More on the death of Tumblr.

Back in December, when Tumblr launched its ill-advised crusade against female-presenting nipples in an effort to make its site … PG-13 … I expressed my disapproval of the policy while still proceeding on the assumption that my own work would be unaffected. As some who have taken a look at the Tumblr page may have noticed, this proved optimistic and numerous pages of various comic stories that I wrote have been flagged as inappropriate and pulled down.

Now, I haven’t had the time or motivation to go through and figure out what exactly about these comics was offensive, let alone dispute the finding. I assume it’s the artistic depiction of violence, although compared to, say, a screen-shot from Saving Private Ryan, or from Die Hard, or a Robert Capa photo, the level of violence in this comic, and the extent to which it’s graphically portrayed, is pretty tame. There certainly aren’t any boobs, though now I apparently have no incentive NOT to draw them.

I suppose I should be outraged, but honestly I would make this comic whether Tumblr let me distribute it with their platform or not, and I’m honestly a little proud at having made something that some suit found offensive. Or, a computer program written by some suit, which is basically the same thing. I think the lesson here about the dangers of corporate censorship and lowest-common-denominator prudishness is obvious enough without me expounding on it further.

A story complete, and the death of Tumblr.

My most recent story, The Landing Pilot, took, for those who were counting, a total of eight months to complete, or just over a page a month. It was a busy time for me for various personal reasons - all of them good - and I don’t see myself returning to the rate of two a week that I could manage back when I was single and had a bullshit staff job that had me home by two each afternoon. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that nothing of value is ever produced by a brief flash of brilliance, so much as by continuous, steady, careful effort. One page a month is more pages a month than a hundred people who are sure they have a novel in them if only they could find the time to sit down and write it. So: many more stories to come, gradually.

In terms of web publishing, for a couple of years now after I gave up on publishing to DeviantArt due to its poor user interface and community that seemed to be focused more on fanart and bad photography than on narrative storytelling, this comic has been published both on the main website (minus a two-month period where WordPress shit the bed on me) and on Tumblr. Tumblr was well-suited to comics, which is why you see a lot of them still on there, and had a good community of mature artists, photographers and so forth. I was given to understand that the user base had declined somewhat since I’d first started posting therein 2012, but it still seemed to be the right place for the comic.

Of course, about 10% of Tumblr was porn of various degrees of quality, as was evidenced by the robot blogs that always seemed to follow you automatically. This is natural and normal, and I think that about 10% of the internet is porn, as is about 10% of the human psyche. Now, driven by FESTA-SESTA and the general fear of lawsuits, Tumblr is poised to unleash a set of algorithms that will protect its user base from the horror that is female-presenting nipples. Now, this isn’t going to impact THIS site, directly, and I fully intend to continue to post comics there until the site eventually, inevitably goes out of business, but it does seem likely to result in Tumblr’s user base tanking in a way that will produce a negative feedback loop and destroy it as a functioning social network. No doubt, Tumblr will eventually go the way of MySpace.

Which leaves me in the market for another network to post to, that will have enough users to make it worth the trouble, and will have the KIND of users who will be interested in my work. It may even be an opportunity to branch out and find a bigger audience, which I probably need to do anyway.

But yes, FESTA-SESTA is a terrible law that is sadly not going anywhere any time soon, because no congressman will touch the issue of sex workers rights and/or free expression with a boathook.

Pages out of order.

Today I posted Page 7 of The Landing Pilot, having inadvertently skipped over Page 6 due to not reading my own notes carefully and forgetting what I'd already drawn.  This is a hazard of completing these at such a slow pace, which is frustrating.  With luck, when I retire in 30 years I'll be able to work a lot faster.  Of course, due to the magic of Squarespace this will be invisible to website visitors as soon as I actually draw Page 6, and will be in the right order in the final print book. 

Two in one month!

For the first time in a while, and despite starting a new job AND getting married, I was able to keep to my self-imposed deadline of two comics a month.

In order to get the full effect out of Page Four, be sure and read it to yourself in Slim Pickens' voice: "How many times have I told you guys I don't want no horsin' around on the aircraft!"

New comic page, at last.

After over a month of website repairs and finals / job hunting / SFL-TAP, I finished and posted page two of The Landing Pilot. Expect one more page of this in May.

Unlike the blog-formatted Wordpress site, this format doesn't let me put an explanatory blurb next to each  newly-posted comic, which is probably just as well as the work should probably speak for itself. Once it's ready for printing, I'll probably write a little caption for each individual story, but that should be about it.

New Website Platform

After about six years using the Wordpress / Dreamhost combination, I got fed up with the terrible user interface and dubiously effective security features and switched to Squarespace, which is already a huge improvement.  Expect this website to improve massively as I find the time to upload older material and fine-tune the layout and so on.