Finder's Keepers
Name: Garth Cameron Graham
Email: FK@gcgstudios.com
Website: GCGStudios.com
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Cosplay Hunt

March 3rd, 2011

Quick little thing I was informed about:  There’s a cosplay contest this guy is throwing together.  Why am I posting this?  Because three of the potential characters you could use to win are mine.  I know I’ve seen a couple of people cosplay Cailyn at cons before (and it’s freaking amazing when you do!), and the grand prize is a copy of portal 2, so… thought I’d share!

Katsucon and Friends Review

March 3rd, 2011

So my problem with this blog thing, I think, is simply that all the stuff that I normally would talk about I actually talk about with friends.  Thus eliminating the urge to talk about it in the blogsphere.  Feels like I’m repeating myself at times, but for the sake of posting I’m going to be reviewing some random stuff I’ve encountered as of late.

First off, Katsucon!  Katsucon this year, like every year, was a lot of fun.  I always get to see good friends, shmooze with fans and pros alike, and in general Katsu has treated me better than any other con I can think of.  It’s nice when you’re treated like a real guest instead of a lowly webcomic guest.  I was saddened that I didn’t get to do more panels than I did, and it was disheartening in the least to find myself in the back corner of the alley facing a wall… so if you find yourself thinking “wait… you were there?” now you know why you didn’t find me.  But despite the issues that were had, it was a fun weekend all around.

I recently watched Eagle Eye, and really it was a very solid film for what it was.  The only problem was that it was a predictable technophobic sci-fi thriller.  And you know… the idea of “man builds smart machine to protect him/make his life better and the machine decides that because man doesn’t listen to the superior machine the machine must kill man, it’s just bollocks.  To think that it’s a logical conclusion is just inane.  No machine, no matter how smart or how capable, would give two shits if we listened to it.  Even assuming that it’s a true AI and not super clever programming, why would it care?  And even if it did care that we didn’t follow its sage advice, how is overthrowing man, killing us all, or any of the other usual bullshit technophobic drama a logical answer?  It’s an extremist response even for a human being, let alone something bound by logic the way a computer is.

For a brief moment in the film I thought, “hey, maybe the computer (I had figured out it was an AI running the show maybe 15 minutes in) is actually doing all this gross manipulation of random people for some kind of greater good that we just can’t see.”  And then I was disappointed immediately to realize, nope.  It’s just an evil machine doing evil stuff.  Way to go.  And not even like GlaDOS evil, in the name of perpetuating research, just evil temper tantrum ‘you didn’t listen to me! so I’m going to kill you and replace you with someone who will!  See if I don’t!”

Despite having to work hard (and repeatedly) to suspend my disbelief at the inanity of this computer, I rather enjoyed the film.  Also that hand-launched spy-glider drone thing at the very beginning of the film?  That actually amazed me more than any of the “what do you mean you can turn my cellphone on from remote at follow my every movement?”  Sign of the times, I guess.

Speaking of the times, there’s an iPad2 now.  Hooray another sequel!  I dunno what to say really.  It’s more awesome than the original for sure, and people seem to really dig the original iPad despite the stupid name.  And it is a stupid name, so no I will not get over that.  I have to say I like the concept behind the whole tablet phenomenon.  I may well end up with an iPad of my own at some point, unless I can find me a better tablet alternative.  However, I feel this is unlikely.  I still feel like tablets should come with a stylus though.  They’re supposed to be like digital notepads right?

One last thing:  there’s a bunch of awesome movies out right now, one of which I had heard not word one about:  The Adjustment Bureau.  While it’s yet another movie based on a book, this one is based on a book by Philip K. Dick, and I loves me some … wait… lemme rephrase that.  Philip K. Dick is a cornerstone of everything dark and not-to-distant-future.  Blade Runner, Johnny Mnemonic, Minority Report, Total Recall, Screamers, A Scanner Darkly, Paycheck all are movies based on his works, and all of them (even the ones that weren’t that great) are just the kind of stories I love.  The Adjustment Bureau is hitting theaters this weekend and I only just today STUMBLED across its existence.  How is this possible?  How have I heard NOTHING about this film until it’s hitting theaters?  Whomever is in marketing for this film is DOING IT WRONG!  Regardless, I’m excited about it, and it’ll be interesting to see if Matt Damon can do a Philip K. Dick story better than Ben Afleck did.

The Silent Artist

February 1st, 2011

Clearly Garth has been replaced by some sort of art machine.  He must be dead and rotting somewhere and it is only through sheer luck or magic or alien technology that things continue to update on time unabated.  Ok, that’s not true, I am alive and well.  Or mostly well.  I seem to have caught a touch of con plague while in Ohio this last weekend.  I blame it more on me being stupid and standing out in the cold.

Other than the touch of plague, Ohayocon proved itself to be, yet again, extremely awesome.  Speaking of which the first segment of the con season has started!  For all you lovely folks who came by to see me at Ohayo, thank you!  For those of you who met me for the first time and are now reading the comic, welcome!  For those of you unfamiliar, to your right you’ll notice a listing of the places I’ll be making appearances this year!  Oof, doesn’t that make me sound like some kind of hotshot celebrity?  Shenanigans!  I’m going places and doing things though, perhaps places you’ll be going, perhaps places near you!  You should be aware, check it out!  This weekend I’ll be down in Greensboro for WTH?!con and just a two short weeks afterwards I’ll be rocking out Katsucon at the Gaylord.  Which really does look like Rapture City before it all went to pot.

But I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “Garth, sure you’ve been updating but you haven’t said anything in a long while, why so quiet?  What have you been up to?  It can’t be just conventions.”  And you’d be right!  There’s a lot of things in the works that I can’t quite reveal to you yet.  Yes, I know, spooky and mysterious!  Patience, yes, patience!  All shall be revealed in good time!  Until then, I wonder whatever will happen next to poor Cailyn.

Holiday Specials!

November 30th, 2010

I went up to Boston for Thanksgiving this year, and it was pretty awesome all around.  However, the drive home confirmed something terrible for me:  ’tis now the Christmas season.  Or holiday season if you prefer.  Every 15 minutes or so I had to change radio stations because “Jingle Bell Rock” would start playing.  Don’t get me wrong, I like that song, it’s damn catchy, but having just completed one major holiday and I just wasn’t quite ready to deal with another.

However, “Black Friday” (which I spent in Salem, awesome right?) and it’s new-age cousin “Cyber Monday” have passed as it is now, in fact, Tuesday and I have to admit that it IS “that time of year” once again.  So, like all good businesses we’re having a SALE!  Take 5% off of your entire order with Shark Robot between now and December 5th when you use the coupon code:  want2cyber

Think that’s a sketchy sounding code?  You ever stopped to think about how sketchy “cyber monday” sounds?

In addition to the sale, we’ve got a whole mess of new ART available at long last!  We’ve got classic prints in gorgeous new wall-covering sizes!  We’ve got prints that have never been available online before!  And if for some unknown reason art isn’t your think, we’ve got a handy T-shirt collection as well!

That’s all the news I’ve got for now.  As you’ve probably noticed, the comic proceeds into the 5th chapter, and everyone’s favorite lady of the macabre is back in action!  I wonder what mischievousness she has planned?

Super Artfight: Student Edition!

November 1st, 2010

Last minute update for you all!  I’m going to be at the Super Artfight! being sponsored by the American University Design Club.  The fight will be TOMORROW from 8 to 10pm and it promises to be an excellent show as always!  For those of you who have not seen a Super Artfight, this could be your chance.  If it IS your chance, you do yourself a disservice if you do not take that chance!  Three bouts of awesome artistic battle will be fought on the AU campus, and ink will be spilled.  oh yes…. there will be ink in the water.  I’m excited, can you tell?

Art for Your Torso!

October 27th, 2010

Hey gang!  For the first time in a long time I have New Shirt Designs available for pre-order through Shark Robot!  I dare say, these are some of the finest designs I have ever put to cotton.  I mean, come on, I combine Alice in Wonderland with Mario.  Need I say more?  Check ‘em out, and get them while you can!

Oh!  And, of course, next weekend I’ll be headed down to the beach for Nekocon!  I’ll be giving my lectures on copyrights for artists (and maybe speaking a bit about the comic industry in general) and the ever popular Steampunk to Cyberpunk:  a History lecture.  In addition!  I’ll be having a Q&A session Sunday, so if you’re wondering what the devil just happened, well, you can ask!  I’m looking forward to it, and I hope to see you guys there!

Chapter Break

October 19th, 2010

And there you have it folks.  Not a single missed update through the end of the chapter.  Just like I said I would.

You haven’t heard much out of me the last couple of weeks as I’ve been very busy.  I’ve been working hard on a really exciting project that I can’t say a whole lot about right now.  Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you all about it soon.  However, I can tell you that this project has proven to me that I can work much more efficiently if I make some minor changes to how I go about things.

That being said I’m going to take a couple of weeks off to get the next bit of Finder’s prepped and good to go.  The timing isn’t bad, really, as I’ve mentioned before there’ll be some fairly extensive updates to the website going on, and this way it won’t interfere with your reading!  I’ll post some sketches and the like in the meantime, and I’ll aim to talk more down here in the box, so there should still be things to keep one entertained.  Chapter 5 should start up just before Thanksgiving, on the 23rd, and we should go without interruptions until the chapter is over.

Incidentally, I did see last weeks episode of Castle, the one with the steampunk in it.  It was a good episode (as always), and I felt the steampunk was fairly well done.  Not too over-the-top and got the basics pretty solid.  It was kinda funny in that I could point out a lot of the various props and tell you who made ‘em.  Amused me greatly.  I will say, however, that the best way to have a duel without any actual chance of you know accidentally killing the other dude?  DON’T PUT THE GOD DAMN BALL IN THE GUN!  Reenactment troops fire off blanks all the god damn time.  Zero chance of accidental death.  I swear, some people are just asking to get shot dead.

It’s About Time

September 7th, 2010

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but this weekend I’m going up to Rockville, MD not to rockclimb as I usually do but rather to go to the convention we’ve all been waiting for for a long long time.  That’s right, Intervention!  For years I’ve heard people talk about how awesome it would be to have a webcomic convention.  About how while it’s great that so many webcomics show up at Anime conventions, or how it’s nice of Anime Cons to have adopted webcomics as much as they have, webcomics aren’t anime, they aren’t normal comics, they aren’t even traditional indie comics and they really ought to have their own venues, trade shows, exhibitions, pink flamingos, and breakfast cereals.  I’ve heard it for years.  And now the time is upon us!

For those of you who haven’t looked into it already (and really, why wouldn’t you?), Intervention is the first internet-as-a-publishing-medium convention, and it’s really shaping up to what looks to be one hell of a show.  The guest list is truly mind-blowing for a first year event, with heavy hitters such as Hawk, Mookie, Handyside, Guigar, Molly Crabapple, FRED GALLAGHER (whom I haven’t seen at a con since… like 2006), the ComicPress guys, Pete Abrams, and so many many more!  Ben MOTHERFUCKING Bova was going to be there, but apparently has fallen ill and will be unable to attend.  I hope he feels better soon.  Bova (who is a superfamous science fiction writer for those of you who have never picked up a book) is collaborating with the infamous Rob Balder on a webcomic, for those curious.  For a first year con to have names like these on it’s guest list?  I mean really, why WOULDN’T you want to go?  And of course, there’s an even better reason than to meet all these amazing people and learn their secrets in the hours and hours and hours of programming lined up…

I’ll be there.  What more could you want?

Oh right.  SUPER ART FIGHT!

Ok I’m going to stop selling this now.  If I don’t stop, I’ll just go on and on forever.  You have no reason to not attend what looks to be an amazing good time, and hopefully the start of something even more incredible.  You should be there.  I’m going to be there.  With bells on.  See if I’m kidding.  Over the course of the weekend, I’ll be taking part in/running several panels including the aforementioned copyrights panel, my steampunk to cyberpunk history lesson, and even the rare Finder’s Keepers Q&A.  If I can figure out how to make it work (because social media is a strange and alien beast to me) I’ll also be taking questions via Twitter from 2-3 on saturday (when the panel is).  I think you just tweet your questions to GarthFT.

That’s all from me for now!

P.S.  For those of you confused about how Cardinal is disbanding that Umbra, re-read page 9 of the Prologue.

Recap and Rethinking

August 31st, 2010

It’s always strange being in the Baltimore Convention Center for anything that isn’t Otakon. It’s like walking through a house you grew up in, but is now owned by a different family. It’s all old hat and yet so very different. Baltimore Comic Con proved that different is good.

I went to BCC several years ago when I was still in the early years of Comedity. It convinced me that the comic-con crowd just wasn’t a good match with my work. And so I stuck to anime cons for years. Now that I’m doing a pretty solidly “standard” format comic (complete with books) and upon the advice of some good friends and peers, I figured I’d give the comic-con scene another go.

I have never been to a more professional, friendlier, or smoother-run event in my life.

From load-in to packing up, the staff were helpful and informative, the convention center staff who usually haven’t clue one what’s happening or give a damn were equally helpful. People I had never met before in my life said good morning to me and asked how I was. Not just fans either. I had a blast, a great time, and came home pumped to work, never surer of myself or what I was doing with my life. I am officially putting EVERY OTHER CONVENTION OUT THERE ON NOTICE: figure out what Baltimore Comic Con is doing right, and follow suite.

However, as awesome as the con was, apparently there was a bit of a scuffle at the Harvey Awards (which I did not attend). The short of it is that comic creators Mark Waid and Sergio Aragones got into a heated discussion immediately following Mark Waid’s speech about copyrights and the internet. The short of it something along the lines of “kids are sharing scans of comic books. Instead of trying to keep a hard and fast hold on distribution, we should figure out a way to make money off of digital (free) distribution.” Just google “harvey awards” and you’ll find a bunch of opinions and reviews of exactly what was said. However, here you can find a pretty good summary and even better discussion of the issue in the comments. I actually really recommend reading the comments here, for once.

It is an interesting debate, and even more interesting to see how people feel it’s impossible to make money on a product that is given away. “There no money in digital distribution,” seems to be a common theme among many. Which is stupid. Plenty of webcomics have proven you can do it. It is, granted, rare that a webcomic becomes so successful as a fount of money that one can retire to the Bahamas, but it is doable. I wish I could give you a secret key to success, but I don’t know what it is. I suspect it has to do with the realization that one doesn’t make money on the content (comic). There is no money in online content, but it is an excellent mechanism for attracting an audience and playing the age old game of merchandising. But even that is only half the truth. The truth is, that people will pay money for online content, even the content they get for free (I’m looking at all you wonderful people who donate to your favorite webcomics or buy their books). They just won’t buy it sight unseen.

I’m reading a book right now called The Four Hour Work Week which, regardless of content, is the most compellingly written self-help book I’ve ever encountered. In it, it mentions the way to sell puppies (this makes perfect sense in context). The way to guarantee a puppy sale is not to tell the customer how awesome the puppy is, but rather to let the customer take the puppy home and tell them that if it doesn’t work out they can always return the puppy. Once they have the puppy home, you can pretty well guarantee that they won’t be able to bring themselves to return the pup. They’ve already become attached to him. Who could return something so cute! Look at those big brown eyes!

The same is oddly true of comics. Let a man read the first issue of an awesome comic, and he’ll pay you for the rest. Hell, webcomics have shown that if a reader likes a comic enough he’ll pay to have his own copy of something everyone can get for free. Also their favorite comic artist also sells that pretty swanky t-shirt…. oh and has arts to hang on your wall… oh my… and plushies!!! EEEEE!!! *fangasm*

One can, of course, argue that it’s not fair that creators aren’t compensated for all the hard work they put into actually creating their works, that it’s unfair that they must work to create a comic to draw an audience and then harder still to make merch to make a living. Well… then donate to your favorite creator. I’m sure they’ll happily take your money. I’m sure they could use it. And in an ideal world, all readers would contribute financially to the creators who provide them with hours of entertainment at no actual charge. Maybe one day, we’ll live in that world. Maybe one day we’ll all be able to do whatever it is that we yearn to do without having to worry about whether or not it’ll pay the bills and keep us fed and clothed. That’ll be a mighty fine day. But for now, I think that whatever the answer is, it involves seriously re-thinking this concept of being paid for ideas.

I run a panel on copyrights at a lot of the conventions I go to. And one of the things that I have to stress is that copyrights do not protect ideas. That’s not a copyright’s job. Copyrights protect tangibly recorded instances of ideas. Don’t believe me? Go ahead, look it up. I have an idea for a story. I write down the story. That story is protected by copyright. But if someone else were to go and write a story that was the same in essence but not the same in detail (wording, characters, style, etc etc) they’re allowed. I can go create a comic about a billionaire playboy who witnesses his parents being tragically murdered and uses his billions to fight crime to sate some fucked up psychological need for justice. DC comics can’t stop me from re-inventing Batman, so long as my story isn’t so similar as to be mistaken for theirs. My story and my art are mine. Their stories and their art are theirs. The idea is free to everyone. That’s what copyright is. Copyright exists to protect works, not ideas. Copyright is there to keep me from taking Batman verbatim and passing it off as my own. That is theft, plain and simple, and I don’t think anyone is seriously advocating the total abolishment of copyright. The stories you write, the art that you draw is still yours, and just because it gets passed around the internet doesn’t make it any less yours (yes, I know that distribution without consent violates copyright). Countless forum threads exist of people trying to find out where they can find more of artist X’s work, based on a random image they found somewhere else.

This debate could go on forever. I think that anyone who picks a “side” on this one is a fool. There are no sides here. It’s not a question of “give it away” or “lock it down.” It’s a question of “in a world where ideas are free for everyone, how does one make a living?”

Back From the Dead

August 24th, 2010

Heh. Kind of a macabre title, I suppose, but fitting. (if you don’t get it, see previous post)

First off, I would like to thank ALL OF YOU kind and wonderful people for all of the supporting comments and emails. You guys are the greatest bunch of people, and I could not be luckier to have fans like you. Thank you all. You all have been so amazingly good and kind to me. I am going to try to be worthy of that kindness.

As such, I’m declaring an end to the general lethargy that has been prevalent throughout this site as of late. I’m updating again. Colors for this week’s page will be a little late (still getting back into the swing of things a touch), but the important part is that there is in fact a page. And more important than that is that I’m writing again. I haven’t said much on this front, but the truth is that a lot of the delays have been the result of me simply not writing script. I’ve “known” where the story is going, and what pitfalls and discoveries are awaiting our heroes for quite some time now, but I just haven’t had the script for it. That part of my brain has just been dead. But I started writing again the other week. The rest of this chapter is ready to go, just needs to be drawn. So we’re going full steam ahead again.

So here’s what I’m doing. There are roughly 10 weeks between now and Finder’s Keepers’ 2nd anniversary (Halloween). There are 8 pages left in chapter 4, and subsequently the end of volume 1. So, here’s the deal I’m making with all you amazing fans: you’ve been endlessly good to me, time for me to do the same. There will be NO MISSED UPDATES between now and the end of the chapter. With the anniversary you’ll be seeing a new website that’s been in the works to improve on some of the current site’s reading features, and to correct others that were great ideas but didn’t work out so well.

I can’t pinpoint a date, but you’ll also see Finder’s Keepers become available as a trade paperback sometime this fall (absolutely in time for Christmas). Sadly a lot of the details are dependent on the printers. But, it’s happening.

More immediately, I’m going to be at Baltimore Comic Con this weekend, table A220 (wherever that is, we’ll find out together!). I haven’t been to BCC since the early days of Comedity. It’ll be interesting to go back and be in a more traditional comic convention environment. I hope I’ll see some of you fantastic fans there.

-Garth