This cannot be emphasised enough. 'Piracy' of comics, or films, TV shows, music, games, whatever, is morally wrong. It's also illegal. Yes, I've heard all the excuses about how piracy "helps creators get more exposure" (cobblers!); how people "can't afford to buy every comic they need" (theft is never an option, and 'needs' include food and water, not comics); how they "wouldn't buy it anyway" (yet they like it enough to download a series); how they're "only sampling to see if I like it" (still no excuse for theft)... and so on. All the excuses boil down to the fact that some people just want something for nothing.
Some people might think it's cool to flout the law and gain comics illegally. Hey, they're "sticking it to the man". Except they're not. They're hurting the creators, damaging sales of a comic that publishers might then cancel because they think there's little interest in it, - when in fact thousands of copies are being read illegally.
One of my favourite British comics at the moment is Surface Tension, written and illustrated by Jay Gunn and published by Titan. It's a fantastic, intriguing story and as the cover and panel sample shown here demonstrates the artwork is stunning. (And a fine example of how UK artists are still in the same league as those of the past.) On the Down the Tubes site today, Jay Gunn has written a passionate and important post about how piracy affected him. Perhaps if people aren't bothered about breaking the law they might consider the human cost of piracy instead. Give it a read...
And to critics who will undoubtedly say I'm "banging the same drum again", bloody right I am! Myself and many of my friends depend on comics to earn our living, and I'll defend our right to protect our work and our livelihoods against thieves as much as I can.