Achewood Television Trailer One "Hello, world" from therussians on Vimeo.

I’m flying to Los Angeles today to begin a week of network pitch meetings. If things go well, we’ll find a home for our show. Please cross your fingers for us, send us your good energy. And please, share this clip with your world. I’m very proud of what we’ve done.

That's "Achewood" creator Chris Onstad in yesterday's blog post, directing fans of the long-running webcomic to check out this animated clip based on the series.

Clocking in at just under 20 seconds, it's your first look at the "Achewood" cast in motion--doing things.

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By Sean Kleefeld

Will Brooker is the preeminent expert on Batman. He gained some notoriety in the late 1990s as the first person to write a doctoral thesis on the character, and he’s since written hundreds of articles and a few books on the Dark Knight. Now, though, Brooker is turning his attention to My So-Called Secret Identity, an original creation that’s launching as a webcomic on February 18 with preview artwork on his MSCSI Facebook page. Here's Part Two of our interview with Brooker (click here for Part One). Read More...

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By Sean Kleefeld

Will Brooker is the preeminent expert on Batman. He gained some notoriety in the late 1990s as the first person to write a doctoral thesis on the character, and he’s since written hundreds of articles and a few books on the Dark Knight. Now, though, Brooker is turning his attention to My So-Called Secret Identity, an original creation that’s launching as a webcomic on February 18 with preview artwork on his MSCSI Facebook page. Here's Part One of our interview with Brooker. Read More...

By Sean Kleefeld

Ron Perazza and Daniel Govar have been making waves in the comic industry for several years now. Perazza started his career working on Marvel trading cards, and eventually became the editorial director for DC’s Zuda Comics imprint. Govar comes more from an animation background, but caught comics’ attention with Azure, published through Zuda. Last year, they launched a new project called Comic Book Think Tank, largely as an avenue for them to explore the notions of webcomics in a very public space. As part of that exploration, they’ve created their own webcomics viewer, Yanapax, which they’re making freely available to anyone. Both Perazza and Govar sat down to talk about how they came to create CBTT, what they’re doing with it, and where they’re going with it. Govar was even kind enough to provide MTV Geek with an exclusive look at some of his art for one of their next stories. Read More...

By Sean Kleefeld

I try to be particular in my word choices, so let’s clear up “fumetti” right off the bat. In English, the term is commonly used to describe comics that are made up of photographs instead of drawings. It’s actually a borrowed word, though, originally coming from Italy. “Fumetto” is the Italian word for a comic, with “fumetti” being the plural form. It got lifted into English with a slight alteration to the meaning, and the basic concept of photographed comics was reasonably popular throughout the 1970s. Most commonly, they were used as printed adaptations of movies and TV shows, with still shots being used as a quick and easy way to show the same story. This allowed fans to revisit their favorites repeatedly before the widespread use of home video, and these fotonovels, as they were often called, largely disappeared from store shelves with the advent of VHS. Although, strictly speaking, “fumetti” are comics produced in Italy, I’m going to use the term here in the common English vernacular. Read More...

By Sean Kleefeld

For a long time, there were two names in the comic industry that I loved and hated at the same time: Kubert and Romita. Joe Kubert and John Romita both started working on comics back in the 1940s. While their earliest pieces perhaps weren’t stellar, they quickly learned on the job. They both worked tirelessly through 1950s and ‘60s, and gained more than a fair amount of notoriety for their work as it became more and more impressive in both illustration and storytelling. Some of the characters they worked on, while not owned by them, became synonymous with their names. Kubert was THE Hawkman artist; Romita was THE Spider-Man artist. Both very talented men, to be sure. Read More...

By Sean Kleefeld

Behind the scenes factoid: I write all of my Kleefeld on Webcomics columns in the cloud. Actually, I do almost all of my writing in the cloud these days. Wait... is “the cloud” common nomenclature yet? OK, for those who may not have heard about “the cloud” yet, it’s a fairly generic term referring to where my data is stored. Until recently, you were limited to your hard drive and maybe a few flash drives to port things around. The cloud refers to storing your data online. That way, it’s automatically backed up via the large storage servers and I can access it from pretty much anywhere with an internet connection. Which means that I can start writing this column from the comfort of my home, but then pick up and finish from a computer in the local library. Or at friend’s place. Or wherever. I can work on this almost whenever the mood strikes me, regardless of whether or not I thought to make a backup copy on a flash drive and carry that around with me. Read More...

By Sean Kleefeld

Every year, towards the end of December, things tend to get a little nuts. With several holidays clustered together, many people are out trying to prepare for at least one of them and, even if that precludes buying gifts, there’s frequently extra meal planning to take care of. Which also makes things busier for folks working in retail. Plus, there are office parties to attend, charities asking for contributions of your time and money, and seemingly no end of family obligations. With everyone rushing around trying to care of their business -- on top of keeping up with their regular work schedule -- everything seems to take longer. Checkout lines are longer, there’s more traffic everywhere, and there’s always that little old lady who still doesn’t even take out her checkbook to pay for her groceries until the cashier has told her the total. And you thought you could just duck into the store quickly to pick up some egg nog on the way to the party! Read More...

I’m dating myself a bit by kicking off this week’s column with a Great Space Coaster reference, but I think Gary Gnu was wrong: no news is NOT good news! At least when it pertains to webcomics.

One of the reasons that I was eager to start this column not quite two years ago was that, while there were plenty of large comics/pop culture/geek websites out there, none of them were really talking about webcomics. It’s not like webcomics were being wholly ignored, of course, but the big sites tended to only make reference to them when there was some kind of crossover news item. Faith Erin Hicks’ Superhero Girl being printed by Dark Horse, for example, or Karl Kesel working on City of the Dead. Where it was coming up as a news item not so much for the fact that it a webcomic was involved, but because there was some more traditional association with printed comics. Either a print creator was foraging into webcomics territory or a webcomicker landed some kind of arrangement with a print publisher. Read More...

By Sean Kleefeld

This is Part Two of an interview with Chris Watkins, who has been publishing Odori Park since 2009. On his comic’s “About” page, he assures readers that “Odori Park is total fiction, and in no way autobiographical. Except for the part about being married to a Japanese woman, and having multi-racial children. And having taught English in Japan. And running a small business. And at least half the gags. Other than that, really, it's woven out of whole cloth.” Recently, Watkins deliberately went through a series of “artsperiments” with his webcomic to see how he could improve the strip, and I caught up with him to talk about those changes, how he got to making them and what he came away from them with. Read More...

By Sean Kleefeld

This is Part One of an interview with Chris Watkins, who has been publishing Odori Park since 2009. On his comic’s “About” page, he assures readers that “Odori Park is total fiction, and in no way autobiographical. Except for the part about being married to a Japanese woman, and having multi-racial children. And having taught English in Japan. And running a small business. And at least half the gags. Other than that, really, it's woven out of whole cloth.” Recently, Watkins deliberately went through a series of “artsperiments” with his webcomic to see how he could improve the strip, and I caught up with him to talk about those changes, how he got to making them and what he came away from them with. Read More...

By Sean Kleefeld

When I started this column, I said it was my intent to cover all aspects of webcomics. Now you could either look at that as an attempt to be as comprehensive as possible, or you can look at it as a cop-out statement that gives me a lot of leeway in trying to figure what the heck I’m going to write about. Neither position would be wholly inaccurate. Read More...

By Sean Kleefeld

If you’ve looked at more than even a few webcomics, you’re pretty likely to find a fairly wide range of sizes and formats. Some are square, some are horizontal, some are vertical. Some are about the same proportions as a comic book, some are more like a newspaper strip, some don’t seem to fall into any regular pattern at all. Why are webcomickers all over the map with this?

Let’s take a quick history lesson first, and look at the comics of the early 20th century. Newspapers are the size they are because paper manufacturers. When paper manufacturing first became industrialized, the sheets they could cost-effectively produce topped out at around two feet by two and a half feet. This was called a broadsheet, and printers built their presses to fit that size. If you fold that sheet in half, you’ve got a pamphlet that’s about 15” x 24”. With that booklet style format, you could nest several of these folded sheets together and -- voilà! -- you’ve got the basics of a newspaper. Read More...

The comic book industry, as people are familiar with it today, has been in place for over seventy-five years and has remained fairly unchanged for the past thirty. The newspaper strip business has been around longer -- over one hundred years -- and has been pretty stable and consistent for most of that time. All of this can be evidenced by some of the characters that have remained viable to this day: Dagwood Bumstead, Popeye, Superman, Batman, etc. still appear in much the same form and format as they did over a half century ago. Compare, for example, these two Phantom comic strips from 1939 and 2012... Read More...

By Sean Kleefeld

The web was still in its infancy when I started looking at it in earnest. I enjoyed being able to find things from all around the world without having to leave the comfort of my bedroom. After a little while, I came across a brochure that was perhaps eight pages long explaining the internet in its entirety. It had a history, some technical information about information packets and IP addresses and a reference guide to HTML. Obviously, with only eight pages, everything was a pretty high level summary. But the HTML guide took an entire two pages and covered literally every bit of code that was available at that time. I learned the basics of HTML in one weekend, and had everything pretty well mastered in a second weekend. Not that I was particularly talented with it, there simply wasn’t much to learn back then. Read More...

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