Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category.

Let’s Make ‘Hierarchy of Beards’ and ‘Zoological Times Table’ Jigsaw Puzzles!

I’m turning some of my Victorian-style charts and diagrams into giant jigsaw puzzles!

puzzles

Check out this pitch video for more details!

I’m really excited about this project. The Hierarchy of Beards poster, and the Beards of our Forefathers book that birthed it, have led very exciting lives.

beards-bruno

Pat Race (the photographer, not the subject, of the picture above) took a copy of the book around the World Beard & Mustache Championships in Alaska!

beards-law

Reader Jonathan N. shared that his personal copy of the Beards poster had an uncredited cameo in an unrelated story about an unassociated legal dispute!

queensbrigade

One of the made-up beard styles that I invented was adopted by a folk band in Winnipeg!

And I conducted a lengthy interview with the world’s foremost beard expert!

It’s amazing what one can accomplish in just a few years with a laserlike focus on beards. And I fully expect the Zoological Times Table to take its place in this amazing pantheon, in time.

Puzzles are to posters as ice cream is to milk.

Both are great. Both can be satisfying. But only one is typically enjoyed via a process — spooning, licking, sprinkling, coning, piecing, assembling, dipping in chocolate. Sure, milk can have a process too (I like a latte as much as anyone), but puzzles are process. And like ice cream, puzzles can be pretty cool!

While I wait for the Nobel committee to award me a Metaphor Prize for the preceding paragraph, I will say that I have always been very proud that Wondermark readers are intelligent and charming people with the most discerning taste. I have sold many hundreds of these posters over the years, always to nice people with good-smelling hands.

So you deserve more.

In my new campaign, I’m offering those same posters and books (at cheaper than my typical retail prices) — a great bargain for anyone.

But then you also get this new thing. A puzzle is something to do, not just something to see. A puzzle is a group activity; a puzzle is an art piece; a puzzle is a game that can be shared across generations.

Now, there is a place for super puzzle-maniac difficult puzzles; I don’t think these are they. These are really pretty puzzles that are totally normal puzzles like you would find in the store.

If my lovely Victorian-style joke-puzzles sound like something that would be at home in your life, or the life of someone you care enough about to give a gift to — I hope you’ll reserve your copy (or copies) now!

There are three designs available: The Hierarchy of Beards, the Zoological Times Table, and Sponsored Messages, chock-full of all the labrynthine, intricate faux-Victorian classified advertisements I’ve been polluting my books with for years.


The Machine of Death game was a very complicated Kickstarter, but it is done now.

(You can buy the game now! You can also download the entire game for free.)

I learned a lot doing the MOD game! It was a giant Kickstarter that involved lots of complications — ultimately satisfying, but it took so very long to get settled! So following that, a thing I wanted to try, just to see if I could, was a project that would be deliberately simple.

Hence, the puzzles! In the campaign, you can also get books and/or posters, but that’s it. I will also be making videos along the way, if you’d like to check in on the updates.

So this is a bit of an experiment for me as much as it’s a product for you. Here it is! Puzzles! Grab ‘em while they’re puzzly!

A special advisory for early backers: the first few batches out of the puzzle-fryer will still be chewy on the inside — I guarantee it. 

You can wait, and get a puzzle later, and that’s fine…But it won’t have that flaky puzzle crust you’ve come to love. That’s not how I want my puzzles. Get ‘em fresh. They’re better for you before all the nutrients get blanched out.

Wondermark’s Jigsaw Puzzles of Fictional Victorian Charts

The Travails of the Free Couch

yes this is the real couch

Comic #1060 is quasi-autobiographical. We had a yard sale over the weekend, and we ran into that problem that always occurs (at least if your brain works like ours): you get stuck with something that’s too good to just throw away, but nobody else wants it.

In our case we have a couch that I got for free ten years ago. It’s a perfectly nice little couch, very comfortable in my opinion, but it was taking up space that we wanted to use for other things, and so we offered it in our yard sale.

Nobody bought it. We have cats, so it’s a little bit scratched up — I understand. But the thrift stores don’t want it for that same reason, and nobody on Craigslist seems to be interested.

It’s a shame! It’s a very serviceable couch, if you don’t mind the scratches, and the somewhat ’90s pattern, and the chance (since it has lived with cats for ten years) that it may contain bonus cat-related mysteries within. What’s life without a little mystery, right??

And even though my actual daily life would be affected no differently if it went to the dump, vs. if it went for free to someone who’d love it, I have enough affection for the couch (and general sense of civic responsibility vis-a-vis recycling) that I wish I could see it go to some use somewhere.

So yesterday I began to think about the lengths I would go to in order to give it away.

Internet Archive Releases Millions of Public Domain Images; I Personally Benefit

14598402907_6071288090_z

Thanks to the many people who’ve sent this bit of info my way! In a move that mirrors the British Library’s similar endeavor from a few months ago, the Internet Archive has placed images from 500 years’ worth of public domain books on Flickr, millions and millions of pictures and emblems and logos and marginalia from digitized books.

Here’s Flickr’s official statement.

And, in a move unlike the British Library’s, in this case they’re attempting to use contextual clues from the OCR’d text preceding and following the image to determine ways to thematically tag the images. It’s not…perfect? (The image at the top of this post is tagged “Historical buildings”.) But it’s a pretty cool effort nonetheless!

You can also browse by year, decade, or century, which is super cool if you want to narrow down the type of art style you’re looking for (as I tend to want to do).

I browsed a few dozen pages of the Flickr set and found some cool images that I used in today’s comic! Here are some of my sources:

The men in the foreground
The browsing man in Panel 1
Some of the vases on the tables
An object on a table in the far background

The other elements in the strip today came from my existing collection.

I love things like this, obviously! Hooray for culture! Hooray for old stuff, it’s a souvenir of the world we weren’t around for, and a reminder of where we have been as humans before.

Here Are Some Jokes About Batman

Also many kind people such as Neil Gaiman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have recently shared my latest Batman comic! That’s pretty neat to see!

Welcome, new readers; I have done exactly two Batman comics in eleven years, and here’s the other one. Oh and this one about Superman.

Not to say I have entirely ignored the notion of superheroes.

BONUS JOKES: SPACE WARS

BONUS BONUS JOKES:

Essential reading for the Star Wars jape enthusiast: The People’s History of Tattooine.

The Annals of Improbable Kickstarters, and other things

GET IT

Here is a new short fiction anthology that I have a story in!

It’s called HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! & Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects, edited by multi-award-winning anthologist John Joseph Adams and featuring a ton of excellent writers including Mary Robinette Kowal, Monte Cook (whom I briefly met at GenCon last week), Mur Lafferty, Scott Sigler, and many, many others.

The stories in the book all take the form of Kickstarter projects (the project description, tiers, updates, comments, etc.) for improbable things, like the robot army of the title, or cat assassins, or a divine taco, or in my case, “Live-Action Arena Tetris.” (Read more story summaries.)

The entire giant book is on sale right now for just 99¢ on Amazon! (update: due to various restrictions by Amazon, the special price is in the US store only.) Other ebook platforms will follow. This one is an ebook exclusive.

Speaking of crowdfunding, I’ll also be at:

backed!!!

On Monday, September 15, I’ll be part of a panel discussion at USC along with filmmakers Meirav Haber (Stan), Kyle Rankin (Night Of The Living Deb), and Tracy Droz Tragos (Rich Hill), talking about…Kickstarter! I will try to sneak some jokes in, between all the LIFE-CHANGING ADVICE we will surely be dealing out.

The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.

And speaking of jokes and japery…

FLIP ITTTTT

On October 4-5, I’ll be in San Francisco at the TableFlip gaming conference, presenting a talk about how themes can affect play in tabletop games.

Also speaking at the conference will be Max Temkin (Cards Against Humanity), Matt Leacock (Pandemic), and Volko Ruhnke & Brian Train (the COIN Series).

Attendance is limited and it’ll probably sell out before long, but registration is currently open!

That’s the whole rest of my year, as far as events go!

Hope to see you at one…OR ALL???????