“I’m here to politely ask you to please stop downloading my work.” – Dan Slott

Dan Slott has apparently been very vigilant about going to torrent sites to try to get people to stop downloading his books.

I’m the writer of Marvel’s SHE-HULK comic, and I’m here to politely ask you to please stop downloading my work. She-Hulk, while it gets good reviews and enjoys pretty loyal and devot [sic] following, is stell [sic] a low selling title. It needs EVERY sale it can get to stay in the game. When you circumvent the intended path of sales you hurt the incomes of a LOT of people.

You’ve got to respect the guy for taking the time to try to put the genie back in the bottle. It’s a fairly futile effort, but he’s out there trying and putting his case across in a friendly, polite manner.

Say what you will about Dan Slott, but the man is a tireless promoter for his own books. If there’s a story about his books on Newsarama, I see him posting in the comments section. At cons he gives impassioned pleas at panels. He clearly loves what he’s doing and doesn’t want his books to go away.

I wish him luck.


  1. I respect what he’s trying to do, but this is pretty damning against him:

    User profile for danslott
    Last visit: 14 hours ago
    Join date: January / 19 / 2007
    Rank: Regular user
    Downloaded: 11.60 GB
    Uploaded: 10.80 GB
    Ratio: 0.93

    He’s justifying it by saying nothing he downloaded was available on Region 1 DVD, but that still doesn’t cut it. Would he allow this to people in countries that can’t easily buy his comics? Shouldn’t he just buy a region-free player and import titles he wants?

  2. See, I agree with downloading things that aren’t otherwise available to you. There’s no one who can’t legally buy his books someway, somehow, though.

  3. I really enjoy Dan

  4. Even though anyone who’s really committed to it can rationalize his way right around Slott, I like the idea of the author getting out there and putting a human face on downloading. “You personally are hurting me personally. This is what I do; please do not take food out of my mouth.” I mean, She-Hulk sells what, 30,000 copies? 25,000? Unlike the movies or even the more popular comics, a few downloads here and there actually make a quantifiable difference.

  5. I mean, She-Hulk sells what, 30,000 copies? 25,000?

    Not even that much, I don’t think.

  6. See, I agree with downloading things that aren’t otherwise available to you. There’s no one who can’t legally buy his books someway, somehow, though.

    I agree, it just sort of deflates his point a bit. I know they’re not the same, but he would have come off much better had he not pirated over 11 gigs of material in less than 3 months, regardless of the material’s widespread availability.

  7. Don’t worry Dan, I don’t read she hulk. But since I’m away from home serving our country and all of my comics are being delivered to my home in VA, I do not feel one thread of guilt for downloading comics that I have paid for. (and maybe one or two extra’s that I didn’t) But if I find I like those then I may buy them too.

  8. New World Media Distribution � Most all media is free and readily available to everyone. The material that is really popular will be supported by hard copy sales of their media (books, CD�s, DVD�s ect,�) as well as advertising sales, and merchandising (toys, T-shirts, movies, ect�).

    Like it or not we are moving more and more to that new model. What these dinosaurs of old median distribution fail to realize is that downloading free material is the best possible advertisement for that material that they could have. Case in point, if I have to pay for She-Hulk, I�d never read it. I can�t spare my extra bucks to take a chance on a book that I may or may not like. However, if I download it for free I may discover that I love the book and will then want to go out and purchase those books, buy T-shirts, watch Movies, ect�

    This is a bit simplistic. And if this was the case currently with comics, a lot of books you’d like would disappear. I know new media, and I like new media, but as of now, there isn’t a valid method for ads and merch to support production of a book that isn’t selling enough. She Hulk is a great example of this.

    As far as you not wanting to pay to take a chance on something…I mean, that’s what movie tickets and books always are. Furthermore, comics have been very effective and forward thinking in putting a great deal of material up on the web for free, such as the 4 issues of She-Hulk Slott mentions in his posts.

    I think people get high minded about stuff like this and feel entitled, but at the end of the day, any way you slice it, you’re taking something for free and giving nothing in return.

  9. I think people get high minded about stuff like this and feel entitled, but at the end of the day, any way you slice it, you’re taking something for free and giving nothing in return.

    Can I get a witness!

  10. I don

  11. I think people feel entitled when they think the price is being gouged; if there was a way to pirate gasoline would anyone pay for it? Not disagreeing with Josh at all just trying to put a finger on the source of those feelings.

    And personally, I download a few titles a week just so the iFanboy podcast doesn’t spoil too much for me but I still pick everything up in trade later. I found it a little obnoxious that Slott said “And while PERSONALLY I’d rather you buy the book in single issues, the sales of the TPBs ALSO help the continued longevity of the book.”

    I know he tried to make is sound like an impassioned plea but it just came off as passive aggressive to me. Every other creator I’ve ever heard has never displayed a preference that I buy their work in singles or trades and when I’m spending my money I like the format that isn’t bloated with advertising.

  12. Well, with books on the bubble, if they don’t sell enough books in issue form, they’ll never make it to trade paperback.

    Not every book is destined for collection, and a book like She Hulk won’t be reprinted if it didn’t sell in the first place. Slott knows that. It’s not like a Vertigo book, where they plan to make their money from the trades AND the issues. At Marvel, it seems that one follows the other.

    And when you torrent, you’re not just downloading the book you bought, or plan to buy, but you’re uploading to others as well. So you may be able to personally justify what you’re doing, you can’t do the same for them.

    For example, Slott himself uploads 93% of what he downloads. In torrent circles, he’s damn near perfect. But he’s giving out a lot of pirated material too.

  13. Good point. I am reduced to playing Devil’s advocate because of Josh and his damn incite.

    So if uploading a book that I might own or intend to own is still morally wrong what about just loaning a book to friend? At what point does distributing material to others for free cross the fine line to piracy?

    (I’m assuming whoever initially seeds these torrents has to buy the books in order to scan them so the companies get at least one sale and the torrent is a much larger way of just “loaning” it to people)

  14. It’s more akin to making color copies and sending them out to hundreds of people.

  15. Hello, long time listener, reader and lurker here.

    I got back into comics when I realised that I could download them. I started to pick up X-men where I left it of a couple of years earlier and that lead me to more and more comics.

    Now I buy comics for somewhere around 80 dollars a month.

    I still download though. I could never afford to import enough comicbooks to my home here in Sweden to be able to keep up with all the crossovers and events.

  16. The way comic creators get dissed by the mainstream media (their work is rarely recognized unless someone else makes a movie out of it), I feel the least I can do is actually buy their comic.

  17. This needs perspective, how about more facts, less catch phrases?

    OK, like so many discussions of downloading, this sounds a bit like me in Tokyo talking about a comic that just came out, something I probably won’t have access to for a very long time. Maybe in a week and a half if I finally find a decent store here, or one year after it’s finally released in trade form. And yes, I just made a comment on this topic there, didn’t I?

    1) Is Dan Slott a hypocrite because he downloaded?

    Downloading 10 GB in three months is like buying two montly titles and a trade over the space of three months — it’s chicken feed. Regular bittorrent users will exceed this easily by leaps and bounds within just over a month. He uploaded about as much as he downloaded, which is extremely rare–most just download, or “leech,” as in 100% take, 10% give. My guess is he did something extremely rare – he experimented with the technology himself without presuming to pass judgement. If you read the legal notices sent by major corporations (posted on Piratebay), they look like they were written by temp staff, who barely have a command of the English language, much less the legalities and knowledge of the technology. So, on this I actually give Dan Slott props. The person who tried to post his personal profile, which he could have kept private as “evidence of hypocrisy” gets minus points. Defend yourself with valid arguments, OK, but they’re fully aware of what I’ve written here, they’re just trying to score cheap points. Sounds more defensive than a valid critique against Slott. Also, the “Region One” comments show how little people know. Three letters: V-L-C. If he’s only dowloaded 10 GB, Slott probably doesn’t know what VLC is. Hardly a big downloader.

    2) Slott did something EXTREMELY rare — rather than say “You’re all evil, CEASE and DESIST!” He actually spoke to the bittorrent community as if they are humans that matter, asking them to make up their own mind based on what he says. This stands in stark contrast to most corporations, which use giant iron hammer legal actions like Moses coming down the mountain with the word of God, which never work, and are done in a completely arbitrary way, and only spawn more bittorrent sights and the kind of attitude that WANTS to break the law when being commanded by a cororate entity that thinks it has a lock on the word of God. You can’t “Gestapo” bittorents out of existence, and Dan Slott gets props from me for realizing that’s an idiotic way to go. He talked to regular folks as fellow humans, not as criminal dirty scumbags, like the big greedy corporations, my respect for Slott has doubled.

    3) If you think you can get anything you want for free by downloading, you don’t know what’s really available. People who download are completely at the mercy of who decides to upload. It’s a bit like me having access to three people’s pull lists, and 80% of the titles on bittorrents don’t appear on the pull lists I see at iFanboy.com. In this case, a big She Hulk fan decided to upload, and there it is. Other really great titles? Forget it. But I am sure you can get the complete body of work put out by Britney Spears… Following monthly titles by bittorent is rather futile. Like picking desperately through the dregs of somebody who buys based on what they read in Wizard or something. Defintely no decent alternative to signing up for a subscription service, god forbid an American dealer should know how to ship to Japan, much less Brazil or other countries. Postage equals the cost of the comic. Yes, you read that right.

    And another thing — if Marvel, DC and others would just get the classic trades in print and in stock, we would be able to buy them. Much of the really good somewhat older stuff is hard to find, even in the U.S. You can only hear great things about a comic so many times, go to Amazon, see the words “out of stock,” and find out once again somebody underestimated how many they should print, or decided not to keep in print. Happens ALL the time.

    4) Great point — the whole “everybody is downloading” thing is totally overblown. Europeans are extremely conspicuous on bittorrent sites. Survey in Germany: Only 6% of Germans surveyed said they think downloading music w/o buying is no big deal. Compare that to the music industry profits in the same country losing about the same amount in revenue. Anyone care to defend top 40 music marketed in full overkill mode on the radio? And guess what – that’s mostly what you’ll find on bittorrent sites. So what is hindering the big music companies, downloading or hyping bad product? You decide.

    5) Name the last time She-Hulk was mentioned on the iFanboy podcast (sorry guys, I love you, you know I do, but had to go there) — go ahead, search your archives. Newsarama, Marvel, Wizard and (Ok, other) fanboy sites: “CW CW CW CW CW CW CW CW CW CW, and guess what, more CW.” If Slot really needs to talk to someone about the lack of attention She Hulk gets, I would say Mr. Quesada and the Marvel Marketing people are the ones to talk to. First time I heard love thrown at She-Hulk was on the CBQ podcasts, which I consider my “iFanboy companion podcast to get the full perspective.” When the Comic Book Queers are practically the only ones throwing She-Hulk love, I think bittorrents are the last of Dan Slott’s worries. And it’s not downloading– its just one uploading fan. If you think that is representitive of most titles, well….you should do a few searches on the bittorent sites for titles not mentioned that much on Newsarama.

    Endless crossovers and “event” books getting too much press and distribution attention, there’s your problem. There’s something that needs addressing in depth and detail more that ambigous catch phrases like “internet new wave media” blah blah.

    Sorry to be long and cranky, but this is one topic I get just a bit tired of seeing treated with generalities and catch phrases.

    Oh, an one more thing — if reading on a computer screen was so much better than readin on old fashioned paper, the industry would have fallen apart years and year ago. I HATE reading on a monitor.

    And when the HELL are the big 2 companies going to realize that waiting 4-6 months before releasing in trade from is just TOO darn long? Just one man’s opinion, at the mercy of the distribution people, who think its all the fault of bittorent downloaders. Just today, a supervisor blamed a mistake on somebody else. He should have just blamed bittorrents…

    ’nuff said, lecture finished, I leave it to the jury to decide.

  18. The reason this keeps coming up is because it’s an ongoing and important issue, which is far from resolved. Debate is a healthy thing.

    And whether She Hulk is good or not is besides the point. It doesn’t make it OK to pirate it.

    Similarly, a little pirating is not better than a lot of pirating. It’s more about how much people consider it a necessary evil, or something they’re entitled to.

  19. didn’t this end badly last time we talked about it?
    personally i buy tons of comics. i spend roughly over 200$ a month on it. i also download books, but i’ve found that they are more often then not, just sitting on my pc. Here’s a recent example: i downloaded Blankets about 2 months ago and never read it. yesterday i was at the book store and there was blankets so i picked it up and will probably read it next week.
    i dont know what to say about this arguement but all i know is that i would rather buy the book then read it off my pc and if i do read if off my pc and i enjoy it, i’ll pick up the TPB when i see it.
    my 2 cents……

  20. It got weird before. Who’s to say we can’t keep trying?

    For the record, I hate reading comics on the computer. The only comic I ever downloaded was MiracleMan, for obvious reasons. That was 10 months ago, and I read one issue.

    Oh yeah and Cerebus. But I haven’t read that either.

  21. One more thing, like it or not people are going to download these. Slott can make all the pleas he wants and he might actually reach a small minority, but there will always be those who would rather have it for free, thats human nature, it wont change. its up to the companies to change their business model to fit the new times. they have to give the option to honestly download these for a price (and this goes for all media, not just comics) we live in a new time and they are trying to hold onto the past and its just not working. no matter how badly everyone wants it to remain the same, its not.
    you can bitch at me for using torrents and hey maybe i’ll stop but 2 other people will probably take my place, so something has to change (and it wont be the people)

  22. Miracleman, i think is the “get out of jail free” card for any comic book reader who’s used torrents ;D

  23. Here was my last post on the Revision3 Bit torrent thread, it kinda got lost in the mess that followed, but i was always interested in seeing what people thought of this situation:

    if i download a comic that i would otherwise not have purchased (say for example a torrent containing all the MAX books, including a thor book) and i really enjoy this book. by reading this illegal copy i go out and buy trades of ESSENTIAL thor and then buy Strazynski’s new thor series and therefore marvel gets its back issue money threw the trade puchases and its new money by having me follow the new series. yet i would never have had any interest in the character had i not read this series that i got illegally and would not have sought out myself except for the fact it was in a torrent with other material i was interested in.
    so in this situation marvel would be making more potential money off of me from the small lose of having me download a small 5 issue miniseries.
    im not justifiying downloading, but i do think there are some interesting grey areas.

  24. God I hope you guys don’t all hate me for this, but I have downloaded a few comics online.I spent a lot of money on comics and sometimes I just don’t have 75 dollars to spent on the absolute Kingdom Come book so I might look for it online being that I really wanted to read it. However I only download old stuff, I buy the new stuff so I guess it doesn’t really effect the sales of these books!!!!

  25. I think a lot of people are just using this to validate the fact that they download comics.

    Personally, I agree with Slott. If you like his book don’t download it – go purchase it.

    I just found the fact that he was doing so on a torrent tracker a bit iffy. If he wanted people to stop downloading shouldn’t he have done the same thing? Does him being part of She-Hulk give him right to hurt the copyright for the people who own say… Torchwood?

    Regardless of if Slott downloads or not it doesn’t change the fact that unless you directly help a title (by physically purchasing it when it comes out) it will die out because of the distribution method American comics have. A few companies basically decide if a book dies or lives.

  26. Similarly, a little pirating is not better than a lot of pirating. It’s more about how much people consider it a necessary evil, or something they’re entitled to.

    Entitlement is a benign entendre for stealing.

  27. Josh, you get comicbooklover on one of those mac laptops you got and you will enjoy reading digitial comics.

  28. I’ve actually downloaded something Slott has written. It was the first issue of the Thing. I went out and bought the trade that wednesday. I’m not going to defend downloading because there probably are people who just download and don’t buy any of it. I personally find it an easy way to sample thing I’m interested and to read old unreprinted comics. I am going to try something though, and I encourage others to do it as well: write a comment in a she-hulk torrent and urge everyone who likes it to buy the book if they want it to keep going. It’s not much but it’s better than nothing. Oh and anyone actually interested in She-Hulk, the first issue is available on Marvel’s site to read, the reader sucks but it’s legal.

  29. You know, I think I might be like one of four people that’s a little turned off by this whole “new media” idea. I’ve never been one to just download things for free for no reason. Sure there was that time when I, like everyone else, used Napster, but even that stuff doesn’t appeal to me anymore.

    Call me crazy but look at the world of economics like this: what if I was the guy writing the comic or producing the movie. What if the well fare of my family, heck my livelihood depended upon people buying my stuff. And what if I was a writer, who just needed those few extra sales to get that raise within a major comics house or the next big book becaues I’m doing well.

    All I know is that if I switched roles with those guys I would be pissed. So like an old fashioned consumer I pay for everything. Does it not grant me access to everything? Sure it does. But at least the magic of saving and earning something is still there.

    And I don’t want to sound like a prick but are people really downloading stuff that would cost them a measely $3.00 to check out? It just doesn’t make sense. And I think the argument that you spend $200 a month at an LCS gives you the right to download whatever is a little silly. Add that $3.00 to your stack because you’re probably spending that in bandwidth at home anyways.

    I don’t know. I’m sure most people are going to just laugh at my old fashioned ways, but I’m weird in a special way I guess. Sigh…

  30. Hey, I love She-Hulk; I bought the trades to catch up and now I’m buying single issues.

    Most of what I’ve downloaded are ancient-ass back issues, like old Avengers and Iron Man titles.

    However, I intend to download a bunch of old issues of Ultimate X-Men and see if it’s as good as Ron says it is. If I dig it, I’ll start buying the trades.

  31. I’ll say this, and this will by my final thoughts on the matter. You have your opinions, and I have mine. I’m not likely to change your opinions and you have a snowball

  32. Neb, is it ok if I go to the library to sample some books? Is it ok if I go to a used book store to pick up some old comic books?

    As Dan Dido said

  33. This topic is like the comics equivalent of the abortion debate.

  34. By the way, lest I be misconstrued, I’m not even for a moment saying anyone should try to debate that particular topic here, so if you’re thinking of it, please don’t.

    I’m saying it’s heated is all!

  35. So, I’m a student at the moment but I spend what little money I can for my books and then happily send them to my friend in Seattle to read, who in return does the same for me. Is that stealing? More interestingly, I am moving out of the country for half a year to work for the UN in Uruguay, I figure “well my buddy in Seattle can buy my books for me while I’m away” But this sucks because I can’t keep up with the podcast, I lose the excitement of the monthly cliff-hanger–point being I won’t be able to get get the titles. My question is this: would it be wrong for me to download comics in Uruguay until I get back?

  36. “Neb, is it ok if I go to the library to sample some books? Is it ok if I go to a used book store to pick up some old comic books?”

    You know, that’s an interesting point that I thought of while I was going to bed last night. And I think, maybe this is why I’m weird. I think getting things from the library is fine for two reasons. 1) The library paid for the books and is given the right to display the comics publicly. 2) You’re supporting your local library, something I don’t see too many people do that much in my neck of the woods.

    Now, I’m not too familiar with torrents or anything, but I’m pretty sure they don’t pay the comic publishers for the rights to display their material. And I guess, that’s where I’m bothered.

    I do think Enoc brings up a great point, and a way for publishers to help stem the tide. I would have no problem downloading free comics from the publishers themselves. Heck, maybe even a subscription service where for like $10 a month you can download whatever you want or something like that.

    Will that be in the future? Possibly, but for right now, I’m still going to support my books by purchasing them. Just my thoughts though, and obviously, there are people who disagree.

  37. Not having the money for the comics you want is not an excuse to be able to download them through a bitorrent. I am sorry you are not wealthy enough to satisfy your comic habit. I am not either. I buy, maybe, a quarter of the comics I would like to read. Just because I don’t have the money to buy the others doesn’t mean I am entitled to download them. Trading with your friends isn

  38. I think people are missing the point. The fact is that Dan Slott wrote that people were ripping him off by downloading digital scans of his comics and he asked them to please stop. He did this even though he himself downloads stuff. That’s what makes this particular story unique.

  39. You’d think that with all the downloading problems, etc., that the comics industry could take a page from the music industry and offer relatively cheap online distribution. Not that that would stop downloading all together, but I’m sure they could turn a profit off of it.

    As for the screen issue, you have a whole generation of viewers who avidly read webcomics on screen and presumably don’t mind. I have no problem reading comics on screen.

    Basically, I really really really want itunes style comic downloads; I would buy so much more stuff that way. Also, it would be a great way to get out of print comics. Like I could finally get the third Starman trade. And Young Justice Sins of Youth.

    Man that would be awesome.

  40. Well I spend at least 30-60 a week on comic books. I went through a 8 year span where I did not buy comics so there is a backlot that I have no read. But my whole life pretty much I have supported the comics industry. At the same time if I can get back issues cheap, I am there. I buy back issues and trades on ebay dirt cheap. I also download full series from a program( not Bitorrent) and read them on my computer. Back issues will not help the creators. Trades will, but not everything is in trades. Anyway, honestly nothing that has been said makes me feel guilty or bad. I support titles I like and the rest will be lefit to thrive or die by others.

  41. The itunes idea is totally awesome. You could charge $0.99 an issue or something like that. I totally would be there. In case you weren

  42. You know, I don’t read all that much digitally, but there’s got to be something lost when you don’t have the physical book in your hand. The smell of the pages, the crinkle of the spine as you turn the page, the texture of the pages. Man, I would miss that with a digital book.

    Am I lame or what? 🙂

  43. I like digital comics (Powers at Newsarama and Ultimate X-Men CD-ROM) at work. It is easier to click them off the screen when my boss comes around. I’ve tried reading some at home, but it is difficult to bring a desktop into the bathroom with you.

  44. Digital comics means never having to think the words “near mint” again.

    You know, I have those “40 Years of…” Marvel DVD-ROMs, but I never have time to read them. It never occurred to me to pop them in at work…!

    Um… see ya!