Tangential Whatnots

Occasionally The Daily Cartoonist goes off-trail with some tenuous links to newspaper comics and cartoons…

Shaenon K. Garrity at Publishers Weekly checks into WebToons and webcomics getting hard copy editions.

Forget swiping right. Online comics are racking up readers, and the test of success is how far readers will scroll on down.

As demand for graphic novels remains strong, especially in middle grade and YA categories, publishers are turning to popular digital platforms to scout for turn-key titles.

Many publishers note that adapting webcomics to print is nothing new. Some of the most successful graphic novels of the past 20 years, including Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese and Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, began as online comics in the 2000s.

“We already have a history of printing comics that originally existed either online or in self-published zines,” says Whitney Leopard, senior editor at Random House Graphic. But in recent years, she’s noticed “a huge increase.”

The PW article: Webtoons and Webcomics Keep Scrolling into Print

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Vermonter Profiles: James Sturm

Alternative cartoonist, mainstream cartoonist, award-winning cartoonist, and teaching cartoonist.

James Sturm needs a break. At least that’s what his pal, New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss, thinks. “I just want him to slow down,” Bliss said.

“I have nothing but praise for James and nothing but good things to say about him,” Bliss went on. “I just wish that he would stop working so much.”

He has a point: By any measure, Sturm’s 40-year career has been a breakneck series of successful creative endeavors.

In Vermont, the 58-year-old cartoonist is best known as the cofounder of the Center for Cartoon Studies, a one-of-a-kind college for cartoonists that he dreamed up and brought to life almost 20 years ago in what was then the dilapidated railroad town of White River Junction. In the years since, the school has produced a stream of artists who have gone on to stellar careers making and teaching comics.

All the while, Sturm has forged a glittering comics career of his own. He has written and drawn cartoons for Slate, the New Yorker and the New York Times. He was in at the ground level of two profoundly influential publications: innovative satire outfit the Onion and Seattle alt-weekly the Stranger.

Dan Bolles for Seven Days explores James Sturm‘s career as a cartoonist and graphic novelist, his continuing active role as co-founder of Vermont’s Center for Cartoon Studies, and his latest: an adaptation of Watership Down.

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Late November – World Today News reports:

The original cover art for the volume of “Asterix and Cleopatra,” created by comic strip creator Albert Uderzo, will be auctioned in Brussels on December 10, Mellon Auctions announced.

Or maybe not.

Early December – The Daily News reports:

Judging the conditions for acquiring a famous Asterix and Cleopatra board to be doubtful, the daughter of designer Albert Uderzo filed a complaint to prevent the sale, her lawyer said on Saturday, December 2. The original album cover design was to be put up for sale in Brussels on December 10 by the Millon auction house.

As BNN reports the provenance is in question:

The lawsuit filed by Sylvie Uderzo adds a layer of complexity to the upcoming auction. Depending on the proceedings and findings of the investigation, the fate of the auction remains uncertain. It brings into sharp focus issues related to the possession and sale of artworks, particularly those with significant cultural and historical value. As the legal drama unfolds, it will be intriguing to see how this impacts the art and auction world, along with the legacy of Albert Uderzo and his beloved Asterix series.

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A bookend to the opening story about graphic novels.

Very Bad Publishers by Colleen Doran

Comic artist Colleen Doran reproduces a long treatise about her experiences with comic publishers.

Says Colleen:

The Very Bad Publishers saga is a book-length work detailing my early years in comics, mostly centered around a small trade press publisher named Donning.

I wrote these essays more than 15 years ago on my old public blog, and they were some of the most popular posts I ever wrote. When I tried to write follow ups later, the memories gave me anxiety attacks. But I feel distant and centered enough to bring it all back now. Not to relive it, but to alert readers who may have missed it the first time around. While this was archived on my Patreon many years ago, it has not been publicly available in over a decade.

Colleen learned the ropes by going to the School of Hard Knocks.

Most people think royalties are paid as a percentage of cover price, and sometimes that is true.

However…

Royalties are often based on net receipts with “net’ being an undefined term in the contract, just like the horror stories you hear about in Hollywood, with mega-million films never ever going into the black, and no one really being able to figure out what the hell the expenses were.

Imagine how much trouble you can get in trying to define “net” after the contract is signed. Consider all the trouble I was in in the above few paragraphs, all because of “net”.

A lot of publishers have clauses that drastically cut royalties depending on the discount structure at which a book is sold. For example, if I was supposed to be getting 8% of cover price, I assumed I would actually get 8% of $6.95. But that almost never happened.

Why? Because many of my books were sold in the direct market at a discount of greater than 50%. And my contract stipulated that I would earn 50% royalty on discount sales of greater than 50%.

Which meant I would not get 8% I would get 4%.

Have fun calculating how many books you would have to sell to earn a decent living on 4% of $6.95 cover price.

Deduct your meager $350 a month advance, but then add in expenses for lettering, coloring, and the recently fired assistant.

The Very Bad Publishers serial, now up to Part Six and into the 21st Century, is a fascinating read.

Check it out at Colleen’s Substack along with much more.

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