SPX 2014

I made it to SPX today and it was a good floor full of interesting people and a wide range of comics. I caught up with a couple of people briefly although I had a longer conversation with Clay Yount (and was happy to see he is still making comics after the end of Rob & Elliott).  Walking the floor I saw a lot of faces and names I recognized but a lot more I didn’t.

I have no skin in the comics game anymore though — I am not making comics, I am not really writing reviews or other stories on comics (let’s say, very sporadically).  I’m at best a fan and not a particularly good one at keeping up my favorites these past few years.  Still I have cash and a credit card so that’s something.

I’m glad I made it out today.


Working on ComixTALK: Old Content Disappearing

Remember Comixtalk? Totally dormant for a couple of years (some might argue dormant for close to a decade! hey now..) as I turned to this site for the sporadic writing I still do.  But after a couple of years away I started getting notions (for reasons!) about remodeling the old site and focusing on the aspects of it that right now seem like they would be interesting to me.

So I have set up a test site with the current site imported and begun to work on it.  First thing (and here I wish I had a bigger megaphone to let people know) is I’m stripping out a lot of the content.  Forums, blog posts, and other random things that got created there are not going to be on the new version of the site. I’m planning on keeping an archive of my posts (basically a lot of the site was me blogging about comics) and the old features and columns.  The new site will still feature the reviews and interviews in the archives.  I’m pretty sure the comments are going away too.  While a lot of this stuff has some value as a record of webcomics in the early part of the turn of the century, there’s a lot of it and most of it isn’t anything anyone is going to re-read. And the site desperately needs to be streamlined both visibly and under the hood.

But I did get catch a bit of nostalgia working on it and I recognized a ton of people who had posted, commented, written and in some cases syndicated material to ComixTALK (cross-posted their own blogs?): Terrence Marks, Neal VonFlue, Spike, Burke, Kris Straub, Gary Chaloner, Sam Costello, Tyler Martin, Donna Barr, Greg “ZWOL” Stephens, Eric and Wednesday, Neil Cohn, Tim Demeter, James Turner, Joe Zabel, Dave Roman, Alexander D, Raina Telgemeier, Chris Watkins, Faith Erin Hicks, Merlin, Cat, John Troutman, Nate Piekos, Tom Brazelton, Shannon Garrity, T Campbell, Ben Tweep, Derik Badman, Jennie Breeden, Rob Balder, Scott Kurtz, Andrew Farago, AP Furtado, August J Pollack, DJ Coffman, Mark Mekkes, Jamie Robertson, Justin P, Steve Bryant, Jerzy Drozd, Ryan Estrada, Tracy White, Dave Wright, Adrian Ramos, Rick Box, Krishna Sadasivim, Grant Thomas, Josh L., Steve Troop, Eric Millikin, Joey Manley, Jon Rosenberg, Chris Crosby…

Totally random list from mucking around in the database.  If I tried to start remembering every interesting person I met from the site the list would be a lot lot longer.


A Few Thoughts on World Cup 2014


So last year I wrote a thought piece on the current Confederations and their qualification systems for the World Cup.  About a month removed from this year’s World Cup in Brazil I am emerging from acute soccer withdrawal and wanted to note some thoughts about Brazil.

First off, this was an exciting edition of the World Cup.  Great games, lots of goals and drama galore.  The German shellacking of Brasil will go down in history as one of the greatest shock defeats in the history of the game.  The advance of Costa Rica deep into the tournament was as great a Cinderella story as soccer could have.  The overall performance of CONCACAF was wonderful despite Honduras’ poor form.  Africa and Asia did not perform up to expectations. Germany’s victory is the first time a European nation won the cup on South American soil.  German-Americans on the U.S. team played really really well and made everyone feel genuinely American all the more so.  Really, is there a more genuine expression of shock, joy and wonder than John Brooks emotions after scoring the winning goal against Ghana?

Let’s look at the performance of the various Confederations this year:

Oceania Football ConfederationNo team from OFC qualified for this year’s tournament. New Zealand qualified in 2010 but with Australia having moved to the Asia Confederation no other current OFC team has ever qualified for the Cup.

Asian Football ConfederationNone of the four AFC teams got out of their group and to add insult to injury they also all finished last in their groups.  Sometimes things don’t break your way — you need a bit of luck to succeed in soccer — but this is a pretty poor performance.

Confédération Africaine de FootballAfrica managed to move two of its five teams on to the round of 16.  Not objectively bad but given the perennial expectations for African teams to do better, a bit disappointing.  Algeria and Nigeria played fairly well.  There were, unfortunately not surprising, problems with payments and other support for these national teams.  The U.S. finally beat Ghana after two important defeats to that nation.

Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association FootballCONCACAF did really well.  We got three teams to the round of 16 and Costa Rica got to the round of 8.  There’s a question of how much more depth there is in CONCACAF beyond the U.S., Mexico and Costa Rica but I do think countries like Panama, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago (and even Canada if they could get their national program in shape) and other central american countries could make an impact in future cups.

Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol: South America, despite not winning the final, did really well.  Only one of its six teams did not advance out of its group and two of its teams made it to the semi-finals with Argentina losing the final on a well-struck German goal in overtime.

Union des Associations Européennes de Football: Despite Germany becoming the first European country to win the Cup on South American soil, as a whole, seven of the thirteen European nations did not advance out of their groups.  European countries all played well on average despite a disappointing performance from Spain.  But it should raise questions over the 13 automatic spots for Europe and whether that should change before the next Cup.


Bookmark: Tune


I was a big fan of the webcomic Tune by Derek Kirk Kim. I just grabbed the print books – Vanishing Point (book 1) and Still Life (book 2) to re-read. The artist on book 2 was Les McClaine who does a faithful job with the template created by Derek.  It’s a great premise and I enjoyed re-reading it.

I searched around to see if there was any talk about further updates — I recall the webcomic went kaput because Derek was focused on the print versions but really haven’t found anything that would clarify whether book 2 was enough of a success that First Second Books would be publishing a third volume.

I totally missed the existence of the video adaptation, Mythomania, which has a couple of seasons posted on youtube.  I hope it’s well done — it would be nice to see the further adventures of Andy Go while waiting for Book 3 to arrive.  UPDATE: And now I know why I missed it — it’s not really at all the same as Tune.  Instead it’s a story about a cartoonist named Andy Go who (at least after 5 episodes) is living a pretty ordinary life for a cartoonist in LA with some standard sitcom complications.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying it (and cartoonist Jason Shiga was surprisingly good in his cameo) but it’s best not to think of it as having anything to do with Tune.


Weird Al Has a Number One Album

Note to teenaged self -- This is a number one album in 2014!
Note to teenaged self -- This is a number one album in 2014!

I leave the country for a couple of weeks and… Weird Al has a number one album?! What is the world coming to?  Well genius marketing by Weird Al with his eight videos in eight days push to release it sure has a lot to do with it.  I crack up at Word Crimes and may someday like Tacky (right now my brain has overheard that Happy song to the point where it’s just too much too soon).