Now showing on Patreon: “2 Minutes to Wondermark”

I’ve just started a new series on my Patreon page, where I provide commentary over a 2-minute timelapse of the process of creating a Wondermark comic!

The first two installments are up now, exploring the making of comics #1368 and #1369, which is the point at which I decided I would start recording my work.

In those posts, I have also written “novelizations” of both those comics! In case you want to learn more about the rich inner lives of the characters who say the quippy things.

I don’t know if I’ll do that every time, but I have done two so far and will probably do a few more in the next few installments.

If you’re not familiar, Patreon is a website where you can subscribe to premium content from artists like me — in this case, a contribution of $2 per month (which works out to $24 a year) makes you a patron of Wondermark and gets you access to all special posts I have, or will, write.

It doesn’t sound like much, but a bunch of people contributing small amounts like $2 can really add up and make a big difference.

If you enjoy what I do here, or would like to read the bonus content, I’m grateful for your very kind support! (Of course, the comics here on the website will always be free!)

If you’re interested, you can become a patron at the link below, and get access to the 2 Minutes to Wondermark posts as well as past essays, such as the Archive Dive series and two journeys through the Roll-a-Sketch Vault.

I’ll be adding more installments to those series over time, as well! Not on any strict schedule, just as I have the time. Meanwhile, the third installment of the 2 Minutes to Wondermark series goes up tomorrow!!

[ Malki on Patreon ]

Wondermark in PREVIEWS, and a note on books!

I stopped by the ol’ comic shop last week and flipped through PREVIEWS, the Diamond Distributors catalog where most comic shops get most of their comics and related merchandise.

And I was surprised to see my very own face staring back at me from page 24:

It is apparently a promotional effort for webcomics-turned-print-collections:

Which is great! But still a bit surprising, considering that the specific Wondermark book being promoted there on page 24, Dapper Caps & Pedal-Copters, was released by Dark Horse Comics nearly eight years ago, everyone I know who worked there has since left the company, and I did not know they had copies left of the hardcover edition (I subsequently issued a paperback under my own imprint).

But apparently they do, and if you work at a comic shop, I encourage you to order Diamond item number DEC090040 and fill your shelves with Wondermark books and pitch them to everyone who enters your store!

This is a good excuse to talk about books more generally. As longtime readers know, after self-publishing an early Wondermark collection in 2005, I put out three volumes with Dark Horse, in 2008–2010 (Dapper Caps was the third; it went on to win the PubWest Gold Award for design excellence, and I have a lovely medal to show for it). They are handsome books that seemed to perform okay for Dark Horse.

But they are a comics publisher, and a decade ago especially, comic strip collections (usually sold in bookstores in the humor section) being sold through a distributor that catered primarily to superhero-book stores did not find the largest audience. These days comics distribution reaches into more mainstream stores, and many comic shops stock all kinds of stuff, but a decade ago it was a bit tougher.

So when Dark Horse decided they would do no more hardcovers, and let the editions they had done go out of print, the rights reverted to me and I issued my own editions in paperback:

I also went on to do a fourth hardcover, this time with TopatoCo: Emperor of the Food Chain, which was never distributed through Diamond, but which I believe is now newly available to bookstores and other retailers through the Consortium catalog (ISBN-13: 978-1-936561-93-3).

People often ask me, “What’s the best way to get your books?” And sometimes they mean in terms of availability and ease (in which case, Google will direct you to several different vendors from which you can choose), but other times they mean “Which method helps you the most?”

This is a very kind thing to ask, because it acknowledges that making and selling books can be a tough road, and if the person is going to spend basically the same amount of money no matter what, they might as well put that money where it will do the most good for the person they are trying to support!

The answer, however, is complicated, and the answer may be different for every different author, or for authors who have different relationships with the book trade. Some authors are vigorous vendors of their own work; others prefer to leave the filthy lucre-mongery to the pros and concentrate on the writing part.

From the perspective of being a small publisher, I mostly want you to order directly from me, because all your money comes to me, and then I personally put the book in an envelope and mail it to you (or hand it over the table at a convention).

However, you could also get it from my TopatoCo store, which is almost like getting it from me in that Jeffrey and the folks at TopatoCo only keep a small fee from the sale, plus while you’re there you might see other things you want to buy (from me or other artists on the site) — plus I don’t have to do anything, and can spend my time doing other useful things instead of putting a book into an envelope. That is a very acceptable choice.

Or, you could patronize a local bookstore (or comic book store), if they happen to carry the volume you want, because that money goes to your local community and supports that business, and some of it gets back to me eventually. Supporting bookstores means supporting the places that are, ideally, in the aggregate, able to sell many more copies of a given book than I myself as one dude driving you to my website will ever be able to do. So buying a book from them props up that ecosystem.

Or, you could order from Amazon, not because you have any particular need to support Amazon but because it will arrive quickly and cheaply and you can also get watch batteries and deodorant in the same order. It may help you enjoy the book more if you ended up saving a few bucks on the transaction. And keeping you solvent is good for me in the long run as well!

Of course, if frugality is your main concern, you can also look on eBay or Abebooks for used copies. Sales of used copies don’t result in me getting any money, but it keeps the books circulating (rather than moldering away in a box or on a shelf or in a landfill somewhere) and also makes you feel like a TREASURE HUNTER.

From my perspective as an author, I am happy if you get a book and enjoy it no matter where you get it from. Giving me your money directly is great, but supporting the institutions that support me and other authors is also a virtue.

Of course, stocking 100 copies in your store and upselling every customer you serve would be best of all.

Even moreso if you don’t work in a bookstore. I bet Dapper Caps would sell exceptionally well in a haberdashery.

2018 Wondermark Calendars — shipping now!

Pleased to announce that this week we’re finishing shipping all outstanding orders for the 2018 Wondermark Calendars!

Thanks to everyone who’s snagged a copy; if you don’t have yours in hand yet, you will have it very soon.

And because I launched it later than usual this year, we still have some copies available! The last few dozen of the limited run.

If you haven’t already claimed one, you can place an order right now and we’ll ship it without delay!

Here’s what the finished, printed thing looks like:

There are a lot of pages and they all have delightful illustrations on them!

This year, the calendar is the Santarelli & Sons Expert Thingsmiths’ Catalog of Contraptions, filled with strange devices and impractical contrivances to solve your everyday problems.

Let Edouardo Santarelli and his competent sons Drachma and Leopolt show you their peculiar wares, all year long.

“But David,” I hear you saying, “it’s already 2018! It’s MULTIPLE DAYS INTO 2018! Don’t calendars go bad if you don’t open them right at the start of the year? Isn’t part of that calendar NOW UNUSABLE, with days that have past into the black mist of eternity and already been utterly forgotten by me and anyone else who might look at this calendar??”

How right you are! That is why I am willing to credit you the value of ONE FULL 2018 WEEK with your purchase of a 2018 calendar.

Simply use discount code ITSJANUARY at checkout, and you will be given a discount of 1/52 off the price of the calendar.

Any calendar stand you have from any previous Wondermark calendar will also work with this year’s cards! You only need the refill cards.

BUT, as you can see in the pictures, we have a new stand design this year! You can get one of them if you choose; we have modified the base design this year to better match the theme of the 2018 calendar.

An optional upgrade if you like!

Every individual copy of the calendar is signed and numbered by me:

And of course every order ships with a unique Wondermark Cast Card! This one features Mr Santarelli himself – and if you are a calendar patron of 5 years or more, simply mention so at checkout and we’ll include a special Calendar Ace card as well.

That is all! I just wanted to share these nice pictures with you.

Again, thanks very much if you’ve already ordered yours and there’s still a little bit of time if you haven’t! I’ll probably shut up about this in a week or so.

I’m writing a guest story on Dave Kellett’s DRIVE!

For the next few months, I’m writing (and Kris Straub is illustrating) a guest story for Dave Kellet’s sci-fi comic DRIVE.

The first page of our story starts here — three pages have been posted so far, alternating each week with Dave’s ongoing storyline.

If you’re not familiar, DRIVE is a space-opera humor comic following the adventures of a spaceship crew in an interstellar Second Spanish Empire.

Kris’ and my story, “The First Ship that Fell”, will flesh out some of the details surrounding a mysterious event in the empire’s past, only hinted at in Dave’s story so far.

Which is to say, it’ll make more sense if you know the overall story. If you haven’t read it, it’s well worth starting at the beginning! By the time you catch up, more pages of my story will likely have been posted, and you will be able to savor all the delightful nuances. (Note: none of the characters in our side story so far have ever been seen in DRIVE before.)

Dave has been very kind to open the doors of his universe to guest authors telling side stories, and I’m thrilled to have the chance to add to his mythos, and also to collaborate with Kris once again! Check in as we continue telling this 14-part (!) story.


It’s the final week to place a pledge for one of our laser-cut Wall Buddies! Update: The campaign’s over! Thanks everyone!

In our latest project update, we announced a stretch goal: MINI BUDDIES!

Mini Buddies are tiny fridge-magnet versions of our Wall Buddy designs. Anyone who pledges for Wall Buddies can now add Mini Buddies to their order too!

At present, these specific Mini Buddies are ONLY available with a Wall Buddies pledge. And as a reminder, all orders from this Kickstarter campaign will ship in early 2018. So plan ahead for NEXT holiday season! You always want to get ahead of the game so you don’t have to scramble last-minute again. TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY.

The campaign ends this Friday, and then I’ll shut up about it and start talking about the new Wondermark Calendar instead!



More Wall Buddies available – now with 8 different designs!

A little while ago I posted about Wall Buddies, our new line of classy, laser-cut wall hangings. I had a handful of them left over from a limited run we made for convention season, and many of you snapped them up!

Well, now we’re making more — a bunch more. We’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign that’s collecting orders now! Update: The campaign is over! Thanks everyone!

Wall Buddies! Framed Artwork of the Inventive Virtues

The “Inventive Virtues” are explained more in our pitch video (which I’m really proud of and hope you watch!). In essence, we’ve selected eight iconic images that stand alone as pieces of art, but also can represent specific virtues worth cultivating for creative individuals.

In the campaign, you can order any single Wall Buddy (of the 8 designs available), or, you can get multiples — however many you pledge for, we’ll ask you once the campaign is over which specific design(s) we should make for you.

We’re making them all in-house in our workshop in Los Angeles. Here’s my partner in this venture, Jason Lioi, putting one together:

We plan to run the campaign for the month of November, then have a special order of frames manufactured in a custom style by a frame factory. We’ll spend the first few months of 2018 making Wall Buddies, and begin shipping them to backers as soon as the frames come in.

It’s a simple campaign without a lot of complex stuff going on, this time — it’ll be hard enough keeping everyone’s orders of all 8 designs straight, so I don’t want to complicate matters!

Though, as the campaign progresses, some upgrades and alternate versions may become available… We have some ideas for stretch goals. But it’ll depend on how much interest there is overall!

Meanwhile, just to let you know what to expect, the Wondermark Calendar will go on sale and ship as usual in December. That project will overlap with this campaign a little — the calendar will ship out before any Wall Buddies will — but I trust you to understand the order that things have to happen.

Jason and I have been talking about making Wall Buddies for months, and as I mentioned in the previous post, we took some samples to Comic-Con and Gen Con this year to gauge interest. When you see a Wall Buddy in person, the texture of the material is really striking, and people loved them at the shows!

So, we made a bunch more, and now you can get them! Hope you like these — I’ll talk much more about them in the month to come, surely. And if nothing else, be sure to watch the video!

Wall Buddies! Framed Artwork of the Inventive Virtues