Webcomic Beacon Newscast: Comic News & Discussion for March 17th, 2013


Ben Carver, Ren RieskampTerence MacManus and Fes Works are here for another edition of the newscast! This week we discuss Comixology’s “Submit” for independent creators; How to behave at a convention; how lucky “western” cartoonists are; JManga shutting down and taking your manga with it; Google shutting down Reader, and Digg to save the day?; and more!

WCBN Article of Interest: Eric Kimball returns with a new article, complete with video! Check out his article on the Theory and Practice of Story Vectors.


The Reel Keeps Running (Follow-up items from last Newscast)

  • Chris Sprouse has dropped out of the artist team for the new Superman series associated with anti-gay marriage activist Orson Scott Card. He released a statement, part of which cites the negative media attention to the series as a contributing factor to his withdrawal. News item taken from iFanboy, also shared at Newsarama.com
  • Pursuant to our discussion of Campbell’s Rules of Comprehension, Robin Dempsey from the Webcomic Alliance has posted her thoughts on “the 180-degree rule” – this rule essentially reminds us to keep the position of our characters in relation to each other in mind even when they’re not in the panel, so the previously-explored rules regarding word balloon placement (and the need for left-upper to trump right-lower) don’t result in word balloons being on the opposite side of the panel to their speaking characters. Full article at Webcomic Alliance.

Comixology creates self-publishing platform, “Submit”
ComiXology has created a new service, comiXology Submit, that will allow independent creators to upload their comic strips to the comiXology market, at no cost to themselves! In a move that comiXology has stated will “revolutionise the market”, comiXology is also promising to convert all uploaded comics into their ‘guided view’ system, for free. (link to announcing article)

BUT, there’s no such thing as a free lunch…

Digging a little deeper into the submission process, it is immediately apparent that what comiXology is offering is a new form of online syndication, with “the creator and comiXology splitting the profits evenly” from the online sales (after any third party charges such as credit card or iTunes fees are taken out). Also, don’t expect to use the sales for your weekly grocery bill, since earnings are to be paid 45 days after each quarter, as long as you have crested the $100 threshold. The service is also not available in all countries, so worth checking that out before signing up!

The good news is that, unlike traditional syndication models, comiXology states that you will retain “all rights” to your work.

One last thing that someone of a more legal mind might like to weigh in on is Section 4 of the Submission Agreement:

4. Content Similar to Yours
You acknowledge that content similar or identical to the Content you submit (“Similar or Identical Content”) may have been or may in the future be submitted to the Company by other persons, or may have been or may in the future be made public by other persons. You agree that you are not entitled to any compensation, will not assert any claim against the Company, and the Company will not be liable to you, for any matter relating to such Similar or Identical Content, including the reproduction, sale, distribution, public display, public performance, exploitation of, and the making of derivative works based on such Similar or Identical Content. You acknowledge that it would not be feasible for the Company to provide a creator submission service without your agreement to the terms of this section 4.

How to behave at a convention: For fans AND exhibitors
Douglas Paszkiewicz has put up a humorous – and informative – blog post over at Bleeding Cool about some basics of Convention Etiquette for attendees and exhibitors. Although aimed a little higher than your average webcartoonist, it’s good insofar as it shows an example of a professional standard to aim towards (and also, how Not To Be A Dick)

JManga Shuts Down May 30
From Robot 6: JManga, like Comixology, doesn’t let you download the titles you purchase. JManga has stopped selling points (required to purchase titles), and they will prohibit title purchases March 26. After May 30, purchased titles will no longer be available for viewing/reading. Refunds of remaining points to users will be provided in the form of Amazon gift cards.

Google to drop it’s RSS Reader. Digg looks to save the day
Because apparently not enough people are using the Google Reader, but they sure are making a stink about it, Digg is developing their own reader. Because apparently, also, enough people want to use an RSS aggregator.

Articles on Geek News Central and Mashable.

How lucky we are, compared to other parts of the world.
(From a “western” viewpoint) Perhaps worth a mention is how lucky we are we can do what we do with only the internet to hate us if we put up something someone doesn’t like… It’s a whole different story when your government doesn’t like your poloitical statements in your comics.
Articles: The World and The Palestine Chronicle

And speaking of Comixology…
This week’s ComiXology/Marvel event where 700 issue #1’s of various titles were being released for free, has been suspended, following such massive interest that the servers were overwhelmed and the entire ComiXology network went down…

…the interesting possibility this raises for webcomics though, is an issue worthy of discussion. Is it possible, is it likely that Marvel (and other big publishers like DC and Image) will take this massive response to indicate that Free(mium) models might have a place in comics? And if so, is this a good thing or a bad thing for webcomics? Examples would be the argument whether an influx of Marvel, DC, Image etc titles into the ComiXology market for free/cheap would drown out the independent creators working through ComiXology Submit (and the main comiXology catalogue) or will it bring more eyes to online comics? How will this spill over to other corners of the net, where until now less professional creators have been the only ones at the free content table?

An article on the suspension can be found here at Bleeding Cool, or likely straight from the horse’s mouth at www.comixology.com.

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I’ve only recently found out about the beacon, and I’ve been digging through the archives. Knowing that it’s ending soon, makes me sad.

There’s still a few more episodes in me left. At the end of April, I think, the “core” program will be going on sabbatical until the end of the summer (through most of con season), and then pick end with several episodes before ending. To be honest, there’s very little more we can do that we have not done before. Any new webcomic/comic related articles and such, after that, would end up being WCBN articles. But for the regular show, its time to move on and let the other webcomics podcasts take over.

The Newscast is planned to continue if interest for it remains. It will be re-evaluated in about 6 months.

I understand completely. Luckily, I’ve still got a chunk of the archives left to go. The show is quite fun to listen to while drawing.

Clearly there’s been a ton of time and effort involved in keeping the show going this long, and I’d just like to thank the Beacon crew past and present.

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