Jonathan Hickman: graphic novel stories, with infographics

I was intrigued by a recent Warren Ellis post about comics creator Jonathan Hickman. Ellis described Hickman's background in graphic design prior to his comics work, and mentioned that he'd done "the lion’s share of the most striking recent use of infographics in comics." The examples given by Ellis were intriguing.

I was in Toronto, and looking for an excuse to patronize the new location of the Silver Snail, Toronto's venerable comics institution, which has just moved from its historic digs on Queen Street West to a new spot on Yonge Street, after the owner sold the building and then retired, selling the business to store manager George Zotti. I've known George since he was a clerk at the Snail and I was a kid working at Bakka, the science fiction bookstore, which was once opposite the Snail's Queen Street location, and I wanted to go down and see the new shop and also support his plunge from manager to owner.

George sold me three Hickman collections, all from Image press: The Nightly News (2007), Pax Romana (2009), and Transhuman (2009). Ellis's point about the graphic design -- and especially the excellent use of infographics -- is well made in all three books. I don't think Read the rest

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong: YA webcomic "full of teenagers building homemade robots in their basement"

Comics awesomecreator Faith Erin Hicks (Zombies Calling, Friends With Boys) is serializing a new comic online called "Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong," adapted from a Prudence Shen YA novel. When the serialization is done, the whole thing will be published between covers by the marvellous FirstSecond books. FirstSecond's Gina Gagliano describes it as "full of teenagers building homemade robots in their basement." Sounds like my kind of thing!

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong (Thanks, Gina!) Read the rest

Archie comic from 1972 about 2012

Reportedly snipped from an Archie comic from 1972 in which he time travels to 2012. Even if the 1972/2012 bit is off, it's a great panel anyway. (via @coseyfannitutti) Read the rest

Taxes, The Tea Party, and Those Revolting Rebels: A History in Comics of the American Revolution

With election season upon us, it's the perfect time to visit with Stan Mack's book, Taxes, The Tea Party, and Those Revolting Rebels: A History in Comics of the American Revolution. Mack's history of the American revolution is simultaneously breeze and accessible -- drawn and told in the style of wicked editorial cartoons -- and a deep look at the conflicting motives, attitudes, and narratives of all the parties to the American War of Independence.

The traditional account of the revolution has a unified America fighting against a unified British, assisted (eventually) by the French. Paul Revere makes his ride shouting "The British are coming!" as though the colonists already identified as American and not British. Slavery is regrettably enshrined in the Constitution, but only because it's the only way for a greater freedom to be won.

The truth is a lot grimier, a lot more tangled, and a lot more interesting. Mack's history elegantly illustrates how the merchant classes, the American aristocracy, America's teeming lawyers, slaves, Native Americans, farmers, and laborers all backed the revolution for different reasons and at different times. He has a keen eye for the self-interest of the merchant classes and their profiteering, and is unflinching in his willingness to surface the framers' deep suspicion of "the mob" and skepticism for democracy.

The traditional account of the battles of the revolution are mostly hagiographies of American generals. But as Mack shows, Washington and his general squabbled, fled, fortified the wrong hills, held their men in contempt, and screwed up royally at least as often as they displayed brilliant flashes of leadership and guerrilla tactics. Read the rest

XKCD's 14-foot-wide CLICK AND DRAG map

Today's XKCD, "Click and Drag," is a triumph. It's a tribute to House of Leaves, and it treats the punchline as a window to a ginormous, explorable world that you can see by clicking and dragging. Dan Catt puts the artwork at 46 feet wide, assuming it is printed at 300dpi. It's full of Munrovian sly humor and sight gags, and has its own underground civilization. It's not like any other thing I've seen.

If you want to mouse around in a zoomable version of the map, see this mashup. If (when) Randall offers this for sale as a poster, I may have to throw away some furniture to make room for it.

Click and Drag (via Kottke) Read the rest

The Arrival: graphic introduction to steampunk ARG

The Arrival is the opening salvo in a multi-year, multimedia steampunk alternate reality based in London. It tells the story of how restless mechanical servants were brought to Victorian England, servants who had to move always to recharge their batteries (this alternate world has a different sort of entropy than ours, I gather), and then broke free of their constraints with the help of human masters.

It's a nicely told, rather short introduction to a very rich world that is unfolding at Clockwork Watch. The organisers have put on some reportedly extraordinary live events in London, and there seems to be a lot more to come.

London 1899. Steam billows out from every corner of the city while huge Zeppelin airships float in the sky overhead. Enter the world of Clockwork Watch, a place where Victorian values are coupled with anachronistic technology, not least of which are the clockwork servants - the mechanical slaves that keep this society ticking along - this is the world of Steampunk.

Technological and social change is in the air - human-clockwork hybridisation is the talk of the town; the unwise employment of science has led to amazement and outcry - the public wants to know whether Science is about to play God.

The Arrival | Clockwork Watch Read the rest

Fan art and copyright presentation from ComicCon

Here's an hour-long presentation on copyright law and fan art from San Diego ComicCon 2012, presented by a lawyer from DeviantArt who once worked as a copyright enforcer for Paramount. It's a pretty good overview, though -- predictably enough -- the presenter waits until quite late to talk about fair use and other public rights in copyright, generally downplaying them and omitting the de minimis exemption to copyright (the idea that it's not infringement if you take a small enough piece, for reasons that are separate from fair use) altogether.

During the Q&A, he also mischaracterizes SOPA and PIPA as having been concerned with "mass-scale" infringement (the laws allowed for censorship if there was a single link to a website that infringed), but makes up for it somewhat by plugging EFF, Public Knowledge and other public interest groups.

Josh Wattles, $makepictures is an expert on copyright law bringing perspective and experience to the issue from multiple creative industries. From art, film, music, and books, Josh has been directly involved in or advised on copyright issues for the biggest properties in the world. He is also a copyright professor teaching courses at at Loyola, Southwestern and the University of Southern California law schools in Los Angeles.

If you want to get a more thorough thorough look at the public's rights to copyright, read Mazzone's Copyfraud.

Fan Art Law at Comic-Con 2012 Read the rest

First-year criminal law course in webcomic form

Nathaniel Burney's Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law is a complete first-year Criminal Law course in comic form, in 17 parts on a Tumblr. It's clearly written, and the illustrations go a long way toward making complex ideas easier to grasp. Burney's comics have been collected between covers in a printed book, which would make a great gift for would-be criminals and anyone considering pre-law.

The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law (via MeFi) Read the rest

Peanuts/Cthulhu tee

Today only on Tee Fury, Queenmob's "Call of Snoophulhu" $10 tee.

Call of Snoophulhu (via Super Punch) Read the rest

Sneak peek at graphic novel of Wrinkle in Time

Tor.com has an excerpt from the upcoming graphic novel of A Wrinkle in Time, published for the Madeline L'Engle original's 50th anniversary. My review of the book is slated for next month when it hits stores, but suffice to say, this is a respectful, accomplished and brilliant adaptation. Read the rest

Facebook to New Yorker: no nipples in your cartoons!

Facebook forced The New Yorker to remove a cartoon depicting Adam and Eve in the Garden because the cartoonist drew in two dots representing Eve's nipples, which is a Facebook no-no.

Nipplegate (via JWZ) Read the rest

TOM THE DANCING BUG: Mitt Romney Plays "Santa Claus Politics"

Help sustain Tom the Dancing Bug, by @RubenBolling, by joining its INNER HIVE. Please click HERE for information. Read the rest

HOWTO make a leather rockabilly Batman cowl

Trevor sends us, "An imgur gallery of how I constructed my leather Rockabilly Batman headgear, based on the artworks of Denis Medri, in 7 easy steps (some easier than others), as part of the Gotham City Rockers group forming for the upcoming Portsmouth Halloween Parade in NH.."

Batman Cowl Process - Imgur (Thanks, Trevor!) Read the rest

New chapter in comic strip about underground publisher John Wilcox

I love Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall's comic strip about the colorful and brilliant underground publisher John Wilcox. My only complaint is that it runs so infrequently! They just posted the third chapter.

JOHN WILCOCK, NEW YORK YEARS: 1954-1971 Chapter Three: Party Time with Bud Waldo

Featuring "Editing Norman Mailer" (a true account of Mailer's brief stint as a columnist for the Village Voice), "Woody Allen Before He was Woody Allen", "An Interview with Jean Shepherd" and bonus early appearances by Paul Krassner and Lyle Stuart. This chapter covers the years 1956 and 1957 in the history of the underground press.

Read the rest

Is Homestuck the Ulysses of the internet?

[Video Link] Here's the latest video from PBS Digital Studio's excellent "Idea Channel" web series. It's about the 5,000-page (and growing!) webcomic Homestuck.
You might not think that a 265,000+ word novel from 1918 and a webcomic started in 2009 would have a lot in common. But one trait they both share is that each work presents a real challenge to the reader -- in length as well as difficulty. Created by Andrew Hussie, Homestuck is over 5000 pages so far -- and still growing. It has a strong cult following and presents incredible challenges to its readers: a giant cast of characters, huge walls of text, and animated flash games that you must beat in order to continue. Likewise, James Joyce's Ulysses is a lengthy book full of dense language and crammed with literary references, requiring lots of previous education or continuous research to catch all meaning. The joy that readers of both works share relates to a bit of psychology known as "Effort Justification," which basically says that the more difficult an experience a person undertakes, the more satisfied that person will be once finished.
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Introducing Elfquest at Boing Boing!

UDPATE: It's live! Read the first page.

It's my great pleasure to welcome Wendy and Richard Pini to Boing Boing, where they'll be publishing the next chapter of their long-running fantasy epic Elfquest—online-first for the first time!

You may also know Wendy from her anime-style retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's Masque of The Red Death — which even got her in trouble with Facebook over cartoon boobs.

The first page of Elfquest: The Final Quest's prologue will appear here at Boing Boing on Monday. In the meantime, catch up with the story so far (all 6000 pages of it!), free of charge, at the series' official homepage.

After the jump, I've pasted in part of an item I once wrote (for the late, lamented Ectoplasmosis (Update: reborn on tumblr!)) about why this comic series is so awesome. Then follows our press release. Read the rest

Strange superhero Flaming Carrot goes digital

The 1980s had many surreal and outré comic-book stars. I recall particularly following The Tick, Concrete, and Nexus. They were respectively a nigh-invulnerable, possibly mentally ill superhero with a chubby accountant sidekick in a moth-themed flying suit; a writer whose brain was transplanted by aliens (themselves possibly escaped slaves) into a nearly invulnerable rock-like body often performing missions of mercy; and a man (later others, including men, women, and children) picked by a nearly omnipotent being residing in the center of a planet to atone the genocide of his father by being forced to be an almost indestructible and thoroughly powerful superhero, lest he face disabling pain.

You catch the theme here, right? Omnipotence, invulnerability, superhero—all but the Tick reluctant. Into that mix, Flaming Carrot was something altogether different.

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