Category Archives: Webcomics

La Muse Summer Re-Runs Begin Today

…so I’m a day late and a dollar short on writing a nice little appreciation of Adi Tantimedh & Hugo Petrus’s superhero story, LA MUSE, currently running online at http://www.bigheadpress.com/lamuse/. I probably put it out there that I’m not that big of a superhero fan, but that’s not entirely true. I’m not a ‘fan’ of any particular genre, I’d say, but I like good books more-or-less regardless of their genre (or lack thereof). So when I cane across my friend Adi’s new story, about a superhero that’s going to follow through on the promise of really changing the world, I made sure to open up to it and remind myself that I really enjoyed Adi’s last superhero outting: JLA: AGE OF WONDER, a sadly uncollected Elseworlds from a few years back.

LA MUSE is great! The thing that I really like is that it takes the promise of something like THE ULTIMATES and follows it through to its natural conclusion, unconcerned about ‘continuity’ or ‘trademarks’ or… whatever. You never know what’s going to happen from week to week, how the myriad of plot points will be resolved… or when… It’s really just a hell of a fun read, and (particularly thanks to the weekly reminder e-mail I get…) I’ve been checking it out every Monday morning for months now, which is more regular than most of the rest of my life.

Anyway, the series has gone on hiatus for the next month, and is instead starting over from the beginning, releasing 10-15 pages a week for your reading pleasure. The first installment of the “Summer Re-Runs” are up now, at http://www.bigheadpress.com/lamuse?page=69. If you want something good…and free… to read, you could do a hell of a lot worse. Go check it out!

– Christopher

On Encouragement

My friend Rich Stevens (creator of Diesel Sweeties) posted some really sage words of advice over at his LiveJournal this week, about “The How and Why of Making Webcomics“, but it’s really about finding the drive and strength for any artistic pursuit. Rich is one of the 5 or 6 people making his living from being a webcomicker, and as such I find his opinions on the subject tend to carry a lot of weight.

He’s come up with seven… well, he probably wouldn’t call them “rules” but let’s say seven pieces of advice for folks that want to produce webcomics (or any kind of art). They’re good rules, in my humble opinion, and at the link he actually backs them up with examples and… you know, stuff. Sorry, my head’s not in the game today, but the info at the link is really good. Go check it out.

“You’re here for the audience. People should be able to count on your being there for them when you say you’re going to be there. Life is annoying, uncertain and full of problems. Comic strips exist to give comfort, make people think and generally help them get through their day/week/geological epoch.

“Stick to your schedule and do your best. Your audience will quietly appreciate you and help you out when you need it. If you work out some personal issues and make yourself feel better for creating something, all the better.”

– Richard Stevens

– Chris
 

COMICS FESTIVAL 2007 – Final Line Up!

Darwyn and Mal's Covers for Comics Festival

Comics Festival Covers. Left by Darwyn Cooke. Right by Bryan Lee O’Malley. 

cf-rich.jpgHey there folks! We just put the finishing touches on the line-up and layout for our contribution to Free Comic Book Day, Comics Festival 2007! I’m so excited that I just wanted to share it with all of you, and give you a sneak peak at some of the material in the book.

All of these creators have contributed BRAND! NEW! comic stories and comic strips to the book, that will only be available in Comics Festival! Also! This book features 16 pages of full colour material! It’s gonna be awesome!

So, here’s the line-up:

Flip Covers by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Darwyn Cooke

ch-dino.jpgJ. Bone, “Jett Vector”
Michael Cho, Brian McLachlan, and Darwyn Cooke, “True Romance”
Darwyn Cooke, “The Alex”
Rob Coughler and Ramon Perez, “Butternutsquash”
Ray Fawkes and Cameron Stewart, “The Apocalipstix”
Eric Kim, “Battle Academy”
Hope Larson, “S is for Salamander, S is for Snow”
Steve Manale, “Superslackers”
John Martz, “The Time Machine”
Jim Munroe and Salgood Sam, “Therefore Repent!”
Ryan North, “Dinosaur Comics!”
Bryan Lee O’Malley, “The Wonderful World of Kim Pine” & “Scott Pilgrim”
Steve Rolston, “Good For Nothing”
Howie Shia, “The Century of Love”
Kean Soo, “Jellaby”
R. Stevens, “Diesel Sweeties”
Zach Worton, “George Washington Carmack”
Doug Wright, “Nipper”
Chip Zdarsky, “Monster Cops”
Jim Zubkavich, “The Makeshift Miracle”

COMICS FESTIVAL 2007! will be available at great comic stores everywhere on Saturday, May 5th, 2007: Free Comic Book Day. If you want copies for you and all of your non-comics-reading friends, make sure to ask your local comic distributor to see if they’ll be carrying copies of the book. Let them know that the order code is:

FEB070041 – COMICS FESTIVAL 2007 FCBD ED – FREE!

For more information, visit http://freecomicbookday.com/, and look for the official Comics Festival 2007 website soon.

– Christopher

Cutting Out The Middleman – When I’m The Middleman

    ““Our readership is way up,” said Foglio. “At a conservative guesstimate by a factor of ten. Our sales have quadrupled, and not just from our online store. Sales through Diamond have gone way up, and I hear from store owners all the time saying that we’re one of their bigger independent sellers. We no longer have to spend the time and effort to lay out individual issues, and with the time we save, we actually produce more ‘Girl Genus’ material per year. Not producing the periodical comics saves us money – at least $20,000.00 a year.”
    – Phil Foglio in an interview at Comic Book Resources about his series Girl Genius

Girl Genius Vol 5 CoverI saw this linked a few days ago, and have been thinking about it since then. I’m not really a fan of Girl Genius, and admire Foglio’s work in general but haven’t been moved to really… purchase… any of it, so I sort of let this go. The figure that Foglio asserts have stuck with me though.

See, I work at The Beguiling in Toronto, Canada. We’ve long been touted as one of the best shops for supporting ‘independent’ publications like Foglio’s work, and a quick check shows we have Girl Genius trade paperbacks and issues on the racks, a bunch of What’s New With Phil and Dixie, and even a more-or-less complete run of the XXXenophile collections too. Oh, and Buck Godot. So I have mixed feelings about some of the larger implications of the situations in Foglio’s interview, about going to collection-only or giving away entire books for free. Books that I am at least attempting to sell. My retailer instinct, sort of like my Lizard brain, flares up and wants to shout and stomp and threaten… but luckily I can subdue that most of the time.

Phil Foglio is saving $20,000 per year, not printing comic books.

Holy shit. Even if that number is inflated a little, that’s still a lot of money’s worth of time and physical dollars not disappearing into the void, essentially. Because, and let’s face it, we’re not hooking new readers of fuck-all with issue #8 of Girl Genius. It’s all established readership by that point. The financial factor alone is a pretty solid financial incentive for Foglio to keep working and providing salable content, which is what I as a retailer really actually want, rather than what I think I want, which is issues cluttering up my racks and formats competing with one another.

Speaking of which, just in a dollar-for-dollar sort of a way, if I sell exactly as many trades as issues, and as long as the trades are more-or-less the same price as the issues would have been, we’re not losing any money. Maybe we’re only dragging the reclusive Girl Genius customer out of their bedrooms once every 7 or 8 months now instead of 4 times a year, which is unfortunate, but it’s my job as a retailer to give’em a reason to come back for something else (although it wouldn’t hurt if Foglio would send more of his fans out in search of other comic books either…).

But here’s the thing:

Foglio: “Sales through Diamond have gone way up, and I hear from store owners all the time saying that we’re one of their bigger independent sellers.

He’s… right. Not about being one of our ‘bigger independent sellers’ or anything, not at our store. But about sales being up? Yupperz! In fact, our trade initial orders are up to around 10 copies from 2, and so far we’ve reordered both of the new trades (since the series moved online) to the tune of around 10 copies each. In fact, just yesterday, a dude I’d never seen before came in, asked for the Girl Genius trades, paid his $51 for volumes 4 and 5, and then walked out. Not that I don’t value the conversations I have with my customers, but if our sales were all 3 minutes per $51, I’d most certainly be earning myself a raise. So, yeah, 20 copies of Girl Genius trades a year is not a couple hundred copies of Acme Novelty Library or anything, but it more than earns it’s spot on our shelves.

So, congrats to Phil Foglio on developing a new serialization format that is beneficial to both him as an artist and to us as the middlemen who provide his art to the public.

– Christopher
P.S.: My friend Carla Speed McNeil underwent a similar shift last year, moving her series Finder online and releasing trade paperback collections. To be completely honest, I have no idea at all how that did for us. I’ll look into it. In the meantime though, check out Carla’s Finder series at http://www.lightspeedpress.com/index.php.

They Have Comics On The Internet Now

There’s been a lot of webcomics news lately. I don’t mean the group of creepy Wikipedia editors with an axe to grind against webcomics, but the launches and discoveries of comics on the internet.

Rosana Fung's Tomatoes and Other Stories CoverOne of the nice things about working at The Beguiling is the mini-comics rack. People come in and drop off new comics all the time, and it’s a treat discovering these short little gems. One of my favourites from last year was Torontonian Rosana Fung’s Tomatoes and Other Stories, a collection of short, surprisingly accomplished little stories by a creator I’d never heard of. It turns out Rosana has put that entire issue online at Flicker, for your viewing pleasure. Check it out: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thesoapbox/sets/72157594514967876/.

Last year, I kind of used my friend Adi Tantimedh to abuse the New York Comic Con’s security guards. Last week, Adi’s new comic La Muse launched at Big Head Press, and I didn’t mention it… So, I’m batting 0 for 2 here. I did happen to read the first 19 pages of the comic though, and it’s actually pretty great. Adi’s telling a story about two apparently average women who do something special… It’s the kind of humanistic, realistic superhero story that everyone’s complaining doesn’t exist anymore, but here it is on the internet! It’s a big sexy at points too, which if interesting (note: not skanky, but sexy). While the art is a bit… contemporary superhero… for my tastes, it still conveys the action well-enough though, and artist Hugo Petrus doesn’t shy away from drawing the hard stuff and gives the preceedings a real sense of place. All in all, a fantastically solid debut, totally worth checking out. http://www.bigheadpress.com/lamuse?page=1. (As an aside, Adi’s JLA: AGE OF WONDER is a really great little two-issue prestige format Elseworlds that’s worth tracking down. It’s a total shame that it’s not in print.)

My friend Kevin Church and his partner Benjamin Birdie launched a webcomic of their own a few weeks back. It’s called THE RACK and it’s about working at a comic store, and so far it bears no reflection on working at my comic store. Which is lovely, actually, because Heroclix are just Pokemon cards for 40 year olds and I’m glad we don’t stock them. Updated twice per week at http://www.agreeablecomics.com/therack/.

And while I’m on the subject of Webcomics set inside comic stores, I should probably point you to No Pink Ponies. Which is down right now, but which is actually pretty good when it’s up. It doesn’t manage to completely sidestep comic shop / fanboy cliches, but it does have fun with them and the Batman/Superman yaoi page in particular was lots of fun. Also, this is my reminder to myself to add it to the sidebar. http://www.nopinkponies.com/

I thought I had two or three more to mention, but… nope. Maybe I’ll remember later and do a follow-up.

– Christopher