The webcomics blog about webcomics

It Is Technically Still Today

There’s a party two floors below my hotel room, but not one that’s overly distracting; it’ll be a slightly late night unless I break out the industrial-grade earplugs, and it’ll of course be an early morning. If I can no longer sustain the vicious grind of San Diego Comic Con at full speed for most of a week, it’s probably all for the good … the appeal of a full night’s sleep, three decent meals, and not drinking heavily all night has become much more prominent as I’ve made my way through my forties.

The story of Wednesday at SDCC is always one of transformation, as the pallets and nascent outlines of booth designs become, gradually, little temples to commerce. The forklifts appear less frequently, the emergency messages from the mysterious overhead voices¹ faded away, the enormous dumpsters cleared out of the aisles and the next thing you know the neon signs are lit and your realize your camera can’t handle how much light they’re throwing out. A few messes with settings later, you end up with a clearer idea of who got the best out of the in-booth electrical upsell.

It felt like a class reunion with a large number attached to it; on the one hand, there’s people you haven’t seen for an extended time, but simultaneously you can’t help but notice how many are missing. The general retreat of webcomics from SDCC was one of two recurring conversations I had, and generally the less depressing one.

The other recurring conversation regarded the generally crappy terms offered by BOOM! Studios, with more than one creator (none of whom wished to be named) mentioning attempts to get moral rights waived, to allow unlimited editing of art or text without approval or consultation with the original creator, and unconscionable grabs for media rights² in exchange for the the simple act of printing.

I am becoming deeply conflicted by my continued purchase of a number of BOOM! titles, in that I can no longer plausibly believe that my purchases benefit the original creators; I’m hoping that some of the bigger names that BOOM! has managed to attract have had their lawyers eviscerate the boilerplate, and that BOOM! may eventually get the idea. I really don’t want to have to see the equivalent of the Siegel & Schuster or Kirby lawsuits to get BOOM! to stop being exploitative.

That was a bit of a downer, so let’s wrap up by looking forward a bit — tomorrow’s the :01 Books tenth anniversary panel, and with any luck/minimal organization, I’ll get an interview in tomorrow with the redoubtable Jim Zub. Also, for the duration of SDCC I have decided to not run the day’s best spam down here at the bottom. Instead, I’ll provide updates of:

Creators who autographed my copy of Romeo and/or Juliet today:

Ryan North³
Brandon Bird
Lar deSouza
Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett
David Malki !
Rich Stevens
Jim Zub

¹ There was an actual emergency message this morning; the initial alarm was annoying somewhat, but not especially alarming. When the voice announcement was made that All Was Well, We Are Looking Into It, there was a steady warbling in the background, with the sort of whoop whoop noises normally associated with Red Alert on the Enterprise (original model). I don’t think anybody was panicking before the announcement, but several of us thought it was a better idea after hearing the whoops.

² As in, You’re coming to us with a complete story and in exchange for a crappy page rate we get all the movie/TV rights to it, for free, forever. BOOM!, you do not pay enough by at least a two orders of magnitude to make that sort of deal even vaguely fair. If you include secondhand reports, it gets even worse.

³ Who, in case you missed it last week, will see his first Shakespearean chooseable-path book, To Be Or Not To Be, go to a second printing this fall courtesy of Romeo and/or Juliet publishers Riverhead Books.

I’m definitely interested in as much coverage as you can afford to do about the BOOM! Studios contract terms. I’m bummed since it seemed like they could become another Image Comics.

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