July 22, 2014

What I’m Up to This Week

Filed under: Uncategorized — caliway @ 1:43 pm

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It’s time for Comic Con again.

And its on my birthday this time. I’m excited.
I dunno. I realize Comic Con  (as in the San Diego Comic Con) is kindof a cluster-f*ck and that the sheer quantity of humans amounts to mayhem, but I always get super excited at the approach of this most enormous gathering, and so far I’ve had pretty much a blast each time I’ve gone. It is one of my pilgrimages.

Plus, and I’m not gonna lie, the hotel has a swimming pool. It’s been over a year since I’ve been in a body of water larger than a tub and I’m excited.

So I’ll be bringing with me a few home-printed copies of my latest short work Nectar (see the first 4 pages here)

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It’s probably the best comic work I’ve ever done so far– and it felt extremely gratifying to do. Aiming to do more like it soon.

In other news, I’m reminded that I’ve really gotta devote more time in the future to such things as my Patreon, the Facebook Page, and the whole rest of the social media puzzle for this. I’ve found it can become a part-time-job just keeping up with social media– no wonder Media Intern is now a thing. Fortunately my good friends at the Webcomic Underdogs (we have been meeting up every so often– if you’re in the Bay Area you should watch for the next one!) reminded me of how they’ve been using Patreon, and it gave me a bunch of ideas. Really, there are so friggin many cool tools and tricks out there now, and Patreon is definitely one of the most intriguing– I mean, Patreon’s one of the only ideas out there, and it’s not just an idea it’s a functioning, breathing model, that’s gotten me pretty much as excited as any of my own ideas, and I really hope to see it prosper as time goes by.

I’ve been reading more blogs recently and in particular this past week, getting intrigued by this idea of writing 1000 words per day, and I started seeing all these articles about how this commitment and practice changed people’s careers– and it makes total sense. This is something I’m going to probably need to do, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Hoping to see you at the Con,

Caliway

June 6, 2014

Review #3: Brian Fies The Last Mechanical Monster

Filed under: Uncategorized — caliway @ 7:55 pm
5 webcomics have been nominated by the Eisners for Best Webcomic this year, and I have made it one of my priorities this year to read them all before the winner is announced. And let me tell you, it has been a treat.

Moving on from my last review on As the Crow Flies, I go on to the next Eisner nominee I’ll be reviewing: The Last Mechanical Monsterhttp://lastmechanicalmonster.blogspot.com

Significant to this webcomic is a 1941 Superman cartoon called The Mechanical Monsters, which the creator has posted on the front page. For those who cannot watch the cartoon, Fies has broken down its key elements and laid them out in comic narrative, such that this important part of the narrative won’t be missed. Important because Fies’ comic focuses on the main villain of this cartoon, who has been in prison since 1941, released in 2005 to resume wreaking havoc and robbing banks in the internet age. The whole premise is witty, faithful to its origin, and charming as hell.

Something else my trip down the list of Eisner nominees has shown me is the excitement of reading a work-in-progress closer and closer to the current moment, finally catching up with the author (at least as far as his/her uploaded pages go) and being brought to the precipice of now, after which there is no more story to read… yet. So I have read, and I have left off, in this place where our mad and cranky genius is just starting, just starting to not see other people as his peons and opening up to the need to be at least superficially decent. I can tell this is a comic I’m going to be thinking about later, and checking back once there’ve been more pages. Funny how close you feel to the author of a work, with webcomics, like someone is letting you read their draft pages as they finish them. However with this work, it’s all just too polished and clean to be draft.

So I could go on into Fies’ background and career (I didn’t realize he was the creator of “Mom’s Cancer” going in to the work) he strikes me as one of the more professionally accomplished creators on the list of nominees. I’ll hold off, though, on rehashing too much of Fies’ previous works– since I’m no expert and all I’d be doing is repeating wikipedia. All I’ll say on that is that his experience and the professional ease and clarity of his story are clear to see. He does alot of things book-perfect and compliments throughout the comments evidence the impression many have of this. One wouldn’t be wrong to look at this comic as an example of what to do right, in many ways. I myself am fascinated by a black-and-white work that doesn’t really hurt for color. Right amount of white, I think, and simple-enough lines, is my theory.

The short and long is that this comic is a treat. I mean, the word “treat” literally drifted through my mind as I read this– and I mean, that also lends itself to the original animation, which in itself is this perfect encapsulation of the cheesy, apple-pie-and-motherhood defending Superman of the 40′s. I wouldn’t call this a devotional work to the animation, but it is definitely a worthy outgrowth. If I’m ever in need of an example for good things that can happen when creative works enter the public domain, I’ve found it right here.

May 30, 2014

Comic Review #2: Melanie Gillman’s As the Crow Flies

Filed under: Uncategorized — caliway @ 7:49 pm

I’ve assigned myself a task: read all 5 of the Eisner nominees for Best Webcomic 2014. And let me tell you, that has become a worthwhile task. I gotta say, I almost don’t know what more I can add to a work that has been nominated for such a lofty honor with my little reviewing efforts, but as I’ve gotten in the habit (thanks to Goodreads) of writing about works that have moved me, here I go.

First thing you’ll notice about As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman is that it is drawn entirely in colored pencil, which from experience drawing comics by the week I can tell you must be an exhausting process. Not only is it colored in colored pencil, but it is colored fully, deeply and richly: the backgrounds are full of trees and those trees are full of needles you can almost smell. The work is friggin gorgeous, it almost glows. The colored pencil industry’s gotta find this and display it as an ad or something.

Secondly, the story involves personal experiences of racial isolation and ignorance. It focuses on an African American girl who has just arrived at Christian summer camp, only to find that all her camp-mates are white. The setting, being the quiet and slow-moving backdrop of a walk through the woods, gives the author the chance to do close examination of all the ups and downs and nerves and relieving feelings that a kid who feels alone in this particular way must go through. It’s an eye-opening read and important.

And ok, the most poignant thing to me about this whole work: two weeks after reading it, I’m still thinking about the main character. I’m worried about her! I’m worried for her like I know her. That, to me, has gotta be the sign of an effective comic. Any work that has me still thinking about it later, in my real life– that’s a work I’ll call worth reading. I’ll be lingering around her website, waiting to hear what happens to Charlie, to be sure.http://www.melaniegillman.com

May 26, 2014

Big Wow, BayCon, WebComic Underdogs Bay Area Meetup, OMG so much action…

Filed under: Uncategorized — caliway @ 7:48 pm

The last 2 weekends have been a storm of firsts!

Last weekend’s Big Wow was my first time ever sitting behind a table, which I shared with the awesome Emily Flowers, creator of Chapel Also Ran! Also big thanks to Hannah McGill, creator of Rawr for all her help :) Couldn’t've done it without ya!

Highlight of Big Wow was being asked to sit in a panel “Webcomics from Script to Print” put on by the creators of Captain Quail (check out their Big Wow edition— it was created improv-style in collaboration with the audience) Talk about firsts– was my first time sitting on a panel and man it was cool… Got a chance to answer questions from ex and aspiring webcomic creators, and after the talk there were folks from the audience coming to my table to talk more. Was awesome!

Fast forward a week and another first for me: an artwork in the art show at Bay Con. I drew up an image (you can see it here) for the occasion– theme was Honor. This was my first Bay Con and, actually, my first Science Fiction convention– I didn’t actually realize there *were* science fiction conventions, as opposed to Anime / comics conventions. (SO many firsts for me this weekend!) It was pretty eye-opening. Different crowd, different structure… Lots of similarities, but still quite distinct. Good times! And here I am aware of a whole new scene I never saw before.

And to top off this weekend we kicked off the first ever meetup of Webcomics Underdogs Bay Area!! It was awesome to see webcomic creators and hopefuls of every level experience get together to talk about their passion– one person commented to me that she never gets the chance to meet or talk to people who even know what a webcomic is, let alone other creators. Super exciting– I really feel like the group felt instant cohesion and there was much documenting and even an illustration commemorating the event. I feel like there’s a definite, visible need for meetups like this in the era of digital connections– that’s what I think made the internet so important to people so quickly: the fact that people on the fringe could find each other.

Admittedly I’m kinda glad there’s a space now before the next action-packed weekend. Next, I’ll get back to reviewing comics. See you soon-

May 12, 2014

Review: Captain Quail!

Filed under: Uncategorized — caliway @ 1:58 am
Unashamed disclaimer: I’ve decided that a useful thing for me to do with this blog of mine, is to review webcomics I have seen. Other comics too, but I’ll start there. I have a little bit of practice doing this thanks to my goodreads account, so here we go :)
I met the creators of Captain Quail at the very fun and pretty small Kraken Con in Oakland a few months back. They were giving a panel on comic creation and they both seemed to be fountains of information and enthusiasm for webcomics. Philip made the very insightful remark during his talk that “webcomics is like racing towards a cliff, and throwing out bricks in front of you as you run so you don’t fall off,”  which refers to the way webcomic creators need to meet weekly deadlines and are constantly trying to produce content ahead of schedule so they have some leeway in case they cannot work for a week for any reason. I have definitely experienced this, and am always making grand plans to get a chapter ahead of my deadlines for KerBop– so far this remains wishful thinking. Oh well.So getting to Captain Quail, it is accurately described as a parody of Star Trek, and it is hilarious and very cute in my opinion. I hope artist Allison doesn’t mind I find the birds quite adorable, in particular our heroes, the Captain and Mr. Squak.

I find this sequence pretty cute
Image from http://quailcomics.com

HaHa I dig that Mr Squak’s serious demeanor just accentuates the visual pun
image from http://quailcomics.com

You know, I think of myself as one who doesn’t go in much for spoofs or parodies, some part of me assumes that such content cannot possibly contain originality. However when I think of it, I can actually count probably dozens of Star Trek parodies, in the form of skits or shows or episodes of shows, and probably many more of Star Wars, and found them enjoyable. Captain Quail harnesses that charm that Star Trek the original series had: its campyness (enhanced by bird humor) but especially its characters. The personalities of the spritely Captain Kirk (who comes across way less skeezy here than in other parodies I’ve seen), and the severe Mr. Spock, are extremely resonant here but, at the same time, feel remarkably fresh. This comic reminds me of how lasting an impact that duo was, how well their personalities complimented each other and how good a recipe for fiction, humor, and action that pair was. I feel like I can easily see Captain Quail as an act of homage, but it also feels new. And it’s funny to boot.

The comic starts to get into this pattern which the creators blog about at one point: a “pattern of story arc – a few single strips – story arc,” and I agree with them it seems to be working well. I didn’t think about this pattern much till now, but it’s a good point that webcomics are really well positioned to take advantage of *both* the comic book and comic strip formats, to bounce between the two and contain both formats in a single story. Again it speaks to the fact that Philip and Allison are both very knowledgeable people and it’s really enlightening to read their comments about what they’re doing.

Well that’s all for this week’s review. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

And another question for anyone who might be around to ask– I’m totally sick of the name “Magic Dreams Comics,” it’s just way goofy and doesn’t reflect the direction of my work anymore. Honestly I was sick of it the week after I bought the darn URL haha. Any suggestions anyone? You’re all beautiful.

March 13, 2014

A Change of Website!

Filed under: Uncategorized — caliway @ 10:33 pm

I hope you’ve all been enjoying my webcomic KerBop! I’m moving the whole megillah from the old website to a NEW website for continuing sagas :)

As of now, please direct your reading pleasures to KerBop.com :)

P.S. I’ll be keeping the old site up, if for no other reason than it’s interesting to see the comic (at least the first 20 pages or so) laid out vertically on a single web-page. It was interesting for a while to try out that format, but I can see now that this story is just so long, that it makes sense to make the transition to the more usual format for webcomics :).

February 27, 2014

The Princess’ Flashbacks

Filed under: Uncategorized — caliway @ 5:19 am

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I apologize that this week’s upload was a day late– I’ve been working hard on the over-arching plot (was necessary to look ahead a bit in order to draw this) and I fell a little bit behind on drawing. Apologies ahead of time in case I’m a little tardy for the next week or so with uploads– but I can tell you that I’m pretty excited about things I’m planning for the story.

February 23, 2014

page 21

Filed under: Uncategorized — caliway @ 4:59 am

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KerBop cures dragons of their pain by sending them on into new and unpredictable lives as seemingly insignificant and humble creatures, about which humans know little. There are reasons why past lives are hard to see.

Read the whole comic so far at:

http://magicdreamscomics.com/KerBop.php

February 16, 2014

New Upload today

Filed under: Uncategorized — caliway @ 8:51 pm

sorry I’m a day late this week :P

http://magicdreamscomics.com/kerbop.php

February 8, 2014

Page 15!

Filed under: Uncategorized — caliway @ 10:11 pm

magicdreamscomics.com/KerBop.phpKerBop_ch1_15

Page 15 :)

This is one of my favorite pages so far…