PBS: Charlie Brown specials to air on TV, after all, in PBS deal. “The ‘Great Pumpkin’ never showed on broadcast television this year, but after a deal with PBS, the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Christmas specials will return to the air.”
New York Times: Create Your Own Digital Comics Whether You Can Draw or Not. “Even if you can’t draw or paint, you can still construct a comic. Some educators have found the medium to be a good way to entice children into creative writing. Thanks to a variety of apps, you can make your digital comics on a smartphone, a tablet, a computer or even a plain old piece of paper. Here’s a guide.”
Slate: When Cathy Met the Coronavirus. “The most salient criticism of Cathy has always been the charge that she perpetuated negative stereotypes about women, although more recent feminist reconsiderations of the character have recognized that it was more complicated than that. This is all pretty academic considering we’re talking about a person who only sometimes has a nose—but either way, during the coronavirus crisis, Cathy’s struggles read as so much less gendered than before.”
The New York Times: ‘The Far Side’ Is Back. Sort Of. Gary Larson Will Explain.. “Beginning Tuesday, the ‘Far Side’ site will provide visitors with ‘The Daily Dose,’ a random selection of past cartoons, along with a weekly set of strips arranged by theme. There will also be a look at doodles from the sketchbooks of Larson, who said: “I’m looking forward to slipping in some new things every so often.” (Previously, there was no content on the site.)”
Ars Technica: When MS Paint ruled the fandom world: An innovative webcomic, 10 years later. “Homestuck is a product of its time. It’s built on media tropes from when it was written, and its aesthetic evolved with the Internet’s tastes, from jokes about TV shows and adventure games to social media and anime references as the story wrapped up in 2013. But one thing that remained constant and set a tone for how creators would operate online in the years that followed is the tight-knit relationship between Homestuck’s author and his fans.”
An amazing human being used machine learning to find public domain Krazy Kat comics in online newspaper archives, and built an archive to share them all with us. Do not miss the explanation of how it did it on his About page. “In short, I wrote some programs in Python that downloaded thumbnails from various newspaper archives, manually found about 100 Sunday comic strips from the thumbnails, used Microsoft’s Custom Vision service to train an image classifier to detect Krazy Kat comics in thumbnail images, used that classifier to find several hundred more thumbnails, then wrote some more code in Python to download high resolution images of all of the thumbnails that I found.”
VentureBeat: AI extracts speech bubbles from comic strips. “Segmentation — partitioning an image or scan into multiple segments, or sets of pixels — is a task at which artificial intelligence (AI) excels. Case in point: Researchers at Google parent company Alphabet’s DeepMind recently revealed in an academic paper that they’d developed a system capable of segmenting CT scans with ‘near-human performance.’ Now, scientists at the University of Potsdam in Germany have developed an AI segmentation tool for a slightly more cartoony medium: comics.”
Mashable: 4 free sites for creating your own comics. “In the days of cold, hard newsprint, only people who could draw were successful comic strip authors. In some cases, this resulted in comic strips that had very nice pictures, but weren’t all that funny (cough, Blondie). Thankfully, the internet has taught us not to accept an inferior form of comic artistry, but a more flexible one.”
Pipedream Comics: Help the British Library to preserve and catalogue UK digital comics. “A new project at the British Library is focusing on digital comics publishing in the UK, and the challenges of preservation and access in the long term. Since April 2013, the British Library has been able to collect material published in the UK in digital form under Legal Deposit regulations. This change was intended to ensure that “born digital” publications, which can be at risk of loss, are preserved in the national collections of Legal Deposit Libraries (for more on Legal Deposit, please see http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/legaldeposit). However, digital comics can present challenges for collection and preservation over the long term – as they may be dependent on third-party platforms or plug-ins and otherwise may not be suitably gathered by web harvesting.” There was a BL contact mentioned in this article, and I have contacted her for more details.
New-to-me: a database of transcribed Garfield comic strips.. It covers June 1978 to February 2017. Note that the search mechanism finds partial words – “Phil” matches to “philosophy”, etc.