Indiana Comic Con 2014: The Review

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Last weekend, I went to Indiana’s first ever Comic Con!  Held at the Indianapolis Convention Center (where Gen Con is held), Indy Comic Con promised to be a fun little convention.  As it was in its first year, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I planned on having a fun time anyway – after all, how can you not have fun dressed up as Pinkie Pie? :D

Come on everypony, smile smile smile!

Come on everypony, smile smile smile!

A friend of mine (Ross, whom I met at Gen Con and became friends with thanks to the magic of the internet) and I planned on going all three days, and Mr. Crafty Nerd and another friend made plans to join us on Saturday and possibly Sunday.  And come Friday afternoon, Ross and I ventured to the Convention Center to see what Comic Con would be like.

Rainbow Dash dislikes waiting in line...

Rainbow Dash dislikes waiting in line…

The first thing we ended up doing was waiting in line – despite having bought our tickets online.  Comic Con used Ticketmaster to handle the registration process (which made paying for our tickets painful, what with all the fees), and sent us a strip of tickets like we were going to a concert.  (Tickets don’t fit terribly well into badge holders.)  Once we got to the convention, there were a number of lines you could enter to get into the convention, all snaking around together – we ended up going through the will-call line, despite having our tickets already, and then got funneled out when getting to the part where we’d need to pay for tickets.  It wasn’t a long process, as we got there maybe an hour after the convention started, but it was still somewhat confusing and tedious.  We had our tickets checked, and then received three wristbands – one for each day of the convention.

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The section of the convention center that Comic Con was being held in was one of the exhibition halls (D and E, for those familiar with the convention center), and that was all.  One part of the hall was sectioned off for the theater (where panels and the costume contest were held), another was sectioned off for the entry lines and ticket purchasing, and the rest was exhibitor booths and artist tables.  All in all, it was… small.  I made one circuit around the exhibitor area, bought a handful of things, and decided I was done with the booths.  After a few hours at Comic Con on Friday, Ross and I decided we’d save our energy for Saturday and went home.

Ready for action on Saturday!

Ready for action on Saturday!

 

We got to the convention center around 10 or 11 am, and as we ambled our way over to where Comic Con was being held, we noticed there were way more people there than on Friday.  I mean, the con was practically a ghost town, compared to what I’m used to with Gen Con and I-CON and such, and then Saturday? BOOM.  Everyone wanted to be there Saturday.  Ross and I made one circuit through the main room where the convention was being held, pushed along by the insane stream of people surging through the aisles, made a quick stop at the costume contest registration booth, and then didn’t spend much time inside the main area for the rest of the con.  We weren’t at the convention for more than an hour when we heard that they were turning people away at the doors, and the convention was at capacity.  Apparently the organizers didn’t realize that 10,000 people wanted to attend Indiana’s first Comic Con.  (They also picked a pretty poor weekend to host it, as the majority of the convention center was host to a public librarian conference that weekend.)  Bryan, Ross, Gina, and I ended up spending the majority of our time roaming the halls and taking pictures and talking with people about how crazy things were, how the convention could have been planned better, and so on.  After lunch, and more wandering around the convention center, Ross and I figured we should go wait in line for costume contest pre-judging.

The line was INSANE.  I think over half the people in line hadn’t actually registered for the contest, and about 15 minutes into when pre-judging was supposed to start, rumors floated down the line that pre-judging was canceled, they were just going to send a judge down the line to check everyone out, and that anyone who didn’t have a number wasn’t getting in.  After the abbreviated pre-judging process (where a judge came by and asked us about our costumes, what our inspiration was, did we make them ourselves), we all filed into the theater (which was packed!  apparently everyone wanted to see the costume contest), all nearly one hundred and thirty of us.  They didn’t realize so many people were interested in participating!  Everyone in the contest had amazing costumes (I was in line next to a girl dressed as Toothless who made her costume in A WEEK holy crap), and it was fun getting to prance across the stage with Ross as Rainbow Factory Dash.  However, the costume contest could also have been handled a little better…  By the end of Saturday, the four of us were exhausted, and decided it’d probably be better not to go on Sunday.

All in all?  For the inaugural year of Indiana Comic Con, while it had its issues – mostly organization related – I had a lot of fun.  I got to see lots of cool costumes, and being part of the first year of what promises to be a big convention was pretty exciting as well.  I got to meet one of the writers/artists for the My Little Pony comic, I got to see lots of fun art and cool toys, and I had loads of fun (as always) dressing as Pinkie Pie.  I think I will go back next year – here’s hoping they take up more of the convention center, though.  The rough start for Indiana Comic Con makes me a little leery of going to Indy Pop Con at the end of May, even though there’ll be many big names there (like Sylvester McCoy and Nicholas Brendon!  XANDER OMG) – instead of three days, I’m going to stick to Saturday – and definitely register ahead of time, in hopes it holds my spot.  I do believe they’re taking up more of the convention center, which will be a good thing – I anticipate Pop Con being very popular.

Alright, enough rambling about the convention – on to the pictures!

 

Make your day a little nerdier

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been ridiculously busy lately.  Between work and classes and craft projects, I barely find time to just sit around and indulge in my nerdier (and craftier) side.  However!  I’ve found ways to get around that, and work a little more nerdiness into my day in little ways.  Here’s a random assortment of how I make my day a little nerdier, in no particular order.

Rocking a nerdy lunch box

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Because food is always better when it’s brought along in a companion cube.

I found this beauty on ThinkGeek’s website – I’ve been hunting for a fun lunchbox for ages, and since it’s nearly impossible to find a squishy My Little Pony lunchbox for a reasonable price, I snagged this lovely little Companion Cube lunch box.  It does a fine job of making my otherwise dull and mundane days a little more fun.  Plus, it’s a Companion Cube!

Nerdy socks

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Gotta love Frida’s unibrow.

Because nothing says awesome more than a pair of fun nerdy socks.  I’m sure most of you already know I have a thing for socks – the more ridiculous, the better.  Like these Frida Kahlo socks.  I love Frida, and I enjoy her artwork – and when I saw these in San Francisco, I had to get them.  I mean, come on.  I have a bachelor’s degree in Art History.  How could I not get artist themed socks?  (I also have a pair of socks with Van Gogh’s Starry Night on them, and yes, I have worn them with my Van Gogh’s Irises skirt)  It’s just another way that I can indulge in some nerdy fun.

Covering my desk in nerdy things

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So many ponies! Among other nerdy things.

I think this picture of my cubicle says it all.  Ponies, Sailor Moon, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Wreck-It Ralph stuff, and even a tiny little Genuine Buddy model on top of my desktop.  Since I pretty much live either at the office or in the library, covering my desk in fun nerdy stuff is one way I can get my nerd on while at work.  (Yes, I have been known to play with the little ponies while trying to get some inspiration for work related things.  Don’t judge.)

Music!

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I could listen to this album (and the two following it) over and over again.

There’s just some music that puts me in a creative mood, or a nerdy mood, or a combination of both.  I tend to listen to a lot of electroswing while I work – and while I craft, too.  If I remember right, actually, I made my entire steampunk costume while listening to Caravan Palace, one of my most favorite electroswing groups, and I’ve been listening to the White Mink, Black Cotton mixes pretty much exclusively the past few months…

Swapping nerdy office pictures

Ross has way more ponies at his desk than I do...

Ross has way more ponies at his desk than I do…

A good friend of mine, Ross (you might remember him as Rainbow Factory Dash from GenCon), tends to send me pictures of his desk.  Which is covered in ponies.  Which prompts me to send pictures of my desk.  Which prompts more pictures of his desk.  It’s a vicious cycle, this nerdy show-off business.  It keeps things fun, though, that’s for sure. :D

What kind of stuff do you guys do to make your days a little nerdier?  Share with me!  I must know. :D

The Digital Humanities Nerd: A Love Letter to XML

Here’s a little blog that might be way too nerdy for most – but I wanted to share it here, because XML makes me happy. :D

Crossposted from here.

I’ll admit, when I took a look at the title for one of our readings for this week, “A Gentle Introduction to XML”, I scoffed a little. I’ve done work with XML, quite a bit of it. Heck, I’m even teaching two workshops in XML this semester. But knowing how to assemble the code and knowing the history and the specifics behind it are two different things – something I’m realizing after reading through the XML readings for this week.

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Convention season, and remembering my first con

Well, GenCon opened up preregistration today.  And Bryan and I have been talking about the upcoming Indiana Comic Con, and how many days we’re going/what costumes we’re wearing/who should go with us.  With all this talk about conventions, and planning for them, it’s got me thinking about the first convention I ever went to…

Most of SUNY Potsdam's Gaming Club, from early 2005.  Ahh, those were the days...

Most of SUNY Potsdam’s Gaming Club, from Spirit Night back in early 2005. Ahh, those were the days…

Way back in 2004, the SUNY Potsdam Gaming club learned about this most amazing convention that happened down on the other side of the state.  It was called I-CON (short for International Convention of Nerds), and one of our members had gone quite a few times and said it was epic.  And we’d heard that the Student Government Association would possibly fund trips for clubs, as long as they had a legitimate purpose for going on a specific trip.  So, we gamers formulated a plan.  We decided that we would go to I-CON, and we would call it “research”.  (And, well, we did do some game-related research, so our reason for going was valid!)  We put together the proposal. submitted it to the Student Government Association, and waited not so patiently to hear back about whether we’d get the funding or not.

Well, we just about died when SGA said they’d fund our entire trip – hotel, badges, and even gas there and back.  Not only were most of us going to our first convention, but we were going for free.  We were so so excited it was ridiculous.  My only knowledge of conventions involved knowing people wore costumes to them, and there were lots of other people interested in all sorts of nerdy things.  So, I dusted off my renfaire garb, as I didn’t have any idea of what else to wear, and in April packed my bags and got ready for the incredibly long trip to I-CON 24.

The ride was long and somewhat eventful – people kept getting lost, one person’s car couldn’t go faster than 40 miles an hour, and we got there so late on Friday that we almost weren’t able to pick up our badges, and we wandered around for a half hour before returning to our hotel and passing out, saving our energy for Saturday.

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The Cheat!

Saturday was… amazing.  Overwhelming.  Insane.  I was positively surrounded by delightful geekery.  So many costumes.  So much excitement.  So many things to watch and see and do and buy.  It was geeky heaven.  Especially… the dealer’s room.

BUY ALL THE THINGS

BUY ALL THE THINGS

Oh, the things we could buy.  I don’t even know how much money I spent at that first I-CON – probably an entirely irresponsible amount.  I think we all did.  (I distinctly remember one of my friends coming home with a giant staff – trying to wedge that into a tiny car was interesting, to say the least)  I remember buying a gigantic plushie of Shippo from Inuyasha, and a ridiculous amount of Sailor Moon gashapon figurines…  I got a few pictures of people in costume, mostly because I was too shy to ask people for their picture and because I didn’t actually have a digital camera of my own back then.  In fact, aside from a picture of me and my friend with The Cheat, the only picture I got of myself with anyone was with someone dressed as Edward Elric.

The Fullmetal Alchemist and The Crafty Nerd!

The Fullmetal Alchemist and The Crafty Nerd!

I don’t remember much else about Saturday except for wandering into a couple of viewing rooms and watching random episodes of animes I’d never heard of, wandering aimlessly about the Dealer’s Room spending stupid amounts of money, and beginning my tradition of inadvertantly con-stalking Michael “Mookie” Terraciano of Dominic Deegan fame.    Sunday was more of the same, but with a few more pictures!

At the end of the weekend, we all loaded our goodies into various cars and settled in for what was actually a rather uneventful 8 and a half hour trip back up to Potsdam.  I may have spent that trip with part of a giant wizard’s staff across my lap, using my ridiculously large Shippo plushie as a pillow, wearing my Death from Above t-shirt, trying to sleep through a bumpy car ride.   Ahh, car trips to and from conventions…

This is the convention that sparked my desire to go to more and more conventions.  Later that year I went to Otakon for the first time ever, which was absolutely amazing, and then I continued going to I-CON until I graduated from Potsdam.  I also went to the first ever Bear Con in 2011, which was so much fun!  Now I’m hoping to make it to three conventions this year – which is more than I’ve ever been to in a convention season!  I’ve got Indy Comic Con coming up in March, then PopCon in late May/early June, and then, of course, GenCon in August.  I’m so ridiculously excited.

Is it convention season yet?

Grad school, blogging, nerdiness, and other things

One of the classes I’m taking this spring, Digital Humanities, has a blog posting component.  Which I’m really excited about.  As I’m learning while doing readings for my Digital Humanities class, blogging is a really big part of the field.  A lot of information gets shared through blogs, and it’s really interesting to learn about.  Not only that, but digital humanities in general.  It’s got my inner art history nerd peeping out again to see what sorts of projects I could work on that tie Art History into Digital Humanities… so many things to learn this semester!

I’m also taking Gender and Computerization, which so far has proven to be an eye-opening look at how gender plays into various parts of the computing/technology field.  Some of the topics discussed in the class so far have given me even more ideas for research projects.  Might even talk about them here, although they’re so very nerdy and not exactly crafty.  Who cares?  Someone out there may find my ideas/realizations interesting!  Plus, research!

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Oh, and I get to make a website for Information Architecture for the web.  Which is always fun.

Speaking of fun!  I installed Ubuntu on my laptop last night!  It’s my first experience with Linux.  I’m enjoying it so far.  I’ve got a bit of experience with Unix from my studies in ILS, using it when doing programming in Python and Perl, stuff like that, but this is the first time I’ve jumped in completely and devoted an entire machine to a Linux based OS.  I actually enjoy the fact that sometimes it takes a little bit of tinkering to get stuff to work.

I might make some more grad-school-oriented posts this semester, not sure.  I mean, most of the stuff I do in grad school is considered pretty nerdy, and I love sharing the things I learn with others, maybe getting people to discuss things on the blog…

Oh.  Unrelated to anything except my previous post: I saved a pony from certain death last week.  The weather here has been exceptionally chilly lately, though, so I’m going to have to get creative if I want to hit my step goal this week and save another pony.  But if I do hit my goal… I GET SOCKS.

And yes, I really am excited about socks.  I mean, come on, socks are awesome.  Especially fun socks, like the robot-cupcake-unicorn socks I’m wearing right now.  :D

2014-01-22 13.20.47Alright, enough of my disjointed rambling.  I’ll hopefully have a more well-formed blog post for everyone next week.

Getting in better shape, the nerdy way

I’ll admit it.  I’m not in the greatest shape.  There are a number of things that contribute to this – some I can’t control, like health issues, and some that I can control, like being a lump parked at a desk in a cube farm for 29ish hours a week.  And I know that I need to be in better shape.  I want to be in better shape.  I want to fit into my steampunk skirt properly, and I want to avoid having to let out all my cosplay outfits.  So, I’ve found a few things to motivate myself with.  Quite a few, actually, and some of them more effective than others.

The Fitbit

1747366_saI’ve had a number of these awesome pedometers over the years – and recently, I got a Fitbit Flex.  (In obnoxious green, like the one above.)  And for some reason, not actually knowing how many steps I’ve taken strangely motivates me to move more.  I want to fill up all the little lights on my tracker!  I want it to vibrate with glee!  AND ALL THE DATA I RECEIVE.  Oh, the data.  I can see when I was most active, how many steps I took throughout the day, and how well I slept the previous night.  I love data.  This is one of the many reasons why I’m an Information Science master’s student.  Data. :D

The Aria

fitbit-aria-mainThe Aria is the smartest scale I’ve ever owned.  It connects to the internet and funnels weight info for 8 people into their respective Fitbit accounts.  I do like stepping on it and having it recognize me by name.  (Most of the time.) I will admit to having a love-hate relationship with my Aria.  I love that it gives me all the freaking data I could ever have on my body and weight and such, but I hate how brutally honest the damn thing is.  I also hate when it confuses me with Mr. Crafty Nerd.  That’s another motivating reason for me to lose some weight.  (Curse you, Aria!  SAY MY NAME!)   But I guess having a scale that lied to you would be counterproductive, wouldn’t it?

(I swear, this article isn’t turning into an advertisement for Fitbit.)

Bribing myself

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Yes, I will totally stoop to bribing myself.  For every week I hit my step goal (I’m not even aiming to hit the gym at this point, I’m shooting for getting my butt out of my desk chair and walking every day), I will allow myself to buy a pair of socks from Sock Dreams.  Because aside from all the other addictions I have (like My Little Ponies, video games, crafts, and Toothless the Dragon), I also am addicted to knee socks.  My collection is epic… but it could be more epic.  And the self-bribing isn’t limited to just socks.  When I hit the “holy crap I’ve lost five pounds” point, I’m going to treat myself to a massage.  Lose more weight?  Get a more awesome reward.  And so on.  I am hoping to have all the socks on my Sock Dreams wishlist.

Giving things up if I miss my mark

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Yes, this is a little bit more cruel, I guess you could say, but I think this will also keep me on track.  For every week I don’t hit my step goal – and I’m gonna be reasonable, if I’m a couple hundred steps off I’ll go easy on myself, or if I’ve been sick that’s completely understandable - I will give up one pony from my My Little Pony collection. And I’ll even let Mr. Crafty Nerd pick which ones go.  He’s been saying I have too many ponies anyway.

Yes, I think I just heard that collective gasp.  “But Crafty Nerd, you can’t give up your ponies!  You love them too much!”  And that’s why I’m doing this – because I don’t want to lose any ponies.  No sirree.  However, if I do mess up, and a pony has to go… I’ll offer it up to you guys on Facebook first, as a sort of contest.  But here’s hoping that doesn’t have to happen.

SO DETERMINED

SO DETERMINED.

I’ll try and post regular updates on here or on Twitter about my progress – here’s hoping I end up with more socks, and not less ponies.  I’m determined.  I can do this.  Oh yes.

 

 

 

Sub-zero temperatures: perfect time for crafts.

Well, I went on vacation to Florida for a week – which was a welcome respite from the crazy end-of-semester busy-ness.  However, I came back to probably the coldest weather I’ve experienced in a decade!  (And brought a cold home with me, to boot.)  It was pretty, that’s for sure, but not the type of weather I enjoy…

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Look at those pretty frosted branches!

What’s a snowed-in nerd to do?

Well, lots of things, actually.  I may have spent the day listening to NPR on the radio, since the internet was out most of the day.  And believe me, a snow day is the worst time to have the internet die on you.  Thank goodness for the radio – I listened to classical music while working on some craft projects!

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Scooter cross-stitch and the world’s first glimpse of my Doctor Who Season 18 scarf, take two!

This winter break has been lovely for working on projects – I’ve got a shawl in progress that I started on the way to Florida, I’ve got a counted cross-stitch project I started just after Christmas, and I’ve got my new Doctor Who scarf to boot!  So while the snow blew around outside and the temperatures plummeted, I stayed warm on the couch and worked on nerdy crafts.  (It was pretty much all I had the energy to do, anyway. Stupid chest cold.)

I also took some time to clean out my closet a little bit, and may have dug up some My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic goodies I might give away in a contest during this week… so stay tuned, pony fans!  I promise I’ll start blogging more regularly, too.

HabitRPG: Where doing laundry gets you experience points!

One thing that I am horrible at is building new habits – and sticking to them.  Sure, I’ll wear my Fitbit for about a week, excited about all the data it provides to me about how far I’ve walked and how many times I woke up in the middle of the night, then forget it at home one day… and sure I’ll say “I’m going to read ALL THE BOOKS this year” and then, without fail, end up on the computer all weekend and watching Law and Order to fall asleep.  Or I’ll start a craft project, work on it for a few weeks, and then go “oooh I should start another Doctor Who scarf” and forget about whatever it was I was working on completely.

Well, HabitRPG sets out to change that.

habitrpgYes, that’s my little tiny character, clad in leather armor, brandishing a sword.  I need to keep up my good habits in order to earn a helm.

The premise is very simple – build habits and complete tasks, earn XP and gold pieces to spend on in-game goodies to keep you from losing too much health should you forget to complete a given task in a day, or to redeem for real-life privileges and treats.  When you log in for the first time, you’ll see four columns – Habits, Dailies, To Do, and Rewards.  You’ll also see a little pixel version of your character up in the left hand corner of the screen, which you can customize to your liking.  HabitRPG will suggest some habits and daily tasks for you, as well as suggest some possible rewards you can give to yourself – the first thing I did was set up some habits that I’m working on (like wearing my Fitbit every day, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, bringing my lunch to work) and also add some daily tasks I wanted to make sure I did every day (including reading a book for at least 30 minutes, and spending an hour away from the computer – which you might think is easy, but when you work in IT, your entire life is computers!).  To-do comes in handy as a reminder list that also earns me gold and XP – and the Rewards section is where you can go spend your gold.

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Don’t think that it’s just a cute way to remember to walk the dog and mail out the bills, however.  There are QUESTS.  (Or, as HabitRPG calls them, challenges.)  Yes, you can compete with/against other HabitRPG warriors for the potential to earn goodies while building good habits!  Which is pretty awesome.  And you can randomly get pets – I picked up a wolf egg when I checked off one of my dailies today. :D

And so you don’t have to go it alone – you can create parties, join a guild, and more.  I’m currently going it alone, as there’s no easy way to share a link to a party so others can join, but if any of you readers join up, shoot me a comment on here or on the Facebook page with your User ID (which can be found either here or here, but you must be logged in) and I’ll add you to my party!

So, for those of you who have some trouble sticking to new habits, or just want to find a new way to make doing all that laundry exciting, give HabitRPG a try! I’m enjoying the heck out of it, and may have freaked out a little when I neglected my chores for a day and though “nooo, my little warrior is going to die if I don’t clean!”, heheh.

 

Webcomic artists are awesome.

I’m still not quite back to regular posting, thanks to NaNoWriMo eating up all my creative brain (only 11,944 words to go until I win!  Story is nowhere near over yet though), but I wanted to post a little tidbit of awesomeness here.

One of my most favorite webcomics ever is Dumbing of Age, by David Willis.  I’ve had the chance to meet him in person twice at comic book signings at my local comic book store, Vintage Phoenix, and he’s always been super friendly.  So when a recent strip gave me some inspiration to draw some fanart, I figured, why the heck not?

joyce_scooterYes, I drew Joyce, one of the comic’s main characters, on a scooter.  Driving in the grass, and being rebellious.  At least, as rebellious as Joyce can get, anyway.  I posted it to Twitter, David retweeted it, and I flailed about a bit.  Then, this past Wednesday, he was at Vintage Phoenix.  And after I flailed about and said “I WANT JOYCE IN MY BOOK” (which was much better than last year where I completely blanked on every single character’s name, and blurted out “DRAW ME SUPERHERO GIRL”), I said “I’m the one who drew Joyce on the scooter, by the way.”  And he said “Oh, that was you? Awesome!”

AND THEN HE POSTED MY FANART ON HIS SITE YESTERDAY.

And he said I’m awesome.

*flails*

I love webcomic artists.  They’re a special breed of awesome, I swear.  I’ve never had a bad interaction with one.  From my all awkward-turtle purchase of Questionable Content book 1 from Jeph Jacques at GenCon (where I said “I sent my husband over here to get a sketch of Marigold earlier ’cause I was too shy to ask myself”), to my unintentional convention-stalking of Michael “Mookie” Terraciano , formerly of Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire fame back in 2005 (I can’t believe he remembered me from I-CON when I found him at Otacon! not to mention he let me touch the following day’s comic strip, I may have nearly died, haha), to David Willis posting my fanart… yeah.  Webcomic artists are awesome.