May 31st, 2013 | comics talk

I haven’t been to Study Group Comics in an age.  Last night, I found BLANE THROTTLE by Ben Duncan, a new webcomic there, and… no, I have no fucking idea.  But it’s pretty, and funny, and odd.  Good enough for me.

Webcomic TIN CAN FOREST Releases A T-Shirt

May 31st, 2013 | comics talk

The crazy people behind TIN CAN FOREST have released this shirt into the wild, at around $30 Canadian.  I greatly love their comics and illustration work: presumably a few shirt sales will help them keep the lights on.

KICKSTARTER: Lady Sabre & The Pirates of the Ineffable Aether

May 6th, 2013 | comics talk

I missed this earlier, due to being out of the house and nobody emailing to tell me it was going live today.  I’m looking at you, Greg. 

LADY SABRE is a very entertaining webcomic by Greg Rucka & Rick Burchett.  Sky-sailing 19th Century spy-privateers from Cascadia?  Read a bunch of it for yourself, for free.  The team are Kickstarting the collection, digital and physical versions.  Please take a look at their Kickstarter campaign.  Greg’s a writer I have great admiration for.

Thrillbent And The Embeddable Comic

April 19th, 2013 | comics talk

Thrillbent, the digital comics portal from Mark Waid and John Rogers, has come up with something interesting.  They’ve made all their comics serials embeddable via iframe.  Just click on the “Embed” link under each of their comics, and it pops up a small page with the code.  Resize the page, and the code will respond, so that the comic’s width becomes exactly what you require.  Below is the first episode of John Rogers & Todd Harris’ ARCANUM, at 640px.

Iframe won’t work in Tumblr, due to Tumblr’s failure to foresee the usefulness of such a thing, which is both a great shame and, I am given to understand, being worked on.  But it should work in most other places.

Whether this functionality is late or early depends on your views about blogs.  And, obviously, I’ve been barely present here for a few weeks, myself.  But it would seem to me, for a still-nascent operation like Thrillbent, that anything that may make it easier to get eyeballs on the work is a good thing.  And if this leads to at the very least some subviral form of syndication for people’s favourite Thrillbent comics, then all the better.

On FREAKANGELS, we had an “RSS Window", a piece of embed code that automagically loaded up the first panel of each week’s new comic with a link to the full episode, inside a Flash widget.  Thrillbent’s thing is much better.  I wish we’d had it then.

THE PRIVATE EYE: Leaving Comics Publishers Behind

March 19th, 2013 | comics talk

Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin have released the first instalment of a new comics serial as pay-what-you-want digital downloads.  It comes in PDF and two standard comics-reader formats, in English, Spanish and Catalan versions.  The page size appears to approximate half of a European comics-album format page.  That gives the landscape orientation you see in the image above, falling in with what seems to be the new standard in a certain wing of digital comic.  I wrote a bit about that last year.

They’ve set up shop at Panel Syndicate, with the strong suggestion that, should this first episode go over well (and five minutes after I tweeted the link this morning, their PayPal back end seized up from transaction velocity, so I’m guessing they’re okay), they’ll be doing more projects through this portal.

There is no reason why any number of comics companies could not have been funding, facilitating and producing this kind of original creator-owned comics work on the net two, three, five years ago.  There is no reason why any of them could not have been absolutely bullish about driving this –- except that they just didn’t want to.  So it remains something that happens in fits and starts, done DIY by the creators.

Brian would tell you that he is absolutely not leaving comics publishers behind, I’m sure.  And, you know, he’s clearly not.  Except that any of the publishers he works with should have come to him with this distribution idea two years ago, because it’s that fucking obvious.  And because they didn’t, he and Marco had to do it themselves.

Brian and Marco suggest 99 American cents for this first, substantial episode of THE PRIVATE EYE – a social science fiction story about privacy, with a classical detective-fiction engine.  But pay what you want, if you like the sound of it.  (I gave them a fiver.)