Tuesday, September 25, 2007

CCP on The Webcomic List

The CCP comic site is now part of The Webcomic List. It's generated a fair bit of traffic for the site so far, which I appreciate. The site can't quite seem to break the 1000 rank, though.

I'll probably post to the TWC's forum later on when I have time, since it looks like they attract quite a few up and coming webcomic artists.

Edit: Spoke too soon. The comic recently hit #959. Not bad for a relatively minor site!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

11/20 Workshop Preparation

I've slowly begun working on creating the materials I need for the 11/20 workshop. The very first step is both simple yet very time consuming: going through the archives of every participating comic and identifying comics that can be used.

My criteria for picking usable comics:

1. Large dialogue bubbles. Small bubbles are too hard for the kids to fill in, so I avoid them.

2. Little or no embedded text. By "embedded text" I mean anything outside of a bubble or caption. Sound effects are all right, but things like whispered dialogue and such can look bad.

3. Connected bubbles. I've found that bubbles that freely float and aren't connected to a character don't work well when emptied of text.

4. Content. Things like racy outfits or a character with an extended middle finger disqualify a comic from being used. I also select against alcohol consumption and smoking.

One thing that helps assemble comics for use is to be familiar with their archives ahead of time, i.e. go with comics you know. This is the tactic I used in New Haven. This time, I decided to branch out and ask some webcomics I hadn't read regularly, but which I knew through reputation.

Of the 60+ webcomics currently participating in the CCP, I've collected comics for use from:

And Shine Heaven Now
Awkward Zombie
Chugworth Academy
Daisy is Dead
Faking Life
Girl Genius
Hate Song
Lil' Formers
Little Dee
Mac Hall
No Rest for the Wicked
Okashina Okashi
Penny & Aggie
Penny Arcade
Questionable Content
Something Like Life
Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki
Tea Club
Three Panel Soul
Tracy and Tristan
Tsunami Channel

So I still have a ways to go before I start making templates. 2 months and counting!

Friday, September 21, 2007

SIte Updates

The Links page has been updated with current banners. The copyright notice has been expanded. Also, the FAQ now has a little info on the new workshops.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

More Additions to the CCP

Several more comics have joined the CCP:

"Demonology 101," "Ice," and "Zombies Calling" by Faith Erin Hicks
"Flipside" by Brion Foulke

I need to take some time to count up all the new comics that have joined. I think I've more than doubled the number, though it could be as much as triple or quadruple at this rate.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lovarian Adventures Joins the CCP

Lovarian Adventures by Geejay Fua has joined the CCP. It's a good fantasy webcomic, which helps me expand the selection of templates in that genre.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The CCP's New Location

A location to host the comic project has finally been found: the Human Service Center Corporation. The HSC is a community center that serves Turtle Creek, a suburb of Pittsburgh. The CCP will be part of the Youth Learning In a Fun Environment (LIFE) program which is aimed at elementary school kids.

The area itself was hard hit by the steel industry collapse of the 1970's. The directors told me that some of the people in this area are still unemployed from that period. A lot of the schools are in poor shape and many families only have a single parent. So there's a real need for extracurricular programs that can help kids.

I talked to the people there today and they are very interested in having the CCP there. They have dedicated classes of students I can instruct, ensuring a steady 15-20 kids every session. This is in contrast to the New Haven Public Library and Dixwell-Yale Community Learning Center where attendance was whoever showed up. Having a regular class I interact with will be very nice.

I'm going to work with them to have two workshops: one in November to celebrate the 1 year anniversary and another in December for the heck of it. Each will be with a different class of 15-20 students. The workshops will be designed to be similar and serve as an introduction, condensing the material of the regular sessions.

HSC has a special youth summer program that I'll work with in July and August 2008 that serves 150 kids; this will be when the weekly version of the CCP returns. I may even host a third Comic Making Tournament to wrap up the summer version. Then in September 2008 the normal Youth LIFE program begins again with 90-100 students. Weekly CCP sessions will continue.

The CCP Gets Nifty

A new comic has joined the CCP. But not just any. This is one of the largest webcomics on the Internet and the first one I ever knew existed: Sluggy Freelance.

I still remember when, in 1999, a friend of mine showed me a webcomic that had a rabbit wielding a switch-blade. It was different from any other comic I'd read at the time. It wouldn't be until 2001 that I started reading it regularly, but it's still the first webcomic I was ever exposed to. So I am very happy to have it on board, so that other kids can behold the nifty!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

More Comics Welcomed to the CCP

Zacc has agreed to allow his comics to be used in the CCP: Animenifesto and Phoenix. I met Zacc many years ago when we posted on the same webcomic forum, so it's great to have him helping me with this.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Site Updates

A few updates to the website: the Links page now has links to all the webcomics that have signed on so far. The copyright notices on the bottom of the main page and links page have been updated, as well.

The About page has some new info: a link to the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven's press release about giving the CCP and other projects money, and some links to where the CCP's been mentioned on the web, such as the "Daise is Dead"comic.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Trio of New Comics for the CCP

Three new comics have joined the CCP:

"Templar, Arizona" by Spike
"Tea Club" by Phuong-Mai Bui-Quang
"Seasons of Constancy" by Bryan Wong

These and the others will all feature prominently in the coming workshops and CMT II.

Comic Making Tournament II: Planning Begins

This is the 100th post to the CCP blog. I hope it's provided useful information. I'm going to try and record the steps that go into making a tournament as they happen, unlike before when I waited until afterwards to write them down.

Right now, I know I have $1300 to use to fund the second CMT thanks to the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. The bulk of this money will go to purchasing prizes for the tournament. Right now, I'll looking at getting mostly graphic novels based on webcomics, such as the Flight anthologies. I'm also looking at other webcomic merchandise like mugs and t-shirts (Questionable Content and Dr. McNinja in particular have excellent shirts).

Transportation will be an issue. Since I live in Pittsburgh, now, I may have to use some of the money to fly back to New Haven for the event. I am, however, looking into getting support by some University of Pittsburgh groups. That should maximize the funds I can invest into rewards for the kids.

At the first tournament, the two long-form events were not very well received, so I've decided to cut them. This will leave three events: Short-form Pre-drawn, Short-form Original, and Speed. I'll budget more time to each, allowing students to make more stand alone comics and to see how many they produce when motivated to go fast.

I'm also planning on unveiling a fourth event based on a CCP related project I've been working on for several weeks: a comic project game. The game is still in its early stages (I have yet to assemble all the materials, let alone playtest), but I hope that by the time fo the CMT it'll be ready to feature. The game itself will be worked in as a competitive event to take place after Speed.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

CCP Anniversary Workshop

In case you're wondering why I'm acquiring all these new comics when the CCP has been on hiatus, it's because I'm preparing for upcoming events. One of these is an anniversary workshop that I'm planning for November 20, 2007. It's not precisely one year from the start, but close enough.

I've talked to the Carnegie Library people and will be working on finding a proper venue. Two of the libraries I approached (a branch near my home and the main branch) do not have any significant grade school population; they only have very young kids (toddlers) or older teens. The reason for the difficulty is demographics: while the New Haven Public Library had several elementary schools nearby, the two libraries I talked to apparently do not.

Fortunately, the librarians did tell me there's an interest for more programming. Once I fill out the volunteer application form and submit a summary of the CCP, they'll be working with me to find a library that has sufficient numbers of children for the CCP to run.

The librarians also suggested trying an alternate approach in case they can't help me: use the University of Pittsburgh's own community connections to reach out directly to schools. It's been a few years since I was last in a classroom as an instructor, but this might be a good approach based on Tycho and Gabe's experience.

Additionally, I'm hoping to run a second workshop the week of December 17, 2007 with a holiday theme. I'm also working on laying the groundwork for the second Comic Making Tournament in March.

More Comics for the CCP

Another set of comics have joined the CCP:

"Applegeeks" by Hawk and Ananth
"Stubble" and "Punks and Nerds" by Josh Mirman
"I Come From Mars", "Ghost Hunters", and "Vampire Overlords" by Eunice P.

Unfortunately, I also had my first "please do not use" letter. It was surprisingly from a comic done by an English teacher in Japan, so I had been expecting a positive reply. Fortunately, there have been more than enough positive responses to make up for the loss of one potential participant.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Another Group of Comics Joins the CCP

A lot more than just two webcomics have joined the CCP this time around. Several of these are big name webcomics, too.

"Piled Higher and Deeper" (aka PhD) by Jorge Cham
"Little Dee" by Chris Baldwin
"Annie" and "Emo" by Nate Lee (in addition to Faking Life)
"Jellaby" by Kean Soo
"Saturnalia" by Space Coyote

And there are still more to come!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Daisy is Dead CCP Tribute Comic

Image my surprise when I went to read today's installment of "Daisy is Dead" and found a comic paying tribute to the Create a Comic Project! Thanks!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Two by Two They Join the CCP

Another pair of huge names in webcomics have joined the CCP. The first is Kazu Kibuishi, the man behind Flight, who has granted me permission to use Copper and Clive & Cabbage in the CCP. The second is Jonathan Rosenberg of Goats fame.

To paraphrase Nietzsche: "What is happiness? The feeling that [content] increases!"

Monday, September 3, 2007

Another Pair of Comics Join

Two more comics have agreed to be part of the CCP:

"Awkward Zombie" by Katie Tiedrich
"Daisy is Dead" by Lindsay Smith

Still awaiting word on some of the larger webcomics I asked.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Links Page Updated

The CCP's Links page has been updated with links to all the comics that have joined so far. I'll be updating the copyright info blurb, as well, later on.

Dicebox Joins the CCP

Jenn Lee's Dicebox is the newest addition to the CCP roster.

This makes 13 new comics that have joined the CCP in the last month, ensuring I'll have plenty of new templates to use with my students this November and December.

Two More Comics Join

Two more comics have joined:

"Hate Song" by Fred Grisolm
"No Rest for the Wicked" by Andrea Peterson

Both present very unique art styles that I'm sure my students will enjoy. Peterson's take on fairy tales is especially attractive.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

More Comics Join the CCP!

In a continuing wave of sign-ups, a several more comics have joined the CCP:

"Narbonic" and "Smithson" by Shaenon Garrity
"Nothing Nice to Say" and "The Coffee Achievers" by Mitch Clem

Given my love of mad scientists, it's great to have Narbonic on board. And Clem's work further expands the variety of art my students will be exposed to. With luck, there will be even more additions to announce in coming days!