Archive - Aug 2007 - Story
Submitted by Tim Demeter on August 17, 2007 - 10:07
Iâ€™d just like to take a quick second to thank, Xaviar for the mic this week, and especially you guys for reading.
Iâ€™ll say good day on my most clichÃ©, but still best, advice. Being a Wisconsinite it of course comes from the great Vince Lombardi:
The man who succeeds above his fellow man is the one who early in life clearly discerns his objective, and toward that objective he directs all of his powers.
If you want a successful career in comics, it needs to be what you want more than anything else. If it is, I assure you, sooner or later, youâ€™ll get yours.
In the meantime, thanks again for the time, and if youâ€™d like to know more you can
visit your local library check out my MySpace page where I blog every Friday on all things related to the business of comics and pop culture. (I'll have some things on the Chicago con and how 'Ringo will be missed and maybe some other randomness later today.)
Until next time, do it well internet. Do it well.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on August 16, 2007 - 12:46
I interrupt this guest week to post a congratulations to Tyler Martin, Mrs. Tyler and new baby Rhoan.Â
Submitted by Tim Demeter on August 16, 2007 - 10:02
Those are the two words that were the bane of the indie comic creator for many a year. Comic shops and spinner racks are only so big, and unless your comic is Spider-Man or Batman, well, you'd have to fight for space.
It doesn't help that running a comic shop is no fast track to fabulous wealth and their owners have to invest carefully, no matter how much they love the more progressive components of the industry.
Well, with the new indie community existing largely online, guess what? Shelf space isn't something you need to worry about any more, and that, friends, is a good thing. Here, look what I can do:
What is love? Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more!
And that total waste of your time was hugely important for a lot of reasons!
Submitted by Tim Demeter on August 15, 2007 - 12:35
I was never a fan of newspaper comics. Calvin and Hobbes may have been the first comic I ever read, but once it ended, that was it for me, everything else seemed formulaic and contrived to me with no room for any real artistry. That may or may not be true, but itâ€™s how I feel.
Now, comic BOOKS, thatâ€™s another story. Just as Calvin and Hobbes was ending I began devouring X-Men, and Spider-Man and Batman, and itâ€™s where my love of comic comes from, what originally inspired me to make a career out of comics.
Those are the kind of comics I love and the kind of comics I want make, but theyâ€™re not dominating the web.
Itâ€™s Business, Itâ€™s Business Time. Part 2: Are Those Comics In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?
Submitted by Tim Demeter on August 15, 2007 - 12:33
[CLICK HERE TO READ PART ONE of It's Business, It's Business Time]
Or maybe both?
Today weâ€™re (and by â€œwe,â€ I mean â€œmeâ€, but you can totally comment) going to talk about the emergence of comics on mobile devices. Why? Because itâ€™s Tuesday, and Tuesday is the day we talk about comics on mobile devices. Conditions are perfect. (Has anyone figured out I really dig Flight of the Conchords yet?)
Anyway, conditions ARE perfect as the dudes and ladies in tech keep cranking out more and more shiny devices that you can read comics on, or create content for, so click read more, and read some more.
Submitted by Tim Demeter on August 13, 2007 - 14:18
You know when Tim is running ComixTalk for a week it's time for business, that's why they call him Business-Tim.
Internet! How are you? It's me again, your pal Tim. You may recall me from such internetery as GraphicSmash.com, Clickwheel.net, and Reckless Life. I'm gonna be taking a look at the changing face of digital comics we seem to find ourselves in these days over the course of the week as it relates to stuff I know enough about to comment on.
Today I'm going to take a broad look at what's going on right now and what it means to you. Yes, YOU. So why not click read more and read some more, because I know what you're thinking, you're thinking, aaaaaaaah yeeeeeah, it's time for business. It's business time.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on August 13, 2007 - 14:13
Last week, I wrote a bit about Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) blogging about mentoring Scott Meyer (creator of Basic Instructions) towards newspaper syndication. I was as interested in the bits Adams wrote about his perceptions of the risk and rewards of webcomics versus newspaper syndication as the actual advice he was giving to Meyer.
There's more at Adams' blog this week. First, a post with a message from Meyer thanking Adams' fans for all of their feedback (reported as mostly positive) and second, more mentoring from Adams. Adams this time drills down a bit on what he means by a comic having a theme (part of his advice to Meyer was to have Basic Instructions have a "relationship" theme to it) and it's probably great advice for having a successful webcomic. What he's getting at is not so much putting oneself in a creative straight-jacket as offering some thoughts on how to develop what your comics stands for to its readership (in the case of Dilbert itself Adams says his readers helped him figure out it was about the cubicle workers' view of the office).
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on August 13, 2007 - 12:22
This week's guest blogger is Tim Demeter who does way too many cool things for me to list 'em. Needless to say I'm grateful for him to take sometime out of his busy schedule to guest blog for the site again (he helped out last summer as well).
- Gary Tyrell at FLEEN has a good post on DC Comics Zudacomics project. Zudacomics is DC's webcomic portal for new stuff from creators - not it's "putting DC comic books on the web" site, which oddly enough DC hasn't gotten around to creating yet. Apparently DC must think that the music industry's Internet strategy is awesome as it and Marvel appear to be following large parts of it - although not yet suing large numbers of their customers so good on them for that bit of common sense. Is it just me or is the huge rise in scanlation trading online (scanlation is the direct equivalent of ripping CDs into mp3s) at least somewhat the fault of DC and Marvel for failing to put their immense catalog of material online in any meaningful way for consumers? Sort of related here is Joey Manley's recent post spelling out his view that Modern Tales as a subscription site was a success, but one limited by the subscription site model. Manley links to a post about Zudacomics and cracks wise that:
Itâ€™s interesting and illuminating to see the â€œmainstreamâ€ comics community try to get a grip on how the digital distribution of comics can be monetized. Sometimes, it literally feels like theyâ€™re repeating every business idea that took the webcomics community by storm over the past ten years, and in exactly the same order, only to discard each in turn (as did we, for the most part) and move on to the next.
I'm interested of course in any comics publishers' projects involving digital distribution of comics. It's the future of all media, not just comics and the sooner comics sorts out how to survive the intertubes the better for comics. Anyhow back to Gary's post and zudamania. I think DC's insistence on a 4:3 format for comics isn't going to be a problem for people willing to get into bed with Zudacomics in the first place. The 4:3 ratio is probably equally useful to Zuda to make their site slicker and more consistent for readers as it is to any print spin-offs Zuda pursues. But I definitely think Gary's point that a successful Zuda might benefit some non-Zuda creators more than anyone actually on Zuda to be pretty insightful and likely correct.
- Journalista! points to this Publisher Weekly post on Amazon's new self-publishing program:
Through Project Vine, readers with a history of posting accurate and helpful book reviews are being invited to receive advance copies for review purposes. And, through CreateSpace, a division of the company that already provides CD- and DVD-on-demand services, Amazon has added book publishing options.
- Broken Frontier has a review of the first book collecting the Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allen Poo webcomics.Â It's an interesting comic although unless the title proves to be central to the plot (really hope not!) the choice of the title is a silly bit of word-play that wore out its welcome ages ago.
- Mr. Myth at Damn Good Comics has a good review/commentary blog post up on too many webcomics to list here.
- Newsarama is reporting that Mike Wieringo passed away this Sunday of a sudden heart attack. Wieringo wasn't that much older than me (he was 44) and he's also one of the few names in comic book land I was familar with before I got into all this webcomics. By all accounts not only was he very talented but a tremendously nice guy. He had a blog and I imagine there will be some info on memorials there.
- Jon Rosenberg (creator of Goats) blogs about rock star Moby blogging about the "Republicans For Voldemart" t-shirt that Jon created and Moby wears in public sometimes.
- Sometimes superhero movies are cool, sometimes they are ridiculous. Sometimes they're just a muddled mess where the director/writer/whatever can't figure out what kind of movie they're making. Time Nerd World blogger Lev Grossman posts about the planned Thor movie and I have to agree with his doubts about the direction Marvel supposedly is taking with it. The main reason I'm linking to this NerdWorld post though is to harp on the planned The Incredible Hulk movie which is being touted as a "re-do" of the Ang Lee movie (and not a sequel). I'm not sure how I'd script it because I don't think you'd want to make a movie too crowded with Marvel Universe characters but wouldn't you rather see a new Hulk movie along the lines of this "World War Hulk" comic book mini-series Grossman blogs about than another origin story? The Hulk is a big scary ambiguous bad guy (sort of like the Terminator character in T2) that blows stuff up. Make that movie without any pretense to being something else and you'd probably have the summer hit Marvel wants.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on August 10, 2007 - 10:45
The difference between ComixTalk and Dilbert creator Scott Adam's blog? On the one hand - almost a year, but on the more important hand, a whole lot more readers and influence in the newspaper comics world.
Almost a year ago I wrote a short plug for the funny comic Basic Instructions by Scott Meyer. Very recently, Scott Adams blogged that he had discovered the comic several months ago and written to Meyers with praise and encouragement. Adams is now blogging about how he is trying to mentor Meyer to get Basic Instructions into something that could be syndicated. It's an interesting premise although there's no guarantee that Adams could ever come up with another hit (let alone something that managed to tap the zeitgeist in a way Dilbert did initially). Still can't hurt right?
You can see some of the reworked for newspaper-land comics here and here. So far it doesn't work for me - I like Meyer much more in the larger alt-weekly style format. Here's some interesting stuff though from Adams in a second post on the risk/rewards of the different formats:
Opinions were divided on whether the original square-and-wordy format was better than the slimmed down comic strip panel form. The comic strip form is far more commercial, assuming you are selling to newspapers. But as many of you pointed out, the market for newspapers is shrinking. Many of you advise that Scott Meyer should take his work directly to books and calendars and Internet publishing.
Has that ever worked?
Yes, on a small scale. I believe Scott could leverage the visibility he is getting here to earn perhaps $100K per year with a small book deal, small calendar deal, self-publication in smaller alternative newspapers, and a small but growing Internet presence. I put his odds of making that strategy work at about 90%.
Now letâ€™s look at newspaper syndication. Assuming the comic got picked up by 500 newspapers in five years, and licensing started to take off (books, calendars, greeting cards), that would put him in the $500K to $1 million per year range, with lots of room for upside growth. But what are the odds of that happening, even with my support?
Reading the whole post you grok that Adams thinks the path for Meyer is the newspaper format and to narrow the topic of Basic Instructions to relationship humor - given all of that Adams actually thinks Meyer might have a 50% chance of getting synicated into 500 newspapers. Adams seems to think it's an either/or choice but given R. Stevens recent deal to do both web and newspaper-style Diesel Sweeties there's no reason Meyer can't pursue both as well so long as - like R Stevens - he protects his interest in a comic he's already developed.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on August 9, 2007 - 13:23
- Now that you mention it Tom Brazelton's webcomic alter ego does look a hell of a lot like Bart Simpson.
- The latest installment of Goblins? Surprisingly violent last panel... even if it doesn't show a lot of blood.
- A webcomic named The Happy Penis is one of the silliest goofiest comics I've read this summer. It's so happy it's just barely NSFW. (But still definitely NSFW for most of you)
- Long time webcomic creator Sylvan Migdal has (new to me anyhow) some comics up under his "Spork" label. They're about a teenage girl named Rho and it kind of alternates between real angsty-life and fantasy interludes. Not a lot up but pretty interesting. Rho is not an obviously sympathetic character but she is an interesting sketch of a character so far.
IN SWAG I JUST MIGHT BUY:
- With all of the other videogames they've turned into movies why not... Minesweeper? Check out the preview trailer here.