This is what webcomic creators really do


There was never a sequel or prequel to moby dick or citizen kane. (Allen Yuen)

Note: The following was written by Allen Yuen, artist and writer of Allen Shrugged, in response to Mallville's Gary Cohen's earlier blog post. Enjoy :)

I have nothing against DC making money, but to print a Watchmen sequel is a desperate cry for help. Isn't DC already stretching it with the reboot and now this? Yes, they're going to make money but in the long run they give up something more valuable than dollars. By printing a watchmen prequel DC is guaranteeing that comics will never be taken seriously as an art. That's right I said it. Comics is a form of art.

And in a couple of years no one will look at Watchmen the same way. Couldn't they just kill Batman again, or is it Superman's turn. It's hard to keep up ya know.

Frank miller said it best when he said that 'every batman story that can be told has been told, all you can do is put a nose ring on the old stories' basically saying to re tell the old stories with a modern twist.

This also applies to movies, tv shows, books, whatever.

By not taking any creative chances in any of these mediums, the creative people behind these things will not inspire anyone to reach for something more. By rebooting batman and spiderman every 5 years, we're subtly telling the audience that it's ok to not push yourself and just copy what someone else did and fob it off as your own. Hollywood and comics are a Symbiotic entity that is creatively vapid. Don't be an original, just copy and paste cool things that you see on your Facebook page and get by.

America used to be the place that took risks, now it's just content to make money. Is it any surprise that other countries are kicking our ass everything?

People are starving out there to see something new, at least I am. But we have to spend our money on some form of entertainment, and if It's not new, it might as well be familiar.

Anyway back to DC. Marvel is kicking their butt and I don't know why because I don't read marvel. However I do know that DC won't get there with gimmicks and prequels to things that were made 25 years ago. Crisis infinite earth, final crisis, how's that going to be different than the next crisis?

I don't know, I don't care, I just know that I'm not inspired to pick up a comic book. What was great about watchmen was that it had a beginning and a end. Now it won't, which is sad. Couldn't they just write the one storyline that hasn't been written yet? Batman and Superman, star crossed lovers.

Shrugged out.

Why I Love The Idea of Before Watchmen and You Should, Too.

I want to let you in on a dirty little secret about DC Comics: they need to make money. Seriously, they have writers, and artists, and editors but beyond that they have electricity, and heat, and the guy who empties the trash. It’s what we call in the trade, “a business”.

Here is another secret: not all of the books they put out make money. It’s a gamble. If they knew exactly how to print the exact right number of books they would do it. If they knew the formula for combining a creative team with a character and a concept they would do that too. But they don’t.

Some things are safer bets than others. Like if you have the top selling graphic novel of all time and you take the characters and settings from that book, and combine it with some of your top teams, you should sell a few copies. And if this move is considered controversial and drums up tons and tons of free publicity? That won’t hurt sales either.

DC comics owns the characters from the Watchmen and they paid Alan Moore for them. Handsomely, might I add. And he deserved to make a lot of money it made a lot of money for DC comics. But people don’t want to talk about the creative teams on the books that didn’t sell for whatever reason. Because if those books lost money no one asked those creative teams to give their paychecks back.

See, that’s why creators chose to work for DC comics. They want that guaranteed paycheck. Could you make more money if you self published? If the book is a hit, then sure you could. But before the book is a hit you have to eat, and keep your heat on. and you also have to spend money promoting the book. That’s one of the nice things about having DC Comics publish your book for you. They have a marketing department and a publicity department. They add an air of legitimacy to your project just because they chose to publish it. And if your amazing book that you self publish doesn’t sell for whatever reason you will have nothing to show for it other than a stack of unsold comics and a stack of unpaid bills.

I’m glad Alan Moore has enough money to not need any royalties from the Watchmen movie. Dave Gibbons still took them and I don’t believe that makes him a bad person. Another “secret” is that no matter how talented an artist you are you can probably only knock out a page a day. A talented writer can write a book a week. Maybe more. So, as a writer Alan Moore can produce 4-5 times as much work as an artist. And he can write movies if he wants to. Dave Gibbons can’t draw one. But I’’m off topic.

Here’s the point I wanted to make. DC Comics finds a new talent. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s me. (It’s probably going to be me.) As an unknown quantity it doesn’t make a lot of sense for them to take a chance on me. But they look at their bottom line and they see if they have any profit this quarter. Like say they sold a bunch of Before Watchmen comics. Maybe they can afford to hire me to write a book that maybe won’t sell so well. Or maybe it will be a big giant hit and they’ll make lunch boxes and action figures and a TV series.

I’m all for profit sharing and creators being well compensated. Because well compensated creators are better equipped financially to create their weird niche creator owned property. The cash they get from their corporate work creates a cushion. One of my favorite comic books is called Action Philosophers. It’s terrific. It’s self published. The writer also writes for Marvel. And I’m pretty sure if he wasn’t getting that Marvel paycheck he probably wouldn’t be doing his awesome self published book.

I would love to think that royalties from his corporate work, and sales of his creator owned book would make enough money so he could tell Marvel Comics to go to hell. Because then there would be a job opening there for me.

Comments (2) Show Comments


Some said it couldn't happen! Others said it wouldn't! But, like a famous wrestler once said "FINALLY...MALLVILE HAS COME BACK....TO INKBOT.NET! 

Okay, maybe Dwanyne "The Rock" Johnson didn't quite say that. But, i'm sure he would have had he been a fan of web comics. I also think he would've been excited to know that not only is Mallville coming back on Monday December 5th, 2011 (see what I did there), but it is also coming back with a brand new story line AND a brand new artist! 

That's right! This Monday not only is Gary Cohen pressing the reset button on his mallverse continuity, but he is also bringing in the uber talented Mike Shea to handle the art! 

In case you had to develop a rare form of amnesia to cope with the loss of one of the funniest web comics of all time (yeah, I said it), Mallville is a hilarious super hero high school strip written by Gary Cohen. It is also the strip responsible for this year's incredibly epic crossover CRISIS ON INFINITE INKBOTS!

So, if you're at work on Monday, and you find yourself with a case of the Mondays, make sure you check out the new and improved MALLVILLE RULES! 

Pay no attention to the fact that the title banner is the same. ITS BRAND FREAKING NEW BABY...I swear :)

A walk in the park (piece)

I know English today

I never liked soccer

I have many friends

Don't beat on my pillow

I now like to talk

I'm not scared, I'm smiling

I just like to walk

Don't beat on my pillow

My eyes will not shut

My mom can't stop crying

I told her we're playing

I'm not really dying

Those kids do not hate me

I play Call of Duty

I listen to Hip Hop

I shop at the mall

I'm always in love

So when fists were flying

I thought of that girl

Like somehow she watched

Like if I pulled through

We'd go to the movies

And she'd help me through

This hell for the different

This hell for the distant

the laughter

the violence

its just who they are

don't know why they hate me

we made it this far

it just can't escape me

I hate them
I love them
I just want to walk!

Why couldn't they let me

There's blood on my pillow

Winter's footsteps (poem)

May that umbrella guide you safely
past the ruins of our day,
And may you never stop to question
why all good things turn to shit,
For we never were a good thing,
At best, we made each other laugh
with the notion that we worked,
How could something like that last,
How could something like that hold,
And yet, hold is all we did,
Hold on to what we never asked for,
Hold on to what we did as kids,
So may that umbrella guide you safely
past the corners of my thoughts,
where my anger sells to idiots
who cannot live without their fix.

Your children shouldn't play here (poem)

My lies rotate the stop signs
Her eyes ignite the street
My words are losing color
She needs to go to sleep

My thoughts dust off the pavement
Her hands rest near my feet
My silence whispers "Thank You"
She needs to go to sleep.

You Get So Alone Sometimes That It Just Makes Sense.

Okay, I don't really have much to say today.  Cleaning the apartment and working on comics.  If any of you read American Ambition, you're in for some of the funniest shit we've done yet.  If any of you were waiting for more chapter in K, hang tight, it's only getting better.

It's Friday, that means a new poem.  This one is a few years old, written before I moved out.

My Stupid Dog
“There are worse things than being alone,”

On the couch reading Bukowski
and pissed that I can’t emulate, imitate
or steal a style so simple, so honest.
Direct as a fist
shoved into a mouthful
of teeth.

My stupid dog plops his big head on my lap.

I never wanted a dog,

I want the poems
that smell like the sweat beating
off a reluctantly beating heart.

I want the heart
that burns clear through
the restrictive ribcage.

But I got a dog.
Well, my mother’s dog.

We got him so Dad would put down the
chops and wine and maybe
go for a walk now and then.
But the dumb dog doesn’t walk.
Quakes at the very mention
of leaving the house.
So Dad’s still out of shape
and Mom has a dog
and a derelict son—
two pieces of expensive
breathing furniture.  

He’s not big, but heavy
leans on me and waits.
He doesn’t really like me,
but I’m warm and I’ll do
until his mother gets home.

My eyes move in typewriter
motion across the lines trying
to burn them
somewhere in the soft
meat behind the pupils.

Dumb dog’s eyes are
almost human
and stare right through me.
Reminds me of the eyes resting
gracefully in the sockets
of the girls who laid under me
while they too were waiting
for other people.
But I was warm and I would do.

Dogs want to please
it’s what they do.
He knows I think he’s stupid
and doesn’t care
he wants me to like him
so badly.
I’m not sympathetic
but I know the feeling
of wanting to be liked.

He brings me his toys.
An offering of great importance
to him alone.
And I write
poems people have
as much a use for
as I do rubber bones.

But he’ll keep trying
because he wants to please
that’s what he does.
That’s what we do.
—So lost and so simple
and so very, very stupid.
Big brown-eyed stupid dog.

I never wrote to be praised
but I want those poems.
I want that heart.
I doubt Bukowski wanted
to be himself sometimes,
let alone have imitators.

For a good scratch behind the ears
I’d write a thousand poems,
out-drink Bukowski,
live on park benches
and die at 26.

Did you enjoy this?
I wrote it for you.
Just call me,
I’ll be



New Title, Same Standard of Excellence

I'm proud to admit that we've gotten ourselves to a position where we have a legitimate pile of submissions to sort through after every convention. Unfortunately, more often than not, the piles consist of titles, that for various reasons, aren't a good fit for the site. Still, every so often we come across a gem, a title that's unlike anything we've ever seen or read. Well, I'm excited to say that on Wednesday, November 2nd, we will debut a title that is exactly that, a title so unique that we'd be crazy not to give it a platform. So, without further ado, here's the official description:

Makeshift cities exist on the outskirts of major metropolitan areas. The majority of these cities are inhabited and run by mysterious individuals who do not hesitate to use violence as a means for survival. Lambai is one of these cities.

We look forward to reading your feedback ;)

Keep Yourself Alive

"Next time the guy at the AT&T store asks you how your phone got damaged, just say "suicide attempt."  It may not get you a discount, but the look on the dude's face is priceless."

Sure we all got problems. As much as I'd love to wake up at five AM and start doing military-style push ups while blasting Christina Aguilera's "Fighter," more times than not, I hit the snooze button and play Gary Jules' version of "Mad World," and pull the covers over my head.
Why is it when we're at our lowest all we want is for one thing to go right or one person to appreciate us; then when we get that very thing we're more upset than before?  Don't believe me?  Ever felt low till someone cared about you then felt even worse when they wouldn't date you?  If the answer is no, you've never been to high school. 

There was a pretty profound quote in the not-so-profound Rodney Dangerfield movie, "Back to School."
In one scene his son says, "I was a lot happier when I was miserable" and while it's probably out of context, I could relate.  When no one read my stuff, I thought having someone draw my stories would be the greatest thing in the world.  Now it's work.  I have to make sure I send Clay quality scripts that are worthy of his time and effort.  After that I wanted fans, and I got a  few and after that I wanted...see the pattern?  Could it be that somehow this constant dissatisfaction is it's own motivation.  It took me years, but I learned that dispair and drive are two sides of the same coin.  You shouldn't be happy and complacent, you should enjoy your life but always strive to make that extra step.

My characters were always men of unshakable optimism.  Sydney Australia, though aware that he's not very good at his job as a leader, is a believer in his purpose.  As odd as it may sound from a story as goofy as American Ambition, he pulls the team through most situations with his blind devotion to duty.  Arsenne never gets down cause he's so totally lost in his own world that no situation is ever serious enough to warrant concern.  I intentionally write scripts so that Johnny Raiker takes a more vicious beating in every issue, and no matter the ass-whipping, he'll always get up.  I think that's why fans like him.  Kelvin is a man who respects only the laws of fact and truth, however, he also believes in the power of variables to shape those truths.  He's cocky, he's uncooperative, he's flat out ornery, but he believes in himself, and will stop at nothing to save you no matter how hard you kick and scream.

I met an ex-firefighter on the subway recently.  He told me about his experience on 9/11.  He talked about his friends being reduced to bodiless legs and unrecognizable heads fused to their helmets.  People he worked with, went to their birthdays, celebrated their kids' christenings.  After that, he just couldn't do it anymore.  He's was a jovial guy and he smiled when he told me, "I think about it every day."  If you ever wondered how a real man carries his pain, wonder no more. 

The only thing I thought to say was, "we owe you a lot." He told me I didn't, the second he signed his contract, he agreed to die for me.  Die for me?  This guy didn't even know me.  If you were to burn your own house down in some sloppy attempt at suicide, this dude would risk one of the most painful deaths imaginable to drag you out of your own mess.  One has to wonder much of their own life really belongs to them.  Do any of us have the right to off ourselves considering the lengths that strangers will go to help us?

Ever walk past a crack in the sidewalk or a roof and see all manner of weeds growing in there?  Life will spring up anywhere there is opportunity and cling tenaciously to its existence as long as there's a hole with some dirt and a few drops of rain.  I don't care what you're going through, if a weed can be that strong, so can you. 

In the words of Jerry Springer, take care of yourselves, and each other. 

Leaving you with a few words by William Blake:

Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know
Through the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.

See Older Posts...