3AM Comics: Nate Simpson talks Creative Constipation, Artificial Intelligence, and ‘Nonplayer’

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On the questionably damp morning of the last day of ECCC ’15, I caught up with Image creator Nate Simpson in a small breakfast place called The Crumpet Shop in Downtown Seattle’s world famous Pike Place market to talk about the second issue of Nonplayer, close enough to taste. The conversation spans his interest in narrative art, AI, and a discussion on creating comics in an rapidly gestating environment. Simpson is known for his work on Nonplayer, the first issue of which came out a few years ago. He lives in Seattle with his wife and young child and while he’s not working on game art, he wakes up at 3AM daily to turn out comics pages.

MATT CHATS: Gabo Gabs about Writing and Drawing Micro-Fiction

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Welcome to MATT CHATS, a weekly interview series in which I talk to a creator, consumer or seller of comics. This week I spoke with Gabriel “Gabo” Bautista, who is working on several projects right now including The Life After for Oni Press and Albert the Alien for Thrillbent. During that time he also managed […]

Comics pay HOW much?

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For some reason, this post from two years ago, Creator says creator-owned comics pay as little as $31.25 a page—if you’re lucky went mildly viral on FB over the last few days. It refers to THIS post by Jim Zub where he laid out the economics of an Image Comic: Printing varies wildly, but let’s […]

Bendis on working for Marvel

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On his Tumblr, Brian Micheal Bendis was asked about why he’s stayed with Marvel when so many others have gone 100% creator owned. Seems like most of the guys from your generation (Fraction, Brubaker, Millar) made a name doing their own stuff, built up a name at one of the big 2, then left to […]

Udon’s Capcom Fighting Tribute book seeks submissions…unpaid submissions

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Update: Just to clarify, this book is published by Udon Entertainment under license from Capcom. I’m told that they’ve done four other books under this model, all of them successful, and that the prints are indeed intended as compensation for the artwork. Is that a fair compensation? It may not seem like it when you […]

The Cover to Nonplayer #2 and how to make money as an artist

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Some rambling thoughts on various aspects of making comics and making money.

I alluded earlier to the sudden announcement that Nonplayer #2 by Nate Simpson was finished and would be presumably be coming out later this year. Simpson has written a much longer piece complete with a FAQ confirming that the issue will be in the May solicitations from Image; he’s contacted Image about reprinting issue #1 but no response yet, and Warners—which had optioned the comic—has let their rights lapse, so it’s there for the taking. And then he gets to why it took 3 1/2 years to draw the comic. It’s a long answer but I’ll lift a graph:

Ben Towle on the webcomic to print process

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Web serialization of a comic intended for print is one of the standard models of comics production now (Although it still isn';t profitable but that’s a whole other post) and here’s avery insightful post by Ben Towle on the conclusion of his webcomic, Oyster War. I’ve been enjoying his account of local skirmishes between 19th century Chesapeake Bay oyster farmers since he started it in 2008, and much has changed in how he put the comics out in that period, including the rise of Tumblr and yet more social media. Towle offers some VERY practical advice including how running it on GoComics affected the comics, mistakes in character design and URLS (get a separate URL for your comic) and also preparing for print:

Thurber: The internet is “pay to play” for young cartoonists

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Cartoonist/multi media artist Matthew Thurber has a provocative piece called Letter to a Young Cartoonist about the use of the internet as a career approach, and he offers an idea that I had never really engaged with before but now that I’ve heard it, I can’t forget it. The internet is “pay to play” for so many of us, even given the free tools available.

Jason Shiga’s Patreon for Demon reaches $1000 a month

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A lot of cartoonists—and many blogs, ahem—have taken to PAtreon as a means to finance the creation of comics. There are quite a few (a round up post is called for, maybe later this week) and Patreon doesn’t make it clear who makes the most, the way Kickstarter does, but Jason Shiga recently hit $1000 a month for his Ignatz winning webcomic Demon. Given his analytic background, there’s much of that in the post, but here’s an excerpt:

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Are shifting demographics killing sales of veteran artists at cons?

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Last week Denise Dorman, wife of veteran artist Dave Dorman, who is best known for his excellent painted covers, wrote a post on her blogm which is called Comic Book Wife. The post was titled: The Hidden TRUTH About Comic Book Convention Earnings: For Creators, Have Comic Book Conventions JUMPED THE SHARK? in which she pointed out that sales for her husband were off at several shows this year, and given the costs of exhibiting—hotels booths, food, travel—it made more sense to stay at home and do actual money making work.

Brian K. Vaughan’s PRIVATE EYE announces a new issue, six-figures sales

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privateeye8The good news is that a new issue of THE PRIVATE EYE is available. This webcomic by Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente posits a world where an eruption in the cloud has made privacy the most valued social element.

Oh did you say “torn from today’s headlines”? When this started running last year it seemed a little far fetched but after the burst cloud has spilled all of our secrets, BKV looks prescient again.

CCS offers the The Applied Cartooning Manifesto at SPX

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I just arrived at SPX and the thrill of excitement over comics is a palpable thing, as the young and the young at heart (Saw Jules Feiffer walking around) gather to talk about what they love. but making a living at what you love remains a blithely ignored question mark (at best) or a looming storm cloud […]

Thought for the day: Choose your own adventure

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I totally stole this from the blog of Marie Javins, a long time editor (most recently at DC) and colorist and adventurer:

Must read: Mike Dawson on being a mid-career cartoonist

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Mike Dawson is talented cartoonist, a witty raconteur and a fine podcaster— you can hear his work with Alex Robinson here at Ink Panthers. And as of yesterday he was a Tumblr king with a post calledAdvice to the mid-career cartoonist who has failed to build an audience. It’s honest and in some parts brutal.

Media Royalties: Not so fast, Alan Brennert

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On Tuesday we posted writer Alan Brennert’s pique over not getting equity participation for the character Barbara Kent Gordon, who will appear as Jim Gordon’s wife on the Gotham TV show. Although we’re all sympathetic to creators getting their due, former DC editor Janelle Asselin pointed out that the character comes under the “derivative” heading, […]

Trouble in GOTHAM: Writer Alan Brennert says WB is stiffing him over $45 an episode

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Alan Brennert is a well-established DC Bronze age writer who was one of the first to cross over between comics and TV in the 70s and 80s. And he’s made several contributions to DC’s permanent continuity. But in a Facebook post reproduced below, he says that he’s being denied his equity in a character he […]