Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on October 12, 2004 - 09:57
Joey Manley's Blog has a post about how at least some of his planned Webcomic Nation project will be free to users. That's a change from previously announced plans but without more detail it's not that clear what Manley means. It does seem from the general "chatter" in webcomicland that Manley is making a big push to get this project done.
From what I can tell Keenprime is still alive and well although there hasn't been any announcements from Keen regarding it's paid hosting service in quite awhile. If and when Webcomic Nation emerges we should see a "competition" of sorts between it and Keenprime/Space.
Well, the column ended last month and yet here we are again. Back. Still here. Whatever. Dragging it out for that last paycheck.
But seriously. Welcome to the first of a two part interview/conversation with Brendan Cahill, where we talk about a whole range of subjects, from webcomics to things tangentially related to webcomics.
Brendan is an old friend an collaborator of mine, and is best known (in the webcomics world) as the creator/writer/artist of the slightly mystical individualist Flash noir comic Outside the Box, at ModernTales.
Submitted by Erik Melander on September 30, 2004 - 19:47
As the end of September approaches it might be interesting to look back at what webcomic events made the headlines.
September saw two webcomic creators take the leap and try to turn their hobby into professional careers. In truth I suppose it would be more correct to say that Howard Tayler, creator of Schlock Mercenary, took the leap and Jeff Rowland, creator of Wigu, was pushed. While Taylor assures his readers that he and his family is in no critical financial situation as a result of his career change, Rowland notes that he needs the support of his readers.
I will need your support, however, in the coming weeks. As bad as I despise the entire "donations" aspect of Inter-Net art, I am going to ask for your help in a fund-raiser of sorts, if only to secure my habitation.
Will draw for food
Rowland is not the only webcomic creator that found himself forced to make a career change. Jamie Robertson also found himself out of a job and announced that Clan of the Cats would end at christmas without finishing the current Dracula story line. Robertson also has a fund-raiser of sorts as a possibility for continuing COTC, Sebo's kitty klub. I'm not sure how well that has worked, the only figure I heard was that he needed 250 subscribers and at the time of the announcement he had 16.
This was, however, not the last creator to turn to his readers in attempts to build a bussiness model in September. Michael Jantze, creator of The Norm, did the opposite of what many webcomicers aspire to and left syndication after finally becomming fed up with it. His wife apparently conviced him to try the webcomic route and he agreed IF she could get enough subscribers by November 1st.
How many subscribers do they need?
As previously noted Jamie Robertson needed at least 250 each paying 2,50 USD to keep doing his comic. Jantze needs 4000 subscribers to keep going, each paying at least 25 USD. Some swift calculations bring the sum of money to a minimum of 100 000 USD unless I'm mistaken... They currently have 661 subscribers. As an extra incentive they give away one ipod mini to a subscriber as they reach each 1000 subscriber plateau.
This made some ripples in the blog-pond as several people gave their opinion on these events. Most seemed to agree that 25 dollars was somewhat expensive. I'm reminded of the sister of a friend of mine who made a living as an artist. She an exhibit where she showed her latest works that were sheets of photopaper that had been run through an x-ray machine at the airport (or something like that). The pricetags on these artworks were, in my uneducated opinion, rather high and when I asked her about it she explained to me, much in the same way one explains something to a child, that if they were cheap no one would buy them.
Anyways, it is interesting that The Guardian online also had a story about online charity, or cyber-begging, including a couple of paragraphs on Randy Milholland. But perhaps the most interesting entry was by Eric Burns of websnark entitled "On supporting webcomics and the survival of the fittest fandoms".
The question is, how many fandoms is the average webcomic reader a part of, and how many of them can they afford to support
Who snarks the snark
Websnark is no doubt one of Septembers success stories. The quality and quantity of its entries propelled Websnark onto most "Must read"-lists. This quote from Joey Manley's blog pretty much sums it up.
Websnark.com is the talk of webcomicsland right now. Everybody who's anybody (yes, I'm an elitist -- and so are you, actually) is reading it.
Speaking of Joey Manley ofcourse brings us to the topic of Modern tales. That Modern tales and its sister sites have relied on subscription sales as a bussiness model has probably noone missed, but now they also sell adspace.
Subscription support will continue to bear the most weight in our business model, but we have decided to try to mix it up a bit, especially now that banner advertising seems to be coming out of the post-dotcom-crash doldrums.
The Webcomic examiner
The webcomic examiner will be allowed to wrap up this little trip down memory lane. Septembers issue had a great cover by Chris Watkins as well as a focus on the work of Derek Kirk Kim. Some really good stuff and I do believe that they are starting to find "their voice". There was also a "guest editorial" of sorts by Barb Lien-Cooper entitled "Webcomics have rights".
While I'm the last person in the world who wants to cause trouble, something about comic book review sites on the web is starting to bother me. It's the fact that many web sites dedicated to comic book journalism simply refuse -- often without explanation -- to review web comics.
Well that ends Septembers round up of things. Got an opinion on this, I'm itching to hear it. Perhaps I'll try to add some actuall analysis of events for next months roundup (if I do one that is).
As we roll out the final week of this issue it's a good time to say thanks to the many folks who have worked hard to create this magazine and website called Comixpedia. Why now? Well besides the fact that the September 2004 issue is the 20th installment of Comixpedia, Frank "Damonk" Cormier is turning over the editorial reins of Comixpedia magazine to Xaviar Xerexes (See, I'm already writing in the third person - this EiC thing is going to go to my head!) and in many ways this marks the end of the first chapter for Comixpedia. It is also the beginning of a second act for Comixpedia, oÂne where I fully intend to bring new voices and new features to this project to continue to make it a worthwhile resource for the webcomics community as well as a great read every month.
Submitted by Erik Melander on September 24, 2004 - 16:12
Today is the last Japanese Beetle strip for Graphic Smash. I just wanted to say thanks to T and Joey for giving it a chance. It's not you, it's me - and I really do mean that.
and on his website he adds
Well, and that's it for Graphic Smash. Thanks to T. Campbell, who's been a great editor, and to Joey Manley for making it all possible. I've had a good time at GS, but honestly, I'm just not a group-joining type of guy, and it feels kind of liberating to be back on my own again.
T Cambell's reply to Dave's post at TAC hints that The japanese beetle isn't the only strip that will soon leave Graphic smash.
Submitted by Joey Manley on September 21, 2004 - 10:51
Submitted by Joey Manley on September 18, 2004 - 11:49
Modern Tales, the webcomics service that many associate with a solitary business focus on paid subscriptions, is now selling banner ads across its entire network of websites, for the first time in the three-year history of the business.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on September 16, 2004 - 12:22
Another program to read comics that fetches images directly from servers. The creator's FAQ acknowledges some of the tensions such programs create for the artists who create webcomics:
Q: Don't you rip off the artists when you view the strips, but not the ads?
A: Ad revenue on the web is so low these days, comic artists have already added (or completely switched to) many other support models. And I encourage everybody to make those models work for them. Please buy books or T-shirts, join their clubs, tip them money, do visit their homepages and click on some ads... I do regularly!
These programs appear to be here to stay - how will they impact the "free" model so many webcomics, even highly successful ones, continue to employ? Is bandwidth cheap enough that a program such as this that can "rip" an entire archive of image files will not cause financial problems for creators? What other issues surrounding distribution of webcomics are on your mind this week?
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on September 16, 2004 - 11:18
The September issue of the Webcomics Examiner is up. The "cover" comic was cute. More on the contents later today if I have time to read them.
UPDATE: Joey Manley reads the latest issue before I get a chance too. His take is probably right on the money.
Submitted by Twentyfour on September 14, 2004 - 18:23
Maybe its just me, but I've noticed quite a few comic artists are having troubles lately, whether due to work or maybe life has just kicked them in the balls(or whatever would hurt a woman most). It seems like everywhere I turn there's a new comic asking readers to spend some cash or the comic will die.
I'm not saying some of the claims aren't legitimate(hell I think there's plenty of online comics that are worth MORE than a few bucks a month). But why now? Is it because Something Positive is now a paying job that people think they can do the same? Or maybe there's a few out there who think they can turn a little profit.
Also, just a side note, anyone want to place some bets on when we can find "Donate to keep this comic alive" buttons(as opposed to the "tip jar" idea many places have) on irregularly updating sprite comics?
:D 5 bucks says it's already being done I just can't find it yet.