Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's been a while...

I guess I just haven't had much to blog about lately. Plus, does anyone even blog any more? I won't go in to the personal/work stuff, it's all rather depressing. So let's stick to comics and other fun stuff.

With all the stuff going on it's been rather tough to find time for the Bluenoser so I'm down to one page per week but I'm keeping up with that at least. Here's a preview of this week's page:
As you can see I still have a ways to go on this page. My original plan for this book was to keep it going with short (5-6 page) stories but then I decided to do a "major" story once I got close to the 100th page so it's been about getting stories out that build to that one. Okay, that may not have made as much sense as it did in my head. Sorry, I'm rather tired at the moment. I guess the "move" to its own page was a little unnecessary as well as DrunkDuck has been somewhat stable and what few readers I have seem to stick to there. But oh well, it's good to have a mirror up just in case.

In terms of what I've been reading lately, I just finished the Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor. I was actually rather disappointed in it. Perhaps it's just my dislike of the Governor or something else (which I don't want to say/spoil) but I just didn't enjoy it as much as the comic. I've also finished off some comics like Kill Shakespeare volume 2 (really interesting idea and well executed), Walking Dead volume 15 (despite parts of this story seeming to drag on I'm still hooked on it for some reason), and Sweet Tooth volume 3 (while reading this book I wasn't sure I'd buy volume 4 but by the time I got to the end I was eager to see what happens next). I've also started reading "Hark! AVagrant" and I'll probably be starting Jack of Fables volume 9 shortly. I have a lot of books on my "to be read" pile so I'm hoping to tackle some during the holiday week (between Christmas and New Year's).

So back to the drawing board (or the Cintiq sitting on my dining room table at least).

Monday, November 07, 2011

It's that time of year

Yes, it's that time of year. And no, I'm not talking about Christmas. It's the time of year when people start listing the top books of the year. Okay, maybe it's a bit early but Publishers Weekly has already got the ball rolling. Of those books I've read Habibi and most of Zahra's Paradise. I've added some of the others to my "might pick up" pile. And that's how I often work. Obviously I pick up some books throughout the year but I really enjoy seeing the "best of" lists and finding new treasures I might have overlooked or didn't hear of throughout the year. So if you see any such lists that you think I may have missed or have your own suggestions let me know. Webcomic suggestions are of course welcome as well.

I'll probably be doing up my own list of this year's highlights but it won't be until December.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another check in

I'm really falling behind on the whole blogging thing aren't I. But then again, does anyone really blog anymore? :)

So what's new? That crap I mentioned in my last post that's been going on in my life continues. In some ways I'd like to talk about it yet it just doesn't feel right to ramble on about these things in a blog post. So instead I'll ramble about comics.

It looks like the big companies are moving more and more towards the digital world. DC has already gone same day and Marvel is moving more and more of their books to that. Heck, one smaller company dropped monthlies entirely (selling digital and eventual print collections). I still haven't fully went that way in terms of reading though. I don't buy monthlies but I wait for the TPBs. A few reasons:
- Price. As much as I want to support the creators of these books I just can't see paying the same price to read it digitally (which should be cheaper to produce/distribute and results in me not actually owning anything) as I would to own a physical copy.
- Reading experience. This one is slightly on me as I don't own an iPad but even trying it on a friend's I still preferred the print versions. Part of this is that artists still draw for the printed page, using story telling techniques that don't always translate 100%.
- Decompression. I still find that when I read an individual issue of so many books that at the end I feel somewhat cheated, that there was no closure and I only got a small chunk of the story. It almost feels like I've been left mid-sentence and have to wait a month (or longer) for it to finish. Then when the next issue comes out I still don't feel that closure. I don't feel that way (as much) reading the TPBs. And if I'm waiting for the TPBs anyways (which tend to be cheaper than the individual issues and I find too long to sit in front of a computer reading) then why go digital?

But that's all just me. I also wonder about webcomics and where they fit in. With the iPad apps and various viewers coming out and such is the idea of free webcomics going to continue? Or are they just going to be that stepping stone of getting people to notice you and then dropped when you get that first paying gig. So often I see that and it makes me less interested in webcomics because I feel "Why bother getting involved in the story if the creator is actually looking to drop it for a paying gig?" Are webcomics irrelevant now that we have the iPad/iPhone/laptops with comic viewing software where we can buy stuff?

Though my view on webcomics may also be slightly tainted with the DrunkDuck things going on. WOWIO seems to have put work on it aside until they start making some money and the site could really use the work right now after the relaunch. And the annual DrunkDuck awards finalists got nominated. I'll admit, I had some hopes to maybe get recognized but I knew it was a long shot. So maybe there's a bit of sour grapes but my first reaction was "How did X get nominated in category Y?" I have to recognize it was a popularity contest and books I don't think are that great are popular. And people who read those books were quick to nominate them as much as they could (like a book being nominated in both "black and white" and "color" comic or in every genre, some people just put one book in every category) so I just have to shrug it off but that mentality of not caring does bug me. I can see why some people decided to leave but on the other hand is any site really going to be better? Leaving one site because you aren't one of the "cool kids" just doesn't seem all that productive. I think it happens on every site, there's that inner clique and if you aren't in it then you're on your own and if you are then you'll generally go no farther than that.

So anyways, back to work for me. Hope everyone's having a better day than me and that I didn't bring you down too much. :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Checking in

Yeah, I've been pretty quiet on here lately and I guess I should apologize for that. There's a lot going on in my life that has me down and I've been trying to avoid going all negative and ranty here. I think the web already has enough of that.

So trying to stay positive by touching on a few of the books I've read lately. I'm up to date on DMZ and Scalped. Still enjoying both books (Scalped more so) but I do think knowing both books will be coming to an end does help. For some reason as much as I'm enjoying them I do feel they both need to come to some closure at some point (fairly soon). Atomic Robo volume 5 was great, as usual. Lucille by Ludovic Debeurme was pretty amazing but I didn't realize going in that this was just the first book so I guess I'll have to wait for the next one. I also had a Nathan Fillion filled weekend by re-reading the Serenity books (recently released as two hardcovers) and the Castle graphic novel (seen on last night's episode).

In terms of new books I decided to check out the first two volumes of iZombie. I wasn't sure what to expect from it and a few issues in I wasn't really blown away but by the end of the first volume I was intrigued enough to really want to read the second volume. I'm still slightly on the fence with the series but I'll be picking up volume 3 when it comes out.

I meant to read Habibi on the weekend but it got put aside for some lighter reading. It's currently on the top of my "to read" list. And at some point I plan on doing a Sandman re-read. I borrowed them through my first reading so I'm picking up the new editions that are coming out (I'm a little obsessive compulsive and I'd kind of like a consistent set and not a mix of various editions). So that plan may get put aside until they all have been re-released.

So that's it for me at the moment. And I'm open to suggestions on other books to read.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Readers

I'm probably the last person to be bringing up DC's 52 reboot as I'm not reading them (other than Justice League) and I'm not going to be a new DC reader, I'm just not interested. But I've been reading plenty of comments on them from new and old readers and among the compliments and complaints there are a few things I'm picking out (whether they're true or not). One, the books don't seem to be all that new reader friendly. If it's not Superman or Batman then new readers have no idea who these characters are and the reboot books don't seem to be origins or introductions to the characters. They are the start of a new story but readers without the history may be feeling lost right from the start. And there doesn't seem to be any closure within the issues (with maybe a couple exceptions). This can be jarring to new comic readers who are expecting a contained story. I think they expect like a TV show or movie that there will be some sort of contained story in the issue even if it is part of an ongoing larger story.

So I think about when friends ask me about getting into comics and what to read, my first reaction is usually "well what would you be interested in reading?" Are they in to horror, westerns, sci fi, romance, or do they really want to give superhero stuff a try? And then I go to books/stories/characters I feel they can get into easily and this is usually not Marvel or DC. Unless they say "I saw Thor and really want to read Thor comics" I just don't go there. I find any character who has a story going back to the 1960's can be a little daunting. I usually go with ones where they can go into a comic shop, bookstore, or Amazon and grab a TPB or two and figure out if the story is for them. So I go with Invincible, Elephantmen, Atomic Robo, Walking Dead, Chew, Sandman, Fables,... And it's easy to direct them to volume 1. Where do you direct someone for Marvel or DC characters? The "essential" volumes? More recent TPBs? More recent "relaunches" of the character (if they have one)? I'm just never sure.

It has me thinking, would DC's reboot have been better served by having single issues or even initial TPBs that contained full stories that actually introduced the characters (either through origins or just self contained stories that at least told you who they are). Would it benefit DC (or even Marvel) to put out such books? A confined "All you need to know about Spider-Man/Thor/Captain America/Superman/Batman" comic (either single issue, TPB, or digital comic they can get from their sites. And I'm not talking those 2-3 pagers that don't really give you any actual story. Because as it is I'm still directing any potential new readers elsewhere.

But that may just be me.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Two page spreads

One thing I'm curious about is how the two page spreads (specifically those in the Justice League books by Jim Lee) look on the iPad and iPhone. It can't be that great a reading experience. I'd say two page spreads are more for the benefit of print versions. But here's the thing, they really aren't (in most cases).

Now this is just my opinion of course and there are exceptions (I seem to recall some great two page spreads in MiracleMan, Sandman, Return of the Dapper Men, etc) but I found in those exceptions they fit the story more. They gave us a large view while moving the story forward. In Justice League 1 you have a double page spread of Batman jumping out of the way of gunshots from helicopters, is that really worthy of a two page spread? In issue 2 it seems (I've only seen the unlettered preview) you have Batman and Superman squaring off in a two page spread. Yes, it shows off some pretty artwork but does it really tell the story effectively or is it just trying to cover up a lack of substance with some eye candy?

And aside from that, it keeps me wondering about making comics for print and digital yet again. The talk about going digital seems to gloss over what this means for some artists. Many artists don't look at making comics as a panel by panel thing, for them the whole page (and all its panels) fits together as a work of art. So you'll have panels blending into one another, overlapping (in art or dialogue), and other little "tricks" that require you to see the full page at once to get the full reading experience. Currently, tablets and smartphones are smaller than printed pages and often lose detail when pages are shrunk down to fit them (especially the phones). Computer monitors are usually better (though they have to be sufficiently large enough). I guess the assumption is that either artists will have to stop doing stuff that works better in print or that technology will eventually find an answer or that the majority of comic readers (especially those going to digital) won't care.

I tend to go with the last option for the most part, I don't think there's that many readers who actually care about this stuff. It's too bad in a way as I find it nice to see artists who know how to really tell the story effectively through their art but I accept that I can be in the minority and that there's a larger audience who just want their glossed over pretty pictures. I guess it's like all other forms of entertainment (TV, movies, books, etc) where what I might consider high quality doesn't always bring in the money and the audience wants their sex/violence/explosions/"reality" TV/"leave your brain at the door popcorn blockbuster"/glittery vampire with abs/whatever else sells. And who am I to say what is right or wrong for them to like/spend their money on.

Though I also know of some artists who are considering these things and being pulled in many directions. So hopefully they can find a balance or a solution and that technology continues to expand the possibilities for them.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fan Expo Canada 2011

Another Fan Expo Canada has come and gone. I had been looking forward to it all summer so I'm glad it came but it's also a sign that summer is coming to an end and that sort of sucks. But anyways, the organization this year was so much better than last. There were a few hiccups on the first day and with the photos but what con won't have at least a few things when you're dealing with so many people, some of whom can be the cause of the problems (seriously, it's your choice to stand in line at 10:30 for something that doesn't open until 2:00, giving the organizers crap about having to wait in line until 2 just doesn't help things). But here are some of the highlights of my visit to Fan Expo Canada.

In terms of photos, I didn't really take too many, that's more my brother's thing. But there are a few I tweeted along the way and they can be found on yfrog.

We got in shortly after 2:00 and I made a beeline to Jeff Smith's table. I had originally hoped to pick up a TPB or something small to get signed but when I saw the 20th Anniversary Bone box set I couldn't resist. Then it was mainly just wandering around, picking up a mini-painting and a copy of "F**k You, Box" from Katie Cook and prints from Christopher Uminga, and getting an idea of the layout of the Expo. It definitely felt more roomy but the best part was the sizable food court areas (and the "Premium lounge" for those of us with the Premium tickets). It was actually at the food court that I got the chance to meet Alex Zalben. And of course I went to the sketching duel between Shane Davis, Mark Brooks, and Clay Moore which was great (all the sketching duels were great, though the "Women in Comics" one was my favourite).

Friday was a bit busier for me. After signing up for a commission from Jill Thompson I went to the Tony Daniel/Marko Djurdjevic sketching duel where I won a Tony Daniel sketch. Then I headed back to talk to Jill while she worked away. Then there was the Tony Moore/Billl Sienkiewicz duel where they drew a zombie-Hulk. It wasn't my suggestion but it was funny because I had told people before the Expo that I would have liked a zombie-Hulk commission from Moore. Unfortunately I didn't win because the final pieces were awesome. And then there was the "Women in Comics" sketching duel (which I like to think I helped "sponsor" by donating some bristol board to some of the artists) where I won a "Penny from Inspector Gadget" sketch from Katie. And somewhere in there I think I picked up my commission from Caanan (Hulk/Spidey) and signed up for She-Hulk drawing from Ryan Stegman.

My main mission for Saturday was Eliza Dushku. I got in line right away and she showed up shortly after the show opened. She was incredibly nice and interactive with her fans (at least what I saw/experienced). So I was able to make it to the Steve Epting/Alex Maleev duel where I won the Dr Doom drawing in my Twitter photos (though it doesn't do it justice). There's a story about how I won but I won't go into that. But I was starting to make a name for myself with the organizers of the duels as this was my third win of the Expo (neither Brent or I had won in all the duels we had attended the last two years). The Eliza photo op was a bit of a mess with the Tom Felton line going on at the same time but again, she was incredibly nice. Then another sketching duel (Dale Eaglesham, Dale Keown, and Jimmy Cheung drawing Wolverine) where I didn't win. But Brent made a friend in the Lee Majors line and in ended up being Kelly Sue DeConnick. I had hoped to meet up with a friend who was dressed as "Death" (from Neil Gaiman's "Sandman") but unfortunately it didn't happen (part of that may have been due to the fact that I couldn't get any sort of signal on my iPhone for most of the day, it was a pretty common complaint that we could see a signal but couldn't do anything).

I figured Sunday was going to be pretty quiet for me and for the most part it was, though the floor seemed pretty busy for at least the afternoon. Of course I went to yet another sketching duel. Yeah, I'm a sucker for those. I think it's too bad that other cons don't do them (yet again this year some artists didn't really know what to expect when they signed up for them) but I also realize not all artists are gung ho for fitting them into their schedule and taking time away from their paid commissions. Brent and I got to talk to Kelly Sue and Matt Fraction for a bit and I picked up a few more prints (from Tony Moore and Caanan in particular).

We had made a few friends who came up from New York and were now stranded in Toronto so we tried our best to suggest things to do or make sure they could at least make it back to their hotels (one was left stranded by their Toronto based friend at the Expo). I hope they've all made their way home safely by now.

So overall, yeah, I had a blast. I'm pretty sure I'm missing a bunch of stuff from this post. It all seems so chaotic and a blur now. Maybe I should take more pictures to help me remember everything.

Monday, August 22, 2011


I finally finished reading "Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything" a few days back, I had been reading it off and on for quite a while now. I won't go into a full review but I do think it's an important book to read. The times are changing whether some people like it or not and it's important to understand what's working and what isn't. I don't agree with everything in the book, some of their opinions and conclusions just don't work for me or seem to overlook things I'm curious about, but that's just my opinion.

The stuff in this book is more directly related to my job than my interest in comics (and the comics industry) but I think there are also parts that are important for everyone, including the comic industry, to learn from. The web is just one game changer and with every new technology things are changing. Trying to stick to old business models just isn't going to work in the long run.

I don't really have the business mind to see exactly where things are going, I think anyone who does say they are certain about how things will be in the future is deluded or trying to sell you something (or both). But I do know things are and will be changing. Okay, maybe I'm a little deluded too but at least I'm not trying to sell you something.

I could ramble on and on about all this stuff, last weekend a friend and I talked about it for hours (less about the company side though and more about the regular workers) but I don't think that would be to anyone's benefit (I'm guessing only one or two people will get this far in the rambling).

As an aside, I'm a little disappointed that I'm not seeing the unknown people trying to organize panels at Fan Expo. I think creating a panel with something unique could be good advertising for the webcomic/self publishing crowd. There are a few panels by people who have been successful at getting their own stuff out there ("Killing Shakespeare") or are people who have had at least some level of mainstream success (Ty Templeton, Cameron Stewart,...) but I'd actually like a more discussion-based panel with people who haven't yet. The last two years have had that (some with the people above before they were successful) but I just don't see it this year. Perhaps I'm missing something, perhaps there's just no demand for it (why talk to someone who hasn't made it when you can go to a panel to listen to someone who has), or maybe everyone's just too busy to do something like that. Either way, I'm just not seeing it. So I'll probably be spending much of my time at the sketching duels.

Friday, August 19, 2011


A couple weeks back (or whenever it came out) I decided to pick up Fear Itself #5 just because I wanted to see the Hulk and Thing versus Thor fight. Okay, and maybe I just wanted to read a single comic again, it's been a while. But after reading it I was pretty disappointed. The book just didn't seem to have much substance to it, either in that fight or the other stuff going on. And after thinking about it for a while I think one of the problems was what I felt was ineffective use of space.

I think too many panels were too large. I know I sound like your typical "in my day" comic fan but you look back at some of the artistic masters from the past they use small panels to display action and on one page you got a whole sequence and that made it feel intense. Here you have a full page only showing a small part of a sequence. It looks pretty but to me, it's boring to read and doesn't really engage me as a reader.

One thing I've taken from my webcomics is to make every page count and get in as much as possible. Partly it's the typical webcomic updating (one page at a time so you want that page to count) and partly it's that when I tried the large panel after large panel people spent less time and were less engaged in reading it. And that's how I felt here. With large panel after large panel I just breezed through it. Not to mention that when you do try to keep the panel size down it's more jarring when you do go to the larger one, a trick you can use to shock the reader. Large panel after large panel just becomes boring.

This also makes me think of the iPod/iPad stuff. People talk about how when they read comics on them and go panel from panel it can adjust the size of the panel to fit the screen (enlarging small panels). I think that's wrong. Now you could say that artists have to compensate for it and make sure their panels fit well but I think it takes away some of the storytelling control the creators have. If you really want your comic to be viewable on the iPad in that way then perhaps you have to find some balance. To be honest, I have too many thoughts going on in my head and I could ramble about this one forever but I don't want to take over this rambling with another, I just wanted to put it out there.

Now I'm just an amateur webcomic guy so obviously I know less about making comics than your average (or pretty much any) professional. And this is all just my opinion, others are free (and apparently do) disagree. But it's how I feel.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hosting Part 2

I sort of knew going in that the hardest part of setting up hosting my own comic wasn't going to be on the technological side (though technology and I don't always see eye to eye, partly due to my own stupidity at times), it was going to be what comes after. Promotion.

I've never really gone too far out of my way to promote my webcomics. I mention them here and there (often in a derogatory way, which is a big problem) but I don't really sell it. There's a lot going on but it mostly boils down to a lack of confidence. It took me a while just to post something on DrunkDuck and then I let the community aspect of that site bring in a few readers (some stayed, most didn't). With my own hosting, the community thing just isn't the same. I can link to my comic or site when I comment on other people's sites (even that feels awkward to me) and I can try to talk about it a bit more (on here or with friends) but I just haven't been able to put out a full on blitz.

Maybe one day I'll get over it. On the plus side, I'm not looking to make a career out of it or anything but it would be nice to have some readers to make the work worthwhile. And for now, I do have my DrunkDuck readers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I've thought about it, I've talked about it, and now I've finally got off my butt and did it. With all the issues going on with DrunkDuck I felt I had to do something with my webcomics and I felt moving over to another site might be a temporary solution but eventually I'd still be relying on someone else hosting. I'll still use DrunkDuck as a mirror though.

After some internal debating about domains I decided to finally set up for hosting. So I've started with the Bluenoser. I haven't been able to figure out how to post more than one page per day with ComicPress so it's quite a few pages behind where I am on DrunkDuck but I'll be posting a page per day on there until I get caught up, then it'll be Tuesdays and Thursdays. And I do plan on customizing the look and making it more pleasant to the eye at some point as well.

Eventually I plan on getting Divine Leap up there as well though I plan on doing that as one bulk thing.

Monday, August 01, 2011


I doodle from time to time but I very rarely sit down just to sketch stuff. Even when I do I tend to not be that loose with it and I hardly ever post it or let anyone see it. So I was thinking that I've been concentrating on drawing Bluenoser stuff so much that I needed a break. So I decided to do some quick and loose and out there sketches (or as loose/out there as I get).

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Follow Up to the Post Comic Con Post

So DC Comics has said they've heard the complaints about not hiring enough women and there will be a next batch of relaunch books that will correct some of these issues. I think that's a first good step and I'm glad they're listening but we'll see how it plays out. Some of the responses I've read on various sites reporting this news aren't very encouraging. One theme that comes up is "Well, the girls got what they wanted so they better buy the books now." I'm struggling not to ramble on about how wrong this statement is on many levels and how it reflects a part of the comics community that is very ugly. I hope for those creators working on these books that they succeed, but if they don't it's not a sign women can't produce quality books that can sell. I think the women creating webcomics, self-publishing, and working with other publishers have proven they can.

But now to ramble about other stuff. I wanted to point out Caanan's comment to that post and respond/comment on a few things he says.

- I think I would have liked a hard reboot as well. And for me, it's not necessarily about changing the characters like Superman but just cleaning up the mess that is Superman's history. No need to make him a bad-ass vigilante (and I don't believe his book should be "dark") or anything like that, just more accessible. But yeah, their current audience would be really upset by that.

- As for crossovers and the events, they seem to be the biggest seller of the big two and I've been told by a few people that they do bring in some new readers (I know a few people who came back to comics during Civil War). But sales have been declining and people don't seem to be as interested in them since then (I haven't heard much of Fear Itself or Flashpoint really bringing in new readers). But again I agree with Caanan, if I want to read the Hulk I want to pick up the Hulk series. I was reading the Incredible Hulks: Chaos War TPB last night and it was a little frustrating at times. An issue would end and you'd get "If you want to know what happens next pick up..." Now yes, if I was doing the single issues thing then yes, I could have picked up that issue (or two) but I don't really care enough about Herc and the others that were involved in that storyline. I don't really have anything against telling stories that involve more than one character, but I think maybe those stories should be self contained in their own titles. If they come up with a cool Hulk/Hercules story, create a title "Hulk and Hercules: Chaos War" and tell it there. This may also brings up continuity and such but at this point, I'm ready to give up on continuity to a certain level.

- And yes, the house style is a bad idea in my opinion. I think getting Jim Lee to redesign most of the characters and forcing artists to fit into his vision was wrong. I hate to bring up Marvel but if you look at their books you don't get that house style. You get a variety of artists who are allowed to adapt their style to books they want to do. You may get the "photo realistic" guys out there (whether I like it or not), you'll get the more surreal or abstract artists, you'll get the dark and gritty artists, the cartoony guys, the traditional artists, etc, etc. and they get to do what they love, create visually interesting art more on their own terms (with possible exceptions or tweaking).

And that last point may be one thing that hurts the female creators coming in. Allowing them to come in and tell interesting Batman or Superman stories in their own way could be great. Forcing them to take on a C-level character in a DC/Jim Lee style may be doomed to fail.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Post Comic Con

As I've said, I didn't go but should that keep me from giving my 2 cents (even if it is a little late). I'll keep it short by only talking about stuff that I was interested in:

- Incredibly Hulk by Silvestri and Aaron. I'm not a big fan of Silvestri's art (don't hate it but he wouldn't be my first pick for Hulk) and the only book I've read by Jason Aaaron is Scalped (which I have been enjoying) and my initial reaction to the story was the typical "It's been done." But after watching Aaron's video talking about it and a couple more interview blurbs I'm starting to think it may be pretty good. I'll buy it anyways because it's the Hulk but I do feel good going into it.

- DC's women. This is one issue that's really spilling over to the blogs and comic sites, Dan DiDio's reaction to a fan calling out for DC to hire more women. I've never met Dan DiDio, maybe he's a great guy, I don't know, but I know I've often found myself not liking how he comes across in interviews and at cons. Maybe he was tired, maybe he was fed up with the amount of negativity being thrown in his direction, or maybe I'm just imagining things but his reaction came off as rather hostile towards the fan and the panel audience in general. When the percentage of women creators working on your comics drops from 12% to 1% people are going to raise some concerns. When your books are singled out time and time again for negative portrayals of women you may want to think about what you're doing to a large percentage of your potential audience. Many people have said that it appears the number of women attending Comic Con continues to rise and perhaps it's time to look into why DC's number continue to go down (in sales and in terms of women working there).

- DC's relaunch/reboot/whatever. Despite the threat of a protest (which amounted to a couple cosplayers who got more attention for their costumes than what they had to say about the reboot) this topic did seem to dominate the news. Even some mainstream-ish news people were talking about it instead of just talking about what movies and TV shows were there. And Marvel, though having some announcements to make, had nothing that could match it. But despite seeing some more pretty pictures from it and some more Jim Lee sketches I'm still not that into it. I actually give a tip of my hat to DC for trying something daring to get people reading their comics, I just don't have a good feeling about how they're going about it. I thought maybe that Morrison on Superman could be interesting but the more I hear about it the less interested I am. The flood of Batman books doesn't sound all that appealing. And overall it doesn't come across as all that new reader friendly especially with all this talk about Flashpoint explaining things. I don't want to read Flashpoint, it doesn't seem new reader friendly to me, and if you bring it up when trying to sell me on the reboot you're pushing me away. Having said all that, does it seem to anyone else that a large portion of the negative reaction and complaining about DC rebooting is coming from people who aren't reading the books? On the one hand why are those people so upset if they aren't reading them? On the other hand, it's not a good sign if potential new readers are complaining already. But then again, they may just be a vocal minority.

To clarify my stance on it, I'm not complaining that they are doing it, I think they have to do something. I'm just saying that on first glance I'm not a fan of how they're doing it and what the resulting DC universe will look like. But that's okay, I'm just one person and this could end up appealing to a much larger audience than who is reading the books now.

- Overall content: There's a graph going around showing just how many panels were about comics and comic related stuff versus movies and TV and it seems to show that comics were a big part of it. I don't want to come across as "Comic Con should only be for comics" but as a comic fan I am happy to see them well represented. Though this is just in terms of panels, I'm not sure what the general feeling on the floor was.

So overall it seems like a good time was had by most. It was hectic, it was stinky and sweaty, and most people didn't get to do all that they had hoped... It was Comic Con and I missed it so bring on Fan Expo Canada.

Friday, July 22, 2011


I guess I spoke too soon about DrunkDuck (or "The Duck") being back up and running. It's been locked up (unable to post pages, comment, or do anything else) for the last couple days. It really makes me consider moving away from the Duck or maybe just using it as a mirror site. My thinking:

I don't really want to have to pay much (if at all) for hosting my comic as I'm not actually making any money off it anyways. On the other, I'd like some reliability and it's the old saying of 'you get what you pay for'. The Duck has been fairly good but it has had its fair share of downtime. There always seems to be a reason (changing hands from one company to another, server upgrades, site upgrades, etc, etc). And with each change you get some period of stability (after prolonged instability) before it seems to start coughing up again.

A big thing for me is the community. I don't really advertise my comics but I've been able to get a few regular readers on DrunkDuck due to the community aspect of it (taking part in the forums or what not). Though I suppose I could keep them by mirroring my stuff there and maybe attract others by taking a more active role in the larger webcomics community.

And of course, moving off the Duck would mean I would have to take on more responsibility for the hosting of my comic. I'd have to do more setting up of the page and such. But maybe it's about time I do that.

So yeah, I'm leaning towards making up my own site for some comics and maybe using the Duck as a mirror.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Grinds My Gears

Don't you hate it when a new comic book gets announced and it's the same title of a webcomic idea you've been wanting to do for a while.

Fortunately the premise is different.

Comic Con

So Comic Con is about to begin (for some people it already has in some ways) and I'm not there. I keep telling myself that I'm probably better off. The huge crowds, the shifting focus to Hollywood, not being able to really interact with people, the enormous crowds (worth saying twice), the lines, etc, etc. And when it comes to following the comic book announcements I'm almost better following along with online reporting of them instead of fighting crowds to try to get in to the many panels that will be going on. On the other hand, I think I'd like to experience it at least once.

But I'll have to wait until Fan Expo Canada. I hate wishing the summer away but the end of August can't come soon enough.

Monday, July 18, 2011

DrunkDuck is back up and running (mostly)

So they were able to finish the migration and get DrunkDuck (soon to be renamed "The Duck" I believe) back up and running for the most part. There are still plenty of issues to be resolved but I'm glad the migration is done and we're off the old server(s). I'm glad that it's back up as I can get back to actually posting the pages I've been working on.

It's actually been a rough time for me while they did this. I've had some friends go through some medical issues (one, the guy who actually got me started on DrunkDuck, is recovering from brain surgery). But on a less serious note, I just haven't been in a good frame of mind when it comes to working on the Bluenoser. I've been rushing pages, not really putting in the effort I should, and have been going through my usual questions of why I do it and whether I should continue. I often say that not looking to make money from it makes things quite a bit easier on me but it definitely brings up the question of why do it then. Yeah, there's the love of comics and yadda yadda yadda but I can't help but question it some times.

I know I've talked about this before, I guess I just feel the need to vent when I get like this. And hopefully getting back to posting the pages I've done and getting some feedback will get me back to the right frame of mind.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Unnoticed

One good thing that has come from waiting for DrunkDuck to come back online is that the buffer of pages I have done for the Bluenoser has grown. I have enough to get me through until August which is when my vacation starts and hopefully I'll be able to build it up even more. But I'd like to see the Duck back soon, it's getting to be a bit too long for it to be down.

But the real reason for this post was just a quick rambling of something that I have been thinking about while drawing those pages I mentioned. It's the unnoticed parts of drawing, and in particular it's something that I say "Wow, I nailed that!" yet nobody will notice. Some times it's the things that can cause me problems (like feet which I know is silly) and other times it's just a little touch I add to someone's expression. When I post the page I almost want to say "Hey, look how good that guy's foot looks in the fourth panel!" but that would just be weird. Of course nobody really notices these things, it's usually the things you don't do a good job on that are noticed.

So I think that's something to think about when reading comics. Don't just appreciate the parts that stand out, appreciate the subtle aspects of the art that don't stand out but are an important part of you enjoying the story (and not getting distracted by something that stands out as awkward). Just don't get too hung up looking for those parts, that would kind of ruin the whole purpose of them. :)

Friday, July 08, 2011

Oh yeah, Fan Expo Canada

Completely forgot to mention the other bit of news. My tickets to Fan Expo Canada have been purchased and I can't wait. I know there has been some talk of a slightly disappointing celebrity list (especially compared to last year's Shatner/Stan Lee double bill) but I think the celebrity list looks like a great variety of talent for the various tastes. Everyone seems to have at least a couple people they're hoping to meet. For me, the main celebrity I'm interested in is Eliza Dushku but Robert Englund and John Astin are also really cool.

But for me, it's more about the comic book people. Jeff Smith, the Kuberts, Jill Thomspon, Dale Keown, Andy Belanger, Caanan Grall, ... There are just too many to name. I know I won't get a chance with some (like the Kuberts and Jeff Smith will be very busy) but the whole atmosphere is always great.

Drunkduck migration continues

DrunkDuck was supposed to be back up on Tuesday but the migration of the data is taking longer than expected. That's not unusual, it's always tough to say how long it will take to migrate so much data, especially when dealing with funky set ups between companies. I just hope the migration goes well and things improve as the Duck has been having quite a few issues as of late.

Which makes me think about how interesting Webcomics are. You are at the mercy of the technology. When servers die or internet connections falter the medium fails. And as Caanan is learning with Max Overacts, sometimes success can have its penalties (high traffic has nearly shut him down and he is now dealing with moving over to another provider instead of focusing on making comics).

This is not to say print is better, it has its own problems. But technology has a lot of new problems that some comic people aren't prepared to handle at the moment. Hopefully it's just a blip on the road and we all learn from the problems of the current webcomic makers.

But I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm glad I'm not trying to make a living off making comics. And I wish all the best to those who are.

And as an aside, I'm starting to get more involved in funding projects through KickStarter. I only wish that it was available to Canadians (without requiring a US bank account and US address) but maybe one day. I definitely recommend checking it out as it's a great way to support up and coming (and some established) creative people and some outstanding projects.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Death of Spider-Man" 2

So I talked about this story previously but I wanted to go back to it for a minute. I somewhat expected Marvel to spoil the story in the media and sure enough they didn't disappoint. But what I was a little surprised with was that they've come out to justify spoiling the story (even giving news organizations the last couple pages to post). I'm not surprised with the content of their justification, just that they went public with what we all knew. But it just reinforces to me so much of what I've come to hate about the Marvel, DC, and to some extent the other publishers like Image as of late.

First up, it's all about getting non-comic readers talking about it and coming in to buy the comic. Now I'm all for trying to grow your audience but I'd like to see them do it without screwing over those who are already buying your product. The ones who don't want to know how the book ends. This just feels like a kick to the crotch for them. And does this truly grow your audience? Maybe a bit. I see people coming in to buy the book who don't usually buy comics but why are they doing it? A lot are doing it in the hopes the polybagged comic will become a collectible to sell. They won't read it, they won't be back, and they just reinforce the idea that comics aren't really for reading, they are a collectible you can hope to make money on. Not very productive for the industry in my mind (and I think the 90's confirmed that). Then of course you get the regular reader buying more than one copy because they want a readable version and a "mint" edition to hold on to.

To me going out there and spoiling it is like telling me the story really isn't worth reading without the gimmick of the death. Now maybe the story is worth reading, I don't know because I didn't read it. Why? Because at this point death in comics always feels like a gimmick to me. And this spoiling just reinforces that. It's saying the story doesn't matter, it's the gimmicks that I should be interested in. And I think that's bad for comics in general. Does this make people think there is actually value in the stories that comics can tell? I don't think so. Does this make kids or their parents want to pick up comics? I don't think so. It makes comics look like they are still stuck in the same old "We're going to kill him or do something 'shocking' just to try to get your attention" methods of the 90's.

I really don't want to rant too much on this, because I know I can be shot down so easily ("You aren't even reading it so why do you care?", "The sale on the book were huge.", etc) but for me, this is just frustrating. With companies having so many tools at their disposal to get their product out there and get people interested in the actual content of comics they are going for "cheap pops" that make the comic industry look bad. I guess this was always the way and I just had all I can take of it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

25 Pages And Counting

So my latest webcomic, The Bluenoser, has hit 25 pages posted (with one "filler page"). Not really a regular "milestone" but that's how DrunkDuck works (to avoid people creating their own milestones to get in the news section they limit it to every 25 pages and finishing a comic) so I guess I'll follow along.

I have to say that it's been very different than my experience with my first webcomic. The reaction has been better and maybe one day I'll go into some rambling trying to explain why I think that is so (better art/writing, shorter stories that are easier for readers to get into, having some carry over from Divine Leap, etc). Though one thing that hasn't changed is that I have done almost nothing to advertise it other than letting readers of Divine Leap know. I'll just keep telling myself that it's okay as I'm not doing this to make money or get noticed anyways.

From my perspective it's been more fun to write and draw. I get to focus on short, condensed stories that are fun to come up with and draw rather than some 400+ page storyline. I was worried when I started that I would have trouble with it, to come up with a bunch of stories that still felt like they continued the narrative. But so far I've been pretty happy and I have a lot of ideas brewing in my little bedside notebook.

So I guess it's off to get the next 25 pages done... After I'm done at work that is. :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Spoiling the creature of the day

I've read a bit of reaction about people searching out spoilers for what the creature looks like in the new Super 8 film and it's got me thinking yet again about these movies being advertised as they are (Cloverfield and Godzilla are just two of the movies that come to mind). I have not seen Super 8 or Cloverfield so this is not a comment on them, just the advertising and set up around them.

Some people are pointing to the people who are posting these spoilers and those looking for them as ruining it for everyone. I disagree, as long as it's being done without spoiling it for those who don't want to be spoiled then I'd argue it's okay. And then some have said it's stealing money, getting to see the creature without paying. So are they admitting the only reason to go see this film is to see the latest CGI creation? Am I also stealing every time I look at a picture of Jason or Freddy and not buying Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street?

It actually does feel to me that the advertising pushes this idea that the reason to come see these films is to see the creature. We see the usual clips of government conspiracy, animals reacting (dogs barking, cats hissing, etc), and yes, we get some clips of a few actors reacting to something. It's all building the trailers to be "Ooh, we have a creature and look at all these people reacting to it but we aren't going to let you see it without paying." Of course, you say that to someone and the first thing they're going to think is "Oh yeah? Well I'll see it just to spite you."

The same applies to non-visual twists, etc. When movies get advertised with "You'll never guess the ending" or "Biggest twist ending ever, you'll never see it coming" then you've done two things:
- You've revealed to your audience that there is a twist (this has ruined many a movie for me as it becomes predictable what that "twist" will be).
- You're acting like the high school student who brags about a piece of gossip but won't tell, of course people will find any way to discover the big secret and the easiest way is to not pay you for it when you have so many people willing to put it out there for free.

I just hate advertising like this. Let the movie sell itself. Have a well thought out story instead of these gimmicks. Because really, I'd rather a movie I can watch over and over again 5 or 10 years from now and not just a picture of some stupid monster. That actually boils down my point, you're making a movie, if a picture/drawing of a creature ruins it or can sum up the movie in one shot then you're not making use of the medium and you should just release pictures of monsters instead.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Some Random Comic Reviews

I guess there hasn't been anything pushing me to do regular reviews since my weekly purchase of comics is gone. Instead, TPBs come in every now and then, I read them thinking I could maybe post a review or two but it just never happens. But before I start I'd like to point out Max Overacts is back!

So here's a recap of a few of my most recent reads:
Scalped volumes 1 through 3 -- I had been hearing great things about this series but I didn't really think it was for me. But as I was feeling a lull waiting for TPBs of other series to come out I decided to check out volume 1 and I'm really glad I did. Extremely well written, compelling story with interesting characters, and visually off the charts.

DMZ volume 1 -- This one was recommended to me by a friend, the same friend I got hooked on several books recently. It creates an interesting picture of the island of Manhattan becoming a demilitarized zone. I think it was to bring the feel of real world places to a more local place. Perhaps if I was more familiar with New York it would have more of an impact on me. It is pretty well written though and I've decided to check out a couple more volumes. And now that it's being cancelled I may be more likely to just give the whole series a try (weird logic I know but if I know there's a conclusion coming and it's not like I'll have to keep spending money on it I'm often more likely to spend the money).

Deadlands: The Devil's Six Gun one shot -- I was fortunate to get an advance copy of this. I'm not familiar with the game (not much of a roleplayer) but this was an interesting story. I think David Gallaher and Steve Ellis executed it very well, I think they've improved as a storytelling team since High Moon started (not that High Moon was anything to complain about). I don't think I'll be rushing out to pick up any more Deadlands stuff but this was a great story to check out.

Darkstar and the Winter Guard -- Speaking of David Gallaher and Steve Ellis, this book had been sitting on my Amazon wishlist for a while but I kept putting off buying it. I think reading their Deadlands one shot pushed me to finally order it. Other than a Hulk appearance or two I hadn't really cared about the Winter Guard. I'm actually not quite done (on the last issue now) but the characters are more interesting to me now that I've read this. It touches on a fair amount of Marvel history while still being readable if you're not an expert. I don't think I'd be looking to pick up a series for them long term but this has been good so far.

And I think that's it for now. I know there are a few I'm missing (Invincible and Fables, both very good) but I'll try to get back to posting reviews more frequently.

One last aside, I'm really looking forward to Fan Expo Canada again this year. I've heard a few complaints about things (higher prices, some people feel there haven't been what they see as big name announcements, last year's issues, etc) but I've really enjoyed myself the last two years and I'm happy with how this year's is looking. But then again, I don't really go for the celebrities as much as others.

Friday, June 03, 2011

DC's Big Thing

Well since everyone is giving their two cents on the big DC news I may as well throw my thoughts out there. My first thought was that DC was being pretty daring, revamping their entire comic run (including books that are doing very well like Green Lantern) to give a new status quo as well as going same day digital. My second thought was wondering if I'd be looking at picking up any of the books. I've never really been a fan of any DC characters. I've been mildly curious in the big three, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, from time to time but never really enough to get into their ongoing books (other than for an couple issues here and there). I have bought a few of the non-canonical books (Red Son, The New Frontier, Joker, etc) and enjoyed them but that's about it. So I had my doubts but I was also curious enough to keep listening. But the more I hear the less interested I am. But as I've said, I come in to this with a history of not being all that interested in these characters.

First up, the price of digital. I've given up on monthlies and I don't want to have to buy physical copies of these books just to try them out. So I was glad I could buy them the same day digitally, avoiding spoilers and being right there with everyone else as the books launched. But I just won't pay the same price for digital. I know there are expenses to be considered but with a physical book I am buying a physical thing that is now mine. With digital as it is I'm just paying for the ability to read it, and only so long as the companies will allow (or maybe until they are out of business). So yes I'll have the experience of reading it but it still doesn't seem like a good deal to me. I can wait until the price gets down but then what's the point, the wave of the relaunch has already passed me by and I'll have had weeks of everyone around me talking about it while I sit there and have to wait. And really, I'm just looking to test the waters of these new books. At least the first issues could be cheaper to attract me. So in short, the pricing just doesn't seem right to me.

Secondly, this whole "is it a reboot, a relaunch, a renumbering, whatever" talk, it's turning me right off. It doesn't help that they are saying it'll make sense when you see what happens in Flashpoint. So I have to be reading this series from the current DC universe and goes back in DC history to see what's going on with this relaunch? I may be proven wrong but so far that seems rather unfriendly to someone who hasn't already been reading DC comics. I get it, they can't really just wipe out the current DC universe, there has to be something going on. And they really want to advertise it but in the end it just seems unappealing to me.

Third, I'm cynical. Now you can say that this is my problem but I'm not the only comic reader who is thinking "How long until we're back to the status quo?" Yes, Crisis stuck (for the most part) but how many times have we had universe altering, status quo changing, Earth destroying events that lasted what, a year, before things were back to normal and we have Superman back to the way he was? We've heard wolf cried so many times that you really can't blame us for saying "yeah sure, this time it's a wolf".

So those are the big ones. But it's early and a lot can happen between now and September so I'll try my best to keep an open mind. Though DC may be making a lot of their current readers very unhappy I do appreciate that they are trying to clean things up and make their books more accessible to new readers or those who left and couldn't be bothered to try and get back into it.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dialog Free Comic Day

I found out yesterday that today is "Dialog Free Comic Day". Unfortunately playing 9 holes of golf yesterday after work and watching the Smallville finale tonight has left me very little time to do much for it but I did sketch up a quick little one-pager featuring the Bluenoser (the title character from my new webcomic). I don't normally like posting my rough work but here goes:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Free Comic Book Day 2011

I kept meaning to post about Free Comic Book Day but never actually getting around to it. I got out a bit earlier this year than in the past and long story short, it was similar to other years. Out of the two downtown stores I visit one had a full on event with costumes (employees plus they were giving a discount to anyone who dressed up), a sale, cheap comics out in front of the store, and boxes and boxes of free comic books. It was incredibly busy so I grabbed a couple free comics I was interested in (Atomic Robo, Mouse Guard, and Super Dinosaur) and bought the latest volume of Fables and booked it to the other store to see how they were doing. They were not nearly as busy as they really don't put themselves out there but they had quite a few more people than usual in the store. That store really isn't laid out for a big crowd anyways I suppose, where the first store has an area at the front that they can put up tables with boxes of free comics and have people walk around this store has a small counter space with the comics in piles that you had to nudge your way up to. I decided just to pick up volume 1 of DMZ and take off. But in the end, both stores seemed to be doing better than usual with people actually buying stuff. It helped that both stores had a sale on.

I didn't go by the third store that is closer to my house. I had planned to but it's a long story. They are located inside a mall and typically don't do much. They put up two small 8x10 pieces of paper in their windows with "Free Comic Book Day" written in tiny font and usually have one person working the store for it. My brother had asked earlier in the week if they might have copies of the Dark Crystal/Mouse Guard and it turns out they ordered 1 for someone who had requested it before hand. It's hardly a good way to get new customers in but the manager of that store doesn't really care about comics anyways. He keeps them because it's constant income from his regulars but his store is more about sports memorabilia and nicknacks now. He usually only orders enough comics to cover his subscriptions.

But here are a few extra thoughts.

Upon arriving at the first store I noticed right away people coming out carrying piles of the free comics where it was clear they had grabbed at least 3 copies of each. Now for some of them I have to think that maybe they have/had 2 or more kids or maybe both the husband/boyfriend and wife/girlfriend wanted their own copy but the sheer number kind of made me question it. Same went for the Green Lantern Heroclix, with people grabbing a handful of those. And upon leaving that store they were on their way to the other comic store to pick up more.

But there were also a lot of people buying stuff, more so at the first store. Funny story, the guy in front of me in line had a few issues of Dr Who that were labelled $7.50 and he was frantically trying to figure out what they'd come to after the discounts to see if he had enough money. The look on his face when the cashier rang them in and said "that'll be $2 please" was pretty priceless.

Then there was the kid factor. The first store had quite a few kids. Some were being dragged along by their parents who were more interested in the comics than the kids were but others were pretty excited. And I think that's important for the comic stores, to get the next generation excited about comics. The second store had fewer kids but still had a couple.

Then there was the overall atmosphere. I had mixed feelings about this. At the first store the staff was pleasant and interacting with people with some of them in costume. But the store was so packed that it's not like you could really stand around and talk or anything. It was mostly just apologizing as you squeezed your way through the aisles. The second store had two staff, one in costume and the other sitting behind the cash being his usual not-so-talkative self. And there wasn't really an overwhelmingly happy feel to the place.

So that's my take on the day. I really didn't spend too much time at either store so I can't talk about the whole day but like other Free Comic Book Days I took away some positives and some areas where I wonder if things could be better.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Bluenoser goes live

Enough talking about it I guess. I've started posting the Bluenoser on DrunkDuck (for now at least) and the preview starts here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Death of Spider-Man"

Any minute now I expect the emails to start coming in from friends asking "Did you hear that they're going to kill Spider-Man?" To which I will sigh, shrug, and respond "Yeah, I did hear about it." And then the conversation will most likely lead to what other "death" storylines in comics we've had over the last few years only to either not be a death or to bring the character back in a few months. And of course there will be the discussion that this is the "Ultimate universe Spider-Man" and not the "real" Spider-Man. At many points during this discussion I expect my friends to laugh, get frustrated, mock me, and do a whole host of other stuff but in general, they will lose interest (though a couple may go into the comic store to buy the "death" issue still convinced they'll be able to sell it for lots of money one day) and end with some disparaging remark about me still reading comics.

So yeah, Marvel's getting a lot of press and I keep hearing that getting press is good for comics but you'll forgive me if I'm not overly optimistic about the whole thing.

Don't get me wrong, I don't like to take any story off the table. So if there's a good story to be told then great. But again, forgive me if I'm not overly optimistic.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Digital: It's just a matter of time for me

I know I've talked about it in past blog posts, going digital for comics at some point, but I still haven't gone that route (at least not fully). I've tried out a few readers, bought a couple digital comics, and read way too much on the move to digital but I still feel I'm just poking a toe in the waters. Besides the odd dip in the digital pool I'm currently doing the TPB thing and buying an occasional issue (like Captain America: The Fighting Avenger which was really good by the way). But the more I think about it the more I think it's just a matter of time before I move to more digital for comics (while picking up only a couple in TPBs) and other reading material.

A big reason is the issue of space. Books are really starting to build up around my place and I have to keep getting creative with my bookshelves. It's not all comics, I do buy other books as well. Perhaps one day I'll get off my butt and finally take some of them to a local library (I'm a bit of a packrat and also like having the books around just in case I want to re-read something or share it with others) but digital will keep me from building them up in the first place.

So why haven't I gone digital? I guess there's still some issues I'm having. I've tried out various readers (for my iPhone and laptop) and it seems ComiXology is winning me over so that's partly resolved. But I just don't feel that reading comics on my laptop or iPhone is as "comfortable" or enjoyable as reading a book. Perhaps buying a tablet could fix that but then comes the cost of buying a tablet just to read comic books on.

Then there's the other costs. Digital comics still seem to be rather expensive. I've heard it's part of the "early adopter" thing (prices high at first to offset cost of software development but will go down eventually) or Apple taking a cut of the revenue in some cases but it still seems rather pricey to me. And it doesn't help that for most digital stuff I don't really "own" it. Most systems are set up so that if they want to pull the book from me for any reason they can. And if ComiXology (or whomever) goes out of business I may lose whatever books I've "purchased". So paying so much for a "rental" seems a little off to me. But maybe that's just the collector in me putting value to actually owning a physical object. I've also found having the physical comic useful as I do tend to lend out books quite a bit. I've got friends hooked on various comics by lending them a couple TPBs.

There's the delay as well (digital not being released at the same time as print) but that doesn't really matter too much to me. I'm already behind due to going to TPBs so waiting for digital (provided the books I want do make it to digital) won't be a huge difference... I hope.

But despite the cost and still not feeling there's an experience as enjoyable as actually reading a physical book, I still see it as just a matter of time before I break down, buy a tablet (or something) and go digital for my reading. I just wonder when I'll finally get off the fence about it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coming soonish

My plan was to post my new webcomic on DrunkDuck but the recent turmoil (many images were lost and there was an extended time where some things weren't working) there had me rethinking that. But I think I'll go back, hoping they'll have things worked out. The downtime did give me an excuse not to be posting pages while I build up a buffer though. :)

I still have an issue of getting pages done. I'm currently able to get only one page done per week. Maybe as I get into a routine or perhaps I'll find some way to change my style to increase that but it's unlikely at the moment. So I'm thinking of posting a batch of pages to get into the story and then going one page per week. I just have to make sure each page is worth the wait. That each page has enough going to move the story along for the whole week. I actually contemplated revealing the page panel by panel throughout the week (maybe even limiting myself to 5 panels per page) but I think that would be a little too gimmicky, too limiting, and just not the right fit for this particular comic.

One other thing that this time has allowed me to do is really think about where I want to go with the story. I've come up with some ideas that I'm really looking forward to writing up. Some of the ideas are not quite as upbeat and optimistic as I originally intended but I think mixed in with some lighter, fun stories that it will work.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

A Quick Update

I know it's been a while since I mentioned working on a new webcomic. To make a long story short, I went through a period of time where I was having a lot of doubts as to whether I wanted to get into doing another webcomic and having a lot of second thoughts about it. But I think that's behind me now and I am working on it. I'll have to figure out the art, changing things up as I go. I need to experiment a bit in order to get the pages done a lot faster while not sacrificing quality too much. And I figured I may as well experiment as I go so I can at least get posting some pages. So it may not be consistent but we'll see what works and what doesn't. I'll probably also play around with costumes and such too.

The synopsis so far: A veteran superhero returns home to fight crime in a city that's seen as too small and unimportant by the other superheroes. Though there may be serious tidbits I'll be trying to keep the tone fairly light. It's not like the city will be overrun with criminals or anything like that.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Getting Back to "Work"

Since the end of Divine Leap I've been debating doing another webcomic. There are the cons like it ate up a lot of my time and I learned that I really sucked. The benefits included learning a lot about making a comic (or webcomic in this case) and why I sucked, getting to know some DrunkDuck members who came across my book, and having some fun along the way.

I had a few ideas that I was playing around with as Divine Leap was coming to a close but once I was done they just didn't feel right. Some were sweeping stories that would require 400+ pages to tell and I didn't really want to do that again. Others just didn't feel exciting enough. Then this past weekend I had a thought (yep, just one). I got into comics reading "simple" superhero comics so why not do a simple superhero comic. Not "something that nobody has ever seen before". Not "something that will blow your mind and make you second guess your sanity". Just a superhero story. A good guy (well there will be more than one good guy eventually but we'll concentrate on one) versus some bad guys. And I could do it in small, 10 or so page, stories. Just get back to doing something small and simple. I think even for the art I'll try to be "looser" and let myself play around a bit more (less time sweating the small details).

So the designs are getting drawn up. The first 7 pages of the first 10 (or so) page story are written. The second story is currently building up in my head. And hopefully it'll be fun.

To be continued...

Friday, March 04, 2011

Visiting the Local Shop

So after not setting foot in my local comic shop for a couple months I decided to make the trek downtown. I was reminded of what I miss about the shop (the friends, the comics) and what I don't miss.

The first thing is that I'm not entirely at my best in crowds or even small groups. So when the numbers start growing I feel pretty out of place. But secondly, I don't have the thickest skin and one of the things that gets through that skin the fastest is people not listening, talking down to me, and treating me like I don't know what I'm talking about. And I find that happens quite a bit in comic stores, I could probably find at least a few people who feel I've done it to them. So I guess I deserve it but that doesn't make me feel any better when it happens to me.

So yeah, a nice visit ends up with me grumbling to myself on the way home. Did I mention that I tend to hold a grudge with that thin skin of mine?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Done! ... Now what?

So last night I finally finished Divine Leap, completely. I had finished the main book (with some lettering I had put off until the end) over the weekend so it was the side story I finished last night. And it all gets posted tomorrow night. It took me a long time to get here (too long in my opinion, I've lost track of how many years it took) but over 460 pages later it comes to an end. It's going to feel weird going home after work and not thinking "I really need to get that page of Divine Leap finished tonight." Or worrying about my buffer of pages shrinking and wondering if I should change my update schedule.

It was quite the experience. I quickly learned just how I little I knew about making comics and how naive I was. But I definitely don't regret it, I appreciate so much of the medium that much more and made a few friends along the way.

So I'm left wondering "What now?" I've had a few ideas brewing in my head but I don't really know which one I want to tackle first. I know I don't want to take on another 400+ page comic, that's for sure. So perhaps something that fits into individual strips. Or perhaps short little 10-15 page stories. But I think first off it'll be a little bit of a break for me as I really mull over my ideas and see which one really shines for me. And perhaps I'll actually post on this blog a bit more often.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Promoting Your Webcomic

The creators of the webcomic "Smash" asked on Twitter what days work best for webcomic updates, especially if you were doing two pages per week. My advice, right or wrong, was that I find the day of updates typically doesn't matter. If people like you're work they'll check it out on days that work for you. I would point out however that updating on DrunkDuck did lead me to updating on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I had noticed Mondays and Wednesdays were particularly busy so you got bumped off the "Most Recently Updated" list on the front page. But that tended not to matter too much as less and less people went to the home page on DrunkDuck and just went straight to the comics they favourited/subscribed to/whatever. And if you're on your own website then this matters even less.

So what did work for me in terms of getting attention? Now I have to say I suck at promoting myself. Heck, I used to avoid talking about my comic here and at one point I even had the link on the right listed as something like "My crappy little webcomic..." I'm still pretty hesitant to talk about it as I actually hate people looking at how bad it was to start. But that's another story.

So again, what did work for me? Participating in the community. Commenting (and not just blindly) on other people's comics, offering constructive (and keeping them positive) comments, posting in the forum discussions (and not necessarily about my comic), taking part in forum games or networking events (Secret Santa is always a hit), doing up some fan art for others, and just being involved.

And I think to go beyond DrunkDuck I would (and did) suggest getting involved in "comic community" stuff. I'm sure the artists who work on The Line it is Drawn on CBR or in other communities for artists to show their stuff do benefit from that. Though yes, you have to make sure people don't take advantage of you and you really are benefiting from the time you spend on these things (don't get sucked in to doing art for your friend's company's website because it's "good exposure" for you, it's not). And putting up your portfolio on one site (like deviantart or something) is a good thing, promoting your art on various sites with new stuff they can't see there along with other artists seems like a good idea to me.

Now what about Twitter/Facebook/whatever? Sure, they have some benefits. Have a few followers on Twitter or a fans on Facebook, post some pictures and hope they retweet or pass them along (I tend to avoid flat out asking for retweets, but that's just me). But I don't know how many people really are actively looking on Twitter for new artists or webcomics to check out. They have the people/things they follow and periodically they find someone/something new through them but it's not guaranteed. They may see some art that gets retweeted or passed along but a lot of the time they won't look beyond that or the information about who drew it and where you can see more is lost (filtered out by someone who passed it along but didn't think to credit the source). I'm sure some people will have different experiences from Twitter or Facebook but that's just how I see it. They can be good for getting the word out but they aren't perfect and they shouldn't be all you rely on. In the end, I find they're more about engaging with the fans you have and letting them do the promoting for you.

And conventions? Well again, you'll get some people picking up a free bookmark from you or maybe buying a commission (these are comic fans after all) and that's great but just doing a couple conventions isn't going to be the end of the road. Not to mention how pricey some can be for a table. And by the way, please have something, even a cheap business card, to give to people that has your URL on it. I see too many comic/webcomic people have nothing to give out to promote their work so unless I have something to write down the URL and something that reminds me as to what the URL is by the time I get home I've completely forgotten about it.

So yeah, the way I see it, just being active in the comic/webcomic community is your best bet. If you're producing good stuff then someone will eventually notice (I hope) and it won't really matter what days it comes out.

This may not appear to help the writers out there but I'm sure if you're writing a couple webcomics and the artists of those books are out there getting attention, the webcomic and your writing will get the attention it deserves as well (at least I hope that's the case).

So any thoughts on the subject? I know I'm sort of all over the map there but am I way off base or is there a nugget of truth in there somewhere?