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RIP Halfpixel and Webcomics.com

I have come here not to praise Halfpixel and Webcomics.com, but to bury them.  For the past couple of years, the Halfpixel crew, Scott Kurtz, Kris Straub, Dave Kellet, and Brad Guigar, have taken this approach to evangelizing not only webcomics, but a business model of free content that makes a profit.  Evangelizing doesn't even say it right; they wrote a book, did podcasts, and answered a lot of questions from other cartoonists about how to be successful.  And a lot of advice they gave, in the beginning, was really good.  They had lots of ideas about how to use social media, website design, and basic comic making skills that were fantastic.

Then, things got a little weird.  Their podcast, "Webcomics Weekly" was anything but weekly.  Their popular forum and site, halfpixel.com was dismantled as they purchased webcomics.com .  Dave Kellet has all but completely vanished save his comic, and Kris Straub merely shows us as a disembodied voice in a ustream every now and again with Kurtz.  Webcomics.com quickly turned into "Brad Guigar tells you what to do and how to do it," rather than a Halfpixel forum.  Articles were now submitted by readers, and there were some good ones.  But, it wasn't Halfpixel giving advice anymore, it was advice sponsored by Halfpixel.  Almost all of the actual advice from Halfpixel became, "Make a good comic, then buy our book, then you'll be fine if you make a good comic."  

The podcast is long gone and now, on January 3rd, 2010, webcomics.com, for all intents and purposes, is dead.  Or, far worse, behind a subscription wall.  Yes, the same people who for years belittled anyone who put content behind a subscription wall have done just that.  Webcomics.com will now cost you 30 bucks a year to access.  This includes the same content that was just free less than a week ago.  

Guigar claims it's worth it.  But, what person charging for something doesn't? 

Frankly, this feels to me akin to saying, "Yes, there is a fabulous secret to making a living doing comics, and we will share it only with those wise enough to pay us."  And, from what I've seen on the site in the past, this is not a true claim and certainly not worth 30 bucks.  And really, we're just paying Brad Guigar thirty bucks a month to blog.  (He's even admitted he does the bulk of the work on the site.)

Halfpixel is dead.  It is now the Brad Guigar show with occasional appearances by Scott Kurtz.  As much as I like their comics, I wouldn't pay for them daily.  And I sure won't pay to read their blogs.