Webcomic alert: Trigger Warning: Breakfast by Anonymous

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Has it really been stressed enough how great the comics that The Nib, edited by Matt Bors and Eleri Mai Harris, is publishing are? Here’s a new one called Trigger Warning: Breakfast and i have towarn you it is not a pleasant read, but it is powerful. The author is anonymous. For reasons you will understand when you read it.

Webcomic alert: Lauren Weinstein’s ‘Carriers’

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Lauren Weinstein is running a five part webcomic at Nautilus about discovering that both she and her husband (TCJ.com editor Tim Hodler) were carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene, and their unborn child had a 25% chance of having the incurable disease.

CrowdWatch: The Economics of Digital Comics by Todd Allen

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Frequent Beat contributor Todd Allen has just launched a Kickstarter for a new edition of his book The Economics of Digital Comics —the goal is quite modest—$500, and it’s already more than halfway there.

This book is an update of his previous The Economics of Web Comics which was last updated in 2007. As you might suspect, a thing or two has changed since then. There doesn’t seem to be a single book covering this topic, so if it gets funded expect me to be quoting from it liberally.

Webcomic alert: Solo by Hope Larson

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Hope Larson has just launched a webcomic called Solo. She writes:

I wrote the script for Solo last year. This story has been in my brain, in one incarnation or another, since mid-2012, and I’m ready for it to go out into the world. I’ll be drawing the pages and slapping them up online the moment the ink’s dry, raw and fresh and full of mistakes. And full of swear words—the subject matter is fairly tame, but it’s not a kids’ comic.
I won’t be adhering to any sort of update schedule and I currently have no plans to publish Solo with a book or comics publisher[.]


Larson is the author of such fine graphic novels as Salamander Dreams, Mercury and A Wrinkle in Time. She’s also a filmmaker. Bookmarked.

Interview: Sarah Burgess Falls Into ‘The Summer of Blake Sinclair’

After several years and countless surprising twists and turns in the lives of the main characters, Sarah Burgess’ long-running webcomic ‘The Summer of Blake Sinclair’ has come to an end. But now readers can start all over again, right from the start, as Burgess has brought the series to print via publishers ZetaBella.

Described by her as a cheesy student drama, the series is a lot more than just that – it’s a sprawling, vivid depiction of university life, with a cast who wander in and out of each others lives, trailing baggage, problems, love and laughter in their wake. A while back I listed it as one of the 24 Webcomics we spotlighted on The Beat as something special – with the launch of the series in print, I reached out to Sarah to find out more about the making of the series, and how it made the long journey to print.

[Read more…]

Interview: Christian Beranek Offers ‘Validation’

Christian Beranek is the writer of Validation, a webcomic telling stories from the life of a trans girl living in the city. The series addresses the idea of her looking for a place in society as she finds friends, goes dating, reads a lot of comics (of course) and gets involved in the comics community. It’s a bold comic – honest and open, without ever coming across as melodramatic or overwrought. The central character, Ally, is a wonderfully drawn protagonist, and Beranek’s writing puts you right inside her thoughts as she lives her life. Along with artist Kelci Crawford, it’s a comic which has started to build up a real fan community around it – and rightfully so.

Also the co-creator of The Webcomic Factory, Beranek puts out an incredible amount of content onto the internet every single week – but still managed to find time to have a chat with me about her work, her writing, and webcomics.

[Read more…]

Webcomic alert: HOLLOW part I by Sam Alden

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Sam Alden has just posted the first part of a longer story called HOLLOW part I—it’s a digital version of a comic he had print copies of for sale at TCAF. It’s interesting to see him developing an almost animated style for this—like reading storyboards as comics.

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I shuddered when I read that panel.

Speaking of Alden, some glowing reviews for his work. Tom Murphy reviews Wicked Chicken Queen for Broken Frontier:

Like a strange lysergic Richard Scarry book, each page is filled with little vignettes of how this weird little island society works. Even the island itself is a protean organic landscape. (Click to enlarge) In addition, the apparent simplicity of the narrative masks a rich metaphorical resonance that invites multiple readings to get to the heart of what Alden is saying about history, power and society.

And Rob Kirby on It Never Happened Again in TCJ:

The two stories featured in It Never Happened Again display Alden’s impressive strengths as a visual storyteller. They feature completely different settings and characters, but have in common protagonists in search of things ineffable—perhaps unattainable. Each story casts its own strange sort of spell, making for a very strong debut book.

Kickstarter Power Hour: Strong Female Protagonist

The webcomic series Strong Female Protagonist has a Kickstarter running to take the series to print, and has already crushed the original target funding harder than Godzilla stamping on innocent civilians. From the creative team of Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag, the funding for the project is currently somewhere above the $20000 range, after they asked for $8000.

[Read more…]

Jeff Smith’s Tüki Save the Humans gets a full color comic

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It’s been a voyage of discovery for Tüki Save the Humans, Jeff Smith’s ongoing webcomic. It was always expected to go to print, but originally in black and white. However, it’s now been announced that the July debut will be in full color, just like the webcomic.

But since TUKI has appeared in color on boneville.com, comics fans are overwhelmingly supportive of a full color print version. “That’s what I hear over and over while I’m on the road at comic shows,” said Smith, “To which I say: It’s on!”  TUKI #1 will ship in July and will be in full color with no change in price. Pre-order TUKI #1 at your comic shop using Diamond Item Code: MAY141240. TUKI#1 Written & drawn by Jeff Smith with color by Tom Gaadt, will be 32 pages, four color, and retail for $3.99

 
Good news…AND a new episode begins on Friday!

Webcomic alert: Blimpakind by Talya Modlin

We live in a pretty amazing time for comics, as my previous post on SVA’s graduating class suggested. You could spend the whole day doing nothing but looking at mind boggling art on Tumblr. And once in a while something clicks. One young cartoonist who crossed my radar of late is Talya Modlin, whose webcomic is called Blimpakind!

According to her bio, Modlin was born in South Africa and then moved to Chicago, where she attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago has a pretty strong indie comics scene that’s I’ve only been able to process second hand (High time for a trip to CAKE!). Besides the AIC there’s Ivan Brunetti holding the fort at the Columbia College of Art and Design, and I’ve really liked the student anthologies his classes put out. I think there may be some kind of Chicago “school” emerging, but I haven’t been able to put y finger on it. Many themes of current comics are there, a mixture of narrative and grotesquerie.

At first Modlin’s comics seem random and chaotic, but there is a strong narrative voice going through them. Her first comics, which is up at Ulli Lust’s Electrocomics site, is Mad Monk, a pretty straightforward account of the murder of Rasputin. The drawing is a little rough and the story a bit stagey, but I have to say, the Electrocomics interface—horizontal frames and moving forward by the arrow keys—is so damned easy that every website should use it!

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With Blimpakind, Modlin’s style really explodes into absurdly complex compositions that still place and environment with keen observation. The first story, Drinking Buddies, started as a 24 hour comic and has that slapdash feeling of not knowing where it’s going to end. The story involves two layabouts, Chief and Udall, who arrange to go visit a friend so Chief can reconnect with the love of his life. Hijinks ensue. Despite the randomness of the art, it’s really just a sweet story about grotesque yet sympathetic weirdoes. They could be Mutt and Jeff of another era.

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The next story, which I don’t think has a title, is even weirder and better. It’s about an astronaut, Agent Amos, stranded with his dog, Popka, and the strange entities they meet. A tale as old as comics, but Modlin’s version is jammed with detail and energy. I guess that’s what I like most about her work: the busy crayon lines crackle on the page and even when the stories are meandering a bit, the art style just drives you on.

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Modlin’s crafted a very original style, and I’m looking forward to seeing how she develops. She’ll be at TCAF this weekend, which is what got me off my butt to write this after having it in drafts for ages. Anyway, check her and Blimpakind out!

Webcomic alert: Gerard Way’s Twitter comic

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Of late, former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way has been returning to his comics roots, with the final volume of Umbrella Academy, and a proposed comic about punk cats called “All Ages” which he teased earlier this year on Twitter. And now he’s written and drawn a comics about Twitter and twitter abuse. This obviously ties in a bit with an essay on the artists relation to their fan base he wrote earlier this year. And to be fair, when you’re an idolized rock star, the intensity of fan reactions can be…strong.

No wonder Way has been hanging around the more sedate halls of comicdom. Cartoonists don’t get mobbed when they go out in public, that’s for sure.

You can read Way’s entire Twitter comic in the above link, but here at the covers for “All Ages” that he teased a while back. Meanwhile…cats.

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WebComic alert: Dark Horse launches “Project Black Sky” online

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As part of their “Project Black Sky” superhero lone relaunch, Dark Horse is launching a series of webcomics  at ProjectBlackSky.net. They’ve been promoting the launch via their viral IWatchTheSky.com site. The comcis will be scripted by Fred Van Lente (Brain BoyConan) along with various artists. Colorist Dan Jackson and letterer Nate Piekos are also part of the team. The comcis will run until September with new content almost daily. YOu can also pick up a Free Comic Book Day Project Black Sky book tomorrow.

The line-up:

Project Black Sky Part 1: The Field, featuring art by Steve Ellis, goes live on May 2 with eight screens!

Project Black Sky Part 2: The Launch features art by Michael Broussard and will post weekdays with forty screens beginning May 5.

Project Black Sky Part 3: The Ring features art by Steve Ellis and will post weekdays with forty screens beginning June 26.

Project Black Sky Part 4: The Base features art by Guiu Vilanova and will post every day of the week with thirty-two screens beginning August 21.

Project Black Sky Part 5: Michael Broussard will illustrate a final, top-secret, twelve-screen story, presented in its entirety on September 24.

Holiday reading: Great basic webcomics list

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Io9’s Lauren Davis has compiled this list of 51 Awesome Webcomics The Eisners Have Completely Failed To Recognizethat really functions as a basic list of Webcomics 101 (Although there are certainly omissions.) Still if you wanted to catch up the list is a great start.

Also, what webcomics do YOU read? WE do they every few years — sound off in the comments! and have a great holiday weekend.
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Webcomic: alert: What goes on at a cartoon focus group

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Giancarlo Volpe, showrunner of Green Lantern the Animated Series has drawn a comic about a focus group test of the cartoon. It’s an interesting behind the scenes of how the testers said the kids wanted the opposite of what Volpe thought would work for the show. Luckily Bruce Timm comes to the rescue.

Focus groups can be pretty brutal. If you know what you’re doing, they can be a hindrance, but if you don’t…sometimes a truth is revealed. Unfortunately a lot of kids entertainment is heavily focus grouped and you can usually tell the ones that are because they are bland as hell.

Cartoon Brew has more tales of focus groups gone wrong.

Webcomic alert: Boulet goes shopping

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A new comic by French cartoonist Boulet is always worth noting, and this one about the horror of buying new clothes is no exception, from the dread of buying underwear from snotty sales girls to the doomed perfection of new shows.

Webcomic alerrt: Sam Alden debuts his new “MS Paint” comics

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I saw Sam Alden reading these at the NY Comcis SYmposium the other night and let’s just say it gets better and better. He uses a 500×500 pixel grid to do everything.