§ Matthew Inman, the man behind the incredibly popular Oatmeal cartoons, is profiled at CNN.com and the piece expands to cover many of the usual webcomics topics—how do they make money, is it really funny, etc., etc., etc. Inman is one of the few people who made more money from comics than sex:
The path to “The Oatmeal” began with an online dating site that Inman started in 2007 “as an attempt to get out of my day job,” he says. But a dating site without people was useless, he observes, so he leavened the site with blog posts and cartoons about dating, relationships and whatever struck his fancy.
Very quickly, the posts and cartoons — including “What Santa Really Does While You’re Asleep” and “10 Very Good Reasons Why You Should Grow a Giant Beard” — took over. Inman sold the dating site to focus on the comedy and started “The Oatmeal” in 2009. (The name comes from a handle Inman used playing the ’90s video game Quake.)
§ Birdcage Bottom Books’ publisher J.T. Yost writes to tell us he’s having a pre-sale to help with the printing cost of their new comics Snake Pit Gets Old: Daily Diary Comics 2010 – 2012, by the long running diary cartoonist Ben Snakepit. There are two pre-order packages:
The DELUXE pro-order for $18 and
the standard pre-order for $15. Help a brother out.
§ Digital Comics Are Getting Cheaper Todd Allen tells us. He takes 10 assorted graphic novels and looks at the pricing over various platforms—Kindle, comiXology, website, etc.—the results may surprise you.
There is no discounting in the old comics app world. There will be sales, but no blanket discounts. The comics apps and iBookstore seem to sell digital graphic novels for list price, with the occasional exception. Google Play, Kindle and Nook will add a discount to the digital list price, with Kindle and Google Play usually having the largest discount. How much of a discount? For the most part 20-30%. The best discount on Superman: Earth One, Volume 2 is 45%, but that’s also getting a hardcover price down to something palatable to the eBook shopper.
§ Cartooning is hard, part 1: No one drops brutal truths like Evan Dorkin in this expanded interview on Graphic NYC:
“I love comic shops,” Evan posits. “Retailers are businessmen and do what is best for them 99% of the time, right? But creators are not supposed to and publishers are not supposed to. You’re not supposed to bite the hand that feeds you, even if they’re not feeding you. There are only a couple of hundred stores that are full-line stores; I think they’ll survive Amazon because they’re the real deal and sell by hand.
“I don’t want to see stores disappear, but I don’t want to disappear either. You ask about the atmosphere in 1986 as opposed to now, and all I know is from people on my level of doing things. It’s been 25 years of ‘When’s it going to collapse? When am I going to have to get a real job and do comics as a hobby?’
§ Cartooning is hard, part 2: and here’s the proof of concept: Sometime New Yorker cartoonist Corey Pandolph’s car was towed, and to raise money for this unexpected expense, he’s selling rejected New Yorker cartoons on Etsy, a tale that got picked up on HuffPo with the headline Struggling New Yorker Cartoonist Offers Rejected Drawings To Help Pay For Towed Car. Writes Pandolph:
And it is a silly story – “Cartoonist Sells Art To Get Car Out Of Tow” is a silly story. I’d really like my car back. My wife would really like our car back. We don’t NEED our car back, but the logistics of not getting it back would SUCK. I’m still trying to find a way with the resources I have. I’ve sold enough to get halfway to my goal, which is pretty cool already.
Indeed, at least things like Etsy and eBay exist to help with life’s lemons.
§ But if you hang in there, you may end up talking at Yale, like Erika Moen.
§ Dept. of the unexpected: David Bowie’s son is directing the Warcraft movie, Will there be a Laughing Gnome?
§ Many quotes from Neil Gaiman, many of them useful.
§ A cartoonist appeared at a school and kids enjoyed his presentation:
Syndicated cartoonist Jerry Craft visited the Ogdensburg School Tuesday morning to explain the craft of illustrated storytelling. Craft started with a presentation to the fifth through eighth graders and later held two sessions with the sixth graders. “Today I’m going to show the kids how I write my children’s books,” said Craft. “How I do both the writing and illustration.”
§ Headline of the day: Hollywood trainer, cartoonist to be at Feb. 9 cat convention at GSR
§ Local comics cops profile of the day takes us to Baton Rouge, LA and the last surviving comic shop in the area, Double Play. It survived the hard way:
While Louisiana’s Double Play is currently the only comic store in Baton Rouge, it was not always that way. According to manager James Gaspard, between the years of 2007 and 2012, other stores gradually went out of business. For the staff of the store, going out of business was never something that seemed like a possibility. “We kept confident on knowing how to operate properly,” Gaspard said.
“Everything’s different in a comic book market. The main thing is customer service in addition to everything else.” For most of its history, customer service is something the store prides itself on. “A lot of the times, a lot of the complaints with the other stores were with comics in stock,” Gaspard said. “They said they would order something a customer wanted, but when a customer went back to go check on it, it wasn’t ordered or they forgot to order it or they didn’t order the right thing.” The shop also has dedicated customers who come to Baton Rouge from other parts of the state just to visit the store.
§ This “Batman On Robin” Group Show sounds swell:
Batman On Robin is a show featuring the contributions of a wide variety of artists to the time-honored tradition of finding homoerotic subtext in the relationships between Batman and the various Robins he’s fond of collecting. The art will vary from pin-up pieces to full-on short stories, to tattoo art and photography!
The contributors list is strong. The poster looks great—unfortunately it was only posted on Facebook so we have to make do with this blown-up version. POST YOUR FLYERS ON YOUR WEBSITES, PEOPLE.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.