Five Reasons to Read Freelancer

Freelancer

Freelancer is a webcomic by Martin Kirby that updates every Monday. It’s a sci-fi story, and focuses on Elena Daniels’s attempts to break into the world of Freelancing – which as far as I can tell is some sort of mercenary work, and sometimes (but not always) involves plenty of adventure. There’s definitely a Firefly-like vibe, which I am very okay with. The main draw is Kirby’s awesome artwork, but there’re five other excellent reasons why you should check it out! So read on! Read More

[Kickstarter Ahoy!] Dirty Diamonds, Skies of Fire, Tiki P.I. & Table Titans

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Dirty Diamonds is an all-girls comics anthology co-edited by Kelly Phillips and Claire Folkman. The goal is to give the women of comics an outlet dedicated to telling their stories. So far there have been four issues/volumes, each focusing on a different theme (alcohol, jobs, travel, and break-ups). Artists from around the world have contributed to these, plus in 2013 all four volumes were included in the permanent comics collection at the Library of Congress.

The fifth issue aims to be the most ambitious yet, featuring 32 artists from six different countries and over 100 pages. Its focus will also be on comics, specifically on the memorable moments in the creator’s comics experiences. In order to fund the printing of 500 books, as well as recompense the many artists, Kelly & Claire have taken the project to Kickstarter. Hitting stretch goals would see both the level of recompense and the print run increase.

Assuming the Kickstarter failed the creators wouldn’t be paid, and the print run would be considerably smaller. Success, on the other hand, would increase the reach of the anthology, which seems a worthy endeavor. To that end I have pledged $35, which gets me a print copy of the current issue plus digital copies of the first four. You can get the PDF for just $10, and a print copy for $20, which is all pretty standard. You can also get anything from original art, to an editorial consult, or even naming rights for the Dirty Diamonds mascot.

If you’re looking for a good project to help fund, this is an excellent choice, and it surely needs your help. This may be Kelly & Claire’s first stab at Kickstarter, but they have already published four issues successfully on their own, and should have a pretty good grasp on the business side of things. In short, a project with minimal risk, and a variety of creative voices! Check it out! Read More

[Kickstarter Ahoy!] Bold Riley, Down with the Ship & Here, Tanner Jones, and House Party

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It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, mostly because I didn’t want to go broke backing a ton of these. Alas here we are again! First up is The Legend Continues in Bold Riley: Unspun, which is the creation of Leia Weathington, whom you may have heard of thanks to Smut Peddler or the upcoming queer sci-fi/fantasy anthology Beyond. Bold Riley is the story of a young princess, who renounces her claim to royalty and goes off to explore the world of Coin – naturally adventure ensues.

The first volume has released in 2012, and now funds are being raised to cover the costs of the second volume. You can acquire both through the kickstarter, digitally or in print, plus original art and stickers. Jonathan DaltonZack Giallongo, and Joanna Estep will be handling the art, and several other artists are chipping in pinups. Risk wise, I think the association with the very successful, and also kickstarted, Smut Peddler speaks quite well. Also, half of the book is already finished. Finally, the project has already been funded with nine days to go, and we’re in stretch goal territory. If you want to read a comic featuring an awesome female lead, this is your thing! Read More

The Problem With Eric Stephenson, Bill Watterson’s 1989 Speech, and the Future of Comics!

ComicsPro

Two things happened recently that set me on the path to writing this post. The first was Eric Stephenson’s speech at ComicsPRO 2014, the second was getting to see Dear Mr. Watterson recently, and learning about Watterson’s equally inflammatory speech from 1989 at the Festival of Cartoon Art. Yes, that second one is almost as old as I am, and yes Watterson and Stephenson have little in common beyond essentially working in the same industry. However, both speeches in their way highlight what is needed for the art form to continue growing – regardless of how much I may disagree with some of Stephenson’s finer points – and that is new content.

First of all, while I do agree with Stephenson’s greater point, I disagree with some of the finer points, and specifically how he goes about making these points. It’s worth remembering that his stake is not that of a creator, but rather that he is the Publisher of Image Comics. In case you’re wondering what that means it’s answered in the Image Comics FAQ:

“Publisher Eric Stephenson personally reviews every proposal. When he finds one he likes, it is passed around to the office staff for their input. The proposal is then reviewed at [their] weekly staff meeting.”

In short it’s his job to decide what Image will publish, but also (I’m sure) select those things that will make money – lest we forget, they are a business. So that’s the rub isn’t it? As much as he can attack other publishers for abusing cheap tricks to make money, his end goal is ultimately the same. Good intentions don’t put food on the table. So, while he may want to sport the mantle of savior, of someone speaking the good word of new content, he is in fact primarily trying to make Image the number one comic-book publisher. Any other seemingly altruistic intentions aside, the core is fairly pragmatic.

On the other hand, more than two decades ago Bill Watterson hit the same nail on the head, did so better, and with less ulterior motives. His concern was just that of an artist and storyteller seeking to retain control over his creations. It wasn’t to promote himself by taking shots at the competition. He only sought to motivate other creators to do their best work, and thus improve the whole art form. Read More

[Smudge! Expo 2014] A Great New Event! Plus We Were Pirates, and Dear Mr. Watterson

Smudge

Yesterday I attended the very first Smudge! Expo, and I hope that it will be the first of many. It was a lovely and very creator focused show, the kind we need more of, especially as the big conventions grow into larger and larger media spectacles. The expo is the creation of comic creator Matt Dembicki and event manager Tina Henry, and was hosted at Artisphere in Arlington, VA (an excellent venue, by the way). The whole thing lasted from noon until 6pm, and featured exhibitors and great programming both in terms of presenters and classroom-like workshops. At 7:30 it was capped by a screening of Dear Mr. Watterson, which also included a short performance by We Were Pirates, who composed the score of the documentary. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience, and only wish it had lasted longer than just a single day – an in depth description of my day-long venture follows below. Read More

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