News from the old site blog. Many links may be out of date.
12/30: Ivy called just now to report the following conversation with Winter (age 10) following a dispute about how and where to dispose of some aluminum foil:
DAUGHTER: "That is the most pointless argument I've ever been in."
MOTHER: "Oh, I've been in more pointless arguments."
DAUGHTER: "Well, you're married."
12/29: FIVE DAYS TO GO ON THE BOOK! Once I make my January 2 deadline, I'll have about 6 weeks of clean-up, corrections, notes, format etc. Then it's off to Eastern Michigan, Abilene, Maryland and Montreal and finally back home to finish The Right Number, the next (last?) Morning Improv and preparations for our year long, 50 state tour with the family starting around the book's release this Fall. Look for more detailed announcements soon.
Meanwhile, check out this new webcomic from Kathryn and Stuart Immonen.
12/23: Looks like my old pal Ted's latest RoadWitch project in London can now be seen on TV!
19 years ago, Ivy and I had our first date. I've known her for more than half my life, and I can't imagine life with anyone else. In the space of just 8 days this year, we'll celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah and Ivy's birthday. It'll be hectic, panicky, overloaded and beautiful, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
To all our friends, family and readers (and especially Bill O'Reilly):
12/22: Just heard Magnet's great cover version of "Lay Lady Lay" (iTunes has it if you're curious). It got me thinking about my favorite covers. Way too many to mention, but a few that really changed the song in interesting ways for me include Gary Jules' "Mad World" from Donnie Darko, Ella Fitzgerald's slow "Fascinating Rhythm" (1959 stereo version w/Nelson Riddle), Walter Carlos' 3rd Brandenburg from Switched on Bach, TMBG doing "Hey, We're the Replacements" (heh), Moxy Fruvous' "Spiderman" and the Flying Lizards' "Money." Beethoven covering Schiller's "Ode to Joy" was pretty good too.
12/20: Here's a real gem: The Cat Burglar's Daughter by Sara Rosenbaum.
"Although its aims and content are far different, [webcomics] is a bit like manga five or six years ago: a cult audience that is increasing steadily under the radar of the conventional media." --Heidi MacDonald on Webcomics for PW.
12/16: Congratulations to Cat and Gwen on the birth of their little girl Beatrix!!
12/15: Portland-based illustrator Mark Paulik has started a webcomic called Chumba. Not many panels up yet, but what is there looks good.
Another webcomic just revving up: William G.'s Pointy-Eared Bastards.
12/13: Polygons gettin' it on: Empty by Oslo-born New Yorker Bård Edlund.
12/11: These are spooky and wonderful.
12/07: Ooh! New Copper.
Rich Chapell considers some comics-like elements in 15th Century paintings. He concedes some of the gnarly bits in his first example that might exclude it even from my expansive definition, but scroll halfway down his essay and you'll see an example he's found that's definitely in the tent.
12/06: Joey Manley takes a look at webcomics troublemakers in his new Webhead column.
And speaking of art, check out what Drew Weing's been up to lately!
12/02: Brandy is an artist who takes merchandise seriously. I especially like the Optimist/Pessimist shirts.
12/01: Here's a useful site. A listing of completed webcomics stories in various genres.
Howard Tayler just sent word that he'll be posting his 2,000th consecutive strip on Friday, which is impressive enough, but when I read the email's subject line "2000 strips this Friday" I thought "Wow! How's he going to manage that??"
11/30: La Tela Infinita means "the Infinite Canvas" in Italian, and it's not a coincidence, I'm told. Looks cool, though I'm not getting it to work yet on IE, Safari or Opera (on Mac OS X). Maybe you'll have better luck.
11/28: Child's Play has raised nearly a million dollars worth of toys, games and cash for Children's Hospitals around the world in the last few years. Let's see if we can make this year's event even bigger.
11/23: I was driving to the studio when I saw a pick-up truck hauling two slender wooden ladders and a refrigerator. All I could think was: "Whatever you're planning, Guys, it's not going to work."
11/22: Eric Zimmerman sends word of A Game Developers' Bill of Rights. It'll be fascinating to see what kind of reaction this gets in such a traditionally collaborative medium.
11/21: Ethan Persoff has posted the first 20 plates of a wonderfully creepy new comic, The Recovery of Charlie Pickle.
11/18: Blurred Vision looks like a promising new anthology of experimental comics. I know I like the work of some of the contributors and the others look intriguing.
11/17: Joey Manley has a new column at the Pulse (link fixed -- argh...) and boy, is he in a scrappy mood!
11/15: Do you make a webcomic? Tell us where you live!
11/14: Lots of strange, interesting comics at Dash Shaw's site. Love that opening image.
11/10: Transcribing Webcomics? Cool idea. I may hop on when I have a regularly updating comic again.
More good-looking comics from Jonathon Dalton this month.
11/08: Mmmm... Dragable...
Shaenon Garrity's cool comic "More Fun" has a new name -- "Smithson" -- a new artist, a new location, and a cool new navigation tool (just click and drag). And it's free now.
One of our favorite teachers (Hi, Colleen!) points out this spooky presentation of images from Hubble.
11/04: Mmm. Colors.
11/03: My oldest friend on the planet, Ted Dewan has been making astounding things happen in his London Neighborhood. Read about it here. The man is a menace!
Tom points to Josh Simmons' site today. Impressive pages!
11/01: "Our God is a bit of a fire hazard at parties." 'Tis complete. The Book of Merl.
Nat Gertler brought over a copy of The 24 Hour Comics Day Highlights book for 2005 and it's gorgeous! Now on sale at a fine comic shop near somebody.
10/27: Donna Barr hops to Lulu.com with Desert Peach #31, "Pithed." I'll be interested to see what role services like Lulu play in the future. (Fun fact: Donna Barr has the distinction of being one of the few creators with a musical based on her comics!).
What with Webcomics Nation and the changing collectives landscape, it feels like a lot of creators are on the move this season. Me, I'm just happily chained to the drawing board for another, um... 68 days. (Does a Cintiq still qualify as a "drawing board"?)
Meanwhile, Comixpedia lives up to its name with a new Wiki-powered Webcomics encyclopedia.
10/23: Great interview at Fanboy Radio this week with the legendary Joe Kubert.
10/22: I'm one of the talking heads in this interesting L.A. Times article on the relationship between comics and the fine arts world.
10/19: Finder has moved online in a big way. Catch up with this remarkable series now.
10/17: Nine days without a post. Yikes! Guess it's official: I'm in deadline mode. I'll be working 11 hours a day, 7 days a week on Making Comics until January 2. Gotta do a page a day and so far I'm keeping pace, so I'm cautiously optimistic (knock wood).
Meanwhile the first book is still generating debate, so I guess that's a good thing.
10/08: Okay, I'm obviously a little distracted this week, having gotten the link for Merlin's new comic wrong twice! Hopefully, three's the charm. *sigh*
10/07: Yikes. Freaky new comic by Kieron Gillen and Charity Larrison via C.L.'s blog.
Here's an interesting new blog: Make Comics Forever!
10/06: New Merlin comic. (link REALLY fixed now!)
Sky created her first meme recently (unless you count "Fire, Water, Bunny" which has inexplicably become a toy/game thingey by Baseman recently). She dubbed last Friday's release of both Serenity and Mirrormask as "National Geek Day." She told it to Neil, who then quoted it in his interview with Joss Whedon for Time Magazine. I'm told that it had actually spread pretty far by the time Friday rolled around!
10/01: Sooo wish I could be there.
The fires aren't quite as close this morning (and the smoke's not nearly as photogenic) so it looks like we can relax for now.
09/29: So, those California brush fires? Not so far from here.
Vertical's gorgeous reprints of Osamu Tezuka's seminal Buddha series is finishing up with Volume 8. These are some of the most lively, inventive and beautiful comics ever drawn. Highly recommended.
Fellow Syracuse U.U. Cinemas alum Robin Enrico is offering a complete pocket-sized graphic novel online, "Stupid and Unkind." Sort of like Hi-Fidelity performed by weebles. Pretty cool.
09/24: The legendary Jason Shiga has revamped his website and included an online versions of his astonishing comic "Meanwhile".
09/22: Comic Tennis, Anyone?
09/21: Ack!! Yes, I know the difference between Carol Tyler and Carol Lay! I had just found out about Tyler's site via a tcj discussion and had just been reading a comment from someone else who mixed up Lay and Tyler and my brain just went into Tyler-Lay-Tyler-Lay mode. Lay's a terrific cartoonist in her own right whose site is here but it was Tyler whose work I was referring to. Pardon me, while I crawl away and die now.
09/20: I didn't know Carol Tyler had a site, but now I do, and so do you. Tyler -- like her husband Justin Green, come to think of it -- is one of those cartoonists who don't have a huge fan base, but whose work is deeply loved by those who've taken the time to explore it. The classic "artists' artist." I notice she has a book collection of her wonderful stories coming up. I'm advance-ordering it and can recommend it for anyone who likes a good story, well-told.
09/16: Just realized I never linked to this gem. Read. Laugh. Cry. Say "Awww." It's a good one. Congratulations to Dave and Raina!
10 12: Comixpedia reports that the Ignatz nominees are out for Best Online Comic. The nominees include four excellent comics I already knew I liked, and one comic I didn't know at all, Superslackers by Steven Charles Manale. Now that I've read some of Superslackers, I can see why it's on the list. Fun stuff. I especially like this one.
So, there you go. Awards are good for something.
09/09: Charles Allen Harris -- who I'm forever indebted to for helping me find my Cintiq tablet -- is donating proceeds from this month's print sales for Katrina relief. They're nice prints too.
Here are some pointers by Tom to the many other comics-related fundraisers, btw.
09/08: Y'know, some of these actually would make great state slogans!
09/07: Our friend John, like many of you, thought that it was high time I had an rss feed for these news updates, and rather than just wait for me to get off my duff and do it, he just did for me, using my bold date separators to mark each new entry. So, thank you, John; and thank you to the lovely Lori for creating an accompanying LiveJournal feed as well. (My own livejournal is here, in case you're wondering, but only occasionally updated).
09/02: PayPal does micropayments. Yup, the other shoe has dropped. This isn't necessarily bad news for you-know-who but it sure as hell changes the landscape. I'm on the sidelines until my book is finished, but I'll be watching this one closely. Thanks to Brad Fitzpatrick for spotting this August 31st press release.
09/01: Blank Label is hosting a Hurricane Relief Telethon, Sept 13th and 14th.
I'm sure that any readers in the New Orleans area (or anywhere along the Gulf Coast for that matter) have more important things to do than read blogs, but if any of you guys are wandering back just now, know that our thoughts and well-wishes are with you.
08/31: Alexander Danner and Neal Von Flue present Five Ways to Love a Cockroach.
08/30: Actually, I think Crumb already called dibs on Genesis (link via Rebecca Faria).
08/29: Spawns of Insomnia 2005, a Seattle 24-comics event taking place in September, will be raising funds for the graphic novel collection in the Seattle Public Library. Scroll down a bit for details on becoming a sponsor.
Meanwhile, Steve Bissette (who did the second-ever 24-hour comic 15 years ago this month) sends word that the 24-hour comics event held at Vermont's Brattleboro Museum this weekend drew nearly 50 steady participants, producing close 1000 pages! Check Steve's blog for more details.
I get the feeling that the next 24-hour comics day 2006 (now scheduled for October 2006) could be huge.
08/24: I'm one of several talking heads in a pretty solid article on graphic novels in Charleston's City Paper. Download the pdf to see the whole thing with illos.
David Reese alerts us to Ninja's Around the House.
The latest cameo, courtesy of Ali Graham.
08/20: Okay, it's been going for 100 strips, so you probably already know about it, but I'm really enjoying Beaver and Steve.
Al Nickerson came across this gem: A video interview with Jack "King" Kirby.
08/19: Finally discovered Charity Larrison's art. Definitely one to watch.
08/18: Joey Manley, inspired by the recent brouhaha over the New York Times article, offers a look back at Reinventing Comics and it's aftermath at his blog.
08/16: Attention, Vermont!
08/15: There are days when Kevin Huizenga is my favorite cartoonist. There's no one else like him.
Great googly moogly, the man is mad!
Great song, cool jam comic.
08/14: Ryan is in his final day. Tons of pages and some great fan art have accumulated on his enormous front page. If he survives this, let's all offer the guy a round of applause.
Brian Fukushima has some solid, interesting comics up here.
08/08: Neal Von Flue puts the Infinite Canvas software to good use in an experimental revamp of an earlier work. Note the forward and back arrows; sequential but not directional. Pretty cool. (Link via Steve Harrison).
This seems like a good time to remind everyone that I'm not directly affiliated with the Infinite Canvas project, but I definitely like it. An elegant little app you can download for free. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to try out new forms of webcomics navigation that anyone can quickly view.
Alongside Merlin's ground-breaking Tarquin Engine, this sort of experiment could not only benefit multi-branching mind-benders like the above, but also straight narratives wanting to take advantage of the kind of spatial opportunities explored in scrolling comics like Jason Turner's Bright Morning Blue, or Drew Weing's Pup #15.
08/04: The Home Stretch! See notice at left.
Bookslut has a write-up of San Diego which includes a detailed description of my Thursday panel.
08/03: Here's a cool online sketchbook.
24 Hour Comic Day will be in October in 2006. Why so much later? Here's the announcement and explanation from organizer Nat Gertler. Sounds good to me.
08/02: Boxcar Comics is up. Will any cartoonist not be part of a collective by 2006?
08/01: Happy Birthday, Winter! Ten years old today. No more single digit kids in the house. *sigh*
07/30: More San Diego photos, courtesy of Jackie Estrada and Batton Lash.
The 168 Hour Comic Week? Yikes!
07/28: Oh, Man. If only I didn't have a book to finish, I would so be there.
Another great investment, courtesy of starving artists.
Oh, and another good one.
07/26: It's been said that there are ten times as many aspiring comics writers as aspiring comics artists. I don't know if that's true or not, but if it is, the "art"-less 90% are at least more entertaining on the Web. Case in point: Wondermark.
07/25: Yeah, I'll pretty much read anything drawn by Vera Brosgol.
Cat is relaunching Cuentos, with new episodes in October!
Jon lists his top 100 singles with the caution: "I have omitted all your favorites and only included my own."
07/24: Friday's Overcompensating reminds me that there are a couple of San Diego moments I hadn't mentioned yet.
I did stop by for a Dumbrella gathering in the tiny lobby bar of the Westgate hotel Saturday night and spent a couple of fun hours with the Dumbrella guys and Tycho. No duels-to-the-death or tearful breakthroughs. We just hung out talking about the known universe.
Will and Ann Eisner always stayed at the Westgate. Back in the '80s, when the San Diego Con was in the Civic Center, it was the perfect hotel. Elegant, luxurious, centrally located. But when the Con grew and moved to the giant new convention center on the beach, the neighborhood around the Westgate fell a few notches. The nearby Hotel San Diego, with all those underground jam comics drawn on the crate paper backings of the paintings on the walls, became a flophouse and was eventually closed. The Pickwick became, from all accounts, an unwelcoming old building. But the Westgate held on to its dignity, soldiered on, and is still used as a convention hotel to this day.
Ann didn't stay at the Westgate this year. Too many memories. But the Dumbrella guys did. No passing of the torch. No handing down of stories. Just a new crowd moving in and starting to write its own history. Like a radio dial, tuned to a new frequency.
07/23: Here's an interesting use of the Tarquin Engine by Nicholas Ivan Ladendorf.
07/22: My niece Alice is visiting this week from Montreal and pointed me to her friend Toronto-based Rosemary Mosco's site, which is quite charming. Check out the lovely Bird and Moon and other comics.
07/21: Here's a solid debut: "Hold My Life" by Dale Ingram. Definitely, give it a try.
07/20: San Diego Photos!
07/19: Back from San Diego! Hope to have some pictures and stories soon, but definitely check out Lori's photos, including shots of our dinner with game legend Will Wright and his wonderful daughter Cassi at Buca de Beppos on Saturday.
I'll be on three panels at Comic-Con this year.
Thursday, July 14.
2:30-3:30 pm. Spotlight on Scott McCloud. Assuming I can hook up the laptop, I might preview some pages from the new book, Making Comics, due out in 2006. (Room 5AB).
4:00-5:00 pm. Anthologies Take Flight. If you didn't know already, find out why a lot of us in the business consider the Flight Anthology important. (Room 3).
Saturday, July 16.
3:00-4:30 pm. Tribute to Will Eisner. Any of us on that panel could probably cover a week on this subject. Despite the somber purpose, this might be a surprisingly lively panel. We all have a lot of great stories about this extraordinary man (Room 1AB).
And of course, Friday night, don't miss the Eisner Awards and the presentation of awards in the first-ever Digital Comics category.
07/12: Off to San Diego tomorrow. More news starting Tuesday July 19.
07/10: The Web Cartoonists Choice Awards results are now online. Definitely check out the comics-style presentations. A nice snapshot of webcomics in 2005. I won't spoil the surprises, except to tell you there are some this year. Congratulations to all the winners.
07/09: Mark Mekkes reports that tonight's episode of this show will include the announcement of the winners in this year's WCCA Awards.
07/08: Ted writes that Clickwheel has its full release today.
Nikka Costa sounds like a baby pteradactyl! I love her remake of Ike and Tina's "Funkier than a Mosquito's Tweeter."
Speaking of music, I was ready to declare this as having the best song titles of any album I ever liked, but Stevens' Illinois(e) is a strong contender. I especially like: "A Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, But for Very Good Reasons."
07/07: Here's a good looking book on webcomics, covering nearly the whole scene that'll be out soon.
Best Questionable Content yet. I mean, panel 3 alone... Whoah. (link updated, cause I'm a moron).
Matt Thompson of the Fresno Bee interviewed me on Thursday during my CSU Seminar. His comics-style, photomontage online version of the interview, captures me in creepy mad professor mode, including my soon-to-be infamous "four tribes" theory. Read if you dare.
07/05: Happy Birthday to The Beat!
Happy birthday, America. Hope you get over this crazy phase soon, but know that we're still here for you.
07/02: Thank you, Fresno!
06/25: Off to California State University Fresno for next week's seminar. See you again July 2.
06/24: What is Clickwheel? A cool-looking iPod content-delivery thingey, apparently. The first slate of four comics looks great. You already know how much I admire Demian, Merlin and Colin's work, but the presence of Ted Dewan, who I've known longer than anyone else on the planet is a wonderful surprise.
A terrific interview with Hope Larson is now available in the ever-growing Fanboy Radio archives.
06/23: So, Blank Label Comics has a nice line-up. And any comics collective with a newsreel gets my vote on general principle. Let's wish them luck.
06/21: Winter channels Kiefer Sutherland! Greatest. Thing. Ever.
06/20: Keep getting notes about Modern Tales family sites that are freeing up their archives during voting for the WCCA Awards. Might want to just check the whole group to see what might be available this month at Girlamatic, Modern Tales, Serializer and Graphic Smash.
Meanwhile, via Lea's journal, we discover that future generations of master cartoonists are at stake! (Seriously, check out that dog drawing). Note the PayPal button for Lea's recent Livejournal-based comics.
And speaking of good causes, Tom Spurgeon's incredibly useful and comprehensive The Comics Reporter is having a miniature fund drive this week.
06/19: Raina Telgemeier writes to let us know that her awesome Girlamatic comic Smile has also opened up its archives for free viewing until July 3. Like Shaenon, Raina has nominations in the WCCA Awards, plus a spot in the Eisners this year(!), so wish her luck.
06/18: Those of you who pre-registered for the San Diego Comic Con and have been following recent flamewars got a good laugh this week in the mail. Comic-Con's periodic update has a short interview with me where I talk about what a positive, warm and supportive community webcomics is; obviously conducted before all Hell broke loose.
Funny thing is, it's still true for 99% of the best artists on the web, especially the recent arrivals. I was specifically thinking of artists like those in Flight and Pants Press, plus their friends at Girlamatic, Dumbrella, Modern Tales, etc. When I said, "I've seen very little rancor, very little of the bitter competitiveness that we see in other places," that's the community I was thinking about.
Virtually none of those artists could even remotely be described as my "followers." The number of artists who are actively pursuing "infinite canvas" comics or micropayments wouldn't fill a Jetta. In fact, when 100 cartoonists sat down to dinner on Saturday last year at San Diego, I'd already accepted that my pet projects were a vanishingly small part of the scene.
Nevertheless, they've taken me in as their batty uncle; the guy who makes the toast at dinner, then sits back down to watch his daughter balance a spoon on her nose, and that's fine with me. I'm happy in that role and I have been for a while.
Oh hey, almost forgot, Narbonic's archives are free in June too. Swing by Modern Tales to read the whole story if you haven't already.
Oh, and: Rawr.
06/17: Those of you looking forward to an across-the-aisle duel to the death at San Diego will have to wait. We've rolled back our booth reservations for Tranquility Base until '06. Tracy is recovering from treatments for thyroid cancer and can't join us, Jenn could only make it part-time, Patrick can't bring the cinema display, and Merlin is happy to try to crash the Modern Tales booth; so all things considered, we're giving it a pass. (Also, this gives us another year to train our fleet of dagger-wielding flying monkeys.)
Meanwhile, Nat Gertler and About Comics has announced the line-up for the 24 Hour Comics Day Highlights 2005 at the 24 Hour Comics Day Blog. Congratulations to all involved.
06/16: I don't know which is funnier, the strip or the text piece on Canada. Either way, Mitch Clem definitely has a way with words.
Update: Mitch is getting hate mail for the original Canada post. Read between the lines, People: He obviously thinks America is more screwed-up in every other way.
If you haven't read Jason Thompson's The Stiff, now's your chance to read the entire archive for free.
06/15: Yesterday was the kids' "Stepping Up" Ceremony -- the elementary school equivalent of graduation at the open program where our kids attend (a public magnet thingey, with a lot of parent participation and some unusually gifted students). It had a medieval theme this year, so all the kids who were leaving for other schools (or "stepping out") had a little knighting ceremony where the teachers said a few words to their students before tapping them on the shoulder with a wooden sword and giving them a diploma-like certificate. Our eldest was the second to last to step out, and her teacher, having held it together throughout the ceremony, couldn't get two words in before she had to stop to keep herself from crying.
Every parent knows their own kids are amazing. Ivy and I aren't any different. Still, it is kind of cool to find out that we're not the only ones. I was very proud of both our girls yesterday.
06/13: A new issue of the Webcomics Examiner is out. Marianne Petit has a new series of pages about living in New York. And best of all, Magic Inkwell is back at Webcomics Nation! Good news for a Monday morning.
06/12: Okay, that's funny.
06/10: On the advice of people whose opinions I respect, I've decided to remove the Tycho essay. If I ever respond again, it will be on points alone, not the motivation behind those points.
Sorry for that 24 hour lapse in judgement. Like a lot of people, I get angry when friends are attacked.
06/08: Hey, congratulations to all of the nominees of the WCCA Awards! Forgot to mention that earlier.
CSI crime stick investigation.
06/07: Jon Rosenberg is offering two comics for 25 cents each via BitPass. I've bought and read both, they're excellent, and I hope you'll give them a try. The sheer, mind-boggling irony of his timing is almost beyond imagining, but more on that later. For now, I really hope you'll take him up on the offer.
Enroll now:I'm teaching my Five Day Seminar at Cal State Fresno June 26 - July 1and that's just the half of it because a second week (to July 9) will be taught by the great Jessica Abel! Two solid weeks of pure comics immersion. Mark your calendars and sign up today.
06/03-6: Tarquin is Go!
Daniel Merlin Goodbrey's brilliant Tarquin Engine, a way of using Flash to create the amazing zooming comics seen here, is now available for a pittance at the public beta launch of Joey Manley's new WebcomicsNation.
Also starting at WebcomicsNation is Spike's Templar and probably many other things shortly.
Think I'll keep this up on the blog 'til Monday to make sure everybody sees this.
Spoiler Aleroh, who cares...
Dude, it took 16 years to finish the Death Star?!? Oh, man, there's gotta be a seventh movie in there somewhere. I mean, look at it in that last sceneit looks almost finished, but... no. No, apparently not. Can you imagine 16 frickin' years of those slanty-hat bureaucrats telling Vader that, well, I don't know how to say this, Sir but..? No wonder the guy was so angry all the time! He must have been choking ten guys to death every day before breakfast for years. I want to start the new movie with two bureaucrats outside a door just saying: "You tell him." "No, YOU tell him."
Ivy just laughed at the part where we had two simultaneous duels-to-the-death and we KNOW all four of them survive. Way to undercut the suspense, People.
Ah, whatever... Howl's Moving Castle comes out on my birthday. Life is good.
06/01: Somehow, I keep missing these great little shows like TCAF, but maybe next year. (Right now, I have a book to draw!) Kind of a shame though, cause it looks like 2005 might be the year that cartoonists all over the place start falling in love and it would have been cool to be there to see it.
05/31: Read. Donate. Enjoy.
Here's an elegant new collaboration between Hope Larson and talented newcomer Lucy Knisley. Yeah, I know that the world at large would still classify Hope as a "newcomer" but what can I tell yathings move fast these days! Hell, I know artists graduating college this year that seem like seasoned veterans. "Internet time" indeed...
I've posted a thread on TCJ.com on Cintiqs as a solution for hand strain (and a tiny peek at one of the more detailed panels from my new book Making Comics). If you've been having hand trouble, check it out.
05/27: I love my wife. Have I mentioned that recently?
05/26: Adventures into Digital Comics, a documentary about the WebComics scene of the early Zeroes, has a trailer up today. It's funny, I know these interviews were only conducted a few years ago, but everything moves so fast, it seems like decades!
05/25: Almost forgot to mention: It's Towel Day!
Jeff and Jeph are both talking about Stephen Malkmus this morning, and though my name isn't "Geoff", which would have made it all feel more complete somehow, I'll just add that the video for Malkmus' "Dark Wave" is really great.
05/24: New essay by Neil Cohn.
I need new shoes.
05/23: The Center for Cartoon Studies, the great new comics school opening this year in White River Junction, Vermont, has begun a scholarship fund. The next Will Eisner may not have deep pockets (Will himself certainly didn't), so if you want to help guarantee that student a great introduction to the form, contribute now.
05/22: Here's a great little song: Someone, Somewhere by Luke Temple. Check out all four in fact. All very different and interesting.
05/21: Reader Joel Hobson points out this interesting -- and unsettling -- use of animation in a strip called "Jack" by David Hopkins. Read the linked to strip, then click on "next strip" for the following two installments. (Warning: Not work-safe and kinda screwed- up).
05/20: From the blog on today's QC: "While riding my bike on a trail today, my front tire caught in an unexpected ditch and sent me flying over the handlebars. As I lay there, battered, bruised, and beset by opportunistic mosquitoes, I could not stop laughing. This is what it is to be alive."
Larry Marder liked to quote Duchamp's line that "I don't believe in art. I believe in artists." Lately, I've been feeling that way. It's an astonishing thing to know so much about so many artists on a daily basis.
For all my predictions about the Web in the mid-90s, this was an aspect of the scene I underestimated.
05/19: Terrorism is...
05/18: The idea of a trailer for a graphic novel is so goofy, you have to love it.
And, um. Whoa:
That is just... wrong. But you know you have to have it! Place your bids now. (link via Heidi -- who else?).
05/16: Oscar and Annie. It is why the Web exists.
Matt Madden will be offering a 5 week comics course as part of Yale's Summer School. Just look for "ENGL S-459" to download more info and sign-up.
05/13: More info on Cintiqs (see yesterday's post): Since I raved about my Cintiq monitor/tablet yesterday, I've gotten inquiries about the options available. So I called Wacom this morning and got more info. Here's the skinny:
There's only one model of Cintiq being made now that's designed for graphics, the 21" model. It's expensive (nearly $3K) and there's a huge waiting line to get one (about 12+ weeks' worth apparently). There is a 17" model, but it's really not designed for graphics and is missing several of the features that I love in my older model. Apparently, Wacom is very emphatic that the 17" is NOT for use in graphics, only for other sorts of documents.
I know that recommending a product that has a 3 month waiting period is a bit like bringing coals to Newcastle, but there you are. If you have that kind of money to throw around -- or if you have any serious hand pain issues and want to save many thousands of dollars in lost work and medical bills down the road -- I can strongly suggest getting a Cintiq.
(And no, nobody is paying me or giving me freebies to say this -- It's just one of those things like Mac's OS X, Kung Fu Hustle and that Lyrics Born song that I just love, love, love.)
05/12: I think I missed this in 2004, but here's M.E. Russell's take on last year's 24-Hour Comics Day. (Correction: Actually, that was a month after 24HCD 2004.)
Note to graphic artists: If you've been considering the purchase of a Cintiq tablet/monitor, but you're not completely sure it would be worth the price. The answer is YES.
Getting a Cintiq is the smartest move I've made since I bought my first Mac twelve years ago. If they ever get around to making these babies available again, and you have enough dough (they're not cheap, otherwise I would have bought one years ago), I can strongly recommend getting one.
05/11: Here's a 24-hour comic with audio commentary.
05/09: Merlin has uploaded his latest Tarquin Engine comic, Icarus Tangents. Merlin's been tinkering with the Engine (partially spurred on by some clever backwards engineering by Colin White's friend "Steve" in Colin's own recent effort) and the results are quite smooth. Merlin also reports that he may be ready to make the Engine available for wider release soon. Stay tuned.
05/08: Mom at 10:
Love to my own Mom and to Ivy this Mother's Day.
05/07: It's Free Comic Book Day! Jenn Manley Lee is getting in on the spirit by offering the entire Dicebox Archives for free for 24 hours at Girlamatic! (Oh, Bite Me too, apparently -- oh wait, ALL of them. I get it now. Cool!).
David Chelsea reports that 5 year-old Rebecca's 3-hour comic is online.
Now might be a good time to mention that 12-year old Sky and her friend Shara teamed up on 24-Hour Comics Day to do Sky's 3rd (!) 24-Hour Comic to date. And because it was a collaborative affair, they made it 51 pages!
05/06: 7 down, 40 to go.
05/05: Want to let someone else script your webcomic? Whispered Apologies is on the job.
05/03: Some people ego-surf. I cameo-surf. (Warning: In-jokes galore).
05/02: Al Nickerson has posted a detailed survey of the The Creator's Bill of Rights including interviews with Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch, Dave Sim and me. Some weird jabs by Dave in my direction, as expected, but an interesting read overall.
05/01: Hey. Hey! Neil is only a few months younger than me. So why does he look like my frickin' grandson? Life is so unfair.
04/30: Holy Moley. They kissed!
A few people have recently been recommending PostSecret as not-quite-comics-but-not-entirely-UNlike-comics-and-really-spooky-and-interesting... Which is all true, so I'm passing it along.
04/29: The great new comics school, The Center for Cartoon Studies, opens this fall in White River Junction, Vermont, but things are already hopping up there. Check out what other people are saying, and the upcoming class for all you East Coasters this summer.
(West Coasters, check out the Fresno Seminar with Your's Truly and Jessica Abel!).
04/27: 88 Lines About 44 Webcomics.
Anne and Andrew did a comic and an album for 24 Hour Comics Day! (link switched from Geocities).
And hey, several Daily Grinders did 24 Hour Comics and posted them on one day, instead of using it as buffer for a month. Classy.
04/26: T Campbell and Dave Belmore have a podcast about 24 Hour Comics Day. Lea has begun posting her 24 Hour Comic to her Livejournal. Ryan Claytor did his 24 Hour Comic in Adobe Illustrator -- with a mouse. (Dude. Not easy.)
Colin White has posted v.3 of infantshout.com.
Have you contributed to The Bandito?
04/25: Saheli S. R. Datta offers a cool comic about 24 Hour Comics Day.
Dude, and Andy Ihnatko checks in with a 24 Hour Audiobook. That's a new one.
Y'know, as the 24 hour mutations have proliferated (the plays, the movies, the album, the animations, even I'm losing track) the idea of a day devoted to all such challenges seems inevitablebut what to call it? Somehow, a "24 Hour Day" doesn't seem likely to attract attention.
04/24: It's Over!
Congratulations to the many hundreds of brave cartoonists around the world who climbed the Mount Everest of Comics this weekend!
Be sure to check The 24 Hour Comics Day Blog for reports from the 75+ event locations including the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Serbia and Thailand.
I spent the event working on my new book. Not as exciting as a proper 24 hour comic, but the most responsible, under the circumstances. ^^
Thanks as always to Nat Gertler, publisher of About Comics for coming up with the idea last year and continuing to administer the process this year! (Meaning I get to just watch it all happen from this end and keep drawing).
04/21: Infinite Canvas 1.2 Beta is now available.
Narbonic Book 2 is out.
And the 3rd installment of Tracy White's Awkward is up.
My favorite number is 4.
04/20: Jason Turner has a new site. Check out The Jason Turner Project.
04/19: Yeah, I've thought of doing that. But I didn't and he did, so good for him.
Haven't fiddled with Apple's Comic Life yet, but you might want to give it a whirl if you're a Mac-Head like me and most other comics artists. (Correction: Thanks to Andy Ihnatko for pointing out that Comic Life is a third party product for the Mac, not one of Apple's own.)
Phil and Kaja Foglio's Girl Genius is now online. (Thanks to David Goldfarb for the tip).
04/18: Peter Sanderson offers the first part of a comprehensive account of the Eisner Memorial which Ivy and I attended this month in lower Manhattan. Peter makes reference to some documentary clips shown at the ceremony which include several Michael Chabon quotes, and a subsequent argument on the John Byrne messageboard regarding one quote in particular. I've seen the clip twice now and agree with those who've insist that Byrne is misquoting Chabon.
04/16: I LOVE this song -- and the video isn't half bad either. If you like it as much as me, it's available for purchase on iTunes.
Congratulations to the nominees in the Eisner Awards first-ever Digital Comics category! Some head-scratchers throughout the ballot as always, but let's thank the committee for tackling what must have been a long, long, long list of submissions and in taking this historic step.
04/14: Are you a member of the Secret Friend Society?
04/13: I love webcomics. And I'm not alone.
Oh, and forgot to mention yesterday: Congratulations to Merlin for winning the Isotope award for best mini-comic!
04/12: Happy Birthday, Sky! 12 years old today. Amazing.
Meanwhile, the pictures from APE are coming in and I'm just, just... *sigh*.
04/11: The first Scholastic color collections of Jeff Smith's Bone are now out, and Scholastic's site has a visual interview with Jeff.
04/09: Back from our brief trip to NYC for the Will Eisner Memorial. Thanks to all those who came out (some from as far away as Europe) to pay their respects to comics' much-missed founding father.
Nigel Holmes was on NPR yesterday. I had the pleasure of meeting Nigel at a design conference a few years ago and he's still as imaginitive and innovative as I remember. Check out his memorable explanation of the national debt and other moving graphics here.
04/05: Best Comics T-Shirt Ever.
I'm going to NYC for a few days. More blogging Saturday.
04/04: Who beat the Beat?
Happy eighth birthday(!) to Goats.
04/02: Off for a couple of days while doing some upgrades on this end...
04/01: Help Mitch move!
Hey, Did I mention that Digital Strips has a weekly mp3 talk show about webcomics? That's kind of cool.
03/31: Ack! Meant to link to this earlier. Seems that there'll be seminars aplenty end of June! Just have to pick your coast (see below for the Fresno class Jessica Abel and I will be teaching).here's a show worth seeing.
03/28: Here's my idea of great dialogue: MK Reed's Catfight. Read it all. I dare ya.
03/27: Three down...
Kip and Anne and others are linking to a great Decembrists video here. I'm a little slow on the uptake, so they're just starting to show up on my radar. Was tickled to find they have a cut called "Song for Myla Goldberg." (Myla's novel Bee Season is brilliant, and Ms. G. also happens to be married to Jason Little).
03/25: Tons of great stuff in the new online issue of Indy Magazine including excellent work by Bill Kartalopoulos investigating Art Spiegelman's important pre-Maus early work and the ground-breaking Raw Magazine edited by Art and Françoise Mouly; both of which had a strong influence on the way I thought about comics when I was just starting out.
03/24: New site design for Jen Wang this week. Illustrations, Photos and Comics; sadly in that order, but I'll take what I can get.
03/23: Tom brings us 1000 Things to Like About Comics.
03/21: Hmm! Colin White's friend "Steve", has reversed-engineered Daniel Merlin Goodbrey's brilliant Tarquin Engine (used most recently here), and the result is surprisingly smooth. Check out Colin's new comic, using the new engine.
With another several years of computational power behind them, environments like these are perilously close to realizing the promise of that "Infinite Canvas" you've had to listen to me blather on about all these years (it's been nine years, in fact, since my speech on the subject at M.I.T.'s Media Lab). Eventually, we'll have to take this puppy 3-D, and allow for unfettered, granular navigation, but in the meantime, there are some beautiful possibilities for the tools we already have. Keep your eye on Colin, Merlin and the elegant application named Infinite Canvas in the coming months. This is an artform bending toward the sun and starting to bloom into shapes beyond most imaginations.
03/20: Tom Spurgeon offers some interesting thoughts on the recently-announced prospect of an Eisners webcomics category.
If this isn't the quintessential net-nerd quest, I don't know what is: An all-ASCII text version of Star Wars. In Java, no less. (Thanks to Adi from Jerusalem for the link).
03/19: I can actually tell you the date I first heard M.I.A. (Jan 8). It was the Diplo mix of Sunshowers and I fell in love in about 12 seconds. It'll be interesting to see what happens when the self-appointed moral guardians of Jesusland get wind of those explosive lyrics.
03/18: If you're in London this weekend, don't miss The UK Web and Mini-Comics Thing.
03/17: The Eisner Awards are considering an Online Comics category. Submit your work. Thank them politely. Keep your fingers crossed.
03/16: One week to go!
03/15: The Case for Comics Journalism. (Rebuttal by Clay Shirky to follow).
03/14: Leisuretown is back!
As is the Webcomics Examiner with a big fun Ryan Estrada cover.
Eisner-Iger! Well, that's just freaky (comics historians will know what I'm talking about).
Enroll now:I'm teaching my Five Day Seminar at Cal State Fresno June 26 - July 1and that's just the half of it because a second week (to July 9) will be taught by the great Jessica Abel! Two solid weeks of pure comics immersion. Mark your calendars and sign up today.
Ivy was amazing in her role as the Messenger in a local production of Antigone this week. The fairly political adaptation (by way of a 20th Century French re-imagining of the ancient play) places a heavy burden on Ivy's brief role at the end. The Messenger, alone on stage, paints a picture of the entire tragic climax of the story for the audience. I'd heard the speech a dozen times or more -- Hell, the kids had practically memorized it -- but it didn't matter. When the time came, she had me and everyone else in tears. Beautiful, beautiful work, Love.
In other news, it seems that The Nile Journals isn't quite as over we thought it was. Tune in Monday for more!
03/07: Dude. It's like... Whoa.
03/07: Hey, Mom. Y'know what?
The Nile Journals completed today. Congratulations to Merlin on a weird wonderful run!
03/05: I have a nine year-old daughter who dances around the house singing "Blister in the Sun" and an eleven year-old daughter who, when asked for hobbies by her D.A.R.E. councillor (a Bush supporter who muttered a few things about Michael Moore in class -- hardly on topic, Buddy) responded that she liked to talk about "random things", and when asked for examples, mentioned "pointless elevation" leading to the following exchange:
Mr. D.A.R.E.: What do you mean by "pointless elevation?"
My 11-year old: You know like chairs. They don't need to be elevated.
Mr. D.A.R.E.: Ah, but if they weren't, how would we reach our desks?
My 11-year old: Well, the desks don't have to be elevated either.
Mr. D.A.R.E.: What about the dinner table?
My 11-year old: Well, in my hypothetical universe, we'd all eat on the floor. You know, like the Japanese do.
Mr. D.A.R.E.: But what about...? [etc]
It finally ended with D.A.R.E. guy saying "You're good." and moving on to intellects more in his range.
After the D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony, at which my girl politely mouthed the words to "God Bless the USA" -- 'cause the classes put it to a vote and all, though she didn't mouth the "God" part -- I took her aside and made sure she did know that drugs were a colossally bad idea, despite the sub-standard reasoning skills presented by her supposedly all-knowing superiors.
Her response, in a nutshell: "Well, Duh."
03/04: Jason Turner's True Loves may be done now, but the guy is still drawing -- apparently as part of the Daily Grind Iron Man Challenge (haven't I linked to that yet? Sorry!) which also features newcomer(?) Natasha Allegri whose stuff looks quite sharp.
Thanks to the Sundance Online for their nice write up on this site in their "Splinks" section.
Here's a new one: A 24-Hour Painting Marathon. In Poland, no less!
Nanna Laveaux: "A voodoo granny in the suburbs of Melbourne" is the description. Looks cool.
03/02: More crazy, wonderful stuff from Jack Masters here.
03/01: We're saddened to hear of the passing of Jef Raskin this week, a pivotal figure in the early history of the Mac.
A great new 24 hour comic by Merlin has sprung up. Mmmm. Zooomy...
Nathan Jurevicius' Scary Girl is quite a sharp site.
Cat has music videos galore at Whimville this week. Check 'em out (but not all of us at once, 'cause that's a lot of megs!).
02/28: Well I'm back from the T.E.D. Conference and Ivy is back from the C.A.G. Conference. Thanks to our friend Krystal (who made a very good point about the Chickens a couple of months ago) for volunteering to be on Kid Duty for the few days neither parent was home; and proceeded to do all kinds of above-and-beyond things with them.
T.E.D. was every bit as cool as advertised. My one regret is being unable to come up with anything worth saying to Sergei Brin and Larry Page that they don't hear 50 times a day. So, once again, smile and nod, thanks for the party, Blah, blah, blah...
Did get to talk to the Mickey Hart who was on my set Friday (and whose "Sweet Sixteen" I listen to at least once a day) and Thomas Dolby who was setting up while we were and who patiently gave me details on a burning question I've had for a few years regarding one of his songs. Got to talk to inventor-extraordinaire Dean Kamen a few times, and tell him he's my alternate universe twin (an inventor, son of a comic book artist -- I'm a comic book artist, son of an inventor) talk a bit with Robotics pioneer Rodney Brooks, and had the great pleasure of seeing Matt Groening again. Best of all, I got to be in the audience for one brilliant brain after another -- at least when I wasn't back at the hotel, getting ready for my own talk.
Real links and less name-dropping tomorrow, I promise. But I just have to tell somebody about all this. It was a cool week!
02/20: Taking a break from blogging until Monday, February 28. I'll be at T.E.D. in Monterey this week (speaking on Friday).
02/17: Episode 211: Lea Hernandez. You just know that one is going to be a lively conversation!
02/16: Hey, I'm in Fans again!
"The (paintings') sequential narrative follows the same 'players' in the course of a hand of poker," said an auction note from Doyle. Holy Moley, it's comics! "The Buyer was not identified." Heh. No surprise there. (link from Nat)
02/15: Bez Shahriari's 100 Hour Comic is now available for $1 to be donated to Tsunami Relief.
02/14: The Perfect Webcomic for Valentines Day. Completed just in time by Neil Cohn.
Meanwhile, NPR's Neda Ulaby presents a great story about comics and science on today's Morning Edition.
02/12: Questions for Patrick Farley? Ask 'em now.
A handy visual guide to etiquette at the Portland International Film Festival, by M.E. Russell. Have I mentioned that comics can do anything. No? Well then: comics can do anything.
02/11: PopImage has a rountable on Flight 2 if, like me, you're just biting your nails waiting for the second volume of this groundbreaking anthology.
100 Things I Love About Comics by Alan David Doane is a pretty eclectic list!
02/10: Bee is back! Jason Little's classic character is in a new story starting this week.
02/09: Gordon McAlpin's "Stripped Books" for Bookslut is pretty interesting. He does comics about Author appearances (!). His piece on Marjane Satrapi is particularly nice (and especially relevent for a comics blog). It's here at McAlpin's site. I would have linked to it on Bookslut, but I couldn't find it on Bookslut, though I know it's there somewhere. Yay, The Internet.
02/08: Timothi Godek's My Life with Pets would make a great poster.
Comixpedia's 25th Issue is up and it's an "Infinite Canvas" issue, so I'm duty-bound to love it and maybe you will too.
02/06: [Update: Neil says that on the other hand, Giant Battle Monsters tells a different story.]
In reference to the recent unpleasantness, Neil Gaiman writes that the suspense was killing him so:
Actually, Nat Gertler had also suggested leaving it up the food eating battle monkeys. Apparently I lose against "the bear" as Neil observes, but I win against just "bear".
And pretty much everyone wins against Stan Lee but that's neither here nor there.
02/05: Marilyn Manson, you've changed.
Since the old Rock, Paper, Scissors debate has started up again, Ivy suggests I pass along Sky's creation. You see, at about age 9, Sky decided that "paper covers rock" was just lame. Which it is. So she suggested Fire, Water, Bunny as an alternative. Consider:
Bunny drinks Water.
Water puts out Fire.
Fire burns Bunny.
Works for me!
02/04: Mmm. Flight 2 Desktop Patterns.
And Lea Hernandez has a righteous rant about retailing at The Great Curve.
You know what kind of creators are going to do really well in the coming decade? Those who can write believable dialogue.
Meanwhile, our bullet points from Washington are as follows...
• Why go to war?
• Why screw with Social Security?:
• Who's going to pay for it all?
You did it all for you, Kids.
"Apres Moi, Le Deluge..."
02/02: Woo-Hoo! The Secret Friend Society is LIVE! Read it. Bookmark it. Be happy.
Pan has a new interface and has begun updating again. Check it out.
The Modern Tales family has a group blog at TalkAboutComics.com. I plan to check in every day, you might want to do likewise.
Going to be in the UK in March? Here's a show worth checking out.
01/31: Here's a twist on the 24-hour idea with a Philanthropic spin.
01/30: I'm not 100% sure, since I haven't done a comprehensive survey or anything, but I think I might actually have the best job in the world.
01/29: From Nothing Nice to Say:
"Uh... Blake? How long has Cthulhu been living in our closet?"
"Not half as long as he's gonna be in that bathroom."
As for the aforementioned Bear, here's the answer to our question (the question being "WTF?!")
01/28: Aagh! The Bear! It is Fighting Me! I swear to God, I have no idea why this exists. But there it is.
Also pointed to by Kurt is Mom's Cancer, a true-life story told in an effective straightforward style. It's an interesting application of comics that I hope others test drive in the future.
(I think both of these links were being passed around earlier this month, but I wasn't blogging while in Boston, so pardon the delay).
Speaking of down-to-Earth, off-genre uses of comics, City Yarns manages to make a failing record store the center of a pretty engaging tale. I found it through a banner ad, so hey, ads work sometimes at least.
01/27: It is kind of a great punchline.
Tom Hart gets well-earned props from Time Magazine, thanks to Andrew Arnold.
01/26: Stan Lee on Fanboy Radio -- Free, Wednesday only (75 cents every other day, so either way it's a deal). I can't wait to hear what Stan says about Will Eisner. When they were first planning the Cartoon Museum in Boca Raton, I had the rare pleasure of watching Stan and Will debate comics from two wildly different vantage points.
The Hollywood Reporter is in with a review (no direct link, 'cause they're meanies) of Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman's stunning film Mirrormask which just had its debut at Sundance. I've only seen a few chunks of it (enough to use the word "stunning" with confidence) but I'm getting the feeling that it could be a breakthrough event for both Dave and Neil, which would be gratifying and richly deserved.
01/25: Comixpedia has had some cool covers. Has it really been over two years? Time flies...
01/22: The TV Network Channel. Now Broadcasting.
Flight II just went up on Amazon too.
Tom Stackpole is a smart guy.
Also Spurge points us to the great Lorenzo Mattotti's elegant new website.
And when you're done with that ominous little teaser, but still want to avoid listening to the radio on this gloomy day, check out some Inkwell Radio!
01/19: Backwards City Review is a new mag looking for contributors. Take a peek.
Free Tuesday nights? Live in New York? You can learn about comics from Tom Hart, one of my favorite cartoonists of the last decade.
01/18: Hunh! Sam Henderson does a They Might Be Giants video.
01/17: Well, let's see. While I was in Boston I received links to a New Whimville comic, New Traced Comic, New CulturePulp and a new Flash Experiment (found by Bill Stiteler).
Thanks to everyone who made my Boston trip so rewarding. It had a sad start (with the news of Will Eisner's passing), but it meant a lot to see the old city again.
On the last night in downtown Boston I walked over a mile down Commonwealth Ave after the rain, the still-lit decorated trees along the center strip reflected in the puddles; jacket open, 60 degrees, time standing still... I don't take "vacations" in the traditional sense, but that half-hour of walking would be fair payment for a decade of work.
Back from Boston! Thank you to everyone at the Boston Arts Academy, especially my fantastic students who were a joy from start to finish. Hope to have several blog updates Monday (a lot has happened since I left for Boston) but for now it's back to work.
01/01/2005: Happy New Year!
Pay heed to Dewanatron! Had a great talk with Brian Dewan's brother Ted(link fixed, sorry)09/12: Well, I couldn't give Jennifer Jermantowicz10/01-08: ON THE ROAD: I'm off to Las Vegas and Florida (see "On the Road" below right).
Note to MIAMI residents -- I don't have much info on the talk with the fantastic Will Eisner at this time other than the date,
October 8 (see below) and that it's taking place at the Florida Center for the Literary Arts12/20 (pm):