The Nib’s New Lineup for 2014
When I began editing at Medium a few months ago, my goal was to make The Nib the destination for good political cartoons, comics journalism, humor and non-fiction. Today I move closer to that with the launch of a huge regular lineup that will see over 15 cartoons added to the collection every week.
Monday will feature new comics from Liza Donnelly of The New Yorker andRich Stevens of Diesel Sweeties, along with Ruben Bolling’s masterful Tom The Dancing Bug.
Tuesday will see new work from Lulu Eightball creator Emily Flake, Brian McFadden of The New York Times, and myself.
Wednesday will be Zach Weiner, the man behind Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, political cartoons from J.J. McCullough, and Tom Tomorrow’s long running alt-weekly staple This Modern World.
Thursday will feature Jen Sorensen’s Slowpoke, chart-like charts by Disalmanac creator Scott Bateman, and Erika Moen’s Oh Joy, Sex Toyreviewing everything related to sex, sexuality and the sex industry.
Friday: New Three Word Phrase comics by Ryan Pequin, editorial cartoons by Ted Rall, and new one panels and Too Much Coffee Man strips from Shannon Wheeler.
I’ll also be publishing longer comics journalism and non-fiction every week. Susie Cagle will be contributing twice a month, covering the influx of Silicon Valley tech money that’s riling and reshaping the San Francisco Bay Area, from its streets to its culture. Andy Warner will be posting his series “Brief Histories of Everyday Objects” as well as comics journalism examining the odd, the obscure and the eccentric, like today’s comic, “Australia is a Gigantic Sponge.”
Julia Wertz will be contributing autobiography. There will be new comics journalism from Josh Neufeld. Keith Knight will be contributing an original comic every month and I’ll be running editorial cartoons from Signe Wilkinson, Adam Zyglis, Pat Bagley, and Mike Lester.
There will be comics this year from Sarah Glidden, Lucy Bellwood, Darryl Holliday and Erik Rodriguez, Ron Wimberly, Blue Delliquanti, Jess Ruliffson, Zohar Lazar, Leigh Cowart and Jeannette Langmead, Jon Rosenberg, Wendy MacNaughton, Jack Ohman, Emi Gennis, and John Martz.
A good start.
NSFWCORP is proud to announce “The Future of Comics” — a regular two page spread in its print edition featuring some of the best political cartoonists in the world.
Featured cartoonists in the first installment (found inside NSFWCORP #4, available to subscribers) include Brian McFadden of The New York Times and Jen Sorensen, creator of the popular alt-weekly strip “Slowpoke.” They’re joined by firebrand editorial cartoonist Ted Rall, Disalmanac creator Scott Bateman, and Ryan Pequin of the foul and hilarious webcomic “Three Word Phrase.” The section is edited by 2012 Pulitzer Prize Finalist Matt Bors who will also be contributing a regular strip.
NSFWCORP Editor in Chief, Paul Carr explains: “From the start, NSFWCORP was unique amongst news magazines for our exclusive use of illustration over photography. Including editorial cartoons was a logical next step, but only if we could make sure that our cartoons were better than everyone else’s. When Matt suggested he edit the section, commissioning only those cartoonists he is professionally in love with, I immediately fired three reporters and gave him two entire pages to dick around with. Man, those were great reporters. That’s how much I love cartoons.”
“There are very few outlets commissioning original cartoons like this,” added Bors, who has been contributing comics since their first issue. “Too bad for those terrible publications. We’ve got some of the best cartoonists working right now.”
NSFWCORP is the Future of Journalism (With Jokes). It takes the form of a weekly online news magazine and monthly long-form print edition, both available only to subscribers. It was founded in 2011 by former Guardian writer, Paul Carr, and the magazine’s senior editor is Mark Ames. Subscription information for the online and print editions can be found at http://www.nsfwcorp.com
Hey, I’m going to be tabling at the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival this weekend, as well as showing up on two panels. One on political cartooning and one on being a freelancer. If you are in Vancouver tomorrow, come to the book launch party, which is at Displace Hashery and involves my new book and a few other new books and beer.
May 25 – 26
181 Roundhouse Mews
VanCAF Spring Book Party
Featuring Matt Bors, Ed Brisson, and Jesse Davidge
Friday, May 24th, 7pm until 10pm
Displace Hashery Beach Bar
3293 West 4th Avenue Vancouver, BC
Bill Day Follow-Up
Rob Tornoe has an article in Editor and Publisher today on the Bill Day controversy I wrote about last week. I wanted to address a specific defense I’ve heard from colleagues that is summed up by comics historian Michael Rhode in Tornoe’s piece.
“Day has been struggling to make ends meet since being laid off by the Memphis paper, which later had the gall to attempt to buy his work through his syndicate,” Rhode said. “After working a full-time job and being let go after being injured, cartooning is a part-time job which probably doesn’t really pay any bills at all for him. I understand his reusing his own material in these circumstances.”
While I sympathize with Day’s situation – trying to find your way in a broken economy and a dying art form – not being employed full-time isn’t actually an excuse for maintaining basic standards in the field. I and many other political cartoonists have never been employed and never will. For many people it’s a side job that is supplemented with other, better paying freelance work. Without a secure and decent-paying staff job, breaking down your hourly rate as a cartoonist is highly inadvisable. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do original art every week.
Why Does Plagiarism In Editorial Cartooning Persist?
Editorial cartoonist Bill Day hit his fundraising goal on the crowd funding site Indiegogo this week: $35,000 to keep drawing editorial cartoons for a year. Day is syndicated through Cagle and, like the rest of us, can’t make a full time living with the rates we are paid. Since he lost his staff position a few years ago, Day has been drawing cartoons part time while working odd jobs and Daryl Cagle launched this campaign in order to keep him drawing. Problem is, Day doesn’t do as much drawing as he used to.
Earlier this week Daily Cartoonist posted a recent cartoon where Day pulled an image of a gun created by Zack Fowler and used it without permission. Once caught, he swapped the cartoon out with a version he drew, but you can see from the comments on the post that neither Fowler nor the papers who pay to run Day’s work knew about this until Alan Gardner’s post. Day hasn’t even bothered to issue a response to Gardner, his silence being almost more damning than the evidence in front of our face. Then there is the anonymously written Tumblr account, That Cartoon Critic, which shows repeated instances of Day re-using his cartoons to such an extent that it’s jaw-dropping. Creating new work every day, week in and week out, is difficult, but not plagiarizing others or constantly reissuing old cartoons is not. It’s time for cartoonists and syndicates to stop aiding this. To be clear, I’m not talking about people who may have drawn similar jokes and had an overlap of ideas with another cartoonist. We’re talking plagiarism, using another person’s art without permission, and literally tracing another cartoonist’s work. We’re also talking about reissuing your own work constantly while presenting it as something new. It’s happened enough now to constitute not an anomaly, but an actual thing that’s wrong with the field. Is it wrong to “self-plagiarize”? Most certainly. Let’s hear what Bill Day has to say about it:
Plagiarism, the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own, and its ancillary self-plagiarism, in which individuals republish work that they have already published, represent significant challenges to scientific journals. Authors have a right to be acknowledged as the source of their own work, and new authors must present their work in their own words.
That’s not our Bill Day, the cartoonist, rather Bill Day the editor of Biosystems Engineering speaking about a plagiarism controversy in scientific journals. Perhaps the cartoonist Bill Day can allow himself to absorb some of the other Bill Day’s wisdom. Cartoonists are sometimes loathe to publicize anything that shines a negative light on our dwindling field. But if we want negative stories to stop, we have to stop supporting people we know are doing terribly unethical work. The fault resides first and foremost with the artist, but syndicates and editors who hold up this kind of work are also to blame. There’s no reason Daryl Cagle should be putting forth Bill Day as a cartoonist to “save” with internet donations when he can’t meet a minimum level of professionalism. I’ll even say this about my own syndicate, Universal Uclick, who continues to syndicate Jeff Stahler’s work after he lost his job for plagiarizing recently after multiple instances dogged him for years. They should stop
During my years criticizing lazy and unethical cartooning habits, I compiled a number of examples that, for whatever reason, other cartoonists weren’t willing to publish or even forward in an email. They would send them to me and I tried unsuccessfully for over a year to get someone more prominent than myself to publish them, as I have lots of other things to attend to than being the poster boy for speaking out about these kind of lapses. But many of my peers won’t so much as link to a plagiarism story when it’s published, content to merely complain privately over beers about people who in some cases survived their entire careers while blatantly swiping the work of others. The result is that many cartoonists haven’t even had to so much as publicly explain why their cartoons look so awfully similar to something else, and many editors are unaware it even happens. I made a decision yesterday to publish these myself on Twitter because to hold on to them any longer would feel like I’m actively covering for some of these guys. I discovered none of these myself, having received them all from other cartoonists and editors, sometimes anonymously. You can decide for yourself what you think. But here they are. I’m done hanging on to them. Here is another example of Jeff Stahler straight up tracing and flipping a Mike Lester drawing. It was never published around the time of his most recent plagiarism scandal and was sent to me by an anonymous syndicate editor fed up with seeing his rampant stealing.
Here is another example of Bill Schorr swiping from MacNelly closely enough that it appears traced.
Finally, here is Pulitzer Prize winner Jim Borgman with some cartoons that look so similar to MacNelly’s that they are clearly swiped. Why swipe when you can draw well on your own? No clue. I’m told he was confronted by some cartoonists regarding the similarity and even came up with an excuse – but not publicly of course. Nothing has been written about it until now and I don’t think his editors were even made aware of the charges.
Again, I post these because I can’t hang on to them any longer without feeling dirty. Too much of this debate takes place behind a giant wall hidden from editors and the public. Talking about all this in the open? That’s an idea more cartoonists should copy.