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Start reading now: The Abaddon

Koren Shadmi’s new webcomic The Abaddon is only up to Page 8, so it’s a good time to start reading, and it passes my eight-page rule: I really want to know what happens next. The action seems a little slow — it starts with a prospective roommate looking at an apartment — but there’s something slightly off about the whole thing, which makes it intriguing. Shadmi’s art is sweet and easy to look at, with a limited palette of brick red and dull blue that would be difficult for a lot of artists to pull off. The comic updates on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Via Scott McCloud, who mentions something I appreciated as well: The comic is in a “web-friendly” format. Actually, it fits very nicely into my browser; not only is it horizontal, but the presentation is sleek and uncluttered, with everything hidden except the title and the navigational aids. It’s classy and elegant and makes the comic the most important element on the page, something that should be obvious but that seldom happens in practice.

Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Nook Color

Digital publishing | As expected, Barnes & Noble on Tuesday unveiled its Nook Color e-book reader, priced at $249. The 7-inch LCD touch tablet runs on the Android 2.1 operating system, and offers web browsing, audio and video playback, and basic games (CNET notes that Barnes & Noble is pushing the device as a “reader’s tablet”). The device ships on Nov. 19. [CNET, Salon, paidContent]

Internet | PayPal has announced its much-anticipated micropayments system, with Facebook and a number of other websites lining up behind it. PayPal describes the new product, available later this year, as an “in-context, frictionless payment solution that lets consumers pay for digital goods and content in as little as two clicks, without ever having to leave a publisher’s game, news, music, video or media site.” Scott McCloud is quick out of the gate with reaction: “This is so close, in almost every respect, to what we were asking for over a decade ago, it’s almost eerie. They’re even using the same language to describe it.” [TechCrunch]

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Scott McCloud defends (some) motion comics

It's a comic about drinking, OK?

Scott McCloud has posted an example of an animated comic, Vincent Giard’s bol, that works pretty well, along with a brief explanation of how motion comics can work:

The best way I’ve come up with to explain it is that looping animation (and sound, for that matter) still communicate a static span of time. If panel 2 clearly comes after panel 1 and before panel 3, it still feels like comics, even if panel 2 is a short loop of some sort.

It’s a good point, and in this case, the motion gets more and then less pronounced as the comic goes along, so there is a progression to it. Scott says,

The point isn’t whether or not we want to give it a particular label or not, but whether a given comic works as storytelling. Does it feel whole? Can we lose ourselves in the reality of the strip? And in this case, I’d say yes.

I agree that the animation fits the story, but looking a the comic as a whole is a bit like trying to read a comic printed on a bowl of Jell-O.

100-page preview of Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection

Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection

Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection

HarperCollins has posted the first 100 pages of Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection by Scott McCloud

“I remember when Understanding Comics was first published in 1993 and Kitchen Sink sent me to a trade show to promote it. We’d sent out mailings, we’d taken out ads, but the best promotion for the book we ever did was simply handing out a thousand copies to retailers,” McCloud writes on his blog. “Covers sell comics. Ads sell comics. But nothing sells comics better than the comics themselves.”

Scott McCloud has relaunched his Web site …

From 'The Right Number'

From 'The Right Number'

… and he’s got a lot of cool comics up for your viewing viewing, including his Google piece and his ongoing story, The Right Number.

Talking Comics with Tim: Jeet Heer, Part II with Kent Worcester

A Comic Studies Reader

A Comic Studies Reader

If you have not read the first part of my interview with Jeer Heer, follow this link. In this second part, the email exchange branched out to include Kent Worcester. Worcester, an associate professor of political science and international studies at Marymount Manhattan College, has collaborated with Heer on two books, co-editing 2004′s Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium and (more recently) 2008′s A Comics Studies Reader. We discuss both books. My thanks to Heer and Worcester for their time.

Tim O’Shea: Would you ever consider preparing a revised edition of 2004′s Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium? How has your perspective changed–looking at the 2008 critical landscape in comparison to your 2004 view of the medium?

Kent Worcester: Yes, we have considered preparing a revised edition of Arguing Comics. There are at least a few essays on comics by major twentieth century intellectuals that we overlooked the first time around. A second edition would allow us to not only incorporate new material but also to expand the discussion in the introduction concerning the relationship of comics-oriented discourse to larger cultural conversations. I would very much appreciate having the opportunity to strengthen our underlying argument, which is that debates over comics are central to the so-called “culture wars” that have been a defining feature of American politics for many decades.

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