On the “return” of Finder; can Smut Peddler rise from the ashes, too?

As many of you know, Carla Speed McNeil’s Finder is one of the best indie comics both on the web and off of it. I’ve been a fan ever since my days at Sequential Tart, and I was beyond pleased to learn that she had finally won an Eisner award this year at the San Diego Comic Con, even though some people don’t believe she should have won for “Best Digital Comic”.

And in a way, I agree.

For years, Carla has been nominated for an Eisner but had never won. Part of me thinks that her nomination and subsequent win this year was a “gimme” by the Eisner judges for all the years she didn’t win and I guess I’m okay with that.

When you consider that she is mostly only publishing her work online so that she can get more interest for the print graphic novel volumes and Solstrand’s dissatisfaction that the work shown on both mostly “unfinished” pencils both at her site and at the Image Comics subsidiary site Shadowline, I guess I can see why he and others were a little miffed that it beat out other more finished works with better, more web-user friendly navigable sites.

It’s hard for me to speak out against her too harshly, though, because I was staying at Carla’s house the weekend I not only found out that Kelly was dying but she was the first person to hug and console me when I awoke the next morning to learn from Kelly’s husband that she’d died.

I remember that I had woken up earlier than everyone else in the house around 6 am, even if I’d been up the night before working on getting materials ready for the Small Press Expo. The first thing I did was check my email because comments to my LiveJournal get sent to me there, and a reply to my entry about Kelly’s forthcoming death mentioned that she’d passed already. I was in shock for quite some time, and then Carla came into the computer room to see how I was doing. I remember her hugging me hard, all warmth and consolation, and my instant thought that she gave great “mommy” hugs. I’ve spoken before of how difficult that weekend was for me, but Carla’s simple hospitality made it easier to bear… as did a lot of alcohol at the post-Ignatz award ceremony.

Since that weekend four years ago, I haven’t talked to Carla since and part of me regrets that. The good thing is that she has a Facebook account and her email address hasn’t changed. The better part is that she’s still working on Finder, and now that her children are older and the website’s gotten a facelift, maybe she’d want to collaborate with me on getting Smut Peddler back on track, too?

I can only hope that I can get “the band” back together again.

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