Tag: Patreon

Continued After the Next Page #018: What is a Substack and Why Do I Care?

Continued After the Next Page #018: What is a Substack and Why Do I Care?

After decades of predictable delivery methods for comic book content, the past twenty years has been full of novel delivery mechanisms, and now we are being presented with an new option: Comics via Newsletter. The New York Times reported on the announcement that several high profile writers are joining Nick Spencer at Substack.com and creating comic content for their subscription based newsletters.

Writers Jonathan Hickman, James Tynion IV, Saladin Ahmed, Molly Ostertag, and Scott Snyder are the first group of creators that are announced to be creating on the Substack platform. Substack is a website that bills itself as “a place for independent writing.” If you want to try to determine what the platform is trying to accomplish, you can start with their About Page, and I wish you luck. George Gustines of the New York Times did a good job of covering the details of the announcement, and if you have access to the NYT, I recommend checking it out, as it is a big deal in comics news.

I would like to look at this concept from a consumer’s perspective. This development is indicative of the difficult economics behind comic book publishing. Print publishing in general seems to be in great turmoil in terms of making things profitable as the world moves further away from paper.  I get that writers and artists are struggling and do not begrudge anyone the opportunity to get paid for their art.

This newsletter platform concerns me as a consumer of comics. It raises questions in terms of delivery expectation and content. I wonder how often a subscriber will be paying for expected content on a subscription and be disappointed that someone fails to deliver. The difference in this type of platform versus Patreon.com is that while Patreon is advertised as a support mechanism for creators, Substack is promising a product in return for the subscription. Without corporations and publishing companies absorbing the liability for delays and errors in products, the creators on Substack will have no one to hide behind if the product does not make it to market as anticipated. This is a big risk for future revenue and reputation.

There has been little said to this point as to what the subscribers are actually entitled to and what the subscription tiers actually cost. A concern is that the typical subscription is around $5 per month, and that generally works out to the cost of a single issue of a comic book.  Will these Substack Comics be generating a full single issue per month? Other digital platforms such as Webtoon or Comixology deliver products that are either free or complete at time of consumption. Therefore. the consumer knows what they are getting for their “money”.

My last concern is that as a consumer, I now have to determine if reading and purchasing comic content from some of my favorite creators is worth supporting Substack. There are plenty of reservations about the way the platform does business and who it does it with. A simple google search should give you plenty of reading material. The comic book consumer’s budget is now divided between Direct Market Retail shops, Online Digital delivery of published comics, Kickstarter campaigns, and bookstores. Adding this new expense may require thoughtful deliberation on the part of the consumer.

Ultimately, this is a way for creators to take more control of the monetization and delivery of their art. I applaud that. There is a feeling that comic creators are underpaid and under supported. I want comics to thrive and survive. I wish the creators who are endeavoring to deliver comics in this innovative way all the luck for success. I am not sold yet on this, but for the creators and fans, I hope it works and we get the next great comic story delivered in our inboxes via Substack.

With Further Ado #137: Catching Up with Thom Zahler

With Further Ado #137: Catching Up with Thom Zahler

One of the many nice things about attending conventions was seeing familiar faces. For fans and industry professionals alike, it’s a great way to catch up with, and be inspired by, the many creative entrepreneurs of Geek Culture.

One guy that was always working hard, and doing it with his natural, movie-star smile, was Thom Zahler. Since I can’t walk up to his cool booth at San Diego Comic-Con this summer, I just had to catch up with him ..via this column!


Ed Catto: How have you been managing during the pandemic?

Thom Zahler: I’m not gonna lie. It’s been rough and interesting and everything in between.

When the lockdown first happened, I was kind of designed to be fine through the summer. I was working on season two of Cupid’s Arrows for WEBTOON and that wasn’t affected by anything. I converted the last convention-exclusive issues of Love and Capes: The Family Way into a shop-exclusive version that I was able to put out when Diamond shut down. And, when it comes to how I work at home, quarantine isn’t a lot different than normal times. I couldn’t go to the gym anymore, and everything had an extra layer of complexity, but it wasn’t a big change. I was fortunate to be close enough to my parents that I could take care of them, do their shopping, things like that. And I live in a small town where you could still go out and take walks and not run into anyone.

Losing conventions certainly hurt, as much from the emotional hit as anything else. Conventions kind of recharge me. I can see the people who read my comics and that helps fuel me to make more. The loss of the revenue stream wasn’t great. But it was manageable.

Then the summer rolled on and nothing changed, and it got a lot tighter. I’m glad I bore down and prepared for the worst, squirreling money away and preparing for the long game. It still wasn’t awesome, but it was better than the alternative. Continue reading “With Further Ado #137: Catching Up with Thom Zahler”

Superheroes Deal With the Pandemic in “Love and Capes: In the Time of Covid.”

Superheroes Deal With the Pandemic in “Love and Capes: In the Time of Covid.”

Press Release:

1/5/2021 – Timberlake, OH

The Harvey-nominated superhero romantic comedy Love and Capes is taking on an unlikely foe: the coronavirus. In the recently-released free online comic, the heroes and their families take a light-hearted look at lockdown, masks, social distancing and all the other hardships of the last year.

“I was living through the lockdown like everyone else and have been keeping it out of the comics I was writing hoping it’d be over before it was an issue,” says series creator Thom Zahler. “Obviously, that didn’t happen. And then I got to thinking about how my Love and Capes characters would deal with the world today… and before I knew it, I had twenty pages of ideas.”

Zahler used this latest chapter of Love and Capes to launch a Patreon campaign. It quickly found an audience, and a new page appears every Thursday. For the New Year, Zahler has decided to make the older pages available for free on his website. Each Monday, a new page will be released to the public.

“Writing and drawing this story has helped me deal with the way things are right now. I think, even separated, we have a lot of shared experiences and there’s a lot of humor to be found in them. I hope it becomes a little moment of respite for everyone who reads it.”

The Patreon continues to provide members-only content, too, including weekly sketches voted on by Patrons, “Lost Tales” of pitches than never became comics, and more.

This is not the first pandemic-related Love and Capes venture. In the early days of March when comic companies and distribution centers were shut down, Zahler created a direct-to-shops version of the six-issue series Love and Capes: The Family Way and got those to local stores, even including local store branding on each cover. The books were printed with the assistance of Jones Printing in Eastlake, Ohio.

 


Thom Zahler lives in Northeast Ohio and has been creating comics for over fifteen years. Love and Capes launched as a hybrid print and web comic in 2005. Since then, the series has been self-published by Zahler’s imprint, Maerkle Press, and by IDW who also publishes the collections. The latest, Love and Capes: The Family Way, came out in November of last year. He also created the Webtoon series Warning Label and Cupid’s Arrows, and writes for IDW’s My Little Pony series.

Link to webpage: https://thomzahler.squarespace.com/love-and-capes-in-the-time-of-covid

Link to Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/thomzahler

PANDEMIX Is the Comic Anthology You Need to Be Reading Today

PANDEMIX Is the Comic Anthology You Need to Be Reading Today

We are living and surviving today in a world with a virus that has changed so much of how we were used to living. It has affected everyone in America and most of the world whether you “believe” in it or not.

Talented artistic folks have invariably impacted significantly. While many artists were used to the working at home that has become the new norm for so many more, the world is different than it was pre-COVID19, and we knew that it would be only a matter of time before we saw creative expression of what the pandemic has wrought in comic form.

That time is now. We present to you PANDEMIX: Quarantine Comics in the Age of ‘Rona!! Available Today!!!

A group of nineteen talented artists and writers have come together to share their impressions of how they are seeing the world that we live in today. It is a wonderful collected anthology of comic goodness, but wait there’s more. This self published digital edition is available on Patreon , and all proceeds go to charity with donations to The Hero Initiative.

Continue reading “PANDEMIX Is the Comic Anthology You Need to Be Reading Today”

Creators are Caring for Comic Shops

With the mass chaos and uncertainty that the physical comic book industry is in as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis, comic book writers and artists are finding unique ways to try to help comic shops. As we have detailed earlier, comic professionals are also affected by this pandemic in real financial terms. As their income streams dry up and “pencils down” orders are given, the community searches for ways to survive.

We are confident that the medium of sequential art will not go away, but it may emerge from this crisis altered. Will it be for the better? It is impossible to tell. In the meantime, the community is trying to support each other.

Today, we want to highlight some of the innovative efforts to support both creative talent and comic shops.

Love and Capes Returns

We told you in an interview earlier that cartoonist Thom Zahler has been working on the new Love and Capes: The Family Way series, and selling small print run single-issues at conventions. IDW will be collecting and printing a Trade Paperback this summer, but with all conventions on hold, Thom came up with an inventive way to get the story and get new inventory into the hands of comic shops that are still open in whatever form.

He is offering a way for comic shops to order the individual issues directly from him, and is, even, offering a way for the issue covers to be customized. Comic Shops can get all the details and links to the order forms on Zahler’s website. Orders are being taken until Friday 4/17 at Noon!!

Fans can reach out to their Local Comic Shops and encourage them to order the new content.

#Creators4Comics

An event is going over in the Twitterverse. Over a hundred comic creatives are auctioning off artwork, books, and experiences through the #Creators4Comics. The auctions will end on Monday 4/20. The funds raised will be donated to The Book Industry Charitable Foundation, an organization that supports independent booksellers, including comic shops. Continue reading “Creators are Caring for Comic Shops”