, sometimes troubling, and always worth a read.

And, being a writer who doesn’t do so much with illustration, my immediate response was “Whispered Apologies is for me!” Additional writers are often invited to contribute, and my immediate goal became to finagle an invitation for myself.

And, having met Ryan at SPX, I was able to do just that. My contribution is up now, so without further ado, I present my inverted collaboration with Chris Yates: Instructions for Use. (Note: While there are no dirty pictures, the subject matter is not entirely work safe.)

Share The Love

Filed under: — Dbarr @ 12:51 pm

Anybody remember those weird Black Manuscript things I was confusing everybody with at Moderntales?

San Diego State University’s Love Library Special Collections has accepted all twelve original ornate cover-embroidered manuscripts for permanent storage, and access for students and professors.

Various departments — women’s studies, arts and literature, the English and German departments — have expressed an interest in using the manuscripts as a basis for theses. Several of the books have already been used by academics around the world for this purpose.

I’ll continue to use Moderntales as a reference area for people who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to read what are admittedly a rather esoteric brand of the drawn books or “comics” medium. For one thing, I need to translate them.

In my copious spare time, of course.


Filed under: — Dbarr @ 12:02 pm

Noting a comment about Booksurge as a “vanity press.”

A vanity press pretends to be a publisher, and takes its cut and rights, but you have to pay for everything. Booksurge is just a printing company. You maintain all rights, including use of your own publishing ISBN’s.

And speaking of numbers : A Fine Line Press just picked up its own SAN (Standard Address Number) from Bowker. It’s the number everyone needs for electronic book sales, either pring or ebooks. Huzzah.

Pithed, the 31st (and-full-color) episode of The Desert Peach slogs forth at It’s in the process of layout now for print at It will not be available to distributors or retailers, but only directly to customers.

Why? Because A Fine Line Press isn’t using Lulu’s Global Distribution system. AFLP uses its own series of ISBNs. Lulu says it’s working toward making books available through small-press publishers, the same as it offers through Ingram now. But that’s in the future. In the meantime, AFLP will use Lulu for color books.

The Desert Peachnovel, Bread and Swans is slated to ship from Diamond January 2006, through AFLP is making distributors and retailers jump through some hoops, just to see who will keep up. If a D or an R won’t cooperate, then everybody but them will get the book. So far, and oddly enough, it’s the big boys like Barnes and Noble and Baker and Taylor who go through hoops like a poodle through fire — and even apologize if they aren’t keeping up with the other distributors.

All to the good of the small press publisher.

New meme

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 11:24 am

Link to Eric Burns’ Unfettered by Talent in your blog.

Then do this:

neener neener

Pictures and Words reviewed

Filed under: — Reinder Dijkhuis @ 7:59 am

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.


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.

(Crossposted to Waffle)
Reinder Dijkhuis


Artist Needed

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 8:15 pm

The following is a pitch for a PSP-formatted graphic novella (one fairly standard-sized comic book panel per “page”, serialized in five to seven “issues” that are approximately seventy to eighty panels long).

Billy the Brain-Eater

Synopsis: A parasitic tentacle monster has attached itself to a teenage boy’s spinal column and digested his brain. After gaining full control over the boy’s body, it goes on a brain-eating spree, taking out the boy’s family one by one, then turning its attention to the rest of Lovettsville. Meanwhile, other than the brain-eating, it pretends to live a normal life (wouldn’t want the government to find out that there were brain-eating tentacle monsters on the loose, or anything like that, you know). In the course of everyday teenage life, it falls in love with a girl, and she falls in love with it – or with the boy that she thinks it is. Sometimes it wants to eat her brain, but mostly it resists. Okay, it does take a nibble or two here and there when they’re making out and she isn’t paying attention. But it loves her too much to do any serious damage, and it always feels guilty afterwards. People don’t use most of their brains anyway, right? After eating the brains of just about everybody else in the town, it is left with a soul-crushing dilemma: should it tell her about who and what it really is, and hope that she loves it anyway? Or should it just eat her brain and be done with love? And why does she act so weird and frustrating all the time? What’s up with that?

Would anybody have any interest in drawing something like this?

Assuming that the script was good, and that the author would share 50% of ownership, as well as 50% of all revenues with you?

Not that there would be lots of revenues. The business model would be advertising (presumably the words “PSP” and “download” would generate fairly expensive clickthroughs on Google ads, but maybe not).

A first draft of the first script is available for download in PDF form.

Please do not actually draw any of it. Just let me know if you’re interested, and I will tell the author, who may or may not get in touch with you to discuss the matter further. Use my joeymanley at email address to let me know.

Last Guess…

Filed under: — L_Jonte @ 8:17 am

Hold My Life

Uderzo chez les Belges

Filed under: — Reinder Dijkhuis @ 2:58 am

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 see this new book. Mr. Uderzo! I for one won’t buy it, but I can’t fault ya for having another go.
(crossposted to Waffle)

Reinder Dijkhuis
Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan


Picture Story Theatre Presents: Together Again, Print Mini Comic

Filed under: — Alexander Danner @ 8:42 pm

Together AgainThe Together Again mini-comic is now available for purchase through the Small Press Swapmeet!

Thirty-two pages, b&w, color cover, 8.5″ x 5.5″

A somber retelling of the tale of Humpty Dumpty and the king who tried to save him. This story explores the intersection of comics and picture books.

Together Again, by Alexander Danner and Bill Duncan, was first published at in full color as part of Danner and Duncan’s anthology series, Picture Story Theatre.

Get it here!

Webcomics Is Eating Comics

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 3:31 pm

Carla Speed McNeil’s awesome printcomic Finder is moving to the web.

Now, it’s not just that she’s started posting stuff online. It’s that she’s simultaneously stopping publishing her work in printed comic books (the trade paperbacks, of course, will continue to come out).

You’ve heard the expression “waiting for the other shoe to drop?” This is, like, the third or the fourth shoe to drop. Small press comics are shedding themselves of the Direct Market as quickly as they can (and the Direct Market, in the form of Diamond’s newly-revised, ever more top-heavy policies, is encouraging them to do so). There was Girl Genius before this. And others. But Finder is special: it was, for a time, being held up as the kind of difficult, mature, complex comic that only the Direct Market and its base of true comics aficianado’s could support and nurture.

Obviously, this is no longer the case.

The standard business model for indie creators (put out single-issue comic books serializing the story, then collect them in trade paperbacks) is getting untenable, with the web offering more advantages to creators than the two-publisher-system Direct Market can ever hope to offer, and with the Direct Market itself becoming smaller and more constrictive by the day.

Nobody enjoys a good comic book store more than I do, but if the system isn’t working, the system isn’t working. One gets tired of hearing all the moaning and groaning about how to make the system better in incremental and meaningless ways. There’s already a better system, it’s here, and it’s exploding in popularity: webcomics.

Congrats to Carla Speed McNeil!

No announcement as to where the comic will be hosted, but keep an eye on the Lightspeed Press website for more info.

SPX 2005: The Modern Tales Table

Filed under: — Alexander Danner @ 2:17 pm

The Modern Tales table was an unofficial affair this year. T Campbell, Bryant Paul Johnson, and I were sharing table space, so we decided to push the brand as well as our own works. Bryant, in fact, brought no product at all, instead setting up a laptop to display some pages from Teaching Baby Paranoia (actual wireless internet is spotty in the convention hall), along with some Modern Tales bookmarks. We also had a nice banner to hang as well, designed by Chris Shadoian, who unfortunately couldn’t make down to the con. Of course, I don’t think any of us thought to photograph the setup, but hopefully a shot of it will turn up somewhere else.

T had some old back issues of Faans!, along with more recent copies of Penny and Aggie, which was probably the table’s best-selling item. This was my first time exhibiting, so I tried to bring a variety of items, so I could experiment with what sells and what doesn’t. I had copies of Together Again, The Widow Reminisces Over a Plate of Vegetables, and The Discovery of Spoons, along with a handful of color prints from Picture Story Theatre. I also made up a bunch of very pretty Picture Story Theatre bookmarks to give out free, but I stupidly forgot to pack them. In addition, we had some special free temporary Modern Tales accounts set up, so we could send con-goers home with a free pass to check out the site for a week or two. I’d say we managed to send a good 20 people home with passes, and most of them seemed genuinely interested in checking out the site.

Sales were very slow the first day; I can’t speak for T, but I only sold three books. But the second day was much better. All told, I sold 12 copies of Together Again, three of Spoons, and two of Widow. A few lessons learned here – it seems most people would rather spend a little more to get the color cover. I really thought the two smaller $1 minis would be my best sellers, but the larger story with the color cover did much better. Also, while I didn’t manage to sell many of the prints, they did do a good job as eye-catchers. They brought a number of people to the table to see what else was there. Of course, being that I was right next to Ryan North, I did notice quite a few people who walked over, panned across my stuff, and were immediately distracted by “Ooh, Dinosaurs!” Which was maybe not so great for sales, but entertaining to watch nonetheless.

Another interesting thing to watch was how the people who picked up Together Again reacted to it once they opened it. The other two stories looked more or less like regular comics, so they might provoke interest or disinterest, but people saw what they expected to see inside the books. Together Again, though, is formatted like a picture book, which tends to catch folks more by surprise. Some folks really responded well—they like seeing something a little different, that was diverging from standard comics format, and were delighted by the childlike look of it. Others were very clearly less than impressed; they weren’t openly rude, but you could still see the subtle “what’s this crap doing at a comics show?” eye roll. Again, not so great for sales, but really fascinating to watch.

All told, the experience was great fun, especially getting a couple of days to hang out with Bryant and T. Laughs were had, lessons were learned, and I’m already looking forward to giving it another try next year.


What’s going on at GirlAMatic?

Filed under: — L_Jonte @ 8:55 am

Something is happening at GirlAMatic!

Hutch Owen returns from brief brain fart

Hi gang-

Hutch Owen is back up and running at

After packing house, moving and (some) unpacking, Hutch has emerged from the studio environs to figure out just what the hell is going on in the world.

This week: Dennis Worner comments on the effects of Hurricaine Katrina.

If you’re going to SPX, vote for me in the Ignatz awards!

PS- serializer should be relaunching soon….


OK One More Guess!!!

Filed under: — Fetus X Eric @ 11:48 am

Can you guess wether Eric won't be on girlamatic?


GirlAMatic: Submissions Closed

Filed under: — L_Jonte @ 8:28 am

That open call for submissions at GirlAMatic is now officially closed as of Friday the 16th. Many thanks to everyone who gave us a try!



Filed under: — joezabel @ 9:09 pm

Kudos to the Katrina-nator Webcomikers! Here’s the press release:

For immediate release


Media contact: Brad Guigar
(267) 207-1078

The Webcomic Telethon for Hurricane Relief
( was planned as a two-day
event to encourage donations to the Red Cross for the
victims of Hurricane Katrina.

It ended up being the most important week in
webcomics. (And it isn’t over yet.)

Organized by Blank Label Comics
(, the telethon generated an
estimated $28,635 in pledges. Pledge values were
collected from visitors before they proceeded to the
Red Cross Web site to make their donations directly.
Many erroneous or invalid pledges were discounted from
Blank Label’s final pledge estimate.

For more than four days, a new cartoon from one of
over 300 cartoonists was displayed every twenty
minutes for over four days. The site received 8
million hits, 5.45 million file transfers, 1.85
million page views, 109,000 total visits, and 262
gigabytes of total transfer. At its peak, the site’s
server was handling 12.5 megabits per second (on
average, the figure was around 10).

And, true to its “it ain’t over ’til it’s over”
nature, the Webcomic Telethon will be presenting new
comics all week long leading up to the release of the
“Blank Label Comics Webcomic Telethon Book.” Each day
this week, readers will see a new, never-before-seen
telethon comic up until the unveiling of the keepsake
book that collects many of the comics from the
telethon. Designed by Bank Label’s Steve Troop and
published by, the 100-page book goes on sale
later this week with all proceeds being donated to the
Red Cross.

Many readers commented on the spirit of good will that
resonated throughout the Webcomic Community — some
called it the “Woodstock of Webcomics.” This book will
be offered as an opportunity to own a piece of that

“Blank Label Comics Webcomic Telethon Book” will be
unveiled on the Webcomic Telethon site later this week.

All three major Reckless Life arcs are now available for online order!

Reckless Life, that crazy Graphic Smash comic about that thief that likes taco bell and loose women, drawn by that guy that thinks he’s Bruce Timm and thinks he’s funnier than he actually is, is now available for online order here. Go there. And then purchase them. With money.

All three major story arcs, Mad at the World, Dinner and a Robbery and Locke and the Las Vegas Ninjas, are up and available looking for loving homes. Each books is 48+ pages and only five bucks.

Gone are the days of waiting for me to haul myself to the post office to send things as they come directly from Comixpress to your hot little hands. So if you don’t have a Graphic Smash subscription, this is another alternative to get your old-school RL fix, or go get an el cheapo-grande $1 monthly subscriptions at Misfit-Media.

Locke and the Las Vegas Ninjas will also be available for preorder at your friendly neighborhood comic shop in mere days. Keep your peepers here for news on that.

Gimme another guess!

Filed under: — L_Jonte @ 9:06 am


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