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  Jay Stephens Launches ‘Monsterama’ Blog  
 
 
Posted 2005-10-13 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Brilliant artist Jay "Sin" Stephens, an acquaintance from my forgotten days as a young adult rat in the mid-1990s, has launched a blog entitled "Monsterama." Jay's new effort (he is also a contributor to Drawn!) threatens to bring us "cute creeps from popular culture," and I have every reason to take him seriously. He is, after all, the genius behind Space Ape Number Eight, Jetcat, and Tutenstein. And two human children.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Look Forward To The Past  
 
 
Posted 2005-09-29 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Just when I thought paper-based zines were a 1990s throwback, I received a pair of `em in the mail from Canadian expat illustrator Randy Laybourne. The now-Californian publishes his zines every six months. The crisply-trimmed, 36-page, 4x6-inch booklets are packed with full-bleed black-and-white artwork comprised of found photos and appealing, thick-lined illustrations. I've got my hands on "Real Piece of Work" (fall, 2004) and "Known Truths" (summer, 2005). Past issues can be found (and some viewed) at Laybourne's site. "Known Truths" is still available for ordering at the time of this writing.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Lost’ Borrowing From Comics, Literature  
 
 
Posted 2005-09-29 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Robot Wisdom points to an intriguing article at IndyStar.com about the TV show "Lost" and its connection to the comic book and literary world. According to the article, a novel by Irish author Flann O'Brien will be a prominent feature of Lost's third episode. Past references to printed matter have included a comic book featuring The Flash, The Green Lantern, and a polar bear. Some events in the comic book are reportedly mirrored on the show.

Earlier this year, Lost appeared to be supplemented by an Alternate Reality Game component, but I'm not sure much happened there. Certainly the show's real-life hooks are giving fans ARG-like mysteries to investigate, but it seems like the only ones with all the answers are the show's writers. I've been hooked on the show since its debut, but can't be bothered to do the kind of sleuthing some of the more rabid fans are engaged in. All will be revealed in time, and I can wait.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Monstercake  
 
 
Posted 2005-09-06 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Illustrator Eugene Smith is drawing fabulous monsters. Daily. We'll see how long that holds up. The only thing I manage to do reliably on a daily basis is drink a cup of coffee. My life is so hard.
 
     
 
   
 
  2 comments  
  ‘Andi’ Versus the Nazis  
 
 
Posted 2005-09-05 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
The German government has enlisted the aid of young superhero "Andi" to educate teens about the scourge of neo-Nazism, according to the Guardian Unlimited. Andi appears in a comic book launched by the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia aimed at combatting recruitment attempts by right-wing extremists. The comic's skinhead foreigner-hating villain and his gang of thugs is challenged to a game of basketball by Andi and his pals. In case the winner isn't obvious, I'll give you a hint: Skinheads can't jump.

The book features manga-style artwork by Peter Schaaff and will be distributed to 3,500 schools. A hundred thousand copies were printed--that's a large print run by many standards. According to Deutsche Welle, teenage students will be invited to contribute to future Andi storylines, with the best ones being illustrated by Schaaf and published on the internet. The project seems like a good way not only to educate kids on socio-political issues, but encourage literacy and online participation to boot. Good job, North Rhine-Westphalia!
 
     
 
   
 
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  Comic Nerds Destroy Game Server  
 
 
Posted 2005-08-03 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Fans of the popular web comic Penny Arcade flocked to the popular online game World of Warcraft last night, breaking a server. Penny Arcade overlord Gabriel mulled over the madness: "It appears as though we make up nearly the entire alliance population... Guild invites stopped working entirely and eventually players had to wait in line to access the server... We were receiving PM's faster than we could possibly respond to them and so we had people form lines in Stormwind and Ironforge... The new areas were so full of people that we killed all the monsters in the zone and people were just standing around waiting for the next wolf to respawn."

About six hundred Penny Arcaders stormed the Dark Iron server, forming the guilds Knights of Arcadia and Fancy Lads. They have declared war on the Panda Attack guild. And it is thusly that comic nerds settle their scores. [thanks for the tip, gatmog]
 
     
 
   
 
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  Journey to ‘Neverwhere’  
 
 
Posted 2005-08-01 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
It seems my television viewing is increasing in direct proportion to the number of quality shows being released on DVD. I recently digested the six-episode miniseries Neverwhere, written by the legendary Neal Gaiman, produced in the mid-1990s, and now available in DVD format. The premise of the show involves, in typical Gaiman style, an alternate world that intersects with our own in strange ways. In Neverwhere, whole civilizations of bizarre, mystical people live underneath our biggest cities. So it is with London Below, where a former Average Londonder becomes a reluctant hero as he gets into deep trouble trying to help a girl named Door.

Neverwhere didn't have a big budget, but it did have all the elements of a great, modern, urban fairy tale. The storyline and setting were so compelling that Gaiman produced a book based on the series, and of course there's talk about a movie. Neverwhere is rich nerd-fodder, and would make a fine role-playing or video game environment.

As it turns out, artist Dave McKean, who has worked famously with Gaiman since the 1980s (and did the title graphics for Neverwhere), has directed a Gaiman-penned movie. "Mirror Mask" will be released this year, and promises lots of the kind of gothery Gaiman and McKean are loved for.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Batman Begins  
 
 
Posted 2005-06-19 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I must assume that hiring Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman for Batman Begins meant that Warner Brothers couldn't afford to give Batman a neck. If you can ignore the still-ridiculous batsuit, handgun-wielding Tibetan ninjas and soon-to-be Katie Cruise, this movie's a fine retelling of the bat-tale.
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Harlequin Romance Novels Go Manga  
 
 
Posted 2005-06-01 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Harlequin Enterprises, makers of the famed Harlequin romance novels, has just announced that their lusty literature will be brought to manga format via Dark Horse Comics. Surprisingly, Harlequin is no stranger to manga, having licensed 250 titles since 1998 through the Ohzora Publishing Company in Japan. Harlequin's Dark Horse licensing agreement will see two lines hit North America under the Ginger Blossom imprint. The Harlequin Ginger Blossom "pink" line will cater to younger readers, while the "violet" line addresses "more sophisticated" readers.

While I have doubts about the quality of any Harlequin publication, there's no doubt that manga style adds some street cred. The graphic novels have obviously been a hit in Japan. The Dark Horse move could mean not only more female comic readers, but a general increase in awareness of manga in North America.
 
     
 
   
 
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  “He Is Just a Rat” Comes Home  
 
 
Posted 2005-05-13 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
After an extended stay on LiveJournal, I've consolidated all of my comic-strip efforts into one handy locale on the Secret Lair Network. The He Is Just A Rat site now wraps my entire sphere of doodling into a single blog, which you can subsribe to in RSS, RSS 2, and Atom flavours. The comic site will now be updated in "whatever I want, whenever I feel like it" mode. Viva slack!
 
     
 
   
 
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on 4159 entries

Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
in Dino Burbidge's '10 Things To Remember When Designing For Kids Online'


yes, many of the free little games are crappy. but as an artist who has recently published free content on the itunes app store,…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


I vote for popup radial menus. Highlight a bit of text, the push and hold, Sims-style radial menu pops up with Copy, Paste, etc....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


Hey Tony! A client of mine is looking to hire an internal Flash game dev team to build at a really cool Flash CCG…
in Dipping Into Toronto's Flash Pool


Yeah, there's a lot of weird common sense things I've noticed they've just omitted from the design. No idea why though....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


It also bears noting there's no mechanism right now for a developer to offer a free trial for the iPhone; the App Store isn't…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


@GeorgeR: It's on my shopping list :) I've heard good things about it as well. And Cro Mag Rally. @andrhia: meh, I don't know…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


...you get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


The only one I've heard good things about is Super Monkey Ball. Have you given that a whirl yet?...
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


Advance warning: this frivolent comment is NOT RELATED or even worth your time ... But whenever i hear "Collada", i think of that SCTV…
in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock


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