Saturday, October 13, 2007

BarCamp Recap (and some Comic Pluggage!)

Just came back from BarCamp Atlanta, which is an overnight convention where you put a bunch of hackers, geeks, and otherwise smart people together, get 'em all to host panels on the fly talking about whatever it is they're interested in talking about, and hopefully you get enough folk that want to hear 'em talk too. No pressure, lots of fun, always something to do or see or nibble on . . .

. . . and apparently a good number of folk who had no idea about how big webcomics are. I ended up hosting a webcomics panel last night that went over really well; I'd say 8-10 people in the room, and a lot of 'em grabbed pins after I was done and were just really impressed in general at how much effort people go to in telling their stories and convincing people to just give 'em money. Even managed to get one of 'em to walk me though signing up for a proper domain name, so if you haven't already, check out lastres0rt.com (yes, the 'o' in resort is a zero).

Most of the panel actually ended up being about a bunch of the comics I frequent and what I happen to think are examples of good stuff in the field. What actually ended up happening through was that I gave a brief overview of the Morning Coffee Firefox Extension and as a result, I showed off the comics that I had listed for Friday's lineup. My apologies if your comic isn't in this list, as it's just a review of the ones I showed off (and a brief overview of what I said about 'em, if anything special) since a couple of the guys asked me to post a list of the ones I talked about. There's other goodies, but hey, I ran out of time as it was.
  • Exterminatus Now - A good class act, loved the big battle scene at the top. One of the better-rendered works.
  • Ugly Hill - Can only say so much about a comic when it's currently in guest strip mode.
  • Schlock Mercenary - Nothin' but good stuff about this one. Good writing, good color, even told 'em about the buffer and how having a few comics in reserve is useful. I'm sure the barely-dressed Elf helped, considering I was one of the few women at this thing.
  • MegaTokyo - Eh... I basically admitted that if I hadn't gotten hooked on it previously, I probably wouldn't be reading it now. Because of the erratic schedule Fred keeps, it's almost better to wait for the books than to try and keep up online. To say the least, not a glowing review.
  • PvP - Same Chapter, different verse. At least Megatokyo's late because Fred knocks himself out on quality; I'm relatively certain that if Kurtz wasn't an early adopter, he wouldn't have near the same following.
  • xkcd - Gloriousness. Come on, it was practically a geek con, what WASN'T I going to say about this one?
  • DMFA - I ended up showing off more about how Amber collects donations than the comic itself, since at least part of the panel was showing how people made money off their webcomics. Specifically the Wallpaper Wars — or as one guy put it, "Choose your Own Adventure, but with money!" In hindsight, I wish I'd shown off the Abel vs. Regina war instead. Much more dynamic and a little easier to read when you've got to work with a projector.
  • StarSlip Crisis - Much love. Mostly talked about how distinct the characters in this strip are, even for a highly stylized form like Straub's.
  • Evil Inc. - Another generally great comic. They loved the general storyline too. ^_^
  • The Devil's Panties - Made for a nice segue into places like ComicGenesis and Smackjeeves. And hey, who doesn't love a local artist?
  • ps238 - Showed off where Aaron has his books for sale on the site elsewhere as well.
All in all, a pretty decent collection of comics, with a lot of examples of how comics differ based on their quality, style, and update schedule, along with a smattering of 'A-Listers'. (and yes, I showed off my own stuff as well, but only after the others — after all, this was meant as an introduction to comics, talking about donations and other ways to make money off a brand, some comparisons with blogging, and so on).

Which just goes to show that even when you're at a place where people are doing nothing BUT talking about how to shape the internet, they're still not always getting the whole picture. ;)

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