Tag Archives: webcomics

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.

7 Comments

Filed under opinion, webcomics

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.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under opinion, reviews, webcomics

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.

2 Comments

Filed under reviews, webcomics

Webcomics Wednesday: Naughty & NSFW

There are all sorts of webcomics out there and while there are plenty of kid-safe ones, there are also plenty to keep adults entertained.

Naughty illustrations are probably as old as history itself and there are plenty of sexy comics out there in other mediums, so it’s really no surprise that webcomics began to show off it’s kink.

I’ve already mentioned DAR! by Erika Moen, but here’s some more of my favorite NSFW reads and a few NSFW webcomic collectives:

Jess Fink’s Chester 5000 XYV is probably one of the first naughty webcomics I read. It’s about a Victorian-era housewife who discovers that she really likes sex…but her husband doesn’t. So he makes her a sexy male robot and hijinks under the sheets ensue. It’s a great webcomic because, unlike a lot of pornos, there’s a well-written back story! The graphic novel version is being published by Top Shelf in 2011.

Oglaf is a bit more tongue in cheek, featuring mostly sexual humor, but with gross-out moments every now and then. Some of those gross out moments might be too much for some, but if you’ve got an open mind and you’re not afraid of some nasty jokes, I suggest it highly.

I’ve been following the artist of Menage a 3 over the course of a few different webcomics, but I think this one is my favorite. The story revolves around a sexually-inexperienced guy, his sexy new roommates and his sexy old roommates! I like this one because it includes all sorts of sexuality, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, crossdressers, drag queens, porn stars, etc. A lot of the webcomic is about breaking sexual taboos and running with it.

On the not so straight side is Curvy, which is a delightful webcomic about a human girl who is taken to Candy World by her new friend and lover (a princess of Candy World.) The princess is running away from an arranged marriage, and of course she has some thugs running after her, trying to bring her back to the prince she’s supposed to marry. As these girls run, they explore a world that is interestingly free of sexual restraint. Plus the art is pretty cute.

I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates From Outer Space by Megan Rose Gedris doesn’t need much of an explanation with a title like that. It’s a fun lesbian space drama with an interesting art style. This isn’t Megan’s first lesbian-oriented webcomic, so you should definitely check out her other work.

I personally haven’t come across any webcomics made for gay men that I can remember, but for the fujoshi set, I’d like to recommend Starfighter. While the comic seems to be just starting out, it’s well drawn and I’m liking the story so far. There’s not too much sexy yet, but my boyfriend did accidentally stumble upon one sexy scene. (Which turned me onto the comic. Thanks, sweetie!)

Comic book blogger Johanna Draper Carlson announced earlier today that she and other webcomic artists are re-starting Smut Peddler after a long hiatus. They plan to publish in 2012, submissions are due June 2011.

Slipshine is a pay-site  that’s long graced the internet with it’s smut. They’ve got a variety of stuff for all kinds of over 18 readers by many well-known artists (even one I’ve already mentioned already!)

Filthy Figments is another pay-site that’s recently graced the webcomics scene with erotic comics created by women. I like the idea, but now that I think about it, most of the webcomics I’ve mentioned are created (or co-created) by women. I guess the ladies of webcomics are kinkier than the guys?

Honorable Mention:

Danielle Corsetto’s Girls With Slingshots used to be a lot more about sex jokes and exploring relationship quirks, but nowadays, it’s mostly the latter. Not that it isn’t a good webcomic, but it’s not very naughty anymore.

The ones I forgot:

Sexy Losers: One of the oldest naughty webcomics out there. Mostly gross-out humor again.

Do you read naughty webcomics? If so, have I left any of your favorite steamy webcomic offerings out? Let me know!

6 Comments

Filed under opinion, webcomics

Webcomics Wednesdays: Inside Lumia’s Kingdom Pt. 1

As I have mentioned before, my boyfriend Tamar Curry makes a webcomic called Lumia’s Kingdom, which I edit. This isn’t Tamar’s first webcomic and he also minored in Sequential Art at the Savannah College of Art and Design, so you can imagine he’s had a lot of time to learn the ropes of comic-making.

The following is a post he wrote on some of the obscure references he writes into his comic for his blog, Knaddian, and is cross posted here with his permission. While this certainly isn’t a deep introspection on his writing process, it does explain some of his place naming process and how that’s shaped some of his characters. It’s a post that, if you read between the lines a bit, reveals a lot about a webcomic creator’s thought process.  This is the first in a series of posts on the obscure references and hopefully I will be able to post the rest of them in the coming weeks.

Take it away, boyfriend!

———————————————————————————-

In the first on a series of obscure references in Lumia’s Kingdom I’m going to focus on something that might not be quite so obscure to some of you. Surely you’ve noticed the most obvious joke; it was the very first implied joke in the comic.

That’s right.

“The greatly hung king of Knadds.” Lumiere XI’s grandeur was not a freak accident; each and ever single one of his forefathers were equally endowed (more so, in the case of Lumiere VII).

Enter Lumia, his tiny daughter who, up until now, was trying her best to live a quiet, normal life. She’s the first queen to ever rule without the company of a male counterpart.

Already this implies that she’s going to have a lot of difficulties trying to get ahead in what is obviously a male dominated profession. Not only that, but she has to do it when her ancestors pride themselves on their masculinity so much that they never bothered to wear any clothes.

So we know about Lumia’s disposition. But what about her peers? What do the names of the countries say about them and their upbringings?

Let’s start with the boisterous Queen Camilla.

Camilla, bless her heart, hails from the country of Mastodia. Mastodia is named after the word “masticate” which is essentially the process of chewing food. Mastodians are known for living it up; they are an extravagant people who have a reputation for doing anything and everything excessively. If you’re going to throw a party and you want to go over the top, then have a Mastodian plan it for you. This is the very reason why Camilla has taken it upon herself to plan out Lumia’s inauguration ceremony and suggest some of the skankiest dresses for her to wear from a rather questionable publication.

Next up is Pectoralonga, homeland of the very sweet (and horrendously strong) Lady Kara.

Derived from the word “pectoral”, Pectoralongans are an incredibly powerful race of humanoids with pointy ears (which only the most ignorant and masochistic of observers dare to point out.) In addition to their strength, Pectoralongans also tend to be very short-tempered; even the most reserved of them are known to undergo a complete personality switch once they are involved in a battle for more than five minutes. They are also notorious for underestimating their own power. This detail alone has made their nation’s carpentry and construction profession extremely profitable for centuries.

The last nation we’ll talk about today is Lobest, birthplace of the tentacled queen Madam Uupa.

The name Lobest is a mutation of the word “lobe”, in reference to several parts of the brain. Lobest has built a reputation for being one of the most efficient and industrious nations in the region. They have very skilled artisans, engineers, architects, philosophers and scientists. Their competitiveness stems from the fact that they are at a bit of a disadvantage; they are an underwater nation having to compete with land-bound countries for trade and business. In fact, there is a famous saying in Lobest: “Get wise fast or die even faster.” Unfortunately, their isolation has made them a bit weary of others. They often overthink things and are quick to jump to assumptions and become paranoid about the actions of outsiders. It’s not all mistrust of others, though. Growing exposure to foreigners have led to an increase in curiosity of other species, what they have to offer and, unfortunately, has given way to a rise in marital infidelity.

I’m afraid we’ll have to end it there for today. Rest assured there will be other nations (and quirky monarches) to learn about in the future.

Leave a comment

Filed under opinion, webcomics

Webcomics Wednesdays: DAR! vol. 1-2 by Erika Moen

DAR! A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary chronicles the life of artist Erika Moen starting from 2003 when she was still a student at Pitzer College and follows her anecdotes from then until 2010. It starts out as the musings of a young lesbian woman swirled up in plenty of emotional and relationship drama and then transitions into more and more humorous material after Moen graduates, finds her partner/future husband and becomes a full-time artist. On top of the introspective and the funny, Erika also includes quite a lot about her sex life, making DAR! very personal and even more hilarious, but definitely not for the prudish or anyone who likes to waste time reading webcomics at work as this webcomic more than earns at NSFW rating.

Volume one of DAR! starts in 2006 because Moen feels this is the best starting off point as this is where started “sucking less.” Luckily, a three year recap is provided to give brand new readers some background on Moen. I think this wasn’t a bad move on her part, since the charm of DAR is in more of her later work than her early, not always very funny, existential comics.  In addition to what you can see on the web, Moen includes fun extras such as how to draw in her style (tip: Include a strap-on), how she draws her backgrounds, many of the Portland sites mentioned in the comic and a fun guide to everyone on her cover. Volume two consists of the remainder of the strip (Moen ended it in 2010), some original material and then jumps back to 2003 to include the entire comic in print format. There are more pages in volume 2, but there is less bonus material at the end. (If you count the original material, however, it does add up.) Moen remains funny right down to the last page where she proclaims “Plagiarists have small penises (even the women.)” in her copyright text. For $15 each, they’re more than the price of a normal volume of manga, but with the added benefit of knowing you’re directly supporting the artist and a good chunk of print-only extras.

Erika’s art is curvy and very fluid, something she attributes to her love of natural lines and tentacles in volume 2. It is also very simple, with lots of emphasis placed on the eyes and the mouths of her characters. Luckily this means her expressions are pretty spot-on. It doesn’t surprise me that Moen likes to keep it simple with her art (she also attests to liking to keep it simple with her haircut and fashion sense), but it is clear that her style is also well-practiced and pretty solid. It’s very fun and easy to read.

I believe that if there is one webcomic I am certain I will still love in ten years, it’s DAR! Nothing else I have read online has left me feeling more happy, inspired and open-minded after reading. Through DAR! Moen is honest about everything, from fart jokes, brain tumors to sexual identity, making even what should be a squirm-inducing TMI strip into something “aw”dorable or funny. I think it’s that frankness that makes me love this webcomic so much, I feel like I know Moen even though I only met her very briefly at Comic-Con when I bought these books from her. It makes me happy to see her come to terms with the fact that while she loves girls, her partner Matt is the person she wants to be with forever and that it makes her able to overcome the naysayers. I feel truly informed by her silly mini-lectures on vibrators and why breasts are more attractive in the summer. DAR! is like Erika’s love-letter to her goofy, sexually-confident self and I love every second of it.

I wish I could continue on with my own little love letter to DAR!, but I feel like it would be redundant to explain in excruciating detail how it makes me laugh and feel more confident as a woman after reading. Instead, you should read DAR! for yourself (although if you read the online version, you’ll have to wade through her early comics a bit) and laugh at her everyday antics.

You can buy the print volumes of DAR! A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary here alongside her fantastic original art collages, original strips and prints.

5 Comments

Filed under comics, reviews

My Life As a (Rookie) Editor: Playing Catch-up

Wow, I haven’t done one of these in awhile, huh?

I’ve been crazy busy since July, probably late June. I went to Anime Expo and San Diego Comic-Con, caught a cold, did about 3-4 script edits for TOKYOPOP plus other editorial work for them, probably had about 5-6 math tests and just as many homework assignments, turned 23, ran a contest, wrote 13 different blog posts (not including this one), started Webcomics Wednesdays, went to a midnight release party for the last Scott Pilgrim book and met so so many people I’m not sure I can remember them all. On top of that, I’ve been working to start a travel blog for my mother’s business and negotiate with another potential client.

Who says freelancers just get to sit at home and lounge around all day! I’ve been working hard! Luckily for me, I got the largest amount of hits on my blog EVER! That was pretty cool. I hope I can top those numbers soon. :D I’m counting on you guys! Always let me know what you want to hear about, please

Because of this, I’ve sort of half-missed the month of my first two releases as a freelance editor: Zone-00 4 and Sgt. Frog 19! Both have been out since July, so please pick them up if you’re interested. Especially Sgt. Frog, which doesn’t really necessitate the purchasing of volumes 1-18 to pick up volume 19. It’s pretty episodic. (AND IT NEEDS MORE LOVE!)

I have a few loose goals for the rest of August and the coming months.

1. I need to lose weight, which I haven’t been able to focus on since everything’s been so crazy. Now that a lot of major events and a time-eating math class is out of the way, I’m going to spend more time at the gym for sure.

2. I need more clients, which I have also had to put off because July was insane and then the first few weeks of August decided to follow suit. I’m going to refresh my resume this weekend and make some impassioned pleas to give lil ol’ me some more work.

3. I need to read more manga. I have a huge stack. I bought over 100 volumes of manga in July (for really cheap), acquired more since then and I haven’t been able to make a very large dent in my stack. Because of this, I don’t think I’ll be buy much new manga in August. ^_^;;; At least reading manga qualifies as job research! Hehehe.

As is customary, here’s a list of stuff I’ve been working on that will be out in the next few months:

August:

Genju no Seiza 8 and Kyo Kara Maoh 7

September:

Hetalia Axis Powers 1 (!!!), Pet Shop of Horrors Tokyo 7 and Fate/stay night 9

Tomorrow I plan on sleeping til 9 a.m.!

2 Comments

Filed under manga

Webcomics Wednesday: Octopus Pie: There Are No Stars in Brooklyn

Supporting the webcomic artists I love always felt like a nice thing that I should do one of these days but I didn’t really have the means do to it. That’s why getting a print edition of Meredith Gran’s Octopus Pie was a little important to me.

Unfortunately for me, the opportunity to meet Meredith Gran and buy her book fell on a day when I had other obligations. This story has a happy ending, however, since my loving boyfriend went and got the book for me! Thanks, honey!

Octopus Pie: There Are No Stars in Brooklyn is the collected stories of Eve Ning, a disgruntled organic grocery store clerk in NYC who has just been dumped and winds up living with an old classmate who is more than a little weird. That’s because Hanna Thompson, the aforementioned old classmate, runs a small baking business and her customers are the kind who prefer their pastries to be made by people who are also totally baked. Unsurprisingly, Eve isn’t terribly happy with this arrangement, but Eve, Hanna and Hanna’s boyfriend Marek still manage to get along and have more than a few odd adventures together while Eve tries to find stable footing in her life again.

This sounds like a pretty boring description, I know, but Octopus Pie is one of those webcomics that’s like chicken noodle soup: everyone has a different recipe with a different ingredients. It doesn’t matter because the end product is still delicious, even if it’s the most common soup out there. Thus, Gran’s characters are the delicious noodles, chicken and broth that make every spoonful of  laid-back storytelling more exciting because they bring their own flavor.  This is slice-of-life at it’s best: the relative normalcy of events, but with people interesting enough to capture your attention over and over.  Every once in awhile, Gran gives us something completely ridiculous, but then everyone just goes home to their beds. That’s certainly more real than a lot of other slice-of-life comics I’ve read.

The art is decidedly cartoon-y with football heads, super-deformed bodies and large, bugged out eyes, but this caricature only makes it easy for the reader to recognize separate characters. This quality also lends itself to the humor of the strip, as a stare from Eve, Hanna or any other character always looks a little funny. There is a point in the book where Gran switches from completely digital inking to hand-inking the comic, which makes the art a little sketchier than it previously was. It personally didn’t bother me, but it should be noted that it goes from smooth to a little rough with no warning in the actual book. (The website, however, did warn readers about this switch when it happened.)

But why, do you ask, should I spend 17 bucks on a print edition when I could just read it online for free? For starter’s, you’ll be protecting your own interests, DUH. If you read and love Octopus Pie, then supporting Gran with your cash means you’ll more likely to see future Octopus Pie content on the website and/or other future projects from her. I’m sure this is already obvious to most of my readers, so I won’t go on.  Second, it’s actually quite a lovely book. It’s pretty thick, the cover is nice and it’s packed with two full years of comics, so you’re definitely getting your money’s worth page-count wise. There are a few extras included, so you’re not getting the EXACT same thing as your online experience.

If you’re a little on the fence about this one, I don’t think there are quite enough extras to totally justify a purchase. I wish something like nore extra illustrations or Gran talking about her inspirations behind the characters were included to spice up the extras a little. The book is also printed in an odd shade of green which reminded me a little of how manga magazines are printed in different colors for reasons that I don’t know. The problem I had with this is that the color green was a little bit yellow-y and yellow is pretty hard on the eyes. Did this make it totally uncomfortable for me to read? No, but I did feel a little eye strain after awhile. Those are the only bad things I have to say about the print edition and if you still want to support Gran’s endeavors financially, she has a wonderful line of products in her part-Topatoco, but mostly her own online store, including fun glassware (meant for alcohol consumption), t-shirts and other fairly standard wares.

I feel like Octopus Pie is worth reading (and buying), especially if you’re a fan of oddball slice-of-life. It isn’t autobiographical, which is a road many similar webcomics like to take, but it’s certainly a lot of fun and will make you wish you had these kinds of oddballs around.

And if Gran is reading this, thank you for the little doodle of Victor in my copy. Little did you know he was my favorite.

3 Comments

Filed under comics, reviews, webcomics

Welcome to Webcomics Wednesdays

I know this blog focuses mostly on manga, but I figured that it would be fun to do a regular post on something a little different: webcomics.

It’s not big secret that I love webcomics. I’ve been reading them since I was 14, perhaps a little earlier. I’ve tried my own hand at webcomics. (I’m not sharing.) I met my boyfriend reading his old webcomic, Blue Zombie, back when we were in high school and now I edit his current endeavor, Lumia’s Kingdom. We even collaborated once, very briefly, and I still write comics that I would like to become webcomics had I the talent and time to draw them.

I certainly haven’t read every single webcomic out there, like PVP or Penny Arcade for instance. (Both target gamers, which I am not.) Still, it’s a little hard for me to ignore webcomics when popular ones get picked up by larger publishers (Megatokyo and, technically speaking, Hetalia) or when the creators take it to the next level and self-publish.

No webcomic creator will tell you that it’s easy to do, but with more and more successful webcomics going these routes, it’s certainly taking the stigma off of making them. On top of that, webcomics have the potential to be successful in different ways than print media can be. They can target the niche markets and gain a large following with relatively little cost (compared to the risk of starting a completely new title that a large publisher has to take.) Webcomics are thus a lot more diverse and daring in subject matter than the world of publishing because there is no one telling creators that their webcomic won’t sell. Best of all, creators own the rights to their work and fans will come out of the woodwork to directly support them with books and merchandising.

So thus I hope to introduce a new weekly feature on my blog that explores webcomics, starting with a few webcomics that have made the leap to print, and talk about how they contribute to the vast world of comics. If all goes well, I’ll also be able to include interviews and guest posts from creators themselves, as well as exploring webcomics-related issues. I’ll try to post faithfully on Wednesdays in the spirit of alliteration and recommend a lot of good webcomics for you to read.

For starters, some of my long-time favorites:
Questionable Content (Which, I think I have been reading the longest.)
Hark! A Vagrant (I am a total history nerd and I love the sarcastic take.)
Red String (Romantic shojo and also a long-time favorite.)
Johnny Wander (Adorable auto-biographical comics.)

7 Comments

Filed under comics, Uncategorized

Webcomics: Making comics a social medium

Webcomics are a wonderful thing.

I’m sure many many people agree with me, but I have my own personal story to share first.

I started reading webcomics around 2001 or 2002. One of the first webcomics I read was Blue Zombie and I started talking to its creators, especially the artist. He and I remained friends throughout the years, even collaborating on a short-lived webcomic named Silent Journey, and helping me publish my own pathetic attempts at webcomics before I realized I much preferred writing them. In 2008, he moved to Los Angeles and started a new webcomic called Lumia’s Kingdom. We started hanging out and, eventually, dating. Now we’ve been together 10 months and I never tire of telling people about how we met through webcomics. (I would swear that I’m not just trying to plug his work here, but I AM his biggest fan.)

Comics in general have been bringing people together for a very long time, when you think about it. Political cartoons have given the people a wide-spread way to voice their opinions on political and social issues. Back in the early days of yellow journalism, Little Nemo and The Katzenjammer Kids were such reader favorites that people still only read the paper for the funnies section. During the Golden Age of Comics (late 1930s to late 1940s,) comic books became a mainstream medium that started the culture of comic books that had kids and geeks obsessed over superheroes of all sorts.

Now, comic books have become cool again and entered the digital age. Webcomics are becoming an industry, one which even my boyfriend is beginning to look into in order to make money. Now, not only do my friends and I talk about our favorite comics, but our favorite webcomics and how much time we “waste” reading them. Webcomics are accesible, entertaining and able to bring people together.

The creators of webcomics use a wide variety of tools to bring in readers and help keep their current readers close to them. A large number of webcomic artists, at least the ones I read, use Twitter or have a blog I can follow. Only a few of them are at the level where they can support themselves with the webcomic’s income alone, but clearly they are able to do it.

Multiplex, a webcomic I’m currently following, recently started a donation drive to cover the printing costs of a book edition. Gordon McAlpin, the creator, navigated the process gracefully by offering some very nice incentives in order to get people to donate. When the project started, he was a little wary that it wouldn’t make his goal in time, but now he’s almost $3,000 over the original goal with 23 days to go. And get this: so far less than 250 people have donated over $10,000.

There are a number of other webcomics that do similar things, although most just have stores hawking t-shirts or advertisements on the site. Girls With Slingshots creator Danielle Corsetto used Twitter to get help from her readers and friends on design decisions for her new book releases. (She’s already onto publishing books 3 and 4 of her webcomic, so she already knows her readers will buy her books, unlike McAlpin.)

More importantly, it’s just fun to see what the artists are doing via Twitter and being there when they post the next day’s webcomic up. It makes them accessible in a way I would have never thought possible when I was 14 and just starting my obsession with comic books in general. Now, it’s like second nature to find and follow my favorite webcomic creators on Twitter. It gets me, the reader, much closer to the comic without the creators making much more content.

Webcomic Overlook’s Top Ten Webcomics of the Decade -A great place to get started reading some great webcomics that I haven’t mentioned here.

xkcd – A witty comics for intelligent nerds, which has a nice L.A. Times blog story written about its first book’s success.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized