Thursday, December 12, 2013

Shaenon Garrity: When They Erase Your Name Off Your Comic and Share It on the Web

Above copyright 2013 by Rachel Dukes.

Today's must reading:

Writing at The Comics Journal site, writer/cartoonist Shaenon Garrity poses the familiar problem that creators face in a piece titled Life With/Out a Signature:
"…[M]ore and more cartoonists are dealing the experience of having their work shared around the world by thousands of readers…with their name erased."
In particular, we are talking about the recent case in which Rachel Dukes posted a cartoon on her site -- a cartoon that she anticipated that people would share. She's OK with that. What with Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and so on -- it's easy to share and show people funny cartoons. It was shared over a half a million times. But most of those hundreds of thousands of people saw her cartoon with her name and contact information erased.

Rachel Dukes got incredible exposure and zero credit.

One reason that a cartoonist's credit and contact information is scrubbed is because some sites do not want people to get interested in that creator and click away from their site. These are image-sharing sites that make money the more people hang there and click on the site. 

Shaenon continues:
"This sleazy method of generating clickbait isn’t just bad for the artists; it does a disservice to the site’s viewers, who have no way of finding more work by an artist they like. And creating a relationship between reader and artist is crucial to success in webcomics. 'There’s a new intimacy to the interaction between creator and reader with social media as it is today,' says Dukes, 'because of the immediacy of replies and reactions. Creators have been humanized.' Stripping the creator away from the comic makes the comic less human, too."
Read it all here.

1 comment:

Gerry said...

Hi Mike- I read about this issue over on the Daily Cartoonist and although I sympathize with the cartoonist I think she made it way too easy to excise her url and id info.

It's a good 3/4 of an inch from the art, completely separate down at the bottom, on a plain white background. I've never seen a cartoonist "sign" their work in this way.

I went to her site to make this comment but you have to sign up for Tumblr to do so, a burden for the casual commenter, so I opted not to comment to her directly.

She needs to learn how to sign her work if she doesn't want this to happen again!