The Nib is the best comics site out there, with new comics every day from some of the greatest cartoonists working. Edited by Matt Bors, it’s a model of how a comics site can be sharply observent and politically relevant, and yet still be good comics overal, with both editorial cartoons—Tis Modern World, Tom the Dancing Bug, Slowpoke, Bors own strip—and new work by folks like Emily Flake, Lisa Hanawalt, R Stevens, Ted Rall, Brian McFadden, Erika Moen, Shannon Wheeler and more more more. A whole generation of incisive non-fiction cartoonists, given a paying platform to work for.
Unfortunately, it’s not going to be around in the same form any more.
The Nib is part of Medium, a start up that is devoted to “long form reads.” Like many start ups, it doesn’t have any visible means of making money, so while the site employed Bors and paid cartoonists to create new work, as I all too presciently suggested, that model was too radical to work forever.
I should note that I have no idea what the changes will be. Assistant editor Eleri Mai Harris was let go a few weeks ago, the first warning sign, and now the cartoonists who were syndicated on the site, such as Tom Tomorrow and Ruben Bolling, as indicating they they will not appear there any more. Bolling wrote:
Hey, Tom the Dancing Bug ran regularly on Medium.com’s comic site, The Nib, for about a year and a half, but I’m told that due to changes at Medium, The Nib will be reinventing itself, and will not carry comics on regular basis anymore.
I’ve been tremendously impressed with Nib founder/owner Matt Bors and the way he built the site up. I’d known him as a young, very talented editorial cartoonist, and a friend, but once he grabbed the reins of The Nib he proved himself to be an endlessly energetic, brilliantly innovative editor and comics impresario. He developed a large, flexible roster of cartoonists and ran fascinating journalism comics, hilarious and fresh humor comics, heart-wrenching autobiographical comics, and on a moment’s notice he would figure out a way to round up local cartoonists to comment on international stories. He also did all this with great organization, professionalism, integrity and respect for the artists he gathered.
My comic played a small part in Matt’s grand webcomics project, but I was proud to be associated with it.
The Nib is not going away, and I’ll be watching (and maybe even participating in small ways) how Matt reinvents it, quite possibly in ways that even better lend themselves to his unique editorial talents and vision.
Just as a reminder, here are the most recent comics to appear on the site, a look at the meat industry by Mike Dawson, Longstreet Farm, that will make you uncomfortable
And Eleanor Davis’s The Highgate County Fancy Chicken Show, which, like most of her work, is a multi leveled indictment of stereotypes, fat shaming and other shade we throw at people for no reason whatsoever.
These are good comics, and The Nib was full of them.
I’ve reached out to Bors for further information, but I do know that The Nib will be continuing, so let’s not write an obituary just yet. But everytime i clicked on the site, I thought “This is too good to last” and sadly…I was right.
Here’s a selection of twitter outrage over the change — even CNN’s Jake Tapper got in on the action.
— PearlRiverFlow (@PearlRiverFlow) May 27, 2015
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) May 27, 2015
I just interviewed Jen Sorenson about her similar gig at Fusion.net the other day. Hopefully this lasts a lot longer.