Tuesday, March 30, 2004
|yesterday i had a really bad day. my mom was angry at me because i didn't finish my dinner. she: eat your potatoes! i: no! my dad: both of you, go to bed! - and this time in seperate bedrooms! so you understand, it wasn't fun. a consolation: april 1st RexRex starts!|
Monday, March 29, 2004
You will be assimilated!
|The incredibly complete comics-site (with the pretty damn famous Comiclopedia) Lambiek.nl now added an article about Comics and the Web. Good for them (and about damn time) I would say. What really kinda irks me though is that, as the Netherlands' first INTERNATIONAL, SELF-FUNDED, web comics COMMUNITY, we didn't even get a pixel's worth of attention. We're getting plenty of love elsewhere on the web, especially where fellow 'new generation' web comic artists are concerned, and nobody feels above wanting their link on our site, or their personal information in the "What's so special about today"-section, judging from the amounts of emails we received from people who wanted to be added there, or requests to be reviewed, but to actually recognize us for the initiative we have started, that seems to be above anyone who decides to write something 'serious' about comics on the web.
Well, cudos to them, I say. Why on earth would you want to write about a group of promising young artists, from all kinds of backgrounds, nationalities, ages and interests, working in all kinds of different styles, humour, etcetera ? Where you have computer-generated comics, manga, european-style, american style, cartoons, taboos being broken, new styles explored, no censorship, just freedom to do your thing freely and for free, where artists work together, and where attention going to one artist means the entire site and all artists on it get the attention as well ? Where you have a robot wars contender, an opera-singer, a much-travelling CGI artist, two web developers, a journalist and a founder of another comics community thrown together in a mix ? A site that's been in controversy with religious people, with voting lists, a community which continuously welcomes new talent but tries to keep quality high, despite the fact that NOT A SINGLE VISITOR has to pay a single dime for access to the artwork, a site that doesn't require banners or any other kind of degrading, lame web-financing plot, that doesn't ask for your paypal contributions, that in fact gives stuff away for free, even T-shirts in limited editions designed by the artists themselves, accompanied with original drawings from them ? A site that keeps growing and growing in fanbase and attention, and whose members always willingly contribute to any initiative from others ? A site that gets referenced in forum-debates about online publishing (as an example of where it works), a site whose comics sometimes get referenced on science-, philosophy- or even psychology-debating forums and sites, a site that offers free, self-refreshing comics on your site - alright, so ModernTales does some of these things, too, and so does Keenspot, but doesn't that make us an interesting third party to discuss ? I mean, we've had plenty of applicants to publish on our site who clearly stated we were their second choice after Keenspot.
No, of course not. Probeersel.com is best left ignored. It'll go away. Just ignore it.
Well, don't count on it. And ignore us for as long as you want. Because in the end, you won't be able to get around us anymore, and we'll seem all the bigger a hit for it. Even if we've already been building at our success for two years now.
So here's to anyone who doesn't think there's a story to tell about our site:
Sunday, March 28, 2004
|I've been digging through Reinder Dijkhuis (best known from ModernTales webcomic 'Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan')'s reasonably new blog and he writes a few interesting things here and there. He's putting together a museum exhibit on webcomics (I can't completely agree with his picks since they reveal mainly a focus on 'established pros' and fairly little on new-and-upcoming-talent, the latter of which are actually lately pulling in the much larger visitors' numbers as it seems - like Reasons Why We Rule, Monkey Business, the PC Weenies, etc., but it's still an interesting subject and I'm definately considering visiting the exhibit - unless I read wrong and it's over already) amongst other things. But here's something that REALLY caught my eye: a small post about a database for WebComics crossovers ! Now, as many of the loyal Probeersel.com fans know, there's been plenty of crossovers between RWWR.com, The Grim DotCom, God.Inc, hell, Penguism is a spinoff from the latter, etc. and we're far from done yet. Besides that, I've done more than a handful crossovers with my OWN seperate comics. So it might be good to get all the info on that and start submitting. In any case - and I'm talking from a promotional angle here, of course - it'll be good attention to the Probeersel.com initiative.
Just a thought.
Friday, March 26, 2004
|The Dutch site Stripster.nl features weekly editions showcasing various comics. They occasionally have a theme week, which usually makes for interesting collections of comics and artists to sort of come together. Right now their Music edition just went online, and guess what ? It features some of my work *proud glow* well, of course you're supposed to send in your work if you want it to be in that edition and as far as I know nobody's ever really been refused, but still. I'm in there - it's a nice historical and styles crossection, too: one edition of Finish The Story And Colour The Pictures (I think I did those in, what, 1994 originally and then the computer versions in 1998 or so ?), several Worst Case Scenarios (since I decided on a 'music' theme week myself there once, resulting in 7 music-related episodes) and of course The Grim DotCom, where Jim Morrisson has made his spectacular return to life, this time in comic form, aiding and assisting the staff of dead people there, and of course, fighting the system from within. Dead celebraties need something to do, too, you know.
In any case, it might bring a new gulf of curious people to our Probeersel site over the next week, which is always a good thing. So I thought I'd blog it in case you guys were interested...
Thursday, March 25, 2004
|It definately pays off to keep an eye on the Stripliefhebbers forum, I just discovered once again. Jeroen Mirck pointed out that there will be a national Media Day organised on the 18th of May (location as yet unknown) which is intended to sort of 'bridge the gap' between editors, journalists, columnists on one side, and the audience on the other, through open debates, discussions, introductions, etc.
So why does that interest a bunch of web comic artists ? Because Jeroen sent them a suggestion that news paper comic artists should also form a panel that day - which I agree with, as anyone who knows me well enough would expect I should, since I know how important a role in aiding communication comics can play.. and so do most papers and magazines who have known this for over a century now - for additional discussions. He then proceeded to ask, on the beforementioned forum, if any of the artists posting there were interested, including the online initiatives.
A cynical person might ask now, what on earth would an online initiative like Probeersel.com have to add to a national Media Day ? Well um - first of all, isn't the Internet a medium ? Most people pay a lot more attention to the web these days to get their information and news than to magazines and newspapers, since it delivers news faster (more directly I should say), you get various sources which most of the times are free, on your screen with just a few clicks of your mouse or a simple search query, and in fact recent looks into the way news travels shows that blogs and the likes are usually way ahead of 'traditional' news sources when it komes to news. And yes, I think that, as far-fetched as it may look at first glance, web comics are therefore also interesting to throw into this mix. Judging just from the visitor numbers a few comics sites I know (including ours) are getting, many people are getting their comics 'fix' through the web - and a lot of news sites are, just like in their paper variants, using comics to draw back audience who'll then also pay attention to their news (and, of course, their ad banners..)
So what do I think should be discussed if we ARE gonna go ? Well, I'd imagine that's more up to the audience, but I would expect such matters as how web comic artists deal with deadlines (where applicable, censorship (if any), connection to their audience, interactivity with the audience, which medium they personally prefer, etc. in a nice contrast to the newspaper comic artists, could be interesting to discuss. In any case, even if our partaking in all this isn't appreciated, I still think I might go. It will likely be a pretty interesting day to see how it all turns out regardless of wether comics and webcomics are welcome in the mix.
I've already discussed it with Greg and he's interested it seems - I think Joep and Troy should make a good addition to our presence because of their completely different interests and professional backgrounds, and besides, all four of us are involved in media quite heavily besides our Probeersel work. And I can think of a few other web comic artists in our fair Netherlands who might have an interesting thing or two to add. Time to dust off the old address book.
|Every once in a while you get one of those great, hole-in-the-market, genious ideas. I just had one.
It's loosely based on some ideas other comics had. I'll mention them first.
For several years now, the brilliant online strip Slow Wave has worked with a relatively genius concept: get people to send in their weirdest dreams, and Jesse Reklaw will draw them. Yes, I sent in my own at one time, and was quite happy with the end result. He's done a nice job so far, his comic's often discussed, and its popularity is very high, resulting in the situation where you submit your dream and the waiting list is so long it could take a year or more before he gets round to yours. In any case, the success story there is: the readers get to participate. And the comic, essentially, writes itself.
Now, the Dutch daily newspaper comic strip S1ngle has a Saturday special feature: you can go to the site and basically 'ask' one of the characters out on a date. Each Saturday someone who's submitted their information MAY actually find himself in the strip, on a date with the character of his choice. It's a great gimmick, and once again, it increases popularity through interaction, and even though it doesn't quite write itself, you've got a nice base to work from.
It got me thinking. And here's what I'm considering starting to do:
You can send in your information about yourself - picture, name, personal info, anything you consider relevant, and also make sure to let someone close to you know about this. Then, when you die, that person can notify me and I will let you have a guest appearance in The Grim DotCom. You will be immortalised in a great, increasingly popular webcomic, and best yet, through interaction and with a readily-provided base for the episode, it'll make my work easier and the comic more popular.
This idea's gonna be a hit. I just know it. And after all, most people who archieve fame only do so posthumously, so why not do so in my comic ?
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to brood on some other great ideas now.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
|Thank you, my master. Now go clean you room otherwise it's to bed with no dinner.
And I mean it!
|I fixed the stupid template 'bug' with the left-aligning images by introducing tables. I'll save you guys the stupid details but now it's possible to just blog little text without the image on the left messing up the page. You may bow before me now.|
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
|Just thought I'd make an appearance. w00t! Hopefully I'll have something of some substance to say in the future. Laters|
Monday, March 22, 2004
|I guess I'll kick off with a bit of news, then.
I finally received the November issue of De Brug, an IT-bulletin published on the Haagse Hogeschool by colleagues of mine (from my paying job) who all dutifully are finishing the education I dropped out of. They asked me to do a comic for that issue, which I did for free (to keep a bit of my integrity) as long as I could put the site's URL in it. You can see the result on Probeersel.com.
It was a wretched thing to write/draw because they had THEMES. Basically, initially they wanted The Grim DotCom. Because it's an issue about enterprising young people who start their own business - I recommended using one of those comics because they're already on the subject, after all. So they wanted one, but black-and-white. Fine by me. Then they wanted it in Dutch. Ok, also doable. They then proceeded to request if the 'dark guy' could be 'taken out somehow' because it was a bit 'weird' for their mainstream publication.
Little reconstruction of that phone call:
Me: "Dark guy ?"
Other end of the line: "Yeah, the one with the hood 'n all."
Me: "The grim reaper ?"
Other end of the line: "Yes. That one. Can you take him out ?"
Me: "Let me get this straight. You want The Grim DotCom, without the grim reaper ?"
Other end of the line: "Yeah. Can you do that ?"
Me: "The Grim DotCom without the grim reaper ?"
Other end of the line: "Yes. That's what I asked."
Me: "I'm sorry. I CAN'T DO THAT."
We negotiated a compromise. As I kind of feared (I was crammed with work for Probeersel.com at the time - well, when aren't I ?) the smartest thing to do was just draw a whole new comic. So they sent me some themes they would discuss in this issue - and lemme assure you, these were BAD THEMES. At least when you're me. I really couldn't work with it.
But I sat down, and sort of drew it in reverse. I figured out how the rhythm of the joke should go, I then threw in general dialogue roughs, polished them into little jokes, decided I was gonna use two Probeersel characters for it since they worked best (I'd be damned if I came up with an ENTIRELY NEW CONCEPT for that) and then wrote the page from start to punchline.
I then proceeded to walk around discontently for two days because the punchline just plain SUCKED. I know the techniques of how to work this way (basic copywriting skills, after all) but it didn't feel right. I normally start out with the joke and then create the page around it, not vice versa. It felt wrong. Until my roommate (you may remember him from One Year In Satan's Purrrgatory) came up with a few ideas that got the big grey mass in my head running in a different direction. The end result is okish. I still look at it like the wretched thing it is. But people seemed and seem to like it, so to hell with it. Who needs integrity anyway ?
So I send it in nicely on time, they publish the mag, and I was supposed to get a copy.
That was November. It's March now. And only after calling around for about the fourth time (and this time contacting someone else who was involved in the creation of this mag) did I get a copy. And it doesn't look half bad.
I still say this page sucks. It's nice exposure for Probeersel.com though - 300 issues were printed and spread amongst enterprising, ambitious young people. And subsequently they were lured to a site where idealist volunteers spend most of their waking hours creating comics to waste their time with. We're destroying the system from within. Let's keep it up.
In any case, this issue of De Brug goes into my nicely growing pile of proof of Probeersel.com exposure. More, more - as long as I don't have to whore myself out for ANOTHER issue of this wretched bad idea.
Change the bloody colors for God's sake!
|Alright. A whole new blog, just for us Probeersel people. This will keep you up to date on everything that's going on with the site and related stuff. I'm going to try to get more people authorised to publish on this. Should be an interesting experience.
For now, I've invited Greg but I wasn't sure how to do it. We'll start figuring out how this works first, THEN we'll invite some other people to join in on the fun if they want to, and who knows, this just might end up to be a pretty nifty place to revisit.
For now it's going to be a little testing playground so feel free to ignore it for the time being.