Times a-Changin’ LinkBlogging

Amazon’s Print on Demand Monopoly

Amazon owns BookSurge, a print-on-demand publisher. They have begun notifying authors who have books listed on Amazon.com from other POD publishers that Amazon won’t support other POD sources. Authors have been told that

unless their titles are printed by BookSurge, the buy buttons on Amazon for their titles will be disabled…. [They] can still use Amazon’s Advantage Program (which works on a consignment model) or third party vendors to sell their POD books

The Wall Street Journal concludes

Amazon is intent on using its position as the premier online bookseller to strengthen its presence in other phases of bookselling and manufacturing. Amazon is one of the biggest booksellers in the U.S., with a market share publishing experts estimate to be about 15%.

Girl Cartoonist Takes Day Job

Rachel Nabors, the cartoonist with a dental work fundraising effort, has announced that she is taking a day job.

I won’t be doing a weekly comic for gURL.com anymore. It pains me to do it, but financial difficulties, especially those generated by my jaw and self-employment taxes, make it nigh on impossible to live my dream anymore.

It’s a new life. I loved making comics for a living, but it was just too hard to keep making them when I was constantly worried about my security. I hope you can understand. Thank you for reading as long as you have.

She has offered to refund donations if desired, given her new circumstances. I think she’s being much too hard on herself. Many many comic creators can’t do it full time as their only living. And reducing her worries will be better for her work.

Levitz Blogs!

I was astounded to see DC head honcho Paul Levitz contributing to the Newsarama blog. (Interesting, isn’t it, that Marvel head Joe Quesada has just left Newsarama? And that Levitz is on the blog, not the main site?)

Unfortunately, he’s not really up on the modern wide world of comics. For instance, he says “literary graphic novels [had] no major new hits in ’07”. Really? What about Exit Wounds or Alice in Sunderland, to name just two? John Jakala had similar concerns about Levitz’s manga numbers.

The comments are wearying, as fans take the opportunity to sound off on everything they disagree with that DC’s ever done.

Superman Returns to Owner

But the big news this weekend is that the heirs of Jerry Siegel reclaimed their share of the rights to Superman.

This is a decision to be applauded. Regardless of whether or not you think the original sale was fair ($130 for all rights in all media forever) or a company exploiting two young, inexperienced creators, later laws extended the period of copyright control without giving anything more to the writer and artist. This is a well-deserved remedy. Still to be determined is just how much money the Siegels are owed, and then there’s a possible future Shuster reversion for the rest of the property.

If you want to see the worst of human nature, check out the Newsarama blog article (link no longer available), where commenters blame the creators for being greedy and “money hungry” and come up with ridiculous extrapolations about how this is going to take money out of the pockets of current working artists. No, this is going to establish that a creator deserves to benefit from their creation.

Read more about the legal ramifications. Note that the copyright reversion request was originally filed in 1997, which means it took 10 years for the declaration to be settled. Let’s see how long stubborn Time Warner drags out actually paying the heirs what they deserve.


8 Responses to “Times a-Changin’ LinkBlogging”

  1. James Schee Says:

    Sorry to hear that about Rachel, as she’s a talented and quite nice (from my interactions with her) person. Hopefully this all works out for the best for her though.

    The Levitz thing was a surprise for me too. I’m almost tempted to post a question myself. Given that I’d love to know what he does to keep things fresh after all this time. With all the different sides of comics he’s been in from fan to fanzine/reporter to writer to editor to publisher etc.

    The Superman decision is really interesting, and I’m curious to see how it works out.

    The Newsarama reaction, well right now I’m having to let myself simmer a bit about it as I’m tempted to revive my blog to talk about it.

    Basically though “greed” is a particular odd way to describe what happened in the case. I’d love to find one person out there who if they had the legal right to something like this, especially after having grown up treated so badly over this, would pass it by.

    Plus exactly what position are those crying “greed” coming from? Seems to me to be really a concern that this might affect “them”, not poor little Time Warner/DC as they claim.

    I’ll let it simmer a bit more though, as I’m too PO’d about it at the moment. Especially since in the end I think their REAL concern will prove for nothing.

    TW/DC would get some type of deal done, probably licensing in some form. Wanting your rights as the Siegals do is one thing. Actually wanting to go through all the stuff to handle and make it work for you would be entirely a different matter.

    Better to make a deal and then enjoy your money, than try and make it yourself.

  2. John Jakala Says:

    I hadn’t even thought about Levitz’s statement about “literary graphic novels,” but now that you mention it, it’s both dismissive and inaccurate, just like the line about manga.

    It’s odd to denigrate literary comics as being mostly the same ol’ backlist since DC’s top placing book (and the one Levitz spends so much time mentioning) is a decades-old backlist book: Watchmen. In fact, looking at DC’s top ten books on the Bookscan list, they’re mostly backlist titles: V For Vendetta, Dark Knight Returns, Batman Year One, Batman: The Long Halloween, Sandman Vol. 1, Kingdom Come.

    Also, how many of the literary GNs charting were truly backlist? I see Maus and Persepolis, but that’s about it.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Dismissive and inaccurate… I think I’d better leave that alone. Great description of what’s wrong with a lot of “PTB” comic company thinking, though. And excellent points you make, as always.

  4. Nat Gertler Says:

    What about Exit Wounds and Alice in Sunderland? Were they major hits in the U.S. market in 2007? Judging from the Brian Hibbs commentary on the bookscan list, Exit Wounds didn’t end up in their top 750 (he notes which the only D&Q book was to appear on the list, and that isn’t there), and I see no specific reference to Alice in Sunderland — but he has past successes still on the list to discuss (Persepolis, Maus, American Born Chinese, Fun Home.)

  5. Dirk Deppey Says:

    It’s a distraction from the real argument though. No one sane expects literary comics to burn up the charts, save for the occassional breakout hit, anymore than one would expect a Victorian teleplay on PBS to top the Nielsen ratings. The benchmark is — and should be — much lower than for more populist works.

    Moreover, by focusing on “literary comics,” Levitz can avoid mention of the real competition that he faces — non-superhero titles that appeal to mass audiences, such as Bone, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the like. In this case, however, the Tiny Nerd Culture War between the Wizard and Comics Journal crowds won’t fool anyone outside the Direct Market, who don’t buy into the definitions and have no stake in the fight. Levitz is framing the argument for the true believers in the Wednesday Crowd. It’ll work for them, of course — fans desperately want to believe in the supremacy of their own culture, and any evidence will do — but it’s irrelavent to anyone else.

  6. Blog@Newsarama » Quote, Unquote Says:

    […] “After next week, I won’t be doing a weekly comic for gURL.com anymore. It pains me to do it, but financial difficulties, especially those generated by my jaw and self-employment taxes, make it nigh on impossible to live my dream anymore.” – Rachel Nabors, shining a little light on the challenges to successfully living one’s dream (Link first noted by Johanna). […]

  7. Bill Williams Says:

    The decision in favor of the creators in the Superman case is heartening and surprising. I would have thought that Disney & Time Warner would continue to find a way to kick that can down the calendar for another generation or two.

    The comments on the Newsarama page make me want to walk away from such small- minded greed. Many of the idiots commenting are speaking with a reserved anger stemming from the fear that just compensation for a creator may deprive them of new reading material. Are they impervious to the themes of the books they buy?

    Bill

  8. That Sums It Up: Why Is Brave & Bold Dying? » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] commenters answer. I’ve had problems in the past with some of the idiotic things some people there say, but this time, I thought several of the […]




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