Category Archives: webcomics

Webcomics Wednesday: Awesome New Webcomic Discoveries

Wow! I’ve been so lazy about recommending new webcomics for you guys to check out! But then again, I’ve been reading a lot of webcomics so I have TONS of new discoveries to show you.

But first, some webcomics news:

Erika Moen has returned to webcomicking with Bucko, a webcomic drawn by Moen and written by Jeff Parker. It’s a murder mystery with dick and fart jokes, so I imagine it will be quite funny, much like DAR! was.

Michael Jonathan restarted Eros Inc. this past Valentines Day! I am rejoicing because I fell in love with his charming webcomic right as it went on a hiatus and was pretty sad it didn’t update regularly for a number of months. Welcome back, Eros Inc.!

Now onto the newer discoveries…

First of all, if you aren’t reading Faith Erin Hicks’ The Adventures of Superhero Girl, you are missing out! It’s a comical look at superheroes, where a superheroine can be a practical girl-next-door, a nemesis can be a cynical guy on the street and your archenemy tries to steal a job interview from right out under your nose. Hicks is a seasoned comic creator and got her start in webcomicking drawing Demonology 101, which was an early favorite of mine.

Dicebox is an interesting (in a good way) webcomic I stumbled upon. At first I wasn’t sure if it was recommending material, but it is actually quite interesting and beautifully drawn by Jenn Manley Lee. It follows two older female vagabonds who planet hop and get into all sorts of interesting misadventures. I really like the dynamic by the two main characters, they’re married and have that used-to-each-other married couple feel, but there’s still mysteries and secrets they keep from each other to make the story interesting.

Jonny Crossbones is an fun, mystery webcomic, very much in the vein of Hardy Boys novels, but a little more grownup. It’s cute, quirky and well-paced. The comic seems to have just come off a long hiatus, so I’m sure the extra traffic would help encourage creator Les McClaine to update more.

Heading into an old-time-y vein, Oyster War by Ben Towle, is a recently started webcomic about battling oyster pirating in mid-1800’s New England. I really like the way the comic is drawn for some reason. I’m glad it’s not realistic or wrought with super-detailed art. The cartoony look is appealing.

Finally, The Unsounded by Ashley Cope is the best fantasy webcomic I’ve read in ages. Right down to the beautiful art, comedic characters and the presentation. (As you are reading some of the later pages, watch the surrounding website.) I don’t think I can describe the story in a timely sentence or two, but the world-building is fantastic.

Happy webcomic reading, everybody!!

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Hourly Comics Day

For some reason, I got it into my head on Tuesday to draw hourly comics for Hourly Comics Day, which is a day were you draw comics for each hour you are awake. (You’re supposed to do them within the hour, but eh.)

I don’t know what possessed me since it’s now been years since I drew regularly, but here ya go:

(Sorry for the craptastic scans. Not to mention the craptastic art and handwriting. Click on the thumbnails and zoom in to see them full-size.)

As you can see, my day was relatively unexciting absolutely fascinating, but I tried to make it funnier for you.

Here are so much better drawn hourly comics…

Sarah Becan

Yuko Ota

KT Shy

Magnolia Porter (See blog post below comic for links)

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Webcomics Wednesday/Guest Post: 10 Tips for Beginners

Today, Tamar Curry is filling in for me with a fantastic list of basic tips for anyone thinking of starting a webcomic. Tamar has been creating webcomics since 2002 when he and some friends began Blue Zombie, a tale about adorable undead assistants. He then went on to briefly draw Silent Journey, which I wrote, and now works on Lumia’s Kingdom, a story about a girl who suddenly finds out that she is royalty and will be crowned as the first queen of a very  dysfunctional country. I promise you that despite the fact we’re dating, I didn’t force Tamar to write this post. (Or even suggest that he should.) He’s just awesome like that.

Take it away, Tamar!

~~~

So you say you want to do a webcomic?  Been kicking around this awesome story idea in your head for a few months?  Okay, a few days… Dare I even ask, more than an hour? Well, regardless, you can easily Google lots of info about what to expect when you start.
But I figure I could give you a bit more advice.  Cuz, ya know, maybe it’ll help you out a bit.
So, here are some things to keep in mind when starting a webcomic:

1) Draw as often as you can.  Comics are a visual medium and you need to be able to convey that through your art.  Your art doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be consistent (and trust me, if you put effort in and draw frequently it WILL get better with time). Also, don’t get overly detailed with your art because you have to be able to draw scenes and characters over and over and over again.  Is your lead female wearing a very pretty and ornate dress to a dance? To start, make it look like an actual dress that a girl would want to wear, but don’t need draw evenly spaced patterns on every inch of the fabric.

2) Let people know when you’ve posted an update. Ideally, it should happen on a regular basis, but life doesn’t always go that way. In which case, you have several tools at your disposal for spreading the news when a page does get posted: Facebook, Twitter, email lists, etc. RSS feeds are a godsend.
3) Don’t let bad comments (or lack of comments in general) get to you. Lack of feedback doesn’t mean your work sucks and even if you get an email that says otherwise it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world. Also, just let things simmer down a bit before you send a reply to that guy who claims you have no sense of pacing and that your art makes his eyes bleed. The war of words ends fastest when you simply choose not to respond.

4) Have a backup plan.  Seriously, shit happens. If your site is hacked or the service goes down, have a way to communicate with your readers to let them know what’s happened. If you are collaborating and one person can’t pull through or leaves, it’s up to you to pick up the pieces (assuming you still want to continue the project).

5) Know the ins and outs of your hosting services. What you may be able to do on Comic Genesis might not be as easy to tackle on Drunk Duck or vice-versa. If you’re just starting out, it may help to first try a service that caters to webcomics and make sure to read the fine print to see if there’s any restrictions. If you’re more experienced in web technology, you may want to purchase professional hosting. In any case, know what your getting into and what you are capable of doing with your website and if you’re allowed to do it.

6) Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Please don’t add “awesome” javascript-driven effects when I click on links. And no, I don’t care if it *is* the official soundtrack for when your work is turned into a movie, I don’t want to hear music play when I load up your site.

7) Design your website so that people can find what they want easily. When searching for links to pages becomes a scavenger hunt, you’ve failed. I will dedicate more of my attention to a webcomic with minimal page design  than one with an ornate website if the former is easier to navigate.

8) Tools do not make the artist. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need the latest version of Photoshop and a Wacom Cintiq tablet to produce a webcomic. You don’t need Dreamweaver to construct a decent website. The things you will definitely need in abundance is patience and persistence.

9) Choose the scale of your comic wisely. Many people start theirs with the intent of telling a grand epic stretching some 500+ pages long only to find themselves quickly bored with it and finding excuses to pursue other projects. If you have a similar problem, it might be better to do short gag-a-day comics or something relatively non-sequitur.

10) Finally, keep in mind that you are making a webcomic for yourself as much as (or even more so) you are making it for others to read. If you find that putting out content is becoming more of a chore than you’d like it to be you need to step back and evaluate the situation. Perhaps you need to change it up a bit or go in a new direction. Perhaps you need to take a break. Either way, remember to have fun with what you’re doing. How you feel about what you do will be reflected in your work.

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Webcomics Wednesdays: The Dos and Don’ts of Webcomicking

This is going to have to be a quickie because I’m sick as a dog and can’t think straight.

In my previous post talking about manga marketing, a reader Sara K. suggested that manga publishers pay webcomic artists to draw fanart and place it on their websites in order to promote the manga. I immediately balked, but Sara showed me that Girl Genius had done just that for an online gaming site and it was well met by their fans who were just happy to see the creators making money. I’m still a little bit wary on the idea of manga companies doing that (and I imagine there would be some legal troubles for them if they did), but it isn’t the worst way to make a little dough.

It got me thinking about the dos and don’ts of making and promoting webcomics. Here’s a short list of what I like seeing creators do and what would make me immediately stop following their work:

-Do: Connect with your fans via Twitter by showing them in-progress work, side doodles or just sharing your thoughts. Might I add that Twitter is where the cool kids are at, including other influential webcomic creators you could make friends with.

-Don’t: Make your characters into sexist jerks just to make a joke. If your character is consistently sexist because it moves your story forward and that sexism isn’t frequent fodder for your punchlines, that’s fine. If the sexism is only there as a punchline, quit now and take a writing class before you start another webcomic.

-Do: Open up shop or put a donation button up. Webcomic-making is an act of love and it’s your choice to put your work up online for free. It’s not unreasonable to try and get paid a little for all your hard work. Most fans seem to understand that and will be willing to support you monetarily. (Or, if you’re not ready for that kind of thing, try putting advertising on your site.) Plus, if you make wearable items like shirts, totes or buttons, your readers can spread word of mouth about your comic.

-Don’t: Exploit your readers for next month’s rent. Unless you’re making the transition from making webcomics as partial source of income to a full source of income, don’t beg your readers for money constantly. This is a rough economy and if you think you can rely on your readers to suddenly replace your income because you’re too lazy to be realistic and get a job, you’ll starve.

-Do: Draw fanart and accept fanart. You will connect with fans on a different level that way and it will help you out to have a couple of pieces around for when you might need a break, but don’t want to miss an update.

What are the dos and don’ts when it comes to the webcomics you read? Is there anything you just can’t stand to see webcomic creators doing? Anything that makes you giddy with joy?

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Webcomics Wednesday: New Favorites Link Dump!

Things are still busy in my neck of the woods, but I wanted to try and squeeze in a Webcomics Wednesday post. Sorry it’s not more in depth than a link dump post.

Still, I rather like all of these, so let’s get sharing!

I Think You’re Saucesome by Sarah Beacon is like a personal diary of Sarah’s struggles with her weight and her body image, as well as what she eats. It’s really kind of life-changing to see it done in comics. It makes me feel a little bit more confident in myself when I realize that half of the time I’m my own worst enemy.

Evil Diva is about a young devil who just wants to be good, but it’s kind of hard when your entire society is made up of super-good angels and super-bad devils! A fun, high school adventure story with plenty of mythology, comedy and action.

Wasted Talent by Angela Melick is a cute auto-biography comic that starts during Angela’s days as an engineering major in college and have recently included the Vancouver Olympics and getting marriage. It is adorable and funny even to non-engineers. Just trust me on this one.

I R Lolita by est-et-zen is a new webcomic, so it doesn’t have too many pages up yet, but it’s a funny look into lolita personalities and attitudes. And now it’s starting to build itself a little story. As a former lolita myself, I enjoy it’s simultaneous cuteness and self-deprecating humor. And Waffle-chan.

And finally…

His Face All Red by Emily Carroll has been getting passed around the internet a lot lately and for good reason. It’s short, but it’s amazing. Scott McCloud posted more information about the creator, who has a bit of a scattered online profile, on his blog. I am totally enamored with Carroll’s sensual faces and bodies.

And, as always, please share your favorite webcomic reads. I’m always looking for more!*

*Disclaimer- This does not guarantee that if you pass me YOUR webcomic that I will a) like it or b) review it on this site. Just so you know.

 

 

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Exciting news! Magician iPhone App Released by iSeeToon

So, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been working with a Korean company named iSeeToon to re-write and edit webtoons (they’re a lot like webcomics) for the iPhone in English.

Well now you can get the first series from iSeeToon that I worked on, Magician by Kim Se Rae, on your iPhone! It’s free to download the app, the first two chapters are free and the subsequent chapters are only 99 cents! (The first five chapters are up, but there are lots more coming soon!)

Magician is about two kids, Eremi and Enze, whose adventures start when they challenge the infamous mage, Edermask. Just what kind of guy is he if he doesn’t mind taking two pre-teens along for the ride and just why is everyone out to get him? The mystery starts here!

(That, btw, is not the preview copy that I officially wrote. I totally made some new copy on the spot. Heheh.)

You can download the app here or search for “Magician” in the iTunes store and it will come right up!

Sorry for this shameless plug, guys, but since this is the first English language product from iSeeToon, they need all the love they can get right now! Even if you just download the app and give me or the company some constructive criticism, you’re helping us out a lot. Not to mention, if you buy any of the chapters, you’re keeping me gainfully employed.

Please let us know what you think about Magician!

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Webcomics Wednesday: Love, Jews and Los Angeles

Hey everyone! Thank you for being patient for me during my recovery from surgery. Everything went well and I’ve recovered pretty fast. Except for beginning to get some bouts of nausea (it has something to do with how I cannot digest fats as well anymore), I’m doing quite well.  Also, thank you to Kris and Angel who contributed two excellent blog posts during my absence.

A few posts ago, I told you that I would probably pick up a few new webcomics to talk about from APE and I did! I met the creator I’m about to introduce to you there while my boyfriend was chatting with a friend at the booth next door.

Let me show you what first caught my eye…

Why, hello there! What is this? I am Jewish too, so this might be interesting…

Turns out, Michael Jonathan is Jewish is about the author’s trip to Israel on a birthright trip. (If you are a Jewish kid of a certain age, you can get a free trip to Israel if you’ve never been before. The point is to teach you about Israel, your heritage, party with other kids, etc.)  Michael Jonathan also has a webcomic, Eros Inc., about a Jewish girl who becomes the cupid (read: matchmaker) of a Los Angeles neighborhood. I’m going to talk about both in this post.

Eros Inc. predates Michael Jonathan is Jewish, so we’ll start there. At first, I was a little turned off  by the early artwork for the webcomic. It’s not very pretty to look at and I found it a little hard to read. Having read Michael Jonathan is Jewish, however, I knew that the art had improved with age and practice. Story-wise, it’s pretty charming. Mot Fleischman becomes the new cupid of Silverlake after her predecessor gropes her before bursting into a million hearts. That’s the kind of special comic it is.

After gaining the power to point people in the right direction (cupid-ing doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to strike a life-long match), Mot also gains a whimsical, but rather annoying manager, a ton of cats, a demanding boyfriend and a mustachioed Czech colleague. There are lots of zany adventures in match-making, personal romance and general WTF-ery. Turns out when you’re a cupid, sassy little cherubim deliver your assignments in cheesy hallmark cards and you get paid in candy hearts which you can trade for prizes at the local kiddie arcade.

What I like so much about Eros Inc. is the little human dramas and the kind of awful puns of the aforementioned manager, but also the acknowledgment that Mot is Jewish (and therefore does occasional Jewish things) and all the references to random spots in LA like the supermarket that is walking distance from my apartment. It all just comes together for me. (Although I understand if you don’t get the LA references.) Since Michael Jonathan lives in Silverlake and is Jewish himself, it kind of is like writing what you know, but it’s so charming I don’t care.

On the other hand, Michael Jonathan is Jewish hasn’t quite hit it’s stride for me yet. Unlike other travelogue comics I’ve read like Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle, there’s nothing automatically interesting about the narrative, like a sarcastic attitude towards oppressive politics or truly remarkable encounters. Michael Jonathan does struggle with a disconnection from being religious, but his attention is largely focused on giving us a rundown of everything he does on the trip. I cannot really fault him for this approach because a short birthright trip obviously doesn’t have as much material to choose from as a year spent living in a foreign country, but I’m still waiting for the sweet spot to come around. Still, there are other aspects that are of interest, like learning about different aspects of Judaism in layman’s terms and the interesting Israeli artists the creative group of travelers meets along the way.

Either way, I’m planning to continue reading both Eros Inc. and Micheal Jonathan is Jewish because I really enjoyed them both and he put up with my ramblings about being Jewish for a few minutes at APE. If nothing else, check out Michael Jonathan’s store filled with adorable buttons, greeting cards and mini-comics.

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