§ Let’s start the day with beauty, ok? James Jean’s variant cover for Sandman Overture
§ ios9 arrived yesterday, and with it the power to block ads on mobile, and that means pretty much the end of the indie web — maybe even this site!
Those huge chunks — the ads! — are almost certainly the part you don’t want. What you want is the content, hot sticky content, snaking its way around your body and mainlining itself directly into your brain. Plug that RSS firehose straight into your optic nerve and surf surf surf ’til you die. Unfortunately, the ads pay for all that content, an uneasy compromise between the real cost of media production and the prices consumers are willing to pay that has existed since the first human scratched the first antelope on a wall somewhere. Media has always compromised user experience for advertising: that’s why magazine stories are abruptly continued on page 96, and why 30-minute sitcoms are really just 22 minutes long. Media companies put advertising in the path of your attention, and those interruptions are a valuable product. Your attention is a valuable product.
§ Speaking of money, a few days ago A. David Lewis Storified some of that making-money-writing-about-comics stuff
§ Death of the comics internet watch: Tom Bondurant has stopped doing his Grumpy Old Fan column for CBR BUT he’s doing something different for CBR so he’s still around.
As for why, that’s not important. It really isn’t. I was going to title this post “The Last Worthless Evening,” as in the Don Henley song, but that seemed to suggest some bitterness on my part that really isn’t there. Essentially, I’ve been given an opportunity to do some slightly different work for Robot 6/CBR. Assuming it all works out, I’ll be back around these parts soon enough; although it may not be on Thursdays, and it won’t be under this banner.
§ Bully is also on hiatus, but I know he’s still around because he writes reviews for me over at my other gig.
§ No money, no problems: WWAC’s Claire Napier talks to Tet’s Paul Allor about not making money on his book:
Paul Allor, you mentioned that you’ve yet to turn a profit on a creator-owned title, is that right?
ALLOR: Yup. Pretty much the opposite. Though I should note thatTet is going to be my first book to break that streak, not because I’m making fat cash off of it, but because my upfront expenses were much lower than they generally are.
But, yeah, I’ve lost a rather spectacular amount of money on my creator-owned work, and taken on quite a bit of debt working to get into comics. My first book, Clockwork, was in progress right as I was going to grad school (I have a Master’s Degree in public management, which will be very helpful when I pitch a Gotham City Hall book). I ended up maxing out my non-subsidized Stafford Student Loans, and used that money to pay for Clockwork. So, a healthy part of my educational debt is actually comics debt. And since then, I’ve taken out lines of credit to accrue fun new debt.
But the story improves from there… I think!
§ Kate Beaton has a marvelous new book out, and hs been chatting about it with various outlets such as The Guardian.
You’re in a very rare position with Hark! online and in print. Do you want to keep on publishing the same way you are now?
It’s always changing. I always feel like it’s changing so much. I’m not always going to be ahead of the curve; in some ways the webcomic game is a bit of a young person’s game. Like, I don’t know if when I’m middle-aged with a family if I’ll be putting out online content that’s going to support me. The uncertainty of it has always made me a little bit uncomfortable, because we don’t know what’s coming. I came of age in a time when everything was completely uncertain, and I’m happy to be part of a new generation that’s turning things over, but we were turning things over while print floundered and wondered what to do with itself. And it had been the stalwart thing, this very, very reliable dependable thing for generations, print. And we watched it die from up on our hill of youth. You kind of get the sense that you’re not safe. That’s coming for you, too, but you don’t know what it looks like for you. That’s kind of bleak, I suppose.
§ Charlie Hebdo made some news again the other day when they used the images of a drowned Syrian boy for satirical effect. Dead children—real dead children, not Kenny from South park— are where we usually draw the satirical line, but Charlie goes there. The images were drawn by Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau, acting editor for Charlie HEbdo after surviving the January massacre with a bullet in his shoulder. Micaehl Cavna addresses the controversy.
That doesn’t mean, however, that Charlie Hebdo has sworn off pointed cartoons that comment on religion and stir heated emotions. And how, for some, the hashtag of sentiment has swung to “#JeNeSuisPasCharlie.” In recent days, Charlie Hebdo has printed cartoons that play with the power of Aylan as symbol. In one, a child lay presumably dead in the tide, with the caption, “So close to the finish…” — and a McDonald’s billboard behind the boy that reads, in French: “Two children’s meals for the price of one.” And in another Hebdo cartoon, a figure who evokes Christ walks on water while a child nearby has drowned; the words “Christians walk on water” are set in opposition to “Muslim children sink,” with the caption: “Proof That Europe Is Christian.”
§ Publisher’s Weekly honored some young stars in publishing, including First Second’s Mark Siegel, The Devastators Amanda Meadows and a few others you may recognize.
§ Unfortunately the sound system didn’t work too wellas soon-to-be-graphic-memoirist Mira Jacobs delivered a speech on race in publishing:
We are living in a time when what it means to be “other” is shifting dramatically. When my white best friend can and will help me unpack a racially fraught situation. When I can put a piece of a graphic memoir I’m working on now — this little thing about my son’s obsession with Michael Jackson and how it relates to everything from what happened in Ferguson to what happens in my marriage — and it goes viral within an hour. I looked at who was sharing that, and guess what? It wasn’t just the Asian Indians! It was everyone. Because all of us are so ready to talk about the world we live in. We are ready to have a publishing industry that is of that world.
— Jon Bernthal (@jonnybernthal) September 16, 2015
§ Actor Jon Bernthal teased his old Punisher rig on the set of Daredevil season 2.
Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Axel Alonso recently appeared on MSNBC to talk about the publisher’s newest title “Red Wolf,” which will feature a Native American hero from the American Southwest. The comic will hail from writer Nathan Edmondson, interior artist Dalibor Talajic and cover artist Jeffrey Veregge, himself a member of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.
§ Panels had a piece the other day about Unbeatable Squirrel Girl making the NY Times Graphic Novel bestseller list. This coincided with someone at a publishing company asking how they could get on the list since their book had sold considerably more than Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. This led to a discussion of how those charts are made. The short answer is: got me. I have nothing but joy for a world in which Squirrel Girl is now a “New York Times bestseller!” along with JK Rowling, Jonathan Franzen, Clive Cussler and so on.
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.