Making Sense of the Muck & Mire

Social Media & Reinvented Histories Redux

My deepest thanks to all who ordered anything during the three SpiderBaby Store “free Swamp Thing head sketch” (sample, above, and in-process sketch, below, left) test marketing periods.

I began by offering a free Swamp Thing head sketch via Facebook posts only; after that ran its course, I let a bit of time pass, and repeated the offer for about the same duration of time (2+ days) via Myrant only. Finally, I made the offer anew via tweets only. For what it’s worth, Twitter knocked FB (7 orders) and blogging (2 orders) completely on their asses.

Now, Twitter had already bested the FB and blog tests in its first few hours (8 orders), but by the time the timeframe for said offer had passed, I had received over 100 orders via Twitter—thanks largely to the strange conjunction of news of Guillermo del Toro‘s DC-supernatural-characters project/script and Rick Johnston of running that and my sketch offer as a news item

  • (and here it is).
  • Rich wins a free head sketch & signed art prints for his rocketing the Twitter campaign into the stratosphere (all other so-called online “comics journalists” who continue to ignore me and my efforts, take note, please)—and Guillermo, if you’re out there, contact me. I’ve got a honey of a free sketch for YOU, no strings attached.

    Just, you know, have your people call my people, as they say in Hollywood (or so I’m told).

    The Twitter test marketing went viral thanks to the Guillermo del Toro project—something I never, ever could have anticipated, much less orchestrated.

    Funny, that, but I’m thankful beyond words.

    My deepest thanks to all who spread the word/posts during all three tests (especially to those who couldn’t afford to participate or chose not to, but did spread the word; thank you). Thanks to all who made the plunge and a purchase; this was primarily and initially a test-market for me to bring into my Center for Cartoon Studies senior class this semester, to talk about effective marketing strategies via social media, but it turned into a major & completely unexpected January windfall for me that funds my current projects (primarily the still-in-progress Tales of the Uncanny, reaching the end run at long last) beyond my wildest dreams (who needs Kickstarter?).

    And, the upshot: my current decisions, based on this test:

    (1) I am not leaving Facebook in 2013.

    (2) My tweets will be primary drivers daily, and I’m resetting my FB wall so my tweets will be visible there (I had shut that off for a few weeks, till now).

    (3) Myrant blogging continues in 2013, two-to-three times per week, after my erratic and “I dunno, I may be out of here soon” posting of 2012.

    The offer is no longer valid, mind you, and I’ve got a ton of sketches to wrap up and mail out with the SpiderBaby Store orders before next week is out. But there it is, and I hope it all makes some sense now.

    And speaking of Tales of the Uncanny – N-Man & Friends: A Naut Comics History, Vol. 1, John Pannozzi posted a comment to an earlier Myrant post I’ve decided to share here;

    John‘s comment was up last night (January 10, 2013 at 9:51 PM) and read:

    “I would hope that Tales of the Uncanny doesn’t contradict the fiction history of the 1964 [sic] Sweatshop, or Jim Valentino’s “A Touch of Silver”, or the fake letters page in the Silver-Age section of the ShadowHawk Special - basically everything that forms a fictional history for the maker[s] o[f] Image Comics and related series.”

    My reply:

    John: As I must (per his own wishes/demands, and our contractual agreement of 1998) remove “Affable Al” and the 1963 series characters/concepts/titles I do not own from any and all comics and/or the fictional history I’m able to work with, I’ve had to reinvent the entire fictional universe my characters and comics exist within. Any hope Rick Veitch and I (and anyone) may have harbored for even a bare-bones reprint of the original 1963 series (sans finale) was buried for good with Alan’s own decision in the 11th hour to deep-six the whole affair; thus, I have to sever my characters completely from the fictional history of the 1963 sweatshop as presented in (real time) 1993+. I cannot refer to anything except The Fury, N-Man, Sky Solo, the Hypernaut, and their related characters/concepts; the only creator of the original sweatshop I can reference is myself.

    These aren’t necessarily my choices or my rules, John. It’s the hand I’ve been dealt, and must work with.

    Furthermore, my serious attempts to contractually engage with the real-world Image Comics in 2010-2011 (and Image’s failure to follow up and through, in any way, after seven months of what they may consider “negotiations,” but which were anything but, yielding nothing) further complicated matters. I cannot in good conscience refer to Image Comics, or any aspect of the fictional history original 1963 co-creator Jim Valentino brought to the table subsequently, except as a “licensed offshoot” circa the 1990s—and leave it at that.

    I’ve essentially had to chuck everything—save for coy references diehards may be able to draw the links with and to—and reinvent the entire ‘Naut Comics’ universe and faux-history from scratch. There are strong legal and personal reasons for this overhaul. While I’ve been attentive as I can to what real-world came before, it’s not the conceptual card game I ever would have chosen to play—and anything and everything “that forms a fictional history for the maker[s] o[f] Image Comics and related series” are thus a fiction (which I cannot go into, but only obliquely reference) within my own fictional construct.

    I must add that none of this is due in any way to Jim Valentino, folks, who has been nothing but a friend and a saint on this long, strange trip; it has been my choice not to engage Jim in any of this insanity, as I don’t wish to potentially “taint” Jim by proxy. For the same reason, I’ve not engaged with any of my former 1963 creative partners in this new project, which saddens me to no end, but given Alan‘s behavior past and present, and my own “exile,” why drag anyone from the original team into this? I wish it were all otherwise.

    More on Tales of the Uncanny and the faux-history of Naut Comics later this year, folks.

    And, to end on a cheerier note for the weekend… a peek at what’s in store in the upcoming issue of Denis St. John‘s and my zine Monster Pie (#2), coming soon!


    The Unbelievable N-Man™, Tales of the Uncanny™, Naut Comics™ are trademarks of Stephen R. Bissette, all rights reserved; N-Man™ and Tales of the Uncanny™ and ©Stephen R. Bissette, by contractual arrangement with the original co-creator. N-Man logo by Mark Bilokur, artwork by Josh Rosen, Stephen R. Bissette, Max Riffner, ©2012 Stephen R. Bissette, all rights reserved. Swamp Thing® and ©DC Comics Inc/DC Entertainment Inc.; sketch art ©2012 Stephen R. Bissette. All other characters © respective years by their respective proprietors. All images are posted for educational and archival purposes only.

    Discussion (4) ¬

    1. Lou Mougin

      We are naut waiting much longer for this series! Publish it, Steve!

    2. Mark Nelson

      Another MONSTER PIE! That makes me one happy BOOOOOOYYYYYY!!!!!

    3. Jim Keefe

      The internet is a strange beast. I did a blog post about a Flash Gordon page I did that was recently rereleased where one of the characters was inspired by T-boz from TLC. Coincidentally, T-Boz just started a new reality show a couple weeks ago. So guess which blog post has been getting the biggest hits? SOme things are definitely out of your control, but when a wave hits you have to be prepared to get up and ride it (and hopefully not be smashed and drowned underneath).

    4. Henry R. Kujawa

      So far, the only time I’ve had to “reinvent” one of my characters’ histories was with STORMBOY, but that’s because the original stories (1966-70) took place in a utopian future, while the “reboot” (1972-78) took place in the “present day”. It was an terribly ill-conceived attempt to “Marvel-ize” it, and I wish I’d never wasted the effort. When I finally got around to writing a new STORMBOY story (the x-rated one I got published & distributed in 6 countries), I tied it in directly with the original stories from the 60′s, pretending that the “reboot” never happened!

      I suspect that’s what Paul Levitz is trying his best to do right now with DC’s LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES… (heh)

      Sometimes I think amateur comics are more fun… nobody owns them but yourself, and you can do anything you want with them!

    Comment ¬

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