Mal and Chad vol. 1 Out Now!

Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever!The first volume of the Mal and Chad comic book series by Stephen McCranie is out now. The two main heroes of the adventure story previously appeared in the defunct webcomic Mal and Chad. The new comic book is unrelated to the webcomic and tells a completely new story. You can order “Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever!” at Amazon.com for $9.99. (It’s also available at Amazon.de and other stores.)

The Mal and Chad webcomic was a newspaper-style comic strip about the boy Mal and his talking dog Chad. When the little genius Mal was not busy wooing the love of his life, Megan, he invented teleporters and cute robots. Unlike most webcomics, Mal and Chad was a very light-hearted comic and suitable even for young children.

I’m confident that the first graphic novel featuring Mal and Chad will be as enjoyable as Zita’s first adventure. I have already ordered a copy.


Comment section less prominent

I have worked on the comment section since I was no longer happy with various aspects of it. In my opinion, comments are suppossed to accompany the main post, not to make up 90% of the vertical page size. But having to click through 10 pages of 5 comments is also very annoying. Our advertisers would also not like to pay for so many useless page views. Therefore the comment section is now hidden by default. To show it, a click on the “Click here to see the comments!” link beneath the comic description or the news post is needed. My mom, as ultimate authority, really likes the new system so I certainly will keep it.

All comments made during the last weeks are back online. However, I have to say that I’m somewhat annoyed with the reaction of some readers. I think it’s very unfair that I was heavily criticized for trying to improve two strips that many readers didn’t understand or liked. It is a sad fact that on the internet, criticism is often blown out or proportion (“WORST! STRIP! EVER!”) or descents into personal attacks very fast. I also got a very angry e-mail by a long-term reader and commentor who though I had banned him, although I have not banned anybody during the last weeks.

There are also some good news, though:

Sandra and Woo will update three times next week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

– I axed a large chunk of semi-funny ideas for future strips after the current storyline in my idea document, and replaced them with much funnier ones.


Results of the Fanart Contest

After a slow start, I received a lot of great entries for the first Sandra and Woo fanart contest during the last weeks.

Let’s begin the countdown of the best entries with the places 6 to 10 (in no particular order). All of these pictures would have deserved to win a prize, but unfortunately for their creators there were some pictures I liked even more.




by Garrett Williams



by Simon Ladd



by Tony Kinnard



by Tim Decker



by Willie O’ Brien

Place 5 and $10 go to Jonathan A. Ringor for this picture of Sandra and Cloud cosplaying as Yuna and, well, Cloud. I really like Sandra’s expression in this one.



Place 4 and $15 go to Andreas Nilsson for this nicely drawn picture of Sandra, Larisa and Woo enjoying a trip to a lake.



Place 3 and $25 go to Liliana Fernandez Mullins for the most interesting piece of the competition. Why is Sandra sitting on a bowl of water? Why is the tree hanging full of light bulbs? Maybe Liliana will enlighten us in the comment section.



Place 2 and $50 go to Alan Hong for the most dynamic picture that really manages to capture the speed of Sandra and Woo during their way downhill. I also like the shiny colors in this one.



But place 1 and $100 inarguably go to Solveig Hepp for this marvelously picture of Sandra and Woo going to a picnic. Sandra seems to have gone a bit overboard while packing, and Woo is not *really* helping her to pull the wagon up the hill.



All winners should send me an e-mail to novil@gmx.de with their Paypal account (or German bank account) information so that I can send them the prize money.

But let’s not forget the other entries. Several readers even send several pieces:

Thanks to everyone who participated!


New computer

There are always people who want to buy a new computer, but are not up-to-date with the currently available technology. I just bought a new one and did some research about the best, but still affordable components before that. I had a look at tech specs, magazine reviews and customer opinions. In my opinion it’s now finally the time to get a SSD as primary hard-drive for the operating system and applications since these bring significant performance improvements, especially regarding the starting time of programs. Adobe Photoshop is now ready to use almost immediately after clicking on its symbol. My new PC, which replaces a 7 year old methuselah, is also very quiet, so I’m very happy with it overall. So if your budget is around 1000€ ($1300) to get a really fast and reliable machine with a projected lifetime of six years, you should check out the following components:


Deadline for the Fanart Contest

Sunday next week, 10 April 2011, is the deadline for our fanart contest. We have received some nice entries so far, but only by 10 different people. This means there is still a good chance for semi-competent artists to break into the top 5 who receive prize money.