January 26, 2014

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Sunday Readings 01/26/2014

Hello again to the weekly links post here at Panel Patter, where I give you some suggestions for Sunday reading. A collection of odds and ends from the various links I may have looked myself and it's possible you may have missed.

A quick side note before we begin. For some reason, Panel Patter outside links were not changing color. This has been fixed. No more hidden links!

***  Matt Bors' The Nib is an excellent site that puts up comics daily Monday through Friday, collecting together everyone from Erika Moen to Tom Tomorrow. I'm hoping to do a review of it soon, because in this era of no Google Reader, sites like The Nib are important to finding comics that you like. Best of all, my understanding is that Bors pays the creators involved to be syndicated by him.  I mention all this because my lead-off link today is one I shared myself on my own personal networks earlier, namely a cartoon explaining the history of cat litter. Andy Warner tells the tale with witty illustrations (I especially love the ash cat prints all over the house) and cold hard facts. Just imagine your life without cat litter for a moment, and thank the dude that made it next time you're cuddling your kitty.

***  Women's History Month may not be until March, but this Tumblr blogger has decided to start the party early, with a different focus each week in February, including an internet launch party for the new Ms. Marvel and a week dedicated to Sif. The blog runner is a bit slash-happy*, but the overall effort is well worth lauding and calling attention to. Put this one on your dashboard, Tumblr-types.

***  At the risk of pulling a hipster moment, I was supporting comics projects on Kickstarter long before it was cool--or a regular thing that self-published folks (and some not-so-self-published folks, like Fantagraphics) did to raise money for their project. For whatever reason, the Kickstarter thing really eats at some people, which makes no sense to me. Now that I think we've learned that the accepted practice is to only back projects that are already completed (like taking a webcomic to print or creating a print run for a completed issue) or those with big enough names that failure is incredibly unlikely (such as Scott Snyder being on board for Rachel Deering's In the Dark horror anthology), it's a logical business model where the creators involved get money via a pre-order system, and maybe are able to pocket a bit on the side, if they're lucky.

This move definitely side-steps publishers, but that's not the worst thing in the world. Sometimes a pub has a thin margin and can't risk your baby failing. Sometimes the pub itself is small and uses KS to get the funding it needs to pay for the books it wants to publish (such as Yeti Press did last year)/ Sometimes you're just obsessive enough that you want complete control. That's perfectly okay, if you understand what you've potentially giving up by not going through a regular publisher, even a small one like 2dCloud.

I say all this because of this great research piece by Corey Blake for Robot 6 about how KS would be 2% o the direct market. That puts it in line with Boom! and Valiant in terms of market share. If you think of Kickstarter as just being a distributor that takes a cut (you know, just like Diamond), then really, what's the big deal here? It feels like this one is just a bunch of anger over just not liking that the old ways are dying.

***  This one isn't strictly comics, but I share it because it meshes with my strong digital-first philosophy and puts the lie to something I hear over and over again. Turns out that contrary to popular belief, people are reading. They just might not be reading the way--or the things--that book snobs want them to read. Note how high the digital numbers are. That's where the perception gap is, I believe. Because overpriced bookstores that carry too many copies of the same book or promote the wrong parts of their business and newspapers are closing, everyone thinks "OH MY GOD NO ONE READS." That's simply not, true--we're just evolving as readers. It's the same as those who only look at Diamond numbers to find out what the best selling comics are, without realizing that Smile and Drama have kicked Batman's ass for a year now.

Perceptions and bias always trump facts. I'm sure I'll be seeing "OH MY GOD NO ONE READS" links in my feed later this year, just like the perpetual "NO GIRLS READ COMICS" links that don't look past their narrow corridors into the wider world of readers and reading.

***  Art Alert 1:  Heidi MacDonald of The Beat spots this really early Jack Kirby art, which is a great find. There's more once you click into her short article about it.

***  Art Alert 2:  Tom Scioli shares some of his sketches for his upcoming GI Joe/Transformers work.

***  Art Alert 3:  Speaking of Transformers, look at this amazing Incredible Change-Bots art from Jeffrey Brown, who writes a parody that's better than the original source material.

***  Finally, Atomic Books continues its series of Best of Lists with cool creators. Here's the opinion of Box Brown, Liz Prince, and Josh Bayer, respectively.

That's it for me. What did you read this week that maybe I missed? Feel free to share in the comments.


*Hey if you like slash, more power to you. Enjoy it! Just not my thing. I'd rather see people concentrate on making their own characters and promoting them, personally. Why use that creative effort on something you'll never control and aren't at least getting work for hire payment?