Internet Comics

There are lots of comics on the internet, but how many of those are about the internet?

Infomaniacs by Matthew Thurber

From Infomaniacs by Matthew Thurber

At tomorrow night’s New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium event, Matthew Thurber will discuss his comic Infomaniacs, originally serialized online and since published by Picturebox.  With an internet-addicted protagonist, the comic developed into a thriller confronting issues of privacy and ownership online.

In his talk he’ll discuss the influences on the comic and the making of.  This interview in The Paris Review  might be good preparation, as is this live-action trailer for Infomaniacs:

Later this week I’m going to an event for librarians about Google Glasses, which I am skeptical of, but have yet to see in person, so why not.  However, I was reminded of Vision Machine, the creator-owned comic by Greg Pak and RB Silva, which is freely available online under a Creative Commons license.

Vision Machine #1

From Vision Machine #1, by Greg Pak & RB Silva

Released in 2010, the three issue series imagines a sneakily dystopian future where everyone has a set of iEyes, networked video camera glasses created by Sprout Technologies.  It’s only a matter of time until users regret never reading the terms of agreement when they’re bombarded with ads and lose access to the content they generated to Sprout.

Worth reading now that Google Glasses are an actual thing, and a good companion piece to Infomaniacs.

24 Hour Comics Day this Saturday!

How could I forget!  Not too late to sign up on your own or find a local host!

24 Hour Comics Day 2013

24 Hour Comics Day 2013

As always, good to read up on the history of the event from Scott McCloud himself, including the original six versions and a bunch more others in full via McCloud’s own (since abandoned) index of 24HCD submissions.

I tried this back in 2009, my goodness, but haven’t since then (often just forgetting about it).  Maybe I’ll try to kick start my comicking on Saturday in honor…

Flip Book Comics

Sometimes it takes a publishing deal for a comic freely available on the web to get on my radar…

Sam Alden comic Hawaii 1997

Copyright Sam Alden

This short comic from Sam Alden of Portland, OR,  will be published next year by Uncivilized Books, paired with a new flip book style story (source).

Despite the rough pencils, it’s pretty masterful, with some impressive shadow play…  I had actually blogged about Alden before, but did not recognize this style at all, very different.

There are other full samples of his work, in both rough pencil & more fleshed out black & white. Household, another flip book story, is very dark, so those shadows come in to play in great form once again.

Sam Alden comic Hawaii 1997

Copyright Sam Alden

Lifetime of Libraries

I should start a collection of cartoonists cartooning about libraries…  This example from Brooklyn-based Julia Wertz page, from a longer meditation on her lifelong relation with books (and libraries), is especially poignant:

Julia Wertz A Strange & Curious Place page

Page from “A Strange & Curious Place“, Copyright Julia Wertz (click for full comic)

Someone get this lady a booth at the American Library Association Conference!

There are plenty of other samples of her work, from longer works like this one to 4 panel gags, on her website, under Archives.  Here’s one that sums up her ornery nature:

Julia Wertz comic: Misery Is Funny

Misery is Funny, copyright Julia Wertz

Here’s her list of books and where to buy them!

Now There’s an Idea!

I’ve learned that if an idea’s good enough, you remember. And if it’s not good enough to remember, you didn’t need it anyway. The good ideas keep nudging you, reminding you they’re there, until they find a way out into the world. (source)

Ron Marz, in his CBR column on the comic book writer’s life, talking about…  ideas.  As someone who’s main comic output is still in the form of ideas, I thought it might be helpful  : P

Marz talks chiefly about a storytelling concept that he conceived of years ago and was finally able to put to use on an unrelated project, namely a minute of story time per page on Top Cow‘s speedster character, Velocity.  The nice thing is that after reading Marz‘s post, you can read the full issue in question, with art by the very distinctive Kenneth Rocafort, for free on CBR!  Good synergy, guys!

Velocity #1 from Top Cow

Velocity #1 from Top Cow

Welcome to Dadsville

In honor of Father’s Day tomorrow, enjoy Dadsville, a comic anthology about, you guessed it, fathers!  There are stories about the good and bad times, about chummy, antagonizing, and estranged fathers, so you can experience the whole gamut in one sitting if you don’t already…

First off, here’s Brazilian illustrator Fabio Lyra‘s story about reconnecting with his father over spaghetti westerns:

Dadsville comic by Fabio Lyra

Dadsville comic copyright Fabio Lyra

And next, In the Basement, a meditative, visually unique story about fathers as defined by the collections they amass…

Dadsville comic by Phil Gable and Carol Holsinger

Dadsville comic copyright Phil Gable and Carol Holsinger

If you have your own paternal story to tell, you can submit your comic to be considered for the next Dadsville anthology; the deadline is July 1st.  Maybe you can make some new stories tomorrow!  awww…

Changing your Comics Up

All-ages webcartoonist Dave Roman (husband of comics royalty Raina Telgemeier) put up a post a while ago with some real talk advice for cartoonists in a rut:

If we’re honest, often our lack of success is because we’re just not ready for prime time. Most cartoonists prefer to dive in first and learn our craft as we go. But what if other people don’t see our dreams the same way we do? How long do we tread water, believing in a dream if nothing ever seems to change? …

So, it might be time to try a new dream that better reflects our current abilities. Put aside the old ideas (even if just temporarily) and switch gears. Break out of our box. Shake it up. Switch genres or art styles. Kill your darlings. See how it feels to face the unknown of a fresh canvas. Many of us worry that we only have one big story in us. And too often, that story is a trilogy or multi-part epic. Or we’re attached to a single character so much, we believe it to be an extension of ourselves. (source)

I thought it was an interesting post, and though I haven’t been taking on any artistic projects lately, I think that initial paralysis when deciding which project to embark upon is related…  I, and many beginners, I think, worry so much about starting off with the right project, that we ultimately wind up with no project!  So hopefully this summer I’ll finally get started on something, anything!

Also, Roman‘s kid friendly and all-around adorable comic Astronaut Academy is up in full online for your reading pleasure:

700 number 1’s, round 2

The last time Marvel tried to give away free digital versions of 700 of their number one issues of series from over their full range of publishing history on ComiXology, the site crashed.  : P

Today is your last chance to try this once more, but this time you need to sign up for this digi-shopping free-for-all on ComiXology with an account on Marvel‘s site; then you and other lucky shoppers will get run of the store in waves, so as not to overwhelm their servers.   Full instructions here, from Newsarama.  Happy shopping!

Copyright to Make you Shiver

I had to give a presentation in class on copyright in the digital library world which was a pretty intimidating topic, so I was glad to find this neat resource from the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University.

This comic, by James Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins and the late Keith Aoki who illustrated it, focuses on fair use of copyrighted materials in documentary filmmaking, but the lessons are still relevant for all of us as plain ol’ concerned citizens… (read it for free here, or consider paying to support their work.)

The CSPD celebrates Public Domain Day on January 1st, the day that materials’ copyrights expires and they enter the public domain.  However, in 2013 nothing entered the public domain, all thanks to aggressive campaigning on part of behemoths in the content industry to keep extending the length of their copyright.  As it stands now, a work is protected under copyright for 70 years after its creator’s death, so just about anything created in our lifetimes will only be public domain several generations later.  Pretty ridiculous…

EDIT: I almost forgot!  As testament to how much time I spend reading the funnies online, I included this little gem by Anthony Clark (aka Nedroid) in my presentation:

"The Internet" by Anthony Clark

Copyright Anthony Clark

Got some laughs, and speaks to the constant struggle of anyone who shares their work online to protect their IP from shameless thievery…   >: (

Kyle Baker for Free

Sort of old news by now, but FYI: cartoonist Kyle Baker has put a bunch of his self-owned comics up for free reading on his website.

This is great, because it’s a creator I’ve heard nothing but good things about and who I should know better, so here’s a perfect, no-risk opportunity!  If you don’t know where to start, here are some suggestions from the Beat.  I like me some romance / dating / single-life stories, so may start with Why I Hate Saturn, above.