“I’m also aware of the danger of ceding platforms and resources whole cloth to those forces. And to be as blunt as possible, every project I’ve ever taken on that’s had any sort of audience has been about that split awareness – a dance between compromise and reclamation. I’ve been paid to read antiracist poems at universities founded on slavery and tried to to tell anticapitalist stories in billion-dollar corporate universes.”
A lot of people, myself included, have jumped on creators taking lucrative Substack deals for effectively supporting prominent unsavory types Substack also subsidizes, but Ahmed confronts the issue head-0n and shows that stance is an incredibly privileged one. Whether it’s Marvel, DC, your favorite Big 5 imprint, KDP, or your social network of choice, there’s really no PURE DIY option available to individual creators beyond old school zines, so every business decision they make is a compromise on some level. One creator’s lesser evil is another’s third rail, and fans have to make personal decisions about where their own line is.
I’ve been particularly critical of the coverage of Substack’s push into comics in a recent issue
and on Twitter
, so this was a nice reminder that it’s easy to miss the bigger picture when you’re being self-righteous, even in what may seem like a pretty straightforward situation.
FTR, I don’t use Substack simply because I had no interest in doing a newsletter until my own lesser evil, Twitter, acquired Revue and made it sound like the integration would be seamless. It’s not, yet, but I’m still enjoying doing it and have never viewed it as a potential source of revenue anyway. Feel free to hit me up on Paypal with a thanks anytime, though!