We’re closing in on the end of the year. 2010 was a good year, but mostly a blur. That said there were a lot of great books, services and products that came out this year. I’ve compiled a list of things I thought are above and beyond. If you’re still looking for a gift to give yourself, I heartily recommend you get these five items.
#1. The iPad.
It is this year’s most anticipated, most hyped, and most sought after gadget. I’ve been using an iPad since September and I can’t endorse it enough. The I draw on it (ArtRage), get my news (Flipbook, Pulse News, CNN, NPR), play games (Words with Friends), watch movies (Netflix), listen to music (Pandora), socialize (Facebook, Twitter) and use several productivity apps (Dropbox, SimpleNote, Plaintext). Many a blog posts are composed while on my morning train commute. Consider that Computer World released a report predicting sales of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices will out sell PC shipments within the next 18 months. There is a dramatic shift happening and it’s happening faster than anyone could have predicted.
It really is a game changer. News organizations are scrambling to get into the tablet market. King Features recently released their DailyINK for iPhone, iPod Touch and have an iPad version set to release soon and I can’t wait for it. I’ll finally get to consume the comics I love on a portable device that can give them the screen real estate they need. If you can still get an iPad for Christmas, do it. Tell your spouse that you need it for marketing research. It is the future. Besides, The Daily Cartoonist looks fabulous on the iPad.
It looks like Amazon is sold out. Check back for new inventory.
#2. 40 A Doonesbury Retrospective
Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury is an iconic original and it recently hit the 40 year mark and still going strong. There have been two excellent books released to coincide with the anniversary – “Doonesbury and the Art of GB Trudeau” by Brian Walker (read my review) and 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective. Andrews McMeel published “40” and like other complete collections (note: “40” isn’t a complete collection), the attention to detail is first rate – really a work of art as much as the comics inside it.
As much as I love comics, I have to admit I don’t enjoy reading them in the paper like I did in my youth. I much prefer to sit down with a collection and take in the story-lines at one time rather than over a span of days. “40” allows your to read those story arcs and see Garry’s drawing style change of time. A wonderful collection.
#3 Duck: Birds and Pencils
Florian Satzinger is a Austrian animator designer/illustrator. He was a student of Ken Southworth (Disney, MGM and Hanna-Barbera animator and animation director). He posts his sketches on his Paperwalker blog. I’m not even sure I know how I found out about his blog, but I’ve been a fan ever since. He published a collection of his sketches in book form through Brands Studio Press. It’s only 48 pages and costs $24.95, but it’s worth it. The line art is creatively beautiful, zany and fun. I don’t know how large the print run was. Get one while you can.
You don’t have to run out and get this. It’s free. As in a webcomic free. Bug is a new comic created last year by Adam Huber. What I enjoy about Bug is the multi-punchline strip approach. The bugs are black and white, not even sure if they’ve got names, but they’re likably amusing. Adams has great comedic timing and delivers simple line art that matches the humor. If there was a future in syndication, I’d say get this guy a contract. He updates 5-6 times a week. If he sells a book collection, I’m first one in line.
So this last one isn’t directly cartooning related, but last summer it completely saved my… assets… and I’ve become a big proponent. We all know we need to back up our stuff, but sometimes it’s a hassle. Since all but one cartoonist (Patrick McDonnell?) uses a computer in some capacity, you’ll want some kind of back up system. DropBox is an automatic syncing service. It installs on Macs, Windows and Linux and places a folder on your computer. Everything that you save in that directory is automatically backed up to their servers. If you install it on multiple computers, the file is synced to all computers automatically. It also allows “versioning” – you can see early drafts of changes you made in a file (last 30 days). It’s really convenient, and best of all you can get 2GB for free. You can buy more space if you need it.