There's a new Blonde Marvel story happening.
It's called "2019: A Space Anomaly" and the first five pages are live on Patreon. Art and story by me, colors by GraphicBrat
Also, don't forget to get a copy of Blonde Marvel #1
Remember the immortal words of Whelphon Tyrussian: "The more money you spend, the better you feel."
Did you get your all new, all different, all sexy Blonde Marvel #1 from @#$% DriveThruComics?! If so, why not take a moment to pen a short review and post it at my publisher page? It's easy peasy!!
1) Just hop on over to the same address where you got your copy of Blonde Marvel #1: www.drivethrucomics.com/produc…
2) Navigate to the bottom of the page where it says "Reviews/Discussions"---
3) Click the Reviews tab!
4) Click the blue "See All Ratings and Reviews" button
5) Which takes you to the screen below. Click "Reviews" (circled)
6) Then just write a teeny tiny review of the greatest Blonde Marvel story ever told! It's as easy as that, effendi!
I thank you and the nation thanks you!
Fuck you DriveThru for keeping it hidden and walled off and only available to people who know where and how to find it.
But yeah. Last semester, when I only had a couple classes, I was commissioned to draw a Blonde Marvel comic. The result is available now as Blonde Marvel #1. All new story, never before published on blondemarvel.com or anywhere.
Summary: The Blonde Marvel gets knocked up by her arch enemy, Fritz Krieg. Features some beloved supporting characters we haven't seen in awhile (beloved by me, anyways), such as husband Harold, and teenaged kids, Nick and Cassandra. If I could descibe the issue in one word, I'd say it was sexy, funny and fast paced, cuz one word won't cut it. Suck it, mainstream comics!
Okay, like I said, publisher DriveThru is trying its best to hide this issue from even its own customers so, for a limited time, I'm offering this issue free if you follow this link: www.drivethrucomics.com/browse…
If you already have an account at DriveThru then you should have no problem. If not, then you'll have to go thru one or two hurdles (to protect the children, you understand). Thank you all very much for supporting my art and I hope you enjoy the issue.
Me: I'm selling THIS COMIC, please check it out at drivethrucomics.com
You: Okay, I'll click on that link and check it out!
DriveThru: Sorry you can't preview an adult comic until after you've opened an account with us.
You: But I want to check out the comic first. If I want to buy it, then I'll open an account. Like how it is almost everywhere else on the internet.
DriveThru: Sorry, you must open an account with us first, then you can preview the comic.
You: You want me to open an account just to preview a comic I might not even buy? That's ass backwards. Nevermind.
End result: No sale.
So, because of this scenario, most of my sales at DriveThru came from readers who were already members of the site, just casually browsing for stuff to buy. Whenever I published something it would show up as the most recently published book and I'd get a bunch of sales that way. Now, adult comics don't even show up with the rest of the recently published books (unless you click the very small, very not-noticeable "see all" link way off to the right). So now, even people who actually have accounts can't see new adult comics unless they take an added step (and they may not even be aware of the step to take).
I did write the owner of the site a couple of times asking if they'd change this policy. First he responded that it was to protect kids, which is understandable. I responded that a) they should have an age confirmation dialogue box and b) even hardcore porn sites let you preview stuff before asking you to open an account. His response was that Google would then rank them as an adult site. Horror of horrors.
I had a similar issue with comixcentral a couple of years ago. Unlike DriveThru, they actually would allow non-accountholders to preview my comics, but similar to DriveThru, they wouldn't feature my latest work along with the other most recent books. I asked them to change this policy, and although I really didn't expect them to, they did. Now comixcentral is where I sell most of my books, which as you probably know consist of past Blonde Marvel material. But some new stuff is on the way. Well, new to you, probably.
Last year I was commissioned by an anonymous patron to do a special Blonde Marvel story. "The Baby Maker" is about the Blonde Marvel having to go through a full pregnancy cycle in one day and features a few characters we haven't seen in years, such as Fritz Krieg, her husband Harold, and her kids, Cassie and Nick. Most of my best Blonde Marvel stories are the ones that are only two or three pages in length but I have to say "The Baby Maker" is my best long story, both in terms of art and story. I'll be selling the digital book to the general public soon and I hope you have a look.
This Bachelor's degree I'm working on is many years in the making. I'm the first person in my family to go to college (1983) but probably the very last to graduate (2019) . In the army I would take a class here and a class there, whenever I could.
Bottom line, I can't do your commission right now. I can't draw comics right now. I usually never do requests, but if I do it is because I've known you or known of you for a long time. I have one request that I started last summer when I had what they call "free time" and now even that is on hold until after graduation.
The Blonde Marvel is retired at the moment, but like those old rock bands that announce their farewell tour and then a couple years later get together to tour one more time like nothing ever happened, I have a feeling she will be back eventually. It would be very suspicious if she returned some time after I graduate.
Strangely enough, Deviant Art and the entire world seems to function okay without my artistic output.
I get enough of that on DA.
95% of the notes I get of all the notes I get here are from some cat I never heard of and they ask, basically, "can you draw me something for free" ?
I talked about the difficulties of being an NSFW artist here and wrote a follow-up here.
In neither of those rants did I bother to mention my problems with Tumblr. Mainly because I had already left Tumblr a long while ago. The reasons I left weren't "policy" related. I joined Tumblr because I was told hundreds of people would share my work throughout the community. Yay!!
Instead, two, maybe three people consistently shared my work. Dozens, sometimes hundreds of people hit "like". Which, as a struggling artist, did me no good. What most people on Tumblr did share was the work of already established artists who didn't need any more publicity.
People are talking about starting some kind of alternative to Tumblr that will accept NSFW art. Good luck but how are you going to monetize it when it is the payment processors (PayPal, the major credit card companies) who are the real reason behind the NSFW crackdown?
If you're gonna create an alternative to Tumblr or any social media platform, ditch the "like" button. Make people either share other people's work or don't.
Share or share not. There is no "like".
Forget about it!
One thing about Stan is that he beat the drum for comics back in the 60's and 70's when no one else would.
I'm old enough to remember when working in comics was sort of an embarrassment. It wasn't a profession you bragged about working in. You told people you wrote comics but you were only doing it til you sold your first screenplay. Or you drew comics but only til you got that sweet Madison Avenue job in commercial illustration. Yet Stan Lee told anyone who would listen (college crowds, light night talkshow hosts, gameshow hosts, etc) about Marvel Comics, how great his artists were, how great his readers were. And he put up with the customary jokes from tv personalities who only really brought him on to belittle him and scoff at anyone who read comics (all in good fun, of course). We still have smarmy comedians who feel comics are stupid (Bill Maher, anyone?) but a lot fewer than in the 70's.
Being a NSFW artist of any kind is lovely in 2018.
Lately I've been wondering if, story-wise, Angela should even bother keeping her Blonde Marvel identity a secret. Years ago, I came up with the (not terribly thought out) idea that the reason no one recognizes that Angela Zaftig and the Blonde Marvel are strikingly similar is because of some kind of device embedded in her costume that makes people just misremember what the Blonde Marvel looks like. The device would emit some kind of radio frequency (or something science-y) that temporarily affected the brain's ability to recall what the Blonde Marvel looked like. Sort of like the concept of face-blindness, only on a temporary and oddly specific basis. But what about photos and news footage? Over the years there would be dozens of newspaper and magazine photos, tv interviews with and news camera footage of the Blonde Marvel. My brilliant face-forgetting device doesn't wouldn't keep people from recognizing Angela from print and video images.
Maybe donning a pair of glasses and styling your hair a different way is the better solution afterall.
That's IF he decides to deliver at all. How many times have you been home waiting for a package that didn't come, and when you checked with FedEx, the driver listed you as "no one at residence" or "facility closed".
UPS, on the other hand, I almost never have a problem with.
Apologies to James M. Cain.
Well, not really annual. The last time I bitched and moaned about how tough it is to be an adult cartoonist was a couple of years ago. Get your tiny violins ready. Here I go again:
PayPal still has a rule against selling erotic or X-rated works of art via their services. You can sell physical artwork or physical adult magazines but not digital material. Many people do use PayPal for adult commissions for example and they’ve never had a problem. But it’s a dangerous game. Know that all it takes is one “disgruntled” or dissatisfied customer who wants to report you. PayPal will seize the funds in your account for no less than six months. I got in trouble with PayPal once for putting one of their buttons on my website, blondemarvel.com. Turns out it’s against their rules to have a PayPal button on an adult website. My account was suspended for six months (they allowed me to withdraw the funds I had) and to tell the truth it was never really un-suspended. But I know of two artists who had their accounts suspended and they weren’t allowed to touch their money for six months.
I’ve sold a handful of adult comics via Drive-Thru. They are a great service. At least they allow X-rated comics, for which I’m grateful. I’ve made a bunch of money with them but I could have made more if my comic wasn’t X-rated. If your comic is X-rated, Drive-Thru kind of puts it out of reach of their casual consumer. It’s not included in casual browsing. It’s not included in some promotional campaigns.
Scenario: Let’s say I want you to check out my comic. On my website I provide a link to where my comic is sold on Drive-Thru. If my comic was a plain old everyday PG rated book, the link would take you directly to the page where my comic is sold on Drive-Thru. You can preview it and decide if you do or don’t want to buy it. If you do, then naturally you have to open an account, give your email address, and so forth. But, because my comic is X-rated, Drive-Thru won’t allow the link to go directly to the page where my comic is sold. Instead you are asked to give your information and affirm you are an adult. Then they will allow you to see my comic. This is ass backwards. Who wants to sign up to a website just to preview a comic they may or may not buy? I’ve sold comics on Drive-Thru but mostly to people who were already members of the site.
Project Wonderful: This is moot because I don’t use them anymore and don’t even know if they are still relevant in this age of AdBlock. But when I did use them, they were very bitchy about advertising adult comics. Not at first, but gradually they became more skittish about it. But what really got my goat was that a lot of cartoonists who were making adult comics themselves would not allow advertising from other adult cartoonists. As a website owner, you had to manually “opt in” to allow adult advertisers and many just failed to do so. It was frustrating to see a comic that was R or X rated that would be perfect to place an ad, only to find out that they didn’t allow adult ads. And by “adult ads” I don’t mean that the ads were explicit or raunchy but that the ad linked to an adult website. I had to write people individually and ask why they didn’t allow adult ads on their adult website and most were unaware that they had to opt in. Usually they would opt in and allow me to advertise. There were still one or two cartoonists who, inexplicably, did not want any adult ads on their adult website. Whatever. So, yes, I did manage to get my ads placed on most of the websites I wanted. Then Project Wonderful made some kind of change to their rules or algorithm. Big improvements. All new features. Remember all those people I wrote individually? Project Wonderful reset their preferences back to default, meaning they would once again have to opt in to allow adult ads. I stopped using their service.
Update: Just announced June 11th Project Wonderful is shutting down.
New digital comics service on the block similar to Drive-Thru. They had a similar policy in that my comics were not featured along with other comics because they were X-rated. I mentioned it would be nice if this policy were changed and to my surprise, it was. Also, they allow me to link directly to the page where my comics are sold. Potential customers are not re-directed to a sign-up page.
I’ve sold a handful of comics thru Lulu but I can’t really recommend them. They are a good service but they aren’t exactly the place where people go browsing and shopping for comics. As a publisher, a lot of your sales comes from people discovering your comic via just browsing and looking around and having your book featured in campaigns. People don’t come to Lulu to browse for comics, unfortunately. I remember for a long time Lulu was steadfastly against publishing adult comics. Then they allowed it. Then they were against it again. Now they are okay with it but I still wouldn’t recommend them.
I have no problems with Patreon (except that I wish I had more Patrons, ha ha) but I include them in order to point out the hypocrisy of PayPal. As an individual adult cartoonist, I can’t legitimately do business via PayPal because of their rules against selling digital erotic works. Yet Patreon uses PayPal to pay all of their adult content providers, from cartoonists to porn stars. Same thing with Drive-Thru, actually. The money I make at Drive-Thru is paid to me via PayPal. I understand that early on, PayPal did have a problem with Patreon providing adult content but funny how the almighty dollar solves all sorts of problems.
I published an erotic prose novel with them. I had no problem with them in that regard. I noticed they also sell digital comics. They do not allow adult comics. You can publish X-rated prose with them (in fact, they are famous for their porn prose novels with suggestive covers and titillating titles) but they are too good to publish X-rated comics. Not mad at Smashwords, just pointing out the kinds of things I’ve had to wrap my mind around.
They publish print on demand physical comics. Unless your comic is x rated. I believe they allow some nudity but no explicit sex. I’m not all that interested in physical media anyway. I remember when the idea of publishing my own physical comics and having them sold in comic stores and newsstands was paramount in my mind. It was a pipe dream because of the cost, the logistics and, of course, the prejudice most American printers have against adult comics.
I have not tried to sell anything on Gumroad mainly because when I first checked them out, they wrote they would not publish anything adult (they struck me as rather religious, so that made sense). I’ve since been told that yes, you can sell adult stuff on Gumroad. I know people who have. But I imagine Gumroad would be like Lulu, a place where folks aren’t shopping for comics. There are places like Drive-Thru and comixcentral where people are already there shopping for comics and then there are places like Lulu and Gumroad, where you have to take them there and hope for the best.
Comixology and Amazon:
Funny story about Amazon. I once had an Amazon button on my website. One of those deals where, if you purchase something from Amazon via my website, I’d make a few cents off the sale. After a while they wrote to say they did not allow this service on adult websites. I made a whopping 6 cents tho! As far as publishing comics via Comixology or Amazon, I’d rather not go through the hoops and the review process at the moment. Maybe later.
Well, overall, things aren’t as bad as they were back when I first started (Bush administration. Look it up). Back then there were almost no options for an adult cartoonist (unless you were somehow already internet famous or European). You could give your art away for free on sites like DA, no problem. But try to make money. Want to run an adult website? The credit card companies didn’t want to mess with you (still don’t). Want to sell commissions? PayPal didn’t want to mess with you (still don’t). Want to print a book? Printers didn’t want to mess with you (still don’t). Every avenue seemed closed.
Now there are a number of different options to make money. There are still roadblocks but you just go around them. Although I disagree with some of their policies, I’m glad Drive-Thru was brave enough to sell adult comics when they launched their service. They sure didn’t have to. I’m glad Patreon negotiated a way for adult content providers to use PayPal as a way to receive money. I’m glad Lulu and Gumroad were flexible and changed their corporate minds about not publishing digital smut. I’m glad all the other companies even though I’ve had mixed levels of success with them. Oh, and thank you, Al Gore, for inventing the Internet.
Lastly, I’m not as in love with the idea of exclusively being an adult cartoonist anyway. A long time ago, as I was facing obstacle after obstacle, I thought about just doing PG rated comics. I saw people putting out by-the-numbers Marvel comics rip-offs and they didn’t get hassled. It’s just I was too stubborn and didn’t want to feel like I’d given in to “The Man.” Now, having finally had some success selling erotic comics and commissions, I guess I no longer feel the need to “take a stand” against corporate hypocrisy. I can go ahead and make PG rated, by-the-numbers Marvel rip-offs without feeling like I capitulated. And then turn around and make an X-rated version and feel pretty sure that I could find places to sell both.