C. Spike Trotman, Iron Circus Comics – XOXO Festival (2015)

>>Please welcome to the stage from Iron Circus
Comics, C. Spike Trotman. [applause]
>>Ok, so you’ve heard about million-dollar podcasts and million-follower mommy bloggers.
It’s time to think small, just going to bring the bar back down here. [laughter] The
thing I have in common with a lot of people at this venue and speaking today is I never
thought I’d be where I am. Like when I was 21, graduated college, got sort of thrust
out into the world, and I just wanted to make comics and I had no idea how I was going to
make that work. Comics were in a really weird place at the time which I’ll get into, and
all I knew is if I tried hard enough, maybe something would happen. And this is kind of
what this talk is going to be about. It’s going to be I don’t know what I’m doing, like
a lot of people will say when they’re asked how they got where they are and all I can
say is I got a ton of reinforcement by outside folks who said, you know what you’re exactly
right, you have no fucking clue. [laughter]
And it’s called “That Will Never Work” because that has been a constant dull roar
in the background of my entire professional life. OK, just because I know no one cares
about comics, I’ve kind of put together the highlight reel, if you will, about me. C.
Spike Trotman, what’s up. That is a self-portrait. [laughter]
I think it’s a stunning likeness, personally. And you know, Spike is fine. The C is, no
one calls me that. Professional cartoonist. I started cartooning primarily on the internet.
I’ve been making comics all through high school, all through middle school, whatever, you know,
it’s a passion thing and the high school comics were terrible and the middle school comics
were terrible and the early 20s comics were terrible, but what mattered is I made them
and I made them for my friends, I made them for myself, and they were supposed to be the
entire point of my life. Like I was telling my parents, just to keep the peace, you know,
I’m going to be a doctor, don’t worry about it, because where I come from, you have two
kids and one’s a doctor and one’s a lawyer, and then you go down to like the country club
or you go to the AMA conference, the American Medical Association conference in the summer
and people ask you how your kids are doing and they go good, so-and-so’s in law school
and so-and-so is on the pre-med track down at Ivy League U and everyone goes oh! And
you have drinks and that was supposed to be the plan and I just fucked it all up. Fucked
it all up. [applause]
[cheers] Thank you.
But I happen to be injected into comics at a really transitional, let’s go with that,
transitional time, where in the ’90s, early 2000s, comics were in a defensive mode. Marvel
Comics had declared bankruptcy at one point, a lot of comic shops and a lot of distributors
were still recovering from what we call the black and white boom and bust and while the
’90s were sort of the high water mark for comic book sales in a lot of ways, there was,
you know, when the piper was paid, a lot of shops went out of business. The distributors,
all but one eventually collapsed so now there was an effective monopoly. That distributor
sort of decided that there wasn’t enough money in alternative comics and for all intents
and purposes, alternative means any comic that doesn’t star a man in Spandex with hyperrealistic
rendered muscles. [laughter] So that was worked out of the market. There was a time you could
go into a comic shop and buy all kinds of stuff. But the distributer decided that carrying
this level of variety was very tiring, so they set a minimum order that most independent
floppy comics could never meet. So almost over the course of a couple of months, the
independent floppy, the non-super hero comic floppy disappeared from stores and it’s kinds
of like, I compare it — this is very self-important, but I compare it with what’s going on in Greece
with austerity measures where the economy shrinks because there’s less money and less
people are employed and no one’s hiring, so they don’t have money to spend so the
economy shrinks again, and that makes it worse so less people have jobs and the economy shrinks
again. That’s kind of what was going on with comics and most people never had any
idea that you know, I’ll make a living at this, I’ll support a family at this. That
was not even on the horizon, they did it because they loved it and that was the world I was
injected into. However, there was an option and it was this newfangled thing and it was
called “webcomics.” Ooh! [laughter]
And the idea was you make a comic and you put it on the internet and you wouldn’t have
to worry about a distributor going um, we can’t sell this and you don’t have to worry
about an editor saying, nobody will buy this. You could just get a domain and put your comic
online and that was cool, because the bar for entry went from here down to here and
as a result there was sort of this bleh of comics and a lot of variety and a lot of interest
and a lot of really cool things started popping up online and traditional cartoonists and
publishers really fucking hated that, they hated it. And primarily because they saw us
as line-jumpers and they saw us as unworthy. They saw us as people who were above our station,
and not interested in putting out good product or putting out good stories, drawing well,
writing well, any of that. Um, we were branded dilettantes, people who were ushering the
death of newspapers and comic books toward the ultimate oblivion of publishing. Because,
well, if people can just read comics for free, they’ll never come into the comic shop. They’ll
never pick up a newspaper. Like the only reason people picked up newspapers was to read the
comics section? Like, maybe in the 1920s, not now. So, it’s weird, because it felt
kind of like trench warfare. Everybody was like web comics were over here, and they’re
like, and traditional publishing was over here and they’re like, and never the twain
shall meet, you know, and that’s the world I was in, and you know, you had to choose
a side which I did and I was in webcomics and part of the reason that appealed to me
I’ll get into. It’s primarily because what I wanted to make had nothing to do with what
was being sold and then Kickstarter came along after my years of trench warfare and the webcomics/comics
battle, Kickstarter showed up. And I looked at it and I went this is going be to amazing.
Who can not see the potential in this model where I know my stuff is worthy and my readers
know it’s worthy, but believe it or not, drawing funny things on the internet makes it pretty
tough to get $6,000 together to get a print run together and I was so blown away. The
year it launched, I launched my first project for a book called Poorcraft, because when
you’re a cartoonist you know a lot about being poor!
It was basically, hey, don’t have much money? This is the best way to find a roommate. Here’s
what you do when you gotta get drunk on Saturday but you don’t want to pay for it. Here’s
an idea, are you tired of eating bread and peanut butter? Go to the art district on Saturday
night. There’s probably going to be some kind of opening and they’re going to have stuffed
mushrooms and shrimp and all kinds of good shit and you can stand there eating hors d’oeuvres,
saying, oh, what do you think of this piece? It’s amazing, it’s amazing! And that was my
life, so I just sat there and wrote down my life and made a comic out of it. And I hired
an artist to do the interior work and I went on Kickstarter and I was like, hi, guys, wow,
Kickstarter, weird huh? OK, I need $6,000 to pay this artist and I ended up getting
$13,000 which believe it or not was a big deal in 2009, and I would find forum posts
about me talking about anyone who could raise $13,000 on Kickstarter has no business using
Kickstarter. That’s entirely too much! [laughs] [applause] “Anyone who is pulling $13k just
by asking for it?! They need to go to a publisher and leave Kickstarter to people who really
need it!” Perennial part of my experience. Long, tired discussions of who really needs
Kickstarter. Guess what, it’s never me. No matter what. Apparently I never need it. Everyone
else, yeah! Me? No, no. But on the back of all of this, like all of this going on where
I’m figuring out Kickstarter, I’m trying to build a career, I founded something called
Iron Circus Comics and quite frankly, it’s called “Iron Circus,” I get questions
a lot… I already owned the domain. [laughter]
I had no money. [laughter]
And I was trying to think of a publishing name and I was that kid in school, if you
really dig hard enough, you can probably find my old college ruled notebooks and in the
margins is oh, this is a good name of my comic books company and at the time I owned a little
dachsy dog. So I was I’m going to go with “Invincible Dachsund.” That’s going
to be the name of my comics company because my dog is rad. Then I became an adult and
I was like, maybe not, maybe not. But I founded Iron Circus, and originally it was just publishing
me and then I kind of got this brain wave where I’m like, you know, I have this infrastructure,
I have the know-how. I have friends that like Kickstarter but are super intimidated by it.
So they’re like, oh, I wish I could use something like that, without all the administrative
stuff behind the scenes and I thought to myself I can use Iron Circus to publish people like
that. I got the warehouse space, I’ve got the know-how. I know the bumps that you run
into, and so I began publishing other people, but that is the long form of what’s going
on with me. If you look me up online, chances are this is the first thing you see.
[laughter] This is kind of what has carried me over the
hump basically. This is what has financed Iron Circus and what this is, as it says is
an erotic anthology made by women and published biannually. Which is a terrible word, because
twice a year or every two years? In this case it’s every two years. And made up a character
to go on the cover. There’s the Smut Peddler mascot. Her name is Dinah Might, by the way.
And the cover for 2012 was illustrated by a cartoonist named Emily Carroll, who is incredible.
And as is the case with a lot of people I work with it was a definite Hail Mary random
kind of thing. I’m going to send her an email, she won’t answer… But she got back
me to me, like, oh, cool. And on the 2014 cover is Jemma Salume and online she is “Ox
Boxer.” Which I always thought was really great. Where she can’t get “Ox Boxer,”
she goes by “Bison Fisticuffs.” Which is simultaneously weird, but also like, who
goes to a site, puts in “Ox Boxer,” and goes, oh, it’s taken. [laughter]
>>The 2014 cover was by her and it’s amazing, and if you look carefully, you can see me
on it and I’m the one going, “aah!” These were both on Kickstarter. And the promise
was, OK, I like porn, and my experience with porn has been 90% of it is 1,000% not made
with me in mind. I like drawings of naked people. Like drawings of naked people going
at each other. What I don’t like is most drawings of naked people going at each other I find
on the internet. And yeah, thing about comics, there are fucking tons of porn comics, tons!
But none of them appeal to me, and it was kind of like the two, like Point A and Point
B needed to connect in in the middle somewhere, it was like, I like porn, I don’t like any
of the porn being made, oh, I should make porn!
[laughter] [cheers]
So in 2012, I wrote some friends and acquaintances and I basically said, hey, you guys want to
make some porn with me and it was almost as if they had been waiting their whole lives
for somebody to write them and ask them that. [laughter] It’s like I send out the e-mail,
it’s like two minutes later, yeah, I’ll do it, I wanna make porn. The answer is yes.
And I organized it, I paid for it out of pocket. I had $300 to my name after everything was
paid for Smut Peddler 2012 and I stuck it on Kickstarter and it did well and word got
out and two years later, did the same thing, it did really well, too. And these are the
basic premises of Smut Peddler, just for the record: To be in Smut Peddler, your comic
needs to stress consent and mutual willingness to actually be there and be fucking and you’d
think that’s a low bar, oh, I wish it was. [laughter]
I wish it was. And while I am not into body shaming on any level, the sort of like porn
cyborgs, the Olympians expertly crafted to fuck on camera that we see in most porn, they
tend to be kind of monotone and one-size-fits-all — and that’s fine for people who are into
that, and I wanted to see more bodies, I wanted to see more bodies being seen as sexy and
desirable. [cheers] I know, right? And just as an example, Smut
Peddler 2012, it opens with a story about, I am mopey goth guy and my face is pierced,
what’s up? And at the party with him is a guy on crutches, the kind that you know, they
go up here on the arms and he’s just sort of standing against a wall and he’s been injured
in some way that the story doesn’t go into and they go upstairs and — and I’ve had people
flipping through the book at cons and buy it on the strength of that story it was it’s
like oh, my God, this is a disabled person being depicted as sexy and desirable, I have
literally never seen that before in my life, how much do you want for it? And that experience
tells me I’m doing the right thing. This is something people have been hungry for. And
again, I think I’ve mentioned this, but in case I haven’t, to be in Smut Peddler, you
need to have a woman involved in the story. A woman has to be on the creative side, they
need to be the writer or the artist or the colorist or whatever. That’s just a rule.
[applause] [cheers]
And unsurprisingly, it’s the rule with probably the most blowback ever, although I have gotten
some super-creepy emails arguing the consent thing. Having a woman on the team, quite frankly
it stops a lot of bullshit right at the door. Because quite frankly there’s a lot of dudes
out that think they can write porn, not my job to disabuse of you of your delusions,
but not on my time, skippy and not on my dime. So those are the rules. Boom boom boom, they
went up and along with the people I invited, there were some open call things. That’s
kind of my move. I invite some people for half of the book, and half the book new cartoonist
I’ve never heard of send me some proposals, I get around 300, 350, 400 for Smut Peddler,
and out of those, I don’t know, 10 make it. So it’s kind of a high demand kind of thing
and while I was running these projects something came up again that I mentioned kind of dogs
my entire career. And it sort of went from the occasional voice in the background to
sort of that Celestial choir that was the dull roar and I kind of tried to sort of condense
the general tone of what I hear in the grey text in the background, but I’m going to point
out one especially that has stuck with me over the years. Which is particularly interesting,
interesting to me because it was said to a close friend. And it was said by an established
professional who should be fucking grateful right now that I am about 1,000 times more
decent than he will ever be because I’m not naming names. My friend was told by this person,
don’t hang out with Spike and don’t listen to anything Spike says because she doesn’t
have the background or the education to make it in comics. Little about me, real quick.
My father went to college at 15. He is a doctor and for the hell of it in his 40s, he got
an MBA and started a Medical Group. I grew up in Potomac, Maryland which kind
of goes back and forth between fourth richest and ninth richest suburb in the United States,
King Hussein of Jordan was my neighbor. [laughs] Dikembe Mutombo, the basketball player, was
my neighbor. Patrick Ewing had a house there, although he never lived in it, so whatever,
I don’t judge, his house, whatever. Sugar Ray Leonard was my neighbor. I grew up maybe
a three-mile drive from the owner of Washington’s football team. And the college I ended up
going to was a historically black college. If you are familiar with the TV show A Different
World, that’s where I went. I went to Spellman College which is Hillman College, a $40,000
a year historically black university that was founded back when rich black people in
the south could not send their children to Harvard. And it’s across the street from Morehouse
College which is where Martin Luther King and Samuel L. Jackson. I mention Samuel L.
Jackson because Pulp Fiction was real big when I was in college. “Yeah, Martin Luther
King, but did you know…?!” And I went there with no scholarship. My dad paid full
price, all four years. And, um, I have a postgraduate degree. So it took me a minute to sort of
think about this, like I don’t have the background or the education to make it in comics? Because
quite frankly, when you get down to brass tacks, I have a better background and education
than the majority of people on planet earth. [laughter]
So, I was sitting there and I was trying to, like, you know, tease this apart, like what
could this mean? “Doesn’t have the background” — oh, got it. And that one kind of stuck
with me, needless to say. Because I know what’s out there. I know there are people out there
who see me and instantly assume things, but it’s actually rare that someone puts a voice
to it without being anonymous, if you understand what I mean. And the fact — like the absolute
social indecency of, like not putting this on a message board somewhere under an assumed
name, not randomly saying it on a podcast somewhere while omitting my name, but telling
a close friend was sort of their way of saying, I don’t fucking care. Nothing you do will
ever matter. Nothing you do will ever come close to what I’ve achieved. Nothing you do
is important. I don’t even have to worry about that day that you lap me on the comics career
track because that will never happen. Fuck you.
[applause] [cheers]
>>These are only two of the seven Kickstarters I’ve run to date. The first one in 2012 pulled
about $83,000 when it asked for $20,000, and the second one pulled about $185,000 when
I asked for $20,000 and back then on Kickstarter, my favorite thing, the “report this project”
button was very close, they’ve redesigned since, was very close to the “ask project
creator a question” button so every once in a while I’d get a really difficult to understand
PM, and I was like, oh, you’re trying to report me, got it. Got it. One of them was something
like, what is the point of telling you about this disgusting trash if you don’t do anything
about it? And I was sitting there, like… [laughter]
Oh, oh, you fucked up. [laughter]
And quite frankly it’s like I’m really glad I have the husband I do, because you know,
the real Spike would have sent a reply, but my husband, he does this thing, he’ll stand
next to me and he’ll just go, baby, baby. You know what if you still want to do it tomorrow,
I’ll let you, but right now, baby… So it didn’t happen. But Smut Peddler 2014, when
I was making it, you can get the subtitle is “Ladyporn Conquers Earth.” It was the
most popular project on Kickstarter for about two days, it was fully funded in two hours,
so it hit $20,000 in two hours. It was beating out 3D printers, it was beating out dress
up like dress up like a tyrannosaurus cardboard kits. It was beating everything! I had fantasies
of dynamite on the cover, taking out Tokyo with her feather boa! Yeah, that’s right,
you like it, don’t you? [laughter]
And quite frankly, this sort of started a lot. It started a big thing on Kickstarter,
where I think a lot of people finally saw the market for this kind of material, and
the potential of Kickstarter in general, because this pretty much opened up the floodgates.
A little about me, I’m really into the idea of artists getting paid. [applause] And you’d
think that’s you know, basic shit, right? You’d think that’s basic shit, like of course
artists get paid, they’re skilled professionals, haha. Uh, worked into every Kickstarter that
I do that is sort of an anthology project with multiple creators is a thing where all
the extra money that is made after everything is paid for it gets divided up among the creators
and there are people who walked away from Smut Peddler 2014 drawing 20 pages of comics
for an independent comic book company run by one person with $3,000 in pay for 20 pages
of comics and that is a point of pride. I still smile when I think about that.
Smut Peddler isn’t all I do. I do a lot of stuff. You know, my first web comic, Templar,
Arizona that I was doing in the bad old days there when comics on the internet weren’t
any good and nobody liked them, that is what stabilized me, that is what gave me confidence,
that you know, I can do this. And Poorcraft is up there, that was my first Kickstarter
project, it was super important to me and it kind of proved the veracity of the model
and ever since then I’ve been keeping to my general approach in publishing, which is you
know, Smut Peddler is in line with that approach is that I want to put things out there that
I don’t see. I want to put things out that people tell me no one wants and I’m going
to prove them wrong and I’m going to establish myself doing it and I’m going to make a point,
so I published The Sleep of Reason with the cover by Michael DeForge. If it looks kind
of familiar, it’s because he does some work on Adventure Time. And it’s a horror anthology
because I wanted to see horror that wasn’t action adventure starring an established Hollywood
creature. Everyone knows the Wolfman and the Alien and this and that, those aren’t scary.
I know everything there is to know about what to do if a vampire comes after me. Oh, Werewolf?
Right. Silver bullet, I know all that. Zombie? Shoot ‘em in the head, no problem. What’s
so scary about knowing exactly how to handle something? So when I made The Sleep of Reason
it was specifically about just sort of helplessness and dread and being unable to save yourself
and just not understanding what’s going on which quite frankly is terrifying to me and
the emails I get back about it are like, I couldn’t finish it and I’m all like, good!
[laughter] I’m really, really proud of that one and Poorcraft,
obviously it did really well, so I had to do a sequel, you know, and I worked with a
cartoonist named Ryan Estrada, who I’ve lost track of all the places he’s lived. He’s
lived in India, South Korea, Japan, Mexico… He’s lived all over the world. He can’t
seem to sit still and he’s a cartoonist so he has no money so no one kind of understands
how he does this, and I have to give him a shoutout he’s an amazing individual. I wrote
him and I was like hey, I’m making a sequel to Poorcraft and it’s going to be about
travel, it’s going to be called Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here. Are you interested? And
he went yes, here are the first ten pages and I was like, Ryan, that is great, that’s
good, I’m really happy for you but let’s put the contract together first, because I want
this to be completely above board and just really professional and he’s like great idea!
Here’s the rest of it! Sorry! [laughter]
So you know, that’s the kind of people I love to work with, like Ryan is definitely he’s
running with the sort of the internet crowd, like me, he’s one of those guys where the
mainstream publishing world was so ready to write us all off and he was amazing to work
with and the book turned out incredible and I’m probably going to be using it myself in
the future. And after Poorcraft and Sleep of Reason, and all my Templar Arizona books…
The two books I kickstarted this year were New World, which is a sci-fi fantasy anthology,
and the approach to that is you know what I always see? I always see action adventure,
fantasy, and sci-fi which are about conquest and dungeon raids and adventure but from my
perspective personally, your adventure is taking place in someone else’s house, and
when you show up and kill a bunch of people and snatch the treasure and go home triumphant,
there’s someone who lived there who’s coming home who’s like you literally kicked my door
down and killed my family and it just struck me as it’s not right. The right stories aren’t
being told, there are stories of triumph and destruction and let’s go on adventure, but
that adventure is somebody else’s disaster and we don’t hear anything about the people
who live in the exotic locale that you’ve decided to ride your flying derigible to in
your pith helmet with your gear-studded pistol and shoot like 20 random brown people. Each
of those 20 random brown people is going about their business and all of a sudden you are
here to snatch their “golden idol” and we’re very used to that perspective. The perspective
of the grand, frankly usually white, adventurer and I was fucking sick of it. It’s about culture
clash on equal terms, it’s about your adventure being someone else’s disaster. Coming out
soon! [applause]
And the last one was a book, if I’m not mistaken, turned down by a lot of other web publishers,
another webcomic, surprise, surprise, called the Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ & Amal.
Yeah, I know, right? It’s by an amazing cartoonist named E. K. Weaver, who’s been working on
it for years. She’s one of those super infuriating people who got into webcomics like two minutes
ago and produces master quality work. That makes you just take everything on your table
and just, well, no point anymore. And it’s a love story and one of the things that struck
me about is comics is a real confederated sort of business and it was being characterized
in all the circles as yowie, which is basically a man falling into love with a man. I was
super not into that compartmentalization because people assume the instant they hear that word
that, oh I know exactly what this is, but no, actually, you don’t. The storytelling
is so well done and it’s a believable, amazing love story, and people were just like, nope,
not here. So I was like, I’ll take it on. Which is again, my career, again, it’s like
everything, everything you see here on the screen. Sort of entered the world to a course
of that will never work. But Smut Peddler is still probably — it’s — it’s a watershed
moment for me, because that was when I stopped listening to “that will never work.” That’s
when it stopped sort of needling me, and sort of my subconscious fears that I was about
to crash and burn spectacularly finally alleviated, because you know, obviously you’re not in
comics unless you love comics, because there is no money in this, despite everything you’ve
just heard now, we’re all poor. But it’s like we live in a capitalist society, yeah, and
a lot of sort of validation of whether something is good or bad relies on how much money it
makes. And I grew up in that society, sorry. And when 5,000 people tell me, actually, yes,
apparently that’s my tipping point. That’s when I start believing it, when something
is good. And the people I know for a fact don’t want me there, suddenly their voices
become that much fainter and suddenly I’m not lying in bed at night, thinking to myself,
fuck, what if this isn’t working? What if this isn’t a good idea? What if I’m completely
wrong about everything? And Smut Peddler did that for me.
Iron Circus was founded in 2007. Its original intent was just to publish things I made,
but going back to the whole “I didn’t plan to be here thing,” now I run the biggest
comic book publisher in Chicago, and now I’m getting emails and interviews and things of
people I didn’t even know they knew I was alive, and I’m getting people lining up trying
to work with me. And it’s an amazing place to be, and I’m just sort of — I almost want
to say grateful, but that doesn’t feel right, because I fought for this. And I fought for
this against people that were — they were invested in my failure. I almost don’t want
to like focus on it, but there is a general din in sort of pop culture right now, maybe
some of you are familiar with it, that there is a certain group of people that feel their
TV and movies and video games and comics are under threat by people that are not like them.
And these people that are not like them want to take what is theirs and change it and make
it worse. Um, I got just real quick. There have always
been black people and brown people and women and queers and trans folk in comics, in movies,
in sci-fi, in fantasy, and in television. We have always been here.
[applause] [cheers] We’re not taking anything from you.
Because it was never yours to begin with.>>And we were always welcome as consumers,
as long as we didn’t ask for representation, and now that there are more people demanding
to be heard and demanding to be included on the creative side, suddenly you have a problem.
But the thing that a lot of these folks don’t understand is, this is not a fight. It’s over.
We’re here. We’re not going anywhere. We have always been here. And now we are part of the
production process. And if you have a problem with that, I don’t really care.
[laughter] But at the same time, Mr, you know, “education
and background,” I’m not fooling myself, I know there are people like that in positions
of power, and I know that they’re not consciously interested in making sure I’m not heard, but
maybe on some level they justify it to themselves with, well, the world’s not ready. You know,
the Obama line, the world’s not ready. Maybe in a few years, the world’s not ready. But
Kickstarter means I don’t have to go through these people. It means I can basically invent
a means of financing and creating the books that I want to make and clearly lots of other
people want to read. And that is what scares them, and when I look back right now, I sort
of try to put it in a place. I try to compartmentalize it in a nonpersonal kind of thing. It’s not
a specific fear and hatred of me and what I’m doing. It’s a fear and hatred of something
inexorable that they can’t stop. It’s a fear and hatred of change itself. They’re
comfortable. Comics is so comfortable. It wants to write superhero stories and it wants
to sell them in comic book shops and it wants to maybe every once in a while make a movie
about men in tights and that’s what comics wants and but that’s not what comics is, and
that’s not what comics will be in the future. And going to Kickstarter, and preordering
every book I do on there, mailing those out, then getting them in shops as an afterthought.
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been told how unprofessional that. And I’ve stopped
listening, because the goal posts for “unprofessional” will always move to disqualify you if somebody
doesn’t want you there. [applause] And quite frankly, the tenor of criticism has changed
from that will never work, to yes, but that doesn’t count. And that’s kind of them showing
their ass. [laughter]
Don’t waste your time trying to win over people who are determined to see you on the outs
or as the loser pretty much no matter what. I know it’s like I wasted entirely too much
time hoping for a legitimacy that doesn’t exist. What I’m going to do from now on is
I’m going to make comics and they’re going to be fucking amazing and people are going
to read them and love them and I’m going to get phone calls from NPR and I’m going to
go, Jesus, again? [laughter] And I’m going to run Iron Circus and I am going to make
exactly what I want to make because clearly it’s amazing and you can sit somewhere on
Reddit or Twitter or Tumblr and talk yourself into what I’m doing somehow doesn’t count,
but you are literally verifiably wrong, you are completely on the losing side at this
point. Because I don’t have to prove myself to you. What I’m doing works. I know what
I’m doing. And what I’m doing is making comics a better place for everyone, not just people
like you and not just people like me. I’m opening a door. And I’m making sure everyone
knows that what they have to say and what they have to draw, what they have to write
and what they want to publish, somebody wants to hear it. And that’s really all I fucking
care about. [applause][cheers] Thank you.

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