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< Piro >

New fine art prints at the MegaGear store!

"promotional forensics"

Saturday - November 29, 2008

[Piro] - 10:21:16 - [link here]

If you've avoided reading my personal twitter for the past year because you really aren't interested in baby pictures, quirky personal philosophies, old-school piro-whining or links to the unusual and sometimes interesting things that tend to snag my moth-like attention span, then you probably have missed what I've been up to over at the MegaGear store. Some of it is actually kind of interesting because it reflects an interesting shift in our "business model" that we're hoping helps us serve our customers (you) better. Since most of you aren't likely to engage in promotional forensics to learn what those changes are and what we are now offering, I really should write something about it... especially since i need all of you to go buy some of it :)

[In case you are balking at the amount of text below, here's a quick summary: All of our new shirts are full color, 100% cotton Direct to Garment shirts that we print ourselves. We are offering a number of new designs as well as some old favorites we haven't offered for a while. We are also offering 11" x 14" fine art prints of pretty much any Megatokyo comic you want as well as the Broken Miho drawing. We are also running a big sale where most products (including new ones) are on sale. On top of this sale price, you can take an extra 10% off the sale price on shirts and hoodies if you use coupon code "G34R" when you order (Good through December 12th). Also, Megatokyo posters are $12.50 each or two for $22, and Megatokyo button sets are two for $10.]

Now for the long version.

One of the core philosophies behind MegaGear is that we like to make and sell stuff we might want ourselves. That's been a little difficult to do with t-shirts because the color limitations of screen printing have prevented us from offering the detailed, full color shirts we've wanted. That situation changed earlier this year when we acquired the other new 'baby' in our family, a Direct to Garment printer. A DTG Printer is basically just a big inkjet printer that has been heavily modified to print directly on t-shirts. The technology has been around for a while but has evolved over the past few years to the point that it has become a viable production choice.

The main advantages to DTG printing is that you can print full color images on normal, 100% cotton t-shirts, including dark/black shirts. The detail and quality of the output is actually pretty impressive. There was a bit of a learning curve (let's not talk about head alignment, shall we?), but a few months ago we felt we were ready to start offering the shirts in our store. Testing included multiple washes to test the durability the shirts which by their very nature they are not quite as durable as screen printing inks over the long term. They will stand up just fine if you take reasonably good care of them. I've been wearing and watching a number of shirts for several months now and they are holding up well. [Care note: just like screenprinted shirts, you should turn them inside out when washing them and use the gentle cycle if you want any shirt to last a long time. Note that *I* am not doing this, because i am testing them to worst case washing conditions :P]

The other advantage to DTG printing is that all shirts are printed on demand, which means i can experiment with shirt designs without having to worry about having a big inventory of shirts no one wants if the design is a real dud (This is liberating, trust me). Another advantage is i can print designs on tshirts, ladies t's, hoodies, etc. This means that we can offer many of our designs in both ladies t's and hoodies which is something we could not really do before.

In the store you'll find some new shirts that take advantage of this full color printing, like the recent Ph33r t3h Cute Ones design and the new Piroko Spellcasting design. It's also enabled me to bring back some Megatokyo designs we haven't offered for a while, like 3V1l Minion and Kimiko Idol. The printer has no problem with solid color graphics, like the long awaited OB3Y design (it took me forever to come up with a graphic i liked, but i'm really happy with the final output).

There are also a number of light colored shirts like Broken Miho and Bunnies and Kitties which i can print much larger on the bigger sized shirts. There's a pretty decent variety of new designs in the store, including a new, alternate Megatokyo logo and even a print of the classic 4 panel MT comic "B4K4 Quake". Check out what we have to offer, and if you like one, i'll print it for you. :)

Another product I put a lot of research into also involves a high end inkjet printer: Fine Art prints. It's actually rather amazing to see the quality output these printers are capable of producing these days. Since there is a lot of detail i draw that most of you never get to see (because of the limitations of web resolution or the print size of the books) I've always wanted to offer fine art prints so people might see it. Since my work is generally pencil and greyscale, it was important to find a printer that could accurately print subtle pencil work. After much research I finally chose the HP B9180 which is a pigment-based ink printer and Moab Entrada Rag Bright 190 Fine Art Paper. Note that both paper and inks are archival, with the HP Vivera inks being tested to be fade resistant for up to 200 years.

Our first Fine Art Print offerings in the MegaGear store are prints of any Megatokyo comic you wish (with a few limitations), printed, signed, dated and slipped into an archival plastic sleeve with an acid free backer board. I'm also offering a print of the updated version of the original Broken Miho drawing i did back in 2002, also signed and dated. More to come as i work on making availible some of my COPIC colored works.

Normally, that'd be more than enough promotion, but... hey, it's the holidays, and we want to give you lots of incentive to buy stuff from us. :) Most products in the store (including new ones) are on sale! For example, most $22 t-shirts are on sale for $20, $20 t-shirts for $18, etc. Also, be sure to check out our Clearance section where we are closing out some of the older designs

On top of the sale price, you can take an extra 10% off the sale price on shirts and hoodies if you use coupon code "G34R" when you order (Good through December 12th). Also, All Megatokyo posters are $12.50 each or two for $22, and Megatokyo button sets are on sale two for $10.

So, in short, the shift in our "business model" is that we are now printing most of our own t-shirts, Dye-sub mugs, license plates and coasters, and now our own fine art prints. When you buy stuff from the MegaGear store, you are not only supporting the comic, but you are getting stuff we produce ourselves. Stuff we pack and ship ourselves. It's the way we like it.

Hopefully you will find something you like. Thank's for shopping with MegaGear and supporting Megatokyo. Jack appreciates your support :)

Ok, that's enough of that. Right now, it's snowing outside my window, i have a little something i'm trying to finish for Applegeeks, and then it's back to work on the Megatokyo comic. Thank you, as always, for your support.

< Dom >

"Quick hits, Ohio edition"

Saturday - December 20, 2008

[Dom] - 22:51:16 - [link here]

I'm here in a hotel room basking in the residual afterglow of Ian and Jes' wedding, and I don't really have that much time before I have to crash and head out to the airport tomorrow morning.  Here are a few quick hits from my Michigan and Ohio trips:

- There is video of Matt Boyd and Dom Nguyen doing the Peanuts dance - Matt is doing a Snoopy, and I'm doing that... uh... spiky-haired kid in the front who bobs his head left and right.  I honestly don't remember his name, was it Shermy?  Anyway, I'm dancing like him.  We did it in tuxedos, which only makes it better.

- I seem to be able to deal with cold weather better than Ian and Matt these days.  I spent a lot of time pointing at them and laughing, usually followed by the exclamation "Wuss!"

- Man, I wish I had more excuses to wear a tux.  Those things are comfortable.

- After all the jokes I made at the wedding rehearsal, I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to plan my own wedding.  My ideal wedding seems to involve:

1) A priest who talks like The Impressive Clergyman from The Princess Bride (and maybe even a burning man on a wheelbarrow)
2) 1 Corinthians 7:29-38 (where Paul reminds men that the world is ending soon, so they shouldn't get worried about marriage or sex; instead, they should focus on religion) and the Song of Solomon (pretty much any part of it, though I do like Song of Solomon 7:7 - "This thy stature is like a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes")
3) Ear pieces and sunglasses for the groomsmen, to go with their black suits and white ties.
4) My friend's older sister Ganda holding the rings, just so I can shout "GANDAAAAAAAA" and snap my fingers to summon her (like in G Gundam)
5) Speed metal.

- Looking at what I've written above, I think I've pinned down the reason I'm still single...

More when I get home, including the story of how Fred and I are the manliest men in webcomics, the trials and tribulations of Ohio Amish Country, and why Ian McConville is Otto Aquarius.

< Dom >

"Falling In, Falling Out"

Sunday - December 14, 2008

[Dom] - 12:57:14 - [link here]

I'm really sorry that I haven't ranted much lately - I keep meaning to (this rant's original draft was on November 30), but holidays, Ian and Jes' upcoming wedding, family business, and an impending job search keep getting in the way of finishing it.

Oh, and since I'm in Michigan right now... if you order an SGD print from the MegaGear store by tomorrow night, I will personally sign anything.  Heck, I'll even lick it and prove that it's mine!

Here's a quick and dirty recap of what is going on right now:

- I'm currently at the Megagear warehouse, poking through Fred's stuff.  He has some old, old stuff in here, like With You ~Mitsumeteitai~ and old VHS fansubs from the '90s, like Akazukin Chacha and KeroKero Chime.

(PS: Buy some SGD shirts!  They're easy to print and oh so stylish!)

- Jacko Gallagher is cute.  Most of you already know this, but I feel like sharing.

- Ian, Matt, and I are all playing Fallout 3, and it's actually a great game to play in parallel because none of us are really playing it the same way.  I'm abusing VATS and sneaking around getting sniper kills with rifles and magnums, Ian hulks around with a flamethrower and a minigun, and Matt... umm... I actually don't know.  But we watch each other explore different areas of the map with great interest, going "hey, I haven't been here, this looks interesting."  The novelty hasn't worn off yet, which is nice. Open-world gaming at its best.

- Persona 4 came out and people are raving about it.  I picked up P4 a few months ago and was really excited about it, but I burned out quickly, since I'd only finished Persona 3 about a week before my Japan trip.  So, maybe it's time to pick it up again.

- Opus Croakus is just about begging for me to play Horde mode with him, and I'd be willing if it weren't for his odd choice of times for horde mode...

- Congratulations to Ian McConville and the soon-to-be Jessica McConville!  You'll see pictures of me in a tux coming from this trip.

- Portable games I'm playing right now: Prinny (PSP), Culdcept (DS), Chrono Trigger (DS), Memories Off (PSP).  I'll have reviews of these things coming up, since I'm going to be spending plenty of time on planes and such.

- People keep asking me "Are you cold out here?" and I reply "This year, I've gone to northwest Germany in February and southeast Asia in August.  I'm fine."  And I am - it really isn't that cold here.  Now, if I was in certain parts of Canada and it was negative 40?  Yeah, that would be a problem.  But you shouldn't underestimate the power of downtown San Francisco in the morning to train you for colder climates.

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