Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The return of Staple! and other items of interest (plus a question!)

I don't go to a lot of comic book conventions, but Staple! is one I try hard not to miss.

Staple! is an expo for independently produced comics and other self-published literature, art and any other creative endeavor that fits the vibe of a hip mini-con, here in Austin, Texas. I have an unnatural love for Staple!, and though I've said it before, it really does get bigger and better with each year.

This year is the fifth for the expo, and the organizers have some pretty exciting guests lined up. At the top of the bill is Stan Sakai, legendary creator of Usagi Yojimbo (and this year's Staplegator logo). If I can keep from going into a fanboy coma, I'm really looking forward to meeting him. He'll also be joined by Chris Onstad (of Achewood fame) and Jeffrey Brown (Incredible Change-Bots and other great comics) — not to mention a host of other guests and vendors. You can get the latest information on guests and programming at the Web site.

If you're anywhere near the Austin area, I recommend carving out a couple of hours to take in what's ultimately a very cool meeting of the comic book-minded.

Speaking of very cool, the Staple! podcasts are being taken care of by the guys over at Dial-A-Stranger, which is itself one of my favorite regular podcasts. The concept is simple; people e-mail or call in with queries on ... well, anything ... and then hosts Mercedes and Zach randomly call someone from a list of other people who have volunteered to take a question.

It sounds simple and it is, but the interaction between the hosts and the person on the other end of the line is frequently hilarious and often poignant.

It's also well worth a listen.

So, Scans-Daily was shut down, huh? I only went to the site a few times — usually when someone else's blog linked to it — so I can't pretend to know too much about it. But I do know that a lot of the people who populated S_D tended to skirt the definition of Fair Use and made a lot of noise, both about how creators didn't know how to use their own characters and about how the posters had some sort of right to do whatever they wanted with someone else's work.

Let me say right off that I'm a big free speech and fair use guy. But that doesn't mean that anything created by anyone else is mine to use as I will. It's illegal and it's disprespectful to the creator. And to not only post almost complete (and in some cases, entirely complete) issues online AND THEN crow about it ... well, that just isn't very smart and you deserved to get shut down. No amount of hand-wringing, cries of man-hate (I didn't even realize S_D was supposed to be a "female space" until recently) or claims of comic book evangelism will change that.

Lisa Fortuner and Andrew Weiss have very good points to make about the whole thing, so go check it out. For myself, I'm sorry people will miss their sense of community, but I'm not sorry to see Scans_Daily go. I tend to avoid message boards and the like because they always seem to end up making me depressed and angry; we'll see how long the mods can keep some of the more interesting new boards to pop up in S_D's place from spinning out of control.

You may have noticed (or not — what am I, a mind-reader?) that there were some strange goings-on here at the blog yesterday. Blogger has been giving me more and more trouble lately, so I ask you, Internet: Is it time to switch to Wordpress? Tell me, Internet, tell me!!


Khairul H. said...

Can we transfer all our Blogger stuff over to Wordpress?

Maxo said...

Dunno. I believe you can, but I don't know how technically challenging it is (basically, what's the pain-in-ass to general-benefit ratio?).

People who have switched to Wordpress seem to be happy they did (at least when they first do it), but most of them also seem to making the jump to their own url. I've considered that, too, but I don't know if it's worth possibly dislodging my tens of readers.