Q: Hey, you’re stealing other people’s content!
A: The comics and pages I rewrite are all public domain material. A work can become public domain for various reasons, such as when a copyright expires. Some material comes from publishing companies that have gone out of business, and so ownership is no longer clear. Public domain is a very useful and important function of copyright, since rights of authorship were never supposed to last forever. This is why, for example, we have dozens of filmed versions of The Three Musketeers; the descendants of Alexandre Dumas can’t collect royalties.
Q: From where are you ripping off — I mean, borrowing — your stuff?
A: The main source for my material is the excellent site The Digital Comic Museum. They have a fantastic collection of Golden Age material, lovingly scanned by many dedicated volunteers. If you want to see brilliant art and wildly inventive (and occasionally insane) storytelling, you can read the works online; their site is very well-designed to facilitate reading. You can also download the complete comic files to read at your convenience, in standard comic-reader formats. They greatly appreciate your donations to keep them going. Also, my standard font is called Manly Men, excellent vintage-style hand-lettering that’s free for indie comic creators to use from Blambot. They have quite a few free fonts available, and the breadth and artistry of their work is astonishing and undeniably useful!
Q: Isn’t ruining these gorgeous comics blasphemous? WTF?!
A: The beauty of digital art is that it’s non-destructive. I always post a link to the source material, so you can examine it unpolluted by my base urges. I certainly don’t believe that I’m “improving” the originals, just putting my own modern spin on them for my entertainment — and hopefully yours. A big part of my agenda is to get people to appreciate these works, which demand to be seen!
Q: I’ve never heard of most of these artists. Why is that?
A: It was standard practice during the Golden Age for publishers not to credit creators. All work was owned by publishers, and writers and artists didn’t begin to regularly get credit in comics until decades after these stories were published. And despite being eventually given acknowledgement, writers are artists were typically denied a share of any profits. I go out of my way to point out the originators of this material, and if needed, add their names to pages on which their work is used. It’s very much a worthwhile effort to make sure that these creators, many of whom were not credited in the original published comics, get their due as important contributors to the history of graphic storytelling. If you note an instance where I’ve left out a specific credit (typically because the information was unavailable to me), and you both know the correct credits and can point to a reliable source for the information, please contact me so that I can correct it.