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Old News | 2003

News from the old site blog. Many links may be out of date.

Note that from late 2006 through 2008, my LiveJournal blog and the mccloudtour blog became our primary news outlet.

1999-2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006

12/31 New Year's Eve:

The Light at the End of the Tunnel!

Today, I'll be finishing primary art on The Right Number Part Two! I still need to do post-production stuff (mostly simplifying the vector art before importing to Flash which can be a bit hairy) but if all goes well, I'll be releasing the story before the end of next week.

As many of you know, Part Two was delayed due to a bout with Tendonitis which severely cut down my drawing time over the last several months. My right hand is much better now, though I'm still wearing the brace just in case.

I'm proud of this story and I've got my fingers crossed (ow) that it'll be worth the wait. The Right Number is the closest I've come so far to realizing the sorts of comics I was daydreaming about back in the mid-'90s. Working on it has been far more joy than pain (the only pain being from my aching tendons).

2003 has seen an explosion of talent. In many ways, I feel like I'm just playing catch-up now to all the wonderful artists I've gotten to know in recent years. But after 20 years of making comics professionally, catching up is still my favorite place to be.

Here's to more emerging talent and ideas in 2004—and maybe a little less madness in the world at large.



12/30: Here's a message from Denis Kitchen regarding the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Do they need our help? Yes, they do.

Had to rework some source files on Kittens this morning, so I just made it in under the wire once again. I'm pretty sure I'll be back to a more predictable update routine shortly now that the Holidays are winding down.

12/29: Aak! Gotta skip Monday's panel(s). It's Ivy's Birthday today and we'll be otherwise engaged from sunrise to sundown. Had hoped to do something in advance, but t'was not to be. As penance, here's a drawing of President William Howard Taft:

12/28: In the message board thread "Fluffy Kittycats and Bunnies," Rip Tanion suggested that our latest title sounded like the first line of a poem and gave it a shot, but I must say that Chris Lundgren's attempt is my favorite so far:

A bucket-full of kittens,
Were thrown into the river.
A hungry grizzly scooped one out,
And feasted on its liver.
The kittens that were left cried out,
"Oh no, that was horrific!"
I'll bet you didn't know, in fact,
that kittens taste terrific.

Note that Bucket Full o' Kittens now has its own thread as well. Let the speculations begin!

12/27: The mind boggles. (link via Andrew).

12/26: Barely updated Kittens before Noon! (and only just updated the new titles at 12:22). Sorry for that little after-Xmas slowdown.

Today is Charles Babbage's Birthday. I'm not religious by nature, but if ever there was a tortured soul I'd like to say a prayer for it's poor Chuck Babbage; the man who invented computing over a century ago, yet died without ever seeing his machines built. Whenever I despair at some dream of mine ever getting off the ground, I think of Babbage—the patron saint of the Betamaxed many.

12/25: Okay, as much as I prefer the "Parson Brown" verse over the "Circus Clown" verse in Smith and Bernard's 1934 hit Winter Wonderland, I have a new admiration for the passage upon finding out what I take to be the original phrasing:

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
and pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with mister snowman,
until the alligators knock him down.

Yes, somehow I've lived four decades without EVER hearing that, yet many of my web searches seem to confirm that the original verse is indeed "alligators", not the bland "other kiddies" I was taught. Does anyone know the story behind this?! I mean: Wow. Alligators! My jaw is on the floor.

By the way, in our family, we celebrate Christmas and Chanukah and Ivy's Birthday and New Year's Eve all in December, so... Happy Everything! If I survive, I get 3 celebration-free months before the next one. (Well, except for Valentine's Day).

12/23: Did you know that 5% of the most important people of 2003 were cartoonists or comics writers? USA Today does. (One of its columnists does, anyway).

Reader Nick Moscato sent along a link to the cool online toy Mr. Picasso-Head.

Oh, you people... I mentioned Saturday that I'd seen Return of the King "1.85 times" and now I'm getting concerned letters about my health! No, it was nothing like that. The movie just proved a bit intense for our younger daughter (who had seen the first two without major problems, but has since gotten old enough that things like Arwen's conversation with her Dad now make sense to her), so I drove her home to be with her Mom, who had to skip out on the screening due to Bronchitis. The movie was so long—and home so near—that I only missed about a seventh of it.

12/22: And speaking of Ashcroft, I can think of one organization that could use our help this season fighting one of the USA Patriot Act's more noxious provisions.

12/21: Because I'm a glutton for punishment.

[RoTK Spoiler] On the Sam and Frodo question: Is it just me, or did anyone else find it funny that Sam went home to the family ("you can't always tear yourself in two, Sam") while Frodo sails with Ian McKellen off to THE LAND OF THE ELVES. I mean... Does that even qualify as "subtext" anymore? [/Spoiler] Either way, a delightful 3 1/4 hours. Sky (age 10) has seen it twice already. I've seen it 1.85 times for reasons we will not go into just now.

12/20: Also via ¡Journalista! comes news of Carla Speed McNeil latest project: A fully formed human being named David Antony McNeil released December 15th. Haven't seen any reviews yet, but based on Carla's previous works I'm sure this one will be a winner.

12/18: Y'know, say what we will about his writing hand's extra-curricular activities, it is a gracious farewell (link via Dirk).

12/17: I love that my ten-year-old was excited this morning at the prospect that Google might change its logo to commemorate 100 years of manned flight (which they did, of course). Flight is one of those inventions I refuse to take for granted; high on the list with the telephone and porcelain and the sprawling world wide network you're reading me through right now.

12/16: Well, the hate mail is finally rolling in. I'm assuming I was linked to externally, though I'm sure I angered some regular readers too, so who knows... Either way, it's not like I shouldn't have expected it.

In case anyone is wondering though, no I do not think that anyone who supports Bush is a "wife-beating, minority-hating, Constitution-shredding, arrogant, ignorant, waste of flesh" as one writer sarcastically put it. I just happen to disagree with their politics. (Hell, even Bush himself has shown no signs of either wife-beating or minority-hating to my knowledge).

Anyway, hold tight. I'll be done with this one soon enough and we'll move on to weird, mostly harmless comics about kittens and/or minor appliances.

12/15: On the micropayments front, Bay Area station KMEL and Alicia Keys(!) are trying out some bitpassed concert pix and video clips. Meanwhile, the earners list continues to grow and as of now, if you'd like to try selling some stuff on your own site, go ahead, the door is now open. I'm not making a big splash with the info, cause they're still putting the finishing touches on the documentation as we speak (i.e., it might still be a bit confusing at first for non geeks) but for all intents and purposes, BitPass is now open to anyone with a website.

In case you were wondering, here's my location, according to politicalcompass.org:

..Where are you?

And as long as the Improv is going for a political gag this week, I'll mention that even someone who wouldn't vote for Dubya in a million years (like me, for example) is bound to be happy we finally nailed Saddam Hussein Saturday night (hiding IN A HOLE IN THE GROUND no less). It was nice to wake up to some good news for a change.

When the war was in full swing, Patrick started doing a series of anti-Bush comics. Some of the hate mail he got accused him of being a "Saddam Lover" -- a particularly idiotic claim, considering the Left's relentless history of criticizing America's "friendly" dictators.

We'll see what kind of mail I get for this little blip. Feel free also to chime in on the thread.

12/14: [Brief temporary outage this morning; sorry about that.]

Joey Manley's WebcomicsNation is now official. Look for the launch of this intriguing new service in January.

12/13: Reader Wood writes "did you know that chess boxing first appeared in a french comic? It's called "Froid Equateur", and was published in 1992, i don't exactly remember. The author is Enki Bilal (quite a celebrity in french comics)." He then provides links here and here.
Well, Wood, I knew about Bilal, but didn't know about this story; thanks for the info!

Whew! Barely made the Noon deadline today.

12/12: Leave it to Greg to discover and share with us the wonder that is Chess Boxing.

12/11: Remember: No matter what happens in the next week, don't blame Nick Douglas. He just suggested the title!

Hm. It was a slightly sinister beard.

12/10: The walk of fame is a sidewalk. Hollywood and Vine is an intersection. The sign on the hill is ... a sign on a hill. But if you've been to The Museum of Jurassic Technology, you know that LA has at least one true cultural landmark to its name! Now this modest masterpiece of a museum could use a little help. If you live in town, stop by this month and check out their wonderful store, or, even better, become a member. You'll be strangely comforted that you did without being entirely sure why.

Ha. Y'know I linked to "Who Will Be Eaten First." yesterday (from a link by Dirk maybe -- or Neil) and hadn't even caught that it was by Howard Hallis, creator of the earlier linked-to "Picture of Everything". Interesting fellow, this Howard Hallis... A little frightening, but interesting.

12/09: Needs red.

Uh-oh. Winter had to go to the dentist today to fix some problems. Hope I'm not jinxing her with the latest.

12/08: Congratulations to Myla Goldberg and Jason Little on the birth of Mizelle Aneek Goldberg Little. "We call her Zelie," reports the happy and exhausted couple. "She is small and pink, and as of yet without feathers. When she is hungry she opens her mouth. We think she is very nice."

24-Hour Minicomics, Anyone?

And The Accidental Dentist begins! I promise that this one will be a lot shorter than our last improv!

12/06: "For some reason, Cruise seems to have confused the art of acting with the act of looking at something really hard."
--All hail Aaron Lazenby at filmcritic.com

12/05: "But No One Ever Noticed the Walrus" is complete at last! I'm going to take the weekend off and begin our new improv "The Accidental Dentist", Monday before noon Pacific time.

12/04: Hey, nice finish to a great "Pup" strip, Mr. Weing!

Okay, with luck, I hope to finish "Walrus" late Friday morning. I'll try to track any changes in the scores for our next title throughout the day when possible. I'll post the latest tally (at left) when I get up Friday, but then not look at the scores again until I post the final Walrus panel, at which point I'll immediately disable voting and check the results. May the best panel win!

As a parent of two precocious daughters, I have to answer some interesting questions like "what is school for?" At first I told them that those 18-22 years of our lives are basically devoted to learning how to learn (adding that 80% of what I know, I've learned since leaving college). Lately I've been more practical, talking about how rare it is to find jobs that we truly love (like this one) and how school can help prepare us for finding them.

In the broadest sense, though, I suppose the primary purpose of a decent education is simply to learn how to use the world to our benefit. Coming in at a distant second (at least here in the States) is to use ourselves to the benefit of the world. But put the two together and I think that pretty well covers it.

Where things get interesting, of course, is when those two interests, and their various proxies, come into conflict. A benefit to ourselves causing harm to our families. A benefit to our families causing harm to our community. A benefit to our nation causing harm to our world. If I can help my kids to understand those relationships, maybe I can do them some good in the long run.

I know, I know... Civics 101.

That's one course I didn't take in college, so I have to figure this stuff out on the fly. I was an illustration major, so it wasn't as balanced an education as it could have been. Still, I learned how to learn, so I've been gradually playing catch-up since.

I will say this though: If I had taken such a course in college, I would have at least paid attention — instead of getting drunk and sleeping through it.

12/03: And the tie is broken (see left).

Hmm. "Bad Art Day" and "Accidental Dentist" are TIED as I write this. Wonder who's going to break it?

Attention, Seattle residents: Penny Arcade's creators have started a great online campaign of support for the Seattle Children's Hospital and the thousands of kids they treat each year.

Not getting enough Improv each day? Germany to the rescue!
(not Denmark as previously noted -- forgot momentarily that ".de" = "deutsch"!)


12/02: I vote this calendar of the year so far. (Well, next year).

Credit-where-it's-due-Dept.: It was this thread that inspired me to name him "Brimley".

12/01: The Associated Press story on micros is making the rounds today; this time with a great photo of BitPass co-founder Kurt Huang.

Dan Hernandez is now offering his full-length story "Moving" for 25 cents through his own site. This moody little gem appeared on Modern Tales' Longplay, but if you're not an MT subscriber, now you can read it a la carte. [Whoops: Actually it was a different comic on Longplay. "Moving" appeared on evolution-comics.com. Sorry about that.]

Had a great time on Fanboy Radio with Scott K and host Scott H Sunday. Micropayments were (of course) one of the topics. As I mentioned to Scott H, the Fanboy Radio homepage itself reminds me of why I want micros as web user. Check out that long list of archived hour long audio interviews with comics luminaries (small type on the left) that are currently unavailable due to bandwidth limitations. I don't know about you, but I'd pay a quarter to listen to an hour with Craig Thompson in a heartbeat.

11/30: Attention, Texas listeners and surfers everywhere else!: Sunday, 6 pm Central Time, catch me live on Fanboy Radio as Scott Kurtz and I join host Scott Hinze for a discussion of all things Web. Yes, Scott, Scott and Scott will be fending off anyone who isn't named Scott in our quest for peace, love, understanding, and cheap publicity. Be sure to call in and join the fun (especially if your name is Scott).

My favorite bad excuse yet.

11/28: Home stretch.

11/27: It's Thanksgiving here in the U.S., so I'm taking Thursday off.

11/26: An even longer and weirder glimpse of The Triplets of Belleville can be found here. (Thanks to "Zhat" on the message board).

Hey, did I mention what a great birthday party we went to Saturday night? Our pal Lori Matsumoto works at The Museum of Jurassic Technology (L.A.'s one true cultural landmark) and her 33rd b-day party there was beyond cool. Here's a blurry shot she took of our friend Paul Smith, me and screenwriter Terry Rossio. I'm trying to convince Lori to gather a bunch of great LPs and have another party in 4 months to celebrate her 33 & 1/3!

From one of our message board threads comes this link to a great new webtoy you can use to create your own Bayeux Tapestry-style story.

Tiny window. Big weird wonderful preview. The Triplets of Belleville is on the way!

11/25 xtra: Oh. My. God.
I'm told that I'm actually in it somewhere, but my hands hurt too much to do the necessary clicking.
[update: Sean Barret was the first to find me in the picture since I posted the above.]

11/24: Oooh... Kris does graphite.

A pretty good list overall (And yes, I'd say that even if one of mine wasn't on it).

11/22: Alert!: If you're in the Bay Area, one of the best comic book store in America (if not the best) could use a little help this holiday season.

While Outkast's "Hey Ya!" still reigns supreme in the songs-I'll-be-humming-when-I'm-dead department, Danish duo Junior Senior's "Move Your Feet" is close on its heels. Both also have great videos. You've probably seen the Hey Ya! video (Media Player), but have you seen Move Your Feet? (Quicktime). Cheap and pixelly, but just as cool in its own way.

11/21: At last, Walrus is approaching its, uh, climax.


Lest anyone think that this site is doomed to be the resting place of all things excruciating, I can report that progress on the long-delayed Right Number Part 2 is finally picking up again as well, now that my tendonitis is finally letting up somewhat. For those coming in late, I screwed up my hands in late Summer, delaying a number of projects and causing massive InBox inflation (I now owe literally thousands of emails to my long-suffering correspondents). It'll still take a few weeks, but I'm cautiously optimistic.

11/20: Some readers had difficulty accessing the Notley links (2 paragraphs below) due to missing "www"s. Apparently some browsers, like mine, forgive such things and others don't. Anyway, here they are again with dubyas restored: The Strip and The Site. Sorry for the confusion. Read and laugh.

11/19: Adam Reed is an interesting new webcartoonist. He'd get props alone for the oddball innovation of allowing you to change the art/panel size using the text size button on your browser(!), but the comics themselves aren't bad either. Another one to watch.

Reason #473 to read other cartoonists' blogs: Finding serendipitous links to gems like this one (by Steve Notley, natch).

"The most unwelcome visitor to these shores since William the Conqueror." Ah, yes. The British do have a way with words don't they?

11/18 xtra: The best blog entry ever (written last year by the brilliant Jason Shiga) is now a comic.

11/18: Ooh, Pretty. A new weekly comic by Kurt Wolfgang.

11/17: Justin Pierce and Eric Millikin are debating infinite canvases over at Comixpedia today. Eric believes that "The Web Will Inspire Great Art" (which is true). Justin believes that "Greatness Does Not Rely on Infinite Canvas Alone!" (which is also true). Reading it over, I'm wondering if I should pitch a new debate to Comixpedia: Extremist-Caricature-Scott versus Actual-Scott. Might be fun. [Note that Justin's is more of an Extremist-McCloudian-Acolyte type. Also, the Da Vinci gag is a good one].

Hey, it looks like Derek isn't such a well-kept secret anymore.

11/16: Hmm! Spike's new one, Sparkneedle just started at GM. Have to keep an eye on that one.

11/15: Speaking of Korea, William Beckerson is posting some interesting down-to-earth comics on the Web, while living there.

11/14: MIT's Technology Review has a full length article on micropayments this week. It focuses on the MIT-based Peppercoin, but includes some coverage of BitPass and me, as well as this week's goofy photo of Yours Truly on page 3.

Here's a first—at least, the first time I can remember anyone doing this: Jeff Rowland of Wigu fame will be simulcasting his 24-Hour Comic starting tomorrow (Saturday) via Web-Cam! Stop by and see the masterpiece taking shape. (And stop by Sunday to see Jeff slowly disintegrating into a puddle of ooze if he's anything like the rest of us!)

Larry Niven's "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" is now online with the author's permission. If you've never read this legendary essay about Superman's, er, potential difficulties engaging in procreation with Lois Lane, do yourself a favor. (Dirk found this one via Bugpowder; he called it a "legendary essay" too, but I can't think of any other classification. I mean: Dude! It's an essay. And it's, like... legendary!)

11/13: Neil linked to a good cause this morning. Get ready to bid.

11/12: Sky offers her interpretation of "Walrus" too!

11/11: Watch out World: LICENSABLE BEAR™ is here.

Also in the news: Check out John Barber's new daily strip about a robot rock band, "Location, Location, Location", also available at Modern Tales.

11/10: Yet another slashdot thread -- somewhat more positive this time. Seen Twelve Angry Men? I think the rain is starting to fall.

11/09: As promised: Photos from Seoul.

11/07: Back from Korea! Pictures and stories soon. Standout moment: Dining high above Seoul in a room with Korean, French, Japanese and American guests in attendence and what's the song they're playing? Why "Edelweiss" of course!

11/04 (where I am anyway): WHOA! Kean Soo is on board today with two strong new 20 cent short story comics.

11/03: Logging on from the Land of the Morning Calm:
Thanks to The Love of My Life for keeping "Walrus" going while I'm here in Korea. I promised to take lots of pictures this time. Hope to post them when I get home.

Thanks to Warren Ellis for his very positive article at ArtBomb about the micros movement and Patrick, who, I'm delighted to note, is finally, finally, finally getting a small fraction of the recognition he so richly deserves.

10/31: Creepy, yet flattering: Reknowned comic book artist Gene Ha checks in with the best Scott McCloud Halloween costume yet as worn to Alex Ross's Halloween party this year. (Thanks to Walt Grogan for the photo).

Also haunting the Web: I have now seen the wonder that is Attention Deficit Girl!, thanks to Neil. Yikes.

10/30: Yay, antibiotics! Who yearns for the days of gallant knights and castles? Not me.

Ryan sends along a gag that was just waiting to happen.

Hey, did I mention that my Delta Poster arrived? I'm so framing this baby.

10/29: It's been awhaa--*wheez* *koff* wh-while since I checked K-Kean's Journal Co-*hak* *koff* *sigh*... Comics Ja-*a-ak* J-Jam, but I noh-ticed a *koff!* li-hhhh-nk *ak* yest-*auck* *hak* and cl-*aug*-ick on ih*hacch* and y-*wheez*, *koff**hak* *koff* *koff*. *hak*...

10/28: Today's Narbonic at Modern Tales (can't figure out how to link directly) is one of the most sublime strips I've read in a long time. Of course it won't make a bit of sense without a ton of backstory. I only recently got on board to the point where I finally grok this strip, but I'm really glad I did.

10/27: Still sick as a dog, but I'll try to drag my fingers across the keyboard long enough to deliver today's news, cause there's a lot of it.

First, our love and well wishes go out to journal comics artist Neil B., who had to shut down his site for personal reasons this weekend. Hope to see this promising young artist back online soon.

On the BitPass front: John Barber has just taken the plunge with a slew of BitPass-enabled comics formerly only available to Modern Tales subscribers, and Indigo Kelleigh has released Circle Weave Part Two. Meanwhile, the first full-length movie(!) is now available online: Nothing So Strange is an eerily convincing faux documentary about the fictional assassination of Bill Gates and the fate of the grassroots organization investigating it. Oh, yeah, and 62,000 stock photos are now available for 99 cents a pop.

The sun has been blood red here in Southern California as smoke drifts in from the many fires all around. Maybe it's just the fever talking, but I feel like I'm living on another planet when I'm out walking the dog.

10/26: As my fever and headache is getting worse, I'm literally having trouble seeing straight, so I'm going to skip Sunday's update. Look for more Improv on Monday.

10/25: Ugh. Sore throat today.

10/24: Home from Illinois. Next stop Korea (starting Nov 2). I might consider myself some kind of world traveller, if it weren't for Neil's blog reminding me how sheltered I truly am.

10/23: Still in Illinois until this afternoon, but I just wanted thank everyone for piling into room 40 yesterday, I had a blast. Also a special thanks to John Jennings for getting me out here and (most importantly) for introducing me to the genius that is Outkast's latest album (and MTV on the hotel TV for not sucking long enough to play the giddy "Hey Ya").

10/22: ON THE ROAD:
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
I'll be speaking Wednesday at 4:30 pm, (NOT 3pm as previously listed) Room 40 in the Art and Design Building on the main campus of the U. of Illinois. Corner of Fourth and Peabody (here's a map; the art and design bldg. is about halfway down and a bit left of center.) Open to the public.

10/20: The Package by Colin White—20 cents U.S., 25 cents Canadian—is one of those jaws-on-the-floor premises that makes for truly memorable gags. Very funny stuff. Definitely for mature (but not too mature) readers.

10/19: Chris Hill's 10-minute animation "Geeks in Love" is one of the best things I've seen using BitPass yet. It's warm, funny and genuinely moving. Chris would like to work on this stuff full time. If my 25 cents helps that happen I've gotten my money's worth. Recommended.

10/17: Should I do this? (If I did, all proceeds would go to charity, obviously -- probably our local school). Cool new site, btw. Feedback appreciated.

Here's a great one from Berlin: THE ADVENTURES OF SIR DR. NORDTEN. Winner of the Frankfurt Book Fair's Online Comic Award AVATAR 2003. (Yes, they have an online comic award at the Frankfurt Book Fair. U.S. convention organizers, take note). Owes a bit to Swiss webcomics master Demian 5; I wonder what whole genres will spring up in as a result of that one lone cartoonist's vision of comics in the coming decade.

10/16: New and cool dept: Merlin has begun a new improvised comic he'll be adding to each day using the Tarquin Engine, the same authoring environment used to create the amazing PoCom-UK-001 earlier this year. When I was giving talks in the mid-'90s at places like MIT, proposing the idea of an "infinite canvas", this is very much the sort of thing I was hoping for. Luckily, there are people much smarter than me now, who have the brains to actually make it work!

Bill Duncan, over at Comixpedia, listed his five morning coffee favorites today (the comics he reads before heading off to work). I don't, um... have a real job so my list is a bit longer. I check about seventy links quickly each morning using bookmarks saved to my desktop as files so I can run down the list and click each in rapid succession. Among the many essentials are news site ¡Journalista!, the MT subscription sites (especially Serializer and Girlamatic), various daily strips, journal comics and way too many blogs (which come in handy when keeping track of my less frequently updated favorites). I hope to revise my seriously outdated links page in the next few weeks. There's a lot of good stuff out there I'm not currently pointing to.

10/15 Xtra: Speaking of Web heroes, Patrick Farley's E-Sheep celebrates 5 fantastic years today. He's released a snazzy new front page and some great schwag, including this stunner. There's a move afoot to get him painting some SF novel covers. Not a bad idea. (A nice overview of e-sheep and snarky discussion of same can be found here).

10/15: Turns out Google's co-founders were also at O'Reilly with us last weekend (never saw Sergey's name tag and I'd forgotten Larry Page's more common name so I was utterly clueless). The guys were on Fresh Air yesterday, so it's been a real Googley week. Funniest bit: The usually brilliant Terry Gross expressing confusion as to why, when she typed "Google" into Google and pressed the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button, she was just returned to the opening screen. (Terry laughed she realized what had happened).

Like most of you I'll bet, I'm a great fan of Page and Brin's gift to the world. It's an oft-repeated story that Google's unofficial in-house corporate motto is "Don't be Evil" ("Evil" being whatever Sergey says is evil). While it's equally true that integrity doesn't always scale, I'm firmly convinced that they've done about as well as any mere mortals could be expected to on that front. I missed my chance to say it in person on Saturday, but I think we all owe Sergey Brin and Larry Page a very loud Thank You for their work.

10/14: Eli Ray Kochalka is cute! Usually, new babies look like shaved monkeys.

Hey, did I mention that Neil B. has a new site?

10/13: Sharp new site design for John Barber today, including a sharp new comic from John and writer Steven Withrow.

I'm back from a wild weekend in Sabastopol. Linda Stone and Tim O'Reilly conspired to convince me to give a talk Sunday morning and it was one of the most fun hours I've spent. Favorite moment: Stewart Brand tossing me a quarter when I said I was only showing part of The Right Number and they'd all have to buy it themselves. It was great meeting some of net culture's modern luminaries including Kevin Kelly, whose new book Asia Grace is just amazing. Crypto-Legend Whitfield Diffie showed up Sunday at lunch and we convinced him to give a talk too (with 15 minutes notice). All in all, a very smart mob.

10/12: Sunday: I'll have to skip Sunday morning's panel(s). Turns out I'll be giving an impromptu talk here at O'Reilly Publishing Sunday morning. Check back Monday morning for more Improv.

10/11: I'm in Sebastopol, Ca at O'Reilly Publishing for a geek getaway this weekend — the fourth of six trips I'm making in a 5 1/2 week span — I think I'll be able to update tomorrow. I was reminded of my favorite aspect of broadband this morning while working on today's panel: The fact that wherever I go, KCRW can now come with me.

10/10: Did anyone besides me find it funny that Scarlet J. was listed first "in order of appearance" in the credits for Lost in Translation?

10/08: Bookslut has just posted an interview with me. It's actually a bit on the old side (conducted back in early August, if memory serves) but they ask some good questions. Check it out.

A great crowd and a great time at the University of Nevada! Thanks to all of you who came out for the talk, and a special thanks to Bob and Jenny for making sure we saw the Freemont St. Experience and a bit of old Vegas along the way. Very Cool.

10/05: Off to Las Vegas. Come see my talk Tuesday at 7pm at the University of Las Vegas. (Details and map at right).

God help us all.

10/04: Patrick Farley has just unleashed Part Three of his Apocamon series. Sometimes funny. Sometimes scary. Always brilliant. Now just 25 cents — and it is so worth it.

10/03: DKK. Back in the saddle.

Due to an error on my part, multiple donations to the title "Again with the Walnuts!" was temporarily disabled. If any of you tried but were unable to vote for that title at some point, now's your chance. Sorry about that.

10/02: Egon is one of the best comics blog/news sites on the Web. It's also free, so its editor could really use some gainful employment just now (or donations). See the most recent post for more info. Let's not let another one die, okay?

Back from Boston. Found the pen. Everybody's happy -- except those who enjoy watching me squirm of course.

09/30: I have no pen and I must scream.

09/29: I forgot my Pen!

09/27: Mark your calendar, Las Vegas: Some details on my October 7 talk at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas: It'll begin at 7 p.m. in CBC A108. Free and open to the public. CBC A108 is located directly south and adjacent to the new Lied Library. Parking is free after 6p.m.

09/26: Thank you, Michigan! The gallery was SRO last night for the talk. Thank you to everyone who came out. I had a great time.

09/24: I have an early flight to Grand Rapids, so you're getting today's panel at 3:41 am.

09/23: And my travels begin!
Six trips in a little over 5 weeks, starting tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. I've gotten a little ahead and hope to be able to continue updating daily during the shorter trips. See the blue sidebar at right for a list of my appearances. (Not listed is our trip to Boston; a family excursion to celebrate my Mom's 80th birthday!)
First stop: This Thursday, Sept 25: Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Grand Valley State University. 8pm at the UICA, downtown (41 Sheldon Blvd. SE). Free and open to the public.

09/22: Uh-oh. Car just died. This should be... interesting...

09/20: Make it go away! Make it go away!

09/19: R.

09/17: Nat passes along this story on an interesting study.

Joel Arthur Thomas suggested various great titles back in '02. Here's a series that came in as several consecutive title submissions. Thought I'd share them with you.

I'll bet you're wrong.

09/16: I love it when they get ambitious.

The New Improv is up -- barely! I had to finish sorting through the last few hundred unsorted titles before picking today's ten. Just time for a simple title panel before noon. I've got to wake up earlier on days like this!

09/15: Busy Day! ¡Journalista!'s Dirk Deppey gives us The micro-nots (and the macro-maybes), an in-depth analysis of the micropayment debate so far.

The Evil That Men Forget to Do is now complete! Our next title will be: "But No One Ever Noticed the Walrus" suggested by Sylvan Migdal who, as luck would have it, is one of the artists featured in Graphic Smash! (see below). Look for a logo panel and our next ten candidate titles sometime before noon tomorrow.

Graphic Smash is Live! The latest entry in the Modern Tales family has just launched. Race over there and be one of the first to subscribe!

Aww... Neil likes Somnivore. ^^

09/14: At last, Slashdot is disussing the debate rather than just linking to Shirky and ignoring any responses.

09/13: /.'d! Jump in while the water is hot. Naturally, no mention of my response to Shirky in the initial post, but we'll see how it goes... Typical response so far: "I like Scott McCloud's work, but 25 cents seems like a lot per comic strip." *sigh* (For the uninitiated, The Right Number is the equivalent of about 17 pages!)

Jerry alerts us to this gem that's been making the rounds.

09/12: Boy, I'm not the only one who is thinking about Kool-Aid Man all of a sudden.

09/11: The Debate Heats Up. Long-time micropayments naysayer Clay Shirky has written a yet another piece on why micropayments will never work. Above is my response with links to the orginal essay and a response from Joey Manley.

09/10:Today's MIT Technology Review has a great front page article by Professor Henry Jenkins on BitPass and The Right Number which goes a long way toward answering some historic criticisms of micropayments.

09/09: When Cartoonists need cash, you can get great drawings at great prices. Check Lea Hernadez's Sept 8th post for a special offer from Lea.


It's here. It's beautiful. It's 50 cents!

Wary Tales Online!

Pants Press is the scary-talented young webcomics collaborative that includes Vera Brosgol, Clio Chiang, Dylan Meconis, Erika Moen, Bill Mudron and Jen Wang. Wary Tales was their beautiful 35 page anthology sold at San Diego and now you can read it online via BitPass.

Air Poetry!

Wow. The things Kurt remembers...

09/07: I hope you're reading ¡Journalista! every day already, but just in case you aren't, Dirk Deppey has some comments on SPX's Ignatz Awards and the online comics category that I agree with wholeheartedly (on the other hand, let's be grateful they have an online category!)

Comixpedia has posted an excellent piece by Kip Manley about comics spouses. Ivy is there and yes, God help me, it's all true! (Technically, Ivy doesn't remember saying "load of crap" but it was a pretty giggly conversation, so you never know.)

09/05: Of the various BitPass vendors that have been added during the Beta period, this one is the most wonderfully strange so far.

When one of webcomics' best cartoonists decides to share her art secrets we should all pay attention!

Enter J & E Design: Click on "Interactive" to view some sort-of-comics with a minty-fresh design sensibility.

09/04 xtra: Another richly-deserved kick in the balls.

09/04: A few 24-Hour Comics items:

09/02: They're at it again. Feel free to jump in.

What is it about Jason Turner? He's not working on a magnum opus or emotional powerhouse. He's not exploring moral ambiguity or revolutionary design models... But stuff like this always makes me smile.

09/01: My lengthy Q & A session with Comixpedia is up. Now that I'm using ViaVoice to dictate these long text pieces and save my hands, I seem more talkative than ever!


Our friend Theresa was talking to some co-workers on Wednesday. "Did you know that you can see Mars for the first time in 60,000 years tonight?" they asked her.

"No, no," Theresa explained, "You can see Mars on many nights, it's just closer than it's been in 60,000 years."

"Oh no!" they insisted "Mars has never been seen in 60,000 years!"

It didn't matter how emphatically my friend tried to explain that what they were saying was illogical, that if it was true, how would we even know Mars was there, that planets rotate around the Sun, etc, etc...They wouldn't budge...

Now, if you find this anecdote as appalling as we did, please consider this:

These people vote.

NPR, just 40 seconds ago (I have the radio on) reports that two thirds of Americans can't name even one of the democratic contenders for President. May I suggest that if you do know at least one of those names; if you know that planets revolve around the Sun; if you do have any grasp of world history and America's place in it, that you please also vote next time.

Astronomers tell us that Mars is now receding a bit. But the God of War looks closer than ever.

08/30: Here's a webcomics article in The Sydney Morning Herald. I hesitate to link to it since the paraphrased quotes they picked out were some of my oldest and most often repeated points (I swear, I do cover other topics) but it does have some nice bits.

08/29: In case you're wondering...

My hands are still recovering from some repetitive strain problems, so Part Two of The Right Number will probably take a few more weeks than originally planned. Meanwhile, I'm taming the buggy-but-okay ViaVoice to help me write some text pieces and at least one script for a short webcomic I hope you'll enjoy.

08/28: Demian5 is Back!
For just $3 per year, you can follow a new monthly series (free preview here) from Zurich's premiere webcomics genius along with tons of other cool features.

I'll say that again:
per year.
Sounds good to me.

08/27: Phew! A bit late, but the new Improv has now started -- as has voting on the next title.

Meanwhile, you can now pre-order a copy of Jordan Raphael and Tom Spurgeon's Stan Lee Biography which is sure to be a winner.

08/26: It's Official! Our next title will be "The Evil that Men Forget to Do."Look for ten new title contenders and (hopefully) the first panel on Wednesday by noon Pacific time.

Also today, Blogger Eve Tushnet spars with me (via UC and RC) on defintitions and middlemen (link courtesy of Dirk Deppey at the ever-essential ¡Journalista!)

08/25: Like Thurber on Crack!

Shaenon Garrity and Tom Hart's supremely enjoyable Trunktown is now available for just 25 cents. It's a wickedly funny modern fairy tale first offered to subscribers at Serializer and now available a la carte from Tom's own site. This is one of my favorite comics to come out of the Modern Tales scene and I'll keep hounding you until it's one of yours too!
[Umm... Don't go all at once though. I think we're flooding the server!]

08/24: Vince's comics are Gnarled and Creepy, but kind of interesting. His latest is particularly cool.

08/23: It's a Boy!

08/22: Now THIS is an Infinite Canvas!
Merlin earns his name once again in: "A massive collaborative hypercomic that was originally created for the wall of the ICA as part of the Comica festival." Merlin's masterwork also marks the debut of his new flash-based zooming infinite canvas delivery system, The Tarquin Engine. Very exciting stuff!

08/21: Good Luck, James and Amy!

08/20: Hey, Phil Foglio did a 24-Hour Comic. Cool. (Some nudity, tho', so mature readers only).

Carol Lay takes on the Jesus Castillo Case. I was there for that one, and I can confirm that it was every bit the travesty it's been reported as. If this stuff makes your blood boil, remember that there is something you can do about it right now.

08/19: Hey, check out Satellite Beach by Matthew Bogart. The rest of the site isn't half-bad either. I'm especially fond of Elbow Boy ("Yah, Elbow Boy! Show Satan the door!")

Y'know, every time I hear Rumsfeld talk, I think "Man, why is he always so damned defensive?" And then I remember his job title.

08/18: Steven Grant is right that I thought Will Eisner coined the term "graphic novel" in the late 70s. Scroll down his August 13 column about 1/4 way to find out how he knows I was wrong.

My God, that "Pup" keeps growing!

Iain Hamp over at Comixpedia offers his thoughts on possible applications for micropayments as well as some interesting historical precedents.

08/17: Oh yeah, and we can finally give the guy some money for his amazing Delta Thrives too! Suggested donation is a quarter, but it's up to you.

Aww, someone finally voted for "It's the End of the World as We Know It"!

08/16: For several years, Patrick has been giving away some of the best comics on the web. Now, one of those comics -- Apokamon Part Two -- costs a dime (courtesy of you know who). Let's shower the guy with dimes, shall we?

08/14: Cameo alert.

08/13: Kean Soo alerts us to news that Steve Burns formerly of Blue's Clues (Yeah, THAT guy!) has a new album of his very own music. Strong Flaming Lips influence, which seems strangely appropriate somehow.

08/12: The deadline is looming for Comixpedia's Community interview. Have a question? Post it here.

London's The Guardian talked to me via my cell during San Diego for an article on web content. It was hard to hear the reporter above the clamor, but I guess he got what they needed, because the article is out and it's a good one.

08/11: Life imitating art?

08/09: Meet Jonathon Dalton. Read his comics. Tell him what you think. (I think they're pretty cool).

It worked! We all told Hope Larson that her beautiful illustrations would make beautiful comics, and... Voila! Good catch, Girlamatic.

08/08: Patrick Farley's Spider's Part 3.5 is up. This is a gargantuan, sprawling, exhausting, mind-blowing, riveting, brilliant, draining, angry, joyous, really, really LONG installment (fasten your seatbelts, People, it's going to be a bumpy download) of what's fast becoming one of my favorite online comics ever. Make sure you have time to give it your full attention. This isn't a-couple-of-minutes-at-lunch great; this is an-evening-with-a-good-book great. And be sure to read Parts 1-3 if you haven't already. [Note: Try the mirror site here for Part 3.5 if you'd like to spare Patrick any bandwidth overloads].

Drew Weing is doing some stunning work on "Pup" over at Serializer today. Drew's color sense is truly web-native; the latest step in a process of evolution begun by Cat Garza in the late 90s. (Check out the depth cues in the color contours -- this is a long way from scan-and-post).

08/07: Watch a great Video profile of Keith Knight, courtesy of KQED.

Bookslut ran a nice review of The Right Number by Karin Kross.
I just like saying it.

08/05: Devo Jenkins writes: "i am a chronic acute pain sufferer. to make sense of it i do a comic book about my day every day. it's slice of life stuff, but i figured you'd be interested since it's comics on the web. unconventional yes, but comics none the less."
It is and I am. Thanks for the link, Devo.

08/03: Questions?

Attn: Satan. 1 soul. Good condition. Will consider trading same for ability to draw people half as well as Jen Wang.

08/01: Eight years ago today, our youngest daughter Winter was born in a birthing center in Simi Valley, CA, while Kurt Busiek, Neil Gaiman and our friend Krystal entertained two year-old Sky by throwing her up in the air and singing the opening number from Sweeney Todd. It was the Monday night/Tuesday morning after San Diego.

Anyway, we're off celebrating! Happy Eighth, Windy.

07/31: Busy day!: R. Stevens (who just added a micropay box on the left of his main page) has some very interesting things to say here about making a living with webcomics. The "butterfly --> hitler" point toward the end is particularly dead-on, I think.

Speaking of BitPass comics: Want to Buy an O?

Those of you wanting to keep track of new BitPass comics during the Beta testing period, keep an eye on the Share Tab. Pretty soon, they'll be throwing the doors open wide to anyone who wants to sell or accept donations using BitPass, so if you're a webcartoonist, think now about how you might be able to use the system on your site once Beta testing is complete.

07/30: The Title Suggestion Form is now enabled; let's hear your suggestions for future titles! Click on "Current Improv" above to see our new Improv "Somnivore", or click on "Previous Improvs" to check out the conclusion of "Junk Bar."

07/29: Junk Bar is Done!

07/28: What's the right price for a cool desktop pattern? See for yourself.

07/27: Hey, I added in Spike and Cat to my SD pictures. Any other MIA webcartoonists want to submit a 150 x 200 to round out the set?

07/26: The word is spreading...
Also today: A particularly beautiful Pup strip by Drew Weing.

07/25: Indigo Kelleigh of Circle Weave fame has some terrific sets of Classic Mac Icons he worked on that are now for sale (using you-know-what). Take a look.

San Diego Pictures! 42 of 'em. Get ready to scroll.

07/24: Diesel Sweeties' R. Stevens has just implemented BitPass on his site and flown his first micropayment test content -- a glimpse into the ancient past of his pre-DS work!

07/23: Craig Thompson's Blankets is now finally available everywhere. This nearly 600 page autobiographical masterpiece is already being hailed by many as the comic of the year. If your local comics store doesn't carry it, hound 'em until they do! Other must-buys (if you missed them at San Diego): The beautiful hardcover Frank collection by Jim Woodring and Chris Ware's Exquisite Quimby the Mouse Album.

07/22: And then there were Three. Ethan Persoff's haunting A Dog and His Elephant is now participating in the BitPass micropayments Beta! Check out this weird, dark, funny, horrifying and memorable story now for only 50 cents.

07/21: Back from San Diego. Convention report and pictures coming soon.

07/14: And then there were Two. Jim Zubkavich's wonderful The Makeshift Miracle has joined the BitPass micropayments Beta. Now you can buy this straight-to-Web, full color, 175 page beauty in an elegant new format for just 99 cents. Watch for more comics using BitPass very soon.

07/13: I really liked today's Narbonic (at MT). But then I'm a sucker for that kind of thing...

07/12: Heh-heh... It's funny, because it's true.

07/11: The Morning Improv is back! Or, as it's known on the East Coast: "The Sometime Around Noon Improv".

07/09: Congratulations to all the winners of the WCCA Awards! While still kind of random, they're certainly a stronger set than last year, and the comics- style presentation speeches were fun. Bonus pleasure: Seeing that list of genres at the bottom, in slightly smaller type -- "romance", "sci-fi", "fantasy", "reality" -- and finally,all the way at the bottom of the list, almost as an afterthought:
Oh, Baby. We are so the future of comics.

07/09: The Oakland Tribune is on the case. Best quote, from mad genius Jason Shiga: "It's fairly easy to distribute a Web comic to my friend in the Philippines but difficult to distribute it to my mom."

07/08: As Promised: Watch for the return of The Morning Improv later this week!

07/07: Back from the July 4th weekend, there are two lengthy articles online looking at micropayments and The Right Number. Kelly J. Cooper at Comixpedia has uploaded an in-depth look at micropayments and their history, While Todd Allen offers a 5-Part Study of his own. I have serious disagreements with the math in the latter but check it out anyway.
(Note to Todd: I make 94 cents when Borders sells my 22 dollar book -- shouldn't we be looking at comparisons for the artist as well as the publisher?)

07/03: Whoah -- Slashdot is talking about The Right Number too! Please check out the discussion and offer your two cents on BitPass and on The Right Number. So far, the participants seem a bit confused about what the deal actually is!

07/02: From Michael Muller via "Nick" comes the following instructions: "Go to Google. Type in the phrase 'Weapons of Mass Destruction'. Click the button that says 'I'm Feeling Lucky'. Do it NOW. You won't be sorry. I think."

Hopefully no one catches it before you read this. I certainly got a good laugh.

07/01: Whew! "The Right Number" has been up for 24 hours and they're talking about it here and here and here and here and heaven knows where else. Feel free to join in. Thanks to Jonah Weiland for the great write-up at 2 in the morning, just a few hours after launch. And to everyone else -- readers, reporters, fellow artists and fellow geeks -- thank you for a very exciting first day!

06/30: The Right Number is here at last! Let me know what you think.

06/29: Toon Art is a thick new coffee table book about digital cartooning. It has tons of gorgeous reproductions of some of our favorite webcomics artists' work, plus profiles, interviews and how-tos. I was proud to be included in it. I found it at my local Borders, so it's getting decent distribution. A real coming-of-age milestone for online comics. (with a slightly dorky cover, but you can't have everything.)

06/27: Kip Manley's June 26 entry is a worthy follow-up to this month's various introspective blogsposition pieces. It also includes a link back to a great article from the late lamented Portland arts paper Anodyne which Kip and Jenn Manley Lee helped found in the 90's.

"The arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice." --Martin Luther King Jr. I hear someone lowered a rainbow flag in the Castro District to make room for the Stars and Stripes. An elegant gesture, I thought.

06/25: Here's a cartoonist with a great sense of style, whose site's been going for a year. I'm stupid and should have linked to him awhile ago, but better late than never I guess. So for those who haven't already: Meet Scott Ruhl.

06/24: Hypercompressed diary comics like James K's are entertaining, in part, because when you pack a whole day into just four panels you get some great non-sequitors -- like this one from em world by "david."


A SUMMER TO REMEMBER: Keep your eye on this page for some major changes in the very near future:

  • "The Right Number" is a three-part online comic I've wanted to create for years. It's a spooky, psychological drama about math, sex, obsession and phone numbers. Each panel is embedded in the previous panel -- you zoom through to read it -- but despite the funky format, it was the story that became the driving force behind the project. I like the results so far, and I hope you will too when it launches soon.

  • Equally notable about "The Right Number" is that each part will be on sale for 25 cents using a brand new micropayments system that will be launching at the same time. Those of you who've followed my writings for the last 8 years know that I've been waiting anxiously for a good system, and I think we may have a winner at last. Keep your fingers crossed for me -- and for them.

  • The return of "The Morning Improv!" starting later this month. No charge for this new incarnation of last year's popular feature, though I'll be using micropayments for contributions to keep it going. I had a lot of fun doing the Improv last year and look forward to jumping back into the fray.

  • Site updates! Just updated my Speaking Section and The 24-Hour Comics Index. Look for more soon.

06/22: Hope Larson should be making comics, don't you think? Those are such swanky illustrations...

Hey, anyone know how to get ahold of Al Davison? The only email address I have, "spiralcage@astralgypsy.com", is boucing back and I have to ask him something. :(

06/18: And, dig Kevin's soul-searching post from June 16th and the great responses it's inspiring (including, once again, a terrific impromptu essay from the esteemed Mr. Farley). Ev'body's got angst in theyz pants this week— I love it.

...and now the debate has spread to Jenn's Journal (June 17th entry, click on "Comments" for the discussion). Any prose writers out there who've also dabbled in comics? Now's your chance to join the fray.

06/17: Hmn. Gotta update the 24-Hour Comics index soon... Another marathon is on the way, and at the very least, I have to post Sky's own wonderful creation from last summer (she was nine at the time and managed to complete her 24-hour comic on the very day we bought a PS 2).

Realized yesterday that I not only had 2 new Borders birthday gift cards but also had some balance on the old ones. Since my to-be-read pile didn't need beefing up just now, I've been going music crazy. Got Hail to the Thief, a Mickey Hart collection and some Nick Drake and I still have credit left over! The Drake was partially in response to Beck's "Round the Bend" on Sea Change, which I love, but always felt a little guilty about loving without knowing more about Drake. (Theft or tribute? I vote tribute). Add to that the White Stripes' De Stijl that our friend Sally gave me (since I already had White Blood Cells) and a recently acquired Lemon Jelly CD, Roxy Music's Country Life and Oskar Sala's incredible electronic Hindemith recordings that I had to hunt for forever and a day and I be doing happy happy dance.

And speaking of music, has anyone else heard "Open Season" by Foremost Poets? I've only heard it once (on Metropolis, I think) and the song and band have proved maddeningly elusive.

06/14: Speaking of blogs, Patrick has one now, so that's one more I'll be checking every day. Blog's are interesting. My friend Peter Merholz was there at the beginning of the movement. He was the one who first suggested that the word "weblog" be split into the phrase "we blog", making blog a verb and leading, eventually, to its current renown as a noun.

06/13: Dylan Meconis, creator of — oh hell, you'd know if you'd joined Girlamatic wouldn't you? — just put up an interesting blog entry on her love/hate relationship with comics. Among the topics is the "pro vs. amateur" divide; a distinction we really ought to ditch when discussing quality. Personally, I go with "serious" vs. "just screwing around" and artists like Dylan have long-since established themselves in the "serious" column.

(Hmm...Why is June suddenly Pants Press month on this page? Can Vera, Bill, and Jen be far behind?)

06/10: Fun B-Day with the family.

06/08: The OzComics 24 Hour Challenge is underway! (or, with the time difference, probably near done by now).

06/07: Hey, check out this wonderful skinny Zot portrait that Kevin Hanna drew!

06/04: Actually, I think the photo my camera got was slightly better than Erika's. Or at least there were more smiles. I look dorky no matter what, of course.

Entertainingly snarky article in Toronto's Eye Weekly about Jason Turner and online comics in general.

Had a great -- if brief -- trip to Microsoft. Cool bonus was hooking up with Jenn, Kip, Barry, Erika, Kevin and Claire. I could post a picture. I could write an account. I could give you links. But Erika beat me to it, so... less work for me! (Note: The four school napkin thing was abbreviated cause I wrote it upside-down; they're actually "Formalists-Iconoclasts-Animists-Classicists").

06/01: Did I mention that Shaenon Garrity is always right?

05/30: Shaenon Garrity and Tom Hart's delightful Trunktown has just wrapped up at Serializer. Subscribers can now read the whole archive, along with a treasure trove of other great webcomics updating daily.

05/29: ALERT!: FANTAGRAPHICS NEEDS OUR HELP. And you can help yourself by helping them! Just click on the above link and buy a few of Fantagraphics extraordinary graphic novels today. For 27 years, Fantagraphics has been the leading publisher of the best comics in America (starting on day one with the publication of Love and Rockets by the Hernandez Brothers). Now due to market forces beyond their control, the venerable publisher needs to sell a ton of books in the next month to survive. If you're new to the field, I strongly recommend the works of Chris Ware, Jim Woodring, Joe Sacco, Dave Cooper and Dan Clowes, but nearly anything in the Fantagraphics catalog will be worth your while. Store up on birthday gifts, or give yourself the gift of some of the best comics of the 20th and 21st Century.

Meanwhile, Derek has alerted us to the existence of this – perhaps the most terrifying music video ever.

05/28: Butternut Squash is definitely worth checking out. Pretty sharp stuff.

05/27: Disturbing Monkeys and Kitties courtesy of Derek and Neil, respectively.

05/25: Australia's second annual OzComics 24 Hour Challenge is coming up June 7th. Stop by their site for more info.

05/21: Ethan Persoff's "A Dog and His Elephant" has just wrapped up at Serializer. It's harrowing, grotesque and emotionally draining, but well worth the time it takes to endure it. At only $2.95 a month, Serializer continues to be the best of all the Modern Tales sites. With major works like Persoff's in the archive, the value of subscribing is rising every month.

05/19: I'm the "Fanshmabulous Denim Caveman". Who are you?

05/18: Those of you who remember the great coloring on Zot!'s first 10 issues may be interested to know that the mind behind it, illustrator and fine artist Denis McFarling, has quit his corporate cog job and is back in the freelance arena.

05/16: Reminder: If you're an online cartoonist and would like to participate in the voting for the Web Cartoonists Choice Awards, the deadline is Sunday. Do it nowand you won't have to remember it.

05/15: Kean Soo, an artist to watch, has just uploaded a nice long version of his rather unique foray into comics meets music. Check it out, along with Kean's various other cool comics.

Sequential Tart could use our help.

05/12: cat garza --> whimville. <--run don't walk!
If you're already a Modern Tales subscriber (and really, you should be by now, don'cha think?) you can hop onto cat's psychedelic jetcar for just one dollar a month. That's a whole year of dreams from this crazy inventor's big brain for the price of a few issues of x-men.

05/12: Eric Millikin of Fetus-X fame has posted a cool, in-depth, very political comic at Comixpedia, done in the style of one of my ICST trailing scroll-monsters. It's pretty, angry and blue.

05/11: Check out the June issue of Better Homes and Gardens(!) for a cool article about comics and education, including a quote or two from Yours Truly.

05/06: Faith Erin Hicks of Demonology 101 fame has started a great new comic at Modern Tales called "Ice". If you haven't yet subscribed MT, now might be a good time.

Thanks to all the kind folks at Ohio State for the warm reception and great conversation yesterday (see below). This was my first public talk about Manga, and there was a lot to talk about indeed.

05/05: Tonight, I'll be talking about Japanese Comics at Ohio State University's Wexner Center, 1871 N. High St. The talk starts at 4 pm and should last about an hour (with time for Q & A and to check out the "Happy Birthday, Atom!" Astro Boy exhibit which will stay open until 6:30 pm). See you there!

05/03: Ah! Thanks to Comixpedia, I found that link to Webcomics Awareness Day, which will be Monday, May 5.

05/02: Saturday is Free Comic Book Day. Monday, is Web Comics Awareness Day, I'm told, though I can't find a homepage for that event so I'll just take it on faith. Ironically, on Web Comics Awareness Day, for the first time in 8 years, I'll be giving a public talk that isn't about webcomics at all (see above).

04/29: Todd Webb needs our help! Give that boy a donation (and get neat stuff too). UPDATE: It worked! Great job, Everybody. You really made a difference.

04/25: In Understanding Comics I talked about why I thought comics were a much older art form than their American newspapers origin story suggested. I dug up a few examples, but there are many others and thanks to hard-working writers like Andy Konky Kru, the digging continues.

04/25: The journal comic Imitation of Life has been getting steadily better since its inception late last year. Artist "Neil" isn't getting any happier though. Post a comment and tell him nice things so he'll keep drawing.

04/24: What the Hell is happening to Fair Use in this country?! Be sure to sign the petition and let Tycho and Gabe know what you think of American Greeting's lawyers.

04/23: All the Ducks are Swimming in the Water! Fa-La-La-La-La-Laaa!

The above links to the Lemon Jelly homepage, but for the uninitiated, I am of course referring to "Nice Weather for Ducks" by Lemon Jelly, a song so insidious you'll be humming it in your grave. Go Here for a nice r.a. video of the song.

04/17: Guilty pleasure of the week: Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki. I mean, God... The name alone...

04/15: Merlin's at it again!

04/11: Congratulations to the great webcomics artist Justine Shaw for her Eisner nominations "Best New Series" and "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition." And thank you to the Eisner nominating committee for considering online comics this year.

04/07: Happy Birthday, Astroboy!

In a world without sports, what would we make of a phrase like "Kansas meets Syracuse in New Orleans"?

04/04: Vancouver cartoonist Colin Upton has been putting his Gulf War Diary online. Hmmm... A cartoonist writing about the war... " For it or against it?" you ask. Well, it's kind of a mystery; sort of like "Who's on the cover of Oprah Magazine this month?"

04/01: Todd Webb's great Journal comic has became full color and daily this month. It's part of my morning surf now (along with American Elf of course).

03/31: Girlamatic is LIVE!
I subscribed on day one. How about you?

03/27: Charlie Red Eye is a cool new comic from Perth, Western Australia. Looks like Edward J. Grug III & Matthew William Boyd Langfield esq will be names to remember... assuming you can remember names like Edward J. Grug III & Matthew William Boyd Langfield esq.

Short, but sweet article on online comics in the Boston Globe this week.

Boy, Kazu Kibuishi really knows how to pick 'em. First he clued me into this cool/creepy french music video, then today it was this little masterpiece. Thanks, Kazu.

03/27: Had a great dinner with Akiko's Mark Crilley last night. Read about it here.

03/25: So, I'm told that Daler Mendhi has a great new video (post-Tunak) but I can't find it! Anyone want to clue me in as to where to look?

03/24: Eric Millikin and Casey Sorrow's "Fetus-X" at Serializer today features a rotating cube format that's pretty cool. It's also anti-war, but by now that's no great surprise. Even Cat Garza's "Whimville" is joining the outcry at Modern Tales. Dirk Deppey has turned the futile search for pro-war cartoonists into a running joke at ¡Journalista!.

03/23: Today's Narbonic includes some thoughts on the war by Shaenon Garrity.

03/21: Attention, aspiring writers: Neil Gaiman was asked a question about writing and gave a particularly useful answer today. Check the entry under "Saturday, March 22."

03/21: Patrick Farley weighs in on the war with a nice bit of humanist satire.

03/20: As usual, Matt Feazell said it best. (Click on today's Cynicalman).

03/18: Simon Mark sent me a link to some comics that are rather odd... In a good way.

03/17: Bad Design Kills.

03/16: One from the files:

Music note: I love this song! Patti Casey has a studio version here, but that live version really grabbed me in the car on the way to El Pollo Loco. Speaking of which, Winter, age 7, has taken to saying "My name is El Pollo Loco! You killed my father! Prepare to die!." Am I off-topic yet?

03/15: The great debate is practically 24/7 online these days. I *think* that's a good thing.

03/14: Upon seeing Brian Dewan's poem, Damonk let me know about his own forays into comics inspired poetry. David Lasky (who should have his own homepage) also did a cool mini on said theme, but I don't know if it's online or not.

03/14: Just read Tom Stackpole's The Bone Dancer. Now you can too.

03/10: Great article in The Detroit News about the incomparable Matt Feazell (a.k.a., The Buddy Holly of Comics).

03/07: "Devil?" "Messiah?" "Available?" (if it redirects you to the index, just type in Scott McCloud and see what happens).

03/05: Congratulations to Jim Zubkavich on the elegant ending of The Makeshift Miracle at Modern Tales! Read it in one sitting if you can (I swear, it all makes sense now).

03/03: Zot! Online is now in Spanish, thanks to the fine friends at Planeta DeAgostini!

Don't forget: Lysistrata tonight! Find one of the thousand plus readings in a city near you.

02/28: The Legendary Brian Dewan sent me a cool poem about Comic Books. Smell that musty newsprint!

Also today: Tracy White has posted a great new episode today, which -- fingers crossed -- will kick off new weekly updates.

And yet more ready.gov parodies here and here. Thanks to Jimmy Ho, checking in from France.

02/27: Mark Krukar writes: "Looks like many people have been looking at the gov's site about dealing with terrorism and come up with their own responses. Big surprise! :-)"
Mark points to parodies here, here, here, and here. I think the first one might have been Fetus-X.

02/24: The esteemed John Barber sent a note: "The attached JPG is from my girlfriend's biochemistry lab in Cambridge. I know all the web-daily-strip artists are out to get you, but what did you do to the Cambridge biochemical community?"

02/23: I wish I read French.

02/21: Fantagraphics is now offering (for a limited time) a 90 minute mp3 audio excerpt from TCJ's 1990 discussion of The Creators' Bill of Rights between Gary Groth, Steve Bissette and myself. This was before Understanding Comics and before Webcomics, so it's a real time capsule.

Also today: Same Difference is now complete! If you haven't read this great comic by Derek Kirk Kim yet, now's your chance to experience it from start to finish.

And hey, was I just asleep for 20 years, or is that new Chr*st*na Ag**l*r* video unusually progressive for a pop diva? (No wait -- I've read Hutch Owen... is this just a new kind of evil? Hmm...)

02/20: Remember, Kids: When your life depends on it, only comics will do. (Thanks to Chris Callison-Burch for the link).

02/17: Diesel Sweeties has a promising couple of guest artist weeks starting today. Scroll down the DS front page for a calendar of upcoming contributors.

02/14: Dirk Deppey's ¡Journalista! continues to grow. Let's all let the guy know how much we appreciate this excellent new resource.

02/13: Thanks to everyone at Georgia Tech for a great trip!

Greatest. Video. Ever.: Daler Mehndi's "Tunak Tunak Tun." Found a big mpeg here, for those with fast connections (or a lot of patience). Man, I wish we could just buy stuff like this online. I'd pay Mehndi a dollar for this wacky masterpiece in a heartbeat. Maybe soon...

02/06: Even if you're not a superhero fan, I hope you'll check out Justice League Adventures #16. I had a lot of fun working on this little story, and I'm really happy with the way it turned out.

And hey, I found those other photos I took at APE.

02/04: Had the pleasure of meeting Kazu Kibuishi at APE -- boy, can that guy draw!

02/04: Comixpedia is a new online mag about webcomics. It's off to a strong start. Also check out Merlin's great new Mr.Nile Experiment.

02/03: APE was happy happy place:

01/28: Here's one of the oddest plugs I've gotten. (You'll have to register with the NY Times to see it, but it's free).

01/23: Lea Hernandez's Rumble Girls is off to a great start. Stop on by and start reading today.

01/21: Shannon Galvin has some nice stories online at feverdream.org. Check it out.

01/21: Back from the weeklong MIT Seminar and my extended trip to Boston. Thanks to my terrific students and all the people who braved the cold to join us for the public talk on Wednesday. Cool coincidence of the month: I was on my way to a Harvard Square restaurant to meet a student of mine from the Minneapolis seminar who was in town, accompanied by three students from the MIT seminar, when up drives one of my students from the MAINE seminar!! He was in town for some other reason entirely and just happened to recognize me. Freaky...

01/03: Attention Boston! Join me at M.I.T. on Wednesday Jan 15. The talk starts at 7pm in room 10-250. It's free and open to the public. (This is in conjunction with the 5-day seminar which was open to MIT students only).