Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Webcomics at Otakon Part 1: Meeting New Faces

While Otakon 2008 is not known as a webcomic convention, it does have many webcomic artists in attendance at the artist alley. I took advantage of this by going around and asking them if they wanted to allow me to us their comics in the Create a Comic Project. Everyone I asked said yes! In fact, the only reason a couple comics didn't sign up was that their artists weren't there.

The first people I approached were Jennie Breeden of The Devil's Panties and Gina Biggs of Red String and Erstwhile. I'd seen them at the Women in Webcomics panel and wanted to get their advice about teaching comics to girls. Both of them recommended I keep doing what I'm doing: using comics with both male and female protagonists. Both were pleased I was using Girl Genius and Narbonic, as they considered them fine examples of webcomics with female leads.

Next up was Dirk Tiede of Paradigm Shift, who was kind enough to also sketch me as an anime character. Siting near him was Jennifer Brazas of Mystic Revolution, who also signed on. It helped they were both next to Brion Foulke of Flipside, already a CCP member.

I got another sketch from Shawn Handyside, who drew me hugging a lovely companion cube. He does a number of comics, including Staccato and Fork You. Circling around, I got to meet Dave Lister of Paradox Lost, plus two of the guys behind Anime USA! They tossed me a free t-shirt and invited me to host a community service workshop at the con.

Standing at a corner handing out slips of paper to advertise his comic was James Hatton of In His Likeness, who I'd seen earlier at the Collaborating a Webcomic panel. I don't have any surreal/symbolic comics and his fills the slot nicely. Nearby was Matt Herms, who's currently the official artist for Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic book. He's given me permission to use all his old Sonic fan comics (though obviously not the Archie pages since he doesn't own them), which will be nice for the kids.

I then got to meet Dave from Snafu Comics. I've been a fan of Dave's work on Tin and was happy to get permission to use it. Even better, Dave was also able to speak for Bleedman and give me permission to use the PPG Doujin, Grim Tales from Down Below, and Sugar Bits! The kids are really going to love Bleedman's polished style.

Walking through led me to meet another big name in webcomics: Mookie of Dominic Deegan! I only have a handful of fantasy comics, so it's nice to have another on board. And Mookie really is as nice a guy as everyone says he is. I barely had to say more than, "I help teach kids how to make comics" and he was volunteering Deegan for use.

I had a chance to talk to two of the comic creators at Bohemian Trash: James Riot of The Path and J.E. Seames of Dis, Hamlet, and Project C. Their art styles are very different from what I've been using in the CCP so far. They questioned whether I could find anything suitable for kids, but since I use the comics on a page by page basis, it shouldn't be a problem.

Close by was Brian Wilson of Hookie Dookie Panik and his new series Geist Panik. I knew him mainly through the "review" by John Solomon, but found it amusing that Wilson had used the review to produce a t-shirt - a good way to turn criticism into profit. Chris Malone of Blue and Blond was also on hand, having survived Wilson's Connecticon prank.

One of the last webcomic people I talked to was also one of the biggest names: Bill Holbrook of Kevin & Kell. He's been doing webcomics longer than pretty much everyone and it's a great honor to have his comic on board!

So a list of all the comics that have joined the comic project as a result of Otakon:

Blue and Blond
Devil's Panties
Dominic Deegan
Fork You
Geist Panik
Grim Tales From Down Below
Hookie Dookie Panic
In His Likeness
Kevin & Kell
Mystic Revolution
Paradigm Shift
Paradox Lost
The Path
PPG Doujin
Project C
Red String
Snafu Comics
Sugar Bits

This is the single largest group of comics to join the project in such a short amount of time. And I should also mention there are a number of comics whose contact info I was able to get who I need to email for final approval, so this number will increase. Clearly, cons are a great way to get to meet other comic creators, even if the con doesn't specifically cater to them.

Coming up in Part 2: I'm going to post photos of familiar faces who I got to meet in person!

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