Comic Making Potpourri

I’m a sucker for advice from webcartoonists, and promoting your product isn’t something you hear much about, but John Allison of Scary go Round / Bad Machinery fame recently weighed in on the matter briefly;

The best way to get your work popular is to do good work, do a lot of it, and win people over with the force of your lovely personality. If your comics are no good, it doesn’t matter what you do. (source)

That’s sort of the main takeaway from all creative types, including, if you’ll allow this very tenuous segue,  Sarah See Andersen, an illustration student posting hilarious autobio Doodle Time comics on Tumblr on the side…

Even more tenuously related, I also enjoyed this Comics Journal interview with cartoonist Simon Hanselmann where he had some interesting things to say about the local Melbourne comics & zine scene and breaking onto the international stage, especially with this bit about Tumblr, his primary platform.

With the internet everything is linked up now. Tumblr is just a big zine faire that never shuts down. (source)

From Life Zone, by Simon Hanselmann

From Life Zone, Copyright Simon Hanselmann

Enjoying his Tumblr, which is a sorta scarily life-like depiction of quarter-life crisis suburban anomie…  With a talking owl…

Also gotta shout out to Allison’s current Bad Machinery storyline, which is hurting my head with all the time travel and butterfly-stepping involved…  Waiting to see how all the time tampering turns out for our kid detectives…  Also Lottie’s reaction to microfilm machines is basically how I felt when I first used one over the summer:

John Allison's Bad Machinery webcomic, The Case of the Forked Road

Copyright John Allison

B(r)ook(lyn) Fest


This Sunday is the Brooklyn Book Festival, and with all the great events going on, I always find it useful to narrow my options down somehow…  So for your convenience, here are all the comics-related events I could find (plus one surprise opera-themed event!).

(Un)fortunately, looking at comic events doesn’t limit it too much this year!  I went last year, and I think the 2 comics events I went to were the only ones, so this is a much expanded roster of events, on a wide range of themes; nice to see the diversity of the medium on display…

If Sunday isn’t enough for you, David Prudhomme, who’s launching a new book at the Festival, will also be the guest of honor on Monday’s NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium.

Comics events after the cut, and here’s a map of participating venues to help you plan; happy booking! Continue reading

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

Comic Con at your Library Con

So tomorrow I’m flying out to Chicago for the 2013 American Library Association annual conference.  Thankfully, there’s a set of events I have to go to, otherwise I wouldn’t have known how to choose…  However, I was excited to see there’s a whole con within a con devoted to Comics, called the GraphiCon!  Click the link to see all the relevant panels, talks, and events.

There’s a whole Artists Alley with big names like Raina Telgemeier, Gene Luen Yang, Faith Erin Hicks, & Paul Pope, and even a Zine Pavilion of local zinesters!  There’s the annual Eisner award for Libraries that provides one lucky library with a full set of Eisner‘s work, works nominated for this year’s Eisner Awards, and a further budget for buying comics.

Individual creators like Dave Roman, Matt Kindt, & Jeffrey Brown get their own spotlight events, there are plenty of panels on new releases, discussions on comics for teens, library collecting of comics, comics in the age of e-publishing, and even talks and events about making comics!

All this on its own would be a pretty excellent con in its own right  😛

FCBD is Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day!  In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept, on the first Saturday of May, participating comic shops give away free pre-selected comics to any and all visitors!  You can find your local participating comic shop using FCBD’s store locator.

Free Comic Book Day 2013

To prepare, here is a list of the free comics that’ll be available, ranging from DC to D&Q, brand new to classic reprints, mainstream to independent, all-ages to mature, not to mention lots of TV, cartoon, and video game tie-ins.

I’m personally intrigued by Drawn & Quarterly‘s offering, an excerpt from their forthcoming Gilbert Hernandez semi-autobiographical comic, Marble Season (planning ahead, Gilbert will be at Housing Works in NYC on April 16th to promote its release!).  Also, FCBD is probably as good a time as any to try out Hindu comics, even if Liquid ComicsRamayan Reloaded is written by American Ron Marz

Plenty of good stuff to get (for free), so check out their offerings and find your favorites…

PS: This is my 200th post.  Go me!

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!

Comics at Columbia Library

Bill Finger script for 1945's Batman #31

Bill Finger script for 1945’s Batman #31

The Columbia University Library‘s Rare Books and Manuscript division has recently added some notable comics materials to their collections, including original 1940’s Batman scripts from the estate of Jerry Robinson and research materials used by Larry Tye for his “biography” of Superman.  These acquisitions will be discussed at a free event this Thursday, March 7th, at 6pm in Room 523 of Butler Hall at Columbia.

Elfquest archives at Columbia U, Wendy & Richard Pini

Elfquest archives at Columbia U, Copyright Wendy & Richard Pini

Another, even recenter acquisition is the archives of Wendy and Richard Pini, creators of the self-published cult hit Elfquest, stretching back to 1978 when it was first published.

As I understand it, all this attention to comics at the Columbia Libraries is largely the brain child of Karen Green, who works as both the Ancient & Medieval History librarian as well as a comics selector.  In addition to these acquisitions, Columbia also has the archives of Chris Claremont, and has classes taught by Paul Levitz, former president of DC Comics.

When I volunteered at MoCCA, Green was a frequent guest at their events….  Celebrity sighting!

Alt Azn Comix, Last Call

Today is your last chance for free admission to the Museum of Chinese in America in time to see these two comics-themed exhibits before they close on Sunday.  I blogged about them a bit ago, and I enjoyed them, so I recommend it.  MOCA  is free today from 11 am to 9 pm which is nice (and I think different from when I last went?), so check it out!

page from Gene Luen Yang's forthcoming Boxers and Saints

Copyright Gene Luen Yang

One of the exciting pieces included in the exhibit is a set of in-process pages from Gene Luen Yang‘s forthcoming Boxers & Saints, coming from First Second this September.  Yang scored a huge success with his 2006 comic American Born Chinese, and Boxers & Saints sounds equally ambitious.  Yang granted an exclusive interview to Wired about the book (or actually, set of two related books released in a slip cased edition), and it’s sounding very interesting.

EDIT:  Forgot the link to that exclusive interview I mentioned : P  rookie mistake…

Betty & Veronica Styles

Archie Comics is releasing its first ever hardcover book and it’s devoted to Betty and Veronica’s evolution over the ages, special emphasis on their fashionable get-ups.

Veronica Pin-Up by Dan De Carlo

Image by Dan DeCarlo, Copyright Archie Comics

One of the big exhibits at MoCCA when I was volunteering there was on Archie, so that was my big intro to that whole world.  It’s neat that the ladies are the first to get the hardcover treatment, but then again, who wants to see Archie or Jugheads’ ugly mugs and lazy outfits…  On the other hand, it’s really neat seeing how teen fashion evolved over the decades through the prism of super-stylish B&V.

There’s a trailer at Newsarama, and a review at Comic Book Resources.  Also, super-short notice, but there’s actually a release event & signing for the book at Strand today, 7-8pm, featuring Victor Gorelick, Editor-in-Chief and Co-President of Archie, Craig Yoe, comic book historian, along with Dan Parent and Fernando Ruiz, Archie writer-artists.  Be there or be square…

Mission to Mission


Cecilia Bartoli is a world-renowned mezzo-soprano who’s also a big champion of musical archaeology, digging through and rediscovering forgotten Baroque opera, as evidenced by her 2009 compilation CD Sacrificium, covering music for castrati by a range of more obscure composers.

Her latest release, Mission, covers the music of one composer, Agostino Steffani, and wraps the package up in a deeper investigation of the man behind the music, investigating his roles as an ecclesiastic and diplomat.  In fact, the CD is being released with a book exploring this history and even inspired a mystery novel to be released concurrently!  Bartoli obviously inspires a lot of confidence in the music industry…


(You can see how they’re pushing the history in this trailer for the CD.)