I just participated in a genuinely fascinating discussion, and I think it’s old dog, new tricks time.

(Edit: The original 4chan link is gone. I’m told it’s going to be archived at 4chanarchive.org. For now, there’s a partial archive here.)

After much discussion and email, we’re going to try to offer the book in a proper digital format via Comixology. Til then you’re stuck with pdfs.

Give it a read! If you want to pay, Use the paypal button. The suggested donation is $5.00, put whatever you can afford is fine.

If you’d like a hard copy, the best thing you can do is order one through your local store. If you’d prefer mail, in the US try our friends at TFAW. In the UK try Forbidden Planet or just get it directly from our us:
Periscope Studio Etsy store.
(The book has been selling out really quickly, so if it’s not there, bug us and we’ll restock ASAP.)

Issue 1
Issue 2
Issue 3
Issue 4
Issue 5

Jpg files coming!


38 Responses to “Whole book for free; or learning from 4Chan.”
  1. Neil says:

    Just wanted to say I read this on that thread on 4chan, and I really respect you guys and what you do, and I’m ordering a TPB right now, did some spelunking when I was younger and this has a great sense of the feeling of some of the caves I’ve been in and its a great to see something on the debate between sharing them with the world and conserving them. So I hope you all keep up the good work.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ’0 which is not a hashcash value.

  2. Neil says:

    Just wanted to say I read this on that thread on 4chan, and I really respect you guys and what you do, and I’m ordering a TPB right now, did some spelunking when I was younger and this has a great sense of the feeling of some of the caves I’ve been in and its a great to see something on the debate between sharing them with the world and conserving them. So I hope you all keep up the good work.

  3. Erinn says:

    Hey, wow. You’re a really cool guy and it’s really nice to see someone so appreciative of new forms of media and marketing – I’ll definitely check out your book.

    You don’t have to answer, of course, but how’d you end up on /co/?

  4. admin says:

    Looks like wp ate my reply. Let’s try again:

    First: Thanks!

    Erinn: I heard about the thread- how else?- via twitter. A /co/ reader tweeted at me that someone had posted scans of the whole book, so I went to see for myself.

  5. giania says:

    Kudos to you for trying something new.
    I think the publicity of A) listening to others and B) trying this out will get you the kind of overall publicity and “new media embracer” respect that should actually move more of what you’ve got to sell. I know I might not have heard of you otherwise – but that’s just me being out of touch. Look forward to reading, and probably buying, your book.

  6. [...] Or read the whole thing via legal PDF. You’ll like it so much you’ll want your own book copy. Similar Posts: [...]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP ( doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP ( and so is spam.

  7. bob the mob says:

    “Til then you’re stuck with pdfs.”

    Yeah, you still don’t get it. Oh well. I liked Whiteout by the way.

  8. admin says:


  9. mooks says:

    Great! But I hope this doesn’t turn 4chan into a viral marketing hub (anymore than it already is).

    Things are fine with it perceived as an armpit of the internet. As far as the media is concerned, it’s a cesspool of twisted degenerates who lash out at anything and everything in boredom.
    And this keeps the corporate interest away.

    But if the denizens of 4chan are seen as human beings, *profitable* human beings even, then there goes the one pure bastion of wrongness on the web. Let’s not forget how terrible our internet personalities are and just let this die quietly.

  10. [...] Ergebnis: Lieber hat sein Comic komplett für lau auf seiner Website gepostet, gesteigerte Verkaufszahlen und ein jede Menge Publicity. Eat this, Gene Simmons. After being [...]

  11. Lieber says:

    @Mooks: I know what you mean. FWIW, I don’t think this is likely to be the start of a gentrified 4chan. I was like some guy who stumbled into town with a head injury. The locals patched me up and sent me on my way. Anyone who is dumb enough to look at my visit and think “I can move in and build a Starbucks!” is going to have a very different experience.

  12. Dom says:

    Plus, there’s still dicks and gore all over the place right around the corner.

    Without the /co/ thread (and by that, the ‘illegal upload’), chances are I would never have heard of the project. I don’t want to advocate filesharing as a whole, but this is exactly what I like about it: you check something out for free, there’s a possibility to get deeper insight into the material (which, in some cases, you usually would’ve never found / looked at / heard of), and you can still support the artist afterwards.

    This is basically my ‘process’ of buying music, and today it’s brought me to Underground.
    I just ordered a tbp copy. Keep up the great work!

  13. [...] Interesse bekundete, die Comics zu kaufen, da sie ihnen gut gefielen, schrieb Steve Liebers einen Post zu der Angelegenheit in seinem Blog unter dem Titel “Whole book for free; or learning from 4Chan” und [...]

  14. Kenney says:

    Steve, I have to say I really respect how cool you were in the 4chan thread. I’m not a member of that board, but it would have been so easy for you to just go there and start fussing at everyone. Instead, you took a crappy situation and made the best of it. Very cool.

    Unrelated to this stuff, I stumbled onto a digital copy of the book, and after reading and loving it so much, quickly bought a hard copy version. I only just read this book in August, but it has been one of my favorite reads of the year. Those monochrome pages were the best, and Parker killed that story.

    Hope to meet you at a con someday.

  15. Shinken says:

    Man, you rock. This is awesome.

  16. Schmendrick says:

    Steve, this is damned awesome. It’s been a long time since I read a story that could draw me in like Underground did. With any luck, I’ll use this inspiration actually start drawing again!

    Thanks a bunch for being a sport.

  17. Cretin says:


    I am unconcerned. Considering how resistant /v/ was to that slew of viral marketing some time ago, the anti-spam measures in place, and the general air of cynicism, it is unlikely a corporation or entrepreneur could peddle their crap with any measure of success. They’d be laughed out of town.

    Pic related:


  18. [...] Never read the comments), and all went away happy. Then it took a turn for the surreal. Yesterday Lieber posted about his experience at 4chan and for a kicker, included the full content of Underground for free download. As he put it: I just [...]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP ( doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP ( and so is spam.

  19. [...] Steve posted a blog post – Whole book for free; or learning from 4Chan – explaining what had been [...]

  20. AnotherAnon says:

    @Cretin – Reminds of the time when Borderlands *WAS* genuinely being viral marketed on /v/, and loh and behold they got mocked endlessly for it. Not a bad game at all in itself, but there’s a fine like between genuine praise of a product from some Anon, and astro-turfing BS that you can smell from miles away, so I can see Mook’s point.

    Having that said, I was glad to see the creators of this book acknowledge that they are willing to try new stuff out. Honestly, I had not even heard of the book until I saw that thread on /co/, so there IS (to a degree) a usefulness in engaging with the audience on a direct, unfiltered level. That degree of tact and honesty is very very refreshing to see in this day and age where seemingly all creators of popular works put themselves onto a high pedestal, or executive meddling decides what’s popular instead of popularity waxing and waning naturally.

  21. Sinister says:

    Very classy.

    I didn’t even read a page of it and I’m buying it out of principle.

    Oh, and people who read pirated comics typically use CDisplay, just so you know. http://web.archive.org/web/20071011003226/http://www.geocities.com/davidayton/CDisplay.html

  22. admin says:

    I’ve got to read a *Geocities* page to get up to speed? I really am out of touch.

    Thanks for the info! I’ll get zipped jpg folders uploaded, ASAP.

  23. XOOM says:

    Actually there are other comic readers out there as well, but I guess CDisplay is the most well known.

    Really all those comic book formats are is .zip files with jpgs inside, so the net result is you could just as well use Irfanview or ACDSee or XNView or whatever other image viewer you care for and just view the unpacked JPGs..but I guess people prefer to make a big fuss over a pseudo-format that is really just .zips renamed to .CBR.

    Not sure whether someone did a .zip plugin for Irfanview yet, though there have been requests for pretty much that feature over the years.

    As it stands, I feel a good modern image viewer and sorted jpgs in directories works just as well or better.
    But meh.

    In short, if you post zipped scanned JPGs, folks can just rename to .cbr and “read” them with their favorite Comic Book Reader tool (aka autounzipping imageviewer).

  24. [...] Links: 4chan – http://www.4chan.org Underground Comic Series for FREE X-Men Arcade Coming to PS3 & XBOX 360 Capcom vs Marvel: MODOK!!! The Graysons TV series [...]

  25. Good for you guys.

    The digital newsstand has a distinct market share that is separate from the Direct Market.

    Way to reach out with a fun book.


  26. tomajoc says:

    gracias por publicarlo saludos desde chile

  27. jjzd2w says:

    Man, you rock. This is awesome.

  28. [...] que Liebers hizo fue bajar a las profundidades de 4chan y hablar con la gente. Después, decidió publicar toda su obra gratis en su sitio [...]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP ( doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP ( and so is spam.

  29. Los 33 says:

    Estamos bien los 33.

  30. Xenos says:

    Wow. What the heck are some excellent creators like you guys doing amongst the unwashed masses of 4chan?! I dunno if you’re gonna break through to the /co/mrades who download superhero books left and right. Though I guess it’s a good try. I myself have no clue how to reach the scanlation generation. Not that everyone is a download cheapo. There are plenty of other /co/mrades who are ‘buyfags’ like me. Plus among the flotsam, there are some damn good discussions about some good and even obscure comics.

    Meanwhile, Underground has been on my radar. I remember seeing it at a local shop and noting Steve’s name on it as a big fan of Whiteout. It’s just one of thsoe titles i keep thinking about yet haven’t yet picked up. Then again I have piles of trades, graphic novels, and manga around the apartment going unread.

  31. Sele says:

    Hi! I just wanted to thank you very, very much for what you did. I’m a seventeen year-old girl in Venezuela, where getting any sort of comics is nigh impossible. If I could, I would buy instead of pirating in /co/.

    I think what you guys did is not only good because of the free comic (which I enjoyed a lot! I’m going to look for more of your work), but because it gives other people like me, that want to enjoy the comic but don’t have the possibility to buy it, a great chance to do so. Believe me when I say that the moment I get my credit card, I’m going to buy this.

    Thank you again!

  32. Easilycrazyhat says:

    Just wanted to voice my support of this. While I can’t give much, I’m gonna donate what I can after I post this. Thanks again! Steps away from overpriced art is always a good thing in my book.

  33. Josh says:

    You probably will not interested in what I have to say, because I’m of these young people without a credit card that will not pay for your comic (or at least not now, in the immediate sense of the word)

    However, I’ve downloaded the Issue 1… and I’ve had a look. I really liked what I saw. If tomorrow hopefully the links are keep here, I probably will download the rest.

    Thank you very much, and… keep in mind, I’ll be the first to pay for it when I can.

    Seems entirely fair to me, it’s your work.

  34. admin says:

    Hi Josh: The links aren’t going anywhere. Hope you like the story!
    And re: payment for you folks who don’t have a credit card. You can consider us “paid” if you go to your local comic shop and pick up something interesting and obscure that you might not have otherwise looked at.

    My favorite indy comic is FINDER by Carla Speed McNeil. If your store has any of her books, grab one and prepare to have your mind blown.
    (Her site, alas, in undergoing some issues. You can read the pencil-only version of her latest story there, but her earlier archived complete stories are gone for now.)

  35. Stocklone says:

    Read the story on TechDirt and I thought I check it out. I read the first issue and was insanely impressed. The plot, characters, art and dialogue are all very engaging. I donated some money through PayPal. I have enough physical goods as it is piled up in my house. Thanks for sharing. It’s refreshing.

  36. Stocklone says:

    Oh man, that water scene was so freaking intense. I could just feel all the walls closing in around me as I read it. I don’t think I’m the cave exploring type.

  37. S. V. Rowle says:

    Thanks for the PDFs! I will add them to my TBR pile and buy a copy if I enjoy it, which looks likely!

  38. xabier says:

    thank you thank you thank you….You are a gentleman, sir.

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