Well here we are with the end of ‘Episode 3′, and it doesn’t look like Mrs. McCarty cooled off, after all (did anyone besides the Sheriff really think she would? And even he was probably just engaged in some wishful thinking). As has become tradition we will be pausing for a snazzy cover image next week, then we’ll continue in two. I am pretty happy right now that we managed to keep the comics going on schedule through not just one but two convention appearances. This is a good sign, considering that this coming Autumn we seem to be in line for four different conventions in a span of seven weeks: Wizard World L.A. at the end of September, then APE, Long Beach, and finally the newest kid on the block, the Comikaze Expo at the beginning of November.

But the really, really big news (which I held off announcing here out of respect in promoting our more immediate shows) is this:

ZOMBIE RANCH IS GOING TO SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON!

“Now Clint”, you think, “This is nothing new. You guys have been going to San Diego every July for years.” Gentle reader, this is true — but we have never been able to have an exhibitor presence there, even though we’d been trying since 2009. I’d even begun to think the bar was too high now, and our efforts too humble in comparison with the other creators out there wanting Small Press space (which not only requires application but a jury review for acceptance). As of mid-April, I was happily proven wrong as I got the call that a wait list space had opened up, and we qualified for it: were we still interested?

Well, the two operative words there were “hell” and “yeah”. It’s going to mean a very different sort of Comic-Con than we’ve gotten used to, and I don’t want to overstate anything about what this means for our legitimacy as creators (from our attendee experience, Small Press can still be a lonely area at times), but there’s no doubting that SDCC is the Big One where comics and other aspects of pop culture are concerned (and the other “Big One” can hold off on striking California for now, plz k thx).

We’re excited, and for the first time ever we’ll actually be stationary targets that you can feasibly find on the show floor: Small Press K-4, under the label “Lab Reject Studios”. I think I made noises before that Dawn and I were putting together a little company to market our efforts, and while it’s not entirely formalized yet, there it is. I even have the business cards to prove it. :D

As far as Zombie Ranch goes, Issue #2 should be available for purchase off of IndyPlanet soon (we’re also ordering up a stack for San Diego if you’re going and would rather purchase one in person). That’s the print version. If you pay attention to the polls we occasionally put up, you’ll see I’ve been asking who might be interested in a digital download — that’s because IndyPlanet is currently in the process of adding a digital component to their store, so once that goes live anyone interested in tossing 99 cents that way gets their own (I presume PDF) copy. I’ll pass on further details about that once the feature goes live, at this time they’re still working on it.

Speaking of which, I hope the majority of you have been enjoying the new “Storyline” navigation I installed courtesy of ComicPress. I know I’m still seeing the occasional new reader who gets to the end of Episode 1 and then stops, presumably not realizing there’s more story, but if there’s a better way to structure things I think it’s something Dawn will have to figure out, and so far she hasn’t had time. It’s highly ironic since when I advise other webcomic people I’m always going on about the importance of intuitive site navigation, and I think at least a portion of new readers are getting lost on ours right now. Unfortunately, those same people are the least likely to actually leave a comment that they were having trouble.

Anyhow, as mentioned next week will be the comic cover for Issue 3 (yes, I know we do it backwards from most webcomics, story first, cover after… that seems to also have become tradition), but I’ll have a brand new blog for your perusal. See you then!