Today on the site:
A 2006 interview with the late Joey Manley by Dirk Deppey.
DEPPEY: You started with Modern Tales and you’ve got a core of, I believe, four or five sites, depending on how you want to classify Webcomics Nation, but I’m not really sure how. Is it more of a portal, or is it a service to cartoonists?
MANLEY: Webcomics Nation represents me trying to get out of the middleman business and get into the service-bureau business, because it’s (A) more profitable, (B) less work and (C) more useful to more cartoonists. Modern Tales was constructed along traditional magazine-publishing lines where, you know, there’s an editor who selects content, pulls it together in a meaningful package and then charges customers to read it and takes the money that the customers pay and splits it among the creators. Now, that last part is a little untraditional because a traditional magazine just pays a flat rate for the use of something. But the Modern Tales model is a lot of work, a lot of accounting and managing and picking and poking, especially because the business grew much more quickly than I ever thought it would, and became a much more important part of everybody’s life who is involved with it than I ever expected. The day before we launched, I hoped that maybe we would have 150 subscribers in the first year. We had 700 subscribers at the end of the first week.
MANLEY: Yeah. It’s not growing at anything like that pace anymore, for a lot of reasons having to do with the price of bandwidth dropping, and with the explosion of more comics. You know, when I launched Modern Tales, it was still possible to name all the creators who were doing high-quality, interesting work online within a 10-minute period. That’s no longer possible. There’s been this explosion. So the elitism of the Modern Tales brand isn’t really sustainable in the current environment, which is why we’re shaking things up again. The Webcomics Nation model works much better in the new environment — there doesn’t have to be this middleman in there touching everything all the time, cartoonists can just do their thing. Modern Tales couldn’t possibly grow as fast as webcomics is growing. Webcomics Nation can.
And Dominic Umile reviews The Fifth Beatle.
Brian Epstein glides about in artist Andrew C. Robinson’s era-appropriate composite of cinematic framing and psychedelic overtones, clad in conservative blue or brown pinstripe suits. Each panel’s impossible Valley of the Dolls-like gloss — occasionally dressed in an effect that reproduces a color camera filter — owes to Robinson’s paint-first, digital studio-second methodology. He sets Northern England in a striking rain-blanketed swirl of blues, mossy green, and unfriendly damp alleyways, and The Fifth Beatle’s first few pages unfurl near the River Mersey, where an early Beatles gig is cross-cut with a harrowing encounter along the Liverpool South Docks. Epstein approaches a young seaman under the misconception he’d been flirted with and is “beaten…badly,” as recounted in the novel. Robinson’s whirlwind of punches and sharp kicks comes to a head with Epstein limping away, bleeding all over a discarded issue of Mersey Beat.
Well, it was a busy CAB weekend and I’m exhausted. I had a good show. It was smooth and sales were solid. There are a couple of brief reports up here and here. And here’s Tom Spurgeon on the highlight of the weekend for me: Art Spiegelman’s retrospective exhibition.
Self-interest alert: Brian Nicholson on INFOMANIACS.
Philip Nel on the Fantagraphics Kickstarter campaign.
And here’s another worthy Kickstarter campaign: Mould Map 3.