THANKS for voting

The screams of joy and car honking followed by pots and pans banging outside my window is how I found out Saturday morning about the election results. Carroll Gardens joined half the United States in an epic party that lasted all day. That night I watched Joe Biden and Kamala Harris talk to the nation, enjoyed a few drinks in the backyard of Sunny's Bar with friends, and ended the night watching Dave Chappelle perform meaningful stand-up on SNL.

I know things are still shaky but every vote counts and I have faith we will move forward with a more practical administration that is open to hearing our needs for proactive change and help bring ALL of us together.


A little while ago, I got an email from a cartoonist I've never met asking me about webcomics. Here's our (edited) exchange:

"Hi. I've been following you on Twitter for awhile. I see your Red Hook is on the Webtoon App. I wanted to ask you if there are any tips at getting your webcomic to be viewed by Webtoon? I have been creating a webcomic and been trying to get more exposure for it. I do see that Webtoon doesn't really have a submissions page. Any insights or tips on how to garner more exposure for my webcomic would be greatly appreciated."

My answer:

It's an uphill battle getting people to read a webcomic that is literally in your pocket and on your phone for free.

I have no idea what sells or appeals to mainstream webcomics fans. To be honest, I don't read most webcomics. I'm 53 years old and prefer paper. I miss picking up comic books at newsstands. I "get" the virtues of digital comix and champion the heck out of 'em (including being an early progenitor) but I spend so much time online that, when I want to relax and immerse in a comic, I want a book in my hands. Maybe my fans feel the same way.

I live hand-to-mouth, month-to-month. I have no other appreciable skill sets and I'm locked into making comix, occasionally writing plays I never make a dime on, and develop lots of spec work that often collect dust in a vault bursting with ideas.

I love what I do but I sacrifice a lot for my current autonomy -- and it won't last. If I had dreamed bigger than filling a blank space with my fantasies and testaments, I might actually be able to take a Friday night off and see my girlfriend. Cook a good meal. Watch a movie or a TV show BEFORE 1am as my eyes struggle to stay open.

Alas, the deadline anvil hangs heavy over me as I punch and scream about my work on social media just to be met with the occasional cheer (from folks like you -- thank you very much) and a whole lot of crickets with a few knuckleheads sprinkled in.

Bottom line: making comix isn't about money. Unless you're just cashing in on some popular, proven intellectual property. No -- comix is about making connections. The community is the currency. I've been trying to build a community since 2006 when I first launched a free webcomics collective on Live Journal. Sure, you want to make a living but the art of comix is so much more satisfying than the business of comix. But, don't look at me for answers. I'm a paycheck away from living in the street.

Keep making your comic. If it's not exclusive to any particular publisher, upload your comic to other platforms. I'm not too savvy with Webtoon but I was made to believe that anybody can upload their comix in a certain section. Go for it.

More importantly, be super aware of the industry, when/where/what's happening, and build a community. YOUR community -- if you can spare the extra time it takes. Otherwise, make comix because you have to. And, if you don't have to, that's okay. There are MUCH easier ways to enjoy life.

I was interviewed by Chris Arrant for Newsarama about The Cobble Hill Colossus, a new New Brooklyn character who debuted in chapters 6 & 7 of BLACKOUT (The Red Hook season 4). 

Here is a sneak peek from that upcoming interview:

Frankenstein's Monster, the Thing, Cobble Hill Colossus - what do you think draws you to this archetype?

Don't forget King Kong. Boo Radley from Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird." Etc/etc. The misunderstood monster is evergreen with possibility and teaches us the most about humanity. The investigation of the banished misfit is rich with romance and redemption, where we can dissect bitter intent and gain sweet context. Pure evil is not as interesting as moral ambiguity. We often ask "why?" when we should be focusing on "when and where." Mapping the origin of a soul can tell you a lot.

"Freak of Nature with a Lonely Heart" is a catchy song by Don Rauf, and it was inspired by my RED HOOK comix! No kidding. Don and his band, LIFE IN A BLENDER, has a new album out called, "Satsuma."

Artist/teacher Jen Ferguson started archiving her all-ages "Art with Jen" videos she's been doing live on Instagram every Tuesday @3pm. Her soothing, nonjudgmental teaching style will be the finest half hour you spend next week on your phone. And, you'll draw something you never knew you could do.

Jen is also offering INTRO TO DRAWING, Thursdays, 5:00-6:00 pm, starting November 19th - December 17th (5 classes) for $125. Art is love. Please support artists.

Studio mate/artist/teacher Peter Rostovsky got me hip to “Love is the message, the message is death” by Arthur Jafa. Possibly the most heartbreaking seven minutes and 22 seconds of film I've ever seen.

Whitney Matheson and I launched our first public NIGHT WORK production:  "Halloween Squares," featuring a night of games, costumes and ridiculousness! Players included us plus Jill Sobule, Stoya, Iris Smyles, Liana Finck, Duncan Birmingham, and Cathy DeBuono. Hosted by comedian Matt Champagne.

Don't forget to read Whitney's pandemic comic, "Heartbreak Sweater."  And, if you squint your eyes, you might catch Whitney (in her Converse sneakers) and I laughing it up and honking a car horn during Colin Quinn & Friends: A Parking Lot Comedy Show on HBO Max (produced by my good pal, Blair Breard). Much more than a comedy show, it documents a unique struggle for significance while bringing the funny in a powerful way.

I had a blast going back in time to 1985 with my comix mentors: Howard Chaykin, Walter Simonson, Bill Sienkiewicz and Denys Cowan for virtual Baltimore Comicon 2020. You can watch and listen to us talk for two hours HERE.

(Wo Hop, 17 Mott Street, NYC, downstairs)

Six years ago ( October 18, 2014 to be exact) I wrote this on Facebook:

More than half the time I sit down to make comix, I find it hard to justify my dedication to a difficult career choice. The business of comix can be crippling, a tough racket to crack. I grumble and think about all the things I've missed and the things I'm going to miss just because a story is daring me to make pictures out of words. I knuckle up and fight a storytelling solution that almost has me down for the count, spitting in my eye as I roll in the dirt until I gasp, reach for the stars, and punch its lights out. When the dust settles I stare at something that means something. Only then am I reminded of why I love comix so damned much.


Some things never change.

Meanwhile, wear a mask and wash your hands.

Read BLACKOUT, The Red Hook season 4!

Love, Dean
Read THE RED HOOK saga for free at Webtoon:
Season 1:  THE RED HOOK
Season 2:  WAR CRY
Season 3:  STARCROSS
Season 4:  BLACKOUT

THE RED HOOK vol.1 New Brooklyn is also available at ComiXology
THE RED HOOK print series is published by Image Comics

Listen to SCENE BY SCENE WITH JOSH & DEAN, the podcast that breaks down American Splendor the movie, Josh Neufeld & Dean Haspiel's relationship with the late/great Harvey Pekar, and growing up in NYC learning to make comix in the 1980s & 1990s.
Copyright © 2020 Dean Haspiel, All rights reserved.

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