Have I mentioned that I love roundtables? See, all you need to do is think of four or five good questions and ask them to some of the foremost talents in webcomics today, many of whom are surprisingly willing to share their wisdom. Then just sit back and let the intellectual capital flood in. Itâ€™s a great racket.
This roundtable, incidentally, is about humor.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on January 3, 2005 - 20:26
Randy Milholland wonders aloud about why webcomics aren't talking about the Tsunami disaster nor doing anything to help with the relief effort.
I don't have a sense today of whether that's fair or not because I just don't recollect seeing a lot of information on how to donate or auctions to raise money or anything about this tragedy on many webcomic sites this past week. But maybe I just missed it.
I also know Comixpedia has avoided it as well. In the past I have referenced news events in posts, sometimes as a means to provide a place to post information and webcomics in one place. I've never been entirely sure whether that was a good idea and since most of those posts did not draw a significant response from readers I'm not inclined to keep doing them.
The suffering and scale of this tragedy is almost unimaginable. If you have money to donate though you should. My wife and I did and while it wasn't enough it was what we could do last month. I'm wondering if we can do a second donation this month (just not sure budget wise yet). There's actually a lot of information on how and where to donate on Something Positive right now so that's not a bad place to start.
When we discussed the Year in Review issue it seemed like it would be a natural to write a list of people in webcomics for the year. But what to call it? Most of the time when media magazines talk about people in film, television, music or what-have-you, they can call their articles "The Power List..." or the "The It List..." because, well, those media have power and star power. Webcomics have those things, but alas, still in smaller quantities.
As 2004 packs its bags and prepares to turn over the keys to the new year, we thought we would take this opportunity to look back at certain significant or just really amusing webcomics-related news stories throughout the year.
If we missed your favorite event, feel free to add your own thoughts.
Do you know something? "Year in Review" columns are a bitch and a half to write.
It's not that things didn't happen this year. Tons of things happened this year. Strips started and strips ended. Grand plans were launched and grand plans failed and -- every now and again -- succeeded. Arguments were launched and flamewars fought and webcomics were turned onto their head nine or ten times.
And sitting here in front of the Smith Corona, I have trouble recalling any of these things.
Thinking about starting up a webcomic? Has the thought ' Hey, if they can do it, so can I!' ever crossed your mind?
You've been reading my comic, haven't you?
Before you start looking around for a place to host a comic (or wondering what hosting is and if it requires deviled eggs) or thinking about what kind of comic you would like to do, there are some simple things you should be aware of. Proceed with caution, my friend, for the trip down into webcomic creation is a perilous path!! But avoid these pitfalls and you'll be fine.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on November 16, 2004 - 10:59
Here's a question - name someone you thought made a big impact in webcomics this year - either artistically, in business or any other way you think was important. It could be because of something the person did this year alone or it could be of things they kept on doing.
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).
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on September 16, 2004 - 13:18
A recent story in the Guardian Online tackles the emerging trend of online charity or cyberbegging and includes a couple of paragraphs on R K Millholland's efforts:
When Randy Milholland set up his online comic, he was updating it nearly every day. But real life inevitably interfered and he didn't have time to draw as often. His readers started to complain, so he gave them an ultimatum: pay him what he earned last year - around $13,000 - and he would quit his job and work for them.
"It was intended as a way to get people to shut up," he said. "I assumed they would just grow quiet and let me do my thing. Instead, I got $2,000 in the first day." The average donation was $5 - but with a lot of regular readers, he raised the total in less than a month.
Submitted by Erik Melander on September 14, 2004 - 15:45
Apparently Michael Jantze recently decided to retire his comic strip "The Norm". But on his site there is now an open letter from his wife, Nicole.
As you know, Michael decided to retire THE NORM. After eight years of battling the syndicate-newspaper corporations, he felt it was time to move on. It wasn't an easy decision, trust me.
If enough people became members of TheNorm.com, I think we can convince Michael to keep drawing the strip -- NEW STRIPS -- beginning on November 1. So, in the short-term, you would get to keep reading a comic strip you love and in the long-term, we just might change the world of comics. Most of us don't read our comics in newspapers anyway, so let's break the chain and let's make THE NORM the hammer that does it.