cartoonist's prayer

Dear Lord

Deliver me from endless debates concerning the nomenclature of calling the comics art a "business" or the comics business an "art". Forgive them, Lord, for they know not that they are just getting peanut butter on their chocolate, and chocolate in their peanut butter. It's two CLICK! two CLICK! two mints in one!

COMING SOON! The secret to non-cakey cornbread! The boss is in Alabama right now, but next week I should have details on that heavenly manna.

Here's an ancient comic I did. "TIMELY MANOR"! Get it? Pretty cool concept, huh, all these kooky karakters living in a boarding house. Oh man, the kooky adventures they were going to have, had Yahweh not smote the tabloid publisher down in his infinite merciful wisdom! Verily I say unto thee, click to embiggen.

13 comments:

eeTeeD said...

this is really nice. why didn't you continue with it elsewhere?

Colin Tedford said...

Haw!

I'm diggin' that flat coloring.

I still need to get you your anthology - could you either email me your address (or we could meet up sometime around N-hampton)?

Jed said...

Nomenclature shmomenclature. You can't just dismiss this topic by shooing me off to Dave Sim.

So this guy is walking down the street eating out of a big jar of peanut butter with a spoon, this ludicrous thing that NOBODY DOES, and everyone around him is acting as if this is completely normal. Then OOPS, someone eating a naked, unwrapped chocolate bar, trips, and their chocolate flies into the jar of peanut butter. Perhaps these two tastes DO taste great together, but that commercial was completely mental.

Much like "The Creators Bill of Rights". Yes comics, all art, is inextricably tied into commerce as long as you must depend on a vehicle to deliver the art to its audience. Seperating the two makes no sense. But it's not just what its called it's what it is, and what it is, is still a market dominated by collector's shops. Comics might as well be baseball cards or stamps, and a few oddball books like yours are let in begrudgingly and under protest.


But man, this Creator's Bill of Rights is just pissing in the Katrina of Marvel and DC comics, and is irrelevant to most people who make comics outside of franchise properties. Small press comics don't do business that conflicts with these "rights", because they, by definition, don't do much business.the Creator's Bill of Rights is still based on a mindset that is more about the way comics were percieved in the 80s than they are now. Comics that sold under, what 10,000? 15,000? didn't even register on the radar back then.

I'm not saying comics don't involve industy or business, or arguing that we shouldn't talk about comics the industy or the business, I'm just saying that for the rest of us that industry is SO beside the point. So please don't wave me away, and miss the real argument here.

Marky Mark said...

OK OK. Blabber away. I'm jaded, man. Shell-shocked! I still have a ringing in my ears from Dave Sim and Scott McCloud arguing the use of the word "business" vs the use of the word "art" in that fool summit. Or was it "commerce" vs - no wait - I think it was PRODUCT! YES! I'm sure it was! I think...

Anyway, it's all crap. "mission statements" and all that crap. Just draw some damn comics and find an organized entity to get them out there. Or organize your own entity if there ain't one. Or go crying to Fantagraphics if you are like me and too business-tarded to publish yourself.

I think everybody pretty much realizes that. If they're not doing it, there's probably a good reason. Like me, I hear ya, eeteed, but you are not hearing me. YES - get out there and shill. That is exactly what I had planned. Then things - mysterious personal things I won't launder here - got in the way.

ANYWAY - to go way WAY back to the genesis of this whole thing: When I said "Not that Runaway is a hit" I was really just being modest. I was not complaining. That is, to be perfectly clear - I was not complaining that Runaway is a bomb - I was complaining about having to work on it and discipline myself and act like a responsible committed artist, instead of goofing off and drawing cartoons of bonzogal drunk.

I know all those strategies for growing the business. There's a reason I'm not running all over the country and doing appearances. It's because I am a convicted sexual deviant and I cannot go outside the radius of this thing locked on my ankle. It's not good for business, but thanks to the Republikklansman Fascist Neo-Khristian Right Regime, I am stuck here.

Marky Mark said...

Fuck! I left out a "k" in "Republikkklansman"!

Marky Mark said...

OH! Sorry, eeteed, I did not mean to ignore your question. I gotta warn you though, this is going to sound like a flip remark - but it is the gospel truth.

The reason I did not continue with Timely Manor elsewhere is because I did other things instead.

That's really all there is to it.

eeTeeD said...

it's all apples to oranges, and i'm done with it.
back to "timely manor", both story and art have a kind of robby london feel to them. was it intentional?

eeTeeD said...

it's all apples to oranges, and i'm done with it.
back to "timely manor", both story and art have a kind of robby london feel to them. was it intentional?

BonzoGal said...

"Business-tarded" is a fantastic word and I'm going to steal it for use in the corporate lunchroom.

Jed said...

Apples and oranges? I thought it was peanutbutter and chocolate? I've lost track of what we're talking about here. Last I heard, eeteed, you were lamenting the fact that you were finding it impossible to catapult yourself, chocolate-like, into the peanutbutter of comic book commerce. And now you've washed your hands of it?

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Frankly I'm exhausted. I'm not going to be cast in the role of blow hard when the shit was stirred before I even got here. The fact is, Mr Sim and Mr McCloud's arguments about comics and commerce have little to do with the point I was trying to make, which has effectively been rendered pointless by bringing them into the picture.

What irked me in the first place, was the fantasy of being "in" or "out" of the business of making comics, or that the business of small press comics is much of a business at all. That's it. I'm finished. I'll go be a crank somewhere else.

Jed said...

Apples and oranges? I thought it was peanutbutter and chocolate? I've lost track of what we're talking about here. Last I heard, eeteed, you were lamenting the fact that you were finding it impossible to catapult yourself, chocolate-like, into the peanutbutter of comic book commerce. And now you've washed your hands of it?

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Frankly I'm exhausted. I'm not going to be cast in the role of blow hard when the shit was stirred before I even got here. The fact is, Mr Sim and Mr McCloud's arguments about comics and commerce have little to do with the point I was trying to make, which has effectively been rendered pointless by bringing them into the picture.

What irked me in the first place, was the fantasy of being "in" or "out" of the business of making comics, or that the business of small press comics is much of a business at all. That's it. I'm finished. I'll go be a crank somewhere else.

Marky Mark said...

HEY! You get back here, young man! You wanta be a quitter? Is that what you want? You wanta grow up and have everybody call you Jed Murtha?

You march yourself right back here, Mr. Cut-n-Run! We got the points you were trying to make. Mr. Pointy!

What if I decided not to go to work just because Mr Sim and Mr McCloud's arguments about comics and commerce were brought up? Wouldn't that be a pretty pickle! And the firemen and the snowplow drivers! Let's ALL just stay home! Mr Sim and Mr McCloud's arguments about comics and commerce were brought up!!!

Now get back here, ya big lug, ya! Get over here before I scob your nob, ya big pussycat!

(IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: In case anybody out there does not know what a nob-scobbing is, it is NOT what you are thinking! It simply means ruffling up somebody's hair with your fist in a chummy-yet-manly fashion. It's kinda like a punch on the shoulder. And usually done to a young boy by a kindly old uncle, that sort of thing. You could imagine Barney scobbing Opey's nob and get a pretty accurate mental picture.)

Jed said...

Hey, I just didn't want to go solo here. It seemed like no one was really interesting in engaging me on the topic, so, you know. I'm sure I'll chime in on the next outrage, but there's only so long you can preach to an empty room.

But why stop now?

First, it's important for people to realize if they're not already privy to the fact:

Comics don't sell so good. The best selling small press black and white comics sell about 15,000. Stuff like Eightball and your Love and Rockets. It wasn't always that way. back in the 80s those would be pretty unhealthy numbers. A book might easily be cancelled with numbers like that.

So in Mark's wildest dreams, he might hope against hope that he could make that 15000 count, but even still, it wouldn't be a great idea to quit his day job.

Those Love and Rockets guys scrape by because of the reprint collections. Hell, Dan Clowes is writing screenplays to make his bread and butter. Adrian Tomine? If he didn't do freelance illustration, he'd be out on the street. Has anyone read a recent issue of Peep Show? Nuff said.

Then there's anomolies like Bone, but Bone is the obvious exception to the rule.

So really, Mark could promote his small press black and white comics-shop distributed albatross till the cows come home, and maybe, just maybe, if all the stars are aligned, he might get within that 15000 range. This, my friend, is the sad, unfortunate truth about the "biz".

Which is why, unless you're doing COLOR SUPERHERO COMICS where the real bucks are, this whole am-I-in-the-business-or-am-I-out business, is just balls pointless.

And guys like McCloud and Sim--they're just in a completely different league. They've made their 15000 and beyond. These issues have only theoretical relevance to guys like Bisette and you Mark, because Bissette hasn't been in the game for close to 20 years, and the only work-for-hire you've ever done, as far as I know, was for Tundra back when it was still possible to rack up a good 15000 units.

Those TMNT Tundra guys were a couple of crazy kids who were spreading around the lucre just for the priveledge of having their nobs scobbed, so you hardly got stiffed. Sure, they blew it all till they were almost completely spent. Cock-blocked, you might say. Metaphorically speaking.

And the guys who drafted this "Creators Bill of Rights" thing couldn't even put the words "comics" or comic books" or "comic book creators" in their self-important document, as if somehow they were speaking for all creative folk, even though the only people that showed up for the meeting were irrelevent cartoonists--or at least, a bunch of guys irrelevent for the fact that they were cartoonists, and if that wasn't enough, cartoonists with no power or influence whatsoever in the "industry", meaning the real "industry", the industry that makes superhero comics where the obvious money is to be had, let alone the industry that might encompass the larger population of creative folk in general--you know, Shakespeare and those type guys.

Now who's to say this state of affairs isn't apt to change? Comics are making it more and more into the bookstores, so there's hope in that. But lets not pretend anybody at all (aside from a handful) making a black and white comic book that does not happen to be manga is earning anything approaching a reasonable income.