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A morning's visit with Mike Peterson is seldom without its benefits. Today, you doubled my profit: Sarah Laing is now in my bookmarks file ("I've got my novel to finish... my room is a mess") and now I know what "estopped" means, which I didn't half an hour ago, which I guess means that I am a young person.

Bonus profit from you today: I learned that "screw up" might not mean the same thing in Auckland as it does in Oakland.

Mark Jackson

Howard (Schlock Mercenary) Tayler was already successfully supporting himself and his family with his webcomic before he launched his iPhone and iPad apps; these have apparently been reasonably successful as he's been looking for an Android developer to partner with. Some hints of iPhone performance (and of his business model) here:


Mike Peterson

Howard is one of a handful of cartoonists I know whom I have actually met in three dimensions, which is ironic, given that he is one of the great on-line cartoonists. Looking at his site, it doesn't surprise me that he's on top of this, and I see some good things there. Still, even one panel at a time, a cell phone is a small pallet. If he comes back to the New England Webcomics shindig next year, I'll draw him out on this a little more and report back. However, I still think doing graphic things on a cell phone (as opposed to an iPad) is silly.

Mike Peterson

And, Sherwood, your comment reminds me of the case some time ago when a young man somehow got on the wrong plane and thought he was on a short flight to Oakland, but was, instead, on a much longer flight to a place that -- with the interposition of an accent -- sounded like the city he was looking for.


... which episode is what spurred me to use those two cities rather than, say, Christchurch and Corpus Christi. Would never happen these days, eh?

Howard Tayler

Regarding graphics on the cell-phone -- I felt exactly the same way, Mike... right up until I got an iPhone and realized I could read comics anywhere with a device that fit in my pocket.

The Schlock Mercenary app leverages server-side meta-data to define panel borders so that you can navigate a large strip one panel at a time. It's not an ideal way to read comics, but it's the best way to read them on a small device.

I regularly used my iPhone and the Schlock App to call up strips for reference while working on new stuff. Now that I have an iPad I use it instead. The comics-reading experience on that device is far superior.

Mike Peterson

The iPad looks promising to me, Howard, though I would hesitate to spend money on something so limited -- but, as said, that's more about my budget and the fact that I'm not away from my laptop very often anyway. But you've got me curious. I'd like to see how this goes over the next few years as both iPad-type devices and smartphones become more widespread. Hard to see the phone as more than a convenient crutch for when you don't have a better choice at hand.

I suppose one immediate question is how it's playing out in Japan where I understand a lot of young people don't even have "computers" and do everything on their phones -- but are people who care about graphics in that group? (Come to think of it, I know someone on the Pacific Rim I can ask.)

Thanks for joining in. I DO like the idea of using the iPad for reference while you're working. I'll have to see the smartphone version to see if I think it's practical -- but, again, the customer is always right, and if the apps are selling, well ...

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What's so funny?

  • I read some 175 or more comics a day. Each day, I post a strip or two here that made me laugh, made me think or impressed me with its artistry. It's my hope that you'll see some new strips here and decide to follow that artist's work, and perhaps even to support that work by purchasing a collection of strips. But, mostly, I hope you'll find this a place to get a laugh or share a thought each day. After all, comic strips are a very demanding art form, but the ultimate point of all that work and all those deadlines is to give readers a little pleasure each day. If you find a comic hard to read, clicking on it will open a slightly larger version. (You may find that right-clicking and opening in a new tab produces a better result.) All comics here are copyrighted by their creators. -- Mike Peterson

The Prime Directive

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Independent publishers

  • Independent comic collections
    Not all cartoonists market their collections through Amazon. Here's where cartoonists can list their independently published, and marketed, collections and where fans can find, and buy, them.

Blog Roll

  • Comics Worth Reading
    Independent Opinions by Johanna Draper Carlson and friends News and reviews of graphic novels, manga, comic books, and related subjects
  • Comic Riffs
    Michael Cavna's Washington Post column on comics and related media news.
  • Mike Lynch Cartoons
    Cartoonist Mike Lynch's blog: Fascinating archival stuff he's found and scanned, tips on how cartooning really works and progress reports on his garden (in season).
  • The Comics Reporter
    Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary
  • Cartoon Movement
    An international site with sociopolitical cartoons from around the world, curated by Dutch cartoonist Tjeerd Royaards. A real mix of impressionistic panels and short-form graphic journalism.
  • Africartoons
    Cartoons from across Africa, which has an extremely lively cartooning culture. Most of the material requires you to be on top of African current events and political personalities, but even when you're not sure of the specifics, there's some creative stuff to envy in the lively nature of the art form as practiced there.


  • GoComics.com
    Universal Press Syndicate's page. You can click on each strip and read for free, but for $11.88 a year, you can create your own page of strips and also avoid pop-ups. It's worth it.

Comics Kingdom

  • Comics Kingdom
    King Features' site, with free comics if you don't mind a truncated service, or a very good paid site for $20 a year. Some of the benefits, including Vintage strips, require that paid subscription. It's worth it.