. R E S O U R C E S
Reinventing Comics Resources
updated May 2001

In Reinventing Comics, I promised to offer additional info here at scottmccloud.com regarding the 16 comics "revolutions" the book chronicles. Below is what I've organized so far by page number. Also consider visiting Greg Stephens' Reinventing Comics Message Board to discuss the many issues surrounding digital comics.

A couple of general notes first:

In the Online Comics section, you'll find information on I Can't Stop Thinking!, a web comic that is, for all intents and purposes, Reinventing Comics Continued. RC, unlike its predecessor, is very much a product of its time, so I wanted it to be a continually updated effort and ICST is the first step in that direction.

To see ten comics websites I particularly enjoy, click "Top Ten" above.

Also, I forgot a very important link!! John Roshell, who designed our terrific font has many others available at the Comicraft website. Go there now to check out the Web's best comics font selection!

Part One: Tilting at Windmills

Page 56: For far more detail regarding the "What kind of pen do you use" question, check our F.A.Q. file.

Page 62: You'll find the full text of The Creator's Bill of Rights with annotations in the Inventions Section.

Page 63: In The Comics Journal #220, Editor Gary Groth wrote a lengthy editorial called "The Time of the Toad" in which he criticized the Bill for lacking a "moral" dimension and its proponents for failing to condemn Image Comics' subsequent treatment of artists working under them. It's an interesting (if occasionally bizarre) document which touched off lengthy and contentous debates on the Comics Journal's message board.

Page 64: Yikes! Sorry, didn't consider what a tall order that "much more" footnote would amount to... Gotta put that one on a back-burner for now. Do check Comicon.com's The Daily Splash, though, for breaking developments in various current industry struggles.

Page 81: NPR has tapes and transcripts of old Talk of the Nations. You might be able to score a copy of that particular show at npr.org (unfortunately, they weren't archiving the shows in RealAudio at the time).

Page 85: Okay, I know this shop window reading machine is a bit goofy, but I can't help thinking it would make a difference. Specifially, I'm thinking of something similar to the page-turning windows in CD Jukeboxes, only larger. The oversized page repros could then be turned from the outside of the store with simple "forward" and "back" buttons. If these pages were, say, 2 feet high, I think such a display would be very hard to ignore.

Remember the one vital fact of comics retailing in a public space: That only one in a thousand of the people who pass your door have ever walked inside. Many are, in fact, literally afraid to do so. If something could boost that to two in a thousand, you've doubled your traffic overnight. A window comic would allow people to try the product before they even enter. At that point, the prospect of entering -- if only to read the next page (heh-heh) -- would be far less intimidating.

I keep thinking of the example of a Women in Comics Month. How many of that 99.9% have ever considered that there might even be women in comics?! As an outreach effort, its precisely those books not aimed at traditional comics readers that could be most effective. All-ages fantasy collections like Bone or Akiko could also score big with non-comics readers, or g.n.s like Sacco's or Ware's.

Stores that sell videos have known this for years. They don't put cardboard boxes in the window. They put a TV playing movies. The box is not the product, the movie is.

Page 86: Actually, the best way to get a full accounting of Wertham's tactics is to read Amy Nyberg's Seal of Approval: The History of the Comics Code (University Press of Mississippi, 1998). She goes into much greater detail than I could here. In particular, check out his shameless misreading of the E.C. story "The Whipping."

Page 88: Go here for a full reproduction of the original comics code.

Page 91: GIVE NOW! The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund could use all the help it can get.

Page 92: ...And speaking of the CBLDF, they're probably a better source than me for info on Paul Mavrides battles with the State of California.

Page 104: Sim's essay in Cerebus #186 was surpassed in infamy early in 2001 by a longer, even crazier essay on the "feminist-homosexual axis." The Comics Journal has posted the whole thing on their site, basically as evidence that Sim has flipped his lid. I've counted Dave as a friend in the past, but at this point, I'd have to sadly concur.

Page 107: Comics writer and milestone co-founder Dwayne McDuffie has written on a number of these issues on his site. Also check out the Museum of Black Superheroes for more about this somewhat rocky history.

Part Two: Catching a Wave

Page 139: My footnote on Apple's visit to Xerox PARC unwittingly perpetuated what apparently is something of a popular myth. The creator of the original MacIntosh project, Jef Raskin, wrote to set the record straight. My thanks to Mr. Raskin for allowing me to reprint the relevent portions of his letter below, and apologies for any distortions I may have helped to propagate.

Mr. Raskin writes:

The Mac's visual orientation started in 1967 (yup, sixty-seven) before there was a Xerox PARC or Apple. I had figured (and wrote about it) that computers had to be graphic from the getgo It's a long story, but I was a visual arts professor with a degree in computer science in the 1970s, was a visiting scholar at Stanford's AI labs and was a frequent visitor to PARC in the early 70s. While Jobs and Woz were in school.

I created the Mac project in 1978, and Jobs didn't get to see PARC until about 2 years later. I had tried to get him to go there for a long time so that he would understand what I was trying to do.

You would have enjoyed, for example, the fight for "square" pixels. "What if you want to rotate a photo", I asked. "What," came the reply, "show photos on the computer and rotate them? Who'd want to do that?" If you don't have square dots, rotating a picture makes it look funny.

As an artist in pre-Mac days, my work was been exibited at major venues internationally (like NY MOMA, LA County Museum, Edinburgh Fesitval of the Arts...). I only mention that because one major reason the Mac was good for doing art is that it was created by a professional artist (and musician) thinking ahead to other artists, and not by the usual gang of computer geeks thinking of making toys for other geeks (not that I can't be a pretty good geek at times). When I said that I wanted a bit-mapped screen also to do fonts, most computer people said, "What's a font?" because only graphic arts types and printers knew about them in those days. So I had to teach people at Apple about fonts.

Anyway, see:

Linzmayer, Owen. "Apple Confidential" for a more-than-usually accurate history of the Mac (and other stuff). Inexpensive paperback.

www.jefraskin.com for info on yours truly, and fun stuff

http://library.stanford.edu/mac/ for Stanford University's history and archive of Mac history (the real documents).

Then there's my recent book, "The Humane Interface" (Addison Wesley, 2000). One of the appendices lays out some of the ways that the Mac interface and the PARC Star interface were quite different.

Page 162: I mention that most users were still connecting at speeds of 56k or less at the time of the writing. As of this writing (May 2001), an increasingly greater number are connecting at speeds faster, and increasingly few are slower. Obviously, we have a ways to go, but Cable, DSL and Satellite do continue to proliferate.

Page 180: My footnote: "...and a money-mad stock market with it, though that particular bubble has to burst sooner or later." Obviously, here in 2001, that's already happened!

Page 184: Actually, the best way to know when a viable micropayments system enters the market is when I start using it! Keep watching (and bear in mind that PayPal and Amazon ain't it, though they are a bit closer).

Page 213: Mark Badger was an early proponent of the multimedia approach and has applied it on his work on Haunted Man and some of the comics at Lemon Custard. The Seventh Portal at Stan Lee's ill-fated site also used a similar approach. The multimedia Star Wars online comic can also be found, I assume, somewhere on the Star Wars site.

Comics Resources on the Web
updated June 26 2001

Here are some general resources that might come in handy for comics reading and researching.

New: Audio Interviews!: Joey Manley's Digital Comics Talk is a weekly series of audio interviews with Web Comics creators including Yours Truly.

Indices: The old index sites like Yahoo tend to be a bit arbitrary, but there are other resources. The most ambitious listing lately is Andy Konky Kru's Online Comics Index. Andy has a particularly fascinating section on pre-20th Century comics. Also, you can often find extensive listings of online comics in the links section of other cartoonists' personal sites. Look for your favorite cartoonists' favorite sites and you're sure to find the cream of the crop in pretty short order. Comicon.com is a sort of index as convention and might also be useful.

Research: Your best start is probably Here. Also check out the Michigan State and Ohio State Collections for some great resources and links.

Comic Shop Locators: Jeff Mason's Indy Friendly Stores is an invaluable locator of comics retailers in your area that sell more than just X-Men and Spawn. Diamond Comics Distributors also has a Comic Shop Locator.