In which there will be much bellowing about the things that are happening.
I’m shamelessly pulling the style sheet of Warren Ellis’ great Orbital Operations newsletter for updates, because as always, Ellis knows how best to send out communications from dark hovels where no one can actually see or touch him.
Ellis’ life is a life goal – the ability to do projects and growl at humanity from hovels while generally being beloved. I am not doing the man justice in this description, but digging into the man would be a considerable post in and of itself.
This weekend had me thinking a lot about comics journalism and my place in the grist mill. As it stands, I do work for Comics Beat, and gladly so. It doesn’t pay, but that’s pretty much what I signed up for: a platform and the ability to retain the rights to all work produced, which suits my current purposes. For many people, that would not be ideal of feasible, and so the delicate dance of being a journalist in this industry, and finding sources of revenue begins. The biggest problem? Most of the money you’ll see comes either directly, or indirectly from publishers of comics. You can see where this might get a bit sticky ethically?
I feel a little sick about this phrasing, but ethics in comics journalism came up again this weekend when Hannah Means Shannon was announced as a new editor at Dark Horse Comics. Means Shannon used to be the editor-in-chief at a comics “journalism” site that I’m not naming here, lest the head honcho appear like a shitty vanity searching horror goblin, and through that outlet, may have participated in some slightly shady reporting. The Outhouse (the charmingly named site taking point on a lot of the back and forth) has a solid timeline of events listed at the end of this article, complete with a look at some leaked correspondence that was released by the same party I refuse to name.
A lot of the side-discussion of this issue has many in the industry rolling their eyes as they talk in circles about the ways that comics journalism bathes in this kind of ethically questionable substance as though its occurrence makes it okay. I’m not exactly sure where I fall on this spectrum, but I do know that I’m bothered by the whole thing. I mean, is it really okay for comic companies to hold access and exclusives over various sites in exchange for puff? The site views and ad revenue will say yes, but my heart will always say no. Where does one draw the lines in this industry between love, integrity and money? At the end of the day, that’s something each of us has to come to terms with on our own. Honestly, I doubt the industry will ever change, but at the very least, the people inside of it can, and hopefully find what works best for them, whatever that means to any given person.
For my part, I’m considering a few different reactions to this. One of them might be a writing project. We’ll see if the time produces itself.
This weekend, both Danica and I were featured on Karen Unland’s wonderful Seen and Heard in Edmonton podcast. The audio was recorded at the very first Edmonton Podcast Meet-Up that was held at Variant Edition, and despite having quite a few podcasts under our belts, we were still really nervous. You can almost definitely hear that in the audio. But hey, if you want to hear us talk about content creation and what that might mean for a business or community, definitely check it out.
++ SOMETHING DIFFERENT
The wonderful and effervescent Devin R. Bruce has another instalment of his regular This Column Has Seven Days column up at Variant Edition’s Something Different blog – this time talking about two different forms of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, amoung other things. 7 Days is always one of the pop culture highlights of my week as Devin routinely introduces me to amazing new things. I highly recommend you check it out.
++ STAY TUNED
- My plan to create 50,000 words worth of content will continue to run through the first… third? Of November before collapsing completely, so keep an eye out for that.
- On Wednesday, I hope to be starting something quite exciting that will become even bigger in the new year. Hopefully. I’m going to need a lot of help to pull this off, but that’s kind of baked into the design. So let’s see if I can’t start that up sooner rather than later. More to come.