Free Copies of Hit Reblog at SPX This Weekend
This weekend at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland, Amazon will be promoting its ComiXology Originals line. These publications are creator-owned comic books and graphic novels that are available to read for free if you belong to Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, or comiXology Unlimited.
The particular promotion involves giving away free print-on-demand copies of Hit Reblog: Comics That Caught Fire. This book, by Megan Kearney, presents the stories behind webcomics that went viral. (I made a small contribution to some of the research for this book.) It’s a fascinating time capsule of comics that became super-popular. If you’re not a member of Amazon’s programs, it’s $6.99 for Kindle or ComiXology or $9.99 for print.
Hit Reblog: Comics That Caught Fire showcases the viral sensations of the webcomics world and the true stories behind their creators. Follow the ups and downs of internet fame, from IP theft to book deals, and all the trials of becoming an overnight sensation after gaining 10,000 reblogs in a single night. Learn about the origins behind the hit comic strips “This is Fine”, “All Houses Matter”, “No Take, Only Throw”, and frequently-viral webcomics such as Owlturd, Cyanide and Happiness, False Knees, and Poorly Drawn Lines. Each of the twenty artists featured includes a biographical intro by award-winning comic artist Megan Kearney.
Hit Reblog: Comics That Caught Fire includes comics by webcomic superstars: Anelien, Joshua Barkman, Rob Denbleyker, Adam Ellis, Reza Farazmand, Nick Franco, Craig Froehle, KC Green, Ryan Harby, Maya Kern, Fran Krause, Dami Lee, David Malki!, Dave Mcelfatrick, Alex Norris, Branson Reese, Nick Seluk, Katie Shanahan, Brandon Sheffield, Shen, Kris Straub, Zach Weinersmith, and Kris Wilson. Edited by Hope Nicholson of the multi Eisner-award nominated publisher Bedside Press.
Megan Kearney will be signing free copies of the print-on-demand edition and a limited edition poster, on a first come, first served basis at the show from 1-2 PM Saturday and Sunday at table #J7A.
ComiXology Originals is the proud sponsor of this year’s Small Press Expo, which includes sponsorship of programming panels, comics workbook workshops, and more.
At The Comics Journal, in a throwback to its storied history, RJ Casey calls this sponsorship “a personal affront”. Amazon is “a straight-up reprehensible company” that’s trying to promote its print-on-demand services with this giveaway. Well, yes, I would imagine so.
Casey states that this product (although I’m not sure he’s seen it) isn’t as good as the special kinds of releases that make small press unique, so what’s the problem? If it’s another choice for printing that isn’t a good one, people won’t select it. The piece reads like knee-jerk anti-big-company frothing, sloppily conflating anything to do with Amazon as bad. (And it’s been edited already to remove some of the more outrageous comments.)
Heidi MacDonald points out that
In order for cartoonists to get better page rates, they have to work for companies that that can afford to pay those rates. As far as I’ve seen, the Comixology Originals program is paying decently and letting creators own their work.
It’s a better deal than a lot of places offer. As as some of the cartoonists involved mentioned, it’s getting to play in a different field, one that can open more doors, reach new audiences.