Internet | Sandman co-creator Neil Gaiman joined with Trent Reznor, Aziz Ansari, OK Go and 14 other members of the creative community in signing an open letter to Congress against the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act. "We fear that the broad new enforcement powers provided under SOPA and PIPA could be easily abused against legitimate services like those upon which we depend. These bills would allow entire websites to be blocked without due process, causing collateral damage to the legitimate users of the same services - artists and creators like us who would be censored as a result," the letter states.
Warren Ellis and Fantagraphics have also come out against the bill, while Peter David, who is against the bill in its current form, takes aim at those who "endorsed the piracy, supported the piracy, enabled the piracy, felt their own actions weren’t piracy, and now refuse to accept the consequences of their own actions." ComicsAlliance has posted an editorial against the bill and rounded up webcomic reactions to the blackout. [NeilGaiman.com]
Creators | Artist Jimmy Broxton, a.k.a. James Hodgkins, shares his side of being asked to leave Ashes, the sequel to Alex de Campi's Smoke that held a successful Kickstarter campaign last year. "... I’m incredibly sorry about the whole thing, and for me, it’s not just about the money, or lost earnings, or how Kickstarter works, this has come as a huge creative blow. I had committed to spend the next year drawing Ashes, the script is quite brilliant, Alex is an extremely talented writer, I very much wanted to be part of something that I thought was going to be special. I hope people can see that commitment from the work I have already produced for the series." De Campi responds on Kickstarter, relating what she contends was a tumultuous collaboration process in which she "felt bullied" by Hodgkins. [The Beat, Kickstarter]
Retailing | Ryan Haupt argues that better comics shops are one solution to the problem of piracy, a notion that gets some pushback in comments. Regardless, he does make some good suggestions as to how comics shops can improve (some are obvious, yet widely ignored) and points out the problems with buying comics at bookstores. [iFanboy]
Retailing | ComicsPRO President Joe Field talks up the sixth annual meeting of the retailer trade and advocacy group, being held Feb. 9-11 in Dallas. [Flying Colors Comics]
Publishing | DC Comics Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee talk at length about the thinking behind the company's line-wide relaunch. "I've been using the expression 'death by a thousand cuts,'" DiDio says. "There are a lot of things that we could have been doing better across the line: We could have been writing better, we could have been drawing better, we could have been editing better, we could have been marketing better. By doing the relaunch it allowed us to examine every aspect of our business and look at it from a point of view of if we were building a business today, how would we build it? How would we create characters? What types of stories would we tell? How would the world feel? And we changed the interior look of our books and we changed the exterior of our books. And by introducing the same day digital aspect, it forced us to rethink our production process. We were faced with a lot of delays. And we were losing loyal fans who were coming week in and week out because the books weren't there. And we had to make a new commitment to deliver our product on time. People said to me, 'How'd you let things get so out of control?' It's like one day waking up and you're 30 pounds overweight. You're not exactly sure how you got 30 pounds overweight, but you know you didn't eat 30 pounds of food the night before. It just happened." [Fast Company]
Awards | Sarah Glidden’s How To Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less won a 2011 MEOC Middle East book award, presented last month at the Middle East Studies Association conference in Washington, D.C. [Middle East Outreach Council]