Okay, so Em-City. Lotta webcomics folks heading out that way, including some that I almost certainly missed, so let me know about any obvious omissions, yeah? Most of those folks have been helpfully putting up maps to show where to find ‘em, and they all have something in common: a tendency for the arrows to point towards the lower-left corner of the booth space.
For the sake of convenience, because it’s got the most names pre-written on it, I refer you to the TopatoCo map [PDF] and add that most every other webcomics person of interest not written on the map is within a brief walking radius of the smiling Topato in booth 202. We’ll use that as our navigational starting point, because it’s right by the entrance.
- Put your back against the wall and stare directly at the TopatoCo booth, then let your gaze wander leftward and across the aisle. All four Halfpixel üdes are at booth 102, adjacent to the Sam Logan/Jeph Jacques Argument Annex in booth 203; special guest Mary Cagle joins said Düdes. Nestled in the bosom these two booths is the Red Bull Top Fuel Fun Machine (booth 104), with the exception of Ms TMI Tuesday, who can be found oversharing at booth 207 with the Weregeek.
- Not sure where 207 is? No problem. First of all, look at the TopatoCo aisle opposite the wall of the convention center. On the other side of it, you’ll see The Library Guys and Mister Mumbly Eyebrows at booth 206, and behind them you’ll find The Historian & The Hurricane in booth 208, as well as Angela Melick and Joel Watson (I, uh, ran out of nicknames) in booth 307.
- Having visited the Melick/Waston Axis of Awesome (Nickname! Still got it!), do a 180 and you’ll see the Blank Labellers in booth 210; merely rotate leftwards again and walk forwards until you see all the Steampunk cosplayers, and you’re in Foglio country (not to be confused with bat country), booth 110. Rotate again until you once more face the mighty Unshelved/Biff booth and the once-mysterious 207 will be directly in your sightline. Alternately, you can stand alongside the gaslamp mafia and walk towards the back of the hall two aisles, and you’ll be at the Webcomic Bucket Brigade, booth 116.
- Since you’re hugging the left wall and all, this might be a good time to visit Artist Alley, where you can find multiple Bobs — both Angry Flower (E-14) and White (L-06) varieties — along with Let’s Be Friends Again (A-11), various members of Comics Bakery (G-10), my sporting bet nemesis (G-14), and the Chancellor of Iron Crotch University (I-07).
- Finally, you’ll have to brave the far side of the hall to visit Alaska Robotics, off in booth 906, the veritable hinterland. It’s okay, they’re from America’s Frontier, they can survive on their own just fine. We should also note that Scott Kurtz wants you to remember that Saturday is Classoline Alley Day at ECCC, when all and sundry are invited to nudge their wardrobes up a notch or two. If you’re not sure what constitutes “classy”, quietly observe Latin Art-throb Aaron Diaz back at the TopatoCo booth, but please — no sudden motion; he startles easily.
Now that we’re all caught up, let’s move on to fresh territory, shall we? Actually, let’s revisit recently-covered territory; in comments on this site, one may observe a pair of missives that are worth your attention.
- In reference to the difficulties of getting the Erfworld books delivered, Darren Gendron helpfully notes that any business with China around the Lunar New Year is a dicey proposition. File that one away for next year, those seeking overseas printing.
- In reference to the wanton destruction of his sites, Friend o’ Fleen Lore Sjöberg (link still dead, but it’ll be back someday) thinks out loud about a madcap new idea he’s having. From his Tumblr, the possibilities of new forms of electronic media enjoyment:
I want you to be able to treat my digital creations — pictures, words, music, video, whatever — the same way you do mp3 files. I want you to be able to download them as files, mail them to your friends, stick them on the portable or stationary device of your choice and enjoy them how you want.
I want you to be able to read them online if you have a net connection, but I want you to be able to pack them up and carry them along with you in case you don’t. Maybe you want a simple, no-frills reader on your smartphone, and maybe you want a pretty custom skin for reading them on your home computer, and maybe you want random Lore cartoons to come up on your screensaver.
I think in a decade or so this sort of thing will be much more common. Websites and PDF files will still exist, but encapulated data with rich metadata that can be sorted and rendered according to the needs of the reader will be the standard for any sort of serious data stream.
I’ve done a little poking around, and I’ve found something that I think will work for now. It will render in at least 75% of current browsers in operation, and more like 99% of browsers that don’t have my name in them. It will be reader-friendly, generous with metadata, and extremely portable. I hope you’ll have fun reading it, and I hope other people will join in the fun as well.
I’m just going to dive in and see if I can make something neat. With a little luck and a little free time, you’ll see the first steps in a few days.
Call me crazy, but that right there is what you call a Manifesto, with a capital Man! I am going to be really intrigued to see what Lore (who is a very clever guy) can do along these lines, and even more intrigued to see if, in that promised decade, we’re all casually using LEM (Lore’s Encapsulated Media) as the default content format.