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Thunderchickens to return in 2010

The Thunderchickens

The Thunderchickens

Last month The Thunderchickens were riding high in Zuda’s monthly webcomics contest, but they dropped out due to some sort of kerfuffle with Chuck Harrison, creator of NewBot, another strip in the competition.

Well, it looks like both sides have made peace, based on this comic strip by Harrison and Thunderchickens artist William Blankenship. And above you’ll see that Blankenship and Chad Boudreau aren’t done with the Thunderchickens … Blankenship teased us on Twitter with the above image.

This weekend, it’s King Con Brooklyn

King Con Brooklyn

King Con Brooklyn

Here’s an event that makes me wish I lived close to New York City again: King Con Brooklyn, a comics and animation convention being held Saturday and Sunday at the Brooklyn Lyceum.

It has a great name, and boasts an impressive lineup of largely local guests, including Harvey Pekar, Al Jaffee, Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, Brian Wood, Alex Robinson, Molly Crabapple, Dave Roman, Raina Telgemeier, Kevin Colden, David Gallaher, Steve Ellis and Matt Loux.

In addition, there’s a programming schedule that includes workshops, a DC Comics/Zuda portfolio review, creator spotlights, and panels devoted to kids’ comics, European comics, digital comics, animation and Marvel’s publishing plans.

The convention will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on both days at the Brooklyn Lyceum, 227 Fourth Ave., Brooklyn.

Six by 6 by 6 | Six vampires we’d like to share a drink with

The Count

The Count

Editor’s Note: As mentioned earlier today, we’re celebrating Halloween all this week here at Robot 666. Here’s the first of six Six by 6 columns with that theme, by guest contributors Tony Trov and Johnny Zito. They are the creators of Black Cherry Bombshells, the girl-on-zombie web comic from Zuda Comics. This October saw the debut of their newest title, LaMorte Sisters, about a vampire orphanage run by strict nuns.

By Tony Trov & Johnny Zito

(In no particular order)

1. The Count

Tony Trov: The Count is a mysterious force on Sesame Street. He has these neurotic ticks that makes him really intense. The Count counts things, even when there’s just one. His math OCD makes him great at figuring out the tip.

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HIGH MOON Season Four Debuts!


This weekend marks the coming of the  Harvest Moon,  the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox.

In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but this year it occurs in October just before hunting season.

This ominous moon also signals the debut the long-awaited fourth season of the werewolf epic – HIGH MOON!

Written by myself, illustrated by Steve Ellis, and lettered by Scott O. Brown, this season brings Macgregor to the streets of London where he must unravel a hidden family curse before it claims its next victim.

After this weekend’s update, you see new pages every Monday by sundown.

Robot 6 in Long Beach

Long Beach Comic Con

Long Beach Comic Con

Okay, that’s grabbier than “Strangeways in Long Beach,” ya gotta admit.  It’s even more accurate, since this week’s guest blogger, David Gallaher, will be there as well.

Where in Long Beach?  Why, Long Beach Comic Con, of course.

It’s been a long time since the LA area had a bigger show to go to.  The last show there was in 2008, and while it made for an interesting debut and and a great place to see friends over the weekend, it wasn’t a barn-burner of an event.  I always felt that the shows put on in Long Beach far overshadowed the LA shows in terms of quality and location, and I’ve no doubt that this new show will live up to that.  Apparently Stan Lee himself will be cutting the opening ribbon, which might be fun to see.  I would love to have him sign my copy of ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS some day (indeed the book that made me a Marvel zombie so many years ago, also forming an impression of comics as books that I’ve yet to shake.)

I’ll be down at booth 63, Mr. Gallaher at booth 62 (I wonder if I can get him to swap booths with me — sentimental reasons).  I’m sure he’ll have plenty of copies of HIGH MOON to sell, as I will have plenty of copies of MURDER MOON and the limited-edition red cover chapter #1 collection of THE THIRSTY.  And don’t forget, those fabulous five minute stories will also be available for the asking.

See you there!

Digital Interface: The Ron Perazza Interview


Later this month, Zuda Comics will celebrate its second anniversary as DC’s webcomics imprint. One of the people responsible for the success is Ron Perazza, Vice President of Creative Services.

Welcome Ron.

For starters, take a moment to tell our readers who you are.

Sure. I’m the Vice President of Creative Services for DC Comics – which doesn’t really do much to describe what I do every day. In a nutshell, I’m responsible for what can very, very loosely be described as “other.” Ha! It includes everything from custom publishing (like posters for the American Library Association or LEGO’s Bionicle Comics), creative for promotions and tie-ins based on DC Comics characters (like the BATMAN BEGINS DVD menu, the SUPERMAN RETURNS/PEPSI webcomic or the SMALLVILLE animated “content wraps”) and creation of marketing materials such as convention graphics, house ads or PREVIEWS. I also oversee DC Online, which includes all of our websites, of course, but also things like the audio/video & podcasts and I’m very involved with DC Comics’ talent search, which we do at conventions. On top of all of that, I run Zuda Comics – DC Comics’ webcomics imprint. It’s kind of never the same day twice.

For those who haven’t heard about Zuda Comics, what it is all about?

Zuda Comics is DC Comics’ webcomic imprint. Basically we’re publishing comics online and then later, once there’s enough material available, collecting them as graphic novels for traditional print distribution. We take open submissions – anyone can send us their ideas and samples – but we select what we’re going to publish in kind of a unique way. On the one hand we have a traditional editorially driven selection process where the Zuda Editors (Kwanza, Nika and I) simply read, review and select what we think would be good for the site. However, in addition to that we have a competition where we put the submissions online and let the users decide. The resulting catalog is a pretty interesting mix of genre and style but I think it’s been very effective so far.

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Zudist Colony | Talking to September’s Zuda entrants



Every month since late 2007, Zuda Comics hosts a competition between webcomics, with the winner becoming a regular strip on the site. In Zudist Colony, I interview the contestants via email, asking each of them the same five questions, which hopefully gives you a little more insight into the strips and the creators themselves.

This time around I asked them to share their favorite of the eight pages they submitted to Zuda, which is the artwork you’ll see with their answers. Also, I only heard back from nine of the 10 contestants this time around.

So let’s get to it …

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

Disney and Marvel

Disney and Marvel

Business | Faculty of the Wharton School consider the benefits of Disney’s planned purchase of Marvel, and some of the obstacles the House of Mouse may face: “… Disney will need to be careful, as it integrates Marvel into its fold that it doesn’t choke off the culture of the comic book company that gave birth to the bold characters Disney now desires.” [Knowledge@Wharton]

Business | DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson discusses digital publishing, attracting new readers, and what traits she’ll look for in a new publisher for DC Comics: “A couple things, although it is very early to say too much about this. A strong, credible partnership with the editorial team that complements what they do well, and having perhaps a greater knowledge of the publishing business than I. But also a forward-looking emphasis on how we’re going to grow build the business, both in terms of physical and digital publishing. … It’s going to be a key role. I’m not looking to stick my nose in in ways that don’t add value.” [Comics Alliance]

Publishing | Alan David Doane briefly interviews Chris Ryall, editor-in-chief and publisher of IDW Publishing. [Trouble With Comics]

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Zudist Colony: Talking to the August Zuda contestants



Welcome to the second edition of Zudist Colony, which we kicked off last month.

Every month since late 2007, Zuda Comics hosts a competition between webcomics, with the winner becoming a regular strip on the site. In Zudist Colony, I interview the contestants via email, which hopefully gives you a little more insight into the strips and the creators themselves. For instance, this time around I asked them all to name their favorite strip besides their own, and the variety in their answers was pretty interesting.

So without further ado, let’s see what they said …

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SDCC ’09 | Quick notes on Thursday

Iron Man armor

Iron Man armor

• I’m currently sitting in the Image “breaking in/how to be a creator” panel, where Joe Keatinge is facilitating a discussion/Q&A session with Richard Starkings, Jimmie Robinson, Joe Kelly, Steve Seagle and John Layman (Jim Valentino had to leave early). I’m covering the Jeff Smith/Terry Moore panel that comes after it; I heard there was going to be a big announcement from Smith, and I’m hoping maybe it’s something else besides the news that broke earlier today. Which is good news indeed, but I’m wondering if that was the announcement hyped in the program or if there’s something else.

• The other panel I covered today was the Longbox panel. Man, Longbox looks AWESOME. Seriously, the demo is super slick. Rantz Hoseley also announced additional publishers for the initiative: NBM, Shadowline and their all-ages imprint Silverline, Dabel Brothers, NBM and Archaia. Also several Image creators will have their creator-owned stuff out there. Watch for a full write-up on CBR. Oh, and I got a code for the Longbox beta, for whenever it starts.

• Spoke with a lot of folks at the DC booth, including road warrior Johnny Zito, who drove here from Philly. David Gallaher, who introduced me to a lot of Zuda folks. Jeremy Love, whose Bayou is a beautiful book. Ben Caldwell showed me artwork from his Wonder Woman story in Wednesday Comics. I talked to him and Steve Ellis about how the differences in formatting affects their approach … like how drawing High Moon for Zuda is different from Ellis’s approach to his Marvel work, or how something like Wednesday Comics gives you a whole lot more space to play with, in Caldwell’s case.

• I hit the media room earlier to work on my Longbox story, and they were having a press conference in there. I wasn’t really paying attention, because there were a ton of cameras filming it so I really couldn’t see who it was. Then I realized that John Lithgow was talking, and that it was the cast of Dexter. One of the cameras moved and yeah, it was him. Then I realized I was geeking out about John Lithgow at Comic-Con, which is kind of cool.

• Oh, and lines … there are tons of lines. Did I mention the lines? Did I mention the long cattle call lines of people waiting to get into Psych and Dexter and Burn Notice panels? I waited ten minutes to cross the hallway because they had it blocked off for the Dexter line to pass. So yeah, lines, but probably not any worse than previous years.

Limited-edition prints, and a ‘secret project,’ from High Moon team

Limited-edition prints by Steve Ellis

Limited-edition prints by Steve Ellis

High Moon artist Steve Ellis shows off the lovely limited-edition diptych he’ll be selling next week at Comic-Con. The prints feature Conroy from the Zuda Comics series and … some other guy.

Meanwhile, Ellis’ collaborator David Gallaher teases the “secret project” that they’ll be previewing at their table (JJ-06) in Artists’ Alley.

What are you reading?

Prince Valiant Vol. 1

Prince Valiant Vol. 1

Welcome to another round of What Are You Reading. Our guest this week is blogger, critic, Comics Comics editor and expectant dad Tim Hodler. To find out what Mr. Hodler and the rest of us are reading this week, click on the link below. And be sure to let us know what you’re currently reading in the comments section.

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Six by 6 | Six questions with Sam Little on The Hammer

The Hammer

The Hammer

There’s nothing in the world that’s scarier than a pink bunny. Especially when he stands six feet tall, he’s from Detroit and he carries a hammer.

An international team of comics creators came together to create The Hammer, which won Zuda’s February competition. As their reward, Sam Little, Gabe Ostley, Rob Berry and Steve Steiner have launched the ongoing comic at the site this month. I caught up with Sam about the comic, which is being updated daily right now on Zuda.

JK Parkin: You guys won the February 2009 contest. So what happened between then and now, in between winning the Zuda contest and getting the strip up on the site as a regular feature?

Sam Little: Well, we’ve been steadily working on grinding out Hammer pages since before the contest even started. We decided when we first got together to do this thing that we would make a commitment to each other and complete the story regardless of whether or not we actually won the contest. It would’ve driven me crazy to just do eight pages and then let the rest of the story remain untold. Since we won, we’ve just kept at it, chipping away steadily and laying plans for the future. Besides that, all four of us have got our own solo projects and collaborations (not to mention day jobs) that have kept us mightily busy.

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Grab a 40: Andy Belanger pours a Bottle of Awesome for Zuda


Last week DC Comics’ webcomics initiative, Zuda, began dropping hints on Twitter and their blog about their next webcomic, making references to “bottles” and “awesome.” So I guess it comes as no surprise that the strip that debuted yesterday was Bottle of Awesome by Andy Belanger.

Belanger is no stranger to the world of webcomics, as his Raising Hell strip currently runs at the webcomics collective Transmission X. I spoke with him about his new strip and everything else he has going on comics related, both online and off.

JK: So what exactly is Bottle of Awesome?

Andy: Bottle of Awesome is my escape from everything I would normally do. I’m a horror aficionado, The bulk of my work thus far has been horror. Bottle of Awesome is a step in the complete other direction from that. It’s a comedy, however, dark at times. It’s me getting in touch with my high school days. I wanted to tell a story that was a throwback to all those ’80s “You can do it” films. Films like The Karate Kid, Weird Science, Real Genius and so on. I have been noticing a trend in comics where it feels like every comic is Batman. Every character is a dark brooding anti-hero with a chip on his shoulder and a set of dead parents as his motive. Comics just seem to all have the same mood and as much as my work is knee deep in it, I wanted a change. That change is Bottle of Awesome!

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Unbound: Why is this dog exploding?

from Gulch

from Gulch

For four years, before I started writing about comics, I was a reporter for a local newspaper.

I didn’t have much journalistic training, and at first, every time I filed a story, I would get an exasperated call from my editor demanding, “What is this story supposed to be about?

After a few months, I learned a simple lesson: Orient your readers to the story right away. It’s a lesson that webcomics creators should take to heart as well.

I call this the Zuda Test, because I formulated it while reviewing the comics at Zuda.com, DC’s webcomics competition site. Each month, I and my Digital Strips colleagues Steve Shinney and Jason Sigler read all ten of the comics at Zuda and discuss the pros and cons of each one.

Month after month, I found myself making the same complaint: After eight pages, I had no idea what was going on.

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