Archive for July, 2008

I certainly never thought I’d describe /b/ as “innocent”

EDITED TO ADD: Since Dan Walsh has showed up to shed some light on the situation, there’s an update here.

Sean T. Collins (whom I’ve now actually met, as well as e-published) posts a press release from Ballantine Books and Jim Davis’ Paws, Inc announcing the publication of a Garfield Minus Garfield print collection.

Paws, Inc. and Ballantine Books, a division of the Random House Publishing Group, announced last week at Comic-Con International that Ballantine will publish a book inspired by the popular webcomic Garfield Minus Garfield.

Garfield Minus Garfield ( made its online debut in February 2008 and quickly became an online sensation based on a simple premise: What would Jim Davis’ Garfield comic strip be like without its lasagna-loving fat cat? Without the presence of Garfield and other characters such as Odie the dog and Nermal the kitten, the strips “create a new, even lonelier atmosphere for Jon Arbuckle…Jon’s observations seem to teeter between existential crisis and deep despair.” (New York Times)

The full-color book format will give readers the experience of having both the original and doctored Garfield strips together on the same page for comparison. Dublin, Ireland-based Garfield Minus Garfield creator Dan Walsh will provide the foreword to the book.

Garfield creator Jim Davis was intrigued by—and pleased with—the concept. “I think it’s an inspired thing to do,” Davis said. “I want to thank Dan for enabling me to see another side of Garfield. Some of the strips he chose were slappers: ‘Oh, I could have left that out.’ It would have been funnier.”

Garfield Minus Garfield site creator Dan Walsh says, “When I looked at Jon and laughed at his crazy antics I thought ‘He’s just like me.’ As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one saw myself in him: millions of visitors from all over the world visit Garfield Minus Garfield and tell me they think the same thing. Now, thanks to the awesome generosity and humor of Jim Davis, Garfield Minus Garfield is going to become a book and I’m absolutely honored to be part of it.”

First, let me echo Sean and applaud Davis for seeing this as an opportunity rather than an attack. But this story is still pretty upsetting to me, actually.

I suspect this is only going to be a bigger and bigger problem as time goes by, but “Garfield Minus Garfield site creator Dan Walsh” is making a heap of cash from a meme that’s been around for years. Realfield dates back at least to fall 2007, this one to fall 2006, and this “Garfield minus Garfield” was posted to ED six months before Walsh launched his site, for Chrissake.

I just found out that Eric Nakagawa sold for $2 million. The new owners, “Pet Holdings Inc,” now apparently operate a whole family of irritating ad-ridden sites based on the principle of stealing from underground net humor. Don’t even get me started on this. I guess now I know how old-school hip-hoppers felt when Vanilla Ice sold 15 million.

These kind of thefts were mildly amusing when ebaumsworld and SA and 4chan would squabble amongst themselves about who invented what. But now that the big money has started to arrive, it’s all become much less funny. Nothing actionable, but this kind of stuff is by nature collaborative, born out of the rapid-fire oneupmanship of a thousand Anonymous nerds doing it for the lulz, and it’s actually kind of sad to see that exploited.


“Victory puke” sums up how I’m feeling at the moment anyway

Taking a break from late-night SDCC-prep to say: Hey, look what finally arrived in the mail!

Commission by Corey Lewis of his character Radley, from the criminally underrated PENG.

Heard of this guy Alan Moore?

The new issue of Entertainment Weekly just hit the stands. It looks like THIS:

And inside is the FIRST-EVER look at THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN (VOL. III): CENTURY (published by Top Shelf in 2009)!

Here’s a tiny version — for a better look, you gotta buy the mag!

4chan gives Alan Moore “a warm little glow”

Alan Moore in EW:

“I was also quite heartened the other day when watching the news to see that there were demonstrations outside the Scientology headquarters over here, and that they suddenly flashed to a clip showing all these demonstrators wearing V for Vendetta [Guy Fawkes] masks. That pleased me. That gave me a warm little glow.”

on comic subscriptions

Here’s an interesting piece from this week’s PWCW newsletter that’s worth looking at. As Heidi says, “Todd Allen digs into the BPA audited circulation figures for comics and figures out why Marvel publishes the Marvel Adventures line” when sales to direct-market comic shops are very low:

The comic with the most subscribers was Marvel Adventures Spider-Man with a whopping 27,395. You want to know why Marvel Adventures exists with low direct-market sales? There’s your answer—subscriptions. The second-highest subscriber count was Ultimate Spider-Man with 14,890.

Later in the piece:

I also find it interesting that the Marvel Adventures subscription numbers are quite so high. Does this mean parents with young children don’t feel comfortable taking the kids into a comic store, or just that the direct market isn’t convenient for them?

Well, yes. The reason those Archie digests are by the supermarket checkout lane, right next to Cosmo, is so parents can spend five bucks on something to keep the kids quiet on the ride home. It does not usually spark a lifetime obsession with the medium of sequential art — perhaps in the child, but definitely not in the parent.

The funny thing about the comics industry is that everyone in it loves comics. Which is great, but they don’t really know how to relate to people who don’t.

For a parent who has no interest in comics, given a choice between A) driving out to a comic book store, once a month, every month, [walking past the nerds and the Witchblade statues to the kids’ comics ghetto] to spend $3 on a Spider-Man book for your kid… and B) taking five minutes to pay $25 ($2 per book) for a Spider-Man book to arrive magically in your mailbox, once a month, every month, without having to do anything?

Also, for civilian readers, that’s just what you do. Kid wants Ranger Rick, you get ‘im a subscription. You don’t go to REI every week asking if the new issue is out and socializing with other outdoorsy people.

It’s what I did when I was a kid — in 1991, somebody gave me an issue of Disney Adventures bought from a checkout aisle, and I loved it so I talked my grandma into buying me a subscription. Somebody gave my brother and me some X-Men comics, so we started looking for the X whenever we went to the drugstore. Even after we discovered the (crappy) local comic shop, it was so rare that we would get to go — and so likely that the issue we wanted would be out of stock or too expensive (last month’s comic suddenly costs twice as much because it’s a “back issue”) — that it made more sense to just get a subscription. Heck, we paid up front for four years of X-Man.

It’s a different world and a different industry now, but new readers are still essential.

Leigh Walton talks comics and maybe other arts. (RSS)
He also works for the very excellent publisher Top Shelf Productions (which does not necessarily endorse the views and opinions, etc, herein).


Header by me. Contains an interpolation of the final panel from All-Star Superman #1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Speaking of which.