So I’ve been away for a bit, as mentioned last week. For those who were wondering, being married for twenty years and then getting to throw a party for your friends is sort of awesome. But I’m back now, and it seems not a moment too soon, as things are beginning to pile up around here.
- I’d planned on coming back to bloggening today, and even if I hadn’t I would have had to after seeing a blip in my twitterstream last night, the first in 18 months or so from Allie Brosh who is sublimely wonderful and had fallen entirely out of public view. It happens, and in her case, Ms Brosh has shared why it happened and done so in a way that’s honest and brave and makes me want to punch capital-D Depression right in the neck.
I don’t know if her words+pictures today have helped more people with depression or without — being able to recognize when somebody you know is suffering and being able to help is not a skill that’s widely taught just yet, but damn if this comic isn’t a tremendous first stride. Read it, think about it, go be a shriveled piece of corn for somebody that needs it.
- Also dropping today is the latest Jim Zub project; while he was famously jerked around by DC Comics earlier this year, he was also classy as hell about the whole thing. I’m going to ascribe his newest news to that classy-as-hellness, because I’m not certain that anybody at DC has two functioning neurons to rub together, but they probably recognize kind behavior¹. In any event, Mr Zub is responsible for the writerly portion of a two-part Batman story in a digital-first anthology series, with Part One appearing on devices today and part two next Thursday, 16 May. My only quibble with Zub’s entirely understandable enthusiasm is when he says:
My first published superhero story and first published DC Comics work, Legends of the Dark Knight #49, has been released on digital and mobile platforms and it’s only 99 cents!
That’s because every time Zub shares his wisdom on making comics and making it in comics (start here, look to the sidebar that says “Tutorials” and don’t stop so long as there are still links to follow), he is himself a goddamn superhero to everybody that loves comics, and don’t you forget it, Zub.
Various new things were introduced while I was gone:
- Comic Chameleon, long awaited, has seen its official launch, meaning that you can download it to your iDevice now and start reading webcomics for free, and with the cooperation of their creators. Well done Bernie Hou and the entire Comic Chameleon team; once I get my Android version you’ll escalate all the way to “Attaboy” status.
- Dante Shepherd, this blog’s favorite Chemical Engineer², has launched a new undertaking and it’s not the second comic (provisionally dubbed PhD Unknown) that’s been hinted at for a few months now. That’s cool, we at Fleen would rather wait until it was done cooking to Shepherd (and art collaborator Joan Cooke)’s standards.
No, what Shepherd announced was a new initiative to promote interest in and understanding of STEM topics by K-12 educators, who will presumably share their knowledge and enthusiasm with the
various rugratsbudding scholars who will form the technological basis of future generations. If you happen to know anybody that teaches K-12, do everybody a favor and point ‘em towards Science The World so we can start building a smarter tomorrow.
- Kickstarts have also been underway, with campaigns set for the second volume of The Bear (including a webcomicky presentation of Volume 1 at MyBear.net, as promised recently), the second volume of Dumbing of Age, the first volume of Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether, and the revival of the Penny Arcade Downloadable Content podcast.
- That last one has been getting a bunch of (to my mind, ill-informed) pushback, on the grounds that podcasts don’t cost anything and therefore it’s a big scam. Au contraire, mon frère, podcasts do cost something; they cost time, which if Mike Krahulik, Jerry Holkins, and others at Penny Arcade Industries take, they won’t be spending on other things that will generate money.
Could Jerry and Mike do the podcast without impacting their lavish, Russian mafia-like lifestyles? Probably, but they aren’t just supporting themselves — their efforts are what make payroll for more than a dozen people, and with that kind of responsibility comes Robert Khoo’s responsibility to say, We have to find a way to make it pay. Me, I’m just interested to see if they set the all-time record for highest percentage funding in Kickstarter history, which as of this writing is at an astonishing 570,000% of goal. Okay, granted, that was a ten dollar goal, but let’s not lose sight of the distractingly-large number.
¹ Much in the way that my dog will be your very best friend if you offer her a treat, but shies away from small children that haven’t learned how to pet gently.
² In keeping with tribal custom, all specific engineering disciplines are capitalized here at Fleen, in acknowledgment of the skills, knowledge, and hard work of those who practice our peculiar intersection of design, intuition, math, science, the right-hand rule³, and blowin’ shit up. Respect.
³ AKA, The engineering gang sign.