And another thing… – On Why We’re the Assholes

The thing I didn’t get into, mostly because it’s a different (if connected topic) below, is that a lot of the problem is our fault, too. We haven’t actually held up our end of the bargain as content producers. The pricing on digital comics is still outrageous, especially considering many people think the print versions are too expensive, too. While the fine folks at Comixology and Graphic.ly have done a stellar job on their apps and web presence, because of content restrictions, it’s still far from the seamless experience that is iTunes. Obviously, there’s the content argument (as so many very kind people have made about my books elsewhere) and the problems of insularness, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Is piracy the only reason the comics industry is in serious trouble? Of course not. Is it a major one? Absolutely yes.

BUT, ultimately, it’s our responsibility as content producers to figure out a solution. Now, let’s get to work.

What’s So Funny – On Being an Asshole

I’m sorry. You can’t be an asshole anymore. For years, decades even, being a comic book reader came with it an elitist attitude that allowed you to look down your nose at those who probably beat you up in high school. We kept our cliques small and self-serving, and we’ve encouraged the publishers to do the same.

Well, sorry, folks, but, that’s over. SOPA or PIPA or arresting website developers is not going to change the world that we now live in. There’s no amount of threats, either legal or brow-beaterly that will change the fact that many more people are unwilling to pay for the intellectual property than those who are happy to plunk down the cash.

And, of course, the economy is horrible! And you’re un (or under) employed! And you have to see/read/listen or else. I’m sorry. That sucks. But you’re being an asshole. Stop it.

We’re all spoiled brats, myself included, but, we can’t do that anymore. We have to get over our greediness (just like we keep bitching about the bank executives doing) and put something ahead of our own (incredibly trivial) needs.

Comics ARE expensive. Games ARE expensive. Movies ARE expensive. Music… not so much, but, for the sake of argument.

Here’s the thing. Up until a few years ago, there was still enough of an audience to make up for the percentage of you who are stealing. But, not anymore. Now, everybody steals, or, at least a higher percentage of the total audience than those that pay.

The comic market consists of about 200,000 people, on the high end. Now, certainly, you’ll have your Justice Leagues and Batmans and Flash’s that do amazing sales and are generating profits. But almost every other book that isn’t up there in the top 25 or so titles is almost certainly losing money.

So, if I’m Warner Bros or Disney, or, in the case of Last of the Greats, ME, and I see that we’re busting our asses monthly on something that’s not only not profitable but is actually losing money, what other choice do I have but to shut it down?

Very few of us (from Writers to Publishers) are in this for the money. We’re all here because this is something we worship and love and it’s something that drives us to the point of obsession. But, we all have mouths to feed.

If you keep on letting the world slip on by, then you’re helping to guarantee the demise of something you love.

So, while I’m telling you to stop being an asshole, I need you to do something for me. Be an asshole. You know how when someone you’re talking to makes a horrificly offensive racist comment and you immediately tell them to watch their mouth (or smack them or what have you…)? Well, I want you to do that about Piracy. Call them a fucking cockhead. Tell them that they’re singly responsible for ruining the comic book industry (or the film industry or whatever.)

Folks, the ship is sinking and we all need to stand up and fight.

j.