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And On The Twelfth Day, They Rose From The Dead

I speak, naturally, of The Nib, which resumed updates today as an independent site wholly under Matt Bors’s control. On the one hand, hooray, complete editorial freedom and no wondering when a billionaire or startup or corporation is going to yank funding and all your work comes to an abrupt end. On the other hand, the need for subscriptions remains high so that Bors can continue to do what he’s always done and pay cartoonists; he’s doing all of that completely solo, too, having had to lay off his editorial staff¹.

But they’re back, with three cartoons, from Ward Sutton, Joey Alison Sayers, and Bors himself, about which a few things should be said.

Firstly, in the twelve days of hiatus, there are have been multiple mass shootings and follow-on wannabes. White supremacy and deeply-ingrained misogyny are, unsurprisingly, at the core of the respective shooters (and wannabes) motivations. Thus, Sutton and Bors address that particular elephant² in the room.

Secondly, you may note that Bors’s contribution carries a date of 6 August. It was originally offered up via his syndication deal with Andrews McMeel, but something interesting happened along the way. Bors shared that cartoon (as is his wont) on Instagram, where it was taken down for promoting violence and dangerous organizations. Two days later (after a Rolling Stone story), Zuck came to his senses, but seriously: what the fuck?

It’s all of a piece with social media companies allowing themselves to be gamed by bad-faith complaints and being totally unwilling to fix their shit³. Just today, occasional Nib contributor Eli Valley has been through the Twitter wringer, as actual fucking Nazis mass-reported old tweets for being antisemtic and he was suspended as a result. Not to be outdone in the stupidity department, when Valley set up an alternate account to report on his suspension, it was suspended because he was impersonating himself. As of now, his original account seems to be restored, where you may discover that while the mass-reporting by Nazi CHUDs was going on? Valley was under arrest for participating in the Jewish protests against Amazon’s collaboration with ICE.

The ability to stay out from under the control of capricious money-suppliers (not to mention uncontrolled social media weaponization) is a powerful motivation for Bors to keep The Nib independent. If you came to him with a few million and said Here’s enough money to run all the cartoons you want in a week and hire back all the staff you want, I think he’d hesitate, or ask to see the money in an escrow account. The risk of being at the mercy of somebody else’s pursestrings and/or policies is just too great. It’s just much safer to have a few thousand (preferably, a few ten thousand) subscribers each contributing a small amount; it’s so much harder for thousands of people to fire you than one person (or one crap algorithm).

But all the same, welcome back, Nibsters. I’m thrilled to see the variety of takes and viewpoints, and hope we’ll be back to the full volume of cartoons we had until so very recently. And if you’ve ever browsed past there because of something I wrote, give ’em some love. Support starts at two lousy bucks a month, and only four bucks a month gets you the best quarterly magazine of comics in print. Do it to get the best comics, do it to support your favorite creators, do it to piss off a billionaire, just do it.

Spam of the day:

New York Comic Con Exclusives

I’m not going to shame the company that sent me this, because it’s not their fault that they’re sending this to what they believe is a potentially interested member of the press. See, it’s been years since NYCC let me in as a member of the press because I don’t cover the stuff they want covered, but they still send out my email on their press contact list. Dick move, NYCC.

¹ Running the entire shebang himself means that some things are a lower priority than others; as of this writing, the About page still list The Nib as part of First Look Media and the editors as employed.

² With, no doubt, an elephant-sized MAGA hat.

³ Stage one of the shit-fixing: ban the fucking Nazis.

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