reMIND

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Generally as a rule of thumb, I avoid reviewing webcomics until they’ve had at least 35 updates. Part of this lies with the fact my own webcomic lasted but 33 updates before it succumbed to terminal hiatus (to the point that it’s no longer online and the hard drive holding the only files of it corrupted, unfortunately; in hindsight I regret removing it from the Keenspace servers when I first launched the Tangents review site). I figure any comic that has lasted at least 35 updates has gotten enough inertia rolling to remain viable.

I’m making an exception for the graphic novel reMIND as cartoonist Jason Brubaker (who is a professional storyboard artist and compositor who has worked on over a dozen major films and in print comics) is documenting the process of creating this graphic novel and giving some excellent advice that both print and web cartoonists will find helpful. While the comic aspect of reMIND has only had fifteen updates, each update is a double-page spread that tells a story that is graphically pleasing and quickly catches your interest even as it gradually builds the story and setting.

The comic is about Sonja, a young lady inventor whose cat Victuals goes missing one day… and turns up a week later with the ability to talk, manipulate objects with his paws, and comprehend things. As there have been only fifteen updates, it’s difficult to determine the gist of the story, but it appears to involve stories of lizard men (in what is either a contemporary fantasy or science fiction setting), missing animals, odd bubbling waters, and the uplift of at least one feline. From what Brubaker has said in his blog, I half-suspect that Victuals is the real protagonist of the story, and that Sonja will be playing more of a narrative role in telling Victual’s tale.

While the comic itself promises to be a fascinating tale well worth reading (both in a virtual format and when Brubaker eventually has it published), it is the research Brubaker has compiled and documented that I suspect many web cartoonists will find of use, both for online venues and for possible print compilations. Brubaker has done a considerable amount of research on creating graphic novels, including coloring processes, outsourcing segments of the art to reduce time spent (such as flatting colors, which can save cartoonists a couple of hours), lettering and font creation, and on internet resources that web cartoonists will find useful.

This research also includes information on promoting graphic novels (and by extension, webcomics), the use of advertising, and on active forum communities that may be of use for artists. What’s more, Brubaker also talked about a problem common with many internet resources; the majority of internet resources are out-of-date and in some cases obsolete. While the majority of this information was gathered with an eye toward getting a graphic novel into print, much of it can be adapted to web cartoonists who have no intent on print publication, either due to the animated aspects of their work or the limitations found in print venues.

What makes reMIND so effective is the marriage of comic and resources. There are a number of webcomic resources out there; some of them are even updated regularly. Likewise there is a growing number of webcomics that use blogging formats to allow the cartoonists to talk about their work and what went into each update. The marriage of these two helps show how this information can be used by creators, and allow readers to learn a little of what goes into creating a webcomic. Add in the fact that reMIND is an artistically skilled work that shows considerable storytelling promise, and you have a comic that is worth reading to both creators and fans alike.