1. sparklermonthly:

    Sparkler Share Your World Contest!

    We here at Sparkler Monthly believe in the power of getting lost in the worlds of stories we adore - and what’s cooler than inviting other people to share those worlds? Whether it’s loaning your favorite book to a close friend or inviting your buddies over to marathon that amazing new show, you’re inviting other people into your heart.

    How do you share your world? Draw us a picture (or a mini-comic!), write a short story or poem, or maybe even make us a song or a video about the ways that you share beloved stories with beloved people. Don’t want to recreate yourself or other people you know? Feel free to use your original characters! (No fanart without the creator’s permission, please.)

    The Sparkler editors will be awarding prizes to our favorite entries, judged on creativity, skill, and FEELS. The top prizes include cash, paperbacks, and subscriptions to our magazine!

    Submit your entry via the Submit Link on the Sparkler Monthly Tumblr – we will reblog the entries that follow all the contest rules (so make sure you read below!): 

    Contest terms and conditions:

    -Entries will be accepted until 11:59 P.M EST, June 30th, 2014.

    -Only one entry per person.

    -You will retain all the rights to your work -we only reserve the right to share it on social media (with your credit) and feature the winners on our site.

    -Employees or freelancers who work for Sparkler Monthly or Chromatic Press are not eligible for the prizes, although we’re happy to have them participate. We are open to submissions from all over the world!

    -We have the right to not reblog submissions for content reasons.

    -We’ll accept drawings, short comics, photographed crafts, music, and videos, as well as short stories and poems of 500 words or less. We picked the illustration above, drawn by Onorobo for Emily Compton's Dusk in Kalevia, as a great example of the kind of thing we’d love to see!

    Prizes:

    1st prize: US$200 cash prize, a year-long subscription to Sparkler Monthly, a one-month gift subscription to the friend of your choice, and your entry will be featured on the Sparkler Monthly site.

    2nd prize: A year-long subscription to Sparkler, any three (3) paperbacks from our store (excluding Sparkler Distro), and your entry featured on the Sparkler site.

    3rd prize: 6-month subscription, plus one (1) paperback (excluding Sparkler Distro).

    Fan favorite: Whoever gets the most notes on our Tumblr (excluding the above winners) wins a year-long subscription and any one (1) item from our store - such as a book, keychain, or poster (excluding Sparkler Distro).

    10 runners-up: An additional ten (10) awesome entries will win a one-month subscription to Sparkler Monthly!

    For any questions, post on our contest webpage or send an Ask here. Good luck!

    Tags:

    Tumblr: #Sparkler share your world

    Twitter: #Sparklershareyourworld

    contest.

     

  2. pisket:

    - perhaps you will be interested? otherwise have a nice day.

     

  3. lamezone:

    ok its already a lot later than i was planning to be awake

    if the ribbon.co link is a trash garbage or if you dont want to risk it just email me and when i wake up ill make sure its sorted out and you get your copy

    i have to sleep right now though i need to be more awake to search for a…

    DEVELOP A LANE

     
  4. dtcomics:

    The octopus … it can walk …

    FAM

    (Source: texancomics)

     
  5. BIG WORK

    (Source: lamezone)

     
  6. justinchungphotography:

    Sangsouvanh “Ping” Khounvichit.

    i might get this haircut

     

  7. i think im going to watch miami vice and write about it because i am assured that noone under the age of 35 has actually seen miami vice

    like at all

     
  8. lamezone:

    allhailgaysatan:

    HAIL GAY PHOTOSET


    excerpts from ‘hail gay satan’ (2013; the future)

    this about sums it up

    (via juryrig)

     
  9. blogblogblogsleep:

    YNCE ICHE

    15 MAR 2013

    I M G Z I N E 0 0 2

    GUMROAD.COM/PARTYDOG U BUY NOW

    (Source: ulfbert)

     
  10. taxiderby:

    lamezone:

    LAMEZINE 002: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON


    by partydog

    you can get it in two forms:

    STANDARD $0 contains:

    • full comic
    • deleted scenes
    • “animatic pages”
    • guest content from talented friends
    DELUXE $20 also contains:
    • commentary
    • 3 more microwave planet pages
    • SIMPSONS NIGHTMARE 2013
    • -nightmarathon guide 
    • -nightmare gallery 
    • -bart simpson memorial caverns
    • assorted garbages
    if you pre-ordered the deluxe version, you should have it in your email now! thank you! i hope everyone likes it. if you do, please spread the word!

    LAMEZINE IS HERE! LAMEZINE IS HERE!! LAMEZINE IS H

    Here’s a sneak peak of all the GIFTS the deluxe version brings to you!!:

    “commentary”

    “bonus microwave”

    “simpsons nightmart”

    GET IT TODAY

    (via lamezone)

     
  11. novicomics:

    Critiquing Impressions of Feminine Storytelling: In Defense of Moto Hagio’s The Heart of Thomas

    Part One: Feminine Media & A Girls’ Comics World



    This article is part one of a two-part series reviewing the reception to the English translation of Moto Hagio’s The Heart of Thomas and its English-language reviews in Western comics culture. Part One of this series concerns the cross-cultural influences of Japan’s shoujo industry, while Part 2 discusses reviews to the  Heart of Thomas translation and what this reception reflects as a barrier to a Western girls’ comics industry.



    While Moto Hagio’s classic shoujo manga (girls’ comic) The Heart of Thomas was released originally in Japan in 1974 and has long been heralded a classic shoujo story, the English-language translation, released on January 2nd of 2013, drew criticism from popular reviewers for the very stylistic and narrative elements that drew Thomas’ original audience of Japanese girls and women and lack insight and context into the depths of the story that Hagio built. The very issues that reviewers critiqued Thomas for, namely, the dramatic plots, the delicate, overtly feminine visual touches, and the complex mechanisms of gender within the story, are all cornerstones of shoujo storytelling and are all very obviously coded as feminine storytelling elements. While Thomas depicts male characters, Hagio codes femininity into every element of the story, with every effort towards drawing in her assumedly female audience.



    Thomas’ translation occupies a unique space in English-language comics as a beloved, popular work created by a woman for an explicitly female audience. The western-comics popular culture sphere has been crowded by male creators and stories for so long that a work as explicitly feminine as Thomas struggles to find a wide readership in English-language comics, as readers lack the tools to conceptualize such a feminine work. However, reception to Thomas illustrates the ways the explicitly feminine is undervalued and unappreciated in the mainstream Western comics world. By examining Thomas and its English-language reviews alongside literary and cultural motivations for Hagio’s storytelling styles, we can not only trace the greater significance of this landmark story, but we can also understand the barriers to bringing explicitly feminine comics to the mainstream comics world.



    What is feminine media and why does it matter in respect to comics?



    For the purposes of this essay, I will borrow from Sue Thornham’s description of media oriented towards women and define feminine media as “mainstream narratives which claim to speak to and about women, to inhabit a ‘women’s world’ and to offer positions of identification for their female consumers….across a number of media forms.” While femininity is a varied identity and experienced differently from individual to individual, “feminine” media is that which is obviously visually and stylistically geared towards women and girls. While gender is a purely constructed identity, women’s acceptance or preferences for overtly “feminine” media is not a biological result of their gender, but, as Lana Rakow explains in Rethinking Gender Research in Communication, due to “our gender system, which locates some people as women in a particular organization of social life, making that location appear natural and the result of biology and psychology rather than culture and politics.”



    Sassy Magazine

    Don't pretend you don't know what this is. 



    Not all women enjoy or consume this targeted feminine media, and outlets such as women’s magazines, romance novels, and soap operas face considerable criticism from feminist media scholars for their emphasis on consumerism, their reinforcement of traditional gender roles, their heterosexism and their racism. In The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf writes that triggered advertising in women’s magazines keeps women “in the self-hating, ever-failing, hungry, and sexually insecure state of being aspiring ‘beauties.’” Contemporary analysis of “empowering” girl-oriented magazines finds that even when their emphasis on beauty remains about self-expression in healthy ways, “girls’ agency is often presented as explicitly tied to buying things with the promise that these goods will give them social power and independence.” Romance novels, an especially gendered genre of fiction, face considerable criticism for promoting conservative and outdated views on women in the world.



    A confrontation between Edward and Bella



    However, as Thornham writes, they also provide “pleasures of self-recognition, of finding women placed centre-stage in a ‘woman’s genre,’ of participation in a shared women’s culture.” Such fiction empowers readers through independence and identification. Similarly, soap opera, another female-targeted genre,  “provides space for the creation and expression of a specific women’s culture, constructed in the spaces between, but also in opposition to, dominant or official culture.” Media created for women specifically has a reputation for having little aesthetic or intellectual value. In her discussion about soap operas, Thornham writes, “like in romance fiction, [soap operas are] regarded as trash by the dominant value system. Its fans, however, choose it in defiance of these values—as their cultural capital, and in doing so, constitute themselves as a site of opposition to dominant and official culture.” Even Wolf, in her criticism of women’s magazines, acknowledges that they have the power to bring feminist messages to ordinary women who may not be steeped in academic feminism. She states that “women’s media are the only products of popular culture that…change with women’s reality, are mostly written by women for women about women’s issues, and take women’s concerns seriously.” Women’s media provides a space for women to tell their own stories and voice their own desires in their own voices.



    Rory and Lorelei from Gilmore Girls



    The lack of a visible women’s culture in mainstream comics misses an opportunity to draw a large female readership to our medium. While comics created specifically for girls in the early period of the medium’s history tried to reflect the desires and fantasies of young women, as time went by, mainstream comics presented a dominant ideology that reinforced stereotypes about women told by men. As romance comics dwindled in the 1970s, publishers told stories that, “no matter how well-drawn, read as though they were written by clueless forty-five-year-old-men—which they were.” While the bold underground wimmin’s comix creators told overtly feminist stories, a lack of mainstream stories told in the sequential form targeted towards young women and girls led to the incredibly gendered medium we know today.



    It was too perfect not to use it again.



    The popularity of manga, and of shoujo titles in particular, amongst young people in the late 90s and early 2000s inspired many young artists who may not have been interested in the dominant comics culture to start writing and drawing within the medium. While comics like Womanthology, the revolutionary crowd-funded comics project that drew over $105,000 dollars to produce an anthology of female-created works, help galvanize a base of female creators, they are still the outlier. In fact, in a reader survey that accompanied the launch of DC’s New 52, a reboot of their comics continuity, only 7% of readers identified themselves as female. In 2012, the highest selling comic distributed by Diamond, the main publisher to all comic book stores, that was created by a women for a specifically female audience was the new reprinting of volume three of Kondansha’s shoujo Sailor Moon series as the 145th bestselling graphic novel of the year (by contrast, in 2011, the first volume of Kodansha’s Sailor Moon rerelease ranked 91st for its year). Fortunately, on Amazon, a number of English-language comics created by women for girls rank between the 40s-50s on Amazon’s list of bestselling comics, though the lack of visibility or promotional news about these titles is still a problem. While comics created with both genders in mind have risen in recent years, and while many if not most comics by independent publishers like Oni, Fantagraphics, and Top Shelf create works that take both genders in mind, few comics created for a specifically female audience, let alone an audience of young girls, exist in Western comics. The influence of shoujo and manga in general has in turn shaped the western comics world. Renowned contemporary American and Canadian comics and cartoon artists draw inspiration from shoujo titles. Brian Lee O’Malley, Hope Larson, and Adventure Time artist Natasha Allegri all cite shoujo series Sailor Moon as an influence on their art. Other creators, like Josh Tierney, the writer behind Archaia Press’ Spera, or Faith Erin Hicks of Friends with Boys, have cited other shoujo series’ as influences on their love of comics.



    Fiona from Adventure Time as Princess Serenity from Sailor Moon.



    Shoujo stories have the advantage of a large, female-driven comics industry backed by the most powerful publishing companies in Japan, where deciphering the interests and desires of girls shapes the entire industry. Publishers, editors, and artists rely on the concept of ningen kankei (human relations) to construct comics for young women. Ningen kankei, as defined by Jennifer Prough in Straight from the Heart: Gender, Intimacy, and the Cultural Production of Shoujo Manga, is concerned with “person-to-person association or interaction with society” as well as “Relations between individuals including correspondence of emotions.” These relationships not only shape characters within girls’ stories, but also “holds fast the structures of economics, relativity, authenticity, and ideology within the shoujo manga industry.” These definitions rely on gendered assumptions about what women want, but they also are a powerful tool for introducing young women to comics. In 2008, the Mainichi Newspaper in Japan conducted a survey about reading practices, and of the 4800 men and women polled, 47% of late teenage women reported reading manga magazines, with 42% of women in their twenties reporting in. Seventy-three percent (73%) of teenaged women reported reading at least one manga book per month, while 53% of women in their twenties reported reading manga. Shoujo stories, once drawn by men and concerned with romance and perpetuating a male-formed feminine ideal, shifted thanks to a group of revolutionary group that decided to reclaim girls’ comics. These creators in turn inspired a host of creators that expanded the genre’s popularity both in Japan and abroad. Hagio, a member of this group, is inextricably tied to the popularity of shoujo in her role as an iconic visionary in girl’s comics.



    Hagio and the Year 24 Group

    The English translation boys’ love comic The Heart of Thomas was released by indie comics publisher Fantagraphics on January 2, 2013 after months of delays. Heart of Thomas follows Fantagraphics’ 2010 release of A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, a collection compiling several of Hagio’s other notable short works. Hagio heralds from a group informally known as the Year 24 Group, one of the most successful movements of women in comics the world has ever seen. The Year 24 Group, or, to some, the Magnificent 49ers, were a group of Japanese female shoujo artists born on or around 1949 (or, the 24th year of the Showa period in Japan). The Year 24 Group included such artists as Keiko Takemiya, Moto Hagio, Riyoko Ikeda, Yasuko Aoike, and a handful or two of other female artists. Hagio and Takemiya were roommates, and many of the other creators in the group would go to their apartment to work and collaborate. At the time they were working, girl’s comics followed a lot of the same conventions as they did in the US—most were romantic, and nearly all of them were written by men and enforced severe gender roles. The women of the Year 24 Group wanted to write comics for women by women, and pioneered many of the shoujo manga conventions that are commonplace now. The creators within the group explored genres as diverse as science fiction, fantasy, romance, slice-of-life, mystery, and action comics, all aimed at capturing the imaginations of young women. The works they created, like Ikeda’s Rose of Versailles, or Hagio’s Heart of Thomas all influenced all of the manga that would come later. They infused the shoujo manga genre with a real concern for the inner lives of women and girls, as perceived by real women and girls. They also paved the way for later female creators like Rumiko Takahashi, (Inu Yasha, Ranma ½), the ladies of CLAMP (Card Captor Sakura, Chobits, X1999), or Naoko Takeuchi (Sailor Moon), among others.



    Works Cited:

    Thornham, Sue, “Narrating Femininity.” Women, Feminism and Media. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007. 55-83

    Wolf, Naomi: From The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women: NY: Doubleday, 1991. Pp 58-85

    Keller, Jessalynn. “Feminist Editors and the New Girl Glossies: Fashionable Feminism or Just Another Sexist Rag?” Women’s Studies International Forum 34 (2011) I-12.

    Rakow, Lana F. “Rethinking Gender Research in Communication,” Journal of Communication, 36, no. 4 (August 1986), 11-26.

    Wolf, Naomi: From The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women: NY: Doubleday, 1991. Pp 58-85

    Keller, Jessalynn. “Feminist Editors and the New Girl Glossies: Fashionable Feminism or Just Another Sexist Rag?” Women’s Studies International Forum 34 (2011) I-12.

    Rakow, Lana F. “Rethinking Gender Research in Communication,” Journal of Communication, 36, no. 4 (August 1986), 11-26.

    Prough, Jennifer. Straight from the Heart: Gender, Intimacy, and the Cultural Production of Shojo Manga. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2011.

    Robbins, Trina. From Girls to Grrrlz: A History of Women’s Comics from Teens to Zines. 1999. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1999.

     

    Web Citations

     

    Fantagraphics’ Heart of Thomas Release Information

    Womanthology Sales

    2012 Sailor Moon Sales via Diamond

    2011 Sailor Moon Sales via Diamond

    Amazon Comics Sales

    New 52 Survey Results

    Mainichi Newspaper survey results

    Bryan Lee O’Malley Sailor Moon Fanart

    Hope Larson Sailor Moon Fanart

    Faith Erin Hicks Shoujo Influences

      

    WERE BACK GET BUCK

    (Source: novicomics)

     
  12. lamezone:

    SUPPORT LAMEZONE GET COMICS

    LAMEZINE 001: MICROWAVE PLANET ($1+) 

    a comic about television, drugs, satan, friends, and more. also contains guest content from lots of cool folks. GET IT HERE!

    LAMEZONE COLLECTION ONE ($1+)

    contains: cherry, crittlers no.2, visitor, bearzine, lamezine 002 preview GET IT HERE!

    LAMEZINE 002: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON pre-order ($20+)

    send $20 via paypal to “phelix(at)pacbell(dot)net” and include your email to get the main 53 page comic ASAP, and receive the complete deluxe version on march 15th. or, wait until then to order that or the standard version ($0+)

    if you cant afford or dont want to buy these comics, consider spreading the word! thanks all!

     
  13. novicomics:

    IT’S A KIND-OF PLACE: A PARTYDOG INTERVIEW
     

    I’m proud to present an interview with Partydog, whom I believe is one of the most exciting cartoonists putting out work on the internet. I’ve been lucky to work with him, publishing “The Body is a System,” his first print comic, last year. Partydog’s part of the wave of young cartoonists pushing the boundaries of where digital (“web”)comics can go, and especially where his audience will fallow him. He’s got an unconventional, yet delightfully homegrown (in that late-90’s-geocites way) methodology of releasing contentstories are started and put on hiatus as Partydog’s interests are drawn to starting or continuing other works. Currently, he’s juggling between four stories on his website Lamezone.net “COSM,” a dark, sprawling horror comic, “Badplace,” about demons and ghosts fighting over a particularly important air conditioning unit, “Wildcat,” a Clowes-ian Wilson-esque character study told in unchronological order, and “Extraordinary High Quality Amazing,” a Lynchian and esoteric exploration of… something. All of which roughly take place in Puke City, something of an opressive Yoknapatawpha where most of Partydog’s work is set.  

    This is something of an introductory interview, and we didn’t discuss much past cursory commentary on his body of work, and some personal history. A tiny bit hypes Microwave Planet, his upcoming first “issue” of post-webcomic material, which drops on Friday. Much of it is just spent figuring out which comics dropped when. At the end we had to rush a bit—we spoke over Skype in the wee hours of the morning, not soon after Partydog’s move out of his native Kansas into temporary asylum in the wild jungles of the Pacific Northwest. 



    asscastle
     
    NOVI Magazine: I think I told you at some point, but I was introduced to your work through someone posting “Asscastle” on a webcomics thread on Something Awful [a popular humor forumsboard.] The comic’s ruthless dismissal of conventionality and aggressive use of color immediately stood out. Tell me about the genesis of “Asscastle,” which I think you once described to me as “a terrible excuse for a porno.”
     
    Partydog: Did i say that? That sounds like something I’d say. I think I had like an idea for some kind of like, porno Disney film or something. I don’t know where it went from that or how it ended up where it did. There was a point where I noticed it was getting attention.  I think from then I really pussed out on the level of sexuality in it, but something must have worked because that’s still the most popular thing I’ve done.
     
    I think I had just the ending figured.  I just went towards that, coming up with it as I went. I never really plan stuff out, I just see where it goes. There was a lot of analysis of it afterwards as being a story about accepting my sexuality or something. While that wasn’t a conscious thing, I guess that makes sense.
     
    NOVI: I think “Asscastle” was being posted on the Something Awful as you were making/posting pages. When the board asked of the comics’ origins, someone reverse Google-image-searched the images to a FurAfiinity [a furry fandom site] account. Is this where you were originally posting “Asscastle?” Also, around what year was this? Sometime in 2009? 
     
    Partydog: Yeah, I think someone from there probably posted it to SA. Someone linked the thread to me and I think I kind of freaked that I was about to be like made a target or something.  Then I saw they genuinely enjoyed it and I felt a lot of pressure not to mess that up. And yeah, I think 2009 was the time.

    NOVI: This was before most of your work was collected on your website, correct?
     
    Partydog: That was before lamezone.net. I decided I wanted a place that I could like, actually link to someone! [Laughs.] A roomate had convinced me to sign up for the FA account, which was good because getting feedback got me to actual produce stuff regularly. But I was kind of done doing that, its sort of a place where I don’t think a lot of people would be huge into what i was doing. Actually there were a fair amount of people there really into it, but all I had was an FA and a DrunkDuck page for “ffff,” and nobody is going to take anything there seriously.
     
    I think I started Lamezone shortly after I finished “Asscastle.”
     
    NOVI: Anyways, despite debuting on a website for rater niche website, the comic went kinda-sorta viral, on a level which sadly never peaked through the underground. That doesn’t mean some who read it weren’t immediately moved by the piece, even those who didn’t know what they were getting into. One commenter in a thread commented something along the lines of: “it’s too weird to jack off to and too hot to… never mind, but it’s good.” In a reddit thread, an anonymous poster (who has not made another post on reddit with the same handle since) posted an almost 2000 word response to the comic. He wrote at considerable length about the protagonist’s home life. How much of “Asscastle” was, indirectly or not, a response to these connections, which were popping up as you were still writing and drawing the comic? Was that personal level of connection always there in the comic?
     
    Partydog: Well, I’m sure the connection was there but just I didn’t really think about it. I mean, I grew up in a really homophobic environment and did have to cope with the fact that I’m gay as hell. Theres a lot in there i could probably connect to my life if i tried. That 2000 word response seems pretty accurate. Theres one for “Smokes” too, same guy i think, and it actually pointed out some stuff to me about myself I hadn’t really thought about. After that I’m always worried I’m saying stuff with my comics.
     
    NOVI: Let’s talk about your environment. You’re about my age, around 21 something, right? Where did you grow up? 
     
    Partydog: Yeah, 21. I was born in and lived my whole life in Topeka, Kansas. I don’t want to give the impression that it was hell, but it was definitely not a great place for me personally. There was absolutely no culture or artistic community, and homosexuality was definitely not OK there. I think they were debating whether to get rid of a law making sodomy illegal since they couldn’t enforce it anymore, but they voted to keep it on the books as, like, a message. My family is full of very nice people but I had to listen to a whole lot of gay bashing. When my co-workers found out I was gay, everyone would eat at a different table at lunch. It was totally silly. I’d hear people talk about it when they thought I wasn’t around. nobody ever directly said anything to me about it though.
     
    image

    NOVI: Tell me about growing up in Topeka. What do your parents do? Did your household support or otherwise nurture the arts? What was your earliest, or at least most distinct graphic memory? I guess another way of phrasing “distinct graphic memory” would be: with what did you first notice the “style” or design of something, that made you go, “Oh, there’s something happening here.” 
     
    Partydog: My parents were split up as long as i can remember, and i primarily lived with my mom, who is a nurse. She wasn’t really interested in art, but my dad paints, is in a band, and is a writer. Not professionally though, he was working at a cable company a while, and now he’s back in college. I’m not sure what he’s aiming for, he’s mentioned trying teaching or pursuing his art as a career. As for earliest or most distinct memory, I can’t really remember anything all that interesting from early in my life.
     
    I was drawing comics since a really young age, but I don’t really know where that was coming from stylistically. i think i just kind of drew. there were a few phases where id kind of rip off some stuff for a while, like try to draw some licenced character and imitate the style, but as for my own personal comics I really don’t know where it came from. I didn’t read comics or anything, I just wanted to make them. The earliest I can really remember seeing something that directly inspired me is, uh, first in middle school, I had this huge phase with the show Invader Zim. I just entirely ripping that off a while.
     
    But i think in terms of like forming my own thing, around high school I started getting really into music, and one day I found the album Untilted by Autechre, and something about the cover really struck me. Its like, this flat color and then there’s this kind of abstract mass aligned to the right. The use of negative space and the abstraction really influenced me for some reason, Im pretty sure i tried to replicate the thing a lot to figure out what about it was so striking to me. The rest of The Designer Republics stuff, I got really into that too. They did another Autehcre cover that was just entirely one flat color, but it was still immediately striking and recognizable. I got really into minimalism and the use of color. Also, weirdly enough, Adult Swim DVDs kind of did a similar thing like that. The third season of Space Ghost’s cover I think was a huge influence on my color palette. Its this green that I really like.
     
     NOVI: So when did “ffff” start up? When you were in high school?
     
    Partydog: Nah, I think that was around 2008 or 2009.
     
    ffff

    NOVI: Are there any earlier works on the internet? I’m still not sure of the timing of “ffff” and all the Puke City stories. Were the “Punk” and “Arfe” stories on the internet prior to lamezone.net? Which did you draw first chronologically? 
     
    Partydog: “ffff.” was the first. The Puke City stories other than “Asscastle” all came after. There weren’t any other series around then, just like one-off junk shared with friends and stuff like that. I think after “Asscastle” i did “Arfe” and started up lamezone.net for the rest? I can’t really remember. I’m pretty sure that’s how it went down.
     
    NOVI: This was in 2009-ish then?
     
    Partydog: I think lamezone.net went up in 2010. I wanna say like March, but I may be completely wrong here. [Laughs.]
     
    NOVI: A lot’s happened since 2010, man. Anyways, let’s talk about “ffff.” I think I remember the first comics: were they digitally minded strips from the beginning? Were you digitally drawing your comics then?
     
    Partydog: Yeah, a lot are done in MS Paint, some in like Flash I think. Later ones are in Photoshop. They vary a lot in quality. But yeah, all digital.
     
    NOVI: It’s a very rugged aesthetic to me, especially in the first few strips. Was going digital a reaction to something, or just the lack of access to a scanner? 
     
    Partydog: My friend had a tablet, and it was awesome, so I got one for Christmas or something. I was just getting to learn digital art really when I was doing that, but the early ones were also pretty rushed. I wasn’t taking it very seriously. Well at first I wasn’t anyway I think I started really trying with it more as it went on, but until the more recent ones I’ve gone back and done later I think I was pretty careless with the art anyway.
     
    ffff

    NOVI: Well, when the first color pin-ups show up, the work becomes immediately recognizable as yours. You mentioned The Designer Republic above; they’re most known creating advertising and packaging for major brands. There’s that tendency towards pop and iconism. I think you’ve brought some of that to your work, at least that tendency towards world building. When did the characters in “FFFF” and “Asscastle” begin to inhabit a shared space? Was the reccuring character of Death involved or was he brought into the picture later as a conscious axis for what would become Puke City? 
     
    NOVI: I think in “Asscastle” I sort of brought Death back, just because he is one of my favorites, and I needed to use death in “Asscastle.”  I figured, “Why not just use the Death character I’ve already got?” It’s now like a Jay and Silent Bob kind of thing where he has to show up at least once in every comic I do. I was doing that with the gas-n-glug a while too but I think its missed a few.  
     
    Puke City was a series from the start, so it was all part of the same universe. After that it was kind of like, “Why not keep everything part of the same world?” I mean, any elements of it that don’t work for what I’m doing I can just stay away from. Like in “Smokes,” I really think any mention of Ghostzone or Badplace would entirely not work there, so i just don’t bring it up. And I really like having this world to build on, that there’s a place to start from and expand. It’s just something I really personally like, bringing back characters in minor or major roles, setting everything in the same city, just creating this universe. At this point starting something outside of that world feels like a waste.
     
    image

    NOVI: There’s definitely that sense of being tied to a community, and to a physical place in all your comics. The afterlife in the cosmology of Puke City seems to be the only ride out of town, even the dead characters still hang around enough to come back and have a reunion every Halloween strip. How much of that is from your own personal sense of communities?
     
    Partydog: There weren’t really any communities in Topeka. [Laughs.] Later on I kind of formed some relationships and connections, but not until really late.
     
    NOVI: Well, the way the Puke city strips use color seems to tangibly invoke your characters the only tangible part of the environment. Much of it is often completely abstracted, and almost un-interactable in its crudeness. I guess what I’m saying is that your comics really focus the art in expressing these relationships, enough of which in the context of Puke City seem to form a loose community.
     
    Partydog:  The characters and relationships are definitely the focus, and the world is kind of a background force which is either completely passive or actively malevolent. I kind of abstract it to keep the characters the visual focus and to kind of separate it as a different thing. also its just really fun to draw weird looking sketchy buildings with impossible proportions.
     
    NOVI: It’s funny that you describe Puke City as a sort of force. If I’m not mistaken, the character of Dildom Andes, which you described to me as the lynchpin of “Extraordinary High Quality Amazing” is something that comes from that world and into the lives of the characters living there. Is that somewhat true? 
     
    Partydog: He’s a really vaguely defined character. A lot of that comic is pretty unexplored, because I think it would really destroy a lot of it if it explained much. You can see him as just delusional, and everything in there as a hallucination, or you can see him as a kind of force, or whatever you want, that’s not really what Im interested in looking into in the comic. It comes from a weird place. I think it can come off as just a bunch of nonsense, but the whole thing makes a kind of sense to me. I think more than any of my other comics that one just goes entirely for what makes sense of me, like entirely on impulse. I just follow an idea and don’t worry about if its going to make any kind of literal sense.
    ehqa
     
    NOVI: It seems like Andes is more in control, or at least casts more perceptive on the environment than any of the other characters. 
     
    Partydog: Yeah definitely. If taken literally he has some kind of godlike powers. In any case he kind of seems untouchable.
     
    NOVI:  “EHQA” is definitely the most experimental, and as you say, the most what-makes-sense-for-me of your comics. I was surprised then, when you told me that you had collaborated with other artists in the making of some of the more stylistically, uh, intense pages. How did that come about?
     
    Partydog: There are a few pages in there that were entirely created by other people. Their idea, their art. I’d just kind of work with what they did in the narrative, if you can call it a narrative. If it kind of felt out of character or like it didn’t really fit, I’d just find a way to kind of work it in there. But I think everybody did a pretty good job of keeping with the feel. Theres also a lot of pages that have got excerpts from instant messenger conversations pasted all over them.
     
    “EHQA” is kind of broad enough that i can do whatever i want in it really. its kind of alternating the easiest and the hardest comic to make.
     
    NOVI: Let’s talk about another collaborative effort: “Anarchy Anarchy Anarchy” began as a project between you and your ex-boyfriend, right? What were you guys responding to with that? 
     
    Partydog: The internet. It’s a response to the internet. Youtube comments, DeviantArt,stoners, teenagers, etc.  I cant speak for him but I didn’t really see it as a hateful thing, its just kind of lighthearted mocking of that stage of growing up and all the embarassing stuff people end up putting on the internet forever. I dunno its got a clear defined but kind of broad target. its sort of hard to pin down the exact thing.
     
    Anarchy x 3

    NOVI: The internet seems to have defined your style of layout for your comics; that whole “infinite canvas” thing expanded your comics’ pages vertical length to be one impossible for conventional printing. How does your experience with your preferred medium shape what you did with The Body is a System? 
     
    Partydog: Well, as for the canvas length, I was kind of working in that series-of-equally-sized-squares thing at the time, so it wasn’t really too hard to adjust that method. The pacing though I had to kind of mess with, used to just kind of using pages as scenes, kind of pacing things like a TV show or a movie or something. With each page being a already determined length, I kind of had to watch what each page ended on.     
     
    In terms of thinking about it being a physical printed thing, I think I really didn’t think about that much. Not as much as I should have. The whole VHS aesthetic could have come out a huge disaster, the ghost-image thing and the layering could have come out badly if it hadn’t been printed right. Luckily that didn’t turn out to be a huge problem.
     
    NOVI: From past conversations I’ve had with you, I know that you don’t begin drawing with much of the finished comic structured out. How much of TBIAS’s action was in responce to this need to watch your pacing? 
     
    Partydog: I think it mostly just effected it on a kind of page by page basis, like making sure each page ended on the right note and that action didn’t get int erupted too badly between pages. I just kind of start off with a vague idea, some points along the way, and maybe an ending. The comic sort of ended up taking just as long as it was supposed to to reach its ending by chance. I was aiming for 24 pages, and around there it was kind of wrapping up, mostly by luck.
     
    NOVI: Speaking of pacing, I almost completely forgot to bring up one of your most popular comics, “Smokes.” I was incredulous when you told me that you did it almost completely off the cuff. How much intuition guided your pacing of the story? Did you even begin with the end in mind? 
     
    Partydog: I didn’t have the end in mind, or really any other details. I started it knowing the characters, and where they would start out, and the direction they were sort of headed. Everything else just kind of developed as I went. When I saw the direction things were going, I kind of planned things out according to that, vaguely. I would start each page not knowing how it was going to end, which is how I usually work. Sometimes I’d come up with an idea for a scene, and try to kind of head towards that, but that’s about it.
     
    smokes

    NOVI: “Smokes” ends at 50 pages. That’s a pretty round number. Were you consciously shooting for that at any point in the process? 
     
    Partydog: I think it was winding down around that point, so I just kind of wrapped things up. Theres a few pages near the end that could have been two pages that I just kinda kept together. That comic is sort of rushed at the end, I probably should have taken more time on it, but i was kind of ready to be done. [Laughs.] Or more likely, I was excited to get to the ending.
     
    WIldcat

    NOVI: Something else I’d like you to comment on: around the time you started working on/finished TBIAS, you started working on a new “soft focus” look to your linework. I think it first popped up in one of the Dog Comics and “Wildcat.” It’s a really cool effect, later to be put into use as a metafictional device in “COSM.” What is that softness? Does working in Photoshop direct you into making some of your own filters at some point in the game?
     
    Partydog: I just kind of started getting into a trend of messing with filters around then. I don’t really remember how it came about. I don’t really have a single method of doing it, after finishing a page I’ll just kind of mess around with it until I’m satisfied with the result. Sometimes I end up messing with that a lot longer than the rest of the comic, and I’ll get so burnt out on the image i have to take a break from it. Because I’m so familiar with it at that point, I can’t tell what i need to do with it to get the look I’m after anymore.
     
    NOVI: It’s put to spectacular use in “COSM,” quite possibly the most colorful, yet from the very get go the most “serious” story you’ve started into on lamezone.com. How much of “COSM” is already planned out? It doesn’t seem that you’d be the type to open “COSM” with something that might be called an overture without some end goal in your sights. Also, you’ve mentioned that you consider “COSM” to be a spiritual sequel to TBIAS.  Is “COSM’s” digital and explicitly metafictional format somewhat related to that? 
     
    Partydog: “COSM” is more planned out than usual. It’s not yet to the real kind of starting point of the main narrative, but its close. I think its going to go in a direction it doesn’t really seem like its headed yet. Or maybe it does.
     
    It is a sequel to TBIAS in a way, but I think that its more like that’s a new aspect of the world of Lamezone that I’m exploring now. It’s in Microwave Planet too, in that hole-faced guy especially, and the entire TBIAS aspect of the Lamezone afterlife, the spiritual or cosmic world or whatever.
     
    lamezine

    NOVI: It truly pains me to use this term, but from what I’ve seen of Microwave Planet, the scope of things has greatly increased. Or maybe it’s just that a whole lot of things happen: more characters, more stories within stories, more horror stuff and more dramatic scenes. Is this a direction you originally intended to go in when you decided to do an “e-book,” as you once put it? Did the “graphic novel” feel of an issue have something do to with it? 
     
    Partydog: When I started I had no idea. Then I started “Ru’mel” as a kind of kids show parody thing and everything else branched out from there. It all started coming together and ended up whatever it is now. The horror I think is from feeling like I can experiment more with what I really want to do. I felt more comfortable doing serious stuff after “Smokes” and “Cosm.” I wanted to aim higher than I have before.
     
    NOVI: It definitely feels like the beginning of a new period with Lamezone. Issue one’s barely off the (metaphorical) presses and you’ve already started talking about issue two. can we expect a annual, or even quarterly Lamezine, in addition to updates to comics on Lamezone.net?
     
    Partydog: I’m not sure, it depends how well it does. The site will keep being updated in any case for sure.  But the zine, if it doesn’t sell well it sort of defeats the point of the format and release method. Why not just put it up free you know? But I hope it goes well, because I think this method works really well for me.
     
     
    NOVI: I think that that’s all the questions I have for now. It’s almost 4 in the morning and I can’t remember if I had anything else to add. I guess one thing: recently you moved out of Kansas, and when you did, you tweeted about having to show your work to your parents. What ended up being their reaction? 
     
    Partydog: I haven’t shown them. My mom looked at TBIAS though. She asked me if I think I’m going to hell and said she was worried about my soul.
     
    image
     

    https://gumroad.com/partydog lamezine 1 now avalible on gumroad. 

    (Source: novicomics)

     
  14. lamezone:

    LAMEZINE 002 PRE-ORDERS

    YOU COULD BE READING LAMEZINE 002 TODAY!!!


    lamezine 002 standard and deluxe versions are going on sale on the 15th. but the site im using to sell it sends money out every 2 weeks, so we will still actually be broke until then, and food is important.

    SO, if you go ahead and pre-order the deluxe version ( $20 ), ill send all 53 pages of the comic itself to you right away, and the final deluxe version with the interface/ton of special features on the 15th.

    just paypal ” phelix(at)pacbell(dot)net ” and be sure to include your email!

     
  15. lamezone:

    MEET LAMEZINE 002: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON

    full size: http://i.imgur.com/FwfDoZS.jpg

    Coming soon.