Jon Gorga had a dinner of sugar, sugar, and more sugar last night and he has a few things to tell you...

So the second part of my exploration of comics in digital form isn't ready and has been delayed for a few days... In lieu, I give you this potpourri...

1. Clare and Josh are bound by the rules of humbleness and grace not to toot their own horn on the Bard College Comic Symposium coming tomorrow.

But I'm not.

I know for a fact that both Josh and Clare have worked like crazy to assure that the almost day-long event will go off without a hitch. Here's a breakdown of the presenters:

Nicki France is among the most intelligent, sweet, creative, softspoken but highly opinionated people I know. She was doing research a few months ago on examples of Chinese calligraphy in American comics. (I sent her some stuff that hopefully helped out a bit.) That research combined with her voracious interest in all kinds of comics and her interest in Asian studies (most specifically the Chinese language) is going to pay off for all of us in her presentation on the calligraphic arts as filtered through the comics medium.

Senia Hardwick is a close personal friend of mine and I stress that she is a close personal friend for one specific reason: she is a mad scientist and someday may make a bid for world domination and if she wins, I'd like to be on the lower end of the scale of torment. Her status as a supervillain-in-training who has studied psychology and pharmacology makes her particularly perfect to present on the different manifestations and possible real-world application of the Batman villain Scarecrow's fear gas.

Molly Ostertag is a Bard College freshman who will talk about her own comics work and about the medium of comics itself. She is the only presenter I have never met so there is little I can say about her but I do know that the presentations by actual comicsmiths have always been among the highlights of these Symposiums. I've heard her work is wonderful.

The Long and Shortbox Of It!'s
Josh Kopin has been invited to give his presentation from last year's Symposium on the political and symbolic implications of Ed Brubaker's (still continuing) run on "Captain America" at C2E2 in Chicago NEXT WEEK! The mix of his love for "the Immortal Iron Fist" with his recent growing interest in the various forms comics takes and his new concept of differing styles as a narrative tool promise to come together for a presentation as unique and exciting as last year's.

and The Long and Shortbox Of It!'s
Clare Nolan began research many months ago on the Freudian implications of the darkness of the Dark Knight as a diametrical opposite to the brightness of his Rogue's Gallery and both in light of Frued's concept of 'the uncanny,' i.e. the familiar made unfamiliar, most often through mirroring and doubles. As a Batman fan, we know Clare's going to give us something respectful, and as a brilliant* writer, we know we're getting something rigorous and fascinating.

Prof. Ben Stevens has probably held for quite some time the position of The Smartest Guy I Know. Recently published in the online academic journal ImageText, with a paper on the topic of the self-aware nature of Craig Thompson's "Blankets" which was largely built from work he presented on at last year's Symposium. His new presentation on 'semiotics and ethics' in Alan Moore's "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" will no doubt be as crazy and brilliant as his past work.

Chris Claremont is... well a very famous writer who made the X-Men what they are just after he graduated from Bard College in 1972. And then continued to write them for seventeen years. He's also a friendly guy and a genuinely interesting writer. Securing him to talk for this event was quite a coup and it's going to be very, very cool!

If you can, you should be at the Bito Auditorium, in the Reem-Kayden Center for Science and Computation, on the Bard College campus in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY on Saturday at 3PM.

By the way, it's free!

But if you really can't be at the Bard College campus on Saturday at 3PM...

2. ...and you live in the vaguely reachable area around New York City, you better damn well be at the 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue for the annual MoCCA Festival. It's my favorite comics-event of the year. The number of cool things to see and cool people to meet never ceases to amaze, while remaining at an amount that you're actually capable of experiencing in the time the event lasts! The mega-huge giganta-cons like NY COMIC-CON haven't seemed to figure that out or don't seem to care.

Look up the details here on the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art's page devoted to the festival.

One of my favorite people to see at MoCCA every year is...

3. Monica Gallagher. Monica created a comic a few years ago called "boobage" that is so many kinds of excellent I can't begin to tell you. It's a wonderful short comic about growing-up that shows how comics can be a fantastic presentation of a singular concept and a singular vision clearly dramatized on the page. I had the opportunity to meet her for the second time recently at a small signing of women comicsmiths at Jim Hanley's Universe and as I awkwardly stammered about how awesome her work is (and struggled to hear what she was saying because my damned right ear has been nearly deaf for four days from my seasonal allergies) we talked about "Boobage", how excellent MoCCA is, the awesome/discouraging possible future world of digital comics, and her latest offering: "When I Was a Mall Model". Seeing Monica made me feel a bit better about missing MoCCA this year! So thanks for that!

Hey Bard students who liked "Boobage"! I'm coming to Bard and I'm only bringing one comic: "When I Was a Mall Model".
(Which is essentially a kina-sorta-defacto sequel to "Boobage".) Ask me to see it!

Monica's website is

*I don't believe Clare Nolan is brilliant because she's my girlfriend. Clare Nolan is my girlfriend because I believe she's brilliant. I think if you hear her speak, you will agree with me.

If You'll Excuse Me A Little Self Promotion...

The Bard College Comic Symposium was written up in the Poughkeepsie Journal today, and yours truly is quoted! Take a look!

Seven Psychopaths Looks Badass

Check out this Sean Phillips art for the soon to be released in the States 7 Psychopaths, originally published in French. It looks great, and the series is bound to be a smash.

Digital Comics Part 1: People Make Comics on the Internet? You Don't Say!

Yes, our favorite art medium has made the jump, like its older siblings prose and visual art, from the two-dimensional paper/canvas to the two-dimensional screen and stands straddling the chasm between them.

Actually, it did it a long time ago. According to Wikipedia a few single-panel drawn-and-scanned cartoons first appeared on the early internet provider CopuServe in the mid-Eighties. They were followed by a few newspaper comics going online when their print existences were canceled.

[At right, the first "Argon Zark" web-strip by Charley Parker. The first true webcomic. June 1995. Believe it or not, it was still being updated as late as 2oo8!]

Real sequential art/designed-for-the-web comics first appeared in the mid-Nineties. Where were you? Pretty remarkable that the evolution from single-panel to multiple-panel mimics the birth of newspaper comic-strips and the parallel evolution from reprints or continuations to new material mimics the development of the comic-book. History repeats itself... as they say.

I was in the fourth grade in 1995, but there's really no excuse for taking as long as I did to start reading them. In 2oo6, in my sophomore year of college, something made me finally want to find a good webcomic. I cannot recall for the life of me what it was specifically but I do remember thinking: "Gee, a lot of my friends read webcomics. Print comics readers and non-readers alike. What am I missing?"

I loved it. I stayed up and in one night read almost half of the then six-year-old archive. The characters are exaggerated without being caricatures and the situations are hilarious without necessarily being ridiculous. Indeed, the relationship between Clango and Maura could be seen as very forward thinking... You know, symbolically. Or like, for the future of advanced robotics.

The best one-stop-shop for webcomics is unquestionably Home of the stories of Act-I-Vate's unofficial ringmaster Dean Haspiel and the ongoing adventures of his existential explorer/lover/brute Billy Dogma. Not to mention the work of one I've sung the praises of on this site before: Mike Cavallaro. Plus the brilliant Xeric Award winnng Jason Little and way more amazing comicsmths than I have space to list here!

Somewhere along the way, some brilliant and wonderful person or persons steered my ship into the harbor that is

"xkcd" is, in my humble opinion, the best webcomic on the net for one reason: It consistently does so much with so little!

Brilliance. Brilliance. Brilliance.

Sciency, romantic, hilarious brilliance.

Another comic I soon discovered and loved was "life with leslie" by Les McClaine. If all these robots and absurdist humor has you thinking the web has no comics of logical integrity or realism, well... that's because a lot of them don't. But it doesn't mean there aren't ones out there that do. "life with leslie" (available on, although sadly no longer updated because its creator has moved on to other work) is largely made-up of little celebrations of the simple moments of everyday life. Often done excellently!

There are probably literally millions of comics online. Most of them for free. All of them available from any computer, phone, or magical futuristic device with internet capabilities. (More on this in part two!)

Today, I actually make a webcomic myself, updated monthly at my site The ComicSmithy!

But I just recently took a different plunge. I connected several webcomics' RSS feeds ("Diesel Sweeties" and "XKCD" among them) to my Google reader account. So help me, I'm following these webcomics as they are updated in the same way I watch the solicits and visit my comic shop regularly. I have made the leap and stand with one foot in each world. Two worlds that are now far closer than they once were when the first sequential art was uploaded to the web more than twenty years ago.
If the gods of time management smile upon us, part two should arrive in your longboxes tomorrow.