The Webcomicker

Who watches the watchmen?

Monday, October 24, 2005

It's a small world after all.

Wallpaper action fighting go! From Mousewax

I never posted a full report of my trip to the San Diego Comicon. There was too much to say, and quite frankly, con reports in general are pretty boring. I mean, you may have had the most awesome time in your entire life, but when you put it down as words on a page it ends up sounding like "and then we did this, and then we did this, and this was cool, and I really liked this..." and it's pretty, well, boring! But in spite of this, I did learn quite a bit at the con about webcomics and the people that make them.

For instance, I know why the Penny Arcade guys are not in the least bit afraid of Jack Thompson because I attended a panel discussion where one of the panelists was their business manager (who is also a lawyer). And he was a very competent, very smart individual, who is not one to be trifled with. And oh, the stories he had to tell. When the Penny Arcade guys say they've dealt with people with a lot more clout and actual ability to sue them into the gutter than Jack Thompson, they ain't kidding, folks.

I also know that Scott Kurtz is a much nicer guy than he makes himself out to be online, and has near infinite patience with his fans. I know that Jeph Jaques looks nothing like I expected him to, but can still make an awesome sketch of Pizza Girl on a moment's notice (speaking of which, are we ever going to see Pizza Girl again? I hope she's not another Techno-Bill. Oh, remind me sometime that I need to explain Techno-Bill. That's another lexical term.). I learned that Kristopher Straub is the kind of guy you'd like to go have a beer with (not that I actually did have a beer with him, but maybe that's a good goal for next year).

In general, I learned that the vast majority of webcartoonists are just normal, average people who are very approachable and generally just happy that people are interested in their work. They're not big celebrities who hide behind a wall of fans, bodyguards, and hangers-on at all times. You could pretty much walk up to any of the webcomic booths and just start chatting with the creator right there, and really have a meaningful conversation if you wanted to.

And this was something of a jarring realization for me. Before the Comicon, webcomic creators were to me a faceless void behind the markup of their websites. I figured they were pretty much the same as any celebrity or major comic artists (be it newspaper or graphic novelist). They provide you with product, and then remove themselves enough to be basically untouchable. Try sending a letter to your favorite actor or newspaper stripper. You'll probably get a nice form letter in return, maybe with an autograph or something. So I figured webcomic creators were probably the same way. They dipped into the internet long enough to post today's strip and maybe make a newspost or two, then retreat to an unreachable state so you can only know them through their work. I never imagined that the majority of webcartoonists were pretty much like me, and spent a lot of their time visiting other people's sites, interacting with fans on message boards and through emails, and generally just bumming around the web.

So why am I bringing up all this right now? Well, if you follow the link at the very beginning of this post, you'll see that there's a new wallpaper up at Mousewax. If you read the corresponding newspost for the wallpaper, you'll see this line: "Ever since Gilead Pellaeon took me to task for having out of date wallpaper for download I haven't been able to sleep. So in order to get back on a schedule I present to you a new wallpaper featuring a contemporary MouseWax character." This is in reference to a post I made awhile back about how I like to have wallpapers for all the webcomics I read, and I was slightly disappointed that the only wallpaper for Mousewax was one of a character that isn't even featured in the strip anymore. And he actually went out and made a new wallpaper, just because I said that.

I actually laughed out loud when I read that because I remembered back to the Comicon and I remembered attending a webcomic panel and seeing someone in the crowd who I was almost positive was Brandon Lewis. And I wanted to go up and say hi, but I didn't, with this exact thought in mind: "Oh, I won't bother him. He probably gets enough hassle from his fans as it is. I don't want to annoy him." And here he is, actually taking a suggestion from what was really a passing comment in a post that I wrote.

It's a small world after all.


At 11:45 PM, Anonymous Tycho/Jerry/Whoever said...

Robert isn't a lawyer. He's really smart, though.

At 3:02 AM, Blogger Gilead Pellaeon said...

I guess I was somewhat confused because pretty much all he talked about were legal issues. Seems you guys have a lot :-)

He was also giving a lot of people advice about such issues as copyright infringement and fair use.

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Sili said...

You're not being entirly fair to 'old school' newspaper comic artists. Jimmy Johnson of "Arlo and Janis" comes across as a very nice guy who really tries to keep up with his fanmail despite Kathrina induced mayhem.

Glad to have found your blog. Nice to see somebody who actually talks about webcomics when claiming to do so.


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