§ Zen Pencils is a website where a cartoonist named Gavin Aung Than takes famous speeches written by other folks and turns them into comics. It was the subject of a famous beatdown by Abhay Khosla who tagged it as vapid pap that stole other people’s thoughts, and some other folks think it’s just fine and signed it to a book deal. Perhaps Than was stung by some of the haters because he just penned his first ORIGINAL cartoon, called “The Artist-Troll War” and it is a bit…on the nose. It is in four parts;
ONETWO & THREE and FOUR. In the story, Than throws his own shade on the haters:

It’s time to choose a side. Are you on the side who takes the easy option? The troll. The armchair critic slinging snarky quips behind the safety of a keyboard. Firing sarcastic bullets at those in the trenches. Or are you a creator? Someone who makes something. Someone who lets themselves be vulnerable in front of an audience, who contributes something new and hopeful to an increasingly dark and depressing world. Choose. Which side are you on? And listen, I know my work ain’t the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’m relatively new at being a professional cartoonist and I’m sure Zen Pencils isn’t for everyone. But I’m all in – 110%. I’m going to continue to learn and (hopefully) improve and I’m extremely lucky to have a loyal group of fans who have supported and encouraged me every step of the way.

I’ll give you two excerpted panels and you can decide if you’re going to click through, although the spoiler that someone who looks like Hayao Miyazaki is instrumental in fighting the haters may tip the balance one way or the other.



§ Image Comics has joined the Cartoon Art Museum as its newest corporate member. “We’re extremely pleased to welcome Image as a corporate member,” said CAM’s executive director Summerlea Kashar. “We’ve developed a great relationship with them over the years and worked closely with them during our 20th anniversary retrospective of their work. Their latest show of support not only gives CAM a boost, but also rewards their employees with free museum admission and discounts at our bookstore.”

“Image is thrilled to support the Cartoon Art Museum,” said Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson. “They do a fantastic job of fostering enthusiasm for sequential art and its historical and cultural value here in the Bay Area, and after having such a great experience hosting our Image Expo after party at the museum this past January, we look forward to continuing our partnership into the future.”

§ Marvel’s CEO Isaac Perlmutter is now only the 520th richest person on earth, Forbes tells us, with a fortune of a mere $3.1 billion. That is a LOT of paper clips.

§ Diversity corner: The Times looks at a NY Public LIbrary show called Funky Turns 40: Black Character Revolution which looks at cartoons like Fat Albert and The Jackson 5ive that presented positive stereotypes for minority kids. I guess they don’t make these kind of targeted cartoons any more, although The Boondocks is coming back next month after a FOUR YEAR hiatus.

§ A Buzzfeed profile entitled Meet Pat Loika, The Comic Book Industry’s Greatest Sidekick is not anything I ever thought I would live to see but seriously, does anyone not like Pat Loika?

Meet Pat Loika, The Comic Book Industry’s Greatest Sidekick Comic books have become increasingly important to Hollywood, but the community of artists and fans remains relatively small — and mostly ignored by mainstream media. Pat Loika is the industry’s beloved hybrid podcast host/journalist/superfan/convention photographer, with enough influence that artists sometimes draw him into their books

Congratulations, Pat Loika.

Here are two con reports that I wanted to point to:

§ The one and only John Porcellino went to the Chicago Zine Fest:

This year my table, which I shared with Chicago zine impresario Jake Austen, was located on the first floor, and after a slow start there was a steady stream of people coming through all day.  I’m pretty sure this was the first year in which there were so many exhibitors everyone was limited to one half-table spot.  This made for a slightly claustrophobic feel behind the tables, but I got used to it pretty quick.  Sales were the best I’ve ever had at this show, and it was fun to see everybody.  You do enough of these shows and it all becomes family– not only your fellow exhibitors, but the people in the crowd stopping by.

Also, I did not promote the new SMUDGE Festival in Arlington, VA at the beginning of the month, and I feel so guilty about that here is a report by Alex Lupp — sounds like the new indie style event was a success.

Yesterday I attended the very first Smudge! Expo, and I hope that it will be the first of many. It was a lovely and very creator focused show, the kind we need more of, especially as the big conventions grow into larger and larger media spectacles. The expo is the creation of comic creator Matt Dembicki and event manager Tina Henry, and was hosted at Artisphere in Arlington, VA (an excellent venue, by the way). The whole thing lasted from noon until 6pm, and featured exhibitors and great programming both in terms of presenters and classroom-like workshops. At 7:30 it was capped by a screening of Dear Mr. Watterson, which also included a short performance by We Were Pirates, who composed the score of the documentary. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience, and only wish it had lasted longer than just a single day – an in depth description of my day-long venture follows below.

§ Oh yeah and Frank Santoro has one of his tour diaries about his trip to Columbus where he gave a talk warning of the evils of panel gutters. It’s a great read just do it.

It makes me very old fashioned but I still love a good, personal con/tour diary. I have a bunch I haven’t gotten around to. Heck I never even finished my Angoulême report. If there is EVEN ONE person who gets to the end of the column and wants me to do more trip reports, I will do them. Otherwise, I’ll just stick with twitter.


  1. I greatly enjoy reading con/tour diaries. I likely did not attend the same con and am intrigued to know more about it, which could lead to me going in the future. And if I did attend the same con, I am curious to know what another person’s perspective of it is. So I encourage you to post more of them.

  2. Since I missed last week’s Macon, GA convention, and your appearance in our fair Peach State at Cherry Blossom Festival time, I sure would love to read your insightful prose on what sounded like a fun event. Hope not too under-attended, like a many Georgia event outside the Atlanta environs? But, for most convention reporting, my interest depends on two things: the author’s attention to comics people I enjoy, and more, the quality of the writing, reporting, or commentary. I read Mark Evanier or Tony Isabella – and Spurge! – for both reasons. Though I prefer a fiddler’s convention or a walk in the park to a comics convention, I work weekends too much to get out to anything nowadays. Just like film festival reporting, my eyes glaze over with the wide world of comics events, but keep posting as you find relevance. Go write on!

  3. YES to trip reports! I love reading those. But, acknowledging how much work they must be to produce, the decision is totally up to you.

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