webcomics Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Eyeing the Eisners: a look at the 2014 nominees

The Oatmeal

The Oatmeal by Matthew Inman

One of my favorite times of the year is here: the announcement of the nominees for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. I love poring over each category to look for surprises, seeing books I never heard of or never got a chance to read. I guess when you get right down to it, I love getting to celebrate awesome comics.

It seems that with each year, the Eisners get better at reflecting the comics art form and industry at that moment. The judges not only hit the fan favorites and critical darlings, but also unexpected choices and hidden gems that truly benefit from this kind of recognition. It’s where quality instead of sales rule, as it should be for an award recognizing the very best of the industry.

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Comics A.M. | What Amazon-comiXology deal means (and what it doesn’t)

Amazon buys comiXology

Amazon buys comiXology

Digital comics | In today’s Amazon-acquires-comiXology article, Rachel Edidin deflates much of the hype, and the panic, surrounding the deal, pointing out that comics distribution is already a monopoly, large corporations already run the comics market, and comics have been available on Kindle all along: “Is the concern [...] a distribution monopoly? If so, the direct market is in no position to criticize: over the last 15 years, Diamond Comics Distributors has consumed almost all independent print distribution in comics, and dictates practices and policy to retailers and publishers alike. The idea that print comics are somehow more independent than their digital cousins — or a scrappy underdog fighting the good fight against evil corporate profiteers — is frankly ridiculous.” [Wired]

Awards | Michael Cavna talks with Kevin Siers of the Charlotte Observer about winning the Pulitzer Prize in cartooning. [Comic Riffs]

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The webcomics documentary that’s actually about the funny pages

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The mission statement for Stripped!, a documentary by Dave Kellett (Sheldon) and Frederick Schroeder, is about forging a common history between webcomics and newspaper funnies. Not comic books, interestingly. I suppose that makes sense, as the most popular webcomics (xkcd, The Oatmeal and Penny Arcade) most closely resemble the four-panel forebears. It’s starting to become standard practice, by the way, to refer these sort of webcomics as “gag-a-day” or “short-form.”

Still, it’s a delight to explore this oft-neglected corner in the world of sequential art. The days of the celebrity cartoonists like Milton Caniff and Al Capp are long past, as depicted in archival footage where they were treated as major celebrities on early TV shows. However, the list of interviewees for Stripped! are still recognizable industry titans: Lynn Johnston. Jeff Smith. Greg Evans. Jim Davis. Mort Walker. Cathy Guisewite, who hilariously has the letters “AACK” hanging in her home. And one name that brings the directors to the point of fanboy glee, Bill Watterson … the first time he’s allowed his voice to be recorded. (Charles Schulz may no longer be with us, but his influential presence looms over the entire documentary.) It’s wonderful seeing the faces of the creators behind so many iconic characters. They gather here to reminisce, sharing crude doodles drawn as a child, their cherished influences, and the highs and lows of working under the syndicate system.

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‘Homestuck’: A world without word balloons

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You’ve seen them, I’ve seen them.

The last time was at Pacific Place during Emerald City Comicon, where I spotted someone with a handmade plushie of a puppet. In Portland, I saw them at a place that sold  fried elephant ears. For the most part, they wear what look to be orange-striped carrots on their heads, and they’re responsible for the upswing in sales of light-gray makeup.

If you ever wondered who they were, they’re the Homestuck fans, followers of a webcomic of such sheer immensity that it has, without irony, been compared to Ulysses by none other than PBS. There’s a difference, however: I have actually read all of Homestuck. With Ulysses, I pretty much stalled 63 pages in to Chapter 1. It’s hard to relate to bored white dudes lamenting about Ireland and whatnot. On the other hand, it’s pretty easy to relate to video-game gags.

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Comics A.M. | Political cartoon removed from Revolution News Facebook page

from the Revolution News cartoon

from the Revolution News cartoon

Political Cartoons | Facebook has removed an article from the Revolution News Facebook page, issued a warning to the owners of the page, and banned one admin for 12 hours, apparently because the article included a cartoon by Carlos Latuff that “violated community standards.” The cartoon shows Death pulling a skeleton from the grave; the skeleton has a swastika on its skull and is wrapped in a Greek flag, a reference to recent neo-Nazi activities in Greece. [CBLDF]

Comics | The Edmonton, Alberta police department has created a digital graphic novel about Alex Decoteau, the first Aboriginal officer in the department. Decoteau was also an Olympic runner and was killed during World War I at the age of 29. [CBC]

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Grade-school grudges go galactic in ‘Starpunch Girl’

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With more power comes more problems. Just ask Starpunch Girl, who’s in the middle of a battle to free her enslaved homeworld from the Black Hole Army. And leading that army is Blackhole Boy, a rival who going all the way back to grade school. Creators S.D. Lockhart and Narm started the series as a webcomic, and now they’re turning to Kickstarter to help fund a 90-plus page print edition.

Described by Lockhart as a “full-color cosmic comic creation featuring surrealistic characters and intense action sequences,” Starpunch Girl is looking to raise $1,000 by April 27 to print a book collecting the 18 pages already released online plus more than 75 pages of additional story. As rewards for backers, they’re offering interesting extras including a soundtrack for the series, a custom plush doll, as well as an appearance in an upcoming page of the series.

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National Cartoonists Society reveals 2013 Reuben nominees

"Daredevil," by Chris Samnee

“Daredevil,” by Chris Samnee

The National Cartoonists Society has announced the divisional nominees for the 68th annual Reuben Awards. They join the finalists for the Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year Award — Wiley Miller (Non Sequitur), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Hilary Price (Rhymes With Orange) and Mark Tatulli (Heart of the City, Lio) — revealed in late February.

The winners will be announced May 24 at the annual NCS Reuben Awards dinner in San Diego.

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Gallaher, Ellis take ‘The Only Living Boy’ to the web

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David Gallaher and Steve Ellis, who worked together on Zuda’s High Moon, comiXology’s Box 13 and Marvel’s The Winter Guard, are taking their self-published creation The Only Living Boy to the web.

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Houghton Mifflin to publish Randall Munroe’s ‘What If?’

munroe-what-ifHoughton Mifflin Harcourt has announced the Sept. 2 release of Randall Munroe’s What If?: Serious Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, based on the popular blog by the xkcd cartoonist.

Launched in July 2012, the blog features Munroe, a former NASA roboticist, answering hypothetical physics- or math-related questions — for instance, “How much Force power can Yoda output?” or “What if there was a robot apocalypse?” — with the help of infographics and the cartoonist’s signature stick figures. The book will include a blend of new questions and answers and old favorites.

“As I’ve sifted through the letters submitted to What If every week, I’ve occasionally set aside particularly neat questions that I wanted to spend a little more time on,” Munroe explained this morning. “This book features my answers to those questions, along with revised and updated versions of some of my favorite articles from the site. (I’m also including my personal list of the weirdest questions people have submitted.)”

The 320-page hardcover is available for preorder.

Comics A.M. | More details surface on Kadokawa’s manga app

ComicWalker

ComicWalker

Digital comics | Casey Baseel has more details on Kadokawa’s new digital manga service ComicWalker, which will launch on March 22. The service will include a mix of original comics and manga that are currently serialized in Kadokawa’s magazines, such as Shonen Ace. The comics will be available in English and Chinese as well as Japanese, although initially just 40 will be translated. Kadokawa hopes to add French translations as well, to bring in readers in France and French-speaking Africa, which is not well served by manga publishers right now. The first three chapters of each series will always be available for free; collected editions will be available online two weeks after print publication and will remain available, for free, until the next volume comes out. The idea is clearly to use digital to entice people to buy the volumes in print, and to draw new readers to older series, Kadokawa is adding color pages to the classics Mobile Suit Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion. [Japan Today]

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Namco Bandai pulling plug on ShiftyLook

wonder momoShiftyLook, the Namco Bandai webcomic platform designed to revive dormant vide0-game characters, is closing, about two years after its debut.

“The idea was to take the unused, ‘sleeping’ video game characters of our past and bring them back first with webcomics, and then – once they had gotten enough traction – expand into other media like web animation, games, and merchandise,” Cory Casoni, ShiftyLook’s head of marketing, explained today on the website. “I’m happy to say that we’ve done this with Wonder Momo, Bravoman, and some other very cool characters [...] That said, now that we have successfully revived so many franchises, the heavy lifting is completed – and so is our work. We battled the video games abyss and won, which means it’s time for us to move on and let the hit-makers play with some new toys.”

Launched in March 2012, ShiftyLook featured such creators as Ryan North, Jim Zubkavich, Christopher Hastings, Ben McCool, Dean Haspiel and Hitoshi Ariga working on classic properties like Wonder Momo, Dig Dug, Galaga and Bravoman.

Wonder Momo, which Casoni characterized as ShiftyLook’s “star franchise,” is being developed as a game by WayForward Technologies.

Casoni details all of the dates for the closing at ShiftyLook.com; the website will no longer be updated as of March 20, and the servers will shut down on Sept. 30.

Taiyo Matsumoto and Emily Carroll win Cartoonist Studio Prize

"Out of Skin," by Emily Carroll

“Out of Skin,” by Emily Carroll

Taiyo Matsumoto and Emily Carroll are the recipients of the second annual Cartoonist Studio Prize, presented by The Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies.

The two were selected by The Slate Book Review editor Dan Kois, the faculty and students of CCS and this year’s guest judge, Chris Butcher, manager of The Beguiling in Toronto and co-founder of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Each winner receives $1,000.

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Life (and life and life) after death in Jason Shiga’s ‘Demon’

demon-teaser

Jason Shiga, the creator of the innovative Meanwhile …, the creepy Fleep and the super-cool Bookhunter, has kicked off another webcomic called Demon. The story thus far revolves around a man trying to kill himself, but with each attempt he ends up waking up afterwards without any explanation as to why it didn’t work.

Shiga, who recently served as a judge for the Ignatz Awards, explained that the submissions for the webcomics category overwhelmed him.

“It felt like being hit by a tidal wave of comics and subsequently drowning to death,” he wrote. “To read every page of every webcomic that was sent to me would literally be a life’s work. It was a truly humbling experience to learn that what I thought of as comics was in fact just a small crumb in the vast expanse of the comics universe. I hadn’t really felt that way about the comics medium since walking into a shojo manga store in Japan 10 years ago.”

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Comics A.M. | Pioneering comics journalist Bhob Stewart dies

Bhob Stewart

Bhob Stewart

Passings | Comics journalist and commentator Bhob Stewart died Monday at the age of 76. Stewart kicked off his career in 1953, at the age of 16, by publishing an EC fanzine; the following year, as Carol Tilley documented in a recent talk, he sent a copy to anti-comics crusader Fredric Wertham, along with some tart commentary. Stewart went on to become an influential voice in the conversation about comics; he wrote several books, taught classes at the School for Visual Arts, and curated the first exhibit of comics art in a major American museum. Heidi MacDonald credits him with inventing both Wacky Packages and the term “underground comics.” [The Beat]

Editorial cartoons | German cartoonist Burkhard Mohr has apologized for a cartoon depicting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with a hooked nose, an image that critics said was reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. The cartoon appeared in the early editions of the Munich newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, but Zuckerberg’s face was replaced by an empty hole in later editions. “I’m very sorry about this misunderstanding and any readers’ feelings I may have hurt,” Mohr said. “Anti-Semitism and racism are ideologies that are totally alien to me” [ABC News]

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Meet the next Avengers franchise: the fan-made Avengers UK

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Marvel’s Avengers have grown from a single team to a full-blown franchise, with early spinoffs like West Coast Avengers giving way to the current crop, which sports modifiers like “New,” “Mighty,” “Young,” “A.I.” and even “World.” But some U.K. fans felt at least one version of the Avengers was missing … so they made their own.

Avengers UK is a “‘just for fun non-profit’ fan-based fiction,” where a group of Marvel’s British-based heroes unite to fight evil. According to writer/artist Darren Wilson, in Avengers UK you can “see spectacular battles, amazing abilities and standards of queuing up in a way that only residents of the U.K. can truly achieve (except maybe not the last one)!”

As seen above, the primary Avengers UK team is Captain Britain, Pete Wisdom, Dark Angel and Motormouth, although the comic has teased other members — both memorable and arcane in Marvel and Marvel UK continuity.

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