I’m an increasing supporter of the idea of True Fans as Subscribed Patrons, a mass of individuals who band together to sponsor the work of an artist they trust rather than simply buying it after the fact.
That’s not only because of services like Kickstarter and Patreon taking root, but because it reflects how I actually consume art. Once I’ve decided your work speaks to me, I want it all. Don’t make me keep an eye on release calendars. Don’t let a middleman get a share of my dollar. Take my money whenever you’re feeling the artistic feels and I’ll gladly accept what you deliver as often as you’d like to deliver it.
The beauty (and, let it be said, gratification) of that concept has a single point of failure: editing. Artists who are free to deliver directly to their benefactors run the risk of no longer performing the “Will it float on its own?” evaluation of their artwork. That could lead to unbidden creativity, it could result in fan-pandering, or we could wind up with some half-baked dreck.
Which brings me to author Ales Kot. This is a guy whose brain I’d love to be permanently jacked into based on what I’ve read from him so far. Even if there have been a few duds along the way, the hits are very big hits with me. I’ve exchanged niceties with him on Twitter here and there and a huge part of me simply wants to say, “Look, would you like my $100-a-year up front, because I’m doubtlessly going to buy every damn thing you do.”
He’s doing the utter opposite of that – publishing his creator-owned work through Image, where there is little in the way of advances or guaranteed sales. Every issue he releases is in pure sink or swim mode; every new project must find its own fans until he has an army of auto-buyers like me.
Right now he’s swinging for the fences on every release. I get the impression he wouldn’t have it any other way.
#140char review: Wolf, v1: pure comics magic. @ales_kot knows the perfect amount of things not to say on the page. I re-read it one second after finishing.
CK Says: Buy it!
Wolf is a powerful work of low fantasy, casting supernatural elements like vampires, ghostly winds, and a tentacle-faced man alongside the stars on Mulholland Drive and the streetwalkers on La Brea Boulevard in Los Angeles. Kot and his collaborators have conjured a bit of true magic with this ouroboros of a tale that forced me to pick it up for a re-read just seconds after I finished.
The book opens with a gut-punch image of a man on fire. Not a superhero or an immolator, but a burning man on a stroll rendered all in reds and oranges. This is Antoine Wolfe, an immortal weary of life who’d prefer not to be set on fire as much as he’d like to stay out of both spooky plots and police investigations – and, especially anything that synchronizes all of those things together.
This is not his story and we’re left in relative darkness about his history and the exact nature of his powers. All we know is that he’s the kind of death-proof, magical guy you hire to look into things that require looking into in a Los Angeles that borders directly on Hell. (Kot is vague on whether that’s figurative, literal, or both.) He’s also a magnet for supernatural trouble, whether that’s his half-Lovecraftian buddy who is late on rent or a strangely-calm teenager in the midst of a murder investigation with an X-Files sort of twist. [Read more…] about Review: Wolf, Vol. 1 – Blood and magic, by Kot, Taylor, Loughridge, Cowles, & Muller