I’ve been deep in my comic book pages.
Here’s a couple pages from the story I did for the Thickness #2: (page 3 and page 6)
I’ve been mulling over my thoughts on comic book piracy on this internet– avast!
It always gets my ire up when I see creators and publishers saying shit like ” If you’re illegally downloading our comics, you’re stealing from us” –I don’t think it’s a good idea to try to shame readers into paying for books. Someone yelling at me for being a crook doesn’t make me want to give them money.
I feel like part of this job is to get people excited about what you’re putting out and making something for them to read that’s worth being excited about.
Granted I do think that ideally the people putting the stuff out should have a say in how it’s presented but The harsh cold reality is that downloading comics is free, easy and without consequences. I feel like the trick is to make a book that is something worth owning in print.
I think about Head shops carrying underground comix next to weed pipes or EC comics being accused of corrupting the youth or Mad magazine or Heavy metal full of nudity from the future. Selling cool to the kids– don’t let your mom see these comics!
I have faith in my own work,and the comics that I’m excited about I feel like if enough people saw them they would want to own them on paper. When I find some amazing comic online one of my first reactions is always –Where can I find a copy of this.?” for me I can only understand how comics sell by thinking about what I would buy.
I think one of the strengths of comics on this internet is that we can show comics to such a huge audience outside of just who goes into comic shops. You can be their dealer instead of some scolding school principal.
While I was working on my Thickness story I was rereading all the old Adam Warren Dirty pair issues (soo Good) I ran across this thing I hadn’t noticed before.
So back in ’89 they ran a letter in one of the issues from a 15 year old kid writing to the fictional Kei and Yuri like they were real. He seems way too into convincing his friends that the Pair are straight he writes– “when I let my friends flip through the issues the first thing they said was “so are they lesbians or what?””
The editor goes on to publicly shame the kid in the pages of his favorite comic. “They are drawings on paper” It’s good stuff.
And then I was reading a 1991 DP where they threw this in:
I like that. 3 years later when they need to show someone is an asshole they quote the kids letter. I like to think that the kid (at 18) was still reading DP. Never escape your crimes! hehehehehehhehehhehehhehe
ANNnnnnnyywayy, Here’s some drawings out of my sketchbook.
Starting with some Queen Emeraldas to go along with my pirate rant.
On the right side of the above is an aborted list of comic book crimes I was fucking around with just to be petty and mean. The one that cracked me up was Stokoes idea of it just not being ok to draw Little mermaid fan art. so yeah, be warned.
Here’s an album cover I did for a project that never came out.
And also I got this awesome drawing from James Lloyd,an amazingly talented dude who draws the the Futurama comics as his day job and lives is the same comic book hood as me. –deepest darkest Canada.
and some more stuff from James-
His site http://puddingsock.livejournal.com/
Here’s some pages from the manga Space Chef Caisar. I like the space ship and robot in this.
The whole thing is up here:
and here’s some 80’s Jump cover I like:
And some Dirty pair paper dolls with project eden outfits.
Oh and here’s how Yuri looks in my Dirty Parody Thickness thang.
And here’s some racoons dancing to Russian rap:
i bid you adude,
And what’s your opinion about legal download ? Things like Comixology, etc… ?
I’ve never bought a comic that way. it’s hard for me to understand the apeal.
I like legal downloads. For mainstream comics that come out once or twice a month, I prefer that format to the paper version.
I live in a tiny cell.
yeah, having no room in a tiny NYC place would make it more appealing. Like the future version of why they print manga collections in little paperbacks.
Gotta say I completely agree about downloads, there’s tons of stuff I wouldn’t have been able to read, and later on support if it wasn’t for illegal comicbook downloads. And as far as I know most people who put them out there do it to get other people hooked on their favourites so they’ll get some support, there’s a much bigger chance of getting someone to pick up a physical copy of something, if they know it’s good. I know I wouldn’t have gotten into KC and bought vol. I if it wasn’t for a friend who sent me to your old LJ and I saw all the stuff from it you’d posted, granted it’s not the same – but I might have some .cbr’s to hold me over until the rest of KC is published in way that I can get a hold of it, since I couldn’t get single issues of it anywhere.
There should be a new meme blatantly breaking all those comix crimes.
I think I just may want to draw Little Mermaid, somewhere deep down.
Love yer Yuri! And for some reason, I really like that little face below her in the circle.
With the exeption of the Little mermaid I feel like its way too easy to find work already blatantly breaking all those comix crimes. But maybe doing them all in one panel would be the hat trick.
And thankssss Andreeeee.
I would think one would find great joy in the success of developing characters so well that they fool readers into relating with their supposed realism. Also, I don’t see that kid asking the creators about their creation’s sexual identity as being silly at all. No part of me thinks that’s a silly question, I can’t wrap my mind around it. Sure, they’re drawings on paper, but I know that when I create a character, I would be able to answer that question in a flash. (unless, of course, said character has some sort of confliction regarding their sexual discoveries. Then, that would be the answer.) Funny, interesting post.
Also I want to mention that like Andre, I too was immediately compelled to draw the Little Mermaid after reading.
It was more his fear that the characters would be anything other than hetrosexual Just being interested in where the characters were coming from sexually is all good.
You and Andre are just being difficult. and thanks.
Unless it’s quarter bin stuff, I usually either read a book online or am familiar with the author before I buy it. Back when I first heard of Pope and Burns I read through all of 100% and like the first 50 pages of Black Hole online, then went out and bought that shiz.
Anyone tell me the other crimes? Can’t read that at all.
Yeah that makes sense, Pirating as research.
The list was-
little mermaid fan art.
A computer font signature
Coping and pasting the same character in multiple panels without just redrawing them.
Computer bluring effects to show movement
and showing characters talking without opening their mouths.
I should mention that I’m sure there’s exeptions to all these rules where they have been done well. I just like making fun of stuff.
That pretty much defines it for me too. How different is this than getting something from the library then picking it up?
“Making them worth buying in print” resonates with me strongly as that’s often why I have what I have.
A lot of comics I’ve bought are ones I’ve seen on such legit sites as mangafaux amongst others, and after liking them so much I’ve either bought them in English (if so lucky for their translations) or bought the Japanese books (can’t read em but I’m happy to just look at them).
And as you say, it’s not out of guilt or some sort of self-righteousness that I want them – it’s because having them in my hands to fondle at my leisure is a very exciting idea. Same applies to boobies.
So far I do all my comics for free online, then sell books. I don’t have it to the point where I can support myself on it yet because I’m a lazy bitch with a lot of other distractions, but there are quite a few “webcomic” pros who have made it work as their day job. (Modulo various amounts of other freelance work to fill in gaps now and then.) I mean, Foglio made the transition from stapled comics + collections to web + collections and never looked back. Sure, he had a following he’d built during years of drawing – but if he was starting out now, doing stuff for fan newsletters and the like? It’d be going out online as likely as not.
Inflation means that $3 ain’t what it used to be, but the $3 it costs for a mainstream color book is still a lot more proportional cash for maybe ten minutes of reading than $.35 back in the seventies. When I go into comics shops, something has to look FUCKING AWESOME for me to be willing to buy a single issue. (And of course there’s the whole other matter of comic shops mostly having superheroes because “that’s what sells” to an increasingly smaller market of people interested in superheroes.)
A lot of the cost of any media – comics, movies, books, whatever – is manufacturing the damn thing, shipping it from wherever it was made, and getting it into stores. When it’s digital, those costs drop to zero. You still have to worry about paying a living wage for the people who made it, and advertising it, and those costs can be not-insignificant, but man, you still get a big win by not having to cover the cost of floating a couple thousand books moldering in a storage unit until they finally sell. (and the cost of other stuff made by your company that never sold for shit…)
Piracy is free advertising. People are interested enough to keep following your shit, that’s great, even if they don’t always pay – they will eventually.
(also there is something to be said for making the printed package something you can’t reproduce on the computer – the Tarot deck I did, for instance, has these super-teasing reviews that all talk about how you CAN’T see the full glory of it in a scan because of the use of a varnish layer to add imagery you can only see when the light hits it just right. As a result I do not give a flying fuck if someone scans the whole deck and posts it online.)
nice, yes good points. I like the model Foglio has got going– along with Ellis and Speed Mcneil. way of the future.
Totally agree with you, except for “Piracy is free advertising.” It isn’t free; in some cases, it costs you a sale. It may balance out, but there’s no guarantee that the person who stole it will then go out and buy it.
Well said regarding the benefits of digital. That’s a choice that should be made by the people whose work it is, though, not the audience. If Radiohead wants to give away their album on the internet, that’s their business. If you want to do a webcomic for free and then collect it in a book for profit later, go for it. I’m working on just such a project myself. But, yeah, digital — what with the tablet technology now, I think digital comics are starting a gradual process of replacing individual issues (which are, as you say, overpriced).
But if someone is unaware of a book or unable to find a copy then it’s not a sale.
I think it’s ok that not everyone who reads a book buys it, the goal is just for enough people who like it to buy it. Hopefully it’s worth owning on paper to a section of readers.
And yeah, as much as it’s the ideal the people whose work it is chosing how the work is seen isn’t always going to be the reality. and going against the reality might just be a waste of time.
True. But “piracy is free advertising” ruffles my feathers, because it pretends piracy is some kind of benevolent act, when often it’s just plain stealing. To me, pirating something out of print is different than pirating something you’re just too cheap (or even too poor) to pay for.
Speaking of out of print, are there plans for a King City collection? I assume there’s some kind of rights issue with Tokyopop – is that something you can talk about? Sorry if you’ve addressed this elsewhere.
The KC collection is in the works. Hopefully it’ll be out next year.
Great! Thanks for letting me know.
I can’t read your handwriting on the list of crimes, is one of them talking without mouth open? I’m guilty of that, repeat offender.
little mermaid fan art.
A computer font signature
Coping and pasting the same character in multiple panels without just redrawing them.
Computer bluring effects to show movement
and showing characters talking without opening their mouths.
I think there’s exeptions to all these rules where they have been done well and everything you do is so well done. please offend on.
What’s stokoe been up to, recently?
He’s got a new Orc stain almost done and he’s been working on a 6 issue series that I don’t think I’m supposed to talk about yet. I am really excited about it though.
Man, that poor kid. I hope he wasn’t too scarred by that. I remember reading that at the time and wanting to smack some sense into him, though.
Anyway: I just discovered Retarded Cop, and the way this guy works food into his songs (this isn’t the only one) reminded me of you/Marian and food comix:
(I guess “Kebab King of King Street” being just shy a “City” doesn’t hurt either.)
I don’t think the trick is to make a book that’s wanted, there’s plenty of gorgeous books in the comic shop I’ll never end up buying. I’ve read through plenty of manga who no intention of wanting it in paperback, to simply gather dust on my shelf? In this modern age I don’t like having a large amount of books, I own an e-reader, I prefer the mp3 format to cd, I don’t know when the last was that I actually played a cd, I’d rather not have to pay extra to have something printed out when I could have the convenience of reading it at my computer or e-reader. I’ll reluctantly buy Habibi in paper format, but to be honest I’d rather prefer it as a purchased digital copy, despite the blood sweat and tears put into it for the paper format my goal is to ingest as much beauty as possible and to appreciate as many different areas of interest as possible as I’m a participating member of the modern world where my time and attention is limited. It’s a slow erosion of what’s to come, but it’s one I simply accept, eager and willing for the time when I’ll be able to download comics to my brain.
If there was a site with your work on it that allowed me to receive it in monthly installments with a minimal fee including some kind of teaser letting me know what the comic is about- I’d be all over that. Or a site where you’re making a lucrative buck through advertisement would be fine, but the idea of having to own it in paper format where I already have enough clutter is to me unappealing and uninteresting. I’m part of a potential market on the outer fringe that’s currently not being exercised and as a result know far more about manga than north american comics.
You 20XX mirorshade wearing cyberjockey!!
And yeah, I agree that Norte Americano comics are dropping the digital ball in relation to how manga does it.
.I do think a lot of modern manga works fine being read through a computer but some stuff I just don’t think translates as well. I feel like you’d miss a lot of the work and detail that went into a book like Appleseed or Geof Darrow’s stuff if you were just seeing it on a screen.
To each their own though, Ideally there’d be enough great comics out that you could go all digital or all print and apeal to the readers that prefer each. I certainly don’t think everything has to be for everybody.
I like the idea of searializing something online and then sending it off to print,
but for the most part I have to go about pushing my work in ways that appeal to me and I’ve never payed for a comic that wasn’t printed on paper. I am a paper dinosaur. roar!
i’ve broken a few of those comics rules! i’ve drawn Little Mermaid art, i’ve copy-and-pasted panels, and i’m pretty sure i’ve shown characters talking without opening their mouths. i’ve also drawn characters with their mouths open but NOT talking, what’s your opinion on that? hehheh.
I just think having a drawing little mermaid crime is funny, but I was just old enough when that came out to regard it as the lamest shit on earth.
Your dialog scenes are all thoughts and feelings emotive– so I don’t belive you.–____–
For that matter I might have drawn mouth closed talking myself– im not even sure.
I don’t think anyone would argue that copy and pasting the same characterssss over and over isn’t anything but a hack move.
And yes, I fully support your mouth open not talking erotic works.
Although my site is not currently up and running just yet, I’ve been working on the model of publishing my comic through the web for free while supplementing income with google adsense + Merchandise and collections.
I tried looking into online models based on micro payments, or $1 downloads, and found that people will much more often than not go for the illegal download before they part with a single cent. People have just become far too accustomed the the freedom/free stuff on this internet.
In the last few decades, indie authors really only had comic shops to publish their work in. Sadly, the majority of people that would actually trek to and patronize a comic shop were mostly only into super hero books. So that leaves an incredibly small portion of an already incredibly small audience that would have been willing to pay for independent comics. And with the sharp rise in printing costs, it has now become much, much more difficult to see a sufficient return from the direct market.
However, tons of people are willing to read even some of the most amateur web comics as long as they are free. Not to mention the vast audience that might love any given genre of story, but would not be caught dead in a comic shop. This article had some decent info on the differences between the online sales and direct market sales: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/01/12/the-dramatic-data-about-who-is-buying-digital-comics-and-what/
I mean, I came to love Orc Stain and KC through your web presence, My local comic shop certainly didn’t give any promotion to your labors. It was mostly the people that already knew who you were that were buying those issues. This was the recently bankrupt Atomic comics in AZ. So it was a big chain, but no one going into those stores was subscribing to indie books.
I even saw that the Xeric grant is changing its charitable focus away from comic publishing since the cost/ and practical nature of self publishing on the web has left them feeling their money could be put to better use elsewhere.
Anyway, sorry for the wall of text. This post was super dope. I love the DP comic, the monochrome red coloring reminds me of old Dragonball. And that Chef manga looks fantastic. Looks like it is drawn by the same guy that does this book: http://www.mangareader.net/1119/sun-ken-rock.html which is a fun read.
thanks for keeping me motivated, dude. these are all amazing, and keep me pushing my thoughts to find a place for a work that’s not cynical.
and, of course, thanks for making cheesecake look like a chicken-wing that just hit the gym!
I refuse to accept that the dirty pair aren’t real.
I need them to be real.
Also I like your toaster in the bathtub comic.
Aw, cool, thanks!
I don’t think i’ve told you how great your stuff is, loved that the Waleing wall spread you put up a while ago, and a collection of your sketch book stuff would be awesome.
I’d love it if you put my toaster on your blog 🙂
Pingback: Linkdump Dinsdag | Jaapr.com : Blog
Pingback: Comics A.M. | New lead in Michael George case; SLG’s digital priority | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment
The stuff I buy every month is the stuff that impresses me as a physical, holistic package. I get stuff like King City (duh), Orc Stain, Criminal, Casanova, and Usagi Yojimbo for a number of reasons.
-They don’t have ads (except occasionally, and those are chosen by the people making the book, which generally makes them something I’d be interested in).
-There are all kinds of stuff in them: articles, interviews, letter pages… paper dolls, board games.
-The stuff is actually GOOD and worth rereading. It’s not something I know I’ll get rid of in a few months like a lot of the above-average (but still eventually boring) superhero stuff.
I don’t know what any of that has to do with pirating. I guess I just know that, personally, there are all sorts of ways to make things good enough for me to buy, and those ways don’t involve hype, spoilers, character death, etc.
Also, I’m a librarian, so I mostly like the comparison of getting a book from the library. If you like it, you’ll read it and return it. If you LOVE it, you’ll probably want to buy it. However, in the case of the library, checking out a book gives them statistics that generally get them more money. They can see the circulation numbers on books and will use those to inform their future purposes. So, checking a book out from a library at least has the potential to push someone, somewhere, to buy something similar. Are there any “invisible” incentives like that involved in pirating? There’s hype, I suppose.
In other news, pirate my new novel:
(pdf or epub files)
If you like it, you can probably buy legal venues to purchase it from. Otherwise, tell a friend.
“However, in the case of the library, checking out a book gives them statistics that generally get them more money. They can see the circulation numbers on books and will use those to inform their future purposes.”
This makes total sense but it never occurred to me! At the library, you “vote” with your borrowing habits.
Pingback: QUOTE OF THE DAY: Brandon Graham « All Day Comics
Pingback: Gaze in wonder at Brandon Graham’s Habibi fanart | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment
(if this turns out to be a douple post — I’ll be damned)
Well, my coming here from another place in space, being pretty-pleased and commenting everywhere, really echoes your excellent take on piracy.
As of now, it is like the coming of tides, reaching evenly the coast of the Pacific.
In Indonesia, there is a forum seemingly named Kaskus, and come every wednesday, waves and waves of # are requested and linked for… from free-domain (probably?) WW2 incredible pulps & comics to every new issue from american publishers…
Nothing is ever going to crush this, the net voraciously ingests the media production … gets it more than everywhere…
that somewhere someone discovers himself a taste for Kirby, Garth Ennis or even Brandon Graham, that is important… the aftermath of that taste is developed. He loves a way of art, and that is not counterfeit.
Because obviously, we spend according to our tastes, a life in the making. We spend, not spare.
(spare me some change, the mortifying sentence of have-nots… can we spare (a) change ?)
And there I am, among many, countless : Prophet catches my eye. Is it the grimness (?!) of the character, the shape of the blade ? Or the name I grasped browsing ComicsAlliance at ultra-speed ?
Typing up the name of the writer, here I land, seeing Moebius drawings, I offer to send vintage french comics to you, distant artists whose art caught and kept my eye (among hundreds of uninviting soulless other marbles). Browsing further I see you are quite the lover of vintage japanese and french graphonovella. And that indeed you are “de la trempe de Métal Hurlant”. Heavy Metal of Good Alloy, and the web offers resources infinite for a creative mind. Mines, not “mine”, those mines of heavy metal are ours, for hours and hours.