This is part of a celebration I’m doing called Sketchtember. Everyday this month I’ll post a new sketch for sale on Storenvy. Each sketch will be $10 (with free shipping). So support an indie artist and the post office!
It has been exactly 2 months since I deactivated my Facebook account and deleted the business page for my art. And I’m going to talk a bit about my life without Facebook (so far).
For one thing, I am WAY less stressed about politics.
Facebook makes it very easy to see political opinions alongside cat videos. There is no separation of fun from calls to anger (or action). Why Facebook is so upsetting with political posts is because it’s the easiest way to discover that your close friends or family don’t hold the same opinions that you do – and they aren’t willing to change their mind about it. And the trap that Facebook sets up is the idea that you can talk with the other person in an effort to change their mind.
Speaking as someone who worked at a doctor’s office that quickly became a drug addiction clinic, I can tell you THIS surprising truth I learned:
The Venn diagram of people who are addicted to drugs, and people who hold racist/white supremacist beliefs, is only one centimeter off from a complete circle.
And unfortunately, on Facebook, I saw a lot of people who defended their beliefs with the same fervor as people who were addicted to drugs. The person thought they were in complete control over their addiction/feelings. The truth is, they aren’t. The drugs/feelings are controlling them. And voices of disagreement against them trigger a defensive response. Because the person addicted to their beliefs doesn’t want to admit that their emotions are controlling them. They don’t want to admit that they have a problem, because they think they don’t have one.
The sad truth is: you need to treat people who are stuck in certain beliefs the same way that you treat drug addicts. And that is: they have to admit that there is a problem first.
Until the addict admits that there is a problem, they will just continue going downhill.
To me, Facebook as a platform, and the people who use that platform, are going that route.
I’m glad I left when I did. Since I’m not on Facebook (or Twitter!) anymore, I’ve developed a more…realistic view of things. To me, that means that my understanding of things come from real life, not some apocalyptic think-piece someone posted at 3 am on Facebook. Gods I do NOT miss those.
I also don’t miss my posts being ignored by the algorithm.
Being on Instagram means that I’m still subject to the whims of a Facebook-esque algorithm, but in general, more people on Instagram are following me for the art I post. I may also get an account on TikTok, but I’ve seen news pieces talking about how the platform may get banned because it’s Chinese. So who the f*ck knows.
Thankfully, since I left Facebook, I’m not constantly being asked to spend ad money to promote a post to the audience that I ALREADY have.
However, I can’t run Instagram ads. Running ads on Instagram requires a Facebook account. Which I don’t have anymore.
So, with that said, I’ll have to get more creative with my promotions and outreach. I have yet to decide whether or not to return to Twitter. Gods I hope I don’t have to.
I still have an email newsletter though! And right now, that’s the best “social media” platform to stay in touch. If you’re not on it yet, you can sign up for free. I don’t give your email to anybody because that’s shady as heck. (Ok, soft plug done).
Also, in the meantime, I’ll be posting more often on the blog here. I’m playing with the idea of writing a new blog post every day. Just personal posts – no attempts at the traditional blog posts like my Writing for Comics or Freelance Lifestyle posts. I’m retiring those. I’ve written all I want to write for those topics anyway.
In short – I’m glad I left Facebook. I’m happier and more balanced. It’s also making me more creative in how I do outreach for my business.
Today I want to talk about the future of Johnson & Sir, the comic I made back in 2013 about 2 elf cops in Fantasyville.
I made this comic in a different time, with a different mindset. I primarily made this story as an inside joke between myself and close friends and family to parody cop shows and dynamics. Heck, it originally came about when one of my sisters and I made up satirical dialogue between two cop characters in the Jak and Daxter games – and the cops were corrupt in the original source material.
Is this a justification for why I made Johnson & Sir? Maybe.
What I DO know is that right now, in this point in history of 2020, the police system as a whole needs a complete overhaul. I feel like I don’t have to say why.
To profit off a comic about Fantasyville cops, even a parody of the institution of policing, seems to me in bad taste right now.
Also, over the last few years, Johnson & Sir just hasn’t sold very well at comic conventions or online. Johnson & Sir aren’t in my top 5 bestsellers list anymore, to be truthful.
So with these conditions (and a few others) in mind, I’ve taken down Johnson & Sir’s listing on my online store, as well as the listing for the original art from the production of it.
The website for Johnson & Sir is still live for now, but I have not monetized that site. The website may or may not be taken down. That decision still has yet to be made.
That said, I’m still sitting on 40+ copies of this book. I had ordered so many towards the start of this year because I thought comic conventions would still be a thing. NOT ANYMORE.
For now, these books will sit in storage, until such a point that I decide to list the book again for sale – with a disclaimer on the inside front cover.
If you have issues with this decision, I have a few things to say to you:
First, you’re allowed to be angry. But understand that I don’t have to babysit you while you sit in your anger. You are in charge of your emotions. You are responsible for what you feel. Figure out what to do for yourself.
Second, I’m not changing my mind about this decision.
Well, after that I want to run these streams differently.
For one thing, I’m going to bring the schedule down to doing one new stream a month.
For another thing, I’ll be doing giveaways during these monthly livestreams – I’m still sitting on a LOT of books and art.
Also, I want to do more than just drawing live. With convention season and workshops not being things for the foreseeable future, I would like to do more tutorial livestreams.
Just to spitball some ideas, these are the sorts of workshops, panels, etc I would be participating in during convention season. Let me know which of these topics you’d like me to talk about in next month’s livestream:
How to Make Webcomics
LGBTQ representation in comics
How to Make a Minicomic
Character Design That’s Awesome
In the meantime, I’ll be taking a break from posting online (stream or otherwise) until the week of July 15. But I’ll be in the comments…lurking…
Y’all. I wanted to make a blog post about my favorite comics by black creators. Until I realized I know so few of them.
First, I’ll say that C. Spike Trotman and Taneka Stotts are my favorite black creators who have edited for the Beyond anthologies and My Monster Boyfriend (among other works). And yes, both ladies have written and drawn great comics of their own!
But very few comics I read are written and illustrated by black creators.
That said, I can do better to support black comics creators working today. I will do my part to seek them out and read their work. (I think I’ll start with Prince of Cats by Ronald Wimberly, because I follow him on Instagram.) (And also this list from Book Riot.)
Part of the reason why I think it’s hard to find comics by black creators is because…well…
Here’s the Secret.
It’s an uphill battle to HAVE black creators working in comics, particularly “mainstream” comics. They want to work, but industry leaders and execs will not hire them. This prejudice in hiring practices is so intense that CB and I wrote about it in Validation a long while ago, and the topics discussed in that arc are STILL relevant today. (The strips at the top of this post are some highlights from that arc.)
There are more black creators in indie comics because until recently, no one in “mainstream” comics wanted to hire them. Often for not-great reasons.
But then, I’ve never been a big supporter of “mainstream” comics. It was an all-white-boys club in the 80s and 90s, and in so many ways, it still is. “Mainstream” comics regard minority groups as subject matter to highlight their “otherness,” not as a target audience to make comics for.
I know that opinion is contentious. But I’ve come to this conclusion after making comics and attending conventions over the last 7 years. I’ve seen and heard the arguments all around. And I could write a whole other blog post about “the industry,” but that’s for another day.
Long story short: “mainstream” comics has a representation problem with hiring black creators. So much so that many black creators go indie and have immense success on KickStarter.
Am I going to let “mainstream” comics’ allergies to hiring black creators get in the way of seeking them out? No. I will go find a creator on KickStarter, do my research, and if their story tickles my fancy, SUPPORT THEM. And I hope you do the same.