Joe Alterio's blog on illustration, comix, design, animation, and other bouts of total awesomeness.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Clickwheel relaunch

As some of you may remember, I'm part of an online webcomic and mobile comic group, Clickwheel, that hosts some of my comics (about 2/3s of 365, the first few episodes of The Basic Virus, as well as a few comic-casts). A while ago I stopped uploading for a few reasons, namely, that I got a lot of web traffic but little restitution, it had poor marketing, and that process of and design of reading comics was unintuitive, and frankly, kinda lame. I'm happy to report, however, that in subsequent 6 months of furlough, it was bought by 2000 AD and that it is trying to reinvent itself as a destination again, an effort which I heartily applaud.

Part of their effort is (gasp! shock!) actually commissioning exclusive content for Clickwheel. The above panel is part of the second chapter of Colin White's fantastic series "Comics on Small Screens", an experiment of his in which he tries to tell stories by pushing the envelope of how many panels a screen can handle before it stops making sense. Loyal readers of this blog may remember that Colin and I were both invited to South Korea to talk about mobile comics, but Colin couldn't make it: nevertheless, I consider him my (somewhat more talented) brother-in-arms when it comes to trying drum up support and discussion about possibilities of mobile comics. I'm also totally flattered to report I make an unexpected cameo in his new series. Thanks, Colin. Go get it!

My main issue with CW, and one unfortunately that still hasn't been addressed, is
the actual physical process of getting the comics on your phone or iPod. It's tough to be in the tech biz these days: things move so damn fast, what used to be a project about comics on iPods (hence the name, "Clickwheel", already outmoded) has now necessarily turned into a project about comics on iPhones and iTouches. The duct-tape and bubblegum patch that was first initially proposed - just providing customers with JPGs they can download and put onto their mobile device - is unfortunately still around, and feels as caveman as ever. However, I have been assured that a CW reader app is in the works, and with iPhones now having not only wifi capability but WAP push, one has to assume that a smoother process - like just subscribing to your favorite comic and having it show up on your phone every day, a la RSS - is right around the corner. One has to assume. Fingers crossed.

Nevertheless, check out what CW has to offer anyway: its definitely light years ahead of what most other big slow stupid media companies are doing with content, it's cool, it's now more community oriented, and it's run by really nice guys. I'll go back to uploading new work too, and maybe develop something for them: the potential for instant comics to you wherever you are is just too great.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

I just bought the new DVD of the Fleischer studios Superman series from the 1940s, and to my delight found that they've just been made Public Domain, which means that, in light of all the other locks put onto to seeing work on the web, here's a few precious gems that you don't have worry about be caught about. I could go on and on about how amazing the framing is, that all the backgrounds look like they're shaded with chalk and airbrush, or that even the animation, for a weekly serial, is fantastic. But I don't need to. Just watch them all, and enjoy. Lookee them robots! Wowsa!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Silhouette Maker

I've discovered my new favorite comix artist: Tom Gould, of London. Check out his whole site, it's all very phenomenal work, as is his client list. He's like a unholy hybrid of Edward Gorey, Steven Beistey, and R. Crumb. Agh...I'm swooning because I love all of it so much. I'm gonna try and get him for Robots And Monsters. Fingers crossed!

Monday, September 10, 2007

"A slime draws near. Command?"

Future Systems on London has just won the contract for building the new national library for the Czech Republic, on the strength of their kinda outside-the-box design, picture above. Now, I ain't no prude, but frankly, I'd love to see a return to a little classicism one of these days when it comes to destination building design. What's the matter with dentals and dorics? Having recently lived in a city with a very weird and newsmaking library, I know I'm bucking the trend, but screw it: stuff like this just seems dated immediately out of the gate. Czechs 20 years from now are going to walk past this thing and roll their eyes and say "Ugh, that's SO early 2000s."

Let me just say this: the buildings pictured below also were viewed as "groundbreaking" by some circles at some point in time, too:

Nuff said.