Monthly Archives: March 2012

Seattle people: Emerald City Comicon is here


Well it’s that time of year again: Emerald City Comicon, Seattle’s convention about comics pop culture and the like, is blowing into town! Thanks to Penny Arcade and their connections, Seattle is sort of becoming a hub for webcomics… so it should come as no surprise that the Emerald City site includes an exclusive convention webcomic called Tales From the Con, written by Brad Guigar and illustrated by Chris Giarrusso.

Don’t forget that tonight, too, you can meet webcomic creators like Rice Boy‘s Evan Dahm and Dresden Codak‘s Aaron Diaz at UW’s Henry Gallery while you browse their webcomic exhibit. Their panel discussion starts at 7:00 PM.

(h/t Comics Alliance)

Metapost: Draw Something addiction

Well, you knew it was eventually coming. I got sucked into that suddenly popular cellphone game called “Draw Something.” Basically, you’re given a word, you illustrate the word, and your opponent has to figure out what you drew by selecting Scrabble letters.

Which can be lame: there are no real winners, and you can cheat easily by just scribbling the word on the screen. Fortunately Comics Alliance did a couple of pieces on the game, and they pointed out two key things that finally got my interest up:

It’s also more fun when playing with someone who knows how to draw, making it a great game for webcomic creators and amateur schmucks like me. I’ve been playing the game with someone with nifty cartooning skills, and he’s been forcing me to up my game some.

Anyway, just for fun, here are some of my latest doodles, all drawn on my iPhone. My invitation on Twitter is still open. If you’re up for a game, look up, or look for the user named “The Red Bee.”

Edit: one more of utmost relevance:


Reubens announce first ever Online Comic Strip Award nominees

The National Cartoonists’ Society — an organization that deals primarily with newspaper-style comics — have just announced their 2012 NCS Divisional Award Nominees, also known as the Reubens. That’s right people, the Reubens are not, in fact, awarded for the Best Sandwich Ever but rather for comic strips. Also they were named after Rube Goldberg, who I covered on a Know Thy History some time ago.

For the first time ever, there’s an award for Online Comic Strips. What bold choices have the judges settled on?


* Matthew Inman- The Oatmeal (
* Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins- Penny Arcade (
* Jon Rosenberg- Scenes from a Multiverse (

It’s … about one xkcd short of what you’d imagine a rather mainstream platform would select for Best On-Line Comic Strips, really. I guess I should show some Seattle pride, as Inman, Krahulik, and Holkins are from around here … but all I can really muster is a “meh.” It IS the first year, though, so maybe there will be more bold choices down the line at some point.

If the Newspaper Comic Strips category is any indication, though, don’t count on it. Zits and Pearls Before Swine are the most recent multi-award winners, with Dustin being the most recent winner. While nothing’s wrong with these strips, they’re not exactly award quality in my layman’s eyes.

Incidentally, as recently as 2004, the winner of the Newspaper Panel Award was Dennis the Menace. Ponder on that for a while.

Winners will be announced at the 66th Annual NCS Reuben Awards in Las Vegas on May 26th, 2012. Judging from the poster, I imagine the air will be thick with the pungent aroma of Old Spice.

(h/t Fleen)

The Webcomic Overlook #197: I’m My Own Mascot

Kevin Bolk is a drama queen.

Wait, wait, maybe I should clarify that statement. I should make it clear that I’m not talking about the real Kevin Bolk. In fact, I’m sure that he’s a lovely and wonderfully absorbing person. He seems like the kind of guy I can watch the NHL playoffs with at the local microbrew. For all I know, he might be a volunteer firefighter on the weekends, volunteering at the local soup kitchen on the weekdays, and a friend to all children. Maybe he doesn’t do such things, but I like to think the best in people, especially Kevin Bolk.

But Kevin Bolk, the character starring in the comic strip entitled I’m My Own Mascot, is —a capital D, capital Q — Drama Queen. Now, before you accuse me of being incredibly mean (which I am), the propensity of cartoon Kevin Bolk to overreact to things in “humorous” fashion is pretty much the meat and potatoes of this comic.

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Know Thy History: Nelvana of the Northern Lights

Canada jumped into WWII in 1939. This led to the establishment of an organization known as the Foreign Exchange Control Board, which was meant to oversee the rationing of foreign currency. The trade deficit with the US was growing. Gold shipments from the embattled Great Britain were put on hold. So, in order to help conserve American dollars, the Foreign Exchange Control Board introduced the War Exchange Conversion Act. This meant a ban on the import of non-essential goods. This included fiction periodicals, a catch-all term that included pulps, magazines… and yes, comic books.

So, for a time between 1941 to the Act’s repeal in 1946, Canadians were deprived the adventures of the Man of Steel and Dark Knight. On the other hand, it jumpstarted what would be known as the Canadian Golden Age. Canadian Whites — black-and-white comic books with color covers — featured Canadian heroes and superheroes who filled in the pop culture vaccuum. There was Canada Jack. Johnny Canuck. There were pages of WWII fighter aces and pony fighting.

And there was Adrian Dingle’s creation, Nelvana of the Northern Lights, who debuted in Triumph-Adventure Comics #1.

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One Punch Reviews #61: Bearmageddon

Ethan Nicolle made his mark on webcomics with Axe Cop. This much celebrated comic proved that if you added stellar illustrations to a six-year-old kid’s rambling storytelling, you come up with something that’s pretty magical. We all knew though, that it was destined to end. Little Malachai would soon become self aware or tired, and you can only hang on the adventures spouted by a kid for so long vefore it no longer becomes cute.

Fortunately, Ethan decided to follow up his initial effort with a story from his own creation: Bearmageddon. Now, I know what your thinking: between the title and the webcomic’s header image of bears with different animal forms (which looks like a kickin’ rad album cover for a 70’s metal band). You’re saying, “Man, El Santo, not another webcomic with random humor!”

This webcomic does rely on goofy nonsequiturs like an octopus bear. But, thus far, you know what this comic reminds me of? Animal attack movies like Anaconda or Lake Placid. And that is not a bad thing.

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Webcomics: how do you read them?

As an Apple zombie, it is my duty to inform you that the new iPad is out today. Continue to support the ill-treatment of Chinese factory workers by buying one today! The tablet is starting to stretch beyond its niche market as a toy for adults. According to

Global tablet sales into channels exploded in the second quarter of 2011 to surpass netbooks for the first time of the emerging category’s young history. Market research and intelligence firm ABI Research determined that shipments of media tablets ballooned 112.5% in the second quarter to reach 13.6 million units, up from 6.4 million tablets in the first quarter this year.

In the world of webcomics, though, it begs the question: which technological medium do you primarily prefer to read your comics on in the year of 2012?

The Webcomic Overlook #196: The Revolution Will Be Televised

On December 17, 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi had had enough. He’d been us he’d too far by local authorities. He was a poor street vendor from Tunisia who was struggling to feed his family. Unfortunately, his small wheelbarrow, from which he would sell produce, would constantly be confiscated by corrupt local officials. Eventually, he would find himself in debt. He would not have enough money to bribe officials to keep his stand open.

after his latest confrontation with an official, Mohamed went to complain to the governor’s office. They refused to see him. So Mohamed got a can of gasoline. He stood in the middle of traffic, and he shouted, “How do you expect me to make a living?” Then he doused himself in gas and set himself on fire. Mohamed would die a couple of weeks after at the young age of 26.

What would happen after would go on to be known as “Arab Spring.” The violence of Mohamed’s death shocked young Tunisians, who took to the streets in protest against corruption in the government. and it was not confined to Tunisia. The protest spread to Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, and Egypt. And then they spread further. The winds of change spread throughout the Arab world. It was a calamitous time. One one end, there were the indelible images of women handing flowers to soldiers. As the other end, there’s the bloody toll: Wikipedia has listed the number of deaths at 32,000 to over 50,000.

Dov Torbin and Asher Berman planned on taking a vacation to Egypt when all hell broke loose. What had been a trip to see the sights of ancient Egypt suddenly becomes a struggle to find a working phone so they can talked to loved ones back home. They recount their experiences in The Revolution Will Be Televised.

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