Saturday, March 30, 2024

WonderCon 2024 (3 of 3) Booths at the show

My short visit to the show on Friday included stopping by these booths...

Boston Metaphysical Society -- Small Press SP-76 
Author Madeleine Holly-Rosing's X-Files meets Steampunk series has been a consistent "Project We Love" on Kickstarter. Fully funding fast and exceeding stretch goals. Check out the current Kickstarter here:

Jeff Victor -- Small Press SP-71
It has been a real joy watching this indie artist build a brand and career over the years. "You Wish" is his debut IP project, published by Top Shelf.
A wonderful graphic novel for all ages to enjoy. It was a huge success at his recent signings in NY and LA.
(next 2 pics are from Jeff's Facebook page)

My pic below of Jeff at his Small Press table at WonderCon

Cover quotes by Jeff Smith and Jorge Gutierrez -- WOW!!

Fanbase Press -- Small Press SP 81
Follow Fanbase Press on Facebook for their latest news. 

I love the essays about living with chronic condition in this graphic novel they published. Outstanding bonus content adds context to the story that features a lead character with diabetes.

Karen Hallion Illustration -- Artist Alley D-12
I follow this artist online and I'm a huge fans of her This artist educates her fans about the licensed work she does using pop culture characters. She also has been advocating for rights and protections for trans kids. 
She also sells a wonderful assortment of enamel pins..

The Little Red House -- Small Press SP-34
Look at the wonderful packaging for their items! Lots of branding. These details elevate the customer experience.

Here are some random moments from around the con...

Star Trek interior helping announce the May 2024 opening of this museum..

WonderCon had a number of beverage stations around the floor offering coffee, water and even fruit drinks..
This con also has a double row of  food trucks on the walk up to the main entrance. Lots of options!

This Ratatouille cap topper was something I spotted off the show grounds, but had to share>

The rain on Saturday was a bummer.. as Saturdays at cons are a big day for cosplay. All the hard work and beautiful fabrics that go into those costumes makes them best suited for dry, sunny conditions. Hopefully Sunday will cooperate.

WonderCon 2024 (2 of 3) Views of the SNB booth

 Here are some views of the booth on Friday...

Some artists and fellow exhibitors shop the booth right before the show opens..

Look for show-only specials when SNB sets up at an event. This table of sale priced books was very popular. 

Photo below shows Stuart in action...
Here are some pre-show photos of the booth from the SNB Facebook page..

Monday, March 25, 2024

WonderCon 2024 (1 of 3) -- SNB at Booth 1509

SNB will be at the usual spot --- Booth 1509 -- for WonderCon 2024, March 29th-31st. Stuart will be at the con all 3 days. WonderCon exhibit hall hours are Friday 11:30am-7pm; Saturday 10am-7pm; Sunday 10am-5pm.

This link from the WonderCon website has all the info on panels, exhibitors, events and special guests:

Friday, March 22, 2024

10 reasons to care about ethics behind AI generated images (update 3.31.24)

 This list appeared recently on Facebook... Share info like this. Raise caution and awareness about what is "liked and shared" online.



1.There are NO ai "art" programs that do not use stolen art. Even if you were to have a program only use sources you provide those programs are trained on stolen work. Court rulings in the US and several other countries have already ruled to allow AI to use copyrighted artwork without consent. 

2. When we use AI "art" programs, share their images, react positively, and continue the trends we are only telling companies "we like AI art", "AI art does well with the public".

3. Many big companies have laid off artists and are no longer working with freelancers unless it's to have them help fix up AI "art".

4. Those who intend to hire real artists have been tricked into hiring people who pose as real artists but use AI and do not disclose such.

5. Artists who make art for big companies are not being paid very much to begin with. They are artists trying to make a living, whether that's a full-time position doing art for a company or freelancing for them. It is already a highly saturated and highly competitive market even without AI I'm the mix.

6. Trends like the Bratz and Funko-pop AI "art" aren't just using images from those franchises. The clothing, hair, accessories, etc are coming from other artwork.

7. When I say it hurts artists I don't just mean those who do digital art. I also mean photographers, painters, sculptors, even fiber artists and interior designers. Communities have become flooded with AI images and sadly there are a lot of people who don't recognize it as such. It suppresses actual creations people made and makes viewers less impressed by real works and more likely to presume it's not real.

8. AI as a whole has been having significant environmental impact similar to those we saw with NFTs. Microsoft's water usage for tech cooling has gone up by a third and could fill 2,500 Olympic pools.

9. Artists have had AI "art" creates based off their works come up first in Google searches for their names. Even celebrities have had AI images of them come up as the first image on Google.

10. There are significant consumer privacy issues including biometric data. The company who owns Lensa is being sued for biometric theft from data collected through their "magic avatars".

Please support real, human artists. Stop using AI images programs, stop sharing them, stop acting like it's not a big deal."

Shared by Ember Etsuko on “Artists Against AI”


These links are posts on the blog with more info on AI generated images:

Next 2 images from the Facebook page "AI Spotting"

UPDATE This 2023 video by artist Sam Yang is an excellent primer on why artists object to AI generated images. He articulates the artists POV. He debunks the usual excuses that attempt to justify use of AI generated images.

Next image is art by Jennifer Herd

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Beware of shady AI on Facebook Groups and Feeds -- Article on

The link for this important article on appeared on my radar via a post on the "AI Spotting" Facebook page. Here's the link:

And the text of the entire article...


By Shannon Steidel

Published in Adventures in Consumer Technology  1.30.24


“Maybe you still check your Facebook account every day like it’s 2011. Maybe you haven’t checked it in years or even deactivated it.

As much as people want to claim that Facebook is “dead,” the social network still boasts an impressive two billion daily users and three billion active users who check in at least once a month.

“But those are all old people,” you say.

True, Facebook’s main demographic skews older than its counterparts like Instagram and TikTok. And that’s what makes the recent AI takeover all the more concerning.

The new algorithm

In its heyday, Facebook used to feel much more like a tight-knit club. By starting out as a social media platform just for college kids, there was already an air of exclusivity. Users were quick to send dozens of friend requests so they could like, comment, poke, and tag their favorite people.

Up until recently, there was also an end to your newsfeed. Once you got caught up on all of the newest pictures and status updates and started recognizing the old stuff, you could rest assured that you were up to date on everyone’s lives and close your laptop or switch to a different app.

Of course, this is the last thing a social media platform really wants.

A better algorithm includes content from other sources outside of the friends and pages that you follow to keep you scrolling. By mixing in content that is “suggested for you” with friend’s posts and ads, people stay on Facebook longer, and more revenue is generated.

Content mills can’t seem to crank out enough content

With these changes, Facebook pages are more incentivized than ever to post more content and keep their engagement high. So, how do you spot the difference between a legitimate page and AI-created garbage? As of right now, it’s still pretty simple.

1.Everyone has the smoothest skin you’ve ever seen 

Not every AI image is designed to look extremely realistic. It’s not unusual for content farms to recreate a celebrity’s picture in a smooth, more art-like style with just a dash of uncanny valley.

Other images are a little harder to identify upon first glance, but still relatively easy. Which one of these images was uploaded to Twitter by Jim Carrey, and which one was altered in an AI generator and posted to a weird Facebook page?

But why alter them at all? Why not just repost the original picture? Most likely, it’s a quick and easy way to help avoid copyright infringement as well as spam filters.

2. The comments are very nice, very short, and very fake 

Because — they’re written by bots of course! Why else would these random pictures all have thousands upon thousands of likes and comments?

3. The content is just plain weird

Posting about celebrities and movies makes sense. It’s easy to grab pictures of famous actors from Google, run them through an AI program, and hope that nostalgia gets attention and engagement from at least a few real people.

Interestingly, there’s a random trend of AI content farms posting pictures of giant ice and wooden sculptures with their artists (who are also not real of course). This is probably because it’s just realistic enough to be believable, but wild enough to catch the precious attention of Facebook scrollers. Other popular options include kids holding pictures of art they made, military personnel, and of course, inspirational quotes.

And before you try to argue why the below image could be real, I’d invite you to take a closer look at the artist’s right hand (a classic AI dead giveaway!)

Who cares if Facebook is more cluttered than ever?

Facebook frequently receives jabs from its users and haters alike. However, it does offer unique qualities that make it worth using, at least for some.

Facebook groups offer an opportunity for users to connect with people they know in real life as well as people from around the world. While other platforms are more about influencers talking at you, joining Facebook groups can allow for real connection with others, which was the whole point of social media once upon a time.

Facebook Marketplace has also become a hugely popular way for users to buy and sell items, perhaps because it feels just a hair safer than Craigslist.

Shady origins

Additionally, these content generators do not always create their pages from scratch. Building a popular social media page requires time, work, and dedication, and it should be clear by now that content farms are not interested in any of those things.

If you scroll back far enough, you may discover that an AI-filled page once belonged to someone else and was hacked and rebranded. The hacker will remove the admins, change the name of the page, begin posting AI generated junk, and won’t even bother to delete the old content, which could be anything from a band’s past tour dates to pictures of dogs that were available for adoption.

What’s worse, Meta has limited authority, and maybe interest, in helping the thousands of people whose accounts are hacked and/or cloned every year. That popular page you spent years building? It’s now just a collection of smooth-skinned celebrities unfortunately.

Fooling users

No conversation about AI is complete without discussing the ramifications of tricking people into thinking that an image is real.

Yes, most of these images are more or less harmless 

Yes, these pages have to abide by Facebook’s guidelines to ensure that their content is not only approved, but shown to the masses.

But it’s still disturbing to think about just how much social media content is now entirely fabricated. Filters and photoshop don’t hold a candle to AI programs that can create a completely new picture out of images it sourced from the internet.

Let’s hope that Meta can begin to crack down on this issue for the sake of its users.”