Last Minute LinkBlogging

Going crazy getting ready to leave for Heroes Con in Charlotte tomorrow! Blogging may be light, until I find out whether the Hilton has free access, so this will have to tide you over.

Reviewing would be so much easier if you didn’t have to read the darn things first! That’s one of the very few drawbacks to the graphic novel revolution — a stapled comic takes me ten minutes, a book-format one at least an hour.

Dave at YACB reviews Scooter Girl (after some urging). His major complaint revolves around how much he disliked the lead, Ashton. As he says, that speaks to how good a job author Chynna Clugston does, that she’s created a fictional character Dave hates.

I also think he’s gone a bit overboard. Dave dislikes Ashton to the point that he doesn’t believe that he’s changed at all, considering the growth we see in the book another act. That seems to take interaction with the work slightly too far for my comfort. I have good reason to hate Ashton’s type, a user of women, but I really appreciated the way Chynna made a usually two-dimensional stereotype into a real person, and I understood and believed in his motivations. (More at my review.)

Kady Mae responds to attacks on the Nan webcomic grant for women by pointing out how the inherent prejudice in describing or assuming work to be “girly”.

Yes, everyone has to work very hard to break into comics. But as a class, women have to work harder. That’s all it boils down to, and comments like “my wife doesn’t draw girly and she’s working” demonstrate the point.

The manga domination continues, with Viz Pictures, a sister company of the manga publisher, announcing the DVD release of Train Man in January 2007. (The manga series starts in October.) Meanwhile, Tokyopop has launched a Jpop music label. Three compilation albums are planned (no dates, though), with an eventual release schedule of 20 albums a year.

Is Tokyopop expanding into other media because Viz and Del Rey are tying up more and more of the popular Japanese manga titles? Movies, music, they’ve already revolutionized publishing… what’s next?

And ending on a happy note, happy anniversary to some great bloggers!

Tom the Dog has been doing this for two years, and now he wants to make money with his reviews. Good luck with that!

Ian Brill’s site is also two years old, and he’s already making money, using this time to thank some of the people who pay him for comic writing.

Mark Fossen celebrates one year and plans for more, shorter reviews. Yay!

Congratulations to you all! (And what is it about June that makes people launch blogs?)


19 Responses to “Last Minute LinkBlogging”

  1. Ed Sizemore Says:

    Johanna, You and KC should have gotten some black and white head shots done for Heroes con. This way you both would have something to sign for your many fans and readers.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Us, celebrities? Bwa ha ha!

  3. Joshua Macy Says:

    I confess I don’t really get the Nan grant thing. The barriers to entry into webcomics are practically nonexistent. In fact, the hoops you have to jump through to be considered for the Nan grant are considerably higher than anything you’d have to do to begin doing a webcomic anywhere else–including just paying for hosting on Webcomicsnation! The value of the grant is only about $100 (the price you’d have to pay for a year of Webcomicsnation), and you can get pretty much the same service elsewhere for free (e.g. at DrunkDuck, SmackJeeves, Comics Genesis, or probably dozens of others by now). And if you can’t afford the $100–what are you supposed to do the second year?

  4. Dave Carter Says:

    “Reviewing would be so much easier if you didn’t have to read the darn things first! That’s one of the very few drawbacks to the graphic novel revolution — a stapled comic takes me ten minutes, a book-format one at least an hour.”

    I hear you there! I’ve been sitting on a review copy of Tricked for a while now; I’m pretty sure I’ll like it, but its width is intimidating!

    “Dave at YACB reviews Scooter Girl…”

    I kind of figured we’d disagree on this. There was so much to like about the comic; I just had a visceral reaction to the protagonist that worked against it for me. I have no doubt that we’re supposed to think that Ashton has changed his ways, and perhaps he has. For me though it doesn’t make up for the fact that for 95% of the book he’s a jack ass. Ah well, different folks and all that :)

  5. Jenn Says:

    Thanks for the link!!

  6. Johanna Says:

    Dave, I hope you do like it — I did. And I found it funny that you reacted to the guy more vehemently than I did. I wouldn’t have expected a guy reader to do that.

  7. Johanna Says:

    Joshua, there are several benefits to the Nan Grant. For one, women are being given competitive awards, which will likely bring press and reader attention to both them and the program. For another, there’s an immense psychological benefit to receiving an award with monetary value from a knowledgeable judge. Third, simply going through the process will teach applicants some valuable skills about presenting themselves and their work.

    Sure, anyone can start a webcomic, just like anyone can publish a comic. But doing so successfully may require some help, whether it’s a Nan or Xeric Grant.

  8. Lea Says:

    Johanna pretty much nailed the value of the Grant NAN, but I’d like to add to what she said.
    Don’t underestimate how dear even a prize valued at $100/$10. a month can be. There have been more than a few times in my career where I couldn’t have paid out even $10. a month for hosting.
    Your “what about the second year?” question is like criticizing the Xeric for only giving up to $5,000., which will only pay for one print run of a graphic novel (or less).
    Part of the emphasis of Grant NAN is on economy, meaning “Careful, thrifty management of resources, such as money, materials, or labor.” I want to teach that it doesn’t take lavish sums of money to reach an audience.

    I got absolutely no money for winning the 2004 Lulu of the Year Award (although I did get a plaque that could cave in a prowler’s head), but that award was meaningful, raised my profile, and was quite dear.

    My daughter overheard me sighing over writing this. I told her what I was writing about, and she said, “It’s not just about the money, butthead! It’s about something more!”

    Thas’ my girl!

  9. tomthedog Says:

    Thank you! Although the way you say it kind of sounds like — “Good luck — sucker!” I know it’s gonna be tough, but I have hopes. I mean, surely somebody must be paying you somewhere for your excellent comics commentary. Why not little ol’ me?

  10. Lyle Says:

    Lea, something I’ve been wondering. Is there a “brand awareness” benefit from the grant, does having your webcomics nation make your webcomic more likely to be noticed?

    I’ve been thinking that this might be an additional benefit to the grant, but I’m still fairly unfamiliar with webcomics, so I thought I would ask.

    One definite benefit for a woman who is awarded the grant (beyond the free hosting) that I can see is that her name will get mentioned by people who haven’t read her webcomic (much like how I see people talking about Xeric winners before reading them). That may sound small, but that’s the kind of thing that can be very helpful to someone starting out.

    At least, it’s helpful from my experience of having gone to conventions and purchased something from a creator who’s name I recognized as being mentioned to me positively.

  11. Johanna Says:

    Beyond what Lea’s said, I thought of an additional benefit to the Nan Grant: It says firmly that Lea and at least one other person care enough about this issue to put actual funds behind it. That sends a message that it is too important when some people minimize the problem.

    Tom, no, they are honest good wishes, but I do recognize that it’s a LOT of hard work, because there are so many outlets out there that don’t pay or don’t pay much. I’m too entrenched in my American consumerism to go freelance at this point, so I’m also jealous. :)

  12. Lea Says:

    Freelancing does generally mean a LOT less DVDs, not to mention hairy moments paying the bills.

  13. Joshua Macy Says:

    The Xeric grant people don’t hold on to the copies of your book, and make you either pay them or reprint your books with a new publisher at the end of the year. Somebody who sets up at Webcomics Nation who can’t afford to pay for it is going to have scrape up the cash, or migrate all her comics off of it and on to some free host at the end of the year and deal with all the hassles that implies.

    Leah, you’re right that it doesn’t take lavish sums of money to reach an audience. In fact, with webcomics it doesn’t take any money at all. I like Webcomics Nation, but hosting there is not the thrifty approach to starting your own webcomic.

  14. Johanna Says:

    The Xeric Grant people give you a flat amount, and if you want to reprint your books once the money runs out or do certain kinds of marketing that’s outside the grant range, then yeah, you have to find other resources. That’s the case with any dedicated funding. I don’t see the big distinction you’re trying to make here, and ultimately, it boils down to: if someone doesn’t like the conditions or award, they don’t have to apply. It’s admirable that you seem to be trying to protect women from getting involved with something you don’t see the value of, but it strikes me as misguided.

  15. Lyle Says:

    I think the key part of the Xeric grant is that it gets your foot in the door… it lets you have a substantial product to sell and it gives you a badge that lets people know that someone with a good reputation found you worth supporting financially.

    With a good amount of effort, one can turn a Xeric grant into quite a bit. While I’m not sure to what degree the Grant Nan can help a female webcomicker (due to my lack of knowledge of web comics), I do believe it can similarly open doors for female creators.

    At the very least, considering how many people pay attention when Lea Hernandez talks, a lot more people will hear about the grant recipients. Its a big first chance to be noticed by potential audiences. There’s so much media to absorb these days that a recommendation from a trusted opinion means a lot.

  16. Joshua Macy Says:

    Johanna, the distinction seems to be pretty clear, if only to me. Picking a printer is a one-shot deal; picking a webcomic host is an ongoing commitment. For most comics hosts, besides determining your url, it’s picking a community. It takes work to undo it if you ever change your mind, and changing your web address can be a big pain–particularly if you have promotional materials to worry about (e.g. t-shirts that include your url, etc.). If WCN is your first-choice host, and you were planning on spending $100 a year on it, then winning a free year is great; if it wasn’t, though, you should probably seriously consider turning down the hosting even if you win the grant. Take the publicity, but go with the kind of hosting that you really want.

  17. Johanna Says:

    Picking a printer isn’t a one-shot deal in many cases, Joshua — look at the problems that have arisen for Cerebus and From Hell, to name only two, regarding printer deals, technology, and film.

    Any change in business strategy and/or location will require work. You really seem to me to be looking for reasons to badmouth a great idea.

  18. Joshua Macy Says:

    Were you looking for reasons to badmouth AK Comics when you said that their contest looked like an incredibly bad deal for the winner? Or were you just stating an honest opinion about the terms of the contest? Or when you said that the best way to publish your comics is to do it yourself in reference to the Marvel TV contest?

    As far as I’m concerned I’m saying essentially the same things now that you were saying then: look at the terms and consider how it fits with your goals and try to decide what’s really best for you. It’s not as big a deal, because unlike those contests, you don’t have to give up any rights at all, even if you win the grant. But price aside, there are both pros and cons to hosting at WCN, and it frustrates me that you think I’m badmouthing a great idea just for pointing that out. Whether you want a site that lets you control all the HTML, or will actually host a domain and not just allow a redirect, or (on the plus side for WCN) makes it easy to set up a subscription model if that’s what you want, and so forth aren’t trivial decisions for an aspiring webcartoonist. I mean, if Joe Manley readily admits that WCN isn’t for everybody, why can’t other people?

  19. Johanna Says:

    I believe it\’s your honest opinion, but it\’s my opinion that it\’s not a particularly compelling one, or I wouldn\’t be supporting the grant as I do. You started out saying you didn\’t get it, but your comments suggest that it\’s not that you don\’t understand it, but that you don\’t agree with it or see it as having any benefit.

    Unlike those examples you bring up in my past, no one\’s trying to claim ownership of a Nan Grant winner\’s property or ideas.

    Perhaps I wouldn\’t be so bulldoggish on this if it weren\’t for the suspect motives of many of the others badmouthing the idea. I know that\’s not YOUR issue, but you\’re not in the best of company. Not something you can do anything about, I know.

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