Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Shades of Greys: The Higher Cost of Comic Art

An early pencilled page from Great Moves’ title story.  
Art Copyright © by Geof Isherwood.

“Double your fees—starting tomorrow.  You’ll be shocked to find that the majority of prospects will pay your new rates without blinking.  Reason: 90 percent of writers charge too little—and you may be one of them.”   Robert W. Bly, “Earn More, Do Less”

“Critic or reviewer—a thankless job on most occasions since it is inclined towards finding fault.”  Carolle Bourne, “The Non-Role of the Critic”


Geof Isherwood was going to a comic show, and he was taking along some original art to sell.  Among them were finished pages from our joint NBM effort, my third graphic novel, Great Moves.  He was wondering if I wanted first dibs.

 I did.  But I didn’t have the money right then.  

"I'm in no hurry to sell these pages, so no rush," he wrote back via email.  "It's just so I know not to take them with me to the NJ convention."  

His asking price per page wasn’t high—to me; that may have been because I had a rough idea of what Geof charged for such work over the years—even to friends and colleagues like myself.  Plus, he’s a reasonable kind of guy: no nonsense when it comes to his business, yet not looking to jook out your eye, as Bajans would say, in sealing the deal. 

I

Life’s hilarious.  And not often without its thoughtful coincidences.  While Geof was bundling his pages and emailing me, a mutual friend was WhatsApping me about an ongoing online debate he was having and seemingly losing about the pricing of comic art. 

Michael “Mike” Bunn, a high school teacher, is a comic collector and aficionado of 40-plus years, and a regular convention goer for almost as long. Although he remembers the days when full-body sketches were free, and no one ever paid for an autograph in a comic, he’s not grumpy about there being a price tag on certain things these days.  He has paid for art at conventions and online; he respects and values the artists’ time and talent.  What’s been bothering him is the rapid and, to him, unaccountable hefty increase in prices over the last two to five years.

That’s it—in part.  To Mike, there’s more to this situation than having to pay higher prices for illustrations of comics characters whose stories inspired him as a boy (and still do).  He’s been worried that what he interprets as the overpricing of comic art is hurting collectors by making it difficult for the average convention goer, for instance, to acquire art.  Recalling the 1990’s black-and-white comics speculation and ensuing glut, he contends there’s an even higher price to be paid here.  He foresees a similar bubble bursting with comic art prices, resulting in a crash that may damage the future of comic collecting, hence comic publishing. 

Neither speculator nor rich, Mike’s just a guy who gets a kick out of getting art from pencillers and inkers whose work he admires and respects, whether he has to pay for it or not.  Yet many on the forum to which he often posts his views on this topic think he’s either crying down the artists’ right to make a decent living or complaining about what he wished he could afford but can’t.  There seems little interest in engaging his larger concerns about how the rise he’s seen in comic art prices may be affecting the North American comic industry beyond any single convention or commission.  And that’s got me a little concerned. 

Whether Mike’s right or wrong (he and I differ somewhat on what may constitute fair pricing), this apparent unwillingness by a number of those who post to have a dialogue or conversation with him, no matter how courteous he is, no matter how often he says he’s not about being contentious, rather enquiring, is somewhat baffling, though maybe not so unexpected. 

I welcome and appreciate healthy and open debate, especially on matters that are uncomfortable to us all.  Yet there’s a growing need in our times for respectful discussion: discussion that rises above personal border skirmishes that employ bullying, hate-mongering and misinformation as common tactics.  There seems to be a proportional relationship between our lack of interest in what others truly think and our ability to access their thoughts and ideas—and I mean on a range of topics. 

Contrary to what some may believe, I haven’t written the comics I have because of a love of erotica.  I have written the comics I have because of what erotica in this medium permits me to exchange with others about the human condition.  Comics have long had their own way of influencing people’s behaviour for the better, be it their level of tolerance or acceptance, but also their curiosity and understanding of the ways of men and women and how we interact, how we honestly communicate.

II

Back to this whole issue of the current cost of comic art: it’s a subject I also relate to as writer and editor.  A freelancer since I was 19, I still consult rate schedules set by The Writers’ Union of Canada (of which I’m a member), by Writer’s Digest’s annual Writer’s Market, by other seasoned and established colleagues in the publishing industry whatever their jurisdiction….  I’d like to learn more than I have so far from comic artists about how they calculate their own rates for commissions, particularly at conventions.  I’ve never left a client wondering how I arrived at a rate I was charging.  And if the client couldn’t pay what I was asking—or I couldn’t accept what the client was offering—at least we both knew why.

Even if it’s generally understood (though not always respected by those who would hire me) that I, as a freelance writer or editor, seek to make a decent wage, and that I trained (or have serious talent or skill or experience) in the service I’m offering, this can’t be the totality of my justification for my rates.  What constitutes a decent wage for the kind of work I’m expected to do is the real issue.  Next is what my time is worth, according to the market and my own measured estimation.
 
These are not issues either comic fan or comic artist should avoid discussing, client to contractor.  High or low, an artist should be able to reasonably demonstrate how he or she arrived at his or her rates, even if they are non-negotiable.  Non-negotiable is one’s prerogative, of course; unaccountable or arbitrary simply leads to a disgruntled and disaffected public.  Not to mention a confused one.

Does the reticence or inability exhibited by some fans to question critically the pricing of some comic art produced for conventions or commissions stem from fear?  If so, fear of what?  Their true ignorance of rates?  Of appearing to be against genuinely long-suffering and exploited comic artists, or of being blacklisted by artists they might commission?  And if—if—this pricing issue is or may be in some way affecting or lessening people’s enjoyment of comics or collecting or conventions, then what’s wrong with bringing the conversation a little more into the light?  Has any industry survey been conducted, of both comic artists and fans, asking them if comic art prices have been too high, too low, just right or reasonable, in their opinion?  Is it possible to separate the price of a piece from the personality, the “big-name artist,” that produced it?  Who or what is really driving demand in today’s comic art market?  Are these forces beneficial or inimical to the industry’s survival?

I’ve collected comics for 40 years as well; I still read them, reference them, occasionally write them.  I care deeply about the medium, as an art form and a business with multiple spinoffs.  Whatever the answers, it’s worthwhile to consider the questions. 

· Robert is the critically acclaimed author of the NBM Amerotica titles Great Moves, Attractive Forces and Stray Moonbeams.  His other books include the novel And Sometimes They Fly; the story collections Fairfield: The Last Sad Stories of G. Brandon SisnettIntimacy 101: Rooms & SuitesThe Tree of Youth, and Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall; and the memoir Sand for Snow: A Caribbean-Canadian Chronicle.

All of his graphic novels are now available as e-books from NBM. 




Friday, June 23, 2017

Erotic Art — “All Right Violet...”

“All Right Violet…”
by Cornnell Clarke

I’m Leaving You in Charge…

If everything goes well tonight, I’ll bring home some guys with Big Black Cocks for you and I to share…!


Here is a more subtle parody of Mrs. Incredible about to go on the prowl for some Big Black Cock! Bidding on the final art for this illustration All Right Violet… ends Monday 6/26/2017 3:05:35 PM CST (Central Standard Time). 

More to cum tomorrow, in the meantime, check out my recent illustration of Jessica Rabbit and more in my Patreon!

More to cum soon!

PS     Join my  for more!



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Urban Jointz Vol. 1 FREE!


Urban Jointz Vol. 1
© 2017 Cornnell Clarke

Join by May 31st Get it FREE!

A very Graphic Novella by yours truly...


Urban Jointz Vol. 1 is a collection of five short erotic stories told in the form of a graphic novel. Pick up your copy here or join my Patreon by MAY 31st and get it for FREE!!!

In the meantime, bidding on OK, You Naughty SuperVillains… starring my parody of Violet from The Incredibles, ends TODAY 5/30/2017 3:19:19 PM CST (Central Standard Time). Good luck!

PS     Voting for the Full-Color Pinup of the Month starts tomorrow!

More to cum soon!



Thursday, May 25, 2017

Graphic Novella — Urban Jointz Vol. 1


Urban Jointz Vol. 1
© 2017 Cornnell Clarke

For Your Pleasure...

Five short adults only erotic stories that you can’t find in any of my books!


I've already sent this out but, just in case, I'm sending all my wonderful patrons the downloadable link for Urban Jointz Vol. 1 .

New Patrons will get the link the first week of June once payment clears. Not a member of my Patreon? No problem, join by May 31st to get your free copy or you can purchase your copy here.

In other news, I'm working on the final art for “Are You Sure About This?” starring my voluptuous parody of Miss Martian. Bidding on the final art Ends TODAY (apologies for the late notice) 5/25/2017 3:16:42 PM CST (Central Standard Time). 

Plus, coming up next is Elastigirl!

Plus, voting for this months Full-Color Pinup is coming soon! Join my Patreon to get in on the fun!

Check out my Patreon and get up to 35% OFF my graphic novels and auctions plus, get exclusive access to upcoming final artwork and get a FREE copy of Urban Jointz Vol. 1 ! Also, take a look at all my original pieces that are up for auction here.

More to cum soon!



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Emotions & Claims


Illustration Copyright © 2017 by Lamair Nash    

Fiction File Entry #87 (Sexy bits and naughty thoughts that may yet become full-blown comics…or something.)

“God.  I hope I didn’t sound obvious when I asked you over to see my books.”

“I thought it was intentional.”

“What?  No!  I mean, I wouldn’t....”

“Why not?”

“What?  Because...weren’t you...?  I mean...you’re….”

Sanjit just kept staring at her, smiling, slowly drinking.  The air around her and between them grew sticky and warm. 

Badra took the glass out of his hand.  “Come.  Come with me.”  She pulled him into her room lined with books, with titles and names and emotions and claims.  She stared at him at first, as if silently asking him, “See?  You understand, now?”  Head up, scanning the shelves from top to bottom, the piles upon piles below, he was swaying, his hands reaching out to steady himself in the candlelit purple darkness.

She seized his hands, lacing his long, thin fingers with hers before he could fall.

She looked him in the eyes.  She had to step on a leather-bound volume of five illustrated classics to kiss him, hesitated when she got there, when he leaned in.

Forehead to forehead, now unable to look him in the eyes, she said: “If you want to…I have...in my drawer….”

“That’s good to know.”

“I want you to know.  I’ve never done anything like this, with—”

“I believe you.”

“OK,” she said.  She exhaled.

“OK,” he said, nuzzling her nose.

· Robert is the critically acclaimed author of the NBM Amerotica titles Great Moves, Attractive Forces and Stray Moonbeams.  His other books include the novel And Sometimes They Fly; the story collections Fairfield: The Last Sad Stories of G. Brandon SisnettIntimacy 101: Rooms & SuitesThe Tree of Youth and Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall; and the memoir Sand for Snow: A Caribbean-Canadian Chronicle.

All of his graphic novels are now available as e-books from NBM. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Erotic Art — Velma Dinkley “Oh! Um… Sorry, Guys...”

“Oh! Um… Sorry, Guys...”
by Cornnell

I Was Um… Getting Myself Prepared…

You know… for all those big, nasty, Monsters… You know how they like to stretch all my holes and fill me with cum…!


Here is a look at the final art of a piece I recently completed, starring Velma Dinkley. Check out the uncensored version of “Oh! Um… Sorry, Guys...” and more at my Patreon!

Check out my Patreon and get up to 35% OFF my graphic novels and auctions plus, get exclusive access to upcoming final artworkAlso, take a look at all my original pieces that are up for auction here.

More to cum soon!



Friday, March 10, 2017

Erotic Art — Power Girl “You Want This, Don’t You…?”

“You Want This, Don’t You…?”
by Cornnell

Well Then…

Show Me Some Cock!


Here is a peek at the final art starring my parody of Power Girl. Check out my Patreon to view the uncensored version of "You Want This, Don't You...?"..

Join my Patreon and get up to 35% OFF my graphic novels and auctions plus, get exclusive access to upcoming final artworkAlso, take a look at all my original pieces that are up for auction here.

More to cum soon!



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Kevin J Taylor at Patreon




My new Patreon account is live. Come on over! I'd love to have your support!

-kev.


https://www.patreon.com/kevinjtaylor

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Pornographer's Complaint: A Review of Brian Busby's A Gentleman of Pleasure


From the archives: this review was originally published as “Making It True” in The Antigonish Review #179, Autumn 2014.


Would John Glassco’s success as a writer have been greater had he not also been a pornographer (as opposed to an eroticist, which he did not consider himself to be)?  Could he have exceeded his own artistic limitations if those did not include a passion for rubber, ménages à trois, flagellation, or literary hoaxes?  These are two troubling questions John Busby, the author of A Gentleman of Pleasure: One Life of John Glassco, Poet, Memoirist, Translator, and Pornographer, puts to the reader in this discerning biography. 
     “This country has not treated Glassco well,” he informs us.  Little wonder, perhaps.  Glassco’s material was fetishistic pornography, rural poetry, the translation of French Canadian verse into English—hardly the stuff that would excite mainstream Canadian critics even today.  Yet there is no Canadian edition available of Glassco’s classic Memoirs of Montparnasse.  His brave, innovative The Poetry of French Canada in Translation has been largely supplanted by other texts.  And the reaction to Glassco’s pornography in particular “has been one of ignorance, indignation, and silence” at home, even though Busby classifies at least two of Glassco’s novels in the genre as genuine works of literature: The English Governess and Under the Hill
     Part of the problem critics have had with Glassco is that he could be—was often, in fact—unscrupulous about enhancing artistic effect.  If misdirection or prevarication would make, say, the origins of a story or poem, or the telling of a literary anecdote, more entertaining or appealing, he engaged in it readily.  Busby’s stated intent with A Gentleman of Pleasure is “to correct the many varied misconceptions and misunderstandings about [Glassco’s] life.”  Along the way, he produces some wonderfully informative notes, many drawn from letters he has since edited and published as The Heart Accepts It All: The Selected Letters of John Glassco (2013).  Busby is also the author of Character Parts: Who’s Really Who in CanLit (2003).   
     Despite a habit of destroying journals and pages therefrom, Glassco left behind (consciously and not) enough evidence to set the record straight.  Not without some sifting: from the start, Busby’s challenge in unravelling this life is separating fact from fallacy.  “John Glassco was, in his own words, ‘an accomplished liar,’ ‘a great practitioner of deceit.’”  Even in Memoirs of Montparnasse, there were “gestures toward the truth...hints that things might not have been quite as depicted,” that were ignored by most critics of the day.  People, it could be argued—readers and reviewers alike—seemed to want or need to be deceived: to enjoy and believe with deeper conviction Glassco’s story of the Paris art scene just after the Great War.  The harsh assessments of writers like Louis Dudek aside (he viewed Glassco’s literary pranksterism as dangerous), it’s doubtful Memoirs of Montparnasse would have been the hit it was had it been released “simply” as fiction. 
     Busby’s biography is as much forensic exercise as literary reclamation.  He is only interested in the facts of Glassco’s life and work that can be corroborated.  The level of cross-checking he had to do must have been drink-inducing.  But it pays off with a book that gives a lively and accurate account of a Canadian writer who was at one point one of the country’s most significant translators and who remains iconic because of his famous fictionalized memoir.
     Glassco was born in 1909 into the privilege of Montreal’s wealthy Golden Square Mile (though not directly in it, in his maternal grandfather Edward Rawlings’ wooden mansion, as he claimed).  With a mother who was an heiress to a fortune made in fidelity guarantee insurance and a father who did well enough for himself that he was able to threaten to cut off his teenaged son if the boy didn’t give up his ungainly notions of becoming a poet, Glassco could never lie about coming from money.
     This part of the story about Glassco’s early years is a little slow going and stiff with clichés (how spouses met are “lost to history,” homes stand “in stark contrast” to others), but it is still engaging.  As with so many, the realities, misfortunes and odd circumstances of childhood would influence Glassco’s relationships, and his art.  “Glassco could not remember a time at which he had not hated his father,” who had physically abused his brother David and him when they were young.  “Toward his mother [who apparently did nothing to stop it] he felt little more than indifference.”  By age 14, he was rebelling: playing truant, hanging out with older boys, drinking, and visiting brothels.  He made it to McGill University, where he met William Graeme Taylor, with whom he would become strongly, unhealthily involved personally and artistically.  Glassco was 16, Taylor 20.  The two sailed for Paris in February 1928 to become writers. 
     Almost inevitably, the book truly begins with Chapter 2, when Busby attempts to recast the events of Memoirs of Montparnasse, separating what actually happened from what never could have happened from what certainly did not happen.  He spends some worthy time, too, re-evaluating and rejuvenating other literary figures of the day, like Robert McAlmon, who “ranked among the most productive of the expatriate writers,” and whose Contact Publishing Company produced works “not likely to be published by other publishers for commercial or legislative reasons.”  These works were by H.D., Djuna Barnes, Ernest Hemingway, William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, and McAlmon himself.  The literary histories Busby traces throughout the book reveal much about the uncertainty of artistic endeavour.  Memoirs of Montparnasse, whose language remains remarkably fresh, has probably aged better than Morley Callaghan’s That Summer in Paris, Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, and Kay Boyle’s Being Geniuses Together, 1920-1930 (with McAlmon).
     What is certain is that Glassco thought his predilection for governesses who spank and ménages à trois got in the way of his work’s embrace sometimes.  He seemed to see his life in that of the Decadents, especially men like J.-K. Huysmans and his masterpiece À rebours.  Maybe Glassco’s avowed subject matter had to do with a desire “to write only books utterly divorced from reality, stories where nothing happens.”  Glassco, a dandy and a profligate in his youth, was not interested in age or experience the way other men or artists were.  He was 71 when he died in 1981; his creativity had been in decline for ten years.  Glassco’s work took him decades to write, polish and publish.  Memoirs of Montparnasse itself, that “loose and lying chronicle” of a “young man’s adventures in the Paris of the late 1920s and early 1930s,” was properly undertaken in 1964. 
     Had Glassco’s tastes been more along the lines of the erotic mainstream—à la Anaïs Nin or Henry Miller—his critical reception and acceptance may have been more enthusiastic.  Glassco claimed “two features of my psychosexuality, the fetishistic and masochistic,” had a “fatal effect” on his development.  He noted that “[o]nly in my poetry have I kept clear of them”—which  is not to imply Glassco’s appreciation of written pornography was unwholesome.   He believed its intent, “like that of all literature, is simply to please”; that it is “unlike ‘the …erotic, whose tone is mainly sentimental or lyrical’...rather pornography is a ‘deliberate attempt, by all the resources of the written word, to stimulate the sexual appetite.’”
     Busby’s A Gentleman of Pleasure is entertaining as well as insightful.  Part of the fun in reading this biography is figuring out with the author how much of Glassco’s story—as presented by Glassco—we believe, how much we don’t.  Because we do come to admire Glassco’s overheated imagination; his ferocity in the face of perceived tyranny; his love for and devotion to Graeme and his first wife, Elma; his battle with tuberculosis; and his slow growth as an artist and desire to be an individual who lives and meets life on his own terms.  Busby may be overly sympathetic at times, which is understandable given his subject, but there is something all of us—artist and not—can understand of Glassco’s very human doubts that he may be merely a “trifler, dilettante, petit-maître.”       
     Glassco wrote in his Intimate Journal in November 1960: “Face it, dear fellow.  What you want is a smashing success, recognition, your picture in the newspapers, money.”  The challenge may have been that he was writing stories that were unlikely to yield such results.  Glassco suspected his “ambition has always been too widely diffused.”  And yet he persisted in producing one lasting work in every form or genre he attempted.  In some measure, as do we all in our lives, vocations or careers, he triumphed.  Glassco was so like other Canadian writers, too, in ambition if not opportunity; seeking to do some great thing, modestly.  Even if an “accomplished liar” who “took delight in deceit,” Busby convinces us the man was nevertheless true when “he lied, however unintentionally, in dismissing his talent.”


· Robert is the critically acclaimed author of the NBM Amerotica titles Attractive ForcesStray Moonbeams and Great Moves.  His other books include the novel And Sometimes They Fly; the story collections Fairfield: The Last Sad Stories of G. Brandon SisnettIntimacy 101: Rooms & SuitesThe Tree of Youth and Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall; and the memoir Sand for Snow: A Caribbean-Canadian Chronicle.

His graphic novels Great Moves, Stray Moonbeams and Attractive Forces are now available as e-books from NBM. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Erotic Art — Vampirella "Well?"

“Well?”
by Cornnell

Are You Just Going to Stare?

Or are you going to do something about this?



Here is a look at the inked version of my parody of Vampirella as promised... You can see that I made some slight but, significant changes compared to the graphite version, tell me what you think! Join my Patreon  to see the uncensored version along with all my other naughty illustrations!

New posts every day between 8 and 9am (Eastern Standard Time) in the meantime, check out my Patreon and get up to 35% OFF my graphic novels and auctions plus, get exclusive access to upcoming final artworkAlso, take a look at all my original pieces that are up for auction here.

More to cum soon!



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

“Happy New Year, Honey!”
by Cornnell

Ready to Boop-Oop-A-Doop?

I know I am… Especially with some Big Black Cocks!

Here's another piece I completed a while back but, never posted... It is an illustration starring my own interpretation of Betty Boop, overall a very satisfying piece although, in retrospect, I wish I had arched the back and stuck out her butt a little more... Enjoy!

PS     Join my Patreon to see the explicit version of "Happy New Year, Honey!"!

Check out my Patreon and get up to 35% OFF my graphic novels and auctions plus, get exclusive access to upcoming final artworkAlso, take a look at all my original pieces that are up for auction here.

More to cum soon!