Comics like The Only Living Girl were made online free to counter piracy
A comic book writer’s statement that “a real problem” is the rise of piracy has encouraged others in the industry to share their concerns.
Jim Zub, who writes for Marvel and IDW, tweeted that 20 times as many people read online-shared comics illegally than they do for digital or physical work.
Many other creators of comics replied with their own pirated work experiences.
Piracy brought personal and professional costs to some, while others suggested radical changes in distribution.

Jim Zub
Zub said in the thread that work had spread without being paid for initially creating a “visibility boost” for the creators, but has now become the norm for a “rapid consumption” audience.
“I don’t want pirate readers to think it’s no big deal or victimless,” he tweeted. “Content worth reading is content worth supporting.”
While some authors replied with stories of copying their work on social media without credit, the main concern for some is to have digital comics-or physical copy prints-re-hosted on other sites.
These sites, said Canada-based Zub, are hosted on foreign servers which “ignore legal attempts to shut them down”.
Dave Gallaher, co-author of The Only Living Girl comic series and co-founder of Bottled Lightning comic studio was one of many in the industry to agree with the review of Zub.
Gallaher, who is also the co-host of the podcast For the Love of Comics, estimates that there are 30 million views per month of pirated comic books, a number that “far overshadows actual customers” and has hit legitimate purchases.
“In the United States,” he explains, “digital sales have gone stale for their sixth year, while print comics have declined for two.”
Joe Glass is an independent South Wales comics writer whose titles are sold through Comixology, a comics distribution site, with sales figures “the publisher is happy with.”
In one pirate site alone, however, Glass found his LGBTQ+ superhero series The Pride and The Pride Adventures to have been illegally viewed a total of 16,843 times.
This type of piracy hurts him and many other independent writers and artists who are “pretty tight” about money.
“Many creators in the industry are working side jobs, even several other jobs, even the big names.”
For a comics maker at the beginning of their career, working on the scale they are, Glass says piracy is a “stumbling block” to get more work published, rather than exposing them.
“I tried to consider the benefits, but now I ultimately can’t see it as anything other than stealing.”
If each person to pirate his work had purchased an issue instead, “it would mean enough payment in full for the series to me and my entire creative team, and a good step of the way into the next project.”
“Instead, the next project is entirely reliant on getting picked up by a publisher who will help fund its creation.”


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