The webcomics blog about webcomics

Extra Update: Jess Fink Speaks!

First, go read this. Then come back and enjoy the candor of Jess Fink regarding art, jerks, and her fists.

Fleen: Art is all about appropriation and reworking, but this is at least the — third? fourth? — fairly obvious direct copy of your work by different parties. What is it about your work that makes you such a high-profile target for these situations?

Fink: There is a great deal of difference in being inspired by a work and completely copying it. I’ve been inspired by a ton of artists and it’s reflected in my work I’m sure, but that is the outcome of living within the art community and growing up with it. After cookie loves milk got printed there was a swarm of food based shirts, peanut butter and jelly, ketchup and mustard and if they were inspired by my design it wouldn’t bother me.

I think the reason It’s been stolen so many times is that the art is fairly simple. I’m just playing around with the idea of cookies being good with milk, it’s something everyone understands. I’ve made other designs for Threadless that are much more illustrations rather than funny concepts and those never get ripped off (not that I’m daring anymore) because it’s a much more complex thing to copy. The thing with simple designs is that you can just take the idea and make art that is slightly different, that way they think no one will notice who they stole it from. Obviously I also can’t hold a copyright on the idea of cookies being good with milk, but I can take action against people who blatantly copy and even trace my designs.

Fleen: In a weird way, is it flattering that so many people want to copy your designs?

Fink: No! Haha. A lot of people ask this and it’s really not! Every time I get an email about some Cafe press store selling cookie loves milk rip-offs or a big name department store selling a trace or some shop in Hong Kong printing exact copies it just completely ruins my day. You don’t get paid an awful lot to make shirt designs so feeling like you are getting exploited is never fun. If it were just something similar someone made that they weren’t selling it would be a completely different story, but I know these places are making money off of something that is mine.

Fleen: This is a Threadless shirt design, and they hold the copyright to be defended. In a perfect world, what would they do now?

Fink: Well it might not be a perfect world but it might be a polite one at least! In the past when dealing with these situations Threadless has granted me the authority to take legal action myself.

Fleen: What would make it less likely for you to be targeted in this way?

Fink: I’m not really sure. Less jerks in the world? Science needs to find a way to see if a person is a jerk or not right when they are born! “It’s a girl! Oh…I’m sorry, it’s also a jerk.”

Honestly I think more people need to be aware of art theft and how often it happens and how wrong it is. There are people who just appropriate things without even thinking that it’s stealing. Someone once sent me a shirt with a panel from my comic, Chester 5000 on it. It was cut up in with a bunch of panels from other black and white comics. I would assume that the person who made the shirt just thought they were making a shirt covered in cut-outs from cartoons, not realizing that you can only use art from the public domain. I don’t think most people are actually taught what intellectual property means.

Fleen: What do you think drives people to engage in such blatant copying?

Fink: I think it’s just ignorance and in the case of Todd Goldman simply wanting to make a buck by any means possible. He churns out copy after copy of other people’s work, it’s the quantity over quality technique. He thinks, “If I make enough crap someone will buy at least one.” And at this point it’s really pretty disgusting since he knows he is blatantly ripping off hard working artists and he’s been involved in so many legal battles for it, it’s hard to imagine being such a nasty person.

Fleen: Todd Goldman has tossed lawsuit threats over copying accusations in the past. Do you feel that speaking truthfully about this — “situation” — puts you at any risk?

Fink: It’s always a little scary dealing with situations like these but I feel that I have enough evidence against Goldman that I can talk freely. His rip-offs of my work are far from coincidental since he actually offered me a job back in 2008, telling me he loved my Lil’ Soap and Cookie Loves Milk designs and then instead of giving me work apparently decided it was more profitable to just rip me off.

Fleen: How long before somebody starts passing off Chester or Time Traveling Jess as their work? How badly will you beat them?

Fink: SO HARD. I will beat them with all of my fists at once! And then Top Shelf will beat them too! Both books (Chester 5000 and We Can Fix It) are due out next year and honestly I’m excited but kind of scared to death!

Fleen thanks Ms Fink for her time and openness, and reiterates that Mr Goldman has been invited to respond via his representatives, but has not done so yet. Spread the word and do what you can, my minions.

On A Sunny Friday, Followups From Yesterday

  • Alison Wilgus, one of the new invitees to TopatoCon, was kind enough to drop a comment on yesterday’s post to let us know that there are still more new invitees to TopatoCon that we at Fleen missed.

    Aatmaja Pandya, Maki Naro, Matt Lubchansky, and Olivia Stephens are added to the list, the full version of which sits below the cut. Thanks for the info, Alison!

  • Also yesterday, TopatoCon invitee Dante Shepherd¹ let us know that his second great creative work, one that’s been under development for most of the past year, has launched:

    Holy hark. I’m a Dad. Again.

    Hey, world! Meet Torpedo! She’s 6lb 7oz and she’s utterly awesome.

    My ChemE dept just sent out an announcement that the baby arrived. They announced that her name truly is “Torpedo”. So that’s delightful.

    Torpedo, welcome to the world. It’s kind of loud and noisy and bright right now, but that’ll settle down soon enough. It’s also kind of stupid and cruel at times, but I think that if you follow your dad’s lead, it’ll become less so; if everybody followed your dad’s lead, it’d be cleared up before you’re old enough to read this. In any event, it’s the best world we have right now, and the only one we can offer you, so we’ll try not to mess it up too bad before we turn it over to you.

    Best of luck to you and your big sister Cannonball (senior henchman); she’ll help you learn your way around the important things in life, like your dad’s lab coat, his Red Sox cap, the junior faculty, and the chalkboard in the spooky basement. Remember not to eat the chalk, no matter how delicious it looks. Try to give your parents the occasional full night’s sleep and they’ll love you more than you ever thought possible.

    Oh, and maybe give your dad a break at feeding time? He’s not as tasty and nutritious as you might have hoped.

    Torpedo and mother The Swede are reportedly doing well; best wishes to everybody at STW Headquarters.


Spam of the day:

It is no secret that a boost in confidence and having a positive self-image can contribute to a woman’s over all well being but the majority of women do not have cosmetic surgery for anyone other than themselves.

Are … are you negging me?

_______________
¹ A pseudonym for mild-mannered professor of chemical engineering Bruce Wayne.

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TopatoCon! And Also Less Good News Frowny Face

We’ll do good news first, okay?


Spam of the day:

If you are to lazy to write unique articles everyday you should search in google for:

Yes, that’s it — tell the guy that’s written maybe 2500 articles over nine and a half years that’s he’s lazy. I’m sure to buy your product and/or service!

______________
¹ And may Glob have mercy on that place where a soul would be in a regular person.

They Want What In How Many Days?

Answer: seven days of class material in five days. One may understand that I’ll be somewhat … brief this week.

  • New TopatoCon announcement du jour: Dante Shepherd, imitator of raptors¹, wielder of mallets, teacher of the young, record-holder for chalk concentration in the blood of an alive human. Be sure to shout Woo, Yankees! when you see him.
  • New Kickstarter for Girl Genius went up in the wee hours, already sitting at 155% of its US$60,000 goal and less than US$250 from its last stretch goal. Good thing too, as it’s only running for eleven days. Of perhaps equal interest is the fact that while this is the 14th (!) volume of Agatha Heterodyne’s adventures, Pr & Pr Foglio have created a story break to serve as a jumping-on point and renumbered back down to one — the better to not scare off new readers, presumably. We’ll see over the next few years if that worked in their favor but whatever — I cleared space on my bookshelves for up to 25 Girl Genius collections years ago.
  • It appears that the indications we had on Friday that the contact form isn’t working have been borne out — Steve Troop dropped into the comments to let us know that he also had a no-result experience. It’s on my list of things to do, but for the meantime I’ll put a note on the contact page. Thanks for letting me know.

Spam of the day:

Woman of Alien [emphasis original]

I’m not sure what this one is getting at? Are they trying to sell me alien women? Or do the aliens — perhaps from Mars? — need women? Help me out here.

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¹ Now we need to have a Science And YOU! presentation at TopatoCon, where Shepherd can share the stage with Randall Munroe, who has a well-known fear of raptors; put Munroe on a treadmill with Shepherd hissing behind him, we can power the entire venue.

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Although I Should Point Out That This Changes Nothing I Wrote Yesterday

It appears that come June, the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco will have to go vagabond for while, as it is being forced by circumstance to find a new location:

Following a notice to vacate, the Cartoon Art Museum will be closing its doors at 655 Mission Street on Sunday, June 28, 2015. The museum, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, began preparing several months ago for a possible relocation and will now continue those efforts in search of temporary gallery space as well as a new long-term home.

Well, poop. For those that haven’t had the pleasure, CAM is a great museum that puts up some great shows, and I imagine that at least half the effort of finding new space will be to find an appropriate place to keep and protect their collection — from the Smithsonian on down to the smallest, museums have more in storage than on display.

This has the unfortunate effect of making museum spaces expensive, what with requiring specific climate parameters to keep the collection from damage plus requiring nice, spacious, well-lit, and transformable space for all the public aspects. And San Francisco is one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country, which likely contributed to the requirement to move; no doubt their landlord can make a boatload of money by chopping up the space into fancy retail, restaurant, and/or residential units.

So if anybody wins the lottery and doesn’t have anything better to do with a couple-ten million dollars (or even just a couple of bucks), you can contribute to CAM’s capital campaign.

In better news:

  • KC Green let us know that his various comics projects might be a little less regular than expected for a month or so, for what I would call excellent reasons:

    I am doing a freelance gig with Adventure Time the cartoon series that will take up more than most of my time. Maybe. I am preparing you in case I miss an update or two. Just for the month. I suddenly have a lot of things I am doing at once and a plate or two might fall. Nothing serious tho, we can glue the plate back together.

    I can’t wait to see what a Green-designed or inspired episode of Adventure Time would look like, and on top of that, the Weird Al-edited issue of MAD due out next week (#533, if you’re keeping track) will include laugh-chuckles from KC, which means that Weird Al saw his comics and liked them. I believe that is the definition of professional validation.

  • Speaking of KC Green, he was the first announced guest of TopatoCon, which has made its latest pair of guest announcements:

    *holds out fists* ok pick a hand

    Left, you say?

    Or did you say right?

    For those that didn’t click through, those tweets led to the names of Danielle Corsetto and David Malki !. The full list of guests is behind the cut.

  • Still speaking of KC, he appears as a computer-generated pal for you (at least, a person named KC, along with other suspiciously webcomics-associated names as Sara, Anthony, Holly, Eliza, Frank, Becky, Tony, Karla, Erika, Jess, Eric, Kate, and more) in the latest Twine game from Tom McHenry, the man responsible for teaching us all the mastery of horses.

    Let’s Go Eat is a (specific type not stated, but pretty clearly comics) convention simulator wherein you must wrangle a crowd of people to dinner, when everybody has preferences and dislikes and it is possible to have your group break up due to hunger, impatience, attrition, and actual starvation death. It is absolutely 100% true to life and I encourage everybody to play it to learn why your favorite creators are that way by the end of the day.

  • We’ll finish out the week on a logistical and oddly KC-less note; the following comment was received on the last post I made about an arts space losing its location (way the heck back on Tuesday), regarding a bit of spam and not being able to find the contact page:

    To be fair to the spammer, I did use that Contact Us link on two different occasions the past few months, with no indication that anything had happened.

    Duly noted, and thanks for letting us know, Andrew; in the meantime, you can always reach me by utilizing the name gary, which is reachable at the name of this here site. I’m still not apologizing to that spamming bastard, though.


Spam of the day:

Helklo there, You have done an incredible job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally suggest too my friends.

Honest question: is Digg still a thing? I’m not sure it’s a thing.

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Well, Dammit

Just yesterday I was raving about the gallery/event space known as Center 548, site of this year’s MoCCA Festival in Chelsea, Manhattan, New York City, and how I hoped the Society of Illustrators had found a new, permanent home for the show. Turns out, nope:

Sad news for anybody who is currently enjoying MoCCA’s new location https://news.artnet.com/art-world/owne…

In case you didn’t click that link, the owners of the building has sold out to a new landlord who intends to — wait for it — build condos, or so say the rumors. I’m sure somebody will be making a buttload of money off the deal, and while I’ve only ever been in that space on one day of its entire existence, the continual repurposing of NYC real estate into high-priced residences is something that will set off another cycle of decline in the city if the real estate industry isn’t very careful.

It’s happened before, as the city became too expensive and people moved away; pretty soon there’s nobody to cook and clean for the owners of those multi-million dollar residences, or to make their coffee or deliver their dry cleaning. Then the super rich all decide to leave, the neighborhood falls into underuse, and then the artists and squatters move back in. Cue one of those Disney songs about eternal circles of real property valuation. Thanks to Darryl Ayo for digging up the story.

  • Welp, regardless of what happens with arts happenings in New York, there’s still going to be a TopatoCon in *hampton Mass this fall, and the exhibitor list grows by the day:

    Can you guess who the next guest announcement is? I’ll give you a hint; his name rhymes with “Schmanthony Slark”.

    I’m going to throw another guest announcement at you. Go long!

    IT’S CHRIS HASTINGS! @drhastings IS GOING TO BE AT TOPATOCON!!

    The complete list as it now stands is under the cut.

  • That’s moving fast — Howard Tayler¹ has been making noise about launching a Kickstarter to fund a role-playing game set in his comic’s universe, and in the hours since launch it’s racked up 66% of of a US$45,000 goal. Not so unusual, but these things are unusual: the US$30K he’s gathered so far is from just 300 backers, for an average of a hundo per; he’s logged eight backers (out of total limit of 15) across two US$500 tiers, and five (out of a limit of 10) backers at the US$1000 (!) tier. People love them some games, but even more love them some Howard. No idea where this is going but I suspect all my predictive models would be garbage given the obvious skew going on.
  • How about a simple Kickstarter story? It’s been a while since we had one of thems. Dave Kellett has decided to celebrate the first anniversary of his film, STRIPPED (funded via Kickstarts), with a sale. Until 17 April, you can get the movie and bonus features for 50% off. If you didn’t see it before, see it now.

Spam of the day:

Does your website have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it but, I’d like to send yyou an e-mail.

Yeah, it would be that thing under the masthead on the right that says CONTACT US, can’t imagine how anybody’s ever found it ever.

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¹ Evil twin, etc.

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Maybe I’ll Just Keep A Running List Here

The fine folks at TopatoCon keep adding names to their exhibitor list, about one a day. Since we last mentioned KC Green, Jeph Jacques, Jess Fink, and Tom Siddell, the poisonous space-potato has added Rosemary Mosco of Bird and Moon and Kate Leth of almost everything. More guests to be announced until the total hits 70 or so.

The rest of today is about Kickstarter and Kickstarts.

  • David McGuire has had some ups and downs over the past day or so; he funded out with three days to spare and announced some stretch goals, then a high-value backer dropped a pledge and knocked him back below the threshold of success, from which he is now separated by just under US$100 and two days. He’s going to make goal, but this situation sparked a bit of memory for me.

    You may recall the Kickstarter backer-scammer of 18 months ago¹, whereby an individual (probably more than one on a site as broad as Kickstarter) made a series of top-tier pledges and then disputed charges with Amazon after rewards had started shipping. While I don’t think that McGuire has been intentionally messed with (personal finances change, after all), I have heard stories of groups of griefers that pledge to campaigns and cancel immediately before close. It’s bad enough if they cause a campaign to fail just to screw with somebody, but it could actually be worse if a campaign just barely succeeded — a creator may have placed orders for merchandise with the expectation of it being paid for, and be stuck with unneeded inventory and overly-large invoices to pay.

    So I guess I’m back to a couple of stray thoughts I had back in November of 2013 — Kickstarter should look at allowing campaign owners to set a threshold above which backers need to be approved, or to make available escrow services. The first is probably easier than the second, and while aimed at those with larceny in their hearts, these approaches would also help to prevent those who are “merely” setting out to spread misery for the lulz. Heaven (and the Uniform Commercial Code) help the next Kickstart campaign that GamerGate (and its similar, noxious offspring in other media) decides to make into its latest chew-toy.

  • The Dumbing of Age book 4 Kickstart had a great first day and is settling into the long tail phase — although with a second-day drop of more than 50%, the FFFmk2 is of less value than normal², adjusted for the fact that it launched right at midnight and so the drop is exaggerated — and that means it’s time for a predication. The math indicates US$132.5K +/- 26.5, or a range of US$106K to US$159K. Based on the trend of the previous DoA books, I think that US$90K +/- say US$10K is more likely. Give me another ten or so Kickstarts with a steep second day drop and we’ll have a better model.
  • Today’s Kickstarter that you should check out (by way of a tweet my wife saw): a travelogue of Iceland by Lonnie Mann, with a cover blurb from Lucy Knisley³ who pretty much epitomizes the travelogue comic. It looks really good, and has all the hallmarks of a success: the work has already been published as minicomics; a printer is lined up; Mann has backed many, many Kickstarters in the past and obviously isn’t looking to tap into the magic free money machine without a clue. Give this one a good look.

Spam of the day:

Dear Gary – Thank you for your kind support and stellar coverage of our growing list of clients. It’s been slightly over a full year since I formed our small PR and marketing agency and it’s been an amazing ride that I could not have undertaken without your generous support and kind words. Truly, you are the best!

I’ve never heard of you, you’ve never emailed me before, and I’ve certainly never covered your clients. You’re … you’re not very good at this, are you?

_______________
¹ Which — small world! — featured Alex Heberling, now colorist for Brad Guigar’s Evil, Inc, whose latest Kickstart appears to not have been plagued by a complete and utter dick.

² See the TJ & Amal Omnibus, which had the flattest long tail I’ve ever seen, where the FFFmk2 would have predicted US$175K +/- 35K, which I eyeballed down to maybe US$55K, and actually did US$65K. I need more data!

³ Holy crap you guys — just as I was typing Lucy Knisley’s name, Terry Gross said her name on the radio. Timing! She’s running an interview with her right now which isn’t available online yet, but probably will be tomorrow at this address.

Patreonage, Announcements, And New Things

We’re headed in several different directions today. It’s an adventure!

  • I need to start this first item with a disclaimer, and ask you to believe that while I would have certainly written about this regardless, how I learned about the item in question may give the appearance of a quid pro quo. Leaving aside all the roundabout verbiage, David Morgan-Mar (PhD, LEGO®©™etc and semi-pro Mr Bean impersonator) emailed me over the weekend with an extraordinarily generous offer — an original strip from his always-amusing Planet Of Hats, my choice, gratis.

    He mentioned that I should look over the list of available strips to see if the one I wanted¹ was available or taken, as he’d launched a Patreon and top contributors could call dibs on a strip. Which is how I learned that David Morgan-Mar, the man who started webcomicking a month before Ryan North, the man who famously has not sought to turn his thousands (to potentially infinite number) of strips into anything resembling a career and does this for fun (his own and his audience’s) had started a Patreon to defray the costs associated with all of his internet-shared japery.

    I’ll note that his campaign has the lowest milestone goals I’ve yet seen on a Patreon — ten dollars a month² to cover the costs of pens and paper, $35/month for hosting and registration on all of his sites (ten in all), $50/month to get one new LEGO brand construction brick toy-based Irregular Webcomic strip a week, and $75/month for two new strips a week.

    Guys, this is chump change, and please believe me when I say that a) we would be having this conversation with or without Morgan-Mar’s incredibly generous gift, and b) that after putting in what I’d estimate to be literal tens of thousands of hours on his various comics, this is just about the very least he could be asking for in way of audience support. His has been the most one-way transaction of laugh-chuckles in the history of webcomics; it’s time he was shown how much he’s appreciated.

  • Still on Patreon for a moment as I’d like to point out another act of incredible generosity by a webcomicker, and with a far greater impact on somebody’s life than some free artwork. Chris Rusche hit some tough times in his personal life last year, and his readers urged him to set up a Patreon so as to offer support — which enabled him to make his comic his main gig, and not coincidentally allow him to care for his kids (one of whom has a chronic health condition).

    So when Rusche saw another artist in similar circumstances whose tablet blew up over on Patreon, he organized his readers to resolve that and has been pushing as much attention towards her campaign as he can. The beneficiary of this kindness is Ginny Higerd, whose work you can find here; she may need to add a few more high-end milestone goals, seeing as how all the existing ones have now been filled. And kudos to Rusche, for using his powers (and followers) for Good and for Awesome.

  • Speaking of using your powers for good, yesterday Jon Rosenberg and family were returning from a Florida vacation when they were involved in a multi-car collision. All are unhurt, thankfully, but at last report the Rosenbergs were trapped in a Denny’s in South Carolina, which is far from the best Denny’s to be at without good transportation options. Maybe this would be a good time to look at his Patreon?
  • The list of confirmed TopatoCon 2015 guests now stands at four, with KC Green, Jeph Jacques, and Jess Fink now joined by Tom Siddell (who you can also see at this weekend’s MoCCA Fest alongside Magnolia Porter). And since we’re mentioning Siddell, I want to particularly congratulate him on his current story arc, which has me twisted up in knots, anticipating each new installment, even as he puts our main character through the wringer.

    It’s a masterful job of storytelling, causing an emotional response where I’m feeling protective of Annie, outraged on her behalf, and find my visceral loathing of her until-now-absent father growing by the day. It’s been ten years that we’ve been following Annie’s story and I’m well-invested in her narrative. Story threads that have been woven over that decade are being violently disrupted, and making the agent of all this upending be the person that should be apologizing to Annie (for his sudden and prolonged absence, particularly when he most needed her) is a bold stroke.

    But seriously — Anthony Carver is a jerk, fuck that guy, I also hope he gets lasercowed.

  • New strip alert! Otaku Dad looks to be hilarious, which is hardly a surprise as it’s coming from Ronny Filyaw of Whomp!; just one page and a cover so far, but the premise in that one page is delicious.
  • Live action Automata, possibly under production as soon as the fall and released next year? Intriguing.

Spam of the day:

Hi my name is Janette and I just wanted to drop you a quick note here instead of calling you.

a) It is very unlikely that is your name, and b) people that call me are subject to significant levels of verbal abuse. I once reduced a I am calling from Microsoft Technical Support, we have detected a virus on your computer to a frothing rage. Then again, it’s pretty easy to provoke that when you study the work of the master.

_______________
¹ Which presented a dilemma — which episode of Star Trek would make the best fodder for a humorous piss-take? Something intentionally silly like Planet Of The Gansters A Piece of the Action? Something no-doubt well-intentioned but more than a litte train-wrecky, like Planet Of The Primitive Blonde Americans (Not Native Americans, They Get An Episode Next Season) And Yellow Peril Communist Stereotypes The Omega Glory? Something well-intentioned and a bit heavy-handed but not entirely train-wrecky like Racism Is Bad, Mmmkay? Let That Be your Last Battlefield? Something completely off-the-rails insane like Space Hippies Don’t Like Herbert The Way To Eden? Coming near the end of Trek’s run, Morgan-Mar’s skills ought to be nicely sharpened by the time that one comes up in the rotation. Ultimately, I went with a strip yet to be drawn — the urPlanet Of story — one which should sum up everything in SF’s tendency towards every planet is just one thing: Planet Of The Nazis Patterns of Force.

² I’m assuming ten US dollars a month, since Patreon in a US-based company, but don’t discount that he’s looking for ten Australian dollars, which would be about seven and a half American at today’s exchange rates.

Boners, With Added Computer Security

Now somebody needs to do a drawing for me: Howard Taylor Swift.

Lots of people are already halfway into ham-mode, what with Easter and all; even those who are not believers tend to go big on the ham. I only have two brief items for you before I call it a week and take a nap.

Item the First: New TopatoCon guests announced! While exhibitor applications are open for a couple more weeks, we now have our second and third confirmed guests, Jeph Jacques and Jess Fink. In the immor[t]al words of TopatoCon’s governing body:

We should put @JessFink and @jephjacques in a room and see who can draw the most boners in five minutes. #topatoconeventideas

I volunteer to be the timekeeper of this event.

Item the Second: I don’t know if you follow the nameless, heroic computer security specialist that tweets behind the façade of a world-ruling pop star, but InfoSec Taylor Swift has impressed the hell out of me with their knowledge, analysis of current security threats, and snark. Even better, as the person that ends up Designated Tech Guy At Family Gatherings, InfoSecTayTay has put together a hell of a timesaver: a guide to securing computers that I can point relatives to instead of doing it all myself.

If you end up being your own tech support, you could do worse than bookmarking Decent Security (work in progress, so revisit often) and examining your own habits and practices. It’s rather Windows 7-centric at the moment, but the page titled Computer Security Is Not Magic applies to everybody.

Okay, that’s it. Enjoy whatever you may celebrate this weekend, and don’t forget: chocolate goes on sale Monday.


Spam of the day:

My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different page and thought I might check things out. I like what I see

What you and your spouse do is none of my business, please do not involve me in your sex games okay thanks bye.

Upliftin’ Frolic And Cavortment

SPX is done for another year, and it’s pretty safe to say that everybody who attended is looking forward to next year with the most baited of breath. It’s a show that’s just the right size, in that you can see everything in a few hours, but also spend the entire weekend in deep dives if that’s what you want. I didn’t have the entire weekend, alas, but I did manage to see the show floor on Saturday and have no regret except not being able to spend more time with everybody¹. Thoughts as they occur to me:

  • Congratulations to the Ignatz Award winners², and may I note that unlike every other awards program of the year, I have a good record picking Ignatz winners. Particular congrats to Evan Dahm, Meredith Gran, Sophie Goldstein, Robert Kirby, and Jason Shiga, who appeared on my ballot³, as well as all the other winners.
  • Speaking of Evan Dahm, he tells me that he’ll be launching his illustrated Oz book on Kickstarter in the near term, near enough to have the printer order submitted by end of the year. My only desire for this is that he offer a two-book bundle reward tier, as I need a copy, and I have a niece and nephew who will also need one.
  • I spoke to both KC Green and Anthony Clark, and somehow managed to completely space on talking about BACK, which makes me an idiot because I love BACK. I did manage to talk to Christopher Hastings about how his involvement in improv and sketch comedy is improving his comic writing and vice versa, but neglected to ask if he has any more major comic book writing gigs coming out soon, given that he’s become Marvel’s go-to guy for the slightly wacky story niche. In each case, I choose to blame the fact that I didn’t want to block the table from people that wanted to talk to these fine gentlemen and buy their wares. That is my story and I’m sticking to it.
  • Speaking of Green, and similar to Dahm’s Oz project, did you see that he (Green) launched an adaptation of Pinocchio today? That is to say, the original story by Carlo Collodi, not the Disney version. In case you’ve never been exposed to the original version, The Talking Cricket (il Grillo Parlante) tries to advise Pinocchio and is squished for his troubles, returning as an advice-spewing ghost, whereas his American counterpart Jiminy not only lived all the way through, he got the good song. Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio runs M-W-F, with Gunshow shifting to T-Th for the duration. Five days a week of KC Green comics is like a fairytale.
  • Speaking of il Grillo Parlante, that’s been the name of the current story arc over at Skin Horse, where a series of guest artists have filled in for most of the summer for new mom/Radness Queen of Webcomics Shaenon Garrity. Garrity’s returned today to wrap up the last week of the arc, which gives me hope that we may also see the return of Monster of the Week.

Right, SPX. Got distracted for a minute there.

  • Becky Dreistadt and Frank Gibson are super excited for their Capture Creatures series, coming in November from BOOM!
  • Dean Trippe tells me that the print version of Something Terrible is with the book designer as we speak.
  • Tom McHenry, whom I’d never met in person before, is a far more normal person that I would expect to ask people what they named their horses and get excited when I ‘fessed up that my horse was named Buttplumber.
  • Carla Speed McNeil viciously underprices her original pages. I came home with three — two of them from the just-released Third World collection, which I have been obsessively reading and re-reading for the ten days or so since I picked it up — and I seriously considered taking out a second mortgage in order to buy the entire bin she had on her table. If you are not reading FINDER you are missing out.
  • SPX remains a readers con, with multiple creators (among them Dahm, Jon Rosenberg, and Spike) expressing delight on social media at how much less stock they took home than they brought. Spike, in particular, was essentially sold out on Saturday, some hours after she promised me that she’s getting back to Templar this month, dammit.
  • Power couples: Yuko Ota and Ananth Panagariya are maybe the living embodiment of Zen patience. Ota’s well-documented wrist difficulties4 are keeping her from drawing (or even signing!) at present, but they are dealing with the situation with admirable calm and equanimity. They shared booth space with Tom Siddell and Magnolia Porter, both of whom are presently doing the best work of their respective careers, and the latter of which was presented with a fan-made, near life-size plush of her character Rixis.

    They were directly across the aisle from Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman, who are gearing up for the Princeton Book Festival next Saturday. Telgemeier was sporting a wrist brace which she assured me was precautionary: the last time she went on book tour (as she is now), she went to the National Book Festival (as she just did) and signed about a thousand books in a short period of time and blew out her wrist and then had to go home and draw a book (which became Sisters). Here’s hoping the precautions work, but at least for now she and Ota get to be wrist-brace superhero buddies.

    Meanwhile, creator duo Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline — so well known for their collaborations with Ryan North — have the time now that Midas Flesh has wrapped to put together their own story and series pitches. With any luck, in a year or so we may see something that they’ve written as well as drawn, and in the meantime they remain busy. Busy’s good.

  • Kel McDonald is having a blast working with Dark Horse on the Misfits of Avalon print collections (the first of which is out next month), and remains her usual, unflappable, hyperorganized self. How organized? She won’t be putting up the Kickstarter for the next Cautionary Fables anthology until the end of 2015, and she’s already got her contributors on lockdown more than a year in advance. Somebody come up with a planning calendar app and get McDonald to endorse it.
  • Tony Breed, by all accounts, KILLED it in the DJ booth at the SPX post-Ignatz dance party/prom. I’d never met him before and he struck me as an amazing nice guy. I picked up a copy of his mini of recipes in comic form, which makes me wish that Recipe Comix was still a thing oh wait look, it is. Also amazingly nice: Jess Fink, who in a just world would be in the midst of a bidding war from competing publishers for the soon-to-finish Chester XYV 5000: Isabelle and George. I am an entirely straight dude, and yet I had to tell Fink how thrilled I am to see that those two dudes are about to get down to some serious gettin’ it on. I think it’s my innate desire for George and Robert to get a happy ending, so to speak.
  • I know I’m forgetting people; mea maxima culpa.
  • New To Be or Not To Be artist signatures obtained count: 25.

Spam of the day:

Nuthin’ good. Sorry.

_______________
¹ That, and I completely lost track of time and missed Raina Telgemeier’s spotlight panel.

² I was already driving home by the time the awards got underway, so Heidi Mac’s writeup was invaluable to me.

³ To be clear, I voted for Shiga for Outstanding Series (which he won) and not for Outstanding Online Comic (which Dahm took), and I voted for Goldsteinn for both Outstanding Minicomic (which she won) and also Outstanding Artist (which went to Sam Bosma, which you can’t really argue with). Likewise, while I backed Gene Yang’s Boxers & Saints for Outstanding Graphic Novel, you can’t really get upset with that one being won by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki for This One Summer.

4 Taking advantage of the fact that I am totally ordained, I attempted a faith healing of Ota’s wrist. I don’t think it worked, despite invoking the spirits of Kirby and Herriman.