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Spilling

Oh my heavens, it’s Friday already. This week has zoomed by, and I’m not sure why. Some work has been done, and things accomplished. I’ve edited (that would be pushing it — I’ve gently massaged) some excellent pieces to roll out in the next few weeks. But I ask you, gentle reader, is anyone still reading in August? Should we just hold onto the REALLY good stuff, like pot dealers witholding their personal stash? Or should we pack the bong for you? Concerned and vacation-oriented editors want to know!

In the meantime, speaking of the good stuff, Shaenon Garrity drops her latest column today, this one all about Girlamatic:

Girlamatic is also the friendliest webcomics site I’ve been a part of.  As one of the old-timers of webcartooning, I’ve done comics for nearly all the sites in the Modern Tales family (I didn’t have a comic on Adventure Strips, but then it turned into Graphic Smash, for which I wrote Smithson), and Girlamatic has the warmest community.

Plus, she snuck in a reference to Kenneth Smith. Shaenon! Busting some O.G. knowledge.

Elsewhere on the internet:

This is the most expensive comics anthology I’ve ever heard of. Even the numbers as presented make no sense, since a good accountant would wipe out the income and the shipping (after the comp copies) should be paid for by the customer. A little perspective: I could print 2 Kramers Ergots and 2 Odd Future books for this amount of dough and pay all the contributors a decent page rate. Put another way, I could publish 25 issues of Cold Heat and give Frank Santoro a pro page rate. Or another way, I could buy the rights to certain 1960s characters and employ half of Providence to draw them. But what the hell do I know. I should get out of publishing and editing and whatever other stupid shit I do and just do Kickstarter proposals for a living.

In other irritating news, the Atlantic published quite possibly the worst “Best of” list of all time, “10 Masterpieces of Graphic Nonfiction“, leading off with the horrendous book that convinced me that Harvey Pekar was really hacking it out (and shit, why not?) before his untimely death, The Beats. Holy moly is that a bad list. And compiled by someone who is doing “Gogol for the Google era.” Clever! I myself am working on Dostoyevsky for the coming Dark Age. Look for my analog Kickstarter campaign on a street corner near you.

In good news, Nicholas Gazin has posted his latest Comic Book Love-In, this time given over entirely to an interview with Monte Schulz, son of Charles… Come back to us, Nicholas!

And in good news you can close out the week with, SPX this year has one hell of a guest and programming slate. It’ll be a really great weekend, even for grumpy ol’ me.


32 Responses to Spilling

  1. Sean Michael Robinson says:

    Those are some pretty extraordinary numbers on that anthology. I think it’s inevitable there will be some kind of Kickstarter backlash in the future, and I wouldn’t be surprised if projects like these are the start of it. Not paying the contributors when you’ve raised $100,000???

  2. Ian Harker says:

    Dan, if you decide to run a kickstarter campaign to pay Frank a pro page rate to do a 25 issue run of Cold Heat I will be your first pledge.

    I really hope the Womanthology project pays it’s contributors instead of sinking more funds into a higher print run. 5,500 copies seems like a lot already. I think they’ll have a hard time moving that many. Or at least pay them a reasonable rate and perhaps fund some individual projects for those creators.

    Either way crowdsourced funding is an incredible thing. I think a lot of traditionalists don’t know what to make of it but I don’t see anything bad about. I just hope it doesn’t become over exploited. The days of cheap credit are over so comics publishers should be utilizing every avenue available to them. There will always be people who want to see the traditional gatekeepers maintain power. Before self-publishing those gatekeepers were on the content side, now there is a way around financial gatekeepers. In both cases it’s the cultural capital that comes with the perception of legitimacy that is put under threat.

  3. Tom Spurgeon says:

    A really good post by Dan and unintentional comedy in graph 3 from Ian — a great day for TCJ.com!

    • Ian Harker says:

      ‘splain?

      I’ve noticed that you are lukewarm about Kickstarter, so i’d love to hear your thoughts.

      • Tom Spurgeon says:

        I just don’t buy that “old people fear challenges to the old regime and power hierarchies” argument. It’s so tired, and it’s intellectually wobbly-kneed: ascribing a motivation is almost always impossible, the broader the motivation the even more impossible, and you’d have to show that the motivation influences each specific criticism in a way that the criticism isn’t true. You sound like you’re guest-starring on a Law and Order spin-off.

      • Ian Harker says:

        I just don’t buy that “old people fear challenges to the old regime and power hierarchies” argument.

        I guess you didn’t pay much attention to the 20th century?

      • Frank Santoro says:

        Oh knock it off

      • Tom Spurgeon says:

        An unfortunate part of my 20th Century was tedious dorm hallway arguments like that response suggests, so I’ll pass.

      • Ian Harker says:

        Fair enough. I’d still like to read something from you at length about kickstarter one of these days. (Unless you’ve already written this?)

        I’m just a fan of economic democracy. (I guess it was unfair of me to place it in a socio-economic context?) I’ve really been clamoring for the evolution of the global financial system lately, you know, considering the state of things…

  4. “Number of Odd Future books that could be published” is a pretty hilarious metric for measuring Womanthology’s money.

  5. Daniel C. Parmenter says:

    > In other irritating news, the Atlantic published quite possibly the worst “Best of” list of all time, “10

    > Masterpieces of Graphic Nonfiction“, leading off with the horrendous book that convinced me that Harvey

    > Pekar was really hacking it out (and shit, why not?) before his untimely death, The Beats. Holy moly is that > a bad list.

    Aren’t you being a little bit harsh? Do you really hate all the books on that list? Even Burma Chronicles?

    It is an odd list. Where’s Larry Gonick for example? Or Joe Sacco? Where’s Sharon Rudahl’s Emma Goldman book?

  6. Odd Future? Yeah, let’s do this, Nadel. I’ll kick in a fiver for that.

    Generally, I don’t do the KickStarter thing. I’ve got too many cartoonist friends.

    • Dan Nadel says:

      Oh, no, I’m being serious. I am doing an Odd Future book. It’s coming out in November, about a month before Kramers. My vicious little aside was based on actual numbers, since I just (gulp) paid the printers for both.

  7. Torsten Adair says:

    1) The artists on the Womanthology project knew their work was donated (with rights retained) and not being paid. Have any contributors agitated for royalties? If they don’t complain, should we?

    2) That Atlantic NF list is horrid. The Elements of Style? Not only is the artwork garish, but it sold horribly when my bookstore promoted it nationally as a holiday book. “Instant classic”… which is no longer available in hardcover. Unlike the original prose edition.

    #7 #8 and #9 are recommended.

    Pekar’s “Macedonia” was a much better book than “The Beats”. (And how is “The Beats” journalism?)
    Or if you want an non-fiction anthology, any of the “Big Book” volumes from DC Comics.

    How they could ignore the entire oeuvre of Larry Gonick is unfathomable (if they need to pick one title: The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry).

    No Joe Sacco. No Jim Ottaviani. No “Genesis”. No “Logicomix”. No “Action Philosophers”.

    Hmmm… little autobiography. No “Maus” or “Persepolis” or “Epileptic” or “Alec” or Ariel Schrag or “Fun Home” or Chester Brown or …

  8. DanielJMata says:

    I’d take the kush now, but if holding it off means a danker hit (better editing), then I’d gladly let the crop grow a little longer. I just don’t want any seeds!

  9. Dominick Grace says:

    Jeez, I hadn’t even heard of four or five of those ten best non-fiction graphic novels. . . .

  10. patrick ford says:

    Clearly any list of non-fiction in comics form which doesn’t include at least four of Joe Sacco’s is a really bad list.

    The best indication of the greatness of Joe’s books is the fact the mainstream media likes to pretend they don’t exist.

    Joe is the Noam Chomsky of non-fiction comics. The idea seems to be, “Ignore him, and maybe no one will notice.”

    • Daniel C. Parmenter says:

      Sacco’s more like the George Orwell of non-fiction comics. He actually does things. Chomsky just gives talks and writes the same book over and over again.

      • patrick ford says:

        Joe has more in common with Huxley than Orwell. You are mistaken about Chomsky’s books. I’ve read most of them and they study a wide variety of topics.

        The duplicity of the major western media is a common thread however.

      • Daniel C. Parmenter says:

        It was just a bit of hyperbole, don’t mind me. Chomsky has a few core themes he goes back to over and over in both his linguistics and his political writings.

        For Orwell, I was thinking specifically of Homage to Catalonia. I get a bit of that vibe, though of course Sacco hasn’t actually taken up arms or anything like that.

  11. Gabe Fowler says:

    It cannot be mentioned frequently enough that Kickstarter is owned by Amazon, and is yet another money-funnel toward that soul-sucking monopoly.

    • Frank Reade (@freade) says:

      I don’t believe this is accurate. AFAIK, Kickstarter is a privately owned startup out of NYC.

      They *do* use Amazon Payments, so Amazon gets a 3-5% cut out of the funds raised but someone would be getting those CC processing fees regardless, and it’s not in the same league as ownership.

  12. Kim Thompson says:

    The writer says she was scared to list Sacco’s Palestinian books because she didn’t want to get yelled at by people who disagreed with Joe’s slant on the matter, which for someone writing for THE ATLANTIC, for Christ’s sake, is head-spinningly pathetic. (This also doesn’t explain why she didn’t just punt on Palestine and throw in SAFE AREA GORAZDE; maybe she was afraid of an extensive Serb backlash too.)

    I understand that the lines between journalism and autobiography become blurry, with some autobiographical cartoonists using real-world events as context and some journalists using themselves as protagonists — I’d say PERSEPOLIS and EPILEPTIC fall on the side of autobiography (although David B.’s next book will be entirely historical/journalistic) and Guy Delisle’s work on the side of journalism.

    Aside from Sacco the elephant-in-the-room omission would seem to be LOUIS RIEL here.

    Fortunately this is the internet, so the list is being instantly challenged and corrected in the comments section. If it had been a foolish article appearing in an old-media form, these corrections would’ve appeared two weeks later, edited, on a letters page…

  13. patrick ford says:

    Kim, No mention of Joe can be allowed. If people become aware of him they might find out about his books, including ones which are “off-limits.”

    No, it’s much safer to just pretend Joe doesn’t exist, that way no one will know about him. Even attacking him would be a bad move from the beltway perspective. Attacking Joe would draw atten… Well you get it.

    • Dan Nadel says:

      I’m all for advocacy, but Pat, Joe Sacco’s books are reviewed in the NY Times and he’s published in Harpers. His last book was from a major publisher, and he’s featured at festivals and conferences all over the place. The Atlantic list shoulda featured him, but it’s in now way reflective of some larger bias. Thankfully, he’s gotten plenty of notice in any “mainstream” I can imagine.

      • patrick ford says:

        Dan, You are of course correct. I was slightly joking. It’s a matter of scale, and placement. The media is clever in the way they construct their narratives.

        The NYT will run things on the op-ed page like Frank Rich, or Krugman, but they had Judith Miller on the front page selling the Iraq War.

        Let’s just say I think Joe should get far more attention than he does, although it might not turn out to be all that pleasurable for him if he was in the spotlight.

        Further more Joe has exceptionally good taste in music.

      • Tucker Stone says:

        From the author in the comments section:

        “You guys are right–I almost included Footnotes in Gaza but chickened out at the last moment because the topic is so polarizing. I was already expecting heat from rank-and-file fanboys/girls about the overall list and didn’t want to brave the Palestine question as well.”

        I’m digging on the idea that there’s “fanboys/girls” for journalism comics. I bet those are some unrelenting parties.

  14. patrick ford says:

    Some people might be interested in this exceptional talk between Joe Sacco and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges who was reprimanded by his employer the NYT’s for Hedges public comments on the Iraq war. Hedges left the Times, and began writing on a freelance basis.
    http://podcast.lannan.org/2011/06/05/joe-sacco-wi

  15. michael L says:

    wow that is a bad list! i agree Louis Reil and Palestine are the major absentees, but my personal list would also include some mention of Oishinbo and, if possible, Kim Deitch’s Ready to Die

    and i dont like how the Atlantic author implies that grammar is inherently unfun. it was plenty of fun before maira kalman got there thank you very much!!

  16. I have listened to/read quite a bit of criticism recently, concerning the use of Kickstarter. Having used it myself to fund a portion of “BLACK EYE” (roughly 1/2 of it), I can say that I do agree with much of that criticism. There are too many fees and I am suspicious of how you are automatically locked into “Amazonian servitude” (at least as far as the fees are concerned– they do not force you to become a seller or market yourself on Amazon). On the other hand, there was no conceivable way for someone like me to make this book on an adjunct teacher’s paycheck, and to pay all of the artists and the printing costs myself. In the end, Kickstarter was a bridge to completion, with the rest out of my pocket (which I will probably not make back entirely) and I am grateful that such a funding platform existed for me, imperfect as it is. And I didn’t even use it correctly (I failed to factor-in shipping costs to all those overseas “funders” and had to eat the cost). If there were a non-corporate alternative, I would have jumped at it. Perhaps there is. If anyone is reading this– I am open to suggestions. One interesting thing about Kickstarter is that although it is in cahoots with Amazon– which has helped cut the brick-and-mortar stores off at the knees– it helps to get funding for some projects that sell in brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, I have intentionally chosen not to put the book for sale on Amazon. So although I understand the misgivings about it’s use (and abuse by those looking to milk a sucker), it was important to this still wet behind-the-ears novice.

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