Squid & Owl!

by John Holbo on April 24, 2013

Remember a couple years back? I made some sort of a kind of a graphical fiction, Squid & Owl?


I made it into a book. Mom liked it a lot! A few other people did, too. Fast forward a couple years: Comixology comes along, and it’s a great platform for digital comics. And, finally, they started allowing independent submissions. And, long story short, they accepted Squid & Owl and now it’s sitting proudly in the Staff Picks section. Only 99 cents! 106 pages. Such a bargain! You should buy it. You should give it a lot of stars. Help me achieve the fame I so richly deserve.

(Speaking of which: it’s getting harder and harder to impress my 11-year old daughter, but this time I did it. Because Atomic Robo is on Comixology, and she really, really likes Atomic Robo. So I must be cool.)



phosphorious 04.24.13 at 4:08 pm

Hey, there you are! Nestled alphabetically between Gaiman, Neil and Infantino, Carmine.

Just bought a copy now.


John Holbo 04.25.13 at 12:06 am



David 04.25.13 at 4:31 am

Heady company!


John Holbo 04.25.13 at 4:59 am

Strictly, it turns out I’m between Jon Hogan – who I’ve never heard of – and PJ Holden – who I’ve never heard of. (I’m sure they would return the compliment.) But even being a few clicks away from the likes of Gaiman and Infantino is, indeed, ego-inflating. I like how, in my own Comixology ‘my comics’ section, my own book now sits beside “The Sixth Gun”, which is one of my favorite ongoing series.


Asteele 04.25.13 at 10:07 am

Also just bought it.


Salient 04.27.13 at 12:39 am

Your tagline is, uh, underselling the work a liiiiittle bit.

But it’s understandable, it’s… really hard to explain what the thing is. But but, it really is eminently sellable, somehow. It got to where I actually couldn’t take my “Squid & Owl” messenger bookbag (still my favorite bag I own, which after years is really saying something) anywhere anymore, because whenever I did I could never get anything done, everyone wanted to ooh and aah admire it and then gather up the courage to ask, “So what is it?” (What is what?) “Squid & Owl.” (Oh.) And it was/is impossible to answer that usefully in words, so out popped the laptop to pop open flickr and just show people (this happened often enough that I had the flickr site for it set as the Firefox homepage). I’ve never really gotten anywhere close to that kind of universal delighted/interested response with any other bag accessory ever, storebought or homemade.

From the bookbag image a *lot* of people presume it’s a children’s cartoon show, after that it’s divided between coffeeshops where ‘webcomic’ is the default assumption and coffee shops where nobody has ever, ever heard of that word (Panera people do that thing where they emphasize their unfamiliarity with an internet thing by splitting the portmanteau: “A web? comic?”)

And of course it’s this far in where I realize I’m mildly-protesting you selling the comic as “merely a pleasant wallpaper pattern” while telling you how well it sold itself as merely a pleasant bookbag pattern. Well crap damnit. Anyway, I’ll trudge through signing up for comixology and buy the thing if you sneak in and edit the description to include a second paragraph with something like “Over one hundred depictions of their strange and wonderfull Adventures, related in curious Verse.” (“Snapshots of the strange adventures they go on” was what I settled on as the default ‘but what is it?’ answer.) Or if you tell me, is Rhinobird Books Digital Comics, like, a real thing? Rhino? Bird?


John Holbo 04.27.13 at 5:34 am

Thanks, Salient! Rhinobird is just a thing Zoe drew when she was about 4 years old. It’s an inside family joke. It isn’t a real company. But if I make any more comics, I’ll string them all on that string.

You are right that I’m a bit coy and underselling with my ‘pleasant wallpaper’ advertising. It is miscategorized as ‘childrens’ because it’s really not. Maybe I’ll ask them if I can change it. It’s hard to describe – a fact that I’m proud of, I suppose. ‘Slice of life’? That’s one of their categories. It isn’t really that either.

Being undescribable has its downside. Thanks so much for spreading the coffeeshop gospel of “Squid & Owl”. One of these days I’m going to be famous, you’ll see. But it will take talent and hard work, damn their eyes.


e julius drivingstorm 04.28.13 at 12:46 am

I haven’t looked, but it seems it would fit next to Rocky and Bullwinkle’s Fractured Fairy Tales if it’s in there. Still say it should have been a coffee table book.

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