End of The Year Miscellany

Jon Maki, President and Publisher

I hope everyone’s holidays are going well so far, and while I mentioned in my last post that I was stepping out of the Spotlight for a bit, I thought I would pop in just to say hello and to talk about a few things.

The original intent of The Threshold was for it to be an official blog for OpenDoor Comics, serving as something akin to the old “publishorials” that DC used to publish, or the later “Meanwhile…” columns by the late Dick Giordano, or a combination of Marvel’s “Bullpen Bulletins” and “Stan’s Soapbox.”

That is, it would be a place for news about happenings here at ODC and commentary about the comics industry in general.

Somewhere along the line I got a bit sidetracked, with the majority of the content here consisting of the Spotlight Sunday posts and little else.

The Spotlight isn’t going away, but I do hope to start mixing things up a bit with additional content in the new year. Stay tuned. (Or, more accurately, become tuned.)

In the meantime, I want to just throw a few things out there that are not necessarily related to ODC but may be of interest to some of you.

I mentioned “Stan’s Soapbox” earlier, and in all of their comics this month, in celebration of the life of “The Man” – who would have been 96 today – Marvel has reprinted this classic:


If you haven’t seen Into the Spider-Verse yet, do so. It’s fantastic.

If you haven’t seen Aquaman yet, consider it. It’s no masterpiece, but it’s fun, and making things that are fun is something that DC should definitely be encouraged to do.

Did you know that Comicsgate is a hate group, one that is, like most of the “-gate” movements that have preceded it, being used as a recruitment tool by nationalist, white supremacist, misogynist, homophobic and transphobic organizations? Well, it is. It’s also profoundly stupid.

And finally, I did something nerdy and, I think, anyway, kind of cool.

Anyone who’s read the Spotlight is likely familiar with my fondness for a certain fictional Ace reporter for a fictional major metropolitan newspaper. I remain annoyed that DC didn’t see fit to recognize that this year marked the 80th anniversary of the first appearance of Lois Lane just as it did that of her husband.

At a minimum, there should have been a month of line-wide Lois Lane variant covers.

At a minimum.

In any case, while thinking about Lois – which is a thing I often do – I stumbled upon an idea. I’m sure others have done something similar – and probably did a better job of it – but here’s the result of that idea: a composite image comprised of nine woman who have portrayed Lois on TV and in the movies, as well as the woman who modelled for Lois Lane’s co-creator Joe Schuster (and who married the other co-creator), Joanne Siegel.

I thought it might be fun to share the results here. I was probably wrong about that, but here they are anyway.

Composite Lois is not at all like the Composite Superman.

In this photo we have Joanne Siegel, Noel Neil, Phyllis Coates, Margot Kidder, Teri Hatcher, Dana Delany, Erica Durance, Kate Bosworth, Amy Adams, and Elizabeth Tulloch (the most recent Lois).

I left out quite a few others, mostly because I wanted to keep it manageable and limit myself to some of the most notable portrayers. (Some were left out just because I couldn’t find a suitable photograph.)

There are undoubtedly other methods and tools that would yield better results, but this is what I was able to do quickly and relatively easily in Photoshop. (It’s very difficult to find pictures of so many different women that are suitable for being aligned with each other in this fashion – many actresses concern themselves with capturing their “good side” – so that presented the biggest challenge. Dana Delany was especially difficult to fit in, as I discovered that she’s usually smiling broadly in photographs and sort of leaning back.)

I tried to align the images centered on the eyes, though that wasn’t always possible.

Using that image, I went on to draw my own interpretation, kind of averaging out some of the features, and also, I think, with a bit of an unconscious bias for one Lois in particular:

Here are some more of the combinations I played around with.

Lois in 1978

This one is made up of the women who had portrayed her by 1978 (with Joanne Siegel included): Margot Kidder, Phyllis Coates, and Noel Neil. I find it interesting, as it does look rather a lot like Lois did in the comics of the era.

Movie Lois

Movie Lois is Noel Neil, Margot Kidder, Kate Bosworth, and Amy Adams.

TV Lois

This one didn’t line up very well. I probably should have, technically, included Dana Delany, but…I didn’t. Noel Neil (again; she played Lois in the movie serials before reprising the role years later on TV), Teri Hatcher, Erica Durance, Elizabeth Tulloch.

Lois in 2006
Teri Hatcher and Erica Durance

I personally think that the best blending – some of the alignment issues aside – is of two of the TV Lois Lanes, Teri Hatcher and Erica Durance.

There were several other permutations I played around with, but these were the most interesting. I may revisit this in the future, bringing in some more Loises from some of the other animated offerings, or even do something similar with images of Lois by different artists.

That does it for this random year-end post of randomness. I’ll see you in the new year, with new Spotlight posts and other posts besides (but probably not posts like this one).

Happy New Year!

Supporting OpenDoor Comics is a thing you can do, by whitelisting the site in your ad blocker, by purchasing something from the Supply Closet or the OpenDoor Comics Shop, by creating your own comics on the OpenDoor Comics platform, or through directly giving money via Patreon or PayPal.

Lights Out Sunday 10.14.18

Okay, so, yeah. No Spotlight today. Sorry.

I’m just not feeling it, and I have some non-comics-related stuff to deal with today.

The Spotlight will return next week, and one of these days I’ll get around to that Very Special™ post, but for right now…yeah.

I don’t think that the Showcase will return, however. Even by the standards of this site, the traffic for that feature is absolutely abysmal, so I don’t think it’s worth the effort at this point.

Anyway, apologies once again, and I’ll see you in a week.

Supporting OpenDoor Comics is a thing you can do, by whitelisting the site in your ad blocker, by purchasing something from the Supply Closet or the OpenDoor Comics Shop, by creating your own comics on the OpenDoor Comics platform, or through directly giving money via Patreon or PayPal.

Getting that support would go a long way towards ensuring that there are no more Lights Out days in the future. Just sayin’. 

Showcase Saturday 4.7.18

Looks like it would have been a relatively light week last week if I had picked up any comics.

Also, when pulling up the info on the comics I saw that I failed to remember to pick up The Teriffics #2 this week. But let’s take a look at what I did pick up, shall we?

From DC:

BATMAN BEYOND #18 – “The Long Payback” part five! Payback’s vengeance against Batman is almost at hand, but the Dark Knight’s allies won’t let him perish without a fight. When help does arrive, will Payback decide that killing those closest to Batman is the sweetest revenge?

THE DEMON: HELL IS EARTH #5 – After a physically and emotionally draining journey, Etrigan and his companions begin their siege on Death Valley’s dimensional tear to Hell. The bloody and epic battle against Hell’s armies! Will our heroes succeed in stopping all of Earth from being transformed? Or will a surprise addition to Hell’s forces tip the battle in evil’s favor?

MYSTIK U #3 – It’s time for finals at Mystik University, and they might just kill you! With the evil presence of the Malevolence spreading quickly across the campus, Zatanna and her friends must face tests of courage and wit beyond their wildest dreams. Do they have what it takes to stop this evil spirit? Or is school out forever?!



SUPERMAN #44 – “BOYZARRO RE-DEATH” part three! Gathered together from the cosmic recesses of the universe are the most powerful forces of bad ever assembled! Now the Super Foes face the Legion of Fun—and the only heroes who dare to stand against this intergalactic threat of the Bizarroverse are Superman and son!



WONDER WOMAN #43 – “Amazons Attacked” part three! All his life, Wonder Woman’s brother Jason has longed to meet his mother, Hippolyta, but the machinations of the gods have made it impossible. But now, with the barrier between worlds at its thinnest, could they come face to face at last? Should Wonder Woman help him return home, if it could lead to the destruction of the Amazons?

From Dark Horse:

BUFFY SEASON 11: GILES #2 – High school life is a rough go for Rupert Giles­­-as if being a grown man living inside a teenage body wasn’t hard enough. Crushing on each other, Giles and his mysterious new friend, Roux, navigate around the bullies in the hallways while they investigate the school-wide threat and missing staff and students–which they are certain is connected to some kind of demon . . .

From Dynamite:

RED SONJA #14 – Red Sonja and Wallace have faced the darkness and made their way out from Hell – or have they? They’ve crossed the River Styx, but the land of the living looks just as desolate as the land of the Dead – and it soon becomes all too clear that this is the handiwork of Kulan Gath, enraging Sonja. She didn’t travel back and forth through time and escape from Hell just to find her homelands in ruin…Kulan Gath may be more powerful than ever, but a reckoning is coming!

From Image:

SEX CRIMINALS #23 – “FIVE-FINGERED DISCOUNT,” Part Three It’s all been building to this: Alix gets hit by a bus. (She’s okay.)

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #35 – “MOTHERING INVENTION,” Part Two Once More We Return to the Once More We Return.

From Marvel:

CAPTAIN MARVEL: CAROL DANVERS – THE MS. MARVEL YEARS (TRADE PAPERBACK) – Collects Giant-Size Ms. Marvel #1, Ms. Marvel (2006) #1-17, Ms. Marvel Special #1. In the “House of M” universe, Carol Danvers glimpsed the full potential of her life. Now she embarks with renewed focus in a bid to become the best she can be! With support from friends like Captain America and Jessica Jones, Ms. Marvel is determined to become the greatest hero around – and stopping an alien invasion that could end life on Earth is a good start! But when Civil War erupts, whose side will Carol be on? She’s joined by fellow Avengers Wonder Man and Julia “Arachne” Carpenter, but what will their mission be – and is everyone truly on the same team? When the dust settles, a crossroads is reached, and a decision must be made that will change the course of Ms. Marvel’s life!

NEW MUTANTS: DEMON BEAR (TRADE PAPERBACK) – Collects New Mutants (1983) #18-20, X-Force (1991) #99 material from X-Force (2008) #7-10. The visionary talents of writer Chris Claremont and legendary illustrator Bill Sienkiewicz bring the Demon Bear that has haunted Danielle Moonstar’s dreams to horrifying life! It took her parents, and now it has returned for Dani — and only the combined efforts of her fellow New Mutants can stop it from finishing the job! Sink your teeth into a true classic! Then, Dani’s nightmare returns years later as San Francisco — and her new team X-Force, come under attack from a similarly unholy ursine!

THANOS: THE INFINITY SIBLINGS (HARDCOVER) – Jim Starlin and Alan Davis return in the first volume of a new trilogy! The Mad Titan has everything he ever wanted — but satisfaction is not in Thanos’ vocabulary. When a temporal distortion on Titan draws his attention, he finds the purpose he’s been searching for: saving himself! An old enemy lurks in the far future, and it will take the combined wits of Thanos, his brother Eros and time-travel master Kang the Conqueror to stop it — and save the Multiverse. But there are other players in this cosmic chess game — and Thanos may find himself outmatched! What lies ahead for the so-called Avatar of Death?

That does it for this Showcase Saturday. Come back tomorrow to see what I write about. If you want. I mean, I can’t make you. I probably can’t even convince you. But coming back for Spotlight Sunday is a thing that you’re perfectly capable of doing.

Programming Update:

The paltry number of votes are in, and the consensus is that I should write Spotlight Sunday posts for older comics in my collection, and should not limit myself to doing so only when I have nothing new – meaning that I can do so whenever I feel like it – and that I should not limit myself to writing about comics that have been featured on this site in previous Showcases or Weigh Ins. (Also, most of you still like clicking on things.)

So bear in mind that, every so often, the Showcase might be even more pointless, as I might just write about any old thing I happen to have lying around, irrespective of any new comics I picked up that week.

As always, special thanks go out to Comic Logic Books & Artworkmy Local Comic Shop. Remember to support your LCS (find one here, if you don’t already have one).

As a reminder, a lot of this nonsense could be avoided if I were free to go to the comic shop any time I felt like it, which would be possible if people, oh, I don’t know, did stuff like supporting OpenDoor Comics on Patreon?

Just something to keep in mind. (Narrator: But they would not keep it in mind.)

Weigh In Wednesday 2.14.18

There is no asylum for Dylan even in the asylum, Barbarella can’t find a way for the ends to justify the means, Deadman is still dead and this comic is still an octopus of a thing, Superman and Booster face off against Zod and son, a collection of Brubaker’s tales of the Bat, a look behind the scenes and a new story round out the Director’s Cut for Mister Miracle, and Wonder Woman’s Swan’s Song storyline sings its, er, swan song just in time for the Weigh In to do the same.

Yes, that’s right, (un)true believers: the end is no longer near, it’s here. This is your very last chance to vote in the Weigh In, so make it count by doing so before 12 AM Eastern on 2/18, and then come back for the last reader-selected Spotlight Sunday.

Which comic should be featured in this Spotlight Sunday?

  • WONDER WOMAN #40 (DC) - “SWAN’S SONG” finale! Wonder Woman fights to break Silver Swan out of her mania and stop her all-out assault. (28%, 5 Votes)
  • ACTION COMICS #997 (DC) - “BOOSTER SHOT” part five! Superman and Booster Gold are stranded in time on a world ruled by not one but two Generals Zod! (22%, 4 Votes)
  • BARBARELLA #3 (DYNAMITE) - To stop a war a planet must fall. (17%, 3 Votes)
  • BATMAN BY ED BRUBAKER VOL. 1 (DC) (TPB) - Ed Brubaker’s legendary run on Batman is collected, starting with stories from BATMAN #582-586, 591-594 and BATMAN: OUR WORLDS AT WAR #1. (11%, 2 Votes)
  • MISTER MIRACLE #1 DIRECTOR’S CUT (DC) - We crack open the vaults on MISTER MIRACLE #1 to show you this issue’s original black-and-white artwork by Mitch Gerads and the script by Tom King. (11%, 2 Votes)
  • KILL OR BE KILLED #16 (IMAGE) - Brubaker and Phillips' bestselling series keeps ratcheting up the tension! Even the walls of a mental hospital can’t protect Dylan from his curse. (11%, 2 Votes)
  • DEADMAN #4 (DC) - From behind the scenes rises “He Who Is Always There,” Ra’s al Ghul, the very worst option before or after the death of Boston Brand. (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 18

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TPB = Trade Paperback, a volume containing a longer original story, or collecting multiple issues of a regular comic.

HC = Hardcover, a volume containing a longer original story, or collecting multiple issues of a regular comic.

The featured image showcases what I feel is the best cover of the bunch, and is not intended to sway your vote. (For real, though; as bad as the comic has been, that cover is amazing. Why can’t you just stick to art, Mr. Adams?)

One person, one vote. If you vote more than once, all of your votes for that Weigh In will be discarded.

Admittedly, I don’t know for sure that I’m starting the new job next week, as I’m still waiting for the adjudication of my clearance, which takes some time, and I can’t start working until that happens. I mean, it’s a Public Trust, after all, not some trivial thing like working in the White House and having access to classified information. I’m not some common Jared Kushner, after all, free to roam about wily-nily without clearance…

Still, I decided that a day that for many is, at best, bittersweet was as good a day as any to call it quits on this unloved beloved feature.

What does the future hold ? Well, the Spotlight will continue, at least for a while, albeit without your input, but some things about it will likely never change, such as the fact that practically no one reads it.

I may do some kind of non-voting post  ahead of time just to let people know what I bought that week, but maybe not.

Of course, despite the commuting nightmare that awaits me and will interfere with my energy and my comic-buying, I could continue the Weigh In as-is if I were to make the switch to digital.

There’s definitely an appeal to that, but ultimately, I want to keep supporting my Local Comic Shop,  Comic Logic Books & Artwork. Remember to support your LCS (find one here, if you don’t already have one).

After all, would a digital comic book service give me a Valentine?

When I decided that I would take on the Sisyphean task of attempting to generate traffic by adding content in the form of some ramblings about comics, I hit upon the idea of the Weigh In and thought it would be a fun way to add a little interactivity and make the whole thing a bit more like a conversation than just some dry recap or in-depth review.

While it was often a frustrating experience for me, overall it was fun while it lasted, and while the vast majority of the online world took no notice, I hope that the handful of you who did had fun, too.

Ending a relationship is never easy – especially on Valentine’s Day – but just keep in mind that it’s not you, it’s me*.

And remember, you can still support OpenDoor Comics on Patreon!

*It totally is you, though.

Sellout Sunday 2.4.18

Because I didn’t buy any comics* this week, there was no Weigh In this past Wednesday.

As I’ve mentioned a few times, this might be the sign of things to come, as I was getting closer and closer, after nearly a year out of it, to re-entering the workforce.

Well, that possibility has become reality and I’ve accepted a job offer. Given that my new life as a cubicle jockey will entail at least fifteen hours of commuting every week, on top of the actual working hours, the odds don’t favor me having the time and energy to devote to the Weigh In/Spotlight feature.

I certainly don’t see the Weigh In surviving, as when I get off the commuter bus in the park and ride lot midweek it’s unlikely that I’m going to want to get it into my car to make a trip to the comic shop rather than just heading straight home.  I’ll probably move to picking up the week’s comics on Saturday mornings, and I suppose I could still have a vote that day, but…ehh. It’s possible that I will continue the Spotlight feature, if I can muster the energy, opting to write about whatever comic I feel like writing about rather than what the voters dictate.

Ultimately, I suppose, even if I don’t continue, it’s no great loss, and it’s not as though the Weigh In and Spotlight posts were essential to the mission and purpose of OpenDoor Comics.

To the best of my ability (which…well), I’ll continue to occasionally post my shitty comics, and work on my not-as-shitty comic, but more importantly, I’ll keep the door open for people who want to post comics of their own, and I’ll help them in any way I can.

In any case, despite the lack of any new comics to talk about, I thought I should post something, and given the big event that is apparently taking place this evening, I thought it would be fitting to post something that relates to the essential purpose of the cultural phenomenon that it represents.

What? No, not football: commercials!

With that in mind, while I don’t have any sponsors, and no one is throwing millions of dollars my way to advertise here,  I’m providing a list of links to things you can buy – I would get a few shekels tossed my way should you buy any of them – but it’s not an exercise in completely crass commercialism, as they are things that I legitimately think are relevant to fans of comics and useful to any would-be comics creators out there.

First up, in case anyone has wondered and doesn’t already know, the comics – both shitty and not-as-shitty – that I make are done 100% digitally. It’s been decades since I’ve done any sort of work in traditional media, and while there are drawbacks to the way I work, the advantages, for me, outweigh them.

I do pretty much everything on a Microsoft Surface Studio. There are multiple confifuration options available, and they’re all incredibly expensive and out of reach for most people. The Studio has some definite disadvantages, but…man, that screen is just something else.

Still, the overall Surface line from Microsoft has a wide range of options and device types, and some, like this one, are much more affordable. (Though still not cheap.) They’re great as general purpose devices, but are of particular value to artists.

Not to be a shill – even though that’s what this post is about – there are some pretty significant ways in which Microsoft devices, products and services factor into my workflow, and I may do a future post focusing on my “process” that gets into it. (Now, to be a shill, as I mentioned, I don’t have any sort of sponsors, but just so you know, Microsoft, I wouldn’t be averse to you throwing some money and/or devices my way…)

While Surface products are growing in popularity, Wacom is the go-to hardware source for most digital artists. Most of what they make isn’t cheap, but they do have some inexpensive options to help you dip your toe into the world of digital art. Like Microsoft, they provide a wide range of options that includes Surface Pro-like mobile computing devices, and, of course, the Cintiq line of touch and pen-enabled screens. Prior to making the switch to the Surface Studio, I used a Cintiq, and while I decided that the Studio was the right choice for me, there’s a reason why Wacom is an industry leader.

On the software front, the two main programs I use for creating comics are the gold-standard in image-editing, Adobe Photoshop (Adobe: See my message to Microsoft), and Clip Studio Paint (also known as Manga Studio). Clip Studio Paint comes in two versions; the EX version I linked to, which I use, is more expensive and fully-featured, but the Pro version would serve you well. It’s designed specifically for creating comics, and is where I do the bulk of my work (drawing, inking, come coloring). I use Photoshop for some additional color work and for adding effects, lettering, and making touch-ups. It’s definitely something you could use from start-to-finish to make comics – and the same holds true for Clip Studio Paint, but I find the drawing tools and UI of Clip Studio Paint a little better-suited to the work.

(In the interest of full disclosure, you’ll find more and better – that is to say, cheaper – purchasing options for Photoshop and other useful Adobe products directly from Adobe, and Clip Studio Paint from Smith-Micro. Of course, then I wouldn’t get a cut, but I don’t really expect you to care about that, and as much as I’d like to make some money, I’m really just trying to help you out here.)

There are a lot of resources for aspiring comic-creators who are looking to learn the trade and understand some of the theories and principles behind graphic storytelling, such as the venerable Comics and Sequential Art, which is part of the line of instructional books by the great Will Eisner, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, in which Scott McLoud examines the many aspects of what goes into comics, how they came about, and how they work, The DC Comics Guide to Creating Comics: Inside the Art of Visual Storytelling, which is part of a line of books from DC, each of which explores the different components and their respective tasks that go into making comics, and finally, while some of the examples may seem dated, with Stan Lee and the legendary artist John Buscema as your guides, there’s a reason that How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way, in addition to being one of the first books of its kind is still one of the best.

“Okay,” you say, “but what if I just want to read some comics?”

Well, you can’t really go wrong with Planetary, which provides a rich metatextual exploration of the history of comics, and is also just a damned fine comic in its own right.

Or how about Saga, which expertly blends science fiction and fantasy and puts them into a beautiful package?

Maybe you’d like Lazarus, which is kind of like a science fiction version of Game of Thrones that provides a dystopic vision of the future that which each passing day seems increasingly – and uncomfortably – familiar?

Maybe something fun, that’s suitable for all ages, like Tiny Titans is more your speed.

And ultimately, you can’t really go wrong with literally anything written by Ed Brubaker.

Anyway, that does it for Sellout Sunday I. I hope that, even if you don’t buy anything, you found this helpful and fun.

While their days are numbered, there will be a Weigh In Wednesday this week, so be sure to check back for that.

In addition to buying via the links provided here, you can also pick up comics – and books about comics – from your local comic shop, the way I (usually) pick up comics from my local shop, Comic Logic Books & Artwork.

Enjoy your big sportsball recital tonight – GO SPORTS TEAMS! …no, really. Go. Far away from me.  – and the orgy of consumerism that will be much more over-the-top – but probably more entertaining – than this post.

And remember that now – and perhaps doing so now is needed more than ever – you can support OpenDoor Comics on Patreon!

*I learned afterwards that the second issue of Mystik U, which isn't on my pull list, but which I had intended to pick up, did come out this past Wednesday and I apparently missed it as I passed by the shelves multiple times looking to find something to buy. Sorry about that, but it's worth noting that it was kind of easy to miss, as this issue didn't really have the logo prominently displayed on the cover.

Is This Thing On?

Jon Maki, President and Publisher

I have a problem.

Well, really, I have a lot of problems. Physical, mental; really, just a huge pile of problems both large and small. For the purposes of this post, though, there’s one problem in particular that I’m grappling with though in fairness, the problem is made up of several smaller problems, and it’s connected to many of the other problems I have.

It’s basically a rat king of problems, which is an extremely gross metaphor, but bear with me.

In the simplest terms, my problem is a question: What should I do?

This is, of course, a question that all of us face at various times and in various circumstances in our lives, and really, it’s the central question of existence.

But I’m not thinking – at least not entirely – in broad, philosophical or existential terms. It’s a specific question related to a specific set of issues.

Issue the First: At the moment, and for the last several moments – since the end of March – I don’t have a job. I’m doing okay financially, even though I currently have no income, as I was prepared for this, and it will be quite some time before my lack of employment becomes a pressing concern. I would, however, like to avoid getting to that point, so after taking most of the spring and summer off – during which I had hoped to accomplish rather more than I did, or even anything at all – I have begun seeking out employment.

Issue the Second: But I don’t want to. I have pretty much zero interest in returning to anything even remotely like my former corporate life. Not (just) because I’m lazy, but because it just doesn’t appeal to me. It’s not how I want to live. Which means that I need to find an alternative revenue stream.

That is, in part, the point of OpenDoor Comics, but to date…well.

I believe that it can be that alternative revenue stream, but that brings us to…

Issue the Third: This site, and the platform that it’s meant to be for comics creators of all kinds is so far…well, not that platform part. But I believe that it can be, with a more committed investment of time and money, devoted to improving the underlying technology, and to spreading the word about its existence. I have the time, and I kind of have the money, but…

Issue the Fourth: The money I do have, while I remain unemployed, is being used for mundane things like keeping a roof over my head, and keeping me fed. And that’s the heart of the conundrum. I’ve got time, and I’ve got money, but the more money I put into it, the less time I’ll have before things get desperate and I absolutely have to get a job, which will bring in money, but take away my time.

However, this post isn’t just about the problem; I want to talk a little about the solution I’ve settled on.

What should I do? This.

I believe in OpenDoor Comics, the vision I have for it, and its mission. I think that, if I can get others to join me, we can make it into something great.

As for the money problem? Well, I’m taking some steps to address that. If you visit the Supply Closet, you’ll find that I have prints of some of my artwork for sale (artwork, I’ll note, that is better than my comics might suggest).

Beyond that, I’ve launched a Patreon page, where people – like you! –  can go to provide financial support. (It’s worth noting that I do feel a lot of anxiety about this step. The sheer audacity of it! I’m a fraud! I haven’t earned it! But I remind myself that it can free me to work on earning it, so…)

I’m also going to become much more active here, blogging more – and possibly bringing in guest bloggers – posting more (and not as shitty) comics.

Will my efforts pay off? I don’t know, but I’ve decided to find out.

If it comes down to it, I’ll find a job, but I’ll retain my commitment to OpenDoor Comics.

In closing, I want to thank everyone who has provided support so far by liking and sharing my (shitty) comics and my posts, but while I do appreciate it, truly, I have to ask that you keep it up, and, if you can, help me in other ways.

Buy some prints! Disable your ad blocker! Or make a donation via the donate button!

But mostly, just keep believing, either in me, or in OpenDoor Comics.

I’m good with either. (Though both would be nice.)

Still Open

Jon Maki, President and Publisher
Jon Maki, President and Publisher

I know, it’s been a while, and not very much has seemed to happen in that time.

Not here, at any rate.

That’s not because I’ve given up on OpenDoor Comics, but the fact of the matter is that what I had hoped would happen so far, well, hasn’t.

What had I hoped? Mostly that people would find their way here through my (admittedly minimal) efforts to publicize the site and its mission, and that they would begin utilizing the platform to share their comics, traffic would build up, some revenue would start flowing in, and I could use that revenue to start pursuing active development and marketing, and begin the slow process of bringing the vision to life.

Yeah, not so much.

But that’s okay! As I said, my efforts – for a variety of reasons – to promote the site and mission have been minimal, but it’s not because I don’t believe in them, or have given up on the vision.

For one thing, I’ve always intended to take it slow, choosing to be cautious – perhaps even cowardly – and not diving in without testing the waters.

Well, the waters have been tested, and the results indicate that I need to do a lot more work before I can consider diving in. But make no mistake: I intend to dive in.

And, it turns out, sometime in the near future, I may very well be pushed.

But that’s all a consideration for another day, and I mention all of this merely to point out that I have not abandoned OpenDoor Comics or the vision behind it. The site is still here, the Door is still Open.

And that, I think, is an important point, because while not much of anything has happened here, out there, in the real world, on the other side of the Door, a lot has happened.

There is an effort underway to close doors, to put up barriers, to separate and weed out diversity, to turn away from inclusion and focus on exclusion.

As we need to keep reminding ourselves, This Is NOT Normal, and though it may seem self-serving to say, this movement, this abnormal shift, makes the vision and mission of OpenDoor Comics more vitally important than ever.

There are voices that need to be heard, stories that need to be told, and images that need to be seen.

Those voices, those stories, those images – they are welcome here.

YOU are welcome here.

As long as I have the means to hold it, the Door will always be Open.

Improvements (And Room For More)

Jon Maki, President and Publisher
Jon Maki, President and Publisher

While we wait for Creators to start signing up and posting comics – You are, like me, waiting for that, right? – I continue to tinker with some of the settings and features of the site in an attempt to improve the overall experience.

The latest improvement:

Enabling (and creating) Groups, which allow registered members of the site – whether they’re Creators, Collaborators, or just fans – to socialize and share information.

It’s really taking the next step in capitalizing on the social networking features enabled by the plug-in I installed for customizing the sign-up form.

To capitalize further, I created a Group called Artist Alley, which is a Group for all registered Creators to interact with each other and their adoring public, and one called Collaborators, which allows those who are interested in becoming Creators and looking for their partners-in-comics to let the world know their names and what they have to offer.

Of course, these are all very basic, and are just laying the groundwork for what is to come for OpenDoor Comics.  Even the current overall look of OpenDoor Comics, and any new sites created here, is very basic.  It is, with some minor customization, the most basic, default WordPress theme available.

But that goes back to my original ideas about Supply and Demand.  I just want to have something out there for people to begin using so that we have something to build on.  After all, there is no need to reinvent the wheel, but once we start using the wheel, we can begin looking into ways to improve it.

Let’s take the Collaborator-matching as an example.  Right now, there are two basic paths:

  • Sign up, list your skills and interests, and check the box indicating that you’re looking to collaborate and be contacted by other registered users.  Others will be able to see that information in your profile – particularly if you join the Collaborators group – and anyone interested in working with you can then contact you.
  • Let me know that you’re interested in collaborating (via e-mail) and what your skills and interests are, and I will look through the index of potential matches and do the matchmaking legwork behind the scenes.

Neither path is particularly innovative or complex, but they do provide a starting point.  What kind of improvements will the future bring?

I can see incorporating more cogent questions into the basic Collaborator profile, or maybe some kind of personality assessment.  Or maybe setting up some Google Hangouts, or even real-life meet-ups.

But maybe not!  Maybe no one fill find that useful.  The point is, with that service, as with every other aspect of OpenDoor Comics, there’s plenty of room to improve.  It’s something that I recognize and am working on, and I hope that you recognize it as well, and view it not as obstacle, but an interesting challenge and an opportunity, because much of what we’ll see in terms of improvements to the site depends on you.

In particular, having the resources (money, mostly, which will lead to more available time) to devote to improving existing features and developing new features, and being able to entice some skilled and talented people to join the OpenDoor Comics team and help with that development, depends on people like you visiting the site (and configuring your ad-blockers to allow the minimal, non-intrusive ads to display…pretty please?), donating to the site (see the button over to the left), selling and buying items in the Supply Closet, buying items from the OpenDoor Comics Shop, and signing up and creating your own comics.

And, of course, just generally being willing to provide support and spreading the word and having faith that, in time, OpenDoor Comics will be in a position to achieve its Vision and Mission, and do its best to live up to its Values.