Archive for ‘Inventions’

Mark Your Calendars — October 2, 2010

Registration is now open to host an event for 24 Hour Comics Day 2010. ComicsPro has general information here and I have more background on the phenomenon here.

Incredibly, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the first 24-hour comic, and the 7th annual 24HCD. I’m old!

Oh Crap! Hourly Comic Day!

It’s a testament to how completely I’m wrapped up in the graphic novel that I forgot to post about Hourly Comics Day (offspring of 24HCD) until reader T. Diaz reminded me by email just now.

Technically, It’s not over yet as I post this (Monday at 5:44pm), but… yeah… I suck.

Anyway Go! Look! Enjoy!

In Praise of Mr. Steinberg

Comics critic Domingos Isabelinho recently took the comics blogosphere gently to task for not noticing a central influence on Mazzucchelli’s landmark Asterios Polyp: the art of Saul Steinberg.

It’s true. I failed to mention Steinberg in my own review of AP, but now that Isabelinho has pointed it out, it’s hard not to see.

I always loved Saul Steinberg’s work and was influenced by him myself at an early age, though it might be harder to spot in my work. Of all the cartoonists whose work I’ve enjoyed, no one else was as comfortable to wander the big triangle in search of a visual idea.

It was liberating for a draftsman with limited gifts (that would be me) to understand that art could communicate the way written language does, while simultaneously flirting with both resemblance and abstraction.

Steinberg’s art made the possibilities of the picture plane look near and accessible to anyone in the mood to pick up a pen. And so they are.


From the Inbox:


Last year, my friend Brad and I created a website with a randomized premise-generator called PlotBoiler. I recently shared it with the (mostly-dormant) Oubapo America group, and Matt Madden pointed out it might come in handy in the creation of 24 hour comics. Well, anytime someone says “24 hour comics,” I naturally think of you, and it occurred to me you might be interested in taking a look at it.

Michael Avolio

This reminds me (both in concept and execution) of a program Kurt Busiek and I whipped up in middle school for generating random superheroes and villains. We used an ancient PDP-8, operated from a dumb terminal, and programmed the thing in Basic, but clicking on Michael and Brad’s link, I swear there’s a family resemblance!

Give it a try yourself and see what you get.

The Original Nancy Remix

Here’s one from the vaults: The original Nancy collage that I made many years ago which helped inspire creation of the game.

I did a lot of strange things in those days.

This Saturday!

Be sure to check for events in your area at ComicsPro’s official site and check out my own info page about the 24 Hour Comic and its history here.

I’ll be drawing all day myself, though on the graphic novel (my reward for having started the ball rolling all those years ago is that I only had to do it once) but if you’ve never tried the 24 hour comics challenge, I do recommend it.

For those coming in late, I started the challenge in 1990, but it was Nat Gertler who first came up with the idea of a 24 Hour Comics Day in 2004 to promote an anthology I edited. In 2008, Nat handed it off to ComicsPro.

One of my favorite aspects of my weird little inventions is the way they tend to take on a life of their own over time. This one definitely qualifies.

Still Cool: The Zoomquilt

ACGalaga mentioned it in yesterday’s comment thread and I’ve linked to it before, but it’s been a while, so here’s a reminder that The Zoomquilt (2007) is still out there and still as cool as ever.

If you haven’t seen it before, definitely take a look. And if, like me, you haven’t looked at it in a while, look at it again. Always something new to see.


Can’t. Stop. Playing.

[link via our friend Alice]

Microsoft, Seadragon and the Infinite Canvas

I first saw Microsoft’s Seadragon and Photosynth projects via Blaise Aguera y Arcas’s stunning demo at TED 2007, and of course, I immediately thought of the implications for my “infinite canvas” ideas. Apparently, I wasn’t alone. Last spring, I got an email from Ian Gilman who worked with the team, to let me know about his efforts to apply some of these ideas to comics and pointing out Seadragon’s baby steps on the Web. Though those efforts are only peripherally related to Seadragon so far, the proximity is interesting.

Art by Paul Sizer from his intro to B.P.M.

Art by Paul Sizer from his intro to B.P.M.

Microsoft’s Infinite Canvas, listed as “a funky side project” from Microsoft’s Live Labs, is still just in Alpha testing. It’s not as smooth as Merlin’s Tarquin Engine by any means, but it does introduce a community element and the instant gratification of being able to hit that “create” button and try it out right away, which could lead in some very interesting directions. I even threw a vintage improv up there to try it out.

The results are scattered, of course, and not every comic uses the same navigational model, but it’s definitely worth looking at and playing with.

Five-Card Flickr?

Another invention has been mutating while I’ve been hibernating (this time via Ms. Nancy).

5-Card Story

Check out 5-Card Story & 5-Card Flickr by way of the esteemed Alan Levine, aka CogDog, and add your own photos the pool.

Oh! And argue about whether it’s comics or not.