That is to say, here are various things happening near to the world of indy- and webcomics, and you should check them out.
- Jim Zub was kind enough to send me an advance review PDF of his forthcoming Samurai Jack #1 and it is good. How good? Understand that I’m not precious about comics — I don’t do the collecting-for-future-value thing; if it’s not something I want to read again, I don’t keep it. Even though I’ve read it, I’m going to buy a copy of SJ#1 when it drops in three weeks because it’s damn good and people that do good work deserve to be paid for it.
- One of the way you can support people that do good work is to pay them, with money. One of the ways that a lots of comics artists get you to pay them with money is via convention sketching and commissions; you can imagine that it would be an unusual thing for an artist to decide to give up a channel for making money (and thus allowing them to keep their career as an artist), but sometimes it’s for good reasons:
It’s been a long deliberation about this but I’ve finally come to the conclusion that it’s not really something I enjoy doing.
And if I’m not enjoying it, I feel like I just rush through it and produce a mediocre piece, which isn’t good for you, or me.
So, my apologies for anyone who was looking for Batman/Catwoman/etc sketches. I’ll still of course sign stuff.
I’m also going to try and bring some new pieces of my own, drawn and framed, which will be for sale, so you will be able to buy an original. [links, empahsis mine]
Stewart’s coming at this from exactly the right perspective — trying to make the commission game have value for the fan, while also not being something that puts work into the public view that isn’t his best. It’s laudable, and fans of artists only for their mass-market work will hopefully open up to the idea that there may other things that those favorite artists draw that are just as (more, even) compelling. I’m reminded here of an early NYCC where I watched (Stewart’s onetime studiomate) Karl Kerschl entertain a stream of Flash fans that couldn’t be bothered to take two seconds to look at The Abominable Charles Christopher.
- Speaking of NYCC, let me update our NYCC Webcomics-type Exhibitor List to include Scott C, who will be in the Artists Alley at table N2. I missed him in my trawl of the exhibitor list due to his being identified as Scott Campbell, a name I sometimes forget is his. In any event, Mr C is one of the friendliest guys in all of the comicky arts and you should go see him and buy a print, painting, book, or other tangible expression of his art².
- A’course, it is not just we, the readers of comics, that creators depend on — they must deal with publishers, editors, freelancing, and work-for-hire in varying degrees. It is with that topic in mind that longtime comics creator
Kurt BusiekMark Waid [Editor's note: How the hell did I mistake those two gentlemen?] wrote to young comics freelancers about dealing with work-for-hire and it’s a must-read for all those that aspire to work in corporate comics:
[I]f you never listen to another word I say, and I talk a lot, please know this: the only one watching out for your future is you.
Be professional. Be a problem-solver. Be willing to compromise in the face of a solid argument. Be willing to lose sometimes because you’ll learn more that way than you will by always winning. Ultimately, if a client is paying you for your services, he or she has every right to set the specifications, just as you have a right to your integrity. But when people jealous of how you make a living try to rag you with that old truism that every company employee has to eat shit now and then, remind them that you are not an employee. You’re a contractor. You do not receive health benefits, sick days, pensions, vacation time, or any of the other considerations traditional employees receive. Your clients have zero ethical or moral ground to lie to you, to denigrate you, to cheat you, to demand more from you than they’re paying for, to unapologetically walk back on promises or treat you maliciously, or to exploit your need to put food on the table. The good ones won’t. Never trust the bad ones.
The quality of your work is all that matters. That’s what buys you longevity. [emphasis original]
There’s much more at the link, and it’s all worth reading.
- Let’s end on an out-of-this-world note. Sure, you can plunk US$39.95 down with a bogus registry to get a pretty certificate that a star was named after you, but the real astronomical brass ring is having the governing body of astronomical names recognize you. Randal Munroe of xkcd now has an actual asteroid named for him, and he does what any good geek would do with that information:
The first thing I did was try to figure out whether 4942 Munroe was big enough to pose a threat to Earth. I was excited to learn that, based on its albedo (brightness), it’s probably about 6-10 kilometers in diameter. That’s comparable in size to the one that killed the dinosaurs—definitely big enough to cause a mass extinction!
4942 Munroe is described here, and it can be found here. And may I say that although the vast majority of NASA is shut down due to a factional hissyfit in the House of Representatives, these two websites are still up and running and therefore must be essential, QED.
¹ Sin Titulo is fabulous and yes you can read it for free on the web, but remember what I just said about rewarding good work? Go do that.
² Once again, all about rewarding good work.