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Op-Ed: Keanu was right about NFTs

Keeping NFT Art Honest in 2021/2022

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by Alan Robert

[Editor’s Note: Who is Alan Robert? He’s best known as the bassist and primary songwriter for the band Life of Agony. But he also studied cartooning at SVA with Walt Simonson, and created the bestselling The Beauty of Horror series of coloring books, published by IDW, along with several other comics series. 

Now, like everyone, he’s getting into NFTs with Monster Chompers, a line of collectible NFTs that has plans to launch a DAO-based graphic novel, toys, animation and other stuff.

Although at the Beat we are NFT skeptics, we are also aware that they aren’t going anywhere, and interesting people like Robert are getting into the space with genuine intentions. Here’s more on his experience and plans.]

Keeping NFT Art Honest in 2021/2022

When Keanu Reeves told CBR.com that NFT art is “usually reproduced” in this interview, I was laughing with him, but not for the reason you’d think.  As soon as my brand-new NFT collection Monster Chompers dropped last week, it had been immediately bootlegged and was up for sale by an OpenSea imposter. Of course, my team quickly reported it, but the minute it was removed, five more fake Monster Chompers collections instantly popped up in its place. It was like playing fake NFT whack-a-mole. Mind you, I am an absolute NFT-newbie, but even I expected this because the crypto space is a bit like the Wild West. That being said, I want you all to know why I’m still super excited about NFTs and why I’m not going to give up.

NFTs are evolving. Sure, they’ve been around since 2014, but let’s be honest, they’re still in their infancy. There’s still a gray area when it comes to copyright enforcement, and not all NFT projects are legit. Like any other profitable industry, opportunists will come out of the woodwork to try and scam you out of your cash (or crypto). The latest shady trend was brought to light in a tweet by one of the good guys in the NFT space, Gary Vaynerchuk, where he pointed out “projects airdropping nfts to accounts that have some influence and try to claim they minted them.” It’s true. It’s hard to know what’s hype and what’s real. You have to do your research. In fact, every time I make a social media post promoting Monster Chompers, at least 20 NFT bot accounts instantly come at me to help “market” my NFTs to their fake followers. They’re like Sentinels from The Matrix, sent out to hunt us down.

However, despite all this, there are so many awesome creators doing groundbreaking things with NFTs, where owning a NFT acts like an all access pass to experience exclusive events and content. Bored Ape Yacht Club, Vee Friends, Sup Ducks, and Sneaky Vampire Syndicate are a few of my faves, and they’ve built amazing Discord communities around their projects like nothing I’ve ever seen. A great example of how these NFT projects are taking engagement to the next level is Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ Stoner Cats and The Gimmicks projects. They’re incorporating innovative new mechanics to allow their fans to collaborate directly with them in order to create new animated shows using DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations). So, as Keanu alluded to in his comment, sure – anyone can copy a JPG off of the internet, but what I feel makes NFTs valuable is that you cannot right-click and copy an experience.

Inspired by these great projects, we’re doing something really different with Monster Chompers, too. My partners Way Too Digital and I are attempting to revolutionize the publishing industry by offering NFT owners the chance to have a real voice in the creation of the upcoming Monster Chompers graphic novel and other entertainment content I’m producing around the IP. I’m expanding on what I’ve already learned from my Beauty of Horror adult coloring book series. That property taught me a lot, because it’s basically a never-ending art project between myself and the fans. Colorists from around the world get to unleash their creativity using my line art and I get to interact with them daily on social media, checking out the results of their awesome colorwork. Oftentimes, their color techniques inspire my next illustrations. So with Monster Chompers, we’re upping the ante. Fans get to be even more involved in the creative process. They get to decide which way the narrative unfolds in the graphic novel, and they get to choose certain aspects of the storyline, along with naming some of the characters. In addition, we’ve also introduced a cool new “franchise” feature as part of our roadmap, where our community can actually earn their own Ethereum royalties using our built-in secondary market. They essentially become Monster Chompers partners… not just fans. So for us, it’s not only about collecting badass, authentic artwork directly from the artist. There is real value and creative utility tied into owning Monster Chompers NFTs.

This is what gets me excited about NFTs. It gives the power back to the artists and the fans. It cuts out the middleman and strengthens the connection between creators and their communities. Through the blockchain and smart contracts, there is total transparency.  So while there are still many things to figure out when it comes to NFTs, I strongly believe this is where the future is headed. Much like how Neo’s eyes were opened after popping Morphious’ red pill, my mind is blown by this new world and I’m down to explore it. But, it doesn’t mean that I’m not gonna John Wick my way through all the bullshit. Be careful out there, people.

– Alan Robert – artist/author

Monster Chompers NFTs

The Beauty of Horror Series

7 COMMENTS

  1. What exactly can you do with an NFT that you can’t do without them? I’m unclear on what exactly is different than, say, using Patreon. It just seems like it’s a different payment processor, with a greater environmental impact.

  2. Wow. Today I learned that before NFTs, collaboration on graphic novels was impossible. Thank goodness somebody finally invented this important technology so that I could pay for the right to name characters that other people will profit off of. Truly groundbreaking stuff.

  3. Why are you giving these con artists a voice? I’ve little sympathy for idiots who buy a link to a website that holds a receipt claiming they own something, that they don’t actually own in any real sense but that doesn’t mean you have to actively help the scammers make money.

  4. I know when I first read this my first reaction was that this must have been a paid for promotional post. I went back and read the editor’s note and saw it wasn’t.

    I’m very skeptical about the real value of cryptocurrency and NFTs in particular. But like everything it’s what people are willing to pay. The only reason I would buy one is if the content was not available except as a NFT and price was under the intrinsic value to me.

    For example if there was a NFT for a single issue of a comic that was not available digitally in another way I would be willing to pay a maximum of $4 assuming <= 32 pages content.

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