Newsletter #15: Pirate Me, Daddy

I told her she stole my heart but she rightly pointed out it was just a copy

DID CHIP WIN/BUY ANY AWARDS THIS WEEK

No

DOES CHIP HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS OUT THIS WEEK

No

IS CHIP SPIRALING AS A RESULT

Yes

OKAY SO WHAT’S NEW THEN

I’m in Japan! I had a lovely time at Tokyo Comic Con. Everyone loves Spider-Man and Howard The Duck and nobody wanted to see them kiss, which is the only way I sketch them.

Also, I’m quite sick. But it doesn’t stop me from helping my friend Chris and his branded content!


OKAY BUT DO YOU HAVE ANY HOT TAKES THIS WEEK

Yes! It seems that “comics twitter” turned to the subject of pirating comics! A very fraught issue! So, to clear things up, here’s my nuanced take on it:

Pirating comics is like coming to my house and ringing the doorbell. I answer it in my housecoat as it’s 9:30 PM and therefore half an hour after my normal bedtime. But I just had to stay awake in order to drink a tall glass of milk without mother (my wife) knowing (though she always smells it on my breath, no matter how hard I brush!).

Anyway, there you are at my door. You tell me you just need to come in for a second to use my washroom. A simple “number one.” So I say “sure,” because who hasn’t been in that position before? And also, you smell good. Like milk.

But once you come in, you grab a framed photo of my son, Wolverine, from the mantle and put it in your backpack. I shriek, and you respond by kicking me in the nuts. Boy that hurts! I collapse to the floor as you walk around the living room. You grab some more framed photos of my beautiful boy, tossing them into a bag. You grab one last photo and say, “Hm, this is a nice one. I may just photocopy it and hand it out around town.” I shriek and leap into action, taking a swing at you, but I’m a writer, so my punch misses by roughly two feet.

“Not my Canadian son!” I cry as I land on a couch, exhausted from attempting a punch. “He did nothing to you! He’s a good boy and, frankly, brings in a fair amount of cash to our household with his child modelling!”

You look at me with your shark eyes and say, “Well, he’ll surely bring you even more money once I’ve shown him off to the entire town.”

”That’s not how it works!” I yell. “I mean, maybe it does! But it sure doesn’t feel like it!” You laugh and kick me in my chest. I wait for my wife to come downstairs with L’il Debbie, her semi-automatic shotgun, but she never does. She loves sleeping through my beatings.

You grab a few more photos of my rough yet tender boy, some really well-composed shots, some blurry and maybe taken quickly because I had a lot of other sons to photograph that week. I cry, “This is wrong! These aren’t yours!” You turn and grin.

“Didn’t you break into the house down the street and steal a photo of Blink-182?”

I fumble through some memories until I finally respond. “Well, yeah. But I used to … used to own a photo of Blink-182. So it’s like … like I was just … re-owning it…”

You open the door to head outside and I ask you why. Why come into my home and steal photos of my sweet, hairy boy? You smile and say, “Because I wanted them. And I didn’t want to pay for them. Besides, was I ever really here?” I turn around and all the photos are back on my mantel. But the robber’s bag is still full.

“I don’t understand. You can steal from me just because … you want to?”

“It’s really rather simple,” you say. And then you give me a lecture for an hour about life under capitalism and copyright. About art and freedom of information and libraries and loss leaders and the dark web and the normal web. My head is spinning because I’m stupid. And then, just like that, you’re gone.

I stand up just as my beautiful wife (mother) comes downstairs to start her day. “What happened here?” she asks without any hint of wanting an answer. But I tell her anyway. She shrugs and pours herself a coffee.

“Sounds like quite the night,” she says as she flips through some bills. “Though it’s weird you kept calling Wolverine your son.”

“Wait, what?”

“Anyway, these bills are past due and the bank is going to take the house. I’m leaving you.”

SO, JETLAG, EH

Yeah

AND YOU’RE SICK

Sure

SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW

Well, with the holiday season coming up, things aren’t looking so well for Spider-Man: Life Story on Amazon.com, so I guess you should go buy it from your local comic shop.

OK COOL WHAT ELSE

Sex Criminals! Issue 26 is done! Issue 27 is almost done! And the final collection is available for pre-orders! What a world, man. What a world. I hope you don’t steal it.

CHIP ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS

Every week I’ll answer one POLITE and RESPECTFUL question about my life as a comicker or thief. The email is zdarskyletters@gmail.com.

Do you have to clear the contents of this newsletter with Marvel or do you just operate under the assumption that they knew what they were getting into when they hired you?

Love,
Kyle Johnson

Oh fuck.