Tagged: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

Molly Jackson: Arts of War

Wow, the past 12 days have been a whirlwind of change, and I am not talking about comics. It’s incredibly hard to write about anything but the ever-changing world that we live in. It affects the very fabric of reality, and it ripples through space and time. But as in any and every art form, the impact of the current political and social climate is already being seen.

Over the past few months we have seen the influx of protest pieces on social media, from art to music to videos to memes and more. Yes, I know that memes as art is a stretch but they are created as form of expression, which is what art really represents. As artists continue to create political pieces, the fans who rally around them need to how to respond.

One such piece is this essay by Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. SMBC isn’t normally a political comic but creator Zach Weinersmith hit his limit and felt the need to write down his thoughts. He spoke about his family’s immigrant past, and expressed his disdain for the current hate against other countries. He also writes that he is ready to use his voice, writing letters to politicians.

Angela Webber of the geek music duo The Doubleclicks wrote an article for The Mary Sue about her difficulty with creating in this turmoil. She poses the question about why should she create art when all of this is happening? Ultimately, she vows to continue on with creating art, and not just because she can. She reminds us that through art, hope can spring up. That when art is created, it can be a powerful force to sway hearts and minds.

Another is the art piece above that has gone viral. It’s by artist Yusef Abonamah, and it illustrates two people who we consider American heroes, but are the very types of people that our current government has been vilifying these past two weeks. It is a powerful message to all comic fans – especially if you think about all the times they tried to kick Superman off the planet and how that turned out.

The truth is, our superheroes embody all the traits that we all hope to emulate. We want to be able to make the sacrifices that Wonder Woman and Superman make to protect others and do the right thing. We may be mere mortals, but ascribing to more makes us better.

As we look at the art born of this current unrest, I hope that you find something that speaks to you. Something that grabs you and compels you to think, feel, act in the best interest of yourself, the country, and the world. And if you feel so inspired, perhaps you will create some art yourself.


On The Economics Of Digital Comics

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Have you been noticing that the digital comics scene is a little… active… these days? You’ve got the market getting estimated at $90M for 2013. There are a lot of different reports about how many copies the same day digital editions sell. I’ve heard anywhere from 10% to 25% of the print sales. It seems to vary from title to title and by publisher.

Amazon bought Comixology and it looks like that sale has been completed. Marvel’s announced they’re going to be selling current issues on their Marvel Comics Unlimited app, but nobody is quite sure what that means for Comixology and Amazon. Diamond is bringing back their digital initiative with new partner, Trajectory, after shutting down the old version earlier in the year. It looks like they’re going to be having DC on board with new version.

The money in digital comics in increasing. The distribution contracts are moving around like pieces on a chess board. We’re still largely stuck with DRM – partially at the insistence of publishers and the corporations they license properties from. The formats are anything but standard and the lessons of digital music seem lost on publishing, particularly comics publishing.

Over on the webcomics side of the world, crowdfunding is the new new thing. Oh, Kickstarter’s been a tool of the trade for a while, and an effective tool for pre-orders and financing color print runs. The new kid on the block is Patreon. Where Kickstarter and its class of crowdfunding sites tend to focus on the creation of an object, like a graphic novel or reprint collection, Patreon is more like a monthly subscription. SMBC (the webcomic sometimes known as Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal) is over $8500/month in Patreon pledges. That projects as over $100K/year in crowdfunding income with no books to ship. OK, Zach Weinersmith (the man behind SMBC) might be a bit ahead of curve on this, but there seems to be an increasing amount of money flowing in this direction and the revenue mix is changing for a lot of people.

The digital comics world continues to evolve and we really have two schools right now: an eBook school that’s from the comic book/graphic novel tradition and a webcomic school that’s from the newspaper strip tradition. There’s a little crossover between the two and the world of print. A whole lot of cartoonists see a print book as one of the endgames for making money no matter whether the initial publishing is done on paper or with pixels.

If you’re interested the world of digital comics and how the money flows through it, I’m Kickstarting a book on the subject… through this afternoon. Time’s almost up on that. Feel free to pop on over to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1524990961/the-economics-of-digital-comics and have a look.