Book Proposal: the Collected Comic Strips of Nina Paley

I: Nina's Adventures

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Tool User Comics

Art vs. Commerce

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Og Hurl Feces

Nina's Adventures - Reincarnation

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Nina's Adventures - Old Joke Revisted

Nina's Adventures - Fish in the Sea

Book Proposal: the Collected Comic Strips of Nina Paley
I. Nina's Adventures

Long before Nina Paley created the now-famous animated feature Sita Sings the Blues, she was a syndicated cartoonist. Her first weekly strip, Nina's Adventures (1988-1995) was one of the very first comics to appear online (at the now-defunct Tool User Comics), making her an early geek favorite. Spending her tender formative years on the University of Illinois' PLATO computers didn't hurt either. Nina has always had an affinity for tech nerds, and they for Nina's Adventures.

Now a Free Cutlure activist, Paley is releasing ALL her old comics under a Creative Commons Share Alike license. These include not only Nina's Adventures, but also two mainstream syndicated dailies. Fluff was distributed by Universal Press Syndicate in 1997 and 1998. The Hots, co-created and written by Stephen Hersh, was distributed by King Features Syndicate in 2002-2003. All rights have reverted to Paley and Hersh, and now they explicitly free them.

Business Model: As withSita Sings the Blues, a book publisher wouldn't be granted exclusive rights to the works, but rather the exclusive Endorsement of the artist (me, plus Stephen Hersh in the case of The Hots).

All 3 cartoon titles are commercially viable. Both Fluff and The Hots ran in about 50 newspapers each; they ended only because I quit to pursue animation projects. The CC-SA relicense represents something so new that pop-culture publishers don't know what to make of it. But Free Culture is commercially viable too, as proven by Sita Sings the Blues. The free online circulation of the comic strips will generate demand for paper books, just as free sharing of Sita Sings the Blues generates demand for DVDs and other merchandise.

Topics: Social commentary, satire, environmentalism, media, gender, relationships, the early internet.
Purpose: Entertainment, thought, argument. The strips are still mighty good.
Market: Educated nerds, online comics fans, people nostalgic for newspapers, fans of Nina Paley, and who knows who else.
Audience: The great thing about Free Culture is it allows the audience to find the work.
Outline: One volume per title. Start with Nina's Adventures (my favorite).
I. Nina's Adventures
II. Fluff
III. The Hots
Editing each book will determine its structure. Simply organizing the strips chronologically is one approach. If publisher pays an advance, I can edit it myself, or hire another editor. Or publisher may assign their own editor, which is fine with me. I wish to write commentaries for some strips, including open apologies to some of the ex-boyfriends I lambasted in Nina's Adventures.
Book specs: Each volume should be 128 - 200 pages. Enough strips are certainly available to make longer books, but selective culling may be wise. Ideally, interior of books will be mostly black-and-white, with some color sections. Format may be vertical (multiple strips per page) or horizontal (one strip per page); I'm flexible.
Schedule:
The strips are all drawn. The Hots and Fluff are already digitized. About 80 Nina's Adventures strips are digitized so far; about 130 more require large-format scanning, which will take about a month once a facility is found. I can write commentary in a week or two, once all strips are selected. How long it will take to edit, is up to the publisher and/or editor.
Tools:
Ink, paper, scanner. Large-format scanner needed for a complete Nina's Adventures collection.

Web Site: A paper book will best succeed if all the comics are easily accessible online. Each comic strip needs to be modified with a CC-BY-SA symbol and uploaded individually with description, date, and any other relevant data.

All the digitized comics files currently reside in zipped folders on archive.org; a user must be very committed to find them, they are not viewable one-at-a-time onscreen, and no one knows they're there because there's no easy way to share them yet. There are almost 1,000 strips that need cataloguing; I am investigating organizing a volunteer project to accomplish this. Alternately, a book publisher could take over the web site project by building the site themselves, and timing the site launch to coincide with the release of the book.

Contact: nina underscore paley at yahoo dot com. nospam

See more sample strips:
I. Nina's Adventures
II. Fluff
III. The Hots