Posts Tagged ‘blogging’
Very soon i’ll be announcing
a kickstarter campaign for an upcoming project!
One of the fun aspects of it for me will be designing the hand made limited editions of the books, working with a couple of local artisan binders, Soundless Soliloquy and No Bar Code Press.
So far the broad strokes of the packaging are roughed out. Dimensions page count and cover materials. But I still have a lot of the details to handle.
I also have to come up with the packaging of Dream Life backers of my indiegogo campaign will get to very soon. That one is a trade paperback but I want to make it something visually fun and special. Pretty much have it done in my head but there are always things that come up in execution.
All this came to mind when some friends posted the following set of playful book designs on FB.
More about packaging than binding mind you, they are each a kind of absurdist literal take on the stories they wrap. The oldest is a very rare asbestos bound first edition of Stephen King’s Firestarter. Published by Phantasia Press in 1980 it originally sold for $300 each. 25 of 26 copies exist, with one ironically being lost in a fire. Recently one went on the market for $18,000! It’s quite handsome, and probably safe but still i’d probably keep it bagged just to be sure.
Equally playful and clever is this upcoming edition of 1984 from penguin, with a cover design by David Pearson. The title and author’s name are redacted with black foil!
You can still make them out, so the cover is practical as well. Making it function in a commercial context and I suspect will lead browsers even take closer notice in the effort to make out what it says. Not just being an illustration of the subject the story it contains, as a curiosity I think it’s the kind of functional design that scares the money often, but like a whisper entices you to lean in closer for a better look. Congratulations to David for being able to get that one through. It’s the kind of design that you would probably not want on a new book trying to make a mark. But for a classic like 1984, having this version is worth the bragging points probably of getting a new copy.
And the perfect book end to the asbestos bound King book, is this copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, with striking paper along its spine and its own match! Kind of asking for it but all the same, witty. From what I can tell this one is just a concept design done by Elizabeth Perez for The Austin Creative Department. But I bet it would sell as a limited run collector’s edition if they took it to market.
All three are fun incarnations of the same kind of design principles. The sort I had planned to apply to the next book. Dracula: son of the dragon.
Thanks to Zack Smith, Vinnie Bartilucci & Hans Curtis for posting these on FB and making me aware of them.
[PreS: sorry you early birds if you got surprised by the auto-play, fixed now.]
Hah, that would be just my luck, as i’m finally getting half a hang of promoting myself publishing ventures at something approaching the pace it seems to take to get anyone to take your seriously online or noticed in the torrents of updates, the game would go and change from under my feet.
Being buddhistly inclined I liked a lot of what he had to say about applying mindfulness to your work in the digital sphere. I do try to do just that as much as my mind will allow. Also think I spotted some impracticalities too. Share Jim’s concern about the narrowing of focus and echo chamber effect [something he mentioned in passing in the interview].
We will see. Agree enthusiastically with the sentiment of it, as a card carrying member of the old slow action movement I’d far rather quality of interactions trump update cycles.
Over time I do think they count more. But when you’re still one of many, and growing numbers of creators trying to raise awareness of our work, and have as eclectic a reader base it seems I have, I’m not sure how much liberty I have to choose to overly narrow band broadcast. I feel like on the edges of your media domain you need to have fairly fast moving streams to match the pace of the rest of the web, to draw in readers to your core presentation. I don’t post on the blog here rapidly. No way I could keep up with a even once daily rate that Warren thinks of as a lower gear, while maintaining a good level of quality of content, and keep on top of my artwork. Beyond the usual challenges of content creation being dyslexic makes the process of writing and proofing laborious.
But Facebook, my pages, and twitter, G+ to a degree too, I can post small bits of thought or just promote other people’s stuff – something I agree with Dean Haspiel about being a important and valuable role to play, not just as being a community builder but also being someone anyone cares to pay attention too as well. Rather than someone who only talks about themselves?
I suspect some aspects of the slow web Warren and Jeffrey talk about is in part the privileged cruising gear of those who’ve established themselves. For those that describes It makes a lot of sense to economize your efforts.
At this point I follow the feed-back, post more where I find I get responses and less where I don’t.
Never was all in for twitter, it’s always been a semi-automated branch of my blogs. Don’t have a phone attached to my hip so it was never practical for me and too much of a distraction from the drawing table.
For the moment I get far more attention to my work on Facebook than anywhere else. My computer is seldom far from me so when I brake to pace around, grab a coffee, or set up a show to half watch, I often check in and poke around, like or share something, post a bit of work i’m in the midst of.
I tried promoting a couple of posts on Facebook recently connected with RevolveЯ. They got a lot more views but I remain unconvinced if it helped all that much. I did notice that you have to watch it with that, need to look closely at how the options are laid out for you when you set up a promoted post. Seems like a default was to keep promoting and charging after the budget I had set was spent. Not sure what to make of that but I was not pleased to find I was getting charged again without first being asked. As is too often the case it feels like communicating is not FBs strong suit. Incidentally it’s been amusing to watch as twice as many people who’ve added me as a contact in the past 6 months, did so in the last week on Flickr post instagram TOS fiasco. All good, welcome to all. I was never on instagram so works for me.
Speaking of attention…
Having a hard time getting some key comics news sites to pick up my press for RevolveЯ. Others have, but a few of the key players are being tough nuts to crack. Another round of press needs to be done, hoping I can get more traction in the new year. Wondering if I rubbed some the wrong way along the line or something? For sure not really being part of the convention circuit has not helped. Last show I did was TCAF, and that just as a civilian. Ran into one former editor I once worked with who now blogs, it was kind of awkward, as is to happen at these hectic things, but has not replied to an email since?
Be nice to go to more shows and have more fluid relations with the comics diaspora at large, have a chance to build solid friendships in person. But my lack of funds aside, when am I supposed to make time for that and still draw my books, and do all the other shit we have to do ourselves these days eh? Would love to, but we have to have a successful book first. For that we need the book we have to get coverage so people know it’s there to order or buy. A dog and tail game.
Best is if the word gets out more virally, and becomes something the diaspora can’t ignore. If you’re reading this, do us a favor and check out the book if you have not already, mention it to a few someones, share it blog it and if you’d like to review it contact me about that, be glad to oblige. I have lots of visitors and followers these days but outside a core group not enough sharing what they find to get that fantastic fractal spreading pattern going yet. Needs more cowbell!
On the other hand and not to seem to only gripe, I have had some nice windfalls!
Most recently I managed to get invited onto the CBC show to do some local color run after this great doc, Graphic Chicken Soup for the Graphic Soul, by David Gutnick. Thanks to David and Maria Turner, my boss at carte blache both for putting my name in for that. I’m on with an old acquaintance, Simon Bossé, in a piece called Growing up graphic. Our parents get all the blame.
Making it a more entertaining experience than planned I got nailed by the flu about 6 hours before the interview, vomiting all over the place very suddenly and sending my poor Ange into a cleaning frenzy. Managed to clear out the pipes and get it together to do it all over the phone, thanks to some nice editing, I even sound totally coherent.
Growing up graphic: CINQ A SIX | Dec 22, 2012 | 10:36 © CBC 2012
So that’s me for the year probably. Couple more retailers on board and some new distribution channels about to come online for RevolveЯ. I’m running behind on RevolveЯ Two right now due to last minute editorial decisions on my part, and the feeling like the slow moving soft launch is progressing well, but has not reached the sweet spot for the next Minimum Effective Dose. The next book dropping and it’s associated press releases, to help crank the series forward. Taking the time to color a story and add another to make it all that much cooler, less ignorable, and put it out in January instead of this month as I had planned originally.
Keep your eyes open for a kickstarter project from me and Mark Sable too in the new year.
As work on Dream Life book one gets done i’ll be jumping directly onto a story we have planned.
Happy Holiday and a grand old new year all!
Was invited to write up some books for Robot 6′s regular piece, “What Are You Reading?”.
Decided to cover some books by friends that I had just read for awards or had been picking through over the summer. I don’t apologize for being biased.
‘Tale of Sand‘, ‘Suddenly Something Happened‘, & ‘Traumstadtdenken‘.
Multi-award winning Art and Adaptation by Royal Academy heavyweight Ramón Pérez.
Award winning packaging by Eric Skillman.
Ramón’s a friend, and it’s been inspiring to watch him become deservedly highly sought after. It may be laying it on a little thick calling this book one for the ages, but I just did. I will have no choice but to cop to being bias. But I’m confident you will agree.
A year or so ago it was while loitering around the Toronto studio he shares with the rest of the Academy gang that I first saw pages from this rather brazenly epic realization of a reputedly esoteric rich early script, by one of my all time heroes. The Muppet Man. Mr Fraggle. When he said what the spreads he was inking were for, I think I cursed under my breath for an extended period.
You could already see this was a gorgeous project. Leaning over Ramón’s shoulder when he’s working tends to be routinely rewarding, but all the more so in this case.
Reading the book myself this summer finally was an almost-unadulterated pleasure. I was initially thrown by the strange lettering phenomenon associated with old Melrose Mernly [his friends call him Sven]. But after it reoccurred a couple of times I got it, and recognized it for the bit of fun inventive surrealism it is, an echo of Henson’s own penchant for psychedelic audio phenomenon.
This book is filled with playful formalistic inventions that for me put it on par with Asterios Polyp and the like. I think many are fairly novel, but despite and often because of it, all still a fabulously smoothly reading, rolling, kinetic comic.
A race meant to take 10 minutes to Eagle Mountain takes a wrong turn into a maylay of chaos.
The large wordless sections can be pored over, but I encourage you to read it all at least once, in only the time it takes to get the story point and move on.
The ease at which you can register what has been drawn narrative wise is remarkable. Storytelling as sharp as you will find here, for a story so surreal is an impressive accomplishment. Ramon makes it look easy. I also happen to know it was completed in an impressively short time, too.
This is a jealousy inducing book. His discipline is always impressive, and it’s on full display here. What it brings to a quite recognizably worthy bit of the Henson legacy is worth every cent and minute.
You must read.
by Jimmy Beaulieu.
Translated by Kerryann Cochrane
Jimmy Beaulieu is the founder of Quebec publishing house Mécanique Générale, and an autobiographical cartoonist with a penchant for romantic angst. This was how I first encountered him.
I think it was at a Comic Jam hosted by Rupert Bottenberg, or a BD festival perhaps. He’s an extremely likable geeky guy who loves pop music, pop art and sexy ladies unabashedly. A fastidious editor and designer and easy maker of many friends.
He and a group of said friends were publishing great inventive self-published B&W comics when I first moved to Montreal. Several were even wordless so I could enjoy them without issue. I really loved checking out their latest stuff, and was always frustrated by my hopelessly poor language skills when it came to reading Jimmy’s auto bio work.
BDANG is a sub imprint of Conundrum Press, a small but prolific Canadian publishing house. Under it publisher and author Andy Brown is translating and publishing several French books
In 2010 one of them was the collection and translation of two of Jimmy’s extended works, Quelques Pelures and Le Moral des Troupes [winner of the 2005 Prix de l'Espoir Québécois], They document his life between the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. Additional pages were added to the collection, and Jimmy played with parts of the text of the second part to try to round out the story and smooth out his sophomore spots.
I’ve read it in fits, it’s got scope! Coming in at an impressive 250 pages of comics. It’s hard to read in a sitting, but perfect I think for browsing through on transit or keeping by the throne.
Jimmy adopted early an easy, fast, light-handed style of art, well-suited to a personal journal comic. It evolves visibly over the body of work, going from pleasantly naive to deceptively skillful. He often apologizes for his drawing, but I find it enjoyably expressive and his girls are adorable! Being so often the subject of his attention, this pays off for an appreciative reader. He captures people’s pantomime well. The tones and textures lend themselves to a gauzy soft focused nostalgic story about the coming of age of a shy cartoonist from Quebec City who slowly falls in love with Montreal, and moons over hot cupid-like young mothers and full-figured redheads.
There are many small gems, like one of the short, newer epilogues to act one. An entry titled ‘rocket man’ where Jim shares an internal monologue about waiting for his employer at a book fair in Autumn of 2000. Withdrawing from caffeine and suffering a night of poor sleep, on a day he marks as his 2977th of celibacy! Oh dear. He talks about the city landscape while imagining Mecha Kaiju destroying a Montreal industrial park, then that the underwear models on the billboards are there to distract him from the urban destruction. It’s subtle in execution and quite poignant.
I think one great target audience for this collection would be young adult and romance readers looking for sprawling, ranting, romantic, sometimes silly stories of transplantation. Finding love in lots of the wrong places, but finally one right. Feeling inadequate. Facing death for the first time. Raging over pop culture and ranting about popular culture. And being in love with the making of comics. I also know for a fact at least one American comics editor has confessed to having used this book to seduce a girlfriend.
Jimmy has matured a lot since this early work. You’ll find a lovely recent example of his work in Carré Rouge, a romantic fictional story set around the recent protests in Montreal, published in multiple languages online.
But this early material is still quite charming.
By Rupert Bottenberg
Rupert and I first met at a comics jam in Montreal in the ‘90s when i worked at Marvel and was chafing at constraints. Another cartoonist friend and I were talking during a NY convention, and he gave me a zine of Rupert’s, saying I should meet him. This is also when I first heard about Comic Jams, spectacular incarnations of which Rupert hosted in a svengali fashion at the time.
You may have noticed a trend in my book selections? Yes, well, it’s what I’ve been reading of late. Catching up on the work of many friends.
The title Traumstadtdenken is a German neologism, meaning “Dream-City-Thinking.” A reference to a painting by Paul Klee, “Traumstadt,” that had a significant impact on Rupert.
The book is a collection of comix, drawings and odds ’n’ ends spanning 10 years stitched together with bits of connective symbolically narrative sequences. My one complaint is that the packaging of the book seems to have been been poorly proofed, with the margin’s feeling too close cropped on some pages for my comfort.
It’s informative to know he also paints highly designed abstract art, collects and fabricates pop art sculptures and toys, and recently has been globe-hopping as a founding member of the breakout art collective EN MASSE which i’ve had the honor of being a guest member of.
Whatever he is drawing on–in a comic, on a wall or canvas–his rendering is always superbly skilled and highly graphically attractive. This book is filled with perfect cartoony chiaroscuro pages that often invite you to project your own meaning or interpretations. Rupert has always been a fan of wordless art that can be read by anyone. Several sequences here are examples of that. He provides rich symbolic visuals that suggest lots of ideas, and are just really fun to look at. There is no attempt to present an over-arching story here, page numbers are consciously dropped. There are times where narrative is very strong, a story can be found with ease. Is even clearly intended. But where words appear, it’s usually to cloud the issue and add new silly twists to things.
When I first saw his work I fell in love with his lines. We’ve shared an appreciation for improvisational doodling and abstraction. I hope more people can discover his work as I have. This collection is an excellent place to start.
You should also check out his webcomic with author Claude Lalumière, Lost Myths.
I don’t get asked to do it as often as i like,
so i’m going to talk about book design a bit now and then…
Don’t get me wrong,
I like both of these.
Was going to post about Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis on my personal Facebook profile this morning, a fascinating and scary recently diagnosed illness. But then noticed this looking up details and thought it a good opportunity to mention something i’ve observed before.
This is a great example of a lack of innovation in book design, and as a designer the value adopting habits to help both your work, and the items you are designing stand out.
So you have two titles, of very similar wording, in this case about two very different things.
One was just released November 13, 2012. One published in 2010. It seems to me a basic best practice would be to research the tittle, and see if something like it exists already, and not repeat any design notes if one does, if you can help it. Make sure one book is distinct from the other with a similar tittle? So, no red band with B&W images for Susannah should have been a no brainer…ahem. Sorry.
I suspect that didn’t happen here. Not identical of course, but so close. A bit too close branding wise and so easy to avoid with a simple google search on the part of whomever was putting the packaging together for Susannah Cahalan’s book.
Given the older book also owns the URL one would likely look up for promoting Susannah’s new book, it’s hard to imagine you would not have seen this coming either, as a publisher or author or someone on the decision making chain. So I have to wonder if it was a case of just not caring. Or maybe they did, and decided to try to get a lift from people looking for a popular self help book? I don’t know but it gives me an excuse to mention; you get a commission to do a cover? Search the title and subject and be aware of what has gone before.
Something to think about the next time you’re asked to work on a job.
Ok, with that, i did just listen to Susannah talk about her ordeal, and it’s fascinating stuff, possibly the origins of many cases believed to have been possession in the past. Listen to her talk about it here and try not to get paranoid the next time your hand feels numb.
Just because a thing has not been explained, does not mean it never will be. As a skeptic that was one of the things I came away thinking about after listening to this. A newly named disease humans have probably suffered from since there were humans, and before most likely. Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. In the past too many were probably diagnosed as mad, or possessed. 80+% of known cases have been women, and before 2002 no one new about it at all.
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness & Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements
http://www.brainsonfirebook.com/ - http://www.susannahcahalan.com/
And last, I like design so much,
I publish my own comic to get an excuse to do it.
Ok, maybe an exaggeration, might be the comics i’m more hyped about.
But it is one of the perks of putting out my own books…
How ya been? I’ve been busy, doing shows like TCAF always take it out of me.
Takes a while to get back into the routine and catch up. I warmed up by rebuilding my home web page here, like the new look. Really converted to WP in a big way [have five sites working on the platform now] and i’m loving the themes from graphpaperpress.com [this is one with a few small mods and so is this and this]. I’ve installed wpStoreCart, working on building one now, wondering what kind of things to sell? Would love to have some feed back from you all. I’ve got posters and some books to start, anyone interested in that? What other sort of things would you be interested in?
Ok, comics, comics, comics.
On Revolver, PIN CITY, with new lettering.
And that’s just to start!
The newest edition of Carte Blanche is up – I’m the graphic fiction editor there. For lucky #13 we are happy to present a special feature on CRISIS. There’s a lot of great stuff in the issue, including two excellent graphic fictions stories by some heavy hitters.
From the Eisner Award–winning creator of ‘Too Much Coffee Man’,
Shannon Wheeler, a classic gag comic, ‘Oil Spill’.
And from James Romberger, of ‘Seven Miles A Second’, ’2020 Visions’,
‘Bronx Kill’, and ‘Aaron and Ahmed’, we are very proud to present
a 16 page short story, called ‘Raymond’.
We had many other excellent submissions we couldn’t accept,
but i’m pleased to present a few of them on Sequential HERE instead!
That’s two pages of my own comics and 5 other short stories!
PS: My editor In chief says we’ve not gotten enough feed back from the comics crowd yet so if you check out the site, take a second to tell carte blanche what you think about about it by filling out their short readers’ survey.
Getting the 3rd edition of Sequential Pulp together kept me pretty busy running up to TCAF – our special limited print edition of the Canadian comics blog Sequential. It was Available exclusively in the pulp at TCAF 2011.
A big thanks to all our sponsors, with their help we made our funding goals! Sequential Pulp is essentially not for profit, we give it away for free and pay for the printing with minimum number of sponsors we can get away with – leaving most of the 32 pages for content that way. This year thanks goes to The Dragon, The Beguiling, Squidface & The Meddler, THE LISTENER by David Lester, The Doug Wright Awards, who along with Koyama Press, AdHouse Books, & Conundrum Press helped us put this years issue to press with K6C POSTCARDS.
Unfortuatly there was a small problem with the printing, the dimensions got miscommunicated, and the local intermediary didn’t follow through on requests to see a proof of the printed book so this was not caught before the day of the festival. So the free print edition we presented was a diminished 5.5″x8.5″ mini format zine rather than a full size 8.5″x11″ mag as planed. I was to say the least, disappointed about this. But other than a couple of the cartoonists who’s lettering was made almost illegible most people were pretty cool about it, few seemed to care. But all the same for myself and any one who might be interested, i’ve uploaded a file to magcloud and in a couple of weeks you’ll be able to buy a full sized version of the 32 page magazine at about cost for $6.50 + shipping. In the mean time though it’s also on issuu, so you can enjoy it here/there!
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I’ve been keeping some stuff under the hat for a bit.
A few people have known, very immediate family and a few I was dealing with at the same time this was going on so the work I was doing with them would be affected. I eluded to something being up a while back that was keeping me from posting my comic for a couple of weeks.
But seeing as I had no idea till just two days ago exactly what I was dealing with and I didn’t want to have to think about putting worried minds to rest till I had answers, or have people treating me differently–the less time I spent thinking about it myself the better for me–I chose to wait on sharing. Honestly while I’m a private person in some respects that was hard for me. I’m not one to keep stuff bottled up.
FYI if I saw you recently or talked to you and didn’t mention it, that’s because mostly I was still digesting the latest news and waiting to see how it sat before I spilled. Just know I’m good, and I wasn’t blowing smoke when I said things are well. I’m going to be fine in all likelihood, feel very good health-wise now and not down at all about this recent turn of events although it’s been a surreal ride for sure.
So to catch you up.
And maybe let you know me better then you expected to ;)
For a while i’ve had some discomfort and occasional mild pain or cramping in the groin, that I was attributing to being out of shape, too many hours at the damn desk! Like many men I didn’t give it a hell of a lot of thought, though more recently it had become more constant and I was starting to worry about it. But last year I’d been given the brush off over health concerns by doctors and was feeling less than eager to get the same again.
Then late last year a relative had one of his testes removed for what ended up being a benign tumour. But we didn’t know until after the holidays his was benign, and talking about it with my mother I was alarmed because he had similar symptoms leading up to this as I was having.
So I booked an emergency appointment–taking full advantage of the C word and news of my relatives situation on the phone with the doctors office to make sure it happened that week and not a few months later–and had it checked out. Long story short, blood tests showed nothing before the holidays, but a mass was visible in an ultrasound I had done in mid February, and a week later I had an operation to remove the affected testicle. I was given a prosthetic at the same time.
On the right here is a sketch from memory of the ultrasound image. —>
That went smooth, very, interesting experience. My first surgery. Strange to have people poking around inside you for sure.
Opted for a local/spinal and was up and out by the end of the day. It took the better part of the week resting up in bed mostly but healed up fast. At this point, other than a little tenderness on the scar things feel back to normal, better than, really. I was probably getting some wonky estrogen levels from the tumour that were making me feel off before, more hyper sensitive than usual, and made my tits hurt! :) All that is gone now and my energy seems to have spiked since. Feels great.
Two days ago I got the results from the biopsy of the tumour. The news was not as good as it was for my relative, but it was the next best. I had a classic Seminoma tumour, small (pea sized), stage 1 with no detectable vascular intrusion, and nothing appeared to have traveled up towards the vas deferens, which is good because it means it was probably still isolated to the testes. Here’s a wiki link for some more info–warning, pictures! With all these links :) And they aint sexy.
Now anything I could have had short of stage 3 would have very good odds for being curable, even stage 3 is not a death sentence.
Testicular cancer is one of the most curable today.
But this is a great scenario to have if you’re going to be dealing with this kind of thing at all.
They got it early he said, so my doctor thinks the odds are pretty good they will have cured it with the operation. I’m going in for a CT scan to check out nodes soon and everything else, we’ll know after that for sure if I’ll need any follow-up treatment. Hopefully they don’t find anything else new when they go looking! If they find nothing then I’m looking at…
-surveillance, which is on the books no matter what. I’ll be having regular CT scans for the next year or so.
-possibly a short round of localized radiation therapy targeting the lymph nodes in my back
-or two rounds of chemo.
Both are to make sure we kill off any free roaming mico-tumour cells.
On the other hand if they find anything in my CT scan, depending on what it is, I’m looking at the latter two of those for sure. Successful treatment in any case is just about certain. About 97% are cured with stage 1 Seminoma. So not benign, but at least the next best thing.
Ok, so that’s the news! Hope I’ve not freaked anyone out too much!
So I’ve had my follow up CT scan, and the news was good! My doctors want to keep and eye on my lymph nodes, they spotted one in the pelvic region they were a bit concerned with just due to it’s proximity, but at the moment it looks fine. So all clear and lucky me, no radiation or chemo! Way to go for early diagnosis and treatment.
So why post this?
Well a couple of reasons. First, to help get people to be less freaked out by this kind of cancer and cancer in general.
It’s a serious disease, for sure. But the worst thing is having an intense fear of it and not dealing with it. If you’re at risk not getting checked out will NOT protect you from anything.
And as puke inducing and harsh as some of the cures can be, they are far better than the disease.
Don’t be a wuss, if your nuts hurt get it checked out dude! And don’t be too prissy to do this
for yourself on a regular basis. Mine didn’t really show up this way but yours may.
Of course if I can help it I will be happy not to have to do chemo or radiation therapy. But I’ll be lucky to be so lucky. And far better to feel like crap for a little while then feel like death before dying.
Partly–No, really all of what has made this such a curable disease is Science and Research. So, I also want to take this opportunity to thank all the hard work that has gone into make this–really for me?–an almost painless experience.
I’m lucky in this, which is not the case for all people. But for everyone who gets it testicular cancer is now so far from the horror show compared to what it once was. The medicine is good, and thank Tommy Douglas for Canadian health care. I’ve not had to think once about financial consequences.
An immense help, that. You have no idea, unless of course you do.
Also the knowledge and resources available online are amazing. In the future I’ll try to post something more comprehensive, but these links alone were the biggest help for me.
I was interviewed by my old friend Sam Agro for his blog MOVING PICTURES last week, the post went live yesterday.
SA: Do you think the future of comics lies in digital media?
SS: I don’t think it’s the whole future, but I do think it’s a big part of it. The internet proper is a great entry point for new talent to stretch their legs, get feed back, and learn if they care to. And for more experienced creators it’s a good place to prove something publishers are normally wary of taking a risk on, like unconventional and maybe demanding approaches to pacing and plot. And building an initial interest in a project.
Also, I’ve solely promoted my work online as a comic artist and illustrator, since 1998 or so. And I’d say about 80% of my income has come from inquiries via that.
Then with the new incoming ‘App’ market we have something that may well offer a viable alternative to periodicals, and the problems of overhead and distribution the direct market is struggling with. It’s got a built in monetary stream so that solves that issue, and the new tablets, e-readers and net-books offer an increasingly comfortable reading form factor. Too early to say anything definitive about it but it’s looking pretty viable. Any problems with it I see are more questions of execution and problem solving, than innate obstacles. —>
And as editor at carte blanche I have a shop talk blog post today, catching non-comics readers up with the evolution of the medium over the last 10 years, and adressing the nomenclature of comics, sequential art, graphic novels and graphic fiction.
What I still think of as comics has been going through a time of great change and growth.
When I decided to dedicate most of my time to making them in high school, it was in part because I was being kicked out, and comics were something you didn’t need a degree in. In truth, there were no degrees to be had in comics. If you wanted to learn more about the medium, you studied art, writing, and film, and extrapolated from these different media. If you achieved a professional level of skill there was little worry about competition; I landed my first paying jobs at Marvel after just one serious attempt to get work in the early 1990s.
While I was developing my own skills out on the edges of the scene in the late 1980s, the then lone journal of comics, inventively titled The Comics Journal, called for our bastard medium to be taken seriously by critics, and urged creators to take what they did seriously in order to bring the standards of their work up to where they might merit that attention. —>
Been working though the last week of my holidays, but took the night off drawing and trying to fix a wonky wacom driver, and went to the ol’ Casa del Popolo [my first sign painting gig 8 years ago] with Ange. Watched Glass Passenger, who were foot lifting and fun.
But the night was taken by The Unsettlers [seen above in their 'cabaret' configuration] who stomped us late into the night. My second time catching the band, if they play in your neck of the woods be sure to grab someone and go see them raise the dead.
Long summer days: Would be nice if they were more spent outdoors :P Been busy coloring for tuppence most of the time the last month. Some cool drawing for a Factor Grant project with a toronto producer coming up, but it’s not going to be a summer of rest. Got some time to start penciling pages 48 to 51 over breakfast today, and do some walking.
Getting out a bit — after 3 hours of non stop coloring corrections with the Editor and Designer for this Historical book i’m working on yesterday – not a normal amount of time at the desk for me, usually try to get up and stretch at least every half hour or i fold up like an accordion — I was at the Fringe with Ange, saw Uncalled For presents: Hypnogogic Logic, and stayed around for the 13th hour.
Felt like an old man though, when the sound system drove me out with some kind of deep base house that messed my head and guts up Not that it has anything to do with nearing 40, I’ve always found excessive volume nausea inducing. But man….ouch.
The Fringe shows were awesome! Hypnogogic Logic was magical funny surreal perfect i love these guys. Ange is a huge fan, she’s successfully converted me. Go see you must. Also, i bet this book had some small part in the works or inspiration, don’t have the time to check that out but i’d guess maybe….
Comic! yes, ok.
So new Dream Life pages go up today,
you can read these last portions of chapter 2
on both Revolver, and the new TX Dream Life page.
Thats for page 39 today, with a story in the blog -
Here’s 38 site one and two,
posted with clips of me drawing part of it.
Also some jawboning about lucid dreaming there for you in the blog.
Just two more left for this dream sequence to go.
That’s right, i wanted to open the story with a nearly wordless, twenty one page dream sequence! You can see how it might have been a little hard to convince a publisher to go for that without seeing it all done :)
By the end of chapter one though, i hope to have made my case. Colored 20 last night and working on some pencils for 40-46 today.
On Facebook i just had a interaction typical of many online about, and over the IPad. Funny that i’d have an opinion about an IPad given i don’t even use a mac. But I do.
So pardon this wordy ramble.
I’m optimistic. Not converted per say, but i recognize the Ipad’s significance. There’s no denying it presents a viable way out for big segments of the print media. Not to be what they were maybe, but to be something? As a comic artist looking to improve the way i can get my work out there, i see a lot of potential in these things. And from the list of things not allowed…
…well unless i want to make porn i don’t see that affecting me too badly. I don’t really care to make porn no.
I can see how it chafes if you do, but we’re not talking about the entire digital market here. More like one outlet store chain? And I doubt the device is perfect at all. For a breakdown of the IPads flaws far more informed than i could offer, i like the thoroughness of Cory’s at boingboing – and he links to some others worth looking at as well.
Many users are going to love it just the same – but if you’re root, a creator or maker, you’re going to want more. I do.
Those with the spare $ for a IPad as a casual device will get one anyway – heck the thing can last 10+ hours on a charge and do VIOP, kicks my old N800 all to hell and that was pretty nice. If i have the spare change in the future i’m there. But it’s not going to work for everyone all the time. And i don’t think that’s their idea. That might be what YOU wanted, but not Steve. Xeni Jardin’s first blush reaction to it shows how something like this was always a great idea with a waiting and ready market. It’s clear this thing is a Win for them, and i think for me too as a comic artist and illustrator. And I think it’s going to be a perfect brick for wedging the door open on digital media devices with the same kind of practical form factor.
A market leader, a trend setter, but the long run owner of the game?
Someone finally getting the hardware this right though, is going to make the future brighter for this kind of machine. And that’s going to make any free market or speech concerns mute as more and more of these devices come into play. Eventually someone has always matched a mac with an open platform if not in market shares. It’s only a mater of time.
If you really want to push the issue of market or speech, then do it in the community and the court, and even use the device to make a statement. But don’t expect a device and it’s support infrastructure to be the root of liberalizing culture. People do that, not machines. If i draw an X rated comic in print today, i have to deal with the same things app makers are, in brick and mortar retailers all the time. And customs! I don’t hear extreme examples in the stories about Apple’s shop and if that’s all i had to contend with, i think it’s quite possible to manage a new booming market for magazines and comics there. Not saying don’t critique Steve, he does read Penthouse it seems. But lets keep it in perspective?
I don’t want shops to stop being able to have a say about what they sell on their own shelves for the sake of free speech, be they made of mater or pixels. That’s just trading intolerances.
Not even a question of capitalism to me. The change that means anything, is that of the cultural standards that inform the consumers who influence retailers.
The best way there is not in their face, but through the back door, via content they will listen to.
So i think the IStore is overblown as a censorship threat – They just reflect the middle moral ground of the american market – There lays the problem, not at apple.
And really I don’t expect to see vibrators and blow up dolls at Toys’R'us either. Or less extreme - a larger mens section in a women’s clothing store. Not going to happen is it? It’s not practical.
Apple may be chasing the largest market there is, but it’s not the whole market is it? And so? Just leaves what, 90% of what dominates the internet open to being exploited still? This is bad how? For who? And that i can go somewhere digitally and not have to wade through stuff like this? I like brick in mortar shops like that i have to say. Bit less crass is not always so bad you know. Not my favorite part of the internet exactly. Not the worst, but hey.
Hardware wise, i think the Ipad is a case of low hanging fruit, and they were able to pick it first with the usual apple flair. The touch screen tech and limitations in thinking regarding interface were holding tablets back the last 10 years – geeks loved keyboards, Gates only just flipped on the question – but since before Star Trek sleek slate computers have always been a dream desire. And because of that this has been one of the more thoroughly explored format ideas. We’ve had our model T and a few more since. The larger hybrid tablet laptops and IPhone have both explored the possibilities here more than tentatively. So while the reality of it may be a little mind blowing, it’s not quite something all together new.
The control Apple exerts over it is pretty fragile too. More of an evelitonay influence than a regime. The Iphone OS being the system means not just a built in sweet of apps from the smaller cousins ready to go out of the gates.
It also means the Ipad is all but already hacked 6 ways to Sunday. There are going to be keen geeks who will train their little tablets to dance and say mama just for the bragging rights.
More than a few companies are cracking the technical problems of battery life, leaner OS’s, and touch based interfaces with different approaches. Others with less interest in tightly controlling content, or even having a ‘store’ will be the rest of the market in the long run – Apple itself is bound to come up with a souped up pad running OS X, the HP Slate specs and price point almost guaranties it. Why leave that part of their less casual market completely unexplored?
The IPad looks to me like a fantastic dynamic proof of concept you can own today – sounds like a sales pitch don’t it?
But i have to roll my eye’s when the drama gets overplayed. Some rather intense arguing going on about it from what I’ve seen. From the Coming of the Tablet to dark talk of Fascism and Monopoly, like they have already cornered and own the market or something? The market is still just being invented here – I think they are still just one player with fairly modest goals in terms of what they want this device and it’s a 1.0 for them.
It’s a cheep stripped down version of what’s to come, that has a pretty secure income stream built in – and that IS something people have been wanting. It looks like it does what it said it would do really really well. Most people will be able to afford to take one for granted.
But i’d put money on Cory being right. That the real fun is going to be the open format versions of what follows. Where we will really see what tablets can do. Simply because that is where the experimentation is naturally going to be.
That the IPad is such a ‘perfect’ performing little bastard will make the game all the more fun. Like the left needed Bush, geeks need IBM and Apple’s to retaliate and one-up against. Working so well, the first thing hardcore users will see are all the things it might do, once cracked. :)
Apple will likely continue to be good at offering luxury goods to people who don’t really care much about or want to know how it operates unless that = simply. I’m not being condescending, many believe in and pursue push button convenience and the freedom to conform. I don’t think it’s that they are incapable of more. No. Being lazy is a state of mind, not of nature. I’ve been lazy and so have you. Question is just how lazy and when. And then Apple has you covered in the modernist clean inoffensive style of the minimal. The slickest of cutting edge recycled electronic goods. For now, for that game – they are the Kings of it – all hail apple.
Whatever, I converted to a home built PC in the 90′s and never looked back yet. :P
But as a content provider, when it comes to a broadly commercially viable comics market, taking root ‘online’ POST collector era that will support a salary? In a post pirate bay world? it’s a good platform to start with i’m going to bet.