Tag: Scott Snyder

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 #115: The Sprawling MetaVerse of a Virtual Comic Con & the Simple Joy of an Old Comic Story

With Further Ado #115: The Sprawling MetaVerse of a Virtual Comic Con & the Simple Joy of an Old Comic Story

The best part about conventions, for me, is that they that they transcend commerce and blow past marketing to blossom into big parties where you spend time with old friends and make new ones (who all share the same pop culture interests).

Days gone by…

New York Comic Con was held virtually this past weekend. I was surprised how nostalgic so much of fandom and the industry was for “the good old days”.  And I was surprised how much I missed it.  Make no mistake, I had so much fun there for so many years, but I didn’t expect to be sappy about it. I thought the ache of my feet and the crush of the crowds was still fresh in my mind, but as time floats by we tend to forget all the crummy aspects of things and just remember all the cool parts.

Hats off to Reed Expo’s Mike Armstrong, Lance Fensterman, Larry Settembrini, Mark Fitch and their merry band who pulled this all together. This 2020 NYCC virtual convention, also branded as Find the Metaverse,  had some very interesting parts.  The exhibition floor was, by and large, a pretty straightforward conversion to an online version. Certain companies, like BlueFin, created incredible virtual booths where attendees could roam freely…and discover treasures. Continue reading “With Further Ado #115: The Sprawling MetaVerse of a Virtual Comic Con & the Simple Joy of an Old Comic Story”

Continued After the Next Page #010: Characters Will Change, Even in the Future. Get Used to It.

Continued After the Next Page #010: Characters Will Change, Even in the Future. Get Used to It.

Despite the traditional theme of this column, we are going to dive into some current events in comics fandom with this installment. There has been quite a bit of moaning and groaning along with some absolute vitriol about some of the creative decisions by prominent publishers regarding character revisions, lately.

Art by Ryan Sook

When I say lately, I am using a wide measuring stick. This has been going on for a while. The volume of the critical voices is amplified in this age of instant access to everyone’s thoughts, AKA Twitter. The pure virulent hate that has been spewed at publishers and any creator even tangentially involved with promoting inclusive and diverse characters has morphed into the hate group #ComicsGate. The most depressing thing about these events is that is ruins my inherit belief that comic readers are proponents of hope and change.  I am probably wrong about that, and that is disappointing.

Let’s take a second to look at some facts. In the past week, DC Comics revealed that two of its long slumbering properties will be revived. The Legion of Super-Heroes will return, starting in September, under the stewardship of Brian Michael Bendis and Ryan Sook. Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #010: Characters Will Change, Even in the Future. Get Used to It.”

With Further Ado #003: Challenging Reboots

With Further Ado #003: Challenging Reboots

Back in 1985 fellow Pop Culture Squad-er, Mike Gold, was one of the guys starting and running First Comics. In one of his editorial columns, he talked about reboots. He mused about how some characters would only be written or illustrated by their creators, while others, like Batman, actually blossomed once more talented folks took over. His insights still seem fresh and this column is worth a read.

You see this push-pull all the time.  I’m not sure how fantastic the original Domino Lady stories were, but I think there’s a lot of fine writers at Airship27 who are really having fun writing the character. Tarpe Mills’ Miss Fury was a perfectly lovely newspaper strip. But after talking to Billy Tucci at San Diego Comic-Con, I can’t wait for his new comic adventures of Miss Fury in the upcoming Dynamite series.

And it seems that there’s a whole section of modern day Sherlock Holmes who carry on the Consutling Detective’s tradition.

Sometimes we do get stuck on one creator’s vision of a character. I’ve been having trouble getting into the comics of my old favorite, Daredevil, after Mark Waid’s spectacular run.  And I have always loved Robert B. Parker’s Spenser books. However, I’ve been procrastinating on picking up recent entries by Ace Atkins, who took over after Parker’s death.  My fellow reader-fans, and a couple of authors, tell me ‘to get over’ myself because the new ones are great. I will, I will …I promise.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #003: Challenging Reboots”