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#403: The Delusionist

October 12, 2009

Notes from the Manager

Related Strips: #379: While You Were Gone II: The Wrath of Keith; #390: Daydream Believer; #393: I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me

I just want to repeat a couple bits of news since Friday morning:

1) Winners of the second batch of five Multiplex: Chapter 1 print comics have been notified via the Kickstarter Project's Message Center.

Time for pledge incentive number THREE!

For every $500 we get added to the total between now and October 19th, one lucky backer will get their pretty face drawn Multiplex-style for their Twitter / Facebook / whatever avatar. You'll get AI files and JPGs, so you can do whatever you need with them.

I'm starting the count from $4500, meaning if we get to $5000 before I post the strip for Monday, October 19th, there will be one winner. If we get to $5500 by then, there will be TWO; $6000 gets three winners; and so on.

(While it's not part of the prize, once I've drawn you, there's a pretty good bet you will appear in the print comic at some point as an extra, too.)

2) I've added a new Kickstarter Backers-only strip — from the upcoming second Chapter eBook (and of course the print collection, as well). It's the first of a three-part story called "Hostile Makeover," set after #42 in the archives, and explaining — at long last — Becky's new haircut and glasses.

The previous backers-only strip — a "guest strip" by Kurt — is temporarily up as the TopWebComics vote incentive (until I post a new incentive), to give those of you who have not yet pledged a taste of what you're missing out on. I will not be posting all of the backers-only strips as vote incentives, so if you want to read more Multiplex, pledge today — even just one little dollar will let you read the backers-only posts. But, of course, the $5 level will give you the Chapter eBooks. ;) And then, why not just reserve your copy of the print book now by pledging at the $30 level, since you know you're going to want it, anyway?

Oh, and a couple of new ones:

3) I made a guest appearance in Friday's Theater Hopper, kicking off a new storyline that is ripped straight outta real life. I'm always thrilled to see myself pop up online. I mean, shit, I'm not even in my own comic, unlike Tom's or Joe's.

I was not actually that angry. Mildly disappointed that I'd made it almost a week without knowing ____ __ _ ______ _____. (Don't actually try to decipher what those underlines mean, because they don't.)

4) Because my tongue is stitchless and deemed 100% healthy, there will be a Triple Feature tonight! We will be talking about Zombieland! And maybe some other shit!

5) PLEASE take this ONE-QUESTION SURVEY about the Multiplex: Book 1 print collection. I need help gauging the level of interest in the print book in order to help decide the size of the print run.

UPDATE (10/13): I've noticed in responses to the survey that a VERY small number of people have misgivings about the planned $25 cover price, and I feel compelled to respond.

I'm not DC Comics. I'm not printing up 10,000 copies here. Oversized, 188-page, full-color squarebound books are not cheap, and the fewer books you get, the more they cost per book.

These are the hard numbers: I need to sell the book at 60–70% OFF to distributors. With a $20 cover price, 60% off is $8. With a $25 cover price, that's $10.

With a 750 copy print run, I can't get them printed anywhere for less than $9 — to say nothing of shipping, store costs, PayPal Merchant accounts, SSL certificates, paying my assistant to ship everything, and so on.

For 1000 copies, they'll run me about $8 each just to print them. Selling them to a distributor for $8 is still not viable at this point.

For 1500 copies, I can probably get them for about $6–7, in which case selling to distributors for $8 becomes viable.

If I get 1000 YES responses, shit yeah, the print run will be 1500 and the book can cost $20. But I'm trying to be realistic here. Is Multiplex: Book 1 going to sell 1500 copies in the first year — or two years, even? I doubt it. I only get like 7500 readers per day, guys. Comics with three times my readership don't sell through 1000 books in a year.

I know, you guys aren't retailers or comic book distributors. But I have to set a cover price keeping those sales in mind. Yes, it also means I'll make a healthy profit off each Multiplex Store sale in a 1000 copy run, even after all my other Multiplex-related expenses. But… um… I'm not making these to break even, you know? I'd really like to be able to do comics full-time. Maybe do Multiplex 3 or 5 times a week? Maybe get the second collection out before another four years goes by? This one book won't let me do all of that, no matter how quickly it sells through, but it should get me closer, not farther away from that goal.

So, they're $25. I can and undoubtedly will offer them for less than cover price (at least sometimes), but it's simply not good business to offer a book for sale to retailers and then undercut them at my own store by a significant margin. Retailers need a reason to order the books themselves, and with 1000 copies or more, I can't rely on just Multiplex Store sales alone to push those out the door.

Lest anybody think I'm going to make a profit off of the Kickstarter project directly, the $7500 goal from Kickstarter would get me about $5400 (after Amazon payments' fees and income taxes — because yes, I gotta pay taxes on it). Minus costs to print and ship all of the non-book pledge rewards and minus my living expenses (because helping me finish the book is part of the project) — I'm very likely still going to be paying for half of the print run out of pocket.

Every penny of the Kickstarter funds will be accounted for in future Kickstarter updates.


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Multiplex is supported by Andrew Hathaway at Can’t Stop the Movies, A Fan of Coherence, and readers like you via PATREON. Help keep the Multiplex 10 open for business by becoming a patron today!

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Review: Coherence (2013)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

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Written and directed by James Ward Byrkit.
Starring Emily Foxler, Hugo Armstrong, Nicholas Brendon, Elizabeth Gracen, Lauren Maher, Alex Manugian, Lorene Scafaria, and Maury Sterling.

A new Patreon backer at the $50 level opted out of the usual reward of a plug in the “Become a Multiplex Patron” box (above, on the website), asking instead for me to plug the 2013 indie science fiction filmCoherence (with which he is not affiliated). I was happy to oblige, and so “A fan of Coherence” — a.k.a. The Patron, as I’ll refer to him from here out — is, for the duration of his patronage, among Multiplex‘s supporters. (And, yes, I will review just about any movie a $50 backer asks me to.)

What really got my interest in the film (aside from being asked very nicely to see it) was that The Patron compared it to Shane Carruth’s Primer, one of the best no-budget sci-fi movies ever made. I can definitely see the comparison: both are decidedly low-budget films with small casts and a science-fictiony premise. I feel like seeing the film fairly blind is probably the best, so I won’t summarize the plot beyond the premise of eight friends having a dinner party when a comet passes over and Strange Things Happen, but I don’t think I’m quite as enthusiastic as The Patron.

Unfortunately, the “go in as blind as you can” suggestion means I feel like I need to be pretty vague. Some clunky (and largely unnecessary) exposition gets spat out early on, which tried my patience a bit, but it gets fun as the plot gets rolling. And the plot is definitely the star of the film, not the largely forgettable cast of affluent, Southern California white people or the dialogue, which often feels improvised (in that it neither pushes the story forward nor reveals character, as good dialogue ought to).

Despite some genuinely terrifically creepy or suspenseful moments in the film, a handful of contrived plot points hold it back from being much more than a fun genre flick for me, but I found myself wondering what would happen next — almost up to the very end. A late turn in the film got more of an eye-roll from me than the shock that I think it was supposed register. As always, your mileage may vary, but the film’s merits make it well worth a viewing, particularly for science fiction fans suffering from blockbuster fatigue.

Here’s the trailer! If it piques your interest, please do check it out. It’s available for rent from Amazon Instant Video or for purchase from its official website, among other places. (I never recommend reading YouTube comments, but definitely on’t read the comments if you want to stay away from spoilers.)

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