Archive for ‘Business’

All the World is Sharing

So a few years ago I did an interview which wound up on the Hellboy 3-Disk DVD. The interview was pretty good (although the “examples” they showed had nothing to do with what I was saying).

Anyway, it came out, some people bought it, and from its Amazon ranking, it still sells from time to time.


Like all movies, it wound up on sharing/streaming sites. Now, when I egosurf, I see references to the piece all the time, and I know they’re all bootlegs because they’ve apparently been translated into other languages and then translated back.

Just a few of the names:

A Expeditiously Guide to Thought Comics with Scott McCloud

A Fleet Guide to Concept Comics with Scott McCloud

A Fast Guide to Belief Comics with Scott McCloud

A Hastily Guide to Conception Comics with Scott McCloud

A Lickety-split Guide to Conception Comics with Scott McCloud

A Like A Flash Guide to Notion Comics with Scott McCloud

A Mercurial Guide to Idea Comics with Scott McCloud

A Posthaste Guide to Opinion Comics with Scott McCloud

A Rapidly Guide to Idea Comics with Scott McCloud

A Snappy Guide to Plan Comics with Scott McCloud

A Speedily Guide to Idea Comics with Scott McCloud

A Swiftly Guide to Plan Comics with Scott McCloud

I’ve always held back from vilifying file-sharing like some of my peers who work in the “content” industry. I’m a boy scout myself—nearly all my songs and videos are straight from iTunes or equivalent sources—but I would rather live in a world that allows sharing and tries to build markets from willing sellers and willing buyers, than a world where the Net is so controlled that it can be effectively shut down.

Still, it’s sobering to see the scale of the phenomenon and how rarely these sessions pull up the actual name of the original segment:

A Quick Guide to Understanding Comics with Scott McCloud

Five Days to Go

Jess Smart Smiley is Kickstarting a 500 copy run of his cool short story comic “A Map in the Dirt.”

Both Jess and Patrick Farley are five days from their goal (as I write this) and well within striking distance of making it (and they both deserve to). Feel free to help them over the finish line if you like what you see.

I’m intrigued by the Kickstarter phenomenon which seems to be getting a bit more traction than I would have expected. Looks like the arts community is getting increasingly comfortable with this sort of thing.

Donations have been around for a long time of course, but they’ve had a spotty history (Joey Manley once famously said “begging is not a business model” and he had a point at the time). Maybe all we needed was a central clearinghouse to make it viable.

Giving is getting easier! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been really grateful to see things like text message donations and supermarket check-out donations popping up lately.

I give more now, not because my conscience has evolved or anything but just because I’m lazy, and I know I’m not alone. It’s a great trend.

[Edit to add: Both Jess and Patrick made their goals with 3 days to spare! Congratulations to both.]

The Single Vendor Problem

Not to dredge up old arguments, but one of the primary reasons I wanted to see a central, independent web currency (the online equivalent of nickels, dimes, and quarters that people could exchange quickly and easily) was that without a single currency, the natural alternative—if there was going to be any sort of paid content industry at all— was a very small number of very BIG vendors.

And this is the inevitable result.

Of course, many are advocating an end to paid content entirely and stuff like this certainly adds fuel to the fire.

Just as in a lot of political debates, though, there are days when it would have helped to have a third choice.

[link via Dirk]

Mr. Bissette Remembers

Battle-scarred freelance veteran and CCS teacher Steve Bissette has been posting his remembrances of some “Forgotten Comics Wars” over at his blog. It’s a fascinating series covering debates that were raging during the years I was just entering the business.

Since the series took the form of scattered blog posts, Mark Evanier has done us all the favor of collecting the links for all 12 parts and offers his own commentary here.

Get ready to start a few tabs:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

…and enjoy a blast from the past.

A lot has changed at “The Big Two” over the years and a lot remains the same, but with recent developments like Marvel’s new Editor-in-Chief, I’m cautiously optimistic.

On the Medicis’ Coffee Table

We watched the Oscars last night, so I finally got to see Tom Gauld’s Diet Coke can animation in action after a flurry of  “Wait Wait! Go back!” and rewinding.

Love ’em or hate ’em, ad agencies have great taste in music and comics sometimes. (I’ve seen two commercials using Amon Tobin, but have yet to hear the guy on commercial radio).

I’ve enjoyed Gauld’s work for a while, since the day Kurt alerted me to Gauld’s sublime Hunter and Painter. Gauld’s The Gigantic Robot is a delightful, if brief, read, and his Noah’s Ark comic was my favorite piece in Kramer’s Ergot #7. Check out his recently launched personal site for more info.

The road from Kramer’s Ergot to multi-million dollar national ad campaigns isn’t usually so straight, but hey, any port in a storm. Every generation has its Medicis and sometimes they take unexpected forms. It’ll be fun to see what kind of future work from Gauld this windfall might help fund.

David Lloyd Sums it Up

Yeah, I’m going to follow Kurt’s lead here:

David Lloyd sums up the last ten years beautifully with the above image at the Beat’s year end survey.

I never cared much if my comics were made into movies in the past. Someday it might happen and I’ll buy something big, and go straight back to the drawing board, but I never viewed movies as a “step up” like some.

Still, it’s been encouraging to see the increasing deference our medium has earned as nerds of all types have clawed higher and higher in popular culture. And it’s refreshing to see at least a few comics benefit directly from the increased attention (Watchmen, 300, etc); reversing a long trend of comics movies selling movie tickets, but very few comics.

Waiting for progress in comics is like waiting for the hour hand on a clock. At any given time, it can feel like we’re standing still, but we’ve actually moved a lot in a fairly short time.

Or does that metaphor mean we’re just going in circles? Hm.

Landing on a Dime?

I honestly have no idea if this will fly or not, knee-deep as I am in the graphic novel, but iCents is at least offering a novel approach in some respects and if anyone out there wants to give it a closer look and offer your thoughts, I’d be curious to hear them.

Still having the tar and feathers from last time removed, so I’ll stay on the sideline regarding the more general debate about micropayments that’s been flairing up again recently (at least for now).

More importantly, the whole world is still busy sorting out whether there will even be intellectual property in a decade or two, so the question of what kinds of new industries it might generate could be on a lot of peoples’ back burners a while longer.

[Update: Marc Glasberg from iCents has hopped onto the comments section and has some illuminating answers for those interested in learning more about the system.]

NEWSFLASH: Large Company Buys Smaller Company

This is bound to affect all of us in comics eventually, but I have to say that for now it seems strangely remote.


“And as you can see, it actually knows how to read the comic for you.”

Not the first nor the last to employ this strategy for getting around printed comics on mobile devices, but they certainly win the award for most chilling tagline.

Has anyone tried the various mobile readers out there and compared them yet? I’d be curious to hear others’ reactions.

More on Longbox

A pre-launch screencast on the much-anticipated Longbox (via Dirk).

It’s not on the sidebar, but I’m actually on muggy but beautiful Cape Cod at the moment (I left barely 24 hours after we landed in L.A. from Spain) doing a government thingey (unrelated to Obama’s visit, though I realized tonight that he’s reeeeely close to here), so blogging continues to be a bit irregular. Hope to return to regular updates Monday.