18 months after it was initially announced that newsletter platform Substack was intending to make a serious play for comic book creators, the cracks are starting to show in the company’s plans, with talent suspending or altering their offerings as their initial deals lapse. Whatever the future of the comic creator newsletter landscape might be, it’s already beginning to take shape.
It’s not as if comic book creator newsletters weren’t a thing before Substack’s investment in the medium, of course; writers like Warren Ellis, Ed Brubaker, and others had been using them for more than a decade before Substack entered the game in 2021. The reason why newsletters are such an appealing outlet is, according to Kieron Gillen, “control, really. You guarantee you're speaking to the people who want to be spoken to, and you're not relying on the nature of an algorithm to design to show it them (and so being reliant on you being a performer on the form enough to make the algorithm work for you).”
That’s important because, as Gillen explains via email, “The level of actual interaction has been going down on Twitter for years. You can have hundreds of thousands of followers, but if they don't actually buy your stuff, there's no work-related point to it.”
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