I’d like to begin my second NEWW post by sharing my love for the hotel continental breakfast waffle machine. I first encountered one at Wizard World Chicago back in 2005. It was love at first gooey, warm, waffle-y bite. Not only do you get a Belgian waffle of mammoth proportions, you get to make it yourself! And meet interesting people in line since it takes approximately 2 minutes per waffle and there’s a family of 6 in front of you! It’s a win-win situation. Since then, I have sought them out whenever I’m in a hotel for a con, or a theatre tour. There’s a nice one in Liverpool, NY. Naturally, there was one at our prestigious hotel for NEWW. There’s nothing revolutionary here, I just really like waffles. I thought you should know.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to the continuing recap of The New England Webcomics Weekend.
Meredith (Octopus Pie) and her cohorts did a fantastic job of turning what originally started as a friendly get-together among webcomic creators into a something that resembled a convention. The panels (at least the ones I attended) were entertaining and informative. I feel as though I need to make the point again that I do not create webcomics, therefor the panels I attended were more of the “I hope this is entertaining” variety than the “I really need to make my webcomic successful” variety. For recaps and reviews of those, I suggest checking out the blogs of some of my traveling companions: TL (Bullfinch), Chuck (Surviving Retail), Dawn (Zorphbert & Fred) and CJ (Steal This Comic).
This first panel I attended was the Designing Memorable T-Shirts panel with (from left to right): R. Stevens (Diesel Sweeties), Jeph Jacques (Questionable Content), Chris Hastings (The Adventures of Dr. McNinja), and Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics). While I found this panel entertaining, I didn’t find it entirely informative for myself. I’ve worked in t-shirt printing for the last few years (yes, I have a day job), and most of my questions would have been along the lines of “How do you deal with small imprint areas on women’s sizes vs men’s sizes?”. A lot of the audience seemed to want to know where and when these guys get their ideas for the shirts, which, while an entertaining topic, doesn’t really help anyone. As Chris Hastings said when posed with that question, “When am I thinking? That’s when I come up with ideas.”
The next one I went to was the Webcomics Weekly Live podcast, which you can hear if you click the link (the NEWW podcast is #57, and it’s really NSFW, so don’t blame me if you get fired). This podcast was done by the Halfpixel guys (from left to right): Brad Guiger (Evil, Inc.), Dave Kellett (Sheldon), Scott Kurtz (PvP), and Kristofer Straub (Starslip). This was easily the highlight of the first day, and I’m sure I missed half of what they were talking about because I was laughing so hard. I later got to chat with Scott Kurtz a little about how print mediums are dying and what that means for the future of journalism and how both writers and artists alike are going to need to evolve as the Internet grows into our primary source of information. Yes, sometimes I can speak intelligently.
Continuing on the podcast theme, CJ (Steal This Comic) was called for a small appearance on the Webcomic Beacon podcast on Sunday. At the time, he was eating a burrito. Not to shatter the fourth wall, but I hear the burrito was delicious. Yes, this is actually a photo of him recording the podcast. I haven’t been able to find his appearance on the Webcomic Beacon site, so if any of you find the direct link, please post it in the comments section. On another “OMG Casey loves food” tangent, this little sandwich shop in the Eastworks building was incredible. And not just because you could by beer and wine; the sandwiches were pretty tasty, too.
The next panel on my schedule was the Webcomics Can Get You In Trouble panel, with (left to right): R.K. Milholland (Something Positive), Rene Engstrom (Anders Loves Maria), Chris Hastings (The Adventures of Dr. McNinja), Joey Comeau (A Softer World), and (cut-off by my mad camera skills) Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics). This was basically the panel wherein the creators talked about hate mail, responding to hate mail, scary stalker types, offensive strips, the perils of guest strips, underage hookers, etc etc. I found this one fairly hilarious, but also informative. Even my little dinky blog gets hate mail from time to time (“OMG BSG SUX STOP WRITING ABOUT IT YOU HUSSY”), and it was cool to see people who are “Internet famous” talk about how they deal with it. The thing is, at the end of the day, most people who make a name for themselves here in this little world we call Internet are just normal people. Normal people who have feelings and really don’t need you sending them pics of your underage self in a thong. Also, at one point, Joey got a hold of Chris Hasting’s puppy, Commissioner Gordon. And I’m a sucker for a Canadian holding a puppy.
I also attended the awards ceremony at the end of the weekend, but didn’t manage to get any good shots of it. I would like to extend my own gratitude to the organizers and volunteers for this amazing event. They took something that could have turned out to be a clusterfuck of epic proportions and made it into one of the most entertaining conventions I’ve attended in a long while. The location was superb, the events were organized, and the guests and attendees were some of the nicest people I have ever met. And everyone bathed. Trust me, that’s a step up from most conventions. Webcomics: Leading the Way in Geek Hygiene. For this, NEWW, you get the official BarGeek “You Don’t Suck” Award: