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I decided that it was high time I start really looking for interesting web comics. There is the possibility that one of my projects may end up online, so I thought it would be a good idea to start seeing what other people are doing with the medium in the compu-lectronic world. There are a ton of comics out there, not just the strips that I've been reading (like PvP), but normal, full-page comic-book-type comics. The really nice thing about these are A) there is a very diverse selection, possibly even moreso than you'll find in even well-stocked comic book stores like we have up here; and B) they're free for the reading. Granted, quality varies a lot, too, but dude - they're free.

So, in light of this, I've started adding banners for the comics I've been reading and have found that I liked. There are others I'm looking at now, so if I find I really enjoy any of them (and you really need to read a lot of pages before you can tell), I'll add them, too. More people need to provide banner/buttons on their website for this purpose. Scott Kurtz doesn't seem to have one I can easily find - the one I used is a truncated half-image I had to find on ThinkGeek.com.

Yesterday's weather reminded me of California. High, dry winds rustling through the trees all day long, with scattered clouds. Apparently, there were thunderstorms and tornado warnings all around the Twin Cities, but we managed to avoid them completely. Today is absolutely perfect - cool, sunny and clear. It's about time, too. After the weeks of overcast skies, I was about to hang myself.

Last night I went to my first International Cartoonists Conspiracy meeting. On the first Thursday of every month, they meet and make jam comics: everyone draws the first panel of a page, keeping in tune with whatever the theme of the day is, and then pass the pages around. As you get near the end of the page, everybody needs to look at the page that comes next and try to tie the end of their page into the beginning of the next. In theory, it should flow together - it likely won't make a lot of sense, mind you, but it should create a suggestion of narrative unity. Our theme last night was dual, and both themes were selected at random from the newspaper: "Will Dad Be Able To Find Work?" and "Is 'Knuckle Sandwich' One Word Or Two?" It wasn't exactly what I was expecting - since it was Zander who first invited me to attend a meeting, I guess I was imagining that it was going to be an erudite group of highly-educated, witty and jocular spiffing friends who gather together, drink port and smoke cigars and share in the verbal cut-and-thrust of political and social commentary as they dash funny drawings onto the page (which gives you some idea of how distorted my perception of Zander is). That, coupled with the example of the last jam comic I had been shown - which was largely pornographic and full-to-bursting with profanity (and I doubt now had anything to do with Zander's group) - kind of intimidated me. But up until now I'd never had the opportunity to attend one of their meetings (because of school), so I resolved to do so before I left the state and wouldn't have another chance.

I'm glad I went, and I'm looking forward to the next time. We met at Diamond's Coffee Shoppe, which is on the bottom floor of the building where Big Time Attic has its office. The girls who ran the counter were super-nice; when I discovered after ordering dinner that they don't take plastic, the girls told me to "catch them next time." I made one of them threaten to find me and kill me if I didn't pay my debt, just so I'd feel better about taking a free lunch from them. The shop is kind of a labyrinth - lots of side rooms and hallways without windows or partitions, just doors and doorways - so when I saw the first gathering, I thought it was our group, but it turned out to be a D&D game. The cashier guided me back to a cavernous back room (where I had interviewed Zander, Kevin, and Shad about Big Time Attic for my business class, as it happens) where five people (including Zander) sat silently drawing panels and inking blue-line scans of Jack Kirby's "The Mighty Thor."* After eating my grilled cheese sammich and doodling a sketch of a character for a fantasy comic I've been thinking about, I finally worked up the nerve to go over and ask what was going on. In retrospect, I have no idea why I was intimidated - I see Zander about twice a year, and a lot of these folks were just amateur comics-makers, with one or two local working artists (Bob Lipski and an MCAD alumni who's name escapes me at the moment: Nada?). Once another new guy showed up, I mentioned that I was new, also, and that kind of got people talking to us as we all introduced ourselves. After that, it was great fun, though my hands kept sweating all night. Turns out that was just because it got warm back there, though.

I've been putting off taking a walk this morning to enjoy the weather and think about my current projects, so I'm going to stop typing this and stop with the off-putting now.

*Apparently, there had been a comment made that anyone could ink Jack Kirby. I tried my hand on a panel and found that it was true - even with a brush pen, it was super-easy to ink, and turned out looking pretty good, if I say so myself. I have newfound respect for Jack Kirby.

This entry was posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 at Friday, June 08, 2007 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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