Comics

Jun 212011
 
The view from my reading nook.

How much do you charge for digital products? For a decade my answer to that was “nothing!” It was freeing to be able to give away stuff, unhampered by material costs of production. I’ve been giving away e-books since 2000, and I’ve benefited from this in a number of ways.

However — in case you missed it — things have changed in the last decade. The print book market has been becoming less viable, and the digital becoming more so. Also the e-book reading experience is becoming more and more comparable to the print one. At a personal level, I’m reading as much on my phone as I am on the page.

So: I’ve decided to charge something for them now. But how much?

That’s up to you. Whatever you think is fair and whatever you’re happy to pay. If you’re looking for examples, read on.

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Aug 192010
 

A lot of people find quantifying the creative process to be distasteful somehow, but I dig hour logging — I keep track of how much time I’m spending on most of my projects. It gives me a way to predict timelines for similar projects in the future, and there’s something geekily satisfying about all that addition at the end of a day. It didn’t really work well with the movie project I’m working on, too many people and too many working styles, but it worked well with Shannon and I on the Sword of My Mouth graphic novel.

[Shannon, by the way, is currently on tour on the west coast -- she's doing a book launch at Lucky's on Aug. 24th in case you live in Vancouver!]

So here’s a breakdown of how much time we each spent working on the book.
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May 242010
 

Shannon made this terrific display for TCAF, click to zoomReview wise, we’ve had a pretty nice response from places like Bust, Boing Boing, and the Onion A.V. Club — check out the blurbs here. Also, tor.com has published an excerpt — you can read the first chapter there.

We got a bit of coverage at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival — the guys from Vepo Studios interviewed me for their great piece on self-publishing comics and I rambled on with the guys with RGB Filter as well. (Sadly, Shannon hates being videotaped.)

More recently we drove to Detroit and did a launch at Leopold’s Books, a fantastic new bookstore with an emphasis on comic/zine/visual culture. Greg, the owner, interviewed us on stage. Probably the nicest thing was hearing that he was worried the comic was going to be another exploitive take on Detroit in the “ruin porn” genre but was pleasantly surprised to see it was not.

UPDATE: Quill & Quire gave it a starred review: “Munroe has created another stunning, thought-provoking work that will linger in the reader’s mind.” The Indypendent has an interesting contrasting review of three Detroit books, including ours. Also, Shannon’s touring the west coast in August! Drop her a line if you want her to come to your town.

May 032010
 

Hey, we’re putting out a graphic novel treating the Rapture irreverently — we’re damned anyway, might as well get the word out about Sword of My Mouth! First up — science-fiction powerhouse io9.com is running a contest where you can win a copy of the print edition by rewriting my dialogue. It’s had a hundred entries in the first six hours, but there’s 18 hours left!

Secondly — what with the urban farming theme and spring being here and all, we figured it’d be fun to make seed packets marketed for the post-Rapture world — ones that don’t need the light of God to grow. (The first twenty people to buy a copy of Sword of My Mouth at the Toronto launch get one.) So Scott made a nice design and Shannon went to take some pictures “in context” as it were at a garden centre. The photo and the altercation that followed with the manager follows below. Continue reading »

Mar 062010
 

Issues (or chapters, I guess) #4 and #5 are up on the Sword of My Mouth site for folks who’ve sprung for the $6 digital subscription or the $12 preorder. The final part of the book, #6, will be up a month from now, so subscribers get a sneak peek a month before the book’s debut as a part of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Plus commentary!

It was a push to get the book ready in time, and tricky to manage as it’s a IDW / NMK single edition co-publishing dealy, but Shannon still took the time to do these hilariously amazing bio illustrations of the two of us, check ‘em out after the jump! Continue reading »

Jul 152009
 

We’ve just launched the mini-site for Sword of My Mouth, making the first two issues (and commentary from me and Shannon) available for subscribers and people who’ve pre-ordered the graphic novel. It’s the first third (48 pages) of the book so far, and we’ll be adding a chapter every other month until we launch the complete graphic novel edition at next year’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival. UPDATE: The Globe and Mail just ran an article about our publishing experiment.

One of the things we did differently with this book was research, and so I’ll take this opportunity to write a bit about that. Continue reading »

May 082009
 

How does $1 sound?

Sword of My Mouth #1, the first part of the follow-up to my post-Rapture graphic novel Therefore Repent!, is now in stores and this weekend at TCAF. #1 will be the only print edtion — issues #2-6 will be digital only, after which the complete story will be collected together and published as a printed graphic novel. So if you’d like to get them as they’re released bi-monthly through this year, you have two options — you can subscribe to the complete series in a digital format for $6 or pre-order the printed graphic novel for $12 and get a free subscription to the digital issues as well as some other goodies.

In a time when the economy and other forces are making the print pamphlet model unsustainable for many indies, we’re excited to see how this will work. The digital format isn’t going to replace the print book, but it’s an interesting format that allows for cheaper prices and more direct interaction between creators and readers — one we hope to foster by adding commentary.
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Mar 112009
 

One of the coolest thing about the comics world is that it doesn’t dismiss self-publishers the way the lit world does. Maybe because it’s a less pretentious field, or a newer one, or that drawing talent is more quickly discerned at a glance. Certainly it helps that one of the more prominent awards and grants, the Xeric, is open only to self-publishers.

Comic artist and former No Media Kings intern stef lenk received a Xeric grant for her illustrated booklets TeaTime 1 and 2. Whether you’ve got a project that you’re submitting to the next Xeric deadline at the end of this month, or if you’re just interested in hearing about the nuts and bolts of comics publishing from printing to promotion, you’ll find stef’s opinions and experiences in the article below food for thought. UPDATE: Canadian comic self-publishers will want to check out this Gene Day Award.
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Feb 232009
 

Her baby isn’t quite right. But in a post-Rapture Detroit, not much is.

The first 22 pages of the next post-Rapture story after Therefore Repent! will be appearing in comic stores in May, to be eventually collected into a graphic novel called Sword of My Mouth in 2010. Check out Shannon Gerard’s fantastic cover art and the description after the jump, and if it looks good you can preorder at your local comic store — it’s in this month’s Previews (MAR09 4308, pg. 266). Update: I just saw it’s a Staff Pick at Previews!

(What’s that, you say? You’re behind and haven’t read the critically acclaimed Therefore Repent! yet? Well, lucky thing I’m releasing the full graphic novel as a free download today, isn’t it?)

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Nov 252008
 

I’m 2/3rds (AKA 66.6%) of the way through writing the graphic novel follow-up to Therefore Repent!, so I thought I’d post some of the amazing sample pages by the new artist, Shannon Gerard.

I don’t want to give away too many details, but it’s set in Detroit, involves one of the Four Horsemen, and the first 22 pages should be debuting at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in May 2009.
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Oct 202008
 

Time Management for Anarchists started as a seminar I did at a zine fair five years ago, so I’m happy to be launching this comic at Canzine this Sunday. After doing the seminar a bunch of times, I did a Flash animation where judging by the traffic and the comments, various non-anarchist folks found it useful/enjoyable. So I worked with Marc Ngui and comic publisher IDW to start on a comic adaptation of it to see how it’d work for a broader audience, and Diamond is shipping the results to comic shops soon (#OCT084221).

For folks involved in anarchist groups or infoshops, I’d like to send you some free copies. Just drop a line and let me know who and where you are.

You can also read a free PDF of the 22 page comic (archive.org direct download | legaltorrent bittorrent). I’d be happy to chat about the various controversial issues it brings up in the comments!

Sep 082008
 

Emma focuses on the task.Marc Ngui and I have just finished a 22 page comic book adaptation of the workshop and flash animation I made on how to be productive without having, or being, a boss.

Starring Emma Goldman and Mikhail Bakunin, it’s a totally weird animal: part how-to, part polemic, part coming-of-age story, part interview, and Marc’s matched it with his whacked-out imagery and trippy colouring. I’m really excited to see what people think when we launch it next month. Check out more info and the cover after the jump.
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Jun 162008
 

libertyskin.jpgPretty nuts: that goofy Grand Theft Auto 3 video I made five years ago for my zine has been watched by the guy who designed SimCity, the Sims and the upcoming Spore. He actually mentioned it last week in a rather brilliant-sounding videogames-as-art speech.

That video (part of my Pleasure Circuit Overload series of vids about videogames) has gotten a ridonkulous amount of attention for what it is and it seems to keeps bumbling into places it doesn’t belong. (CTheory? The New York Times? Whaa…?)

But just so my head doesn’t inflate too much — I didn’t win the Shuster award for best comics writing I was nominated for last week. My new pal Cecil Castellucci won it for her excellent P.L.A.I.N. Janes graphic novel about a clique of nerdy girls transforming their town with art-terrorism.

Undeterred, I’m diving into researching and writing a new comics project, Time Management for Anarchists: The Comic. Which is gonna be drawn by Marc Ngui, the genius behind the My Trip avatar skins (pictured below).

It seems random, but everything in my life connects if you have enough time and graph paper to map it out. Continue reading »

Apr 172008
 

tcafstrip-thumb.jpgMy comic, it appears.

2008’s Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, Junot Díaz, was asked what he was reading for pleasure and he named my and Salgood’s graphic novel Therefore Repent! “It’s completely nuts,” he said, which is pretty close to what the Quill and Quire guy said (“unhinged”). Seems there’s a literary consensus on that. When my reader poll came out in favour of Lilith being actually daemonic and not just crazy, I committed to doing something over-the-top fantastical in contrast to my more muted stuff — nice to hear it’s working for people. Junot sounds like my kinda booknerd!

In other flattering news, I’ve been nominated for the Joe Shuster Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Writer award. Unlike some of the other talent there with a dozen or so comics to their name, I have only TR! and one other strip that appeared in the Beguiling-produced Comic Festival. You can read it on Salgood’s site.

Also: Chicago launch of Therefore Repent! next month!

Nov 222007
 

they’re always getting defaced… drawn by salgood samBoth critical raves and good sales? Eerie.

Therefore Repent! got a starred review in last month’s issue of Quill and Quire, made the Best of 2007 list in this month’s issue, and actually squeaked into the bestseller list for Canadian graphic novels last week.

Salgood Sam has booked the Montreal TR! launch at the newly opened Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore (211 Bernard Ouest) on Saturday, December 8, 7-9pm. As I’ve been in the baby zone, he’s been taking point lately with an audio ad and tabling at Expozine.

All this and it hasn’t even come out in the US yet! It’s due to hit the stores down south in January via Diamond (# NOV073660) and the US publisher IDW has printed up a great looking 30 page sampler to promote it: drop a line if you want some for your store or your pals. UPDATE: Salgood has a nice interview here, and the Montreal Mirror did an article as well.

Aug 152007
 

tr-arrived-thumb.jpgSo my fifth book and my first graphic novel, a collaboration with Salgood Sam, is finally available. Therefore Repent! is my take on the dark fantasy world established in the Holy Bible’s Book of Revelation. Some folks have asked about its relation to the Left Behind series, also set post-Rapture but with a conservative bent. I haven’t read it (though I have watched the movie starring Kirk Cameron and featuring Toronto’s CBC building as GNN Headquarters) but from what I hear it’s sincere bible fan-fiction, careful not to violate the canon. Mine’s closer to Bible slashfic, what with the bisexual angels and nipple-clamp-enhanced demonic communion. I like to think I’m re-imagining the Bible franchise, like Frank Miller did for Batman. Head over to the store to buy it or keep reading for the back cover copy and to see a hot book striptease. Continue reading »

Aug 072007
 

Therefore Repent!, my post-Rapture graphic novel, is launching on Thursday August 16th to kick off the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. It’s a co-launch with another comic about the end of the world — my pal Claudia Davila has written a thoughtful and ultimately hopeful story about what happens when the world runs out of oil. As well as the books being on sale, Salgood Sam will be bringing down the original Therefore Repent! art from Montreal for folks to ogle — crazy ass shit like this. Keep reading to see the neato flyer for the event. Continue reading »

Mar 042007
 

Expozine 2006 posterartRevolver #2, which consists of an excerpt of Salgood Sam and my upcoming graphic novel Therefore Repent!, has been nominated for the Expozine Alternative Press Award for best comic. It’s an offshoot of the awesome Montreal zine fair, one of the more successfully bilingual events I’ve been to. This is the second time they’ve done the award and, although I have fairly ambiguous feelings about prizes and competitions, I think the attention it draws to underexposed artists is definitely a Good Thing.

Case in point, a nominee in last year’s Expozine competition The Hero Book by Scott Waters.

Scott’s a pal, and the book is great, but he’s a curmudgeon. Not likely to tour, or do readings, or talk to people, he’s not exactly a media magnet. But awards like the Expozine Award give a context in which to talk about him. Or, in this case, interview him. Continue reading »

Jan 172007
 

trpreview-thumb.jpgFour pages of our forthcoming graphic novel Therefore Repent! were published in the winter issue of Taddle Creek magazine, which was great. Taddle Creek dusts off the concept of the literary magazine and allows one to appreciate the quality and yes, even glamour, beneath. A mainstay of Toronto’s writers for the past decade, TC publishes excellent fiction, urban history, profiles where writers are given the star treatment — and they throw great launches. Click through to see the four page preview of our post-rapture comic. Continue reading »

Sep 282006
 

Dog's Blank Eyed StareSo I’m putting together the catalog copy and cover mockup for my upcoming graphic novel, Therefore Repent!, and Salgood’s done another killer job on the art. My favourite comment so far: “When I looked closer the dog’s eyes seem to be, uh, overflowing with evil.” I told Salgood about it and he said he just drew a blank eyed stare and people read it as demonic.

Keep reading to check out the cover it its full glory, wingèd helmet and all…
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