Web Comics

Comic Review: No More Heroes #1

Issue: No More Heroes #1
Release Date: March 2012
Writer: Gordon Mclean
Artist: Caio Oliveira
Colorist: Goran Kostadinoski
Letterer: Kel Nuttal

When I was approached to review this comic, the premise instantly appealed to me. I’m a big fan of superheroes, even moreso when they’re flawed in some capacity. In No More Heroes there’s a lot of flawed characters. First you’ve got Dark Justice, whose death kicks off the whole thing. A random nobody, Sid, gets a text message asking whether the mysterious person on the other end should commit suicide. Thinking it’s a joke, and egged on by his buddies, he says yes. Turns out, the superhero Dark Justice was on the other end of the phone. Thus begins the heavy weight that Sid has to carry. Did he really convince a superhero to die? The truth isn’t so straightforward. He gets tangled up with Dark Justice’s unnamed sidekick, who has gone off the rails after his boss’ death, and Jack Slaughter, a lowlife who is actually at fault for the death of the hero. The storyline is just beginning and we will have to wait and see how deep Sid gets pulled into it.


For a beginning comic, this was actually done quite well. I wasn’t a fan of the few times the panels were colored, which is surprising to me since I tend to prefer color comics over the stark nature of black and white. However, the simplicity of the color absence helps to heighten the storyline for me. And it is a simple storyline, though not simplistic. For almost the entire first half the plot is carried mostly by action rather than dialogue. That’s a sign of good visual storytelling and one that will serve the creators as they embark on a future in the industry. There were some rough spots, such as the diner scene. Focusing on the mouth seemed to be wasted space to me. The panels are better expressed when layering is present. And the dialogue, in certain scenes, was not as smooth as it could have been. That doesn’t endear it to a more mainstream audience, but since it’s targeted toward the independent comic industry the standards are a bit more lax. Despite these rough-around-the-edges bits, the overall comic has potential and I’m interested to see where the storyline goes.


Check out more on this four-issue arc at the official website and keep tabs on these creators. I think they have a positive future in the comic industry.

Spending time with Villains

Do you like comics? Want to feel like you are move involved in them? Then 4villains is for you! 4Villains.org is offering to help you become the best villain or hero you can be. 4Villians meets the challenge of keeping of web series interesting by involving the viewers to join in on the fun. By building your own character and interacting in their companion social hub, viewers can play and earn points, unlock achievements and if they really make a name for themselves be part of the background in the web series. The web series is a humorous, fun blend of comic book homage, humor and an invite to become part of the fun online. On top of the web series 4 villains releases side stories through their entertaining web comic featuring the main villains and some of the viewer’s characters. The network also features specialty groups that offer monthly prizes of character artwork as a reward for the most active users.

As a hero or a villain, at the 4Villains social network you can even create your own lair. Leveling up by infiltrating your nemesis defense systems, role playing, attaining points helps your character to become part of the community. 4Villains viewers earn infamy point by playing various games and by betting on prospective winners who enter the arena where viewers face off with a fellow hero or villains and role the dice for a chance at victory.

Overall the interactive web series, comic and social network are engaging, filled with humor and fun. This passionately created series and site is the child of writer, director, actor and former D&D Dungeon master Jeff Saamanen. He uses his love of role playing games, comic books and writing to create a world where the viewers truly have a voice as to where the series goes next. The interactive viewer is welcomed into his world and in the process makes it a world where she or he can truly become the next walk on villain or hero.  Check out the fun at http://4villains.org/

Review: Axe Cop Vol. 3

Axe Cop Vol. 3

I have been following Axe Cop since its inception, so I knew what was in store to some extent when I embarked on Volume Three. Not that anyone can really predict any of the Axe Cop craziness that always ensues.

For any unfamiliar readers, I really can’t explain, only give you the premise: Axe Cop started as a webcomic….well, almost experiment, I guess you could say. Ethan Nicolle decided he wanted to illustrate some of the characters and stories that would arise when he and his 6 year old brother played. Axe Cop is a comic written by a child, illustrated by a (very talented) adult.

This is the reason why Axe Cop is so immensely popular. The insane characters, the wonderful there’s-a-planet-for-everything premise, even the dialogue, is all from the POV of a little boy. It’s fresh, crazy, funny, wildly creative, and gorgeously drawn. It’s that combination of extreme raw freshness of the storytelling, drawn by a hand with immense skill. Sure, I have heard it argued that it’s only the novelty of the kid-telling that makes it good only ironically, and that when Malachai hits a certain age it won’t be good at all. To these commenters, I say: phooey. This stuff is incredibly creative, fearless and wonderful. Any of us who create works of art should hope to be so fresh and fearless. As for the child-style writing, I agree that it will be interesting (and already has been) to see how Axe Cop changes as his creator ages. I can’t wait to see, for example, if Axe Cop will ever allow a girl onto the team. Maybe when his “cooties” stage is over…

I am sure you can tell I endorse reading this series in general. Here is why I highly recommend Volume Three in particular:
1) The inclusion of several “ask axe cop” episodes. It’s even funnier and fresher to hear the sorts of questions readers ask Axe Cop, and the answers to those questions are never boring, and the “episodes” are short one-page gems.
2) Various artists’ poster-style renditions of Axe Cop and his friends. Bat-Warthog-man never looked so good.
3) Dinosaurs, babies and their poop, Chihuahua Soldier, Wexter, the co-op with Dr. McNinja, whom I must now follow, the magicians’ planet, and the Funny Episode! Oh my God, the Funny Episode!

This is the third volume in an ongoing series, but I have a feeling this collection stands alone. There are a few interesting origin stories and nothing that’s really a spoiler or completely reliant on past episodes. And said past episodes are always noted within the text, which is quite convenient.

If anything, just and read if you’re ever depressed, uninspired, or have Writer’s Block. There will be no more stagnation in your creativity once you read Axe Cop Vol. 3.

~Prof. Jenn

ConBust and Pending Reviews

This past weekend, I exhibited at ConBust, located at Smith College in Northampton, MA. This is a small convention, but had a lot of fantastic artists and guests such as Randall Munroe from the webcomic XKCD and Mike “Mookie” Terracciano creator of .

What stood out for me, especially as a first time exhibitor, was how friendly and accessible the con staff was. The Artist Alley staff came around often asking if we needed anything, and this was not just a glass of water, but help carrying merchandise and other goods. I don’t normally see this at larger conventions.  Good grief, I’ve had experiences where staff didn’t even know where the Artist Alley was in the convention center. Some of those same staff were rude, treating me as though I were a bother for a simple question! I think it was experiences such as this that caused me to be blown me away when I arrived at the convention greeted by staff offering help to carry bags.

Granted, a neighbor and I did ask for cabana boys or girls when first asked if we needed anything….neither were available, but one can only ask so much and do we really need cabana boys or girls on a windy day in March?

I did hand out Nerds in Babeland buttons and cards as there were web comic artists, both as guests and exhibitors, as well as a few attendees. I do want to start reviewing web comics and fairly soon. I have to recover a little from this weekend, but I know I have some archives to look through.

Overall, I highly recommend this convention, both as an attendee and an exhibitor, whether you are a first time artist or have been around the con circuit for awhile. The atmosphere is relaxed, the staff is fantastic, and you will meet a lot of friendly people.

You can find out more about ConBust, including dates for next year at the following website:

Webcomicry and Promotion, or Get Some Frakking Rest!

As I’ve mentioned before, one good way for any artist to network is to hit the convention circuit.

I’ve been sticking fairly close to home, but not every craft fair, convention or comic event is located in Connecticut, so I often go out of state.

I’ve had positive experiences overall, however, I have had long drives, and for any of you that taken long road trips, you really start to feel the cramps in your rear and even your leg after a certain point. Sometimes, the trip itself can drain your energy more so than any activity at the convention proper.

At times, the check in process, getting to your booth or table can get trying, especially if you are in a bigger venue and you don’t get a map. If this is a high volume event, you’ll likely get a lot of traffic at your table be it sales, questions, or an admirer wanting to talk about your work. Doing this nonstop throughout the weekend can give you bursts of adrenaline, but I and others have joked about the amount of caffeine and sugar required to keep going.

As we all know, caffeine will lead to a crash of the body’s internal servers eventually.

This past month, I’ve had two back to back conventions, both involving long drives. I attended one this past weekend and will attend another at the end of the month. My sleep cycle has not been the best, especially since you may have to replenish your stock of merchandise….not always so easy when you’re more on the fiber arts side of art.

My advice is this: Learn to pace yourself. Get a sense of how much merchandise you’ll need. Keep coffee on hand, but don’t overdo it, especially if you’re driving.
Most importantly, try to get as much rest as you can, before, during and after the event.

If you start to dream like L in this piece of fan art I created for a small series, it may be time to lay off the sweets and stick to healthier snacks during the convention!

L's Pastry Dream from my

What do I do with my webcomic idea: Promotion

You have your web comic opus ready to upload and publish to the world. You’ve decided on the web space you’re going to utilize to get it out there.

You’ve uploaded and published. Now what?

The World Wide Web these days is what it sounds like. World wide, and very highly populated. Now that your comic is out there, how do you wish to promote it if you want to go that route.

There is nothing wrong with starting small. Tell your friends, be it via word of mouth, or even through your favorite online community or social networking site. Even if you don’t like Facebook invites, and I often don’t in excess, don’t be afraid to make a page for your comic and invite friends to join. Some may recommend it to others. In that vein, you can also put a small button to ‘like’ the comic, but it would only take the reader to the Facebook page.

Join like-minded communities and forums online. Accounts are usually free, and you can promote, and even learn a few things through online discussion. I’d advise against too much promotion of your own work if it detracts from a different topic or just as basic netiquette. Some are ranking sites, such as The Webcomic List and Top Webcomics where comics are judged by member votes or by site hits. Some will allow members to become featured comics for a small fee. It’s worth looking into if you want a little extra exposure starting out. There are web comic groups on Facebook among other social networking sites or the option create one yourself as well.

With convention season starting for me tomorrow at Genericon, I have to point out that people like to see a face with the artist. Go to Comic and Anime conventions in your area. Depending on the event and venue, purchasing table space is not too cumbersome. If you want to cut costs and start out small, attend smaller conventions, many of which originated and grew from college anime clubs. In some cases, registration is included with your table space, and inexpensive at the smaller venues. One thing I’ve noticed at Genericon and conventions like it is a very relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff. From there, you might to venture to a larger venue such as Otakon or Comic-con. If you want to vend at conventions, do a quick search for events in your area via Google. Wikipedia also has listings. From there, look at the convention website for artist information. It may take a little searching, but most have what you’re looking for or a contact email.

When it comes to promotion, the most important aspect is knowing your product. Don’t be afraid to talk about your comic, what inspired you to create your story and characters, be it online or in person.

Web Cartooning by the Signs

I am sure we have all heard some hoopla regarding changes in the western zodiac as we all know it. Up is down, Cancer is now Gemini, Scorpio is now Libra and left is east.
Time’s website put out the following which my Pisces friend sent to me:
New Zodiac Sign Dates: Earth Rotation Changes Horoscope Signs.
Just as a few of my friends from all walks of the zodiac wheel were either scratching their heads or declaring horoscopes bulldink across the board, my Taurus friend posted the following:
Don’t Worry, your Zodiac Sign is not Wrong.

I’m a happy Scorpio…well, as happy as a Scorpio can be on an average day sans coffee. Seeing the buzz on Facebook and even in general conversation, it hit me that regardless of any planetary shift or what may or may not have to change in the newspaper horoscope section, that we have love by the signs, career by the signs, but I have yet to see cartooning by the signs.
I seek to change this. Now that we have our sun signs and astrological shifts back in place, I am going to attempt to show how one might create a web comic based on his or her astrological sign. I’ll state for the record, I am at best an amateur astrologer.
That said:

My comic is the first of it’s kind. I know it’s a fantasy RPG adventure, but hey, let’s put a locomotive in that panel? Maybe some ninjas while I’m at it!

Soon as I’m settled in my comfy easychair, I am going to finish and upload this panel…maybe tomorrow?

New topic, new comic. Now, what kind of punchline can I deliver with that sledgehammer?

I’m going to need some alone time to get this comic finished and get better flow for that story arc.

I’m going to have to showcase this comic at a convention…a big one. I know! I’ll go around the tables as my own main character! I’ll look goooood doing it too!

Drawing board: check
Drafting Pencil: check
Micron pens: check
T-Square: check
Everything in its place!

I need to get banner balanced just right. The web page and art sshould look simple, yet aesthetically pleasing. Hmm…maybe I should get a second person on this, maybe a web designer or editor?

I must be the best….who’s that other cartoonist and how did s/he get my readership? That’s it. Conventions and more XML and a darker story arc will rule the panels.

I’m going to have to draw this comic while on the road. How snarky can I make the punchline this week?

I need to be at least 10 comics ahead of myself. Maybe more than that? I should get cracking!

What can I do to make a more experimental comic strip? Maybe make this comic not a comic at all, but my illustrated spider monkey ninja opus…..

This comic needs more haiku. Maybe generate a few soul searching questions to the readers? That works!

Introduction from the New Kid

My name is Lisa and I am a web cartoonist.

Good grief, I sound like I’m writing to a self help group or auditioning for the part of Charlie Brown in a retconned Peanuts comic strip. Sometimes, I feel that I am in a way.

I’ve read comic book titles such as X-Men and Spider Man from childhood. When I discovered that people published comic strips on the internet, it felt like a whole new door was opened in my college experience. I still revisit the first webcomic I read, http://www.coolcatstudio.com/ from time to time even as I devour the Twisted Kaiju Theaters and Something Positives of the web world.

I’ve helped write comic strips for other artists, but in October of 2009, I decided it was time to stop reading and start doing. My first venture took the form of a fumetti, or photo comic I called Project Poppet. The premise is a group of small knitted dolls causing mischief within my human sized one bedroom apartment. Along the way, they meet two toy frankenbunnies I made. I made my poppets of leftover yarn from various knitting projects. The comic contains one strip gags as well as longer story arcs. This past August, I opt to take my doodles of chibi figures, often portraits of my player characters in tabletop games I played to the level of a second comic I called Goober Glade. This takes place in a magical kingdom where an adventuring party bumbles about to save a princess. This comic participated in the 24 Hour Comics Day event.

When contributing to this blog, I want to do more than engage in shameless self promotion. I do that at various sci-fi, anime and other conventions. What I would like to do is show a bit of the creative process. Maybe you want to start your own comic? I’d like to inform, but if you get a laugh out of the writings, that’s good too.  I would like to review comics as well. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Until then, I will leave you with one of my favorite early photos from my comic, Project Poppet.

Existential Booda

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