The webcomics blog about webcomics

Welcome Returns

  • Kickstarter’s back! That’s not the odd part, that sound of a million webcomickers sighing in relief. What’s odd is the progression I’m seeing on the TJ & Amal Omnibus, which I promised a prediction based on the Fleen Funding Formula (mark 2) today.

    I’ve been refining this thing through several revisions, and I think the current model based on the Kicktraq trend value at the 24 – 30 hour mark is as accurate as anything is going to be. I had to come up with the limitation that it’s not appropriate for low backer counts (under 200 in that 24 – 30 hour period, it just doesn’t work), and I think that TJ & Amal and another recent campaign are going to cause me to find some new limits.

    In the case of TJ & Amal, that’s a hell of a drop-off from day one to day two; granted, some of that is undoubtedly due to the Kickstarter outage yesterday, but still. In campaigns where the FFFmk2 has worked well, there’s a day two drop off that ranges from slight (ex: here and here) to about a third (ex: here or here). Where the dropoff is more severe, the formula doesn’t work well.

    Which brings us to TJ & Amal, where numbers have dropped heavily from day one (day two: barely 15% of day one) and new funding has essentially bottomed out. My thought process is as follows:

    • The TJ & Amal campaign launched as close to midnight EST, meaning day one was a full 24 hours. Had it launched later in the day, there may have been a more equitable division between the first two days; at 13 hours, it was at about U$29K, which would have made the day 1/day 2 split closer to 66%/33%. Still a steep drop, but not the 85%/15% split we saw.
    • But even that drop would have put this campaign at the outer band of confidence in the formula. I think we may have seen an unusually-strong early response, due to the limited nature of one of the rewards (creator EK Weaver is printing 750 copies of an epilogue for the strip; this likely provided an incentive for most everybody that might have backed gradually over the 30 day campaign to get in early and ensure they’d get a copy).
    • TJ & Amal doesn’t just have fans, it has superfans; my impression is that there aren’t any casual readers of this strip. It’s your absolute favorite, or you were never going to buy the collection anyway.

    Which I think is going to add another usability limitation on the FFFmk2: An excessive day two drop (let’s say more than 50%) will make it non-predictive. I suspect at this point that TJ & Amal will creep up slightly, maybe adding another US$10K to its present total of US$45K, but not cracking the range of US$175K +/- 35K that the math would have indicated.

    Then again, it may get a weird late bump and meet the predicated range after all, but what I’ll really need are another dozen or so campaigns that meet the 200 backer limit, have day 2 totals under 50% of day 1, and the classic Kickstarter bowl-shaped progress curve. I don’t know what I’m going to do with multi-peak campaigns¹, and other such strange curves.

    And as long as we’re on the topic, I’m not sure what to do with the Camp Weedonwantcha campaign: it launched just before the Kickstarter outage — no doubt affecting day 1 totals — and the day 2 totals are not likely to get above the 50% threshold. Then again, the Penny Arcade marketing machine has not yet been fully brought to bear, so while we could have another strange curve ahead of us, I think this one will be explained more by super-high tiers getting snapped up.

    As of this writing, Katie Rice has 10 (of 20 max) backers at the US$250 level, 5 (of 5 max) at the US$500 level, and 3 (of 5 max) at the US$1000 level. Fewer than 5% of her backers acted quickly to get those high-value rewards, and contributed a full 26% of her funding total; that skew can’t be maintained, which means I may need to add a consideration for super-high tiers to the formula. It’s getting tougher and tougher to come up with a single calculation to predict Kickstarter success, but hey — all of these projects met their goals several times over, and that’s something to celebrate right there.

  • Also something to celebrate? The long-awaited return of the Goats website, with strips running from November 2003 to April 2010, six and a half years of glorious madness rescued from the aether, missing only the story guide I penned for Jon Rosenberg about the time he bought my soul. And just in case you wonder if Goats is still relevant, given that the last of the 1100+ strips here is nearly five years old, I will point out that just last week I saw a Republicans for Voldemort bumper sticker in the wild.

    And remember: the appearance of this revived website — like unto the breaking of the seven seals the the blowing of the final trump — is the harbinger of a resurgence in the very finest of beer-driven webcomics². Five years of bouncing around the multiverse won’t have made the story that Rosenberg still wants to finish any less weird. The End Times are a’coming³, and we get to go along for the ride. Testify.


Spam of the day:

… I am the sales manager at ******* Marketing. I was just looking at your Fleen: Try Our Thick, Creamy Shakes » I Would Vote For History’s Greatest Villain¹ If She Could Break The Spine Of This Winter website and see that your site has the potential to get a lot of visitors.

Wow. Wow. That was just pathetic. Try again.

_______________
¹ See also: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which would have been predicated to hit US$32.5K +/- 6.5K, and actually achieved US$61K thanks to a last-week surge. Multi-peak campaigns play hell with the predictions.

² And in case you’re wondering where the black and white strips back to 1997 are, they’re still there at the Wayback Machine. Start here.

³ Okay, fine, The End Times were a’coming in the past and must have been successfully averted because check it out: we’re still here!, is that better? Rosenberg can still tell the story of how the end of the universe was resolved. Sheesh.

Well, This Is Unfortunate

There were going to be some Kickstarter stories — like the launch of a campaign to fund Camp Weedonwantcha’s first print collection, or the FFFmk2 on the TJ & Amal Omnibus — but it appears that Kickstarter itself is having a bit of a wobbly.

It’s not clear at this time how the failure of access is going to affect projects; TJ & Amal has a project page that loads very slowly, but shows no activity (likewise, the Kicktraq page countdown timer is stuck at 28 days, 9 hours, 53 minutes), the Camp page doesn’t want to load at all, and I’ve had no luck connecting to my account’s current activity. My best guess is that KS will offer to extend all campaigns by an amount of time equal to the outage, but that’s just a guess. Likewise, the cause of the outage is not known publicly at this time, but I think we all know it’s due to too many awesome ladies making webcomics collections.

  • So what can we talk about today? How about an already-funded project that was on a different site? The first collection of Stand Still, Stay Silent funded out in October, and it was known that the books would not be shipping for a while because they would be including Chapter 4, which Minna Sundberg didn’t complete until the end of November. As it turns out, the books are going to be a bit later than originally expected, for the very best of reasons:

    I didn’t want to promise anything until I knew just how long chapter 5 would end up being, because if it ran too long I simply couldn’t include it due to the added weight/shipping cost. But now I know the final page count, and with the book clocking out at around 320 pages (instead of the previous 260) I have made the informed decision to throw in this fifth chapter too.

    So instead of a 260+ page book, Sundberg is giving us a 320+ page book, making your contribution a full 25% more valuable. Yay!

  • I don’t want to get anybody’s hopes up, but there have been two updates to Boy On A Stick And Slither this week, on Monday and today. I am cautiously optimistically that these strips — apparently the first since the June of 2011 — represent a return of Steven Cloud to cartooning, and as such I’m removing the indefinite hiatus annotation from the blogroll over there to the right. Everybody feel good for Cloudy!

Spam of the day:

Monoplex lignarius is a species of predatory sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Ranellidae

Congratulations, random spammer! You have lifted text from perhaps the most content-free Wikipedia page ever, lacking even basic copy for nearly four years.

Discomfort

I am having a serious amount of creator-love for Abby Howard these days.

In the past couple of weeks she has posted (by my count) five comics, all of which are certain to have made people uncomfortable. Two of them were updates to The Last Halloween, which is always unsettling and creepy, the fun way that being scared and then coming out the other side is entertaining.

The other three — two updates of the mostly-autobio Junior Scientist Power Hour, one guest update at Oh Joy, Sex Toy [there’s going to be a link below, which may or may not be safe for work] — are likely to have unsettled people more, because they aren’t about ghosts and ghouls and creepy things that don’t really exist.

They’re about things that we, as a society, try to pretend don’t exist, things that are getting right up in our faces and saying Shhh, shhh, it’s time to be quiet now. They’re about how fat women exist, in defiance of cultural norms and desire of people to correct their flawed existence, and how some of them have sex. The fact that that last link is actually about explaining BDSM best practices is going to be less shocking to a lot of people than the fact that it features a woman who is not model-thin.

Howard has done a huge service to a bunch of people who never would have thought twice about these issues¹, and she’s done it by sharing herself with the world. Or, to put it another way, but making herself a target for the trolls and assholes of the entire damn internet. I suspect that the trolls and assholes will have difficulty dissuading Howard from continuing to exist as she does. To quote:

And don’t worry guys, I wouldn’t be making these comics if I was super miserable. I am feeling great about myself right now, so there’s no need to send me cheer-up messages or anything, I know I am rad and beautiful.

I don’t know how many people will change behaviors or attitudes based on what Howard’s shared, but she’s given me a lot to think about. As the token skinny-ass member of a family that tends towards the definitely chubby, I’m probably better than most about not regarding fat people — especially fat women — as inherently disgusting and worthy of shame-slash-disregard. Which is to say, nowhere near as good as I should be; it’s still too easy to fall back into denigration patterns when I don’t know somebody personally¹.

As somebody with a bit of medical training, I’m also aware that despite the fact that in terms of population and probability, the correlations of obesity and some pretty terrible health problems are well established, the weight:healthiness relationship is very much particular to the individual. There are people who need to drop a vast amount of weight or they are going to stroke out, soon. There are people who are carrying extra mass and are perfectly healthy.

That being said, I have not always done a good job of avoiding uncharitable thoughts about those who I have to carry down staircases and around tight corners when they are on the higher end of the weight scale. In my defense, when it’s just your 60kg (130 pounds) ass and one partner at three in the morning and the stretcher that’s rated for patients up to 160kg (350 pounds) is audibly groaning with metal fatigue, you are naturally going to think of the 50kg (110 pounds) patient from earlier that night as your very best friend. I try to channel my feelings into a dislike of gravity rather than people.

Or to finally get to the point: thanks, Abby. You’ve very generously given the world a lot to think about, and I suspect your radness and beauty will cause some people to change for the better.


Spam of the day:

Oprah, Kill Starch Absorption. Drop 22lbs in 4 weeks.

Your spam looks even stupider for being sent today than it would have otherwise. Try again.

_______________
¹ I’m trying, but habits die hard; it’s taken me most of the past year to limit my criticisms of my governor vis-a-vis his weight. He’s a bully, a hypocrite, morally bankrupt, and probably criminally corrupt, but those things have nothing to do with being a fat guy. If I slip up, call me on it.

Wow. Just Wow.

When I pointed out yesterday that it was possible for Exploding Kittens to pick up some US$600K in seven hours to become the #3 most funded Kickstarter of all time, I wasn’t entirely convinced. But there it is¹, and with just shy of 220,000 backers (Heck there were more than 200,000 in one reward tier) it has set a support record that is not likely to be broken for a long damn time. Now let’s just hope it’s as fun to play as we’re all betting.

But first, let’s let the team of principals — Elan Lee, Matthew Inman, and Shane Small — have the weekend to not think about this project, its enormous community, and the immense task they’ve taken on of making sure everybody’s happy². Lee estimates that will take him the next two years.

  • Hey look at that — the Nebula Award nominations are out and Ursula Vernon recognized the Short Story category for Jackalope Wives, a cracker of a tale about skin-walking and Vernon’s latest excellent take on a feisty wise old woman (cross reference here). I haven’t read the other nominees in the category so I can’t say that Jackalope Wives is the best story in the bunch, but it is damn good and worthy of your time.
  • Uh-oh. Howard³ is planning something. Take care around your wallets, whatever he makes is going to look alway appealing, and it’ll no doubt regular readers & book buyers to make new purchases, and then he’ll do the I got paid three times dance. Last time that happened, I had to buy him a smoothie while we dodged a massive zombie walk snarling the Gaslamp district of San Diego.

Spam of the day:

Online Married Ladies Seek Immediate Offline Boinking*.

I do not want to know what kind of clarification is hiding in that footnote.

_______________
¹ And there’s still a week or so before the final figure gets adjusted due to failed payments.

² Which may be considerable. How many people in the world do you figure are complete and utter dicks about the smallest things, the ones who will complain and whine and make your life miserable, particularly if they figure that you’re faceless and remote and have infinite resources and why are you oppressing them? One in a thousand? One in two thousand?

By those extremely optimistic projections, Lee & Company will have to deal with literally hundreds of miserable sumbitches on the internet. Delivery delayed by a day? Box a little dented? Color scheme not perfectly as imagined? They’re going to be dealing with that for potentially years, so it is my sincere hope that the EK team spends at least 10% of the funds raised on whatever they find pleasurable and distracting.

³ Evil twin, etc.

Developing Stories

It’s Thursday. We could all use a little uplift today, so let’s look at some critical and popular successes.

  • Following up on yesterday’s story about The Sculptor becoming a movie, we have the closest thing we’re going to get to an insider view of what happens when your creative child gets adopted by the studio system.

    Lucy Bellwood has a unique point of view on Hollywood — her mother is a script analyst, and her father one the screenwriters of Highlander¹, so she can tell you from long experience what Hollywood bought your thing and now it’s going to be a movie! is like, and she shares it in comic form at The Nib. It’s not pretty.

    Don’t get me wrong; should a movie of The Sculptor actually ever be made — and that’s years down the road at the very least — I will be there on opening night, happy to see what got made. But unlike a big-screen version of characters defined with broad strokes and a few zillion plotlines to mine (see: any superhero movie), a story with a beginning, middle, and end is far more likely to end up significantly changed². I’m cautiously optimistic, and overwhelmingly glad that the movie version won’t ever cause the print copy to disappear from my bookshelf.

  • In about eight hours, we’ll find out exactly how huge a success the Exploding Kittens Kickstarter has been. As of this writing, they are probably going to cross the US$8 million mark in the next hour, and are about 500 backers from the 200,000 threshold. To put those numbers in perspective no wait scratch that, in the time I took to write that sentence things have changed. Literally in the two minutes that I looked away from the campaign page, the funding level jumped by about US$40,000 and the backer level by more than 800. They’re now over eight actual megabucks and 200K backers.

    To again attempt to put that in perspective, Exploding Kittens has the #4 all-time highest funds raised record on Kickstarter (and it’s not inconceivable it might raise the US$600K to become #3) and is by far the most-backed project ever. Right now, Exploding Kittens has eclipsed the Reading Rainbow (formerly #1) backer count by not quite 95,000 people, and has an even shot of outright doubling the onetime record.

    Here’s hoping that whole West Coast port-worker slowdown thing is resolved by the time that Exploding Kittens gets put on a container ship (I am presuming it will be printed in China, but with this kind of money, stateside manufacture might actually be economically possible), because otherwise a few hundred thousand pissed-off nerds are gonna be looking for some longshoremen and stevedores to beat up until their rewards fall out.


Spam of the day:

Oprah prevents carbs

I’m speechless. Who knew that Oprah could operate at a metabolic level?

______________
¹ The good one. Also, sadly, the sequel which was … yeesh, not good.

² Please, and I say this as somebody who enjoys his movies for what they are, don’t let Peter Jackson anywhere near The Sculptor.

If I Were Him, I’d Be Shopping For Helicopters And A Better Class Of Friends

Of course, I’m not Scott McCloud (for which I think we can all be grateful), and he is a far nicer person than I am. And lets face it: with the byzantine practices of Hollywood accounting, it’s unlikely (and that’s a damn shame) McCloud will be be joining the ranks of the super-rich anytime soon.

But I may be getting ahead of myself. There’s going to be a movie made of The Sculptor.

When I saw McCloud’s talk at the 92nd Street Y, he did mention in passing from the stage that he wouldn’t mind a movie being made of The Sculptor¹, should that ever happen. He didn’t give any indication that a deal was in the works, but I find it doubtful that negotiations took place and everything approved in the two weeks since, especially since he’s been on the road. Doubly especially because this looks to be an actual movie deal.

Everything I am about to say should come with the obvious disclaimer that I’m not an agent, a lawyer, a studio head, or in anyway knowledgeable about how the entertainment industry works, apart from what I’ve read in Brian Bendis’s autobiographical Fortune & Glory. To wit: studios spend time and money to lock down story rights, both because they might want to make a movie, but also to prevent others from doing so. Snagging the rights is known has an option, and it doesn’t mean that anything will ever be made. In fact, people have had a tidy income sustain over decades because some studio or other keeps paying out occasionally to renew an option, but never actually goes to production.

How long ago did we hear about the right to BONE and Amulet being sold? Answer: a little shy of seven years. That’s the way the entertainment industry works, and more power to Smith and Kibuishi for getting checks and not seeing a butchered-up version hit the big screen that looks terrible (cf: The Last Airbender). A’course, it’s possible for good adaptations to hit, and sometimes even in a timely fashion, when the right combo of studio desire, director, and idea converge (cf: Scott Pilgrim vs The World).

What I am saying here is that The Sculptor looks like it may be more the latter than the former, because that story doesn’t talk about Sony just picking up the rights; it talks about Sony picking up the rights with specific producers attached. And while these things take time and The Sculptor does not have a director, a script, a cast, or an IMDB page yet², it has cleared more hurdles than most would-be movies ever will. What do you think? Joseph-Gordon Levitt as David (alternately: Jason Schwartzman), Ellen Page as Meg (alternately: Anna Kendrick), Donald Sutherland as Uncle Harry (alternately: Stephen Root)? And if we could get Kenneth Branagh to direct? That’s worth my twelve bucks.

In other news:


Spam of the day:

Selank Russian C is a nootropic, anxiolytic peptide based drug developed by the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Very interesting, but I don’t see how that qualifies as an ingenious method for boosting my wealth.

________________
¹ It was in the context of works being designed to be read in a particular form, and how The Sculptor was designed specifically to be a book, and could he see it in other forms.

² McCloud does have an IMDB page. In fact he has three: Scott McCloud (I), Scott McCloud (III), Scott McCloud (V). Dude’s been busy.

The Solution For Technical Problems? Guigar

So what you don’t know is that yesterday, Fleen’s back end was acting the hell up. Some combination of MySQL and WordPress decided it just really didn’t like the post I was working on, and it fought me at every turn. And by fought me I mean ten minutes to save a draft and spontaneously stop responding and lose all the changes. Today, by contrast, is running perfectly smooth and normal, which I can only attribute to the prevalence of Brad Guigar in today’s post; around Brad, comics spontaneously behave.

Brad! We’re a couple of days late, but we at Fleen would be remiss if we didn’t note that this past weekend, Brad Guigar marked his fifteenth anniversary of daily cartooning, having produced a total of:

1,471 Greystone Inn comic strips, 2,943* Evil Incs 410 Courting Disasters and 95 Phables. (And 163* Tales from the Con comics, which I write for Emerald City Comicon.) (emphasis original)

Or a bit more than 5000, if you’re into aggregates. Oh also three books on cartooning, an Eisner nomination, and a couple hundred hours of at least four different podcasts, a school full of students that will kill and destroy in his name revere him as a mentor, and the most infamous laugh in history. Not bad for such a young guy.

Brad! So where do you go after accomplishing all that? You go to the place where you launch two more comics, because of course you do. Previously available only to supporters of his Patreon (who still get first dibs), everybody can now read Arch Bros (based on his sons, one of whom thinks he’s a superhero, and the other thinks he’s a supervillain) and single-panel gag comics/sketches at the revamped Guigar.com, which also serves as your source for All Things Brad.

Brad! Guigar’s also a tastemaker and trendsetter. Case in point — his new colorist Alex Heberling, who’s been knocking it out of the park with her work on Evil, Inc these past few weeks. Please don’t misinterpret me and ascribe her success and skill to Guigar, but let’s acknowledge that the guy has an eye for talent and that paying gig is only helping Heberling in terms of career and public profile. Oh, and in case you weren’t paying attention when Guigar was telling you, Heberling’s Kickstarter campaign for the first print collection of her webcomic, The Hues, is about to end. You’ve got about two hours to get in on it.

Brad! So we talked about what Gumroad is doing for its clients in re: VATMOSS last week. But it’s simply not enough for Brad Guigar to point out what one company is doing … he went out and figured out the responses of seven different delivery vendors to the VATMOSS challenge, letting you know who’s doing a good job and who isn’t. The report is behind the subscription wall at Webcomics Dot Com, but I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Guigar found Gumroad’s response as impressive as I did. You’ll have to purchase access to determine who else is doing well and who isn’t, but if you hope to sell e-goods to the EU, the US$5 month’s trial is a pretty good deal.

Curiously, not Brad! Yes, even on a Bradarrific day, there will be some news that’s not Guigar-related. Today, that would be the announcement of the first tranche of special guests at this year’s TCAF, a list which includes Charles Burns, Eleanor Davis, Gurihiru, Lucy Knisley, Scott McCloud, Barbara Stok, Jillian Tamaki, and Chip Zdarsky. Keep in mind that about 300 more creators from around the world will be at TCAF, a list of which will be found here.


Spam of the day:

I got an Appletini and the hubby coffee.

Of all the things that I have no interest in, alleged weight-loss tips from R-----l R-y is at the very top of the list.

I Would Vote For History’s Greatest Villain¹ If She Could Break The Spine Of This Winter

It’s cold, it’s going to snow at least once more this week, and New England has turned into Ice Station Zero.

  • I could have used a different reference in footnote #1 (and a different image for the header of the post), but R Stevens hasn’t (as I write this) yet gotten around to President #39 in his Pixel Presidents series, updating now on his Tumblr. They go up in batches of six or so at a time, at about one minute intervals, because how else are you going to kill time when you’re on hold with the cable company?
  • Which bit of inevitable news should we go with first? That the Exploding Kittens Kickstarter met its 30-cheevo stretch goal and can only drum up further excitement by declaring virtual and IRL party events for the next three days? Or that Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List for hardcover graphic novels²?
  • Actually, I think one other thing was more inevitable: when waiting to enter the McCloud talk at the 92nd Street Y a couple weeks back, and talking with Raina Telgemeier, she told me that she fully expected McCloud to knock her out of her spot on the Times Best Sellers List.

    He didn’t, due largely to the fact that Telgemeier is on the softcover list, but I am not sure he would have if they were on the same list. Significantly, Telgemeier regained her clean sweep of slots 1, 2, and 3. Even more interesting, Drama is in the top slot, presumably because all of the readers that tore through Smile and its sequel Sisters are now digging through the back catalog for anything Raina-related. What with the newly colored editions of the Baby Sitters Club books about to release, it’s a very good time to be Raina Telgemeier.

  • Speaking of McCloud and Telgemeier, they will be among the Guests of Honor at this year’s MoCCA Fest, just about two months from now, presuming we haven’t all frozen to death by then. The Society of Illustrators have celebrated by releasing the main visual for this year’s event, by Eleanor Davis. I maintain that MoCCA is one of the great bargains in comics shows, costing a whopping $5/day at the door and existing on a scale that allows you to see everything without feeling homicidal.
  • Finally, let us take a moment to reflect on those that perhaps have a harder time with the cold than we do. I am thinking here of ectotherms, particularly snakes, and most particularly one snake that’s trying to find her way in the world:

    New chapter of my webcomic, THE WHITE SNAKE! http://jenwang.net/whitesnake/

    One of the things I love about The White Snake is that it releases a chapter at a time; getting 20 – 24 pages of story in a chunk is much more satisfying than two pages a week over a period of months. It has been a while since we met Lily, so maybe go back and refresh on Chapter One before moving on to Chapter Two.


Spam of the day:

Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I to find It really useful & it helped me out a lot.

Happy to be of service.

________________
¹ Jodie Foster.

² Despite the art being merely serviceable, as judged by this guy who is the walking embodiment of the New Yorker substitute cartoon punchline.

Valentine’s Eve And It’s Cold

Very cold. Right now, it’s warmer in traditionally blizzard-swept regions like the Dakotas than it is here in New Jersey. My dog has gone completely lethargic¹. The only joy in life comes across the laser-etched wires of the internet, and that will have to sustain us until Spring comes, or we are devoured by ice weasels.

  • It was around the first of December of last year that the implications of the European Union tax-harmonization changes going into effect on 1 January 2015 (aka VATMOSS) first broke into the consciousness of webcomickers (as well as others selling e-goods on the internet). Uncertainty about the ability to comply with the requirements² led most creators on both sides of the Atlantic to decide that they would have no choice but to suspend sales to EU residents.

    However, I’m seeing word from more than one creator (KB Spangler, who was among the first to raise the VATMOSS alarm, as well as Jon Rosenberg) that Gumroad — a very popular mechanism for selling things like e-goods — is going to be addressing the VATMOSS headaches:

    Just got an email from @gumroad addressing changes because of #VATMOSS. Still reading over the terms but looks solid. Thanks, guys!

    Looks like @gumroad is changing their policy and they’re going to handle all the VAT bullshit on their end. Good. End of story.

    Gumroad’s announcement is here, with the critical piece being:

    We are tackling VAT in the same way. Going forward, this is what creators on Gumroad need to do to properly handle VAT for their digital products:

    Go back to making awesome stuff.

    In other words, we’re on it. Gumroad will collect VAT as required and remit it to the EU. You won’t need to fill out any forms, register for anything, or send anything out. Your (EU-based) customers, will see (and pay) the added VAT on their purchases.

    . . .

    These changes were neither easy nor cheap, but it was crucial to us to make this as smooth and invisible as possible. Handling VAT will cost us approximately 1% of each transaction. We’ve decided it is important to absorb that cost so there will be no change to our 5% + 25¢ fee.

    [emphasis original]

    I don’t use Gumroad to distribute anything so it’s likely that Spangler, Rosenberg, et. al., are getting additional details, but from the outside this looks like Gumroad has just given their clients a hell of a good reason to stay loyal to them, and once word spreads will likely be picking up new business. And as long as that’s one tax-related headache out of the way, how about you check out Brad Guigar’s guide to US sales tax over at Webcomics Dot Com; Guigar has kindly unlocked the subscription requirement for this post, so you can read the whole thing.

  • Horrible weather and taxes! Can’t you come up with anything pleasant today, Gary? How about a new Perry Bible Fellowship strip, which has just been added to the main PBF site after sitting on Twitter for a couple of hours. Some things to note here:
    1. This is the sixth of the six new strips that Gurewitch announced a few weeks back
    2. Holy [fill in the blank] this thing is gorgeous; Gurewitch gets so much mileage out of his cartoony style (as in these recent examples) that I sometimes forget just how accomplished an artist he is
    3. It’s pretty much a perfect joke; there is nothing to add, nothing to trim away nothing that could make it better

    Go read it; we don’t know when we’ll get more.

  • As a followup to KC Green announcing that Pinocchio would get an irregular schedule to allow him to work on other things, something really quite nice. And disturbing. Nice and disturbing. Green was a contributor to The Sleep of Reason, and he’s shared his contribution to that anthology with us. I AM SICK is based on the church Green attended as a child and is a profoundly unsettling story (not unlike his earlier The Dog’s Sins), and reinforces my belief that self-contained longform stories are where Green really shines. Go read it, but maybe be careful being around anybody with flu-like symptoms afterwards.

Spam of the day:

[incoherent string of placeholder symbols ]

Thanks, and while I’m sure that your selection of mail-order brides is excellent, you seem to be mistaking me for somebody who buys into MRA theories of gender roles and that makes you terrible. Please go be a garbage person elsewhere.

________________
¹ Although, given that he’s a greyhound, that’s not unusual.

² In that a scheme designed to get large vendors like Amazon to pay up their fair share of VAT was going to whack mostly small vendors who couldn’t possibly meet the regulatory data-gathering and retention requirements, and there was no lower threshold of sales to trigger the compliance requirement.

Mostly Matt

It’s a good time to be Matt Bors. His plans for The Nib keep expanding, and he’s got a talk coming up at the Cartoon Arts Museum that those of you in the Bay Area may be interested in. Let’s get specific.

On the Nib front, I’ve been very impressed with the breadth of talent, frequency of updates, and reach that Bors has achieved in the not quite eighteen months since he took the reins in September of 2013. Best of all, he’s got a budget and he’s not afraid to use it; paying gigs for cartoonists are pretty sparse on the ground outside of The New Yorker, so having another place for both recurring and occasional contributors is heartening.

Speaking of which, Bors mentioned some shifts to the lineup the other day; nothing earth-shattering, we get R Stevens on Thursdays and Gemma Correll (whose work I didn’t know before she started placing cartoons at The Nib, and who is simply terrific) on Mondays now. Tom Tomorrow, Ruben Bolling, Jen Sorensen and Erika Moen shift around as well (to Tuesdays, Thursdays, Wednesdays, and Wednesdays, respectively). Kate Leth will now be chiming in monthly, and he’s ramped up the cartoon journalism, with a half-dozen longer pieces in the pipeline this month alone.

And speaking of “monthly” and “months”, the Nib-produced Calendar of Obscure Holidays may have sold exclusively via pre-order but Bors has you covered. Go here for the first two months of the year (January and National Fetish Day is by Erika Moen; February and National Shut-In Visitation Day is by Matt Lubchansky), with the promise of more as the year progresses.

Finally, Bors will be part of a panel discussion (with the aforementioned Bolling, Tomorrow, and Mark Fiore) at CAM one week from today, 19 February 2015, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. It’s in conjunction with CAM’s current showcase on political cartooning, Slinging Satire, and will cost you five measly bucks¹ (free for members), so get on that if you’re in San Francisco next Thursday.


Spam of the day:

Olha, eu não vou discutir com você.

I am sorry, I do not speak Portuguese, so perhaps your attempts at selling things I don’t want would be better made elsewhere.

_______________
¹ It’s a figure of speech. Please, no actual measles-infected fivers and vaccinate your damn kids you anti-science freaks.