Social Media Entrepreneurs & Garfield Fans Star In Graphic Novel & Comic Strip
This month a graphic novel and a cartoon strip offered walk-on parts to social networkers and cartoon fans. In an era that blends the real and online worlds, it's a natural fit to have someone's caricature or actual photo introduced into a comic or illustrated narrative. In the case of "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks," and "Garfield," it allows these intellectual properties to interface with the public in a very personal way.
Facebucks & Dumb F*cks
Kidd millennium is an online cartoon character that was created at the turn of the century. Developed as the unofficial heir to R.F. Outcault's 19th century comic sensation, the Yellow Kid, kidd millennium has spent the last ten years lampooning the world's political climate. This year, the kidd's editorial target has shifted to the digital terrain of social media - where Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg get caught its satirical cross-hairs.
The title of the book has a two-fold meaning. For starters, it refers to how one social network scaled beyond all others to become its own financial institution complete with the ability to mint its own money. Secondly, it references the multitude of blind followers Mr. Zuckerberg in his early years labeled "Dumb F*cks" when asked how he was able to attract so many.
In keeping with social media theme, the creators introduced a contest back in the summer titled, "Win A Free Walk-On Part In A Graphic Novel." Promoted on social networks and the kidd millennium Web site, it provided the Twitterati, Facebookers and YouTubers an opportunity to be written into the illustrated tale. It resulted in 100s of submissions, and five lucky winners were selected in November.
As the story goes, Z-Man (aka Mark Zuckerberg) is rebuffed by some prominent CEOs when he asks them how he can compete with China for Internet dominance. Here, Microsoft's Bill Gates, Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Apple's Steve Jobs refuse to give away any of their trade secrets.
As an alternative solution, Z-Man turns to five of today's thought-leaders, who were the winners of the walk-on parts. From award-winnning movie producer Siok Siok Tan's Twittamentary documentary, to Marcome's New Age Twitter song, to Shelly Kramer's social media marketing savvy, and Phil Mitchell's Old Dogg and Gerald Weber's SERPd launches -two innovative social bookmarking sites - it's an impressive list of entrepreneurs who are making a mark on the social media scene today.
Garfield Comic Strip
For more than three decades, the sharp-witted orange tabby feline known for his sardonic wit has been gracing the comic pages of newspapers internationally. With the assistance of the personalized entertainment company PixFusion, now fans can get even closer to their favorite cat when their photos are personalized and added to the strip.
The series of animated Garfield comic strips are available online now at pixfusion.com and soon, on Apple's iPhone and iPad. Other mobile platforms are also in the works.
The process is simple: Upload a photo of yourself, a family member or friend and simply place it in one of several strips already available. Instead of Arbuckle's or veterinarian Liz Wilson's head, your photo is inserted into the cartoon panel. In this promo, creator Jim Davis has inserted his own image into the personalized comic strip.
"It's really a nod to where the industry is going," Davis said in an interview from his studio in rural Indiana. "I'm talking about entertainment in general — TV, movies, newspapers, journalism, cartooning. Everything is going online."
A four-pack of animated comics will cost 99 cents to personalize and can be streamed onlne. Or users can download the finished product and share it for a cost of $3.99. For $9.99, fans can personalize as many of the strips — all of which have appeared on the comics pages — as they want and stream them for a year. They can be saved or posted to Facebook and Twitpics as well.
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So as old school meets new tech, I think you would agree, that having social media netizens and cartoon fans in graphic novels and comics is a novel way for the creators of Facebucks & Dumb F*cks and Garfield to break through the fourth wall and address readers directly, with folks from the real world. After all, isn't there a little bit of the kid in all of us who would like to be immortalized in a fictional narrative that personalizes one's own image.
Both of these books make for unique gitt offerings and are perfect if your gift list includes any avid Facebook fans and/or those that hate Mondays, diets and exercise as much as Garfield.