I had an e-mail yesterday asking me to cast a vote for the Maisie Kukoc Award for Comics Inspiration. Since I only knew one of the names (Corinne Mucha - I recently bought her Alaska comic), I trawled the internet this morning to find out about the rest:
Corinne Mucha: I love her work, have a good browse of her website.
Sarah Oleksyk has generously posted the whole first chapter of Ivy, letting you get a real sense of the story. Don't miss this one!
Will Dinski: A fabulous discovery for me, you can read a bunch of his comics online here.
Damian Jay: Read an extract from The Natural World
Jonas Madden-Connor doesn't give much away, but here's his website
John Porcellino: Also difficult to get a sense of his comics from his website, but he gives an intriguing list of links
I know I should never expect people to post their whole comic online, because people need us to buy them so they can afford to keep making more. But I was struck by how much more interested I was in the people who had posted whole chapters - their books are the ones I'll want to go buy. It's all about getting the balance right, not posting so much we lose money, but enough to give a really good sense of what we do. I've only seen my work ripped off a few times from the internet, but I was very surprised to find out from architect (and big-time DFC fan) Barnaby Gunning that a major Italian newspaper had printed a photo I took of his family and posted on my blog about the last Fleece Station party:
I supposed I should be annoyed that they used my photo without permission, although I was a bit tickled to think of so many Italians with their morning coffees looking at Barnaby's daughter holding a picture of Derek the Sheep. But VERY NAUGHTY of the newspaper, those pirates (boo!). (And now I've ripped it off Barnaby's Twitpics). But hooray for Barnaby, not only has he built a house entirely of LEGO, but he's involved in rebuilding the Italian city of L'Aquila after its horrible earthquake, and built a website using Google Earth images to help them find out what part of the city need work.
Getting nervous about our upcoming elections; I hope people (myself included) really think about who they're voting for and their MP's long-term record, and don't do any knee-jerk reactionary voting. Speaking of piracy, this whole business about the Digital Economy Bill is particularly worrying, the way it sailed through Parliament with hardly any discussion or MP involvement (only 3.4% of them turned up to the House of Commons!). I'm against piracy, but I don't want the government to start shutting down websites willy-nilly. At one point, they were saying that they could cut off anyone's internet connection if they downloaded from an illegal website; so any internet cafe with wi-fi wouldn't last more than a day at that reckoning. I know they backtracked a bit, but the whole thing's zoomed through so fast I still need to go scrabble around the internet to find out what happened.
Here's a website where you can find out if your MP showed up for the debate, and further discussion on Twitter. Remember that MP, Tom Watson, that I met in Birmingham? (He and his son drew monsters with me). He seems to be one of the more internet-clued-up MPs out there, and he's keeping us up to date better than anyone. (He's tom_watson on Twitter.) I was pleased to hear him on the radio, speaking up about it in Parliament.