It's F#$@ing Free Comic Book Day.
A nd that bloody publisher of mine is giving away a full color 32 page excerpt from The Black Diamond Detective Agency!
Douglas Wolk explains Free Comic Book day here: "Five years ago, the weekend that the first Spider-Man movie came out, the American comics industry launched an experiment: Free Comic Book Day, in which thousands of comic book specialty stores around the country gave away comics to readers young and old. It worked out well enough that it's become an annual tradition, and this Saturday, May 5, is the sixth Free Comic Book Day. Almost every major comics publisher in the country has at least one free title this year, as well as plenty of smaller publishers; the mainstream and indie presses don't always see eye-to-eye, but they've all found that giving away samples is good for business."
In fact this tradition was introduced around the time I stopped publishing my own books, and it added to my number of reasons for doing so. I was reminded of another reason why I stopped being a self-publisher when Eroom Nala commented on my post of march 1st.
"Typical we're supposed to have everything published in NSW at my library but we've only got Bacchus volumes #1-6 and 9."
As comics started to become more involved in selling to the book market (rather than just the comics 'direct market') this brought with it other administrational complificutions. For instance, the ISBN numbers by which proper books are identified all over the world. Campbell decided he was not going to line up and be given a number by the civil servants of the publishing world. Then I found that amazon.com wouldn't take the books without an ISBN number. Okay, so how do we get them? Well you need to write off to the...bla bla bla and purchase a whole batch of them which you assign to your books as you go along. You register each title with the official governing body, then you need to send a copy of every publication thus registered to the national library. "What, gie away the books fur free?" (don't know why it didn't occur to me to treat it as a sale and bill'em for it). Anne used to handle all that stuff and I'd be throwing a spanner in the works saying, "ah let'em send in a postal order like everybody else!"
Anyway, more often than not I never remembered to do it, or didn't bother, and they were always phoning me to find out why there was a number in the system and no corresponding book on the shelves. Then you need to actually print the number on the books and while you're doing that you might as well put a barcode on there too, so you have to go and find somebody who knows how to make goddamn barcodes, and you're starting to feel like your in the supermarket business instead of the Art game. Now in order to get Amazon.com to take volume 4 I'm going to have to retroactively assign numbers to vols 1-3 (since I'd been a pain in the ass about this for three whole volumes) I suppose I could put the numbers on the book on a sticker. Of course when the time came I thought, what if I don't put the number on it, save the cost of a sticker, and just say that I've put it on.
Then I started losing sleep at night thinking somebody was going to catch me cheating. This was all getting me too far from the simple reasons why I wanted to draw my work and get it out there.
Between all that and Staros giving away free copies to reviewers, I decided I'd had enough of this bullshit. So I gave up publishing my own books.
First person to put their hand up in comments can have the little sketch shown above in the mail. For free.
"So help ma boab. Noo their givin' away ma originals fur nothin. Fuk this."
I've had a tornado of traffic over the last 24 hours thanks to Dan Shahin linking to my piece on Vinnie Colletta of two days back on the boingboing site where some clot described Vinnie's work in disparaging terms. So with a view to fostering a Vinnie Colletta appreciation society, let me return the favour by drawing your attention to Dan's online graphic novel store at www.comicbookshelf.com. If you need a copy of one of my books or anybody else's, you can have a look there.
Anyway, I went along to Free Comic Book Day at the major store in our town here, as we have ours earlier than everybody else, except the New Zealanders, with a view to chewing the fat with local comics readers about my new book, only to find that the store had not heard of the Black Diamond freebie and didn't order any in. Once again the world of comics has reduced me to a disappointed and despondent state. I want to propose a new catch phrase, as I am sure you are aware of our liking for catch phrases here at campbell blogspot, and will recall such gems as "It's not a graphic novel. Percy," among many others.
When the world of comics has disappointed you, and you just don't care any more and can't be bothered to make the effort, you must say: "Make room for me, Vinnie!"
And speaking of catch-phrases, I gotta laff! While I was checking my statcounter I noticed somebody arrived at this blog with the following Google searchwords:
Frank Miller Roning.
whoever you are, "thanks for roning."