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.

Of Note On This Friday Afternoon

One recap, three things coming up, then the weekend.

Recap! The Ignatz Awards took place last month at SPX, and they were taped. I didn’t realize that they video had been released for nearly a week, so thanks to Jess Fink’s tweet, which pointed to Rob Clough’s tweet, which pointed to the video. One great thing about the Ignatzen, apart from the high caliber of nominees and winners? Brevity. Over and done in a little more than an hour so the attendees can get down to the dance party and chocolate fountain.

This weekend! (Unfortunate Half) Nidhi Chanani has been on tour in support of Pashmina; this weekend she was scheduled for Third Place Books in Seattle (tomorrow) and Half Price Books in Dallas (Sunday). I say was because she’s been down with a nasty bug for the last couple of days, and is unfortunately unable to travel. What’s most important is that she get better, and secondarily that she be able to make later commitments (like the YALSA conference in Kentucky at the end of next week). Feel better, Nidhi! Everybody drop her a line of good wishes, and go read Pashmina because it’s really, really good.

This weekend! (Fortunate Half) Abby Howard does great comics — funny comics, creepy comics, smart comics, and true comics — but in my mind is becoming ever more associated with comics about dinosaurs. She’s probably the best-educated-about-dinosaurs cartoonist we have right now, not to mention the most cartoon-skilled general paleontologist¹. She’ll be running a workshop of dinosaur illustration at the Boston Public Library tomorrow at 3:00pm.

Now, there’s a lot of libraries in Boston with a lot of events (especially considering Boston Book Festival is on), but for this event, you want the Central Library at 700 Boylston (that’s Copley Square), in the Johnson Building, the Rey Room (that’s the Children’s section). Go draw some dinosaurs.

Next week! The fourth (Fourth? That can’t be right, but it is. Fourth!) volume of Erika Moen & Matthew Nolan’s Oh Joy, Sex Toy releases on 14 November, and to celebrate there’s gonna be a release party². Day after Halloween, y’all, at Books With Pictures, 1100 SE Division Street in Portland. Nolan and Moen will talk about OJ,ST and there will be snacks, drinks, and signing starting at 7:00pm and running to 9:00pm. If you go, give newly minted American citizen Nolan a high five for me.

Spam of the day:

FaceRig releases fun Halloween avatars and multiuser tech

I have no idea what any of this means, and the attached press release doesn’t really tell me. Weird.

¹ To clarify: Mark Witton does amazing art and is an actual working paleontologist, with a scientific and artistisc focus centering on pterosaurs. Great artist, but not a cartoonist. No stories.

² Quit snickering, this is serious.

Better, Thanks For Asking

Wow, I missed a lot in a week; let’s jump in and see what’s up.

  • SPX Occurred to the usual great acclaim and positive feelings. Fleen congratulates the attendees and exhibitors on a great weekend, and the Ignatz Award winners in particular. Representatives of webcomics in the winners circle include Der-shing Helmer’s The Meek as Outstanding Online Comic, Yuko Ota and Ananth Hirsh’s Johnny Wander: Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us as Outstanding Collection, Taneka Stotts (editor) and the contributors to Elements: Fire — An Anthology by Creators of Color as Outstanding Anthology, Jess Fink’s Chester 5000 XYV as Outstanding Series, and Bianca Xunise for Promising New Talent.
  • Still at SPX, various attendees at the show have stuff to share, now and in the immediate future. Lucy Bellwood¹ released a detailed public accounting on the Kickstarter campaign for her 100 Demon Dialogues book/plush. Sharing numbers like this makes it more likely that newer creators dipping their toes into the Kickstart waters will succeed not only in funding, but in not bankrupting themselves on the expenses post-fundraising.

    As of today, Bellwood is up about US$3500 on US$50,000 raised, an amount which could be shaved down further by unexpected circumstances. But even if everything finishes exactly as measured today, be sure to pay attention to that US$3.5K number, not the US$50K. It’ll be half a year’s work or more by the time Bellwood’s done, and while 50 grand for half a year’s work is a comfortable living, 3.5 grand is not even subsistence living. Anybody inclined to sneer about the huge amounts of dough Bellwood’s rolling in, do have the courtesy to know what the hell you’re talking about.

  • Speaking of both SPX and Kickstarter, C Spike Trotman and Danielle Corsetto took time from the show to announce they’re partnering up to bring a comprehensive omnibus printing of Girls With Slingshots to Kickstarter. Corsetto’s got the 2000+ strips, Spike’s got the Kickstarter process down to a science, and later today when the campaign goes live we can all get in on what’s sure to be a handsome volume featuring color strips. Those of us that have all ten GWS books, the first five of which are in B&W, will get to decide how much we need everything to match. Damn you, Corsetto! And damn you too, Spike, for enabling her!
  • Missed like a week ago: The 20th anniversary of David Willis’s comics, which started on 10 September 1997 in the Indiana Daily Student, starting a run that would continue through four strips until the end of Shortpacked! in January of 2015. The rebooted version of the Willisverse, Dumbing of Age, launched on 10 September 2010, and continues to this day². If you feel this accomplishment merits some in-person congratulations³, you can see him at Bloomington, Indiana’s Vintage Phoenix Comics this coming Friday, 22 September, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. Give him a Damn you, Willis! for me.
  • Missed last week: The Homestuck videogame came out and people really love it! It was near five years back that almost 25,000 backers raised almost US$2.5 million to make the game, which has surely been through many design changes and mutations in the time since. But with Homestuck creator Andrew Hussie aided by past and present webcomic creators like Ryan North, Christopher Hastings, Tauhid Bondia, and Kris Straub, it’s not really a mystery that people are very happy with the outcome.

    Even better for those put off by the infamously dense and deep Homestuck, consensus is that you needn’t be familiar with the epic to play the game. Hiveswap is available via Steam or the Humble store with blessedly modest system requirements.

  • And finally, Kelly and Zach Weinersmith announced their Soonish book tour; at present, dates in Seattle, Denver, New York, San Jose, Dallas, and Austin have been announced. Check the map and get your tickets now — it’s the first time Weinersmith’s been seen in public outside of BAH!Fest in years, and no guarantee after the book tour he won’t scurry back into his dank cartoonist’s lair, never to emerge into sunlight again.

I think that’s everything caught up. Come back tomorrow, and we’ll have news from across the Atlantic/Atlantique courtesy of Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin.

Spam of the day:

Bad news is, I must have underestimated the amount of people who wanted to get in … because Ted’s server actually fell over.

This is the most astounding spam of apology, as somebody from “Ted’s Sheds” is making amends for traffic problems by extending for one day only their amazing offer of 16,000 woodworking plans (presumably including plans for the eponymous sheds) for the low, low price of … they don’t actually say. Too bad I don’t need a shed.

¹ Adventure Cartoonist!

² Seven years in, I don’t think we’ve made it as far as midterms in the first semester of freshman year; by the time they graduate, these characters will have changed even more than Willis himself.

³ And heck if there are many webcomickers that have been as consistent as Willis for two damn decades, which include such life upheavals as throwing off a fundamentalist upbringing, a marriage, and the birth of twin sons.

Countdown To SPX

For those who were intrigued by the early descriptions of SPX panels, I should note that the programming schedule is now posted, with speakers including Jillian Tamaki, Eleanor Davis, Tillie Walden, Gene Yang, Keith Knight, and Shannon Wheeler.

Of those, Tamaki and Walden will have book debuts; it’s not listed on the site as a debut, but the English-language edition of Alex Alice’s Castle In The Stars: The Space Race of 1869¹ is on Tuesday and I say that’s close enough.

And then, of course, there are the many, many exhibitors who’ll be in the Marriott Bethesda North ballroom; in roughly geographic order, you should keep an eye out for:

Green Zone
Top Shelf (wall 64 to 67), Iron Circus Comics (wall 72 and 73), Kel McDonald (wall 74), Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota with George Rohac (wall 81), Ngozi Ukazu and Mad Rupert (wall 82), Ru Xu (wall 91A).

Blue Zone
Drawn & Quarterly (wall 1 to 4), Miss Lasko-Gross (table H10A), Whit Taylor (table H14B), Tony Breed (table I3B), Ross Nover (table I10), Natasha Petrovic (table J6), Adam Aylard, David Yoder, Joey Weiser, and Drew Weing, Eleanor Davis (tables K12 to 14), Cartozia Tales (table K8), Lucy Bellwood (table K9), Retrofit Comics (tables L2 and 3), Nilah Magruder (table L6), Shan Murphy (table L10B), Koyama Press (tables M1 and 2), Dustin Harbin (table M4), Carla Speed McNeil (table M7A), Sophie Yanow (table M12A), Toronto Comics Art Festival (table M14), MK Reed (table N1), Gemma Correll (table N2), Sophie Goldstein (N13B), Ed Luce (N14), Fantagraphics (wall 56 to 61).

Red Zone
School of Visual Arts (wall 7 to 8), Colleen Frakes (table B5), former Fleen scribe Anne Thalheimer (table B6A), Liz Pulido (table B8), Zach Morrison (table B11), Jamie Noguchi (table B9), Barry Deutsch (table C13), 2dcloud (tables D1 and 2), Evan Dahm (table D8), Becky Dreistadt and Frank Gibson (table D9), Penina Gal (table D13), Carolyn Belefski (table E4A), Carolyn Nowak (table E6), Carey Pietsch (table E7A), Natalie Riess (table E7B), The New York Review Of Books (table E13B), Liz Prince (table E14A), Falynn Koch and Tucker Waugh (table E14B), Rebecca Mock (table F3A), The Center For Cartoon Studies (table F4), NBM Comics (tables G1 and 2), Tillie Walden (table G3), Alex and Lindsay Small-Butera (table G4), Kori Michele Handwerker and Melanie Gillman (table G5), Adhouse Books (wall 53 to 55).

Yellow Zone
Sara & Tom McHenry (wall 25), Jess Fink and Eric Colossal (wall 28), Danielle Corsetto (wall 29), TopatoCo² (wall 31 to 33), The Nib (wall 34), Meredith Gran and Mike Holmes (wall 35A), Out Of Step Arts³ (wall 44 to 46).

The Small Press Expo runs on Saturday 16 September (11:00am to 7:00pm) and Sunday 17 September (noon to 6:00pm). Admission at the door is US$10 on Sunday, US$15 on Saturday, and US$20 for the weekend.

Spam of the day:

Search for the best gas cards Compare for the best features

What features? You put money on the card, you give it to somebody, they get that much gas. Done.

¹ Imagine a Miyazaki story with a male protagonist, set in Jules Verne’s Europe, against a backdrop of Prussia’s quest to unify all the German states under their banners (and the threat of an unstoppable fleet of near-space ships as the Romantic period wound down and the Belle Epoque got underway; also, Mad King Ludwig is in it).

It’s a lushly-painted story with a tight story that will be concluded in a second volume; the hdardcover itself is in the dimensions of a children’s book, but clocks in at 60 pages of gorgeous bandes dessinées. Get it for the airship fan you know.

² Including Kate Leth and Abby Howard

³ Including Andrew MacLean, Paul Maybury, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, and Neil Bramlette.

August Already? That’s Unpossible!

Well, I guess time continues forward at a rate of one minute per minute after all. Today being the first of the month, let me remind you that you have until 11:59pm EDT tomorrow, 2 August 2017, to email me a copy of your donation receipt to The Trevor Project, which I will match. Last time we raised US$500 in matching funds (rounded up from US$305) and I’d like to exceed that if at all possible this time around.

As of now, we’re at US$360 in receipts sent. If I could make a suggestion? All of the super cool Kickstarts that you’re backing right now? Pick one, and donate an amount equal to just the shipping charge. If just one out of every ten of you did that, we’d be into the thousands of dollars and my budget for the next month will be happily blown. I know that Fleen readers are, in general, the sort of people that would make Mr Rogers proud and happy. I know you’ve got this.

  • I didn’t know how much I wanted a Jess Fink guest comic at Oh Joy, Sex Toy until I saw it. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled as broadly as when I got to the panel that said, quote, SO you want to draw DOWNTOWN KISSES, followed by art tips to make oral sexytimes look better. Thanks, Jess, Erika, and Matt!
  • I confess, Chris Yates not boothing with Dumbrella for the comics shows the past couple of years means that I haven’t kept as close an eye on his Baffler! puzzles as I should. He just released a tranche of new ones, bringing the total number of brain-numbers up to three thousand, nine hundred and thirty-six. As Big Round Numbers tend to bring out Yates’s most extravagant work, look for the imminent Baffler! #4000 to feature about a dozen levels, multiple sub-puzzles, and a solving time measured in fortnights.
  • TCAF remains one of the very best shows on the continent, and it’s never too early to start planning for May 2018. News went out today by means of the Twitter machine that applications will be open starting Monday, 14 August, until the end of October. My experience? Lots more people want to exhibit than the Toronto Reference Library can accommodate, so get your applications in early is my advice. Sign up for their newsletter if you need a reminder to check out the process rules come Monday after next.

Now you’ll have to excuse me, I have to make a bookstore run to pick up Abby Howard’s new dinosaur book, Dinosaur Empire!, which releases today. Heck, yeah.

Spam of the day:

Can’t see tiny buttons? Get a senior phone

I’ma tell you exactly what I told the Medicaid scammer that called yesterday, thinking me much older than I am: I can see a church by daylight. Besides, aren’t there enlarged button dialer apps for all the phones now?

News You Can Ews

News and such. You know the deal.

  • Item! We have word of new names to add to our MoCCA Fest 2017 exhibitor page and one bit of additional information. The first new exhibitor will be the exquisite Jess Fink, who tells us she’ll be at the Top Shelf table (A101 & 2) on Saturday, starting at 2:00pm. The second new exhibitor will be Mike Holmes, who will be debuting his newest collaboration with Gene Yang, the third book in the Secret Coders series¹. Mike will be at table J278 B, alongside his show wife (and, incidentally, wife wife) Meredith Gran.
  • Item! Speaking of Meredith Gran, this is your occasional reminder that Octopus Pie continues to get better with every damn update, and the story mechanic of having a party for protagonist Eve Ning in honor of her job catching fire is brilliant. The strip may be on the glidepath to wrapping up, but by glob we’ll get to see all the old faces one last time. Whether it’s semi-recurring characters or formerly major characters that we haven’t seen for-damn-ever, everybody will get their threads wrapped up.

    Case in point: the desparkled America Jones, onetime throwaway villain, now sublimating her evil tendencies with roller derby and Nazi punching², making her just another one of the weird people in Eve’s orbit. I’ve come to believe that we’ll see the pea-wiggle guy, Mr Pedals, and Olly’s nephew before everything concludes. And you know what? I am one thousand percent okay with that. If Gran wants to drag out the conclusion of this strip so that we find out what’s up with the ducks or James, I am ready and willing to read those strips.

    Okay, maybe not James. That guy’s a dick.

  • Item! Via the twitterfeed of “Uncle” Randy Milholland,news of a Kickstart you may want to check out:

    So @TheOnlyTrout has a Kickstarter. He’s a good guy who works hard on his comics. Please consider backing it.

    I missed this, so thanks to Randy for letting us all know; John Troutman’s been doing webcomics for as long as I can remember, and always produces projects that are unlike anything else you’ll find out there. The campaign in question is to print a collecton of The Gospel Of Carol, which is the story of Jesus’s twin sister, the one that got left out of all the Gospels because … well, you know. She does all the work, He gets all the credit.

    There’s 25 days to go and Troutman’s not quite halfway to the exceedingly modest US$3000 goal (with additional gospels and epistles as stretch goals, up to US$6000). Look, you’re not going to find a more redeeming (yet heretical) comic out there, so give Carol a look, yeah?

Spam of the day:


Your crappy attempts at identity theft (with your non-Roman characters designed to evade keyword matching) might actually work better if you included the near-porn photos your promise. Just a thought.

¹ If I remember correctly, Yang told me once Secret Coders will run 5 or 6 books. Certainly, book 3 ends on a cliffhanger (thanks, as always, to Gina Gagliano at :01 Books for the advance copy).

² I realize that Nazi punching is a 2017 thing but honestly? It would not have been out of place in America Jones’s character back in 2008 when we first met her.

Probably The Last Preview Post Before The Day

In case you’d forgotten, we’re just about a week out from MoCCA Fest 2017, and there’s more exhibitor information up than previously. I gave a skim down the list and in addition to familiar names, I saw creators that I’m not familiar with, but whose little avatar-sized teaser images makes me want to see more. Let’s run ’em down.

On the returning front, you’ve got Ken Wong’s Origami Comics (table F217), Bill Roundy’s Bar Scrawl (a personal favorite, next door at F218), Evan Dahm’s illustrated stories and adaptations (D143 A, no indication of who’s in B), Dean Haspiel’s long career (A103 B), Josh Neufeld’s nonfiction (next door at A104), Julia Gfrörer’s unsettlements (F206), Lucy Bellwood’s nautical wonders (on the exhibitor page, but table not listed), Carey Pietsch’s ever-expanding oeuvre (D145), and Meredith Gran’s soon-concluding magnum opus (J278 B, along with Mike Holmes). Many of them have relationships with the quality publishers that will be showing including Top Shelf (A101 & 2; Jess Fink will be there Saturday afternoon), :01 Books (E157 & 8), and Fantagraphics (C135-8).

On the not familiar to me yet list (and that’s not a bad place to be — I’ve discovered a new favorite creator at MoCCA) are the likes of Alisa Harris (table assignment not listed), Amanda Tolentino (F221 & 2), Leland Goodman (E175), Reneé Park (D150), Emily and The Yea Girls¹ (collectively, Yan Gabriella, Erica De Chavez and Angeli Rafer, with special guest Emily Dahl, F210), and Sean Dillon (H249). Given that I was just deciding to click on a name or not based on single images, I can’t really tell you much about the work of any of these creators, but I find it interesting that all but one are women. McCloud’s prediction that the comics industry would be majority female by 2024 continues to be exceedingly conservative.

MoCCA Fest runs Saturday and Sunday, 1-2 April, from 11:00am to 6:00pm at the Metropolitan West event space, West 46th between 11th & 12th. Admission is five dollars, a bargain at twice the price.

Spam of the day:

Get your FREE Hiring Risk Score

I’m not hiring anybody, thanks. And if I were, it would be the extremely competent-seeming women in your ad, and not the techbros that they appear to be interviewing. Those dudes need to go away and learn some body language that doesn’t indicate complete and utter contempt for women.

¹ More artists collectives should have names that sound like touring musicians. If they don’t do at least two encores after the main set, I’ll be disappointed.

² That would be Sean Dillon; before you ask, Leland is normally a male name, but Goodman uses she in her bio and that settles it.

On Horny Werewolf Day, No Less

Oh, that’s not what you call it? Internet Jesus was the first person I ever saw to point out that Saint Valentine’s Day was originally a Roman celebration of blood, werewolves, and sex called Lupercalia; they’ve got cards and everything. ANYway, if you’re into the modern interpretation of sexytimes without the blood and werewolves, read on.

Because webcomics (and even webcomics collections) often don’t make it into traditional distribution channels, it is sometimes months or even years before a long-since-available webcomic collection makes it to comics shops, or regular bookstores¹. Case in point: I’ve had my copy of Chester 5000: Isabelle And George by Jess Fink for months now (and it’s been in her TopatoCo store for nearly as long), but even with Top Shelf Comix behind the book, it’s lagged getting into the stores.

Until now:

Chester 5000: Isabelle & George comes out in stores & on Amazon tomorrow, VALENTINES DAY!! ? ? ? …

Not sure if those heart emoji are going to come through or not. They’re cute, so I hope they do. [Editor’s note: they didn’t.]

Anyway, if you haven’t read Isabelle And George, it’s mostly a prequel to Chester 5000. That is, it tells the story before Chester 5000, then there’s a tiny bit in the middle that recaps the events of the earlier book, then adds a coda to the now-expanded cast and all their various combinations of friendship, love, and hot, hot Victorian boning down (with or without robots).

But seriously, though — even though both Chester books are definitely (defiantly, even!) adults-only, there’s a sweetness to them, a sense of empathy towards the characters that is utterly charming as well as pulse-quickening; Fink is unparalleled in her ability to make us care about her characters as people, and to be happy for their joys and orgasms.

Get a copy for the love of your life and let it inspire you towards feats of horny werewolfdom. Don’t give it to your kids (even though, being largely wordless², it’s an easy story to follow), and probably don’t give it to your mom. Your cool aunt, though, the one that your parents vaguely warn you about, but who takes you ballooning over river gorges? She’ll love it.

Spam of the day:


Gosh, @SeXXXyChikk69, thanks for the offer, but did you really mean Call Oof Booty? The Oof makes it sound less fun and more like moving furniture, you know, like Oof, this damn sofa is heavy, gonna be sore tomorrow.

¹ And mad props to C Spike Trotman, as Iron Circus’s distro deal means a whole lot more webcomics gonna make it to a whole lot more store a whole lot quicker. My Monster Boyfriend made to the trade last week, concurrent with its initial release; Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here never would have made it into shops widely without the deal, and is now playing distro catch-up.

² Seriously, the only wordless story that’s easier to follow would be one of Andy Runton’s Owly books. C5K: I&G would make Owly and Wormy hell of blush but they’d seriously be happy for all involved.

Don’t look at me like that. Find any cluster of comickers in the bar on a convention night, and they’re drawing their characters getting up to shenanigans. I seen some things that Owly and Jellaby have done that’ll turn your hair white.

[Demanding] Answers On A Postcard

Obligatory non-political content for those that came for such: the SPX exhibitor lottery is now open, and not terribly changed from the last couple of years except for a simplified process for randomly selecting the winners. Good luck to all, and see you in September.

So. Postcards. Maybe not the best way to communicate your desires with your elected representatives (that would be talking to them in person at a town hall or in their constituent office, although a lot of them seem to be ducking that route presently), but one with some unique advantages. Consider:

  • It’s a physical artifact that can’t be ignored. It’s there in front of a member of staff and has to be dealt with.
  • Ever since that asshole mailed anthrax around in 2001, all Congressional mail goes to a special facility for x-raying/opening away from legislative offices; postcards can’t hide anything and breeze through the process. Heck, if it’s going to a local office, it probably gets delivered directly without any delays.
  • Being open to the world carries a message: here is what I believe and I’m saying it in public; additionally, the design side carries its own message to the many hands (postal workers, political staffers) who can’t help but see an eye-catching design.
  • They’re cheap, and while long distance call charges are no longer a thing (ask your parents, kids), don’t forget to factor in the time you spend on hold or with a busy signal.
  • For those with anxiety issues, no human stranger to deal with.

But a lot of your basic commercial postcards are not gonna convey that message you really want to send, right¹?

So it’s a good thing that webomickers are stepping up and providing designs. Some are download-and-print-yourself, at least one set is going to be for sale at cost (more on that in a minute), and because Congress apparently still uses fax machines, there’s even a handy item for that particular channel. Let’s dive in:

  • From Jess Fink, a super-classy floral design with lots of small symbolic cues: Change! Courage! Compassion! Overcoming hardship! Peace!
  • From Howard Tayler (disclaimer: my evil twin), a rather fiestier design that demands attention, in two color variations. He even gives a suggestion as to where you can get ’em printed².
  • From KB Spangler (disclaimer: my good friend, and I wrote the foreword for one of her books), a series of wallpapers and icons free for download prompted the thought of printing up postcards and selling at cost; this is not a new thing for Spangler, who regularly gives away the PDF version of her books to readers that can’t afford the purchase price. Also a thing: Spangler’s readers regularly buy multiple copies of her books so that she can afford to give away the excess copies in this manner; in that vein, I promised to pay for 100 people to receive postcards.

    Before I could pull my budget Soros act, however, Spangler announced that an anonymous benefactor paid for the print run, so everybody can buy them for the cost of shipping. For those of you with cash-flow issues, that cost will be literally zero, because I sent Spangler the costs of envelopes, postage, and postcard stamps. Order ’em and they’ll arrive pre-stamped for your constituent-communication convenience.

  • From Shing Yin Khor, two offerings: for those that prefer to be completely unambiguous about your feelings, fuck-you postcards³; for those that need a bit more immediacy that the postal system offers, a similarly-themed fax template for crappy Senators.

Lots of options to choose from, and more coming every day. May I suggest that you follow the lead of people noted in this Teen Vogue story that are addressing their postcards to President Bannon? I’m pretty sure I heard that the actual president* thinks that’s a great joke.

Spam of the day:

Dunkin Donuts Stuff

I wonder if they use the word Stuff as equivalent to the Stuf in the ubiquitous Double-Stuf Oreos? Like, there’s just some vat somewhere of the filling they stuff into the various filled donuts? And that’s what they want to shill to me? Ick.

¹ Although I do like the idea I saw of sending postcards featuring various National Parks, particularly those associated with various unofficial Twitterfeeds.

² I had some postcards printed a while back and can also recommend PsPrint; they’re fast and do quality work.

³ I would pay serious bucks if Onstad surfaced long enough to offer Fuck You Friday postcards.

“As Long As He Brings Us Profiteroles”

You had to be there, but trust me, it was hilarious.

Spam of the day:

Belize Real Estate — Amazing Investment Properties: Now Available

Do I look like a self-deluded dickhead on House Hunters International that is demanding a 4000 square foot center-hall McMansion with all the mod-cons for US$75,000 in an overseas location? Because I assure you, I am an entirely different dickhead.