Robot 6

Quote of the Day #2 | In defense of Kickstarter

Guess what? You don’t get to call yourself underground if you’re on Kickstarter. Guess what else? You don’t get to call yourself a publisher either; you’re just someone who pays a printing bill. Take pre-orders on your site. Sell your boots. Do what you have to do. But don’t go begging for money so that you can then give 5% of it to, which is actively trying to put you (!), and the stores you hope to shove this shit into, out of business.

Dan Nadel, objecting to Box Brown and Ian Harker’s Kickstarter campaign to fund their anthology of comics inspired by the Japanese magazine Garo. (Dan also objected to the book on intellectual grounds, but everyone who would have argued with him about that is at Otakon this weekend.)

These days I only get miffed at Kickstarters when it’s someone asking for people to pay for them to quit their jobs. The SP guys [Brown and Harker] make some fun books and usually only take in as much money as they need plus a bit for production costs, then give the damned things away for free. They’re good yeggs with their hearts in the right place, and certainly didn’t deserve to get kicked in the teeth on TCJ. If Kickstarter is the way folks are getting their stuff out there now, fine by me. Getting uppity about someone using a popular site whose name is instantly recognized in the minds of millions of people, but being totally cool with hosting the exact same thing on your own site which get 4 hits a month (half from your mom) is fucking weird. Finding the best ways to get your material out there has always been the hardest part about making comics for me, if this makes it easier for someone, more power to them.

Some guy named Cheese, providing the counterpoint.

Bonus quote from Cheese—this guy is good:

I give these guys credit for even doing a print version. Comixology sold $19,000,000 in comics last year and expect to sell $70,000,000 this year. They just pulled out an iPad with the words, “PRINT’S DONE, SON!” flashing on it in day glow letters and buried it in the comic industry’s face.

I’ll take my TCJ blog posts with extra Cheese from now on!



Interesting. I’d like to see Nadel flesh out his argument that Amazon is hurting new or unknown creators from getting published. If Amazon indeed is, I can see his point.

I can certainly understand that Amazon is hurting small local book stores, and even the big book chains (who overcharge for everything) – but I can’t really see the connection between that and an unknown writer trying to get his/her material out to the public. If anything, it is the publishers, who just want to find the next Harry Potter, and who overlook a lot of good stuff because it is not “marketable”


In a couple of lines, he just made Dan look like a total and complete whiner….

Daryll: in all fairness, Dan did most of the work himself.

“Interesting. I’d like to see Nadel flesh out his argument that Amazon is hurting new or unknown creators from getting published. If Amazon indeed is, I can see his point.”

The bigger issue would remain that (unless i’m missing something) singling out a small Kickstarter project is bizarre and completely arbitrary when PictureBox and Fantagraphics (aka Nadel/TCJ) make Amazon a hell of lot more revenue than SP ever could.

Here’s a comment that got stuck in “moderation” over at TCJ for some reason:

It seems to me there’s an obvious conflict of interest when one art comics publisher attacks another in a highly visible forum he happens to control.

I find Nadel’s entire rant, re: kickstarter- illegitimate-premised upon the idea that some money is better than other money. He’s telling people to “sell your boots”?! What the &*%# does he know about someone else’s finances? OR what they’ve had to go through in their lives to make a determination about how they should raise money for a project? And begrudge them what they sell on Amazon? It’s the height of insufferable arrogance. It’s offensive and the guy should apologize to Messrs. Brown and Harker as well as anyone whose ever had to pull a rabbit out of their hat to print a comic book.

When I went to check out the TCJ link it looks like the website’s down (?) Anyway, I find it strange that Dan would make such comments and I’d be alarmed if my stuff were published by Picturebox. I’m sure Dan’s hocked their entire output at shows which for some odd reason, some comic shops frown on that too. (the ones who bother to order indie).
While there are a few comic shops who carry and support indie, it’s not as many as you think. If you want to move the books at all, you have to entertain any means necessary to get them out into the public. Be it digital, sales at shows, brick & mortar, Amazon, and or through Kickstarter.

I’m not sure, but I thought Nadel was objecting to some of Kickstarter-supporters’ money essentially winding up going to Amazon (“But don’t go begging for money so that you can then give 5% of it to”). Which is not a problem for Picturebox or Fantagraphics, since they don’t Kickstart.

Brigid Alverson

July 29, 2012 at 9:52 am

@Joni But Picturebox and Fantagraphics both use Amazon, which means that customers give a cut of the price of the book (more than 5%, I’m pretty sure) to Amazon.

And I see a pretty strong criticism of Kickstarter itself in that paragraph.

How am I gonna pick up myself by my boot straps if I sell my boots?

@ Kevin

… On a third publishers website.

um kind of unrelated, but can i just defend comixology for a second and say that they are not out to put print out of business? but rather, provide easy access comics for those who don’t live near a comic book shop and don’t have room in their apts for 200 boxes of comics? print will live on regardless of how successful comixology becomes (they are good people i swear!)


I hope I didn’t come across as if I was bashing Comixology. My books have been on Comixology from nearly the beginning of the app,* I am in awe of their success! They aren’t intentionally out to put print out of business, but they certainly do contribute to it’s decline. I’d be willing to bet the majority of that $19 million they made last year was people buying books digitally rather then physical copies, at least that’s how I use it. I don’t blame them for it… Hell, I salute them for it. They found a way to MAKE MONEY FROM COMIC BOOKS. It’s evolution, much like webcomics and even bootlegs were.

Of course there will always be printed comics, but with creator’s gaining the ability to forego a publisher and go straight to their audience it becomes an ever shrinking niche, for good or ill. For me it raises interesting questions, like is the content of a book the ‘art,’ or is the book itself and art object? I guess it depends on the artist and the content, but it’ll be interesting to see where it all lies in five years.


TCJ seems kind of cantankerous lately.

Something tells me their sales are not what they wish they were. Poor Fantagraphics.

“TCJ seems kind of cantankerous lately.”

Yeah, it’s only been lately within the last 35 years that they’ve become really grumpy.

I part of Dan’s argument is that underground is not meant to be easy, and Kickstarter makes things a lot easier when self-publishers can have the funds, and the publicity for the project, upfront. It makes things in a prominent flow, or, in other words, a main stream.

It’s not ‘undergorund’ to use the word ‘underground’.

It’s not ‘underground’ to use the word ‘underground’.

I hope everyone takes this as an opportunity to contribute to Box Brown’s worthwhile project.

I don’t get hating on Kickstarter, I really don’t. Don’t like a project? Don’t fund the project. There’s nothing to attack, people can put their money where they want.

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