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4chan takes on J. Scott Campbell’s Mary Jane Watson

J. Scott Campbell’s never been the most realistic of comic artists, and that’s part of his charm. But the notorious pranksters at 4chan have taken issue with the way he posed Mary Jane Watson on the cover to Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man #601. You’ll need to click after the break to see 4chan members acting out the contortions.

This brings up a broader point about cartooning: Since their inception, comics have largely strayed away from realistic depictions of characters, be they humans, anthropomorphic animals or anything else. While Campbell’s poses might not be anatomically realistic, part of his style/aesthetic/appeal lies in that bending of reality. Having real people act out some of the exaggerated poses of Campbell, Rob Liefeld or Jack Kirby would show how unrealistic they are … but then again, that stylistic exageration is what makes illustration different from photography and part of the appeal.

That out of the way, seeing people act out Campbell’s poses below is engrossing.

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2010: The year in piracy

If this was the year that publishers started taking legitimate digital comics seriously, it was also the year they started taking bootleg digital comics seriously. A group of American publishers banded together to take down HTMLComics.com, while American and Japanese publishers banded together to target bootleg manga scan sites. Six months later, HTMLComics.com is still down (and likely to stay that way, as the authorities have confiscated their servers), while the manga sites are back in business—in part, perhaps, because many are hosted overseas and thus out of the reach of American and Japanese authorities.


Kicking off a year in which piracy and creators’ rights took center stage, Colleen Doran reveals that former clients have released some of work to the Kindle and Google Books without her consent, and despite the fact that they have no right to do so.

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4chan piracy causes spike in sales for Lieber and Parker’s Underground

Someone on 4chan scanned in all of Steve Lieber and Jeff Parker’s Underground and posted it for all to read. Rather than pitching a fit (which would have been perfectly justified under the circumstances), Lieber joined the discussion and cheerfully suggested folks kick in a few bucks if they like the book or maybe even, you know, buy it. Then he posted it on his own site for free. The picture above, taken from this post on his blog, concisely summarizes what happened next.

Why did it work out this way? Perhaps the comic is that good (I haven’t read it), perhaps because 4chan helped it find its audience, and perhaps because Lieber took some time to engage the readers and establish himself as a real person—it’s a lot harder to steal from someone you know.

He talks a bit more about it at Warren Ellis’s forum. (Found via Teleread.)

And remember, kids: Only Stephenie Meyer can defeat 4chan.

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