Substack Just Took All My Comics Money

Or, I mean, I supported comics creators

They flocked here. I confess: I followed.

The Stack of Comics Substackers

It started with Saladin Ahmed, a comics writer I’ve enjoyed too much to want to miss his next ventures. By the time he jumped aboard the Substack train of comics investees with his Copper Bottle newsletter, I’d already (guiltily) bought into the train of soon-to-be-EX-X-writers joining Hickman’s Three Worlds Three Moons, including the biggest draw for me, Ram V.

I had some reluctance, just as I had some hesitations about starting a Substack myself. The day after I succumbed to starting an account here, right after they began pumping money to lure some high-profile writers (for me, it started with Steady by Dan Rather), I started to hear the critiques about the objectionable columnists they platformed/paid to be objectionable on this website-dot-substack-dot-com.

(Just like IRL Paul to show up just when the party’s already getting sour and find myself awkwardly standing around. Or was I the one that made it weird?)

In comics world, I had enjoyed Kelly Thompson’s Substack, but also appreciated folks like Greg Pak seeking alternatives. When the comics rush began, I thought jumping in on the Hickmanian constructs of Three (yes… THREE!) Worlds, complete with Three (wow… THREE!) Moons would be enough to sate some curiosity. But then came loud announcements from Tynion, and Snyder, and Scottie Young, and Ostertag, and Zdarsky. These were creators whose comics work I wanted to read, yes. But not necessarily indispensable… at least not seventy-bucks-annually indispensable.

But then, Saladin Ahmed…

My Subs of Comics Substacks

So he opened the floodgates. I torpedoed the mail-order pull list (a long overdue farewell anyway) to make financial space. I plunked down annual sub fee after annual sub fee to those esteemed creators. The conscience was somewhat sated by vague notions of sticking it to the venal corporate system (as if…. Substack…) and the growing crowd of those creators re-diverting to causes and advocates.

Tipping me over the edge? The instantly inspiring advice on Ostertag’s bulletins. Chip Zdarsky’s wry mockery of the 3 Worlds 3 Moons Hickmanesque diagrams, giving me good guffaws. Ahmed spotlighting co-creator artists with direct respect unfiltered by distant publicity departments.

My pocketbook will require me to draw a line. I’ve subscribed to all those aforementioned creators save Snyder, and some of the others slated to jump aboard make it easier for me to find my inner “no thanks.” It’ll be interesting who else finds their way over there. Or rather, “here.”

My Substack of… Comics Substacks?

So when I started this Substack, I’d planned to post stray thoughts about comics. Comics I read. Comics I teach. Comics I learn from. Comics I dream of making but never really get around to making.

All this investment into Substack from these creators, though, has me wondering if the reason for me to be here is to pay attention to the comics popping up here. They may be behind paywalls and subscriptions, and maybe a new critical idiom about them will be necessary, or at least disclaimers. But watch this space: I plan to be watching this space.