A model sheet. I don’t think I ever used this, but I believe I sold it a few years ago.
My SEKRIT PROJEKT announced: an autobiographical graphic novel of the life of Stan Lee. With Peter David. Colors by Bill Farmer and letters and art assist by Allan Harvey my invaluable art restorer on A DISTANT SOIL. He also does the art restoration on much of the old Marvel art used in the book.
I was surprised and thrilled that Stan wanted me on this project. It is drawn in a cartoonier style than I normally use, and it is quite fun. Wish I could show you some, but can’t.
The deadline is very tight and I don’t have much time left, whew! So, bye!
Fans and pros make vicious comments online, and then complain that they are poor bullied little innocents when they are held accountable for the things they say.
Some of the stuff gets blown out of proportion, some is rightly and roundly trounced.
What we have online is a bunch of people who act like they are in a bar, and who think they can just say whatever they want to say, and all their friends will pat them on the back and shout “Hail, Fellow! Well met!”
Except you’re not in a bar with all your like minded friends who listen to you spew the N-word, but will turn around and swear on a Bible you’re not really racist. If you are online, you are in the public sphere. And if you are a professional in this business, you have to be professional.
You can’t turn around and complain you’re being bullied when you use a public platform to say something ugly and then have to deal with it when people call out your ugly comments.
Criticism isn’t bullying.
I’m not talking about death threats and organized hate, I’m talking about “Hey, this comic art is sexist,” is not bullying. “Hey, this comment about Jews, not cool.” is not bullying. “Saying feminists are Nazis is wrong because feminists didn’t kill 11 million people,” is not bullying.
As pros, we put our work out into the public sphere and then the public gets a say. That is all there is to it. They could sure as heck be more polite in their discourse, but you don’t get to control the reaction of the public. You produce and they decide. That’s it.
If the work is criticized, fair game. If the criticism becomes personal, then you, the recipient of the barb, have a right to nuke it ’til it glows. You can either block them, or delete their comments, or let them know exactly what you think of their nonsense. If they insist on telling you what they think of you by shoving it in your face on twitter or in personal notes, you have the right to react. And if you are not stalking them and threatening them and spewing invectives, it’s not bullying.
I have seen pros who openly mock the letters and comments of fans on their FB pages, who then turn around and complain about Feminazis and their bullying about big boob comic characters.
Well, folks, criticism works both ways.
if you make a public statement, it’s public domain. It’s not yours anymore.
And trying to frame the criticism many so easily dish out as bullying when it boomerangs right back to the source is just plain cowardly.
OK good news for you, especially those who are waiting for commissions.
The bad news (in one sense,) is that a major project which would have taken an entire year has been axed. This has nothing to do with me. The writer has simply decided he can’t do the book.
I do have a mini-series on my plate to move on to after my current graphic novels are wrapped up in June.
However, there is a very good chance there will be a hole in my schedule. For a month or more.
My first obligation is to all the people on my commission list who have been so patient. If I can meet those obligations, I will take on more commissions. I will definitely be able to take on a small number of commissions at my personal appearances this year, Derby City Comic Con and Wizard World Portland.
So for all those who have been waiting for me to finish commissions, you won’t have to wait much longer. And for those who want commissions, there will probably be a 3 week window in which I can take on several more.
Please contact me via my website contact button for inquiries.
Thanks for your patience!
In the meantime, I have a very heavy workload for the next 80 days, so back into the rabbit hole I go!
And one of my commissions: Bat Napoleon
Now that’s devotion.
Deven Stephens, who has been an A DISTANT SOIL fan for years, has tattooed both legs with these incredibly detailed A DISTANT SOIL images. His tattoo artist is John Howard from Finishing Touch
Tattoo in Mattoon IL. I am really impressed by this incredible work! These photos are posted with permission.
Click for a larger look at the images. And then click again for a full page image.
When someone makes your art a part of your life, it’s really special. Thanks for sharing these, Deven!
The internet is a great and invaluable tool for promoting my work and staying in touch with readers.
It is also a perpetual rage machine and a time sink. Whenever I think I don’t have time to exercise, I just look at the time I spent reading some godawful argument on the internet and I go “Well, I could have been lifting some weights during that. Or spending time with my family. Or drawing.”
You can’t get involved in every argument or discussion no matter how important it is, because there are more arguments and issues than any human being can handle in a 24 hour day. And it is deeply annoying to have someone pipe up and chastise you for not getting involved in something because real people who care about puppies reblog everything about puppies.
Here is an earlier article I wrote about how I use apps and tools to control my internet use. I use Leechblock, Freedom and Self Control.
Here are some other things I do or think through every day.
1) All comics industry sites are categorized in my Leechblock app. I can’t see them after the 5 minute timer is up. That’s not five minutes for each, that’s five minutes combined per day. The only day all sites aren’t blocked is on Sunday, and I usually don’t want to read them on Sunday. My job is to make comics, not to read and argue about them.
2) Social media like twitter and Facebook are a lot of fun for me. But after 11:00 AM, they are blocked on my work computer. The only way I can read them is by using the laptop computer on my treadmill desk. Comics industry sites are blocked on that, too. If I’m going to be tooting around with fans and friends on social media, at the very least, I can combine that with some healthy activity, like walking.
3) If I feel compelled to say something online that I may regret later, I type it up, email it to myself, and then sit on it for a day. 99% of the time, I delete the item and never post it.
4) I stopped posting to message boards on blogs ages ago. I not only feel better, but it greatly lessons the bizarre interactions with strangers that can make internet life a hassle. I have no incentive to provide content for other people’s publicity machine. At least when it’s on my own social media platform, I can promote my own work once in awhile as well.
5) Not everyone is going to agree with you, and if for any reason someone rubs you the wrong way, bugs you or whatever, you have the right not to talk to them. Free speech does not include the right to engagement.
People have the right not to like you. No one owes you a relationship. You don’t have to hang out and talk with everyone you meet in a bar, you don’t have to hang out and talk with everyone you meet on social media. And social media comes right into your living room. If someone isn’t a good guest, you have the right to show them the door.
Block their website, block them on twitter.
And don’t hate read. Almost everyone I know who has a bitter internet feud with someone who was a jerk to them spends an inordinate amount of their time running around the internet hate reading their blogs, feeds and websites.
6) This is the hard one.
There are always going to be people who are friends with people you don’t like. People who have been abusive to you, or abusive to others. Maybe people know about that, maybe people don’t.
But these people are going to show up in your social media feeds, show up hanging out with friends, show up trying to get your attention. Be in articles about you, be in documentaries if you end up going pro. Awkward.
The person who is friends with the guy who stalked you and other women (and hit you at a convention – no I don’t mean hit ON, I mean hit in the face and then ran off,) so vocal about abuse by men in fandom, but when her friend did it to you, she dismisses it as a symptom of his “mental illness” and demands you be “understanding”.
Whew, that standard does not work both ways, I see.
You could spend the rest of your natural life fighting and arguing about this sort of thing, pointing out hypocrisy, demanding justice.
Trying to force someone to choose sides won’t end well. You won’t get the result you want.
So pick your battles and move on.
Either they will learn the truth or they won’t. And if they decide they still want to associate with someone who has done you harm, realize you did more good letting them have free choice than by demanding they make a choice on on your behalf.
7) Everything on the internet is about picking your battles, whether it is the battle of time management and your relentless need to stare at LOLCats, or whatever injustice you think you need to address that day. Big or small, you pick and choose.
But no one gets to pick for you. It is your call. And no one has any idea what kind of battles you are fighting outside of cyberspace.
Maybe your daily life is stressful and difficult enough. And you really do need to take a moment and stroke a LOLCat.
These rules work for me. They may work for you. Or not.