Monday, September 20, 2010

Walking The Lethe Review

Sometimes I get emailed or contacted to do more professional reviews. This is one of those times.

Walking the Lethe is a dark story about a man attempting to make amends with his dead wife through any means necessary. In the world of comics this typically means causing some form of apocalypse. With pastiches and ideas that have been done before, not necessarily better, Walking the Lethe begins a descent its descent into hell or what may actually be heaven. The characters are still being rounded out with dialogue and development seemingly being rushed in exchange for moving the story along which works for the story.
One of the biggest problems I have is the sudden shift in art styles from a more expressionist painting style over 3-d backgrounds to a lusciously illustrated and ultimately better suited realistic style for the second two chapters.
The comic is somewhat confusing as it happens often times with hierarchies that are undefined and such but the comic is picking up speed.
Its not necessarily my thing but fans of comics like Hellblazer might be more interested.
It can also be found online at

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Divergence Boink!

Ugh finals week. One exam and one project left though Divergence Boink!, one of my spur of the moment ideas that took a good deal of my time is done.
Chances are though, you are like, what the hell is this diverging bonk? It is in theory an online divergent point (alternate timeline) history textbook saying like "In this universe, Abe Lincoln was slicing stuff like a samurai since he was a robot from the future. How would this change things?"
The basic format when you open the file is you have your 0r4nge (an mp3 player alternate to an Apple Ipod in the universe, apples to oranges, yeah nobody has gotten that so far...) and the book designed by friend of the blog Eli Parker of Unwinders with some art from me and Blazel and one unknown artist throughout the book.
If you click the 0r4nge you get to listen to Akira the Don give a rather Murdoc Niccals sounding intro and in the only open chapter of the book you have me incoherently mumbling the lines the journal entry for the first page in the book.
Theoretically I would love to expand this but it got really stupid really fast and ended up not working out as planned. If I knew flash I would expand it for sure. Still, I may find the time to do some more chapters and just type them up and see if I can have that lead to something. Till then, we wait.

Windows EXE version
Zipped Mac App version

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Webcomics in Print 2: Webcomics in Print United

As mentioned in the last post, I went to SPX and purchased a lot of stuff and played the "OH GOD I NEED MONEY FOR THE ROOM" game (from Milton Brothers Gamez). A partial selection of the books is featured here.

Beartato and the Secret of the Mystery:
By Anthony Clark
The Nedroid book is pretty amazing encompassing a good deal of classic strips all of the Beartato/Reginald variety. No dinosaur warlocks. This also includes a mini books content and some fancy art. All of the art for most of the older jokes has been redrawn and the quality of the pages is at incredibly epic levels. There is a good deal of semi new comics as well and it is just generally good deal.
I can't really think of an issue, it was worth the money I got. Topatoco makes some damn fine books.
Perfect gift for: Junior high on up.
Fun fact: He signs the book and does drawings in it if you meet him in person and watching him draw drove me to tears.¤t=Photo609.jpg

Johnny Wander Vol. 1: Don't Burn The House Down
By Yuko Ota and Ananth Panagariya
Johnny Wander Volume 1 is great all around gift to anyone of any age with all ages humor and I am obsessed with the comic. Since buying it 3 days ago I've read it some 5 times already. It has a recipe, stories when relevant (instead of shoehorning in commentary and notes) and the entire package is very professional. Also I totally have a Maw in a bowler in my copy thanks to Yuko doodling in it (my copy is currently on loan though....). It covers the first year of comics, minus the additional color stories.
It is just all around professional and I can't think of complaints.
Perfect gift for: High school grads, college students and on up.
Fun Fact: It is addictive!

Octopus Pie: There Are No Stars In Brooklyn
By Meredith Gran
Meredith Gran produced a nice and thick tome of the first two years of the comic and included bonus strips that add to the chapters. The art is all nicely printed, the paper is high quality and it is worth the $17 (pay extra for the sketch version though!)
My one complaint is the printing color. All of the pages are in a greenscale print and with the shiny paper, it can be hard to read. I attempted to read on the bus back from SPX and reading under slightly sub par lighting was different. Still, I appreciate not being forced to have all black ink pages and it wasn't as bad as the one chapter in the Gastrophobia book where it was almost entirely unreadable. Also on a slightly less important note there was one page that was slightly smushed by the printer but not troublesome and most likely prevalent to be a major issue.
Perfect gift for: College students on up.
Fun Fact: I totally have a Hanna in my book. Forgot to ask for a Marek (I was tired, disoriented) Still cool to see how fast she was able to draw.

Octopus Pie Minis:
By Meredith Gran
The mini comics are mini books encompassing new comics. I purchased Fear and Couch Sitter, two of the more recent chapters. The quality placed into the minis reminds me the homemade cards my aunt used to make with each page being hand crafted on a variety of materials. It gave me a touch of nostalgia to me personally.
The ink is also black which works well on the brown stock-ish paper. All together this is a high quality piece and I could see myself paying something like $7 for one of these with no issue.
Fun Fact: These are limited issue things so buy them up!

Monday, September 13, 2010

SPX 2010 Review

So, I went to SPX, I wrote a review on some steno sheets (those yellow lined papers) and then I lost them or something. (I am just too lazy to get them, yet not too lazy to write a new article).
Over on Socialfist I made a giant thank you list seen here!!!!! and really SPX was a weirdish time for me. I had moments of fun but that sort of ran out at times. Not to say it was ever horrible but I guess I will mark everything off in a fancy list.

Things Koltreg Learned About The SMALL PRESS EXPO
1. Get Sleep Before Hand
Due to it being finals week and me having a Friday class and limited cash, I ended up leaving on a 2 am bus from Pittsburgh to Silver Springs eventually getting there around 8:30ish. I was awake enough having gotten 3 hours of sleep on the bus. When I finally got into my room at 4 though I showered and then collapsed from 5 to 11:30. :/ Luckily all I missed was Ignatz and drinking and eating, none of which was a major loss for my first convention. Still, next year, I will be able to drink and Johnny Wander has taught me there are epic drinking parties.

2. Bring Money and Set A Budget
I came to the SPX with something like $200 cash, spent all of it, spent extra money from my family and then had to call when I realized I hadn't saved money for the hotel.
Next year if I go as a guest (looking into going as a vendor type person) I will definitely have a more planned budget and hotel money on hand. I also will be less likely to buy a lot of stuff but this was a weekend for spur of the moment purchases that I will cover in a new Webcomics In Print chapter.

3. Meet New People
There were something like 80-100 exhibitors there. Most had big lines. I partially regret being too lazy/busy/asleep to meet Kate Beaton but she had an almost permanent line.
While most webcomic people were always (almost always) happy to met fans, the indie comics people were actually willing to talk and have a conversation which is always nice. While I came mostly to meet and pimp my webcomic I met some cool people including MC Blackwolf.

4. Bring A Friend
You can spend maybe 3 hours tops going to every booth there and sampling wares. After that you can hang out in panels or watch movies or eat or stuff like that but there is not much else there. I regret not bringing a friend since there were long stretches of nothing to do and no one to talk comics with - sorta. I am far less gregarious in person than I am online depending on the situation.

5: Speak Loudly and Be Decisive
The hall can be pretty loud so if you are talking across a table it can be difficult to be understood. Also knowing what you want at the bigger booths additionally helps since there were several lines that blocked off the narrow halls. Topatoco formed a few swells of comic people since they were across from Octopus Pie, KC Green (on Sunday), Jeph Jacques, Dave Kellet and a few other big names.

6: Be Friendly
I guess this is more towards the people at booths. Smile, tell a joke and such. Spike sold me on a copy of her comic I have had issues with before by being friendly. Other people whose books I have purchased were less friendly and buying a mini was something I sorta regretted. This is sorta a "Hey fans, we need your help so why not give us money," type deal so being friendly just makes sense.

7: B.Y.O.M. - Bring Your Own Minis
I brought a printed version of Socialfist chapter 1 and gave it out which was a good way to get exposure and introduce myself. Other people were also giving out minis though which is also cool.

Its a community thing and you gotta be active. Pump new life into it and such.

I am looking forward to New England Webcomics Weekend next if I can get a ride there but first I gotta finish finals this week. ugggh.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Finals Pre Week Is Upon Me

Finals Pre Week Is Here With Finals Being Next Week. Blazel provided this for one of my projects.
Snake Plissken as Pope Martin Luther.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Itunes 10 Thoughts

So, Itunes 10 came out today and I generally like Itunes for everything related to playing music. Purchasing music I do almost solely on Amazon when I can. There it is usually cheaper and they offer better deals. The new Itunes though is already sort of bugging me, especially with the whole Ping type deal.
There are already several social music websites that are online., Pandora, etc. I don't use any of them though mainly because I listen to my music or nothing at all. With Itunes introducing the social network aspect though, it seems to be forgetting the benefits of those other networks in regards to social networking and music, one being that you can listen to full versions of songs. You can just listen to new stuff. Now if Itunes were to, lets speak horribly hypothetically here, allow you to listen to full songs for free like a radio station, that might be fine. In fact, it may actually inspire people to use their store. Heck, I know several times I've been driving and I've wanted to buy a song that was on the radio then and there. Pandora and to my knowledge/poor recollection from seeing other peoples sites do allow this, often through Itunes. You are just throwing away spur of the moment purchases here.
Really the main reason I signed up for Ping is interest in how horrible it is. While it is in the first few days of birth and it only has a small amount of users, I can't see many people incorporating it. What does it do? Let your friends know if you make a review? How often do my friends do that? How often do they even buy through Itunes! Honestly it is like the Netflix social aspect for me, I never use it. Most of the people who I talked to Ping essentially sad "Wait, another social media thing? Ugh." There doesn't seem to be a big following and while there is a promise of premium content from big stars, what about people who don't listen to the big musicians. Heck, if you can't buy the artists music on Itunes you can't even feature them as favorite artists (because Itunes can't sell their shit - that means only two songs by Akira The Don! Blasphemy!)
Pretty much my other comments fall in the design category. The new font is too small and hard to read, the lack of colored icons leaves Itunes looking almost dead, like it molted its shell and this is the leftover. It still seems to run slow as ever being as big of a file as it is, Genius still is somewhat dubious and the new listing choice is fairly ugly if you lack the album art set up in a certain way.
Kind of annoying for me since I can't easily go back now, no real benefits to the user and the Ping thing will probably break within a year wherein it is shut down unless they mix things up.