KRVT, finally.

Tonight the clouds parted after several days of rain, so I took my first bike ride on the KRVT so far this year. I saw a bald eagle, a downy woodpecker at work, and this lovely Jack in the Pulpit. I love biking in the golden hour, seeing shafts of light through the deep woods, watching my shadow lengthen in front of me.

Comfort and Adam’s How-To Book is Here!

It’s here! Adam Withers’ and Comfort Love’s Complete Guide to Self-Publishing Comics is now on sale!

Available online and at finer book and comic shops everywhere, it’s the most comprehensive book on making comics, manga, and webcomics you’ll find! Our oversized mega-chapters include: Concepting, Writing, Drawing, Coloring, Lettering, Publishing, and Marketing! Everything you need to know to make your book a reality!

Plus there are sidebars from more than 70 of the best and smartest comics/manga/webcomics pros out there, so you don’t have to take our word for it.

… or mine, for that matter. Check out these reviews from Bleeding Cool and Comic Related. Paul brought our copy home from the Local Comic Store, and it’s even more gorgeous than I’d hoped.

Thanks again, Adam and Comfort, for including us in this amazing project. I’m so glad to still be part of comics self-publishing.

Microaggressions

That thing where both you and your husband get invited to speak at a function, and despite your very similar careers in comics, you get subtly different levels of interest. See if you can spot the differences:

Dear Mr. Sizer,

I’m a student intern with the [Organization Redacted], an organization dedicated to promoting literature and writers in [Location Redacted].

On Saturday, June 13th, we’re running a comic book writing and mini comic making workshop. Given your expertise, we were wondering if you would be our guest speaker.

Payment will be provided. We’d require you to do a half hour presentation plus critique the finished minicomics our participants will make in the workshop.

Given that we’d like to start advertising this week, with Free Comic Book Day just around the corner, I’d appreciate hearing back from you today or tomorrow. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
[Name Redacted]

Dear Ms. Irwin,

My name is [Name Redacted] and I’m a student-intern with the [Organization Redacted], an organization for supporting authors in [Location Redacted].

On June 13th, we’re hosting a comics writing and minicomics making workshop. We were wondering if you’d be willing to come and be our guest speaker and judge the resulting minicomics.

Payment can be provided. Given that we need to start advertising soon and with FCBD just around the corner, we’d appreciate you responding today if possible.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
[Name Redacted]

How to build a rhino

So you guys remember my buddy Mark, right? The guy who helped his daughters send up a stratoballoon? Who does a kid-science video podcast? The guy who’s been my cubemate since 2008?

Well, last week I heard that he’d tried to build a robot kit with his daughter Lucy, and, well — it didn’t actually robot well. A non-functional robot isn’t good incentive to keep building stuff, so I decided to get him and his daughters a kit that actually worked. Enter the Strandbeest Rhino kit from ThinkGeek.

What’s a Strandbeest? It’s a wind-powered kinetic sculpture invented by Theo Jansen, and it’s totally awesome:

True to form, Mark made a great blogpost outlining the build. He, Lucy and Katherine got the Beest built in pretty short order, and got inventive when it required a bit more windpower:

Now that’s better. And also: SCIENCE!

Vögelein now on Comixology!

Good news! You can now buy both Vögelein books at Comixology. These have been in the works for about a year now, and I’m really excied to have them available. If you’ve never tried Comixology’s “assisted view” reading format, I encourage you to give it a try. It’s pretty neat, and adds a subtle dynamism to digital reading. Thanks, Comixology!

Rob Chamberlin: Serendipity.

There’s an outstanding profile of my neighbor and friend Rob Chamberlin in this month’s Encore magazine. His life is exactly as magical as they describe it, and every meal or conversation I have with him and his wife Suzanne is remarkable. Rob’s a heck of a guy, and one of the things I admire most about him is that he leaves his life open for miracles and mysteries, and they find him with unerring timing. Check out the article here.

Paul’s at it again…

So hey, I know I spend an awful lot of time on this blog talking up all the awesome stuff Paul gets up to, but he’s a pretty legitimately amazing guy who’s always pushing his design abilities and making incredible art. I’m not just saying that because I’m married to him — that’s empirical data, and you can test that stuff in a lab.

He just did an installation for 826 Michigan, and I did a writeup with all sorts of photos and stuff over at the Fiery Studios blog, so you should go check it out.

Deconstructed

I started this about two months ago as a short-story exercise, and it’s taken me this long to finish it. It’s not much, but it’s still comics. One foot in front of the other.

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SPX Plans

I’m very sorry to report that I won’t have a table at SPX this year, after all. For more details, please check my post on the Fiery Studios site.

Obligatory Dog Photo.

Miss Isabel, with her favorite thing in all the world: a tennis ball. Exercising her is a breeze because she’ll chase it literally as many times as you throw it, forever. She has such strong jaws that she’s already chewed clean through a few of them, even the extra-strong ones they sell at the pet store. I went ahead and ordered a mess of used tennis balls off of eBay — even with shipping, they’re still way cheaper than most other dog toys, and then we don’t have to feel bad when she destroys them.

She’s doing very well, and has come out of her shell in the most amazing ways. For such an old dog, she’s taken to clicker training like a champ, and has learned several basic commands, though we’re mostly working on simple things that will make further training easier, like making eye contact when we call her name. Once she has those down we can move on to more fun stuff — like teaching her to run beside me when I roller skate. Yay, dogs.

Adam and Comfort’s Complete Guide to Self-Publishing Comics

So here’s something cool: Paul and I each have a small contribution in a new comics how-to book by our friends, Adam Withers and Comfort Love. Check out the full details at the Fiery Studios blog.

Hourly Comics Day

… Two weeks late, but still. I didn’t realize it only happened on February 1st! I’ll be more punctual next time around. Click each image to embiggen.

Carla’s got a new website

Miss Carla’s gone and made herself a whole new website, to go with her Patreon. Go check it out, and if you’re so inclined, throw her some support so that she can concentrate more on making her amazing comics.

Old Ghosts and Tonkotsu

Last night I drove out to Ann Arbor to pick up the test run of the Old Ghosts print-on-demand edition. I was very pleased with the results (full report on the Fiery Studios site), and celebrated by going out for one of my favorite foods in the world, tonkotsu ramen. Jim Ottaviani and Kat Hagedorn were polite enough to indulge me in my noodle cravings.

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Suzy Hotrod

To commemorate her retirement from the Gotham All-Stars, here’s a picture of Suzy Hotrod, courtesy of this amazing photo by the equally-amazing Joe Mac.

Happy 2015!

Have some Kamala Khan and Lockjaw to start your year off right. Gotta say, G. Willow Wilson has totally turned me around on Lockjaw. Always thought he was too dorky.

Paul has a new book out!

Good news: Paul’s newest book, a graphic novella, has just been accepted by Comixology, and you can now buy it digitally as a Guided View PDF! Here are the details:

“In 90 minutes, everything can change…”
It’s live and digital and ready to purchase! My latest graphic novella MIXTAPE: 1984 is NOW available to download via Comixology for your phone, tablet or laptop.

This is my first 100% digital release, and I’m excited to see how far it will go! If you have friends who love comics, 80’s music, awkward stories about first love or any combination therein, please share this as far and wide as you can. Your support and help with boosting my signal is appreciated, please and thank you!

We do have a few physical copies here at the house, so if you’d like one, please be sure to drop us a line and we’ll make sure one gets into your hands.

Congratulations, Paul! There’s no better feeling for a comics creator than to release a new book. Hooray!

It’s not about one man.

It’s not about Darren Wilson, though I have a hard time believing that a six-foot-three, 210-pound cop could be tossed around like a “five year old holding on to Hulk Hogan.” I have a harder time believing his story that he “felt that another of those punches in my face could knock me out or worse … the third one could be fatal if he hit me right…” after seeing his photos after the incident.

It’s not about the destruction of property, though in the days leading up to the riot, Michael Brown Sr. called for peace despite his loss, community activists attempted to work with local officials to defuse the situation, peacekeepers embedded themselves in the crowd, and afterwards local volunteers aided in cleanup.

It’s about how treating young men and women of color with suspicion as tiny children affects them permanently throughout their lives. It’s about the fact that our society sees Black men as so inherently dangerous that a twelve-year-old boy can be shot for having a bb gun while a White man can walk around openly displaying a semiautomatic weapon, argue with and insult the cops, and not even be charged with a misdemeanor. How Black mothers must prepare their sons for the way they will be viewed by the police:

“I knew you were home,” he said to his mom when he finally made it home after being frisked. “I knew I was about to get stopped, and I thought about running home to you.”

His mother froze.

“I forgot to tell him,” she said. “I forgot to tell him: Don’t run. Don’t run or they’ll shoot you.”

Her 12-year-old cried when he told her what had happened and asked if he was stopped because he was black.

“Probably, yeah,” she said.

“I just want to know, how long will this last?” he asked her.

That’s when she started to cry.

“For the rest of your life,” she said.

It’s not one man’s action, one man’s death. It’s about four hundred years of accumulated mistreatment, anger, ignorance, and willingness to sacrifice our neighbors’ rights in favor of maintaining our own comforts. About how people react when stripped of their futures by prejudice, their sons and daughters shot down, reaction disproportionate to their actions, without recourse. How it happens with such regularity. About how so many of us do not have the luxury of feeling uncomfortable, and then moving on:

12 things White people can do now because of Ferguson

Ten Things White People Can Do About Ferguson Besides Tweet

The Gilberts found the Capsule!

After three months of looking — the Gilberts found the stratoballoon! Or rather, a local farmer did, when he saw the orange parachute start to get sucked into his combine. Thank goodness he was able to stop the machinery before the capsule got mangled too badly. Check out the report:

The Gilberts also got featured in this great news story on our local CBS affiliate. But my favorite part is, as I expected, all the beautiful, beautiful data. Mark’s written some in-depth posts outlining all the different metrics they were able to track, and plotting them in fascinating ways. He’s put together 2-d graphs of the flight data, mapped its GPS data on Google Earth, and then gives a writeup on how he got all the data into and out of the SD card that did all the logging. So cool!

Congrats, Gilberts, on a successful end to an incredible, two-year journey! I’m glad to have been a small part of it.

SPX report — and a new website!

Over on the Fiery Studios blog, I’ve added my SPX Con Report. This is also probably a good time to mention that I’ve updated the layout of the Fiery Studios site The Fiery Studios Store now has a proper shopping cart, and you can download PDFs of all three books for less than on other sites.

You may have noticed that the JanerBlog also got a facelift recently, and now both it and the Fiery Studios site are properly responsive, meaning that you can read them easily on your phone or tablet. The Vögelein and Clockwork Game sites should also follow soon.

Go have a look!

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