(Originally written in Bad Signal, 24 September 2007)
I first encountered the idea of Monty Cantsin around ’88, though he was created around ’77. Monty Cantsin is a Neoist construct: an open pop star. Because in ’77 they didn’t have the term “open source.” The idea being that artists could choose to record under the name Monty Cantsin, thereby generating a fake oeuvre for a fake pop star, confusing the fuck out of the uninitiated. (See also “Karen Eliot,” “Luther Blissett.”)
There’s no derogatory side to Monty Cantsin – he doesn’t do the work of, say, Alan Smithee, or Harlan Ellison’s damning Cordwainer Bird pseudonym (a name he applies to work that’s been fucked over, allowing him to retain rights and royalty payments regardless).
Monty Cantsin is an artistic joke. Anyone can be Monty Cantsin.
And while having a drink or two last night, the notion came to me: it’d be amusing if comics had one of those. If music has a Monty Cantsin, maybe comics should have a Nemo Woodbine. An open source comics creator. Sometimes she’s a cartoonist. Sometimes he’s a writer.
And the best thing about Nemo Woodbine might be that she’s granted her copyright and royalties in perpetuity to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund or something. Anything he earns beyond his page rate, and the rights to whatever she did, live with the Fund: her gift to the medium.
Just throwing the idea out there for someone to do something with, or not.
(Additional, 28 Dec 2007: yes, I mean an opensource creator, not an opensource character)