Category Archives: From The Boss

Secret Origins

I was cruising through the radio stations and I stopped on OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting). I don’t know what the program was but several writers were being interviewed. One of the authors was asked about creating characters without back stories as a plot device. I’m paraphrasing but the author said she didn’t write a back story because she decided to leave it up to the reader. Whatever she came up with cannot match what the reader’s imagination came up with.

I am thinking that should be the same way with Totally Naked Man.

I do have an origin story. I’ve illustrated several pages and several versions of his origin. Totally Naked Man’s origin connects some of the dangling threads I left open in my stories. After listening to that radio program I’ve decided not to publish Tote’s origin. I think that will be more fun. Sure, clues will be dropped, like in the Car Wash story where The Butler bemoans that he raised Totes. However, what I have cannot match whatever awesome back story readers might come up with.

There is an origin but it will never be posted. Thanks for the idea, mysterious OPB program. 🙂

-Illya

Free Comics

The last story arc featured The Schlub getting agitated about comic fans misinterpreting his comic. There is a bit of truth in that comic on why I changed my comics, but it’s not the whole story.

Over the past few years I’ve been uneasy about selling my comics. Actually, I’m quite fine with selling my stuff… to people with money. But what about people without? Should people without money not be allowed to read comics? I know comics, in general, is a luxury item. People spend their money to buy their favorite characters in fantasy stories. If push came to shove, though, comics would be the first thing to cut when money is tight.

I feel like I can’t tell someone without money that they can’t read my stuff. I understand that it’s my work and I should be compensated. There are other methods to generate revenue. Ads are okay. A lot of people use Patreon. I signed up for one myself but I haven’t done any work on it yet. It’s not like I’m depended on turning a profit. Although it’d be nice to not pay for comic con tables or print runs out of pocket. But I just feel bad for people who can’t afford comics. I remember years ago watching a story about a little girl in Arkansas who walked around collecting newspapers because she wanted to read  the daily comics. Her family were really poor and had no TV or other forms of entertainment. It sucks to think that my stories will only be seen by people with disposable incomes.

I’m not saying all comics should be free. There are people whose livelihood depend on selling their comics. I think in my case, I’m looking at comics like TV shows. There’s a channel and you’ll get the content. However, you got to deal with some ads.

So yes and no. I did change Naked Man Comics to NMC comics so I wouldn’t get rejected from cons. But it was a catalysis for something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

My free library is at http://nakedmancomics.com.

-Illya

Account Hacked!

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My Facebook account was hacked!

I know… it sounds like a lame excuse given by someone who posted bigoted comments or nude pictures. However, my account was hacked. I believe what happened was that I registered for an app using my FB account. My account posted spam links to groups I belonged to. I did disable all connected apps and change my password. However, rather than take the chance of a possibly infected account, I just deleted it. So this might turn out to be good chance to challenge myself with different social networks.

I recognize the power of Facebook. It is the greatest communication utility invented. Earlier this month I unsubscribed from my friend’s feeds. Not because my friends were posting negative content. I did it so that I wouldn’t make comments I would regret. I also tried to privatized my account. People who don’t know me won’t understand the context of my posts. So I feel it’s unsafe to expand my communication network. Plus… my block list had over 200 people on it.

On line communication and networking is tough. I feel that there is a lot of obfuscation. It is very easy to make a random comment that turns into a misconstrued issue. People use their own internal filters to read rather than to understand the posters point of view.

I’m also a big believer in owning digital landscape. One of my friends at work said his Facebook account was his on line representation. I thought the statement to be odd since the TOS of Facebook states that Facebook owns the content.

It’ll be interesting to live without the largest and easiest accessible social network. I was huge into Facebook. But maybe this will help force me to use other venues to promote my comics. I hope so.

Just Stop

There are times when I am completely disappointed in the country I live it. Sometimes I regret using the red, white, and blue on my company’s logo. In this case… our fear and racism that prevents us from doing the right thing and help the Syrian refugees.

I just heard someone on the radio ask why we can’t put the “A-Rabs” into camps like we did with the Japanese. Talk radio callers (like YouTube commenters) are the intellectually low hanging fruit of society.

Either we help people, despite the potential risk, or we stop with the American Exceptionalism.

We also need to stop letting the “news” media baiting us by playing on our fears.

Miller Time

I’ve been reading the internet chatter about the Frank Miller DK3 The Atom cover (http://imgur.com/zrDNd2X). Comic fans do not like the way Mr. Miller illustrated Superman. Frank Miller has been writing and illustrating stories for decades. Over the years his work evolved and became more abstract. I believe his artwork is meant to convey emotions on a two dimensional surface. It is tough to do without some visual exaggeration.

I feel that many comic fans that are complaining about Mr. Miller’s illustration are not really fans of comics as art. Perhaps most comic fanatics prefer their comic product to contain stylized technical illustrations only. Mr. Miller is a master storyteller whose impact on the comic medium will continue long after he is gone. In the twilight of his career, he did an illustration of Superman based on how he felt about the character itself. The majority of the collective comic fanatics decided to ridicule his ability as both an illustrator and a storyteller.

What I gathered from the internet chatter, Mr. Miller should’ve maintained the same illustration style since the 1986 publication of The Dark Knight Returns. DKR was over 29 years ago. Frank Miller has done so much more as both a storyteller and an illustrator. His work has changed over time. All artist styles change as they grow. Also, Mr. Miller has been a very successful self-publisher of his own work. His body of work is worth more to him than Superman. Superman is not important to Frank Miller. Frank Miller outgrew the character.

So if Mr. Miller drew an exaggerated Superman illustration that looks grotesque, perhaps it is because Frank Miller views Superman as a grotesque character. I know that is how I feel about the character, knowing how DC Comics has treated their writers and illustrators. I’m sick of intolerant comic fans who care about their comic fix and nothing else. People need to stop treating writers and illustrators like dirt.

Compromise

After much thought I’ve decided to return to Reddit. Reddit is not ideal due to the ethics and values of the site owners. However, I had to evaluate which sites I use to promote my comics vs. how they operate. Sadly, people trying to create an audience must use all available tools. I have to compromise. I am compromising using Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and other social networks. I’m compromising using WordPress for Nakedmancomics.com. I’m even compromising using 3rd party applications to sell my comics. And I have to face facts… Reddit does bring in some readers.

 I’m not totally happy. Maybe once I do have a solid fan base I can step away. It’s not ideal but you got to do what you got to do.