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Archive for the 'Webcomics' Category

02nd Aug 2008

The Week in Webcomics (27 July – 2 August 2008)

In Derik Badman’s Things Change, Jake tries to enjoy himself at the masque, but he’s still grieving for his dead wife…

Jesus and Mo turn their attention to the questions of religious touchiness, and existence itself

Lilly Mackenzie finds what she’s looking for…

The Freakangels, and the half-dressed inhabitants of Sirkka’s bedroom, spring to the defence of flooded Whitechapel…

Wonderella‘s arch enemy, evil genius Dr. Shark, enters a science fair…

A confused Jamie visits a lesbian bar in Girls With Slingshots

Ramana Kleyn’s adaptation of Beowulf begins in Tales of Legend

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27th Jul 2008

The week in webcomics (20-26 July 2008)

A quick roundup of what’s happening this week in the webcomics I follow. I’ll try and do this regularly from now on, I think.

Bit of an in-between installment of Jason Little’s Bee: Motel Art Improvement Service. Bee and her bloke Cyrus are working as cleaners at an airport hotel, a job Cyrus uses to repaint the paintings in the rooms in surprising ways, and steal small samples of the guests’ drugs – but there’s a major drug deal going down, and Cyrus may just have landed himself, and Bee, in big trouble…

At the end of the last chapter of Simon Fraser’s Lilly Mackenzie and the Mines of Charybdis, Lilly and her diminutive pink-haired sidekick Cosmo had travelled to the penal planet Charybdis, an evil place if ever there was one, in search of Lilly’s long-lost brother, but both have been clonked on the head and dragged before this particular prison’s Mr Big. With nudity (careful now)…

The pace picks up in Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield’s FreakAngels, as Whitechapel, the district of the flooded future London that’s protected by our gang of young psychics, comes under attack, while Alice, the Mancunian refugee, is on watchtower duty…

News in brief: Wonderella gets a call from an ex who insists he’s over her; and Jesus and Mo clear up the issue of transubstantiation.

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26th Jul 2008

Nabiel Kanan is webcomicking!

A number of years ago I stumbled across a self-published comic series about teenagers waiting for their exam results called Exit, credited to one N. Kanan (the N turned out to stand for Nabiel). The art was gorgeous, the character interaction was fun, and the snippets of poetry in the narration were quickly dropped. Caliber reprinted, continued and collected it, and Nabiel went on to do a couple of graphic novels for NBM, Lost Girl (not to be confused with Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie’s ludicrously expensive lit-smut Lost Girls) and The Birthday Riots.

I stumbled across his blog this afternoon, and it turns out he’s doing a webcomic, About Charlotte. It’s just started so I can’t tell you much about it other than Nabiel’s blurb – “The story revolves around Cassie, Dom and their mutual friend, Charlotte” – and it’s running fortnightly in newspaper strip format. But this guy’s good, so take a chance.

About Charlotte by Nabiel Kanan

Updated to add: here’s a review of Exit from Madinkbeard.

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23rd Jul 2008

Looking up

Found a new webcomic to recommend: “Looking Up” by Ursula Murray Husted. It’s about a man who feels a failure from the point of view of his wife.  It’s a very perceptive piece, that deals with male feelings by looking at them obliquely, and understands how, when your identity depends on what you do, losing what you do can leave you lost.  If that makes sense.  Go and read it.

Looking Up

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17th Jul 2008

Cool new webcomic

A new webcomic that’s been drawn to my attention: Plan B, by Mitz. I’m not much of a superhero fan, but I like this one – told from the point of view of a female supervillain who’s motivated largely by spite. Fun.

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15th Jul 2008

Taking a break from scanning

Garen's Billy the CatThought I ought to keep my public up to date with what I’m doing. I’m currently preparing The Ulster Cycle: Ness for print publication – rescanning everything at a higher resolution, taking the opportunity to cheat and fix a few things while I’m at it, and working on an afterword and a cover. I’ll let you know when it’s available to buy – a matter of weeks, probably.

In the meantime, master of the ligne claire Garen Ewing is drawing an A-Z of comics characters, letter by letter, one a day. If you’re on Facebook, why not join Garen’s A-Z of comic strip characters group and suggest some characters for him to draw? We’re on E, and we’re struggling a bit.

An interesting new sort-of-webcomic has come to my attention: The Adventures of Taormina by  Kev Lev. It’s a sort of Saturday morning cliffhanger serial, with captions on silent movie-style title cards, sepia artwork, monsters, exotic locations, and a heroine whose clothes seem to get wet a lot.

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09th Jun 2008

2D Comics Festival and small press comics

Got back last night from the second 2D Comics Festival – the first I’d actually been to – in Derry, and a fun and fascinating time was had.  Ireland, north and south, is clearly home to a great deal of comics creativity in the pro and small presses.  But I came out thinking, maybe I’m ahead of the curve?

Back in the 90s I was part of a small press comics scene that was based on a bunch of cartoonists producing little A5 photocopied pamphlets and “selling” them – or at least, exchanging them with each other – by post.  Some of us would go to conventions and actually take money, but I doubt many of us kept count of how many we’d sold and how much we were making.  I know I didn’t.  Our print runs were tiny, and our outlay was also tiny – so even if we made 100% profit it would barely have bought us a round of drinks anyway.  We weren’t, in short, in it for the money.

There are still cartoonists like that.  Some are true amateurs, doing it for the love in formats, genres and styles that will never be commercial, while others hope that, after honing their chops in the non-money-making sector, they might be able to produce a body of work they can parlay into opportunities in pro publishing – just like back then.  Professional printing is now within financial reach, so hand-stapled photocopied booklets are giving way to quality paper and full colour covers, even full colour interiors.  But even a short print run, professionally printed, costs a fair amount of money up-front, and making any of that back involves lots of legwork distributing the thing to shops.  The outlay is bigger, but the expectation is still not to make any immediate money out of it.

The odd thing is how few seem to be considering the web as a way of getting their work seen and read.  A fair few small press cartoonists have websites, but you can’t read any of their comics on them.  But it’s by far the cheapest way to get work out there, to, potentially, a huge audience.  And rss aggregator sites like Google Reader or Bloglines or any number of others, which allow you to keep track in one place of when all your favourite blogs have updated, make it as easy to enjoy long-form serialised comics as one-off gag strips or self-contained short stories.  But people aren’t quite on board with webcomics just yet.

It’s the way forward for small press cartoonists though, I’m convinced of it.  And when a trendsetter like Warren Ellis is throwing his weight behind it – his and Paul Duffield’s excellent ongoing sci-fi series Freakangels – maybe people are going to start paying more attention, and realising the possibilities.  I hope so, anyway.

The other way forward for small press cartoonists is print-on-demand.  In the old days, the set-up costs for printing were so high you needed a substantial print-run to make it worth your while – far too many for one person to be able to sell – and you’d be left stuck with boxes full of unsold comics.  Digital printing has put and end to that.  There are now a number of companies on the web who’ll print you one copy at a time if that’s all you need, and allow readers to buy copies online, only printing as many copies as have been ordered.  The up-front costs are really very small.  When the current storyline of The Ulster Cycle is finished, I’ve long intended to publish it as a book using one of these services (although I haven’t decided which one yet).  It’s a model that suits the small press extremely well.

Aside from all this musing, 2D gave me the opportunity to meet lots of interesting and talented new people (you’ll notice my “Irish comics creators” blogroll down the left hand side of the site is now quite a bit bigger) catch up with some equally interesting and talented people I already knew but hadn’t seen for ages, buy some comics off them and/or watch them draw.  It was only a shame I had to leave so early to catch the train back to Belfast.  I think next year I’ll have to plan it a bit better.

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15th Jun 2007

Recommended webcomics 3

Busted WonderOne I’ve just discovered: Busted Wonder by Kieron Gillen and Charity Larrison. It’s a tale of remembered childhood involving a circus run by fairies – you know, the unsettling old-fashioned type who probably steal children or do you favours that turn out not to be favours at all. The art is pretty and child-like, appropriate for a story told by an 11-year-old girl, which only adds to the mounting unease. Very good stuff indeed.

Here’s an interview with the creators at Sequential Tart (whence I nicked the image to the left).

Also by the same people: Exterminus – a totally weird flirting-on-the-train strip.

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28th May 2007

The Ulster Cycle page 17, and recommended webcomics part 2

Ireland, the Iron Age.

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The Ulster Cycle page 17

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(Minor edit on 29/5/07 to add the lettering I forgot about yesterday)

Now for today’s recommended webcomic:

SPQR Blues by Klio

SPQR BluesI’m a sucker for a good ancient historical comic, and that’s what SPQR Blues is. Set in Pompeii not long before Volcano Day, it follows Felix, a disgraced Roman soldier, struggling to do the right thing and keep his own arse covered (usually failing at the latter) in the face of political and family intrigue, and trying not to hope that the wife and child he was told were dead might still be alive.

Klio was apparently once told by Donna Barr that, once she’d done 10,000 drawings, drawing would be a doddle from then on, so she took the suggestion, and since then has published the ongoing SPQR Blues as well as various ad hoc autobiographical strips on the web. The wee number in the bottom right hand corner indicates how many she still has to go. Following Donna Barr’s idiosyncratic example as a path to artistic fulfilment might strike a neutral observer as being about as sensible as following Eddie Campbell‘s How to be an Artist step by step, but what the hell, there are worse people to be influenced by, and the Barr influence is certainly evident in Klio’s drawings. Felix is an engaging character and the setting is well-realised. Read it from the beginning and get drawn in.

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27th May 2007

Some recommended webcomics, part 1

A Battle between Light and DarkA Battle Between Light and Dark by Jason Loo.

I’m not even going to try and explain what this is about. It’s gorgeous, dreamlike, wordless and extremely odd, in a good way. Birds with goggles who steal sleeping girls’ handbags. A couple of apparent gods. Flying whales with big pointy teeth. Cats that crawl out of the sea, spread their wings and take off. A strange, futuristic city. Your guess is as good as mine, but just look at those drawings.

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