Archive for March, 2010

Reminders: continuing art sale on Comicspace, plus ROCR presence on Facebook

March 29th, 2010 by Reinder

I may start posting the following items periodically to remind the entire readership:

1. I still have original artworks for sale through my Comicspace Galleries. The art offered there is from the Feral and Invasion storylines and ranges in price from $25 to $100. That is, if you use the Comicspace gallery interface to purchase. However, you can always contact me personally to haggle. Right now, I am very open to offers. To see the galleries with NSFW content, you need a Comicspace account; these are free and safe to use, though you may or may not experience some difficulty signing up. If you can't see these galleries but want to ask me about a specific original that you want to purchase, e-mail me (see link above).

2. Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan has a Facebook page where I announce new updates and keep people informed about the state of the comic in a more regular fashion than I do here. If you want to be the first to hear of a new update, become a Fan of this page using your regular Facebook account (assuming of course that you have one).

Oh, while I'm at it, I do want to start making some new incentives for Voting for ROCR on Topwebcomics again soon. Even if it's just some raw art from the pages without the lettering and adjustments. If I'm going to embrace Free Publicity as much as I intend to right now, I'm going to have to make an effort to get it!

Books that are going, part 4

March 29th, 2010 by Reinder

The more books I remove from my collection, the more I enjoy it. It's almost as much fun as buying new books! For the first time in years, instead of having my bookshelves overflow and groan under the weight of the reading material accumulated on them, I have more shelf space than I need and one of my bookshelves is now home to some of my DVD's. That said, a lot of the books I've taken out are still in a large box, waiting for new owners, so do feel free to have another look at the previous installments of Books that are going.

Because I want to downsize further, much further, before moving out of my apartment, I have pulled some more books from my shelves. They are:

Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics, Reinventing Comics, Making Comics. McCloud's three scholarly works on comics, in comics form, that many people adore and as many people vehemently disagree with or tut-tut at. At this point in my life, someone else needs them more than I do. Update: These are taken.

Stanley Wiater and Stephen R. Bisette, Comic Book Rebels: Conversations with the Creators of the New Comics. Published in 1993, this is a collection of interviews with some of the people who shaped American comics in te 1990s: McCloud, Larry Marder, Jack Jackson, Dave Sim, Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird, Harvey Pekar & Joyce Brabner, Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, Colleen Doran, Todd McFarlane and others.

Mat Schifferstein, ed. and others, Stripjaar 1997, Stripjaar 1998, Stripjaar 1999-2000 (Dutch). These were yearbooks containing an overview of comics-related events during the past year, State-of-the-industry essays, some good interviews and a service guide containing contact info for cartoonists, comics stores, publishers and comics-related organisations. The service guide part of each of this book is now very outdated (though as late as 2005, organisations and individuals were still using the information from the last one to send press releases to me), but the interviews and other editorial content are still well worth reading.

Terry Jones, Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic. Novelization of the HHGTTG-based video game Update: this book is now taken.

Paul Krugman: The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way In The New Century (Hardcover) Krugman is still one of the few economists worth paying any attention to at all, but I don't think I will ever re-read this collection of essays from the New York Times dating back to the late 1990s and the first few years of the 21st Century.

As before, all books are free of charge if you have an address in Groningen, the Netherlands, and/or can arrange a pick-up in that fine city; outside Groningen, they can be yours for the price of shipping them to you; count on costs up to € 25 for shipping multiple books to far-flung locations such as Australia, but usually much less than that.

Two updates in a row! Plus state of the comic and plans

March 28th, 2010 by Reinder

And then, after nearly three months, there were two new comic episodes within a week. I am going to try to pull this comic out of hiatus and back to some sort of regular schedule. I miss doing regular art and want to get back to it. At the same time, I still have a LOT to do to prepare for my wedding and emigration and I'm nowhere near being on track for it all.

But if I can combine the spiritual need for art with earning a little extra money for emigration, I can probably give the comic more of my attention. The current situation is as follows: during the last three months of hiatus since my return from Tennessee, the viewer numbers have finally plummeted as people gave up on following Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan. I am surprised they stayed as high as they were for a long as they did, to be honest. I'm not complaining: through these months I've found that even if I do nothing, there will still be a couple of dollars a month coming in from one ad provider. My Project Wonderful ads are dead in the water, but the ones delivered through Comicspace's network perform very steadily if at a low level.

As I'm also a paying member of Comicspace, which eats up those earnings, the site overall operates at a modest loss due to the cost of website hosting, drawing materials, hard disk storage and the annualized cost of computers and scanners. A quick estimate would be that the net loss per year is about € 400 - not budget-neutral but also not the most expensive hobby in the world.

So a reasonable first-step goal would be to earn those € 400 a year back. Increasing the revenue from both my ad providers would help, and that simply requires getting the pageview numbers back up, preferably without investing any more money myself. My strategy should be to rely mostly on free publicity. Over the years, I have spent more on Project Wonderful advertising than I have made, so that is right out. I am, however, paying more attention right now to websites like The Belfry, which have served me a steady stream of readers over the years at no cost to me.

I can also go back to selling more originals. Just three or four would get me a long way towards that goal of making the comic budget-neutral.

The next step would be making a profit - any profit would go straight into my pockets and help me save for my future in Tennessee. Apart from building out the ad revenues and original art sales even more, I could get there by building another tried and tested revenue stream like donation-supported e-books. Unfortunately all the work I did on that last summer was destroyed in one of the many hard drive crashes that have plagued me over the past 9 months, so the Headsmen e-book as already published is al I have to show for that work. The DTP masters were lost as was the master-quality PDF file for that, so I don't even have a printable version. But it may be a good summer project for me to try this again, if I can get a steady stream of new pages going first. That has to be the first priority; I have found that if I spend all my time re-editing old work, I get very frustrated and discouraged.

That's the state of the comic: I will try very hard to get the production up again, as long as this does not interfere with my other plans.

CDs that are going, part one

March 15th, 2010 by Reinder

I'm just going to go ahead and get started on posting the list of CDs I want to get rid of. As usual, they are free to anyone local to Groningen, and can be had for the cost of postage outside my immediate bicycling range. First come, first served, except for large batches sent overseas. CDs will be listed in alphabetical order. Most items are CDs I have multiple copies of, no longer like, only like for one or two songs or discovered after buying that they were in fact real stinkers. I'll mark out the real stinkers just as a warning, but we all now that one person's stinker is another's lost gem. There will be some rarities as we get through the list.

Ian Anderson, Divinities: Twelve Dances With God. Jethro Tull's front man's solo instrumental album from 1995 taking a New Age turn. I actually like this album a lot despite the overuse of synthesizers to represent orchestral parts, but my fiancee also has a copy so this one goes out.

Ben Folds Five, Naked Baby Pictures. I heard some of the songs at my brother's one day and then a few years later found the CD cheap at a store. Only listened to it a few times because by then whatever apppeal it had, had faded for me.

Blackmore's Night, Shadow of the Moon. On this record, Ritchie Blackmore is fully engaged and focused on his playing for the first time since the Deep Purple reunion record Perfect Strangers, arguably for the first time since the Rainboy record Rising. His playing is precise and inspired. Unfortunately what all this great playing is in the service of, is very thin gruel indeed. The songs are mostly watered-down renaissance fair music with dippy lyrics. The instrumentals do work well, though and the poppy "Writing on the Wall" shows how they could have gone in another direction and made that work.

David Bowie, Hours. A good record, but not one I need in my life right now.

Black Sabbath, The Best of Black Sabbath. Compilation covering the albums up to 1983's Born Again. The Paranoid album is included in full.

Christine Collister, The Dark Gift of Time. Collister is a fine singer/songwriter but the album as a whole never clicked for me.

Crash Test Dummies, The Ghosts That Haunt Me. Ditto; A Worm's Life, the one where they started falling apart.

Deep Purple, On Tour MCMXCIII. Quadruple disk set of the concerts that the live album Come Hell Or High Water was culled from, remixed to sound more like a bootleg and released a decade later. This is one of the releases that the band demanded be withdrawn, and with good reason. For completists only. In The Absense of Pink, a messy double CD release of the group's only UK performance during the Perfect Strangers tour in 1985. Not their finest musical moment. Also, I can't guarantee that this one is playable as it's Connoisseur Connections releases at the time were often affected by CD rot.

Sandy Denny and Friends, Gold Dust (The Final Concert). Sandy Denny has become one of my favorite singers over the years, but by the time of this gig, she was in deep decline. In addition, the original tapes were damaged and the parts on these were re-recorded by musicians who were not part of the original concert, making this a bit of a curiosity rather than a true representation of the concert.

Marlene Dietrich, Falling in Love Again. A Naxos collection of Dietrich's singles from 1930 to 1949, bought as part of the documentation process for a White House in Orbit storyline.
Ani DiFranco, Little Plastic Castle. I liked this a lot back in 1998. Don't care much for it now.

Fairport Convention, AT2/The Boot (reunion concerts from 1982 and 1983, an official release but of bootleg quality), From Cropredy to Portmeirion (live album recorded in 1990), The Cropredy Box (Annual Reunion Concert from 1997, their 30th anniversary. I know people who consider this an essential release but I'm not one of them.), House Full (improved reissue of a live concert from 1970, since then reissued again in yet another version with better sound), The Five Seasons (studio album from 1990), The History of Fairport Convention (Compilation originally from 1972), Live Convention (1973 live album. The unremastered edition from 1990 is the one I'm giving away). Meet on the Ledge (Compilation of remastered songs released in 1999), Moat on the Ledge (Live album recorded in 1981), Red and Gold (studio album from 1988), The 25th Anniversary Concert (Live album from 1992)

Finntroll, Visor om Slutet. "Acoustic" album by the seminal Troll Metal group. Didn't really work.

Fleetwood Mac, Tango in the Night, Say You Will. Tango is pretty good but I'm fed up with that pop sound now.

Fotheringay, s.t. Nothing wrong with this one, just not my favorite Sandy Denny recording.

The Gathering, Mandylion, Strange Machines (single). I liked this a lot back in 1996. Don't care for it anymore now.

Ian Gillan, What I Did On My Vacation Compilation of his Ian Gillan Band and Gillan periods. Good stuff but I know all of it by heart by now.

Hayseed Dixie, Let There Be Rockgrass. HD are a good parody group but what they aren't is a good bluegrass band, and as a result this record has long worn out its welcome for me.

Roy Harper, Born in Captivity/Work Of Heart, In Between Every Line, Valentine. Some lesser records from the work of a great but very uneven singer/songwriter.

Books that are Going, Part 3

March 9th, 2010 by Reinder

Some more books that I am giving away. All of these can be yours for the price of postage if you live outside Groningen, the Netherlands, and for free if you live somewhere where I can deliver them or are willing to pick them up directly from me. No strings attached; just contact me (comments will do) if you want any of those:

Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow (hardback), Climbing Mount Improbable (hardback), The God Delusion (hardback) and A Devil's Chaplain. I'm keeping exactly one Dawkins book, The Selfish Gene.

Dave Sim, Cerebus, High Society, Church & State I;
Dave Sim and Gerhard, Church & State II, Jaka's Story, Melmoth, Flight, Women, Reads, Minds, Guys, Latter Days, The Last Day. These comprise all but two of all the Cerebus the Aardvark storylines ever made. Latter Days has some water damage from a leak in my old studio. I have one of the other storylines, Rick's Story as separate issues and will throw those in to someone who wants to take over the entire collection. If no one wants to take the whole collection, I will start giving away individual volumes, but in that case I will be keeping High Society Also, normally it's first come first served, but for these I will prioritize takers in Groningen over takers from elsewhere, because of the sheer size of the collection and the likely cost of shipping and possibly taxes. Still, do let me know if you're living elsewhere and are interested.

Anonymous (Michael Scheuer): Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama Bin LAden, Radical Islam and the Future of America (hardback). See what I wrote about Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terrorin Books that are Going, Part 2. I still have that book as well.

Michael Moorcock: A Cure for Cancer. One of his Jerry Cornelius books I like me some Moorcock but I could never get into this one. Nevertheless, the paperback is well worn because I bought it used.

Mark O'Hare: D is for Dog. A Citizen Dog collection. I probably bought this on the strength of the Thanksgiving turkey gags.

Various Artists: Groningen bij Nacht: Beeldverhalen Uit Een Stad (Dutch). Two copies. This is an anthology of comics that I'm in with the story "Kobolden" which is the Dutch version of Roadworks Goblins. Other contributors include Barbara Stok, Eric Snelleman, Erik Wielaert and Fearless Cartooneer.