Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Talking to Comics "Pirates"

(Cover to EC’s Piracy #1 by Wally Wood.)

For those of you who have been directed here from elsewhere and thus new to this blog and this company, hello and welcome. My name is Fred Van Lente, and among the many comics I write for Marvel, I am also writing a comic book history of the comic book industry called COMIC BOOK COMICS, illustrated by Mr. Ryan Dunlavey.

In our next issue, “The Future of Comics,” we’re looking at, among other things, the history of what’s commonly called the Direct Market (i.e. “comics shops”) and the challenge posed to it by digital distribution, both the legal kind and the less-than-legal kind: What’s commonly called “piracy,” though I know that’s a controversial term for some.

After some initial conversations on this topic with the fine folks on my Twitter feed, my Tweep @Delduwath sent me a link to “Talking to Pirates,” in which game designer Cliff Harris asked for folks who pirated his games to write in and tell him why.

The results were a fascinating read, and I thought I’d issue a similar call for folks who read scanned-in free comics: The industry and the press demonizes you a lot, and I want to hear your side of the story.

I’m not going to BS you, I am against comics “piracy” myself for a variety of reasons, but I’m not trying to pick a fight or start a flamewar. I just want to hear alternate points of view:

* Why do you read free, scanned-in comics? (Or did you used to, and if you stopped, why did you?)
* Do you avoid DRM sites like Comixology or the Company-specific apps, and if so, why?
* What do you think the comics industry could be doing better to get your business (if anything)?
* Comics piracy is often cited as a reason for declining sales – do you agree with this?

Please feel free to respond in the Comments section of this blog post or email us at Your responses will remain ANONYMOUS. I am doing this solely as an independent writer, researcher and historian. I am not a stooge for any publisher, video game producer or record label. I will not store your contact information even if you choose to share it with me, and I will definitely not share your identity with any third parties, corporate, government or individual.

I will summarize what you tell me in a future blog post, and use that summary as part of our upcoming story in Comic Book Comics #6 story, which is optimistically entitled “No More Wednesdays.”

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ryan & Fred signing at Dewey's Comic City Sat March 22!

What the link says -- c'mon down to Madison New Jersey and pelt me and Ryan with eggs -- OR (if you prefer), have your copies of COMIC BOOK COMICS and ACTION PHILOSOPHERS signed from 1pm to 3pm. Get full details on their website!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Photos from CBC #5 reading/signing at Midtown!

Midtown Comics was kind enough to host Ryan, Fred, and CBC #5 legal advisor Jeffrey Trexler at their downtown location for a reading and signing of the ALL-LAWSUIT ISSUE the day of its release, March 2nd 2011. Here's what it looked like:

Thanks to Thor Parker and the rest of the great staff for hosting us. It was a blast!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Our pals at COMICS ALLIANCE have provided a preview of our ALL-LAWSUIT ISSUE with the COMPLETE "Grabbers" story about creators legal battles with publishers over copyright, Siegel and Shuster versus DC and Jack Kirby versus Marvel to get his artwork back being the most prominent. Read the preview now, and be sure to get the comic when it comes out March 2!