The webcomics blog about webcomics

Extra Update: Jess Fink Speaks!

First, go read this. Then come back and enjoy the candor of Jess Fink regarding art, jerks, and her fists.

Fleen: Art is all about appropriation and reworking, but this is at least the — third? fourth? — fairly obvious direct copy of your work by different parties. What is it about your work that makes you such a high-profile target for these situations?

Fink: There is a great deal of difference in being inspired by a work and completely copying it. I’ve been inspired by a ton of artists and it’s reflected in my work I’m sure, but that is the outcome of living within the art community and growing up with it. After cookie loves milk got printed there was a swarm of food based shirts, peanut butter and jelly, ketchup and mustard and if they were inspired by my design it wouldn’t bother me.

I think the reason It’s been stolen so many times is that the art is fairly simple. I’m just playing around with the idea of cookies being good with milk, it’s something everyone understands. I’ve made other designs for Threadless that are much more illustrations rather than funny concepts and those never get ripped off (not that I’m daring anymore) because it’s a much more complex thing to copy. The thing with simple designs is that you can just take the idea and make art that is slightly different, that way they think no one will notice who they stole it from. Obviously I also can’t hold a copyright on the idea of cookies being good with milk, but I can take action against people who blatantly copy and even trace my designs.

Fleen: In a weird way, is it flattering that so many people want to copy your designs?

Fink: No! Haha. A lot of people ask this and it’s really not! Every time I get an email about some Cafe press store selling cookie loves milk rip-offs or a big name department store selling a trace or some shop in Hong Kong printing exact copies it just completely ruins my day. You don’t get paid an awful lot to make shirt designs so feeling like you are getting exploited is never fun. If it were just something similar someone made that they weren’t selling it would be a completely different story, but I know these places are making money off of something that is mine.

Fleen: This is a Threadless shirt design, and they hold the copyright to be defended. In a perfect world, what would they do now?

Fink: Well it might not be a perfect world but it might be a polite one at least! In the past when dealing with these situations Threadless has granted me the authority to take legal action myself.

Fleen: What would make it less likely for you to be targeted in this way?

Fink: I’m not really sure. Less jerks in the world? Science needs to find a way to see if a person is a jerk or not right when they are born! “It’s a girl! Oh…I’m sorry, it’s also a jerk.”

Honestly I think more people need to be aware of art theft and how often it happens and how wrong it is. There are people who just appropriate things without even thinking that it’s stealing. Someone once sent me a shirt with a panel from my comic, Chester 5000 on it. It was cut up in with a bunch of panels from other black and white comics. I would assume that the person who made the shirt just thought they were making a shirt covered in cut-outs from cartoons, not realizing that you can only use art from the public domain. I don’t think most people are actually taught what intellectual property means.

Fleen: What do you think drives people to engage in such blatant copying?

Fink: I think it’s just ignorance and in the case of Todd Goldman simply wanting to make a buck by any means possible. He churns out copy after copy of other people’s work, it’s the quantity over quality technique. He thinks, “If I make enough crap someone will buy at least one.” And at this point it’s really pretty disgusting since he knows he is blatantly ripping off hard working artists and he’s been involved in so many legal battles for it, it’s hard to imagine being such a nasty person.

Fleen: Todd Goldman has tossed lawsuit threats over copying accusations in the past. Do you feel that speaking truthfully about this — “situation” — puts you at any risk?

Fink: It’s always a little scary dealing with situations like these but I feel that I have enough evidence against Goldman that I can talk freely. His rip-offs of my work are far from coincidental since he actually offered me a job back in 2008, telling me he loved my Lil’ Soap and Cookie Loves Milk designs and then instead of giving me work apparently decided it was more profitable to just rip me off.

Fleen: How long before somebody starts passing off Chester or Time Traveling Jess as their work? How badly will you beat them?

Fink: SO HARD. I will beat them with all of my fists at once! And then Top Shelf will beat them too! Both books (Chester 5000 and We Can Fix It) are due out next year and honestly I’m excited but kind of scared to death!

Fleen thanks Ms Fink for her time and openness, and reiterates that Mr Goldman has been invited to respond via his representatives, but has not done so yet. Spread the word and do what you can, my minions.

“As Long As He Brings Us Profiteroles”

You had to be there, but trust me, it was hilarious.


Spam of the day:

Belize Real Estate — Amazing Investment Properties: Now Available

Do I look like a self-deluded dickhead on House Hunters International that is demanding a 4000 square foot center-hall McMansion with all the mod-cons for US$75,000 in an overseas location? Because I assure you, I am an entirely different dickhead.

Considerably Better Today, Thanks

I’m in a much better mood, and things have happened that allow me to write considerably more than I would have otherwise. Let’s do this.

Recent Past! Yesterday marked eighteen damn years of Jerkcity, which I freely admit is a bit too unstructured for me, but for which I will always be grateful because it was my introduction to Rands, who in real life has taught me more than I can recall about the industry I work in, the people that inhabit it, and how to interact with them. Also, bags and pens. He’s smart like that.

Past, Present and Future! Josh Fruhlinger wrote a book which I enjoyed a great deal, and he has very kindly opened the metaphorical kimono to share data regarding it. The Enthusiast was funded via Kickstarter, and Fruhlinger has done a detailed post on how the money got spent, which anybody considering a crowdfunded project should consider to be a valuable look at what to expect. Read carefully and absorb.

Today! One year ago, Ryan North did the most Ryan North thing possible when he got stuck in a hole and got out by treating it as a text adventure game with all of Twitter as the controlling player. It’s well known that there are no holidays in August, with some countries resorting to making up arbitrary “bank holidays” to make the month less suicidally depressing, so may I suggest that from now on, 18 August¹ be known as Northole Day? We can celebrate by walking our dogs with umbrellas and seeking out holes. Somebody tell David Malki ! to include it in the list of holiday’s for next year’s perpetual calendar.

Also Today! I got my copy of Chester 5000 XYV: Isabelle & George. I will never not love Jess Fink for her ability to mix together real emotion, real pretty pictures, and really hot, hot sexytimes in one story. I think I understand the whole Stucky thing now.

Next Month! It’s just four weeks until SPX rolls around (sadly, I won’t be able to make it, as it will fall in the middle of back-to-back weeks where work sends me to Minnesota), and the Ignatz Awards nominees have been announced. I first saw the slate over at Comics Worth Reading, so props to Johanna Draper Carlson for being on the story early.

What I found especially interesting is the jury members: Tony Breed, Summer Pierre, Keiler Roberts, C Spike Trotman, and JT Most²; There’s a lot of web-first art from these creators, and unsurprisingly the category for Outstanding Online Comic is super strong:

That’s an impressively wide range of styles, topics, and presentations, and really no bad choices there.

Other nominees that hail from the wide world o’ webcomics include Melanie Gillman (As The Crow Flies) for Outstanding Comic; Jason Shiga (Demon) and Keiler Robert (Powdered Milk), and various contributors to the Isaac Cates-edited Cartozia Tales for Outstanding Series; Lisa Hanawalt (Hot Dog Taste Test) for Outstanding Graphic Novel; Kate Beaton (Step Aside, Pops), and various contributors to the Sfé R Monster & Taneka Stotts-edited Beyond: The Queer Sci Fi and Fantasy Anthology for Outstanding Anthology Or Collection.

Uniquely, the Ignatzes (Ignatzen?) are voted on by the attendees of SPX, with the votes quickly tallied between end of exhibit hours and the start of the awards ceremony on Saturday, 17 September. Best of luck to all the nominees.


Spam of the day:

30??nimals Surprised By Their Owners Coming Home Sooner

Cute, but why is the same address in Romania sending me pictures of animals, pictures of Asian women, pictures of beautiful vistas, and pictures of “unbelievable fails”?

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¹ No shifting to a Monday or Friday for a long weekend, it has to fall on the 18th.

² I’m not familiar with Most and I’m finding it impossible to Google them, as all the responses refer to Justin Timberlake and headlines like Is this JT’s most awesome video ever?.

It’s sort of like how the one person I’d be interested is finding from high school, my old physical lab partner, is un-Googleable, because her name closely matches the nickname of an old aircraft carrier and all matches are for sailor reunions. Her sister is also un-Googleable, as her name matches too closely with DC superhero Robin. They’ve achieved the dream: no digital footprint thanks to a favorable signal-to-noise ratio.

Steps Forward And Back

Is it just me, or is every improvement accompanied by a disappointment? Let’s get the bad news out of the way and move onto the good after.

  • As was linked in a tweet yesterday, from the good folks at TopatoCo:

    With regret, we must announce that TopatoCon 2 is canceled. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are unable to present the convention we hoped for, and we have decided that the best choice is to cancel the event completely.

    We do not make this decision lightly, and rest assured that we are as disappointed as you are. Thank you for your interest in TopatoCon.

    Well, dammit. I was really looking forward to my trip up to *hampton in October, to see the many quality folks who’d be exhibiting, to get into more liquor-based mischief. TopatoCo is a small company — pretty much the epitome of the small business that fuels the economy and which politics fetishizes — as is the Eastworks venue, and the slightest bit of bad luck could make things prohibitively complex and/or expensive for them to carry on with their plans.

    I know for a fact that this would have been a hell of a hard decision, particularly this far into the planning process; we at Fleen thank everybody at TopatoCo and TopatoCon for their considerable work, and if you think a little thing like canceling the show is enough to keep me from driving north that weekend, you’ve got another think coming. I’ll be there, and I’m ready to buy meals/booze for the best damn people in webcomics.

  • It’s pretty much a given that new means of communicating will live or die by how easy it is to get porn on them¹. But in the modern world, moral squeamishness on the part of payment processors² and various funding platforms, along with legitimate economic concerns, makes the business of adult content difficult to realize at time. You can produce tasteful, non-harmful, quality erotica material and have no way to distribute it (and no way to get paid even if you can distribute it). Which is why the announcement (as first noted via the always tied-in and porn-savvy Brad Guigar) from Patreon yesterday is pretty damn important:

    Patreon’s announcement — in an e-mail to creators — that it will once again be able to offer its users to use Paypal to pledge to NSFW creators is a huge victory for the crowdfunding service. Patreon had to remove Paypal functionality for creators who were offering NSFW content after Paypal threatened to stop all payments to Patreon.

    [A]dult websites face annual fees of upwards of about $500 — as well as higher processing fees — from credit-card processors. They’re considered high-risk merchants. And when Paypal found out there was NSFW content on Patreon, they made the move to classify the crowdfunding service as “high risk.”

    From Patreon:

    After many long discussions we were able to convince PayPal, or more specifically their subsidiary Braintree, that Adult Content creators on Patreon are not a serious risk. Our content policy, and the nature of subscription payments, means that Adult Content creators on Patreon are less risky than most creators making adult content. We also have a very diverse mix of content types, so even if our Adult Content creators are higher risk than other types of creators, Patreon as a whole is less risky.

    We are very happy about this victory, but the payment industry does not provide much transparency around payments for adult content. As a company we are not happy with this lack of transparency since it impacts the livelihoods of Adult Content creators. We will continue to work towards more certainty around these issues, but for now we feel that the benefit of allowing PayPal payments for Adult Content creators outweighs any hypothetical risk that it may change in the future.”

    And those risks are so, so malleable. Don’t tell me that something like TJ and Amal doesn’t get more scrutiny for involving two dudes than something that doesn’t existentially offend would-be child-protectors³ to the same degree.

    For everybody that’s out there trying to make something as literary as Chester 5000 or Smut Peddler, as educational as Oh Joy, Sex Toy, or just something that’s super hot, this is great news. For everybody that wants to read those things and support the creators, it’s even better.


Spam of the day:

Finish Your MBA In Under 2 Years. 100% Online & Accredited. Get Info.?

Assuming that I wanted to spend between one and two years becoming a computer and utter douchebag, why on earth would I click on a link that purports to be on behalf of a company in Chicago, but which offers me the opportunity to unsubscribe by contacting either an address in Samoa or a completely different address in Mississauga, Ontario? Make up your mind, identity thieves.

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¹ Trust me on this, I spent most of a year looking at the evolution of large, distributed, networked systems, and this was the inescapable conclusion. Someday I will dig out and complete my master’s thesis on this topic, when I have no other demands on my time.

² No doubt enhanced by the heavy hand of various political officials. Everybody see how the Republican platform decided yesterday declared porn to be a national health crisis to be stamped out at all costs?

³ Also in that platform? A defense of anti-gay conversion therapy, for fuck’s sake.

Okay, Weird

Something’s going on with WordPress where I lose connection to the back end and editing functions, but the front end continues to show the site. And then it comes back without doing anything! So let’s be quick about this, and I hope you will appreciate how much work went into this one.

See, I owe Amazon an apology, as I was complaining t’other day about my copy of Romeo And/Or Juliet not being here on day of release, and now I’ve got it. Thanks, Amazon! It’s wacky and wonderful, and features many, many terrific artists and story ending illustrations. Author Ryan North’s sense of both complete absurdism and Shakespearean drama are intact, as he takes us through multiple plots, multiple story styles (I’m presently following along a noir pastische), and pulls in multiple plays for inspiration (said pastiche stars Rosalind from As You Like It, and there are short versions of Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and even Midsummer’s play-in-a-play, Pyramus and Thisbe). There’s time travel, giant robots, sex-having, sweet fights, record-setting one-rep weightlifting, a cookie recipe, and even a nod to Back To The Future¹.

Sadly, the best thing we saw in To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure — where those illustrations were full page with the minor text associated with the story ending (usually grisly death) — is modified somewhat; the illos are mostly 1/3 page in size, with a continuous stream of text-illustration-next story point. As a result, RAOJ doesn’t have page numbers, it has passage numbers — a passage being a node in the story, ranging from a line or two to more than a page. Additionally, instead of the full-color glossy illustrations from TBONTBTITA, the papr stock is matte and the pictures are all combinations of black, white, and red. The changes do make the book less of a bicep-building than TBONTBTITA, though … that was one seriously heavy book.

But despite all of the good points, Romeo And/Or Juliet has one stunning flaw, one shared with To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure, namely: the index of artists in the back of the book contains only an alphabetical listing, not a listing by passage (or page, in the earlier book) number. So when I came across a stunningly beautiful (or funny, or disturbing … ) illustration in my read-through, I’d sometimes recognize the artist by style, but more often not. Then I had to scan the index, looking for the passage (or page) number, to find it who it was.

Well, no more! Ryan North, I am calling you out for having a defective book, and furthermore I am doing something about it. Specifically, I have painstakingly transcribed the passage numbers and artist names and compiled them into a table (below the cut) that you may print and stick in your copy of RAOJ. I trust Mr North will prevail on his publishers to include information in future printings; with a clear typeface, you might be able to fit it on a promotional bookmark, but at the least you could “tip in” some pages in this and future North/Shakespeare collaborations.

It’s a minor thing, though — don’t let the lack of reverse-lookup prevent you from picking up Romeo And Or Juliet; it’s a brilliant job from a brilliant writer and nearly 100 brilliant artists. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to decide what to do in this game of rock-paper-scissors I seem to have found myself in.


Spam of the day:

Identity Issue PP-658-119-347

I believe that you are the PayPal Review Department exactly as much as I believe the South Asian-accented man who called himself Steve Martin on the phone yesterday really was calling from the Treasury Department².

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¹ Or at least North’s obsession with the novelization of the movie.

² I called him to point out he is very bad at being a thief and he hung up on me. So I called back and got him again and continued my spiel. After five further discussions (sample statement from me: I can do this all day), he apparently decided he had to take a break and a woman picked up in his place. She said I was very rude and not to call their scam operation again or I would be in trouble. That was fun.

(more…)

I Really Thought Somebody Had Died

Screencapped that for you, Jess.

When I first checked social media this morning I was surprised when Twitter told me I had 456 unread tweets; usually an overnight is good for fewer than 200, given the number of people I follow and their sleep patterns. 250 would be a lot for one night, above that indicates something stupid happening in a Republican presidential debate that I didn’t stay up for or somebody influential kicking it.

This time, however, it was down to one person — and if you’re gonna do a serious tweetstorm, this is the one to do. [C] Spike [Trotman] has been on top of the Rat Queens brouhaha¹ and last night during her typical small hours worktime decided on a course of action:

In light of Rat Queens disappointing everybody: Women/NB creators, tweet me w/links to your cool comics starring tuff gals. I’ll RT.

There was an immediate flood of responses and Spike made with the retweets, blowing up my timelines, pausing for a while to catch some sleep before resuming some hours later. I’d be hard pressed to estimate how many creators she retweeted, but I’d say probably in the vicinity of 200-300 before giving it a rest about eight hours later. Best of all? I recognized a mere handful of the comics that got the RT treatment (and by that I mean literally five), so there’s a lot of new comics to check out.

Probably most of them aren’t great, because most of everything isn’t great. But I’ll betcha there’s 20 to 50 in that grouping that damn good to excellent, just waiting for anybody that’s got the time to start collecting links. Anybody that’s really enterprising could Storify the list; do it for the children.

In other news:

  • My evil twin announced pre-orders on his next book open on Monday along with a deadline to provide shipping info for this last Kickstarter and another deadline to register for the chance to take a tropical cruise with him. If you can think of something better to do for a week in September than spend it on a ship with my evil twin, sipping on fruity drinks and learning about writing, I don’t know what it is.
  • Speaking of Kickstarts, Dante Shepherd² announced that he’s doing another page-a-day calendar for 2017, seeing as how the 2014 one was a success³. Kickstarter went up a couple hours ago, with the able help of TopatoCo and Make That Thing.
  • Heh, when I went by the MTT page to check on Shepherd’s calendar, it told me that Jess Fink’s second Chester 5000 collection will finish its funding round in 69 hours. Yes, I am perpetually twelve years old.
  • Finally, KC Green and Anthony Clark are making the best weekly-updating comic publishing today (BACK) and they are not the sort to screw around with pre-orders or crowdfunding. No! They are men of action and when they want to print a collection of their work they by Glob go out and print it and and pay John Keogh and Britt Wilson for enhancements to the book and then they sell it, financial risks be damned. As a result, you can now purchase a copy of BACK Book 1 from the web’s finest boutiquery so go do that.

Spam of the day:

Stunning waterfront property in Michigan’s majestic Upper Peninsula
Private setting with convenient location to ATV / snowmobile trails.

Translation: no roads, no utilities, you will die out here alone. Also, for a significant portion of the year, the Upper Peninsula is cold as fuck.

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¹ Long story short — a comic about female empowerment had its original artist yanked from the book after a domestic violence arrest; other artists have since filled in. A hiatus announcement led to the current artist indicating she was removed from the book in favor of the original guy returning — meaning an abusive husband would again be drawing a book about women that don’t put up with shit, yikes.

On a personal note, literally two days before the news broke I picked up Rat Queens trade paperback one on the recommendation of my niece and loved it, having been unaware of the unsavory reputation of the original artist, and was planing on purchasing the second and third collections but now I’m not sure.

² Who is his own evil twin, or at least his own dark reflection. Which one is more like Batman?

³ He was kind enough to send me one — it took up so much space on my desk. This is not a tiny page-a-day, it has heft and also terrible jokes.

Bigger Than The Day

We’re pretty much at deadline if you still want to head to Toronto and the attendant Comics Art Festival therein. Part of what showrunner Chris Butcher’s put together that’s always impressed the hell out of me is how much the city of Toronto is involved in TCAF, and how many events happen around the Fest. In case you’ve been wondering how broad TCAF is, check out the list of associated events.

Exhibitions launched 12 days ago, discussions and salons are taking place, artistic meetups have met up (some with sophisticated adult beverages), gallery shows are opening, academics are convening, book launches are happening, international receptions will celebrate the creators of multiple countries, celebrations of previously-marginalized people, concerts, awards, and a plain ol’ party or two.

Plus comics. You know, for kids.

Oh, and a world’s worth of the best guests and exhibitors mixing it up on five different programming tracks plus (for the first time) portfolio reviews. Everything and everybody significant in comics is converging on Toronto except for the otherwise-ubiquitous Jim Zub who is presently busy gettin’ drunk in Japan¹.

So to whatever degree it is practical for you to do so, get up to The Big Smoke², get you some comics, and if you see Chris Butcher thank him for all the work he does year ’round to make TCAF the best show for its size in the world.

PS: Yuko is going to be there and she is totally going to have an 18+ Stucky minicomic that she and Jess Fink did together and that is the best thing ever.

PPS: I forget how many days it’s been since I mentioned that Meredith Gran last achieved a New Best Octopus Pie Strip, but in any event the clock has been reset to one day and counting. Holy crap, so much story, so much emotion, and the best representation of inner mental state all packed into one image. Eve’s lizard brain is my new hero.


Spam of the day:

Don’t-Take a Cruise! Rent a Yacht! All Budgets & Sizes Available

You have radically overestimated the degree to which I wish to take a cruise, and my recreation budget. I guess thanks for the second half?

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¹ I’m so envious about the stop he and his lovely bride made at Ikebukuro’s owl cafe.

² Southern Ontario version.

Oh Glob, No

Tom Siddell, you perfect bastard, how could you do this to us?

Let me back up. Siddell has done three print side-stories to Gunnerkrigg Court’s main story — Annie In The Forest: Part One, Annie In The Forest: Part Two, and Traveller: A Story From Beyond The Walls — the first two of which have for some time also been available for free viewing online.

Today, Traveller joined the Annies, in both English and Galician¹, at the Extras page.

Okay, no spoilers, but it’s a heartbreaker and Tom Siddell is bad and mean and bad some moreyou made Paz cry, you son of a bitch.

(Siddell is actually a very nice guy without a mean bone in his body and the story both works on multiple levels and is structured well; I bear him no ill will, but damn it’s dusty in here.)

With that preparation, please read and enjoy Traveller² and if you like it, please remember that he’s given you something for free that other people paid for, and maybe drop him a few bob? And if you need something cheerier after having your guts ripped out and stomped on the pavement (>ahem<), maybe enjoy this fine Nedroid Comic shared earlier today by Anthony Clark; it ends on a positive note!³ Now get outside and enjoy the weekend.

UPDATE TO ADD: OH HELL OF YES, JESS FINK HAS KICKSTARTED THE SECOND CHESTER 5000 STORY YES I AM YELLING GO BACK THIS NOW.


Spam of the day:

And they passed the night in a crockery-jar who had a little curl this ball was her favorite plaything

I received this from Glenda. I ain’t want to go out and be Glenda’s acid guide! On the plus side, Achewood is back with the first Fuck You Friday of 2016.

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¹ The story concerns Paz and her visit home from the Court, and Galician is her native tongue; I’m told it’s linguistically sort of midway between Castilian (that is to say, formal) Spanish and Portuguese.

² Enjoy may not be the most accurate word, but you get the idea.

³ Or at least as positive as Reginald is going to manage.

That Didn’t Take Long

So I went to bed early and wasn’t awake to watch Iron Circus Comics — aka Spike, aka The Woman Who Is Going To Own Comics Publishing, aka Maybe If You Apologize For All Those Years You Told Her She Was Never Going To Succeed She’ll Have You Killed Mercifully — launch its latest Kickstarter. Kickstarters, actually, as two pieces of pure, uncut smut went up together, and you can back one, the other, or (and stay with me here because this is a a little out there) both of them at the same time.

So, uh, maybe assume all the links in this post are probably not things you want to click on if your boss can see.

First up, Yes, Roya, a book-length graphic novel of quality erotica, written by Spike herself and illustrated by Ghost Green, with Kinomatika on the cover. It’s the early 1960s, there’s cartoonists involved, and sexy times as a young upstart finds that life behind closed doors in the Camelot era was decidedly kinkier than your parents and grandparents let on.

Secondly, My Monster Boyfriend, continuing the Iron Circus tradition of ladycentric erotica anthologies, this one is exactly what it says on the cover: there are monsters, and they are various people’s boyfriends, and there may just be hot, hot monster action going on. Lots of creators on this one, and Spike hasn’t released the full contributor list yet, but you’ll find names like EK Weaver, Jess Fink, Gail freakin’ Simone, and Trudy Cooper.

And since this is a Spike Kickstarter, a couple things we knew were going to happen did in fact happen:

  1. The goal was reached ridiculously quickly after launch. Keep in mind it was 9:00pm on the east coast when the campaign went up and promptly started raising US$1000/min before tapering off to US$10K in 15 minutes, US$20K in the first hour, and the entire US$40K goal in less than eight hours. Remember, this was overnight, and word doesn’t spread so quickly when your audience are away from keyboards.
  2. There’s gonna be bonuses. As a result of we at Fleen bungling a description of Iron Circus’s bonus structure a little while back , Spike reached out to us and let us know that these projects would use a different pay structure than previous project¹, one that will scale with the number of pages as well as the overfunding. For My Monster Boyfriend and Yes, Roya, pay starts at US$75/page, with an additional US$5/page for US$10,000 over goal.

    One may note that (as of this writing), pay rates are already up to US$80/page. Assuming this one goes follows the same funding patterns as prior ICC smut offerings, I’d expect funding above US$150K (NB: not a formal prediction; we’re still 8 – 12 hours away from being able to use the FFFmk2), meaning page rates of US$130 or more.

Oh, yeah, and the first stretch goal — a reprint of Smut Peddler 2012 — was met by the time Spike woke up this morning. There will be more. Oh, and did I mention that there are previews, more than 20 pages worth, over on the Kickstarter page? Because there are; no links, I’m gonna make you go read the damn thing and find ’em yourself … and before you complain, I just told you about free porn so hush.

The Smut Peddler Double Header runs until Wednesday, 24 February.


Spam of the day:

why havn’t you claimed this Walmart gift yet?

Because Walmart is a rapacious, evil corporation run by the vampiric scions of the Walton family with a bloodthirstiness that would make Vlad Tepes say Hey, maybe just chill a little, and I would rather deal with the bastard child of Verizon and Comcast for the rest of my natural life than set foot in a Walmart. The only worthwhile thing Walmart has even done is be so awful that walmart.horse provoked not a single twinge of sympathy in anybody anywhere.

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¹ Briefly, contributors got US$50/page, and a US$50 bonus for every US$5000 over goal.

In Non-Paris Desk News

There were a few other things (some of which got displaced by yesterday’s dumbassery) so let’s talk about them, yes?

  • Jess Fink has finished — for the second time, no less — the ongoing story of Chester 5000 and the people who built him, love him, and love each other. It started off as straight Victorian robo-erotica (that old saw) way the heck back in 2008 but quickly became something more. It wasn’t just about heaving bosoms sprung free of corsets and a startling array of gadgets put to increasingly hot use; it was about neglect and jealousy and absorption and fury and reconciliation and forgiveness — it was about love.

    And then in 2011, Fink went back and told both what came before and what’s happened since the original run of Chester; subtitled Isabelle and George, it dealt with the characters in even greater depth, added a dash of adventure and vengeance, and gave us a better idea of who these people (Chester himself appears less and less as the story goes along) really are. It’s full of heart, completely lacking in dialogue, and immediately engrossing. Not to mention hotter than hell. Thanks for letting us ride along for the last 300 or so pages, Jess. Here’s hoping that we get a print collection of Isabelle and George to go alongside the first Chester collection.

  • We mentioned not too long ago the Voltron-like collaboration of KC Green and Shmorky to make some animated bumpers for [adult swim]. Via Shmorky, we now have a collection of GIF clips from the other bumpers (ten in all), which are conveniently collected for your viewing pleasure at NerdSpan
  • From the Big Damn Numbers department, today is as good as day as any to declare an end to Child’s Play 2015; per the CP site (which hasn’t changed for the past couple of days), the lifetime fundraising total for the campaign sits at a little north of forty million damn dollars. Taking into account data from previous years, the history of Child’s Play looks like:

    2003: $250,000
    2004: $310,000
    2005: $605,000
    2006: $1,024,000
    2007: $1,300,000
    2008: $1,434,377
    2009: $1,780,870
    2010: $2,294,317
    2011: $3,512,345
    2012: $5,085,761
    2013: $7,600,000
    2014: $8,430,000
    2015: $6,438,053
    Total as of 7 January 2016, the arbitrary end of CPXIII: $40,064,723

    So, in case you were wondering what it looks like when Child’s Play doesn’t raise more than the prior year, it looks like they still raised almost six and a half million. If that counts as failure, we could all use some more failure in our lives and endeavours.

  • New show alert: Pat Race, the never-still creative force behind Alaska Robotics, has with some partners brought a bunch of indy/web comics types up to Juneau, Alaska for talks, cultural events, and meet & greets; word on the street is that the creators have had a fabulous time, and the denizens of America’s least-accessible capital city have enjoyed ’em even more. So how to top a record like that? With a mini-con, naturally:

    I’m very happy to announce Alaska Robotics Mini-Con, a festival and artist camp taking place right here in Juneau from April 22-26th.

    Aaron, Lou and I have been hosting guest artists for several years through our work at the Alaska Robotics Gallery and JUMP Society as well as through partnerships with other non-profit organizations like the Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries. We’ve also spent many years attending and exhibiting at comic conventions and arts festivals. Encouraged by those wonderful experiences, we decided it was time for us to host our own tiny comic convention and artist getaway.

    I hesitate to even use the phrase “comic convention” when describing the event but those who have attended such things know that the term has grown to include a much more broad collection of pop and contemporary arts, games, music and more. We’re planning to embrace the spirit of those outside conventions but provide a far more down-to-earth, Southeast Alaska experience.

    The draft schedule calls for a one-day public event on Saturday, 23 April, followed by a two day artists camping retreat with a limited number of attendee slots — applications will open on 18 January. Look for a roster of guests in the near term but for now, if this sounds like fun, I’d say start looking into transport to Juneau before knowing the lineup; the on-faith, camping-centric thing works for MaxFunCon, and it ought to work as well for ARMCon. Given the talent that Race has attracted to Juneau in the past — Kate Beaton, Vera Brosgol, Dylan Meconis & Katie Lane — I’d bet on there being some killer guests hanging ’round the campfire under the northern lights.


Spam of the day:

Reverse your Blood Pressure in only 7 Days

If I reverse my blood pressure, doesn’t that make my entire cardiovascular system collapse? That doesn’t sound good. Then again, this particular bit of sparkling medical science (featuring the obligatory one weird food) came from an actual email address that I swear I am not making up: Dr. Dave <cretin @[redacted].date>. That’s just beautiful.