Introducing Terence MacManus

Quick, without combing through the archives when was the last time we had a new Contributor on the site? Drawing a blank? Yep, me too. That’s why I’m so excited to introduce Terence MacManus as the newest member of our staff. Besides having the same last name as my previous manager he has a lot of good things going for him.

  • Long-term listener (although saying 2010 is old makes me feel even older)
  • Starting a career as a professional writer
  • Good background knowledge of webcomics (though he admits it’s not as good as Steve’s)
  • Had his own webcomic
  • Co-hosted a few episodes for the Webcomic Beacon

Let’s all give him a warm welcome as he sharpens his metaphorical writing teeth. Following (technically it will show up before) this announcement will be his first contribution to the venerable site that is our beloved Digital Strips.


Rampage Network’s 7th Anniversary Contest

Is there anything better than a contest? This time Mr. Hernandez is taking a completely new approach. Taking advantage of the newest technology combined with an interesting experiment we’ve got a twitter contest! Now I’ve been one of those people who has had twitter since the beginning but never took advantage of it. But I can imagine that if just one person picks up on my Rampage tweet news of this contest can spread like wildfire. I like it! Here’s the announcement from the host site:

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Synaptic Digital, Reviews, 3000, and Help

It’s been a whirlwind of a few weeks with a lot happening offline. It’s so busy I’m falling behind on the strip in our adventures. Maybe I’ll finally have some time this next weekend? On to the news!

Found this little tid bit about Kurtz creating two exclusive animations for Picross 3D, to highlight it’s fun and unique game-play. Nintendo worked with Scott Kurtz to use Flipnote Studio, a free application for drawing a series of images using the Nintendo DSi touch screen to create custom animations.

Next are some reviews. Since I’ve been out of it for a couple of months I feel like hearing news about Awkward Zombie is like hearing about an old friend. That’s why I enjoyed coming across this review of it by Spwug. Ok, it’s not so much a review as gushing praise but it does piont out some good parts. Another entry in TWO’s One Punch Reviews is a mention of the The Intrepid Girlbot. There’s just enough information given to make me click on links, especially since it’s been so long since I found a good dialogue free comic.

Sheldon reached 3000, Huzzah! Yeah, there’s no way I would even dream of creating a comic to last that long. DSA is slated to last 5 seasons (albiet at it’s current pacing that would take 10 years) so I can image about as far as a 1000.

Then there was a whole bunch of helpful little posts around the interweb about how to make a webcomic or just what not to do. Forgive me if I don’t read them because at this point the formula is pretty much laid and all you have to do is follow it.


Voorwerp, E.K. Weaver, Class, and Crackdown 2

Once again the Inbox is flooded and my life is keeping me from getting you the juicy news on time. Painting your place can take forever if you’re not taking time off. Guess that’s why I’m giving it until the end of August to do everything.

Found this Voorwerp project going on. In the summer of 2007, a young Hanny van Arkel was classifying galaxies for the Galaxy Zoo project when she saw a strange colored blob of gas. ”What is the stuff?” Her simple question started her and a global team of astronomers on an adventure of discovery that would take them around the world and even into orbit. Beyond simply dates and data, a proper story needs a story teller to weave the content into something compelling to read. This is where you come in. This project wants to take the facts and figures of finding the Voorwerp, and in collaboration with a community of writers, create a webcomic.

Every once in awhile we come across a new webcomic (The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal) that shouts to be notice. I haven’t had a chance to read through the strip but I did scan the art, and I was truly impressed. I haven’t seen a comic this well illustrated since Templar, Arizona. How did I come across it? An interview with it’s creator E.K. Weaver. The interview doesn’t do more than give talking points but it’s nice to know one can create beautiful art with a simple mechanical pencil.

I completely dropped the ball on this one but it needs to mentioned. Back on June 6th the Brooklyn Artists Gym offered a Webcomic Class. It was on June 6th, enter the ever-expanding world of webcomics. Bring your vision to this one-day workshop and create a one- to two-page comic designed to go online. You will learn the history of this complex new genre, plus the tools and tips to get your comics seen by the biggest audience in the world.

In this ongoing series of one day workshops, writer Zane Grant and artist Deepak Ananthapadmanabha (I actually think I worked with this guy…) gave a crash course in the world of graphic novels. I don’t know if this is a series of workshops or all in the three hour 2-5pm time slot. It was supposed to focus on graphic fiction: hero books, autobiography, novels, cartoons, webcomics, etc. Learning how to think in terms of sequential art, plan artwork, and weave a compelling narrative into the images. Touch on pitching work to publishers, and discuss what it means to be a professional cartoonist. Wonder what the results were?

My alerts have been buzzing about this new ‘web comic‘ from G4 about Crackdown 2. First, how in the world are these webcomics? It’s a video! and there’s not a still frame anywhere. Second, they’re awful. They’re basically delivered in the form of service announcements to the ‘people’ still living in the Crackdown world. Reminiscent of WWII commercials, except with this snarky deep voice narrating. I think If I had to imagine how to spend the most amount money to create the worst product possible, this would be it.


ComicPull, Motion in Comics, Webcomicz, and 5 Tips

This site has nothing to do with webcomics but it’s such a simple and nice service I couldn’t help but mention it. It’s called ComicPull and it’s a site that allows you to create and manage a custom online subscription for comic books. When you find a comic that interests you, click “Pull This” and every time a new issue  is released, they’ll order it for you. They’ll ship out your comics based on your shipping preferences. It’s like having your own comic book store right at your fingertips.

This probably happens once a year but on The Webcomic List forums I found this story about a guy who has created a flash based comic. This james113 created a production using flash. It includes music and still frame cels in front of a more detailed background. Kind of like a japanese visual novel. Unfortunately he doesn’t post the comic so I can’t actually give you a first-hand count. The discussion goes into how anything that consistently moves isn’t a comic, but it still presents a story through visual means.

Years ago, shortly after Zampzon went on to other things, there was a serious discussion around DS becoming hosting site and/or webcomic listing site for those strips we thought were the best. The discussion went in several directions:

  • Who are we to think we know what is better than everything else?
  • There are much better hosting solutions out there then a group of guys just trying to help
  • Who would actually care?

There must have been months of discussion and it all ended with the status-quo. That probably explains my confusion over why Webcomicz would even consider making their own top list. There hasn’t been much reaction to the announcement but hopefully something good will come out of it.

Has anyone heard of Mooky Chick? It’s a weekly online magazine for alternative women. It features alternative style, beauty, health, relationship and careers advice, music and general alternative culture. Most importantly they seem to be embracing webcomics and have dished out some decent advice. Some of it obvious (draw good, use good words) and the rest just makes since (good characters, avoid cliches, and don’t procrastinate).


eHow, Webcomic Factory, SWOR, and Contropussy

Found a new site trying to give the basics on how to start your own webcomic. It’s short and barely adequate, but it does give just enough information for anyone to start looking for more. Actually it’s a better list then you’ll find almost anywhere else, based on our experience with DSA. For instance having a more than one strip is essential. You have to give your readers a reason to flip through and stick around. Using a hosting site can save a lot of problems (never heard of Comic Dish before this article) but I would also recommend pursuing something like Comic Press. Getting a comic email address and following a schedule seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many mess either of those up.

Found a new webcomic collective in the Webcomic Factory. Not sure about the name but it is the brainchild of Christian Beranek and Tony DiGerolamo.  Together, they created this webcomic “hub” from a variety of artists.  The concept of the Webcomic Factory is to create a professional hub of quality comic entertainment.  It’s like a digital version of the funny pages in a newspaper mixed in with traditional comics and Japanese Manga.  Already, Christian and Tony have acquired a huge library of affiliated content and they look forward to creating new content for you every day.

SWOR has a new update finally. This new issue is a lot better than the first, not just because they’re using a hot girl with red skin. There’s still the problems with pacing and not having any idea of what’s going on. The best update seems to be to the flash engine. Perhaps I missed this before but you can click on the right and left sides and a page turning graphic reveals the next or previous page. Can I get that?

Found a new comic and it has the best name I would be afraid to use: Contropussy. This is a webcomic by Emma Caulfield, Camilla Rantsen, Christian Meesey and Thomas Mauer. It chronicles the adventures of Contropussy and her friends. By day, Contropussy is an ordinary house cat, but at night she comes alive and searches for excitement in the world outside. Think of it as a more subversive Sex and the City with animals. The strip is updated every Monday and Friday and they’re hoping to go daily once they get enough donations.


Charity, Facebook, New List, and Making a Living

This came up in an alert and I have no idea what to think about it. There’s some vague memory in my head hearing about Kiva on NPR but then I have a vague memory about everything, like walking through life under a permanent sense of deja vu. This project was inspired by the Comic Creators Alliance charity. While Yamiloo was trying to think of an original way for webcomic artists to earn money, she remembered a Sister Claire food contest.  The idea is simple: each artist creates a postcard design, of which they print 10 limited editions. The cost of printing and mailing the cards will be covered by the minimum donation.  A minimum donation will get a “general” card, and the limited edition cards will be priced a bit higher. The limited cards will have personal messages from a character in the comic, and be signed by the original artist. All the proceeds will be donated to Kiva.

Seen the new webcomic Facebook page? Some random side-effect of when Facebook created a page for everything or maybe someone finally thought it up and followed through. Webcomics now have it’s own page that the world can link to promoting their love of the art that is digital.

If it’s not another blog it’s another list. There is another webcomic ranking site out there. This one is called the WebcComic Super 100 List. This goes beyond the existing The Webcomic List, the Belfry Webcomic Index, Webcomicz, and the most popular of them all TopWebComics. Let us hope it doesn’t go the way of Buzzcomics.

Found an AOL Small Business series called the Startup Online Reality Series. Laura found herself interested in a comic called The Oatmeal by Matthew Inman. Surprisingly she also goes deep and does a real in-depth and well researched article. Almost as if she’s taking the medium seriously and not just trying to get some easy search hits. First we are given some quotes from Matthew on how he went from rags to self-sufficient. Then there are mentions of xkcd, Penny Arcade, PvP, and Achewood on their success along with information from Brad Guigar. Perhaps my favorite quote is from Inman where he tells us he had 200,000 visitor but only 50 of them were willing to help support him.


Review: SWOR Blood of the Empire

It has been weeks now since I heard the news of Star Warsâ„¢: The Old Republicâ„¢, Blood of the Empire was being developed as a collaborative venture between BioWare, LucasArts, and Dark Horse Comics. BioWare long cemented their spot in my heart when they released KoToR, making them the only company I would leave my day job for. This love affair even managed to survive the buyout by EA. Written in conjunction with the BioWare writing team working on Star Wars: The Old Republic and produced by the comic experts at Dark Horse, the comic is supposed to offer readers a dramatic introduction to the Old Republic time period in two weeks intervals.

The first issue recently made it to the site and wasn’t overly impressed. Because it is BioWare I will continue to read the comic but it’s not the best start. we are thrown into the middle of a battle that ends within 4 pages. There’s something that doesn’t come across in a webcomic when using a bond intro. Without the music or at least some kind of forced timing there is no way to get the pacing required to build suspense. So right away I’m losing interest because i can’t figure out if this battle is brought to an end through normal means (extreme carnage) or through the Sith taking down the tower. Leaving a reader in confusion is not the best tactic.

Moving on to the art, I felt like nothing new is being introduced. There is a vague similarity to the game art but when seeing it in comic form it just looks like something from the 90’s. Perhaps I’m being a little over critical but I read webcomics because they introduce me to something I’ve never seen before and/or do it better than anyone else. The art and font are so generic that I completely ignore them and have to say there is nothing remarkable worth mentioning, but I’ll try. Overall everything is fairly realistic and to scale, with no exaggerated features present in other art forms, such as manga. So you could say it follows the current trend in American comics, by softening the lines and killing off most of the detailed that would truly make it pop. Almost as if the things that would make each page salable have been sacrificed in return for mass production.

Despite having so much about it I don’t like I will be coming back. This is solely based on the product and my trust in the writers. My recommendation is to wait 3 months and then start reading it.


FCBD, a List, Google, and Disappearing

Free Comic Book Day has never been a big deal for me. It’s kind of neat and good for the kids but not one of those things I take an extra long lunch for and go visit the local store. The number of participants has increased and it does bring more awareness of the variety out there. I think my biggest issue is that it’s marketed towards kids. As if those are the ones that need to be pulled in, although the biggest audience is probably teens and, more recently, young adults. So does anyone know any stores that are trying to market to say, those in our 30’s?

Found another list out there of someone telling us their favorite webcomics. Normally these kinds of lists bug me a little because they always list pretty much the big players and something like 2 no one has ever heard. As if making a list would give everyone to go to theirs if they list it at the same level as the accepted. The difference here is Jack has listed a few of the less acknowledged players and even so of the more off the wall strips we are only now just discovering.

The joys of getting notice are wide and varied. When advertising and word of mouth are just not moving fast enough some may result to special code to get bots to notice you more. The problem is that if you thought of it and found someone else to do it for you then the people you’re trying to take advantage of have thought a way around it. The lesson learned is that there is nothing better than word of mouth and the only way to do it successfully is time and effort, lots and lots of it. Learn to accept that you will not make it to full time artist within the first 2 years and you’ll be taking your first step towards earning a living off your work.

Found a comic that’s disappeared? Did your favorite comic update so infrequently that you stop paying attention only to come back 6 months later and see it has gone on definite hiatus? Well here are a few more.


Round Table Update – 4/22/10

Dave Kellett is going to at yet another con. This time it’s the Calgary Comic Expo at booth #502! He will be selling books, prints, original art…and FREE sketches for any and all! On Sunday at 1PM, he’ll be joining Kris Straub and Brad Guigar, in Room A, giving a talk on “How to Make Webcomics”. Goes to show you can never give up the convention race.

Zach Weiner shows us that when you miss an update you go the extra mile and give your readers more. One of the biggest problems with young strips is real life getting in the way of your posting schedule. At some point they all made a decision to sacrifice something in return for selling their souls… Wait, that was just me.

Another dedicated team is headed to the Calgary Comic Expo. Ryan and Lar seem to be getting annoyed with just how many Cons there are during convention season but since this one is in their backyard they’re exstatic about not needing to bring their passports. Maybe they’ll make a strip about giving Americans a hard time entering the US? They’ll be at booth #500.

OK, OK! Why am I not heading to Calgary this weekend? It looks like they will also have Ryan North.

It looks like if you don’t have your passport the place to be is the Stumptown Comics Fest. There you can meet Aaron and Spike