Cartoonist Dave Sim has ended his bimonthly Glamourpuss comic book series with issue 26, citing declining sales numbers and diminishing financial returns. He explains his reasoning in the series’ final editorial, reprinted at the Moment of Cerebus blog:
“I developed glamourpuss and then hoped for the best. As soon as I saw the sales on the first issue – 16,000 – I knew that the title and my career were doomed.
Because of the sheer volume of material published in the direct market, retailers need to order the highest numbers on the first issue and then start cutting drastically – on average: 50% per issue thereafter. 16,000 down to 8,000 down to 4,000 down to 2,000 and… oblivion: because Diamond, quite reasonably, needs you to sell in order to offer your work in Previews.
As it turned out, the sales dropped, while predictably radical, unpredictably began to level off. I was still flying into the ground but not STRAIGHT into the ground, the point where I would crash moving an issue or two “downrange” each time. I made less money per issue as sales dropped, but, along with MOST of the money from the Cerebus trade paperbacks and ALL of the money from Judenhass, there was enough coming in to help me keep paying Gerhard, week after week, month after month, year after year.
I kept going with glamourpuss even after he was paid off in 2011 because that was the hidden detriment of doing a new title: you can’t quit: because the retailers, naturally enough, are just going to look at your track record. If you scuttle your own title, they aren’t likely to support the next one.”
The comic book has become the vehicle for Sim to serialize his graphic novel, The Strange Death of Alex Raymond, a history of photorealistic cartooning based on the career of the titular Rip Kirby illustrator. Sim adds that the recent High Society digital Kickstarter campaign has given him enough money to pay his bills either until November 2012 or March 2012, after which point he plans to begin disposing of his assets and selling original art to survive:
“Then come November or March, I’ll be dividing my time between Doomsday Scenarios and attempting to finish The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond.”
Congratulations to Dave on reaching 26 issues in today’s tough economic and “death of print” climate. And best wishes for the success of The Strange Death of Alex Raymond!
Digital High Society Kickstarter Project Faces Set-Back
by BK Munn
Sandeep Atwal, friend and volunteer assistant to cartoonist Dave Sim, lost all his apartment contents in a fire Thursday that destroyed a small block of buildings in Waterloo, Ontario. Among the destroyed contents were the negatives for the proposed digital version of Sim’s High Society graphic novel, recently funded through a Kickstarter campaign. No one was hurt in the fire. Dave Sim reported the news to backers of the campaign.
Atwal has known Sim, who lives in adjoining Kitchener, since 1991 and acts in large part as Sim’s link to the online world, working (using his personal computer hardware and scanners, now lost) as a researcher and handling everything from scanning artwork, proofreading, emailing people on behalf of Sim, and administering websites, all under the honorific of Director of Communications for Aardvark-Vanaheim. Atwal, who until recently worked for Blackberry-maker RIM, exited his apartment with only his wallet and the clothes he was wearing and is currently staying with friends.
On a personal note, I witnessed the aftermath to the fire myself. My wife and I own a business two blocks away and had to close early because of the smoke. When we visited the site (which is basically across the street from the longstanding comic shop Carry On Comics) later on Thursday it was a horrific scene, with the second floor of the building where the apartments were totally gone and the restaurant on the first floor gutted. We were very happy to learn everyone got out safely and hope that they recover financially.
Best wishes to Atwal –here’s hoping he lands on his feet. It sounds like maybe he could use a hand in terms of getting new equipment since he had no insurance and outside of the money earmarked for the Cerebus digital projects, neither Atwal nor Dave Sim are especially rich. I will update Sequential readers with contact information or methods for donating to help out Mr. Atwal, but in the meantime might I suggest watching the Cerebus Kickstarter page or contacting Dave Sim.
30.Apr.2012 Print on Demand: Revolver by Salgood Sam
My good pal, cartoonist and Sequential publisher Salgood Sam, has a couple good deals on offer with his solo anthology comic, Revolver. Both Revolver 1 and the recent Revolver 2 are available as print-on-demand comics through Magcloud at a special Spring Sale price of $4.88, or 25% off the regular price (purchase includes free digital issue/digital edition alone=$0.99).
Revolver 2 features two short stories & assorted bits! ‘Widows’, ‘Honolulu Lorie’s Lava Love Lounge and Poodle Emporium’, and more. Also some more old Monthly Montreal Comix Jam pages. Colaberations with Jai Granofsky, Billy Mavreas, Jesse Bochner, Marr, Peter Ferguson, and Sherwin Sullivan Tjia.
read about all the offers here.
“First Foray” Includes 19th-Century Political History, Sex-Trade Memoir
by BK Munn
I know that these days announcements by comics publishers about “digital strategy” and related publishing deals are fairly commonplace, but the news of venerable Canadian graphic novel house Drawn and Quarterly striking an e-book deal for the Kobo Vox tablet is particularly noteworthy.
Given D+Q’s approach to book design and dedication to print, not to mention their roster of seemingly luddite or historically-focused, backwards-looking cartoonists (well, they publish Seth, anyway), the idea that they would plunge headlong into digital (or tentatively dip their collective toe in, as the case may be) seemed far-fetched enough that Sequential posted a fake story on the subject last April 1st.
However, today the company really (no joke) declared its enthusiasm for digital, claiming that Chester Brown has advocated for ebook publication and that essentially the stars aligned in favour of the current deal.
The initial digital offering from D+Q will be Brown’s bestselling Louis Riel and his controversial 2011 hit, Paying For It: A Comic Strip Biography About Being a John.
As publisher/publicist Peggy Burns notes, “This past Fall, we had a fortuitous series of events that brought the project to the foreground. Chester voiced his desire for ebooks, CBC Canada Reads shortlisted LOUIS RIEL in its top-ten for its annual contest, and most importantly, the fellow Canadian company Kobo inquired if we would consider ebooks. Kobo’s pitch was very friendly and nonexclusive and they promote CBC Canada Reads.”
Burns adds that Brown will “split” the profits, that the process was very organic, and that the production quality of the ebooks will be a priority.
18.Jun.2011 Hey Kids, Comix!
Another Saturday morning, and another batch of great free comics from the interwebs.
They have a web comics category and a few great strips are up, along with my own Dream Life. Good luck to everyone, check this post out for the work of the nominees featured in a past “Hey Kids, Comix!” post.
Ok, and now on with today’s funnies and not so funnies…
24.Jul.2010 We’re in it for the long haul
the fabler prepares to roll out their new POD features for San Diego, and takes a moment to clarify they plans.
An in-depth interview with Bruno Steppuhn about the fabler, their policies on creators rights, and business plans.
By Salgood Sam
I feel obliged to warn that in places this is very comics business heavy, but worth while i think. Particularly if your interested in what they are offering. In thier sites’ words,
“The Fabler is a new breed of web comics portal. We love comics as much as you do and we want to see them flourish for many years to come. We are putting the best of online social networking tools in one place so comic lovers everywhere can find the best of visual storytelling from talented writers, artists, and creators from around the globe. We are not just another social network for comics or a web comic portal. Understanding the challenges and barriers that creators face in bringing their art to you, we offer cost effective tools and resources to help creators, and retailers bring their products to you the fans. Join the worlds fastest growing indie and small press ecosystem!”
Over the last year or so we’ve posted several links to some of the great interviews published by the Fabler Blog, and for our last issue of Sequential Pulp [TCAF 2010] they shared some of their content with us for the print edition. So it’s safe to assume I have a pretty friendly relationship with the site. I say this to be transparent about my own bias on the following interview, originally a string of messages in email and on social networks. It’s meant as mostly informational, with a heavy slant on creators rights and contracts.
06.Apr.2010 The C-List: Post-Easter Links
Let’s check out these links!
Item: Leif Tande’s L’Origine de la Vie (from La Pasteque) launches at the Quebec City Comics Festival April 8th.
Item: Colin Upton was among the old-school minicomics gang interviewed on Inkstuds about that new 80s anthology from Fantagraphics.
Item: Tom Spurgeon’s exhaustive report from the San Francisco WonderCon mentioned that James Turner’s Warlord of Io would get a book collection from Slave Labor. There is a teaser for the book on Turner’s site, mentioning July.
Item: Speaking of Wondercon, Darwyn Cooke was one of the featured guests at the con, hyping Jonah Hex and the new Parker book (Spurgeon reviews the preview here), and also attended the of DC’s latest Jonah Hex project at San Fran’s Isotope comic shop, where the photo was snapped.
Item: I’d heard a short version of this tale, courtesy of Jeet Heer, but you should go read it yourself, especially if you are a fan of Chris Ware or of classic newspaper comic strips.
Item: Vancouver journalist Jeffrey Simpson follows-up his previous column about digital comics readers with an argument for digitizing the delivery of comics (by which I think he must mean superhero comics –because publishers like Viz, Fantagraphics, D+Q, First Second, Oni, etc do at least half their trade through bookstores on a returnable basis). Worth checking out the article, and while I think that reading digital comics will be the norm soon enough, I find it equally likely that Warner or Disney will kill the Direct Market simply by refusing to publish floppies and overexpose their billion dollar characters by having some hack writer or artist churn out half-a-dozen titles per week about them.
Item: A propos of nothing, it’s so much fun watching Gary Panter draw a chalk mural in California (courtesy Dirk Deppey/Sammy Harkham).
22.Feb.2010 Tablets : IPad comic readers.
Caught mention of one of the platforms that will be among the first to be available to Iphone and Ipad users, called panelfly. They got perked by the lovely Cali Lewis [see the embedded clip, 2:50 to 3:40], and seem to be playing the hot girl factor in general. Clever. The My fly section is not up yet but not bad so far. I hear we can expect some big news From LongBox this month, wich i’m eager to check out. Nothing specific from them but it seems like it’s possbile they will have an Apple app too.
28.Jan.2010 A round up of other Tablets/Slates
Updated 1/28/2010 2:05pm To round out our Tablet coverage, thought i’d post a list of some of the other players that the IPad will be running up against this year. All will likely make good digital comics platforms, so worth keeping an eye on.
First up, it looks like an Ipad, and has the name a lot of people we’re expecting, it’s the HP Slate. First seen at CES 2010, HP posted this teaser just the other day no doubt to steal a little thunder from Jobs. Not sure about this factoid but given that it’s a windows 7 device it might be able to support a pressure sensitive styluses [digitizer] as well as multi touch like some other penabled tablet pc’s. So that may be of interest to a lot of creators like myself too, as a comics making platform, as well as reading.
We’ll see about that, sadly the current line of HP’s Touchsmart machines have lost some of their appeal with the latest round of models due to a switch from Wacom tech to N-Trig, the pressure sensitivity of which does not work with most major programs artists use.
Manga studio 4 might work from what i’ve read, and some consumer level & platform specific programs, but nothing by Adobe seems to. A lack of drivers appears to the problem. So far Modbooks, HP’s older tx2500z‘s, an obscure list of other older tablet PC’s and the mighty Cintiq have been the only devices to offer that kink using Wacom tech. The N-Trig problem is a know issue so it’s a strange move for HP to switch to it. Perhaps more of a Wacom decision? In anycase we don’t have a lot of details about the Slate yet so it’s all speculation.
Previously called the Crunch pad, this device was conceived by Michael Arrington, but has been poched by a Singapore based design studio Fusion Garage he brought on board to build it, and renamed JooJoo. This device started a lot of the Tablet buzz for hard core geeks, and does look promising but has some negative karma to deal with and a bit of a yellow tint to the screen.
One of the first second gen E-Readers that was anounced over a year ago was the Plastic Logic’s Que E-book Reader. It’s a simple low power B&W reader with lots of functionality.
Lenovo’s “Ideapad” is a hybrit Tablet/Net book with some sexy tricks, and will probably give the IPad and HP Slate a serious run at about $500 when it comes out.
And to cover the basses, they also have another hybrid model, The U1, in the works for later in the year with a detachable tablet screen…
There’s the slightly redundant looking but maybe cool double screen Ereader/Netbook called the enTourage eDGe running android. At $490 it’s a contender.
There are more, models from Dell and others are also in the works or being sneak peeked, but so far these are the ones with delivery dates. But this isn’t really a tech blog after all so we’ll leave it at that for the gear.
Suffice to say, with all this coming out it does seem that self publishing, digital comics, and the print world will have a lot of new ways to distribute thier wares.
In a day or so i’ll post a round up of some of the secure and open digital comics distribution software platforms that have been brewing too. A few names to google are Longbox, ComicBookLover, Marvel Digital Comics, Graphic.ly, and the low rent favorite CDisplay.
04.May.2009 James Turner’s Warlord of IO Rejected by Diamond
The Toronto cartoonist James Turner has had his latest project rejected by Diamond Distributors. The series, Warlord of Io, is Turner’s follow-up to the Wright Award nominated Nil graphic novel and the Rex Libris comic book series.
The cancelled series, a comedic space opera set on Jupiter, was to be published by Slave Labor in the U.S. but has become the latest casualty of Diamond Distributors new minimum standards policy that denies distribution to comics deemed unlikely to sell a minimum number of copies. The policy is controversial since it reduces the chances of quality art reaching an audience. According to a report at Comic Book Resources, the book will be distributed online for now, with a possible trade collection in the future. Turner, who will be appearing at TCAF this week, has posted several updates along with a video preview at his website.
Tom Spurgeon writes, “I know that Warlord of IO is only one comic book, but a long time ago that what’s the Direct Market was set up to do: give people a chance to buy the one comic book they wanted to buy. That obviously couldn’t hold, but where the line gets drawn seems to me a much more vital issue than should be decided by a single company around which whirls occasional rumors of external financial distress. If the Direct Market will inevitably go away with the rise of an on-line replacement, why not have the best possible Direct Market until that happens?”
In a follow-up sequel to the acclaimed graphic novel Therefore Repent! writer Jim Munroe once again takes us into his world of post-Rapture America, where the immoral majority remains, and nothing quite makes sense.
Join Ella, and her not-quite-right baby as they try to make a life in a very different Detroit, one where magic works and no one seems safe from unexplainable mutations, not even it seems the truly innocent.
If Ella didn’t have her baby, she’d go crazy from the loneliness. But she might still go crazy from the guilt, because the baby isn’t quite right. The world was simpler before the righteous floated away into the sky, and magic started working.
A stand-alone six-issue story continuing on from acclaimed graphic novel Therefore Repent! Sword of My Mouth moves the focus from Chicago, under siege by angels with machine guns, to the urban prairie of Detroit, where a different kind of struggle is faced.
Folks in the D have banded together to turn land with burned out crackhouses into farming tracts, and seem to be on a road to self-sufficiency… until Famine rides into town. This six-issue story arc will be written by creator Jim Munroe (“a pop culture provocateur” – Austin Chronicle) and drawn by Shannon Gerard.
B&W – 32 pages – $3.99
See PREVIEWS page 266.
Diamond Previews code: MAR09 4308
Pick up the first of this six-issue series and delve into this very strange-yet-fascinating take on the “End Times.”
And if you haven’t seen it, be sure to ask you retailer for a copy of the original graphic novel Therefore Repent! available now!
FREE DIGITAL COPY: If you want to preview the grafic novel Therefore Repent! it’s now also available for download via the NMK site here.
13.Oct.2007 Contraband comic | Mobile speculative fiction
Part of SLG new digital comics line [Eyemelt.com] is Contraband, a sophomore title from writer TJ Behe [can] and cartoonist Phil Elliott [uk].
Some months ago, cartoonist Phil Elliott was approached on the street by a teenage girl asking for money. It’s a sad but common enough occurrence in cities, but when Elliott refused, the situation became something much different from anything he’d experienced. “A younger kid — he must have only been about ten — started swearing at me, ‘Give us some ******* money!’” he recalled. “I was then aware that there was another girl filming all this on her mobile phone. What was going on here? Were they trying to provoke me? What happened to the video?”
The incident took on a greater significance for Elliott when writer Thomas Behe contacted him to see if he were interested in drawing a comic he’d written, which explores a voyeuristic underground where profit-hungry youths prowl the streets secretly filming violence and catastrophes with mobile devices. That comic became Contraband, the new digital comic from SLG Publishing, distributed on their online comics site Eyemelt.com.
The four-issue series will begin its serialization in October 2007, and a print collection of Contraband will be published in February 2008. A preview is available here at SLG’s website, www.slgcomic.com.
Behe was inspired to write the story after he noticed people worrying about cell phones. “The new concerns were more social-related,” he said. “Kids receiving intimidating texts from class bullies. A mate of mine was even propositioned to subscribe to some sort of spy-cam exhibitionist mobi-blog. I had no idea why these folks were secretly filming everyone, but there was tons of stuff on there.”
In the near-future society of Contraband, bands of content-hungry amateurs armed with camera phones record violent scenes, some of which they instigate, to satisfy society’s demand for ever more shocking on-the-go entertainment. Toby, a self-styled “citizen journalist,” is documenting this underground when he is discovered by agents for a cell-phone channel called Contraband. Forced to work for them, Toby is assigned the task of finding a female activist set on sabotaging Contraband and must navigate a difficult path where he must choose between his own safety and the greater good.
Woven throughout Contraband are key elements of modern wireless communication, including text messaging, online blogging, avatars and alerts, gaming and live video broadcast, reflecting Behe’s vision of a future society in which people can view customized video content on their mobile phones.This vision was part of what drew Elliott, a respected cartoonist known for his work on Illegal Alien and the SLG graphic novel Tupelo. “Contraband interweaves the controversial aspects of the mobile phone industry with a storyline involving a disparate bunch of characters who find themselves drawn together by the device in their pocket,” said Elliott. “Each character has a story to tell and each one of them needs to find a way to come to terms with their predicament.”
Contraband is available now at www.eyemelt.com, downloadable in PDF format for only $0.89. New issues will be added monthly. The SLG Publishing print graphic novel will be available for pre-order at comic book stores in December 2007. For more information about comic book publisher SLG Publishing, visit their website at www.slgcomic.com.
28.Sep.2007 Transmission X TV goes live.
In the Mold of ACT-I-VATE & THE CHEMISTRY SET, Transmission X is a Toronto based group of 8 established creators – ANDY BELANGER, MICHAEL CHO, ARTHUR DELA CRUZ, SCOTT HEPBURN, KARL KERSCHL, BRIAN MCLACHLAN, RAMON PEREZ, & CAMERON STEWART – who work professionally, share a studio, and are seeking freedom of creative expression through a free serialized web comic setting. They’ve been making the rounds online, and the first strips have been going up for about a month.
All of them are well above par and worth your time. But a few stand out to this reader…so….
Getting my attention early on is Cameron Stewart’s SIN TITULO is an interesting noir thriller than catches my eye as a notable point of evolution in style for the creator. Cameron has always been a virtuoso in his work, displaying almost machine like consistency and skill in his past work. With the weekly SIN TITULO he’s engaging in a paring back and simplification that appeals to my personal sensibilities, and complements his work a great deal. It’s too soon to make a true comparison but so far the story is reminding me of one of my all time favourite books, City of Glass by Paul Auster & David Mazzucchelli. Very promising beginnings. This is a first for Cameron as a writer as I understand it, and so far he’s displaying a good instinct for intrigue and suspense, and some nice touches with atmospheric details like the radio story about disappearing bees during a cab ride and other little notes like that. Great stuff.
Brilliantly drawn and bound to be engaging for many, is Karl Kerschl’s The Abominable Charles Christopher. Kerschl has been working professionally for some time, and in the Transmission X web cast he explains that his motivation with this strip is to get away from the intense planning that typically goes into his long form comic book work and just have fun with a stream of consciousness narrative. The weekly strip is well under way and so far entirely enchanting. Backing up and often stealing the show, the mute wall eyed soother sucking Abominable headliner is supported by a cast of snappy talking animals. It’s all superbly drawn and the art looks like it will be well worth seeing in print one day, elegant and subtly rendered, it’s really something. 14 pages in a sub plot is now beginning to immerge about some kind of immanent peril to the forest, I’ll be looking forward to seeing were this one is going.
Last for this post, Papercut is the monthly short story offering from Michael Cho. So far two have been posted, Smoke and Stars. Michael’s background is in illustration work more than anything, and in a way it shows. His choice of image, subtle moods he achieves, they feel indicative of the challenges you often face in that medium. As a mode of expression it forces you to think in subtler terms than comics often do. His short stories are very introspective, and sombre so far. Their nostalgic air reminds me of Seth’s work, but frankly I think more tightly rendered and lacking the obsession with a specific bygone era. Thanks to that in part, Michael’s stories manage to be more contemporary feeing and broader scoped. Lovely work and when he completes a book of these shorts, I’m betting a best seller too.
There’s a lot more to talk about, hopefully I’ll be able to do so in the next few days, but even if I don’t, do not wait on my word, go yourself and see the goodness, subscribe to the feeds, tune in to Transmission X.
Unabashedly biased fan, Salgood Sam.
ED:max:Ok, doing a little self promo, pardon my tangled web…
Vancouver Sept. 28th @ 7-10pm
Therefore Repent! will have it’s formal BC Launch!
@ Lucky’s Comics (3972 Main St., Vancouver).
He’s presenting our post-Rapture graphic novel THEREFORE REPENT! along side new issues of Fred Grisholm’s HATESONG, Brian Fukushima’s JOBGOBLIN. And Jason Turner & Manien Bothma’s True Loves 2!
Then it’s back to old Hog town for Word on the street Sunday Sept 30th to present Therefore Repent! He’ll be signing books at his table in Fringe Beat as well as giving a presentation called Be Your Own Boss In The World Of Publishing.
And you can also catch him participating in a panel with Willow Dawson and Ray Fawkes called “I Have A Great Idea For A Story, But I Need An Artist!”
So Jim’s cracked up a fun idea for a contest!….the following is from his site….
And not only is it free to read, it’s also free to use: we’re licencing the jpg versions of these as remixable under this Creative Commons licence.
So, if you’ve ever wondered what’d it’d be like to be the writer of a comic book and work with as talented an artist as Salgood Sam, now you can.
Colour the pictures.
Use the images as graphics for your non-commercial projects. Send the results to us and we’ll put ‘em up on the site: even better, we’ll send the three most inspiring remixes a free book.
I’d love to see what you can come up with…
23.Mar.2007 Complete Northwest Passage
The Comic Book Bin has the Oni press release about Scott Chantler‘s collected Northwest Passage graphic novel. The book is being offered as a hardcover with annotations and collects all three volumes of the historical adventure in a larger size than originally issued. It is also being offered as a free digital download through Oni’s website. Northwest Passage is the tale of a group of fur-trading heroes in the 1700s and is Chantler’s most ambitious project to date.
The Annotated Northwest Passage
by Scott Chantler
Diamond Order Code: FEB07 3673
Price: $19.95 US