WHY DO ONLINE COMICS
Issue #2 - A Sweet Tooth For Online Comics
Many people out there have a sweet tooth. Bakeries, ice cream parlors, chocolate shoppes, and dozens of other industries are kept in business by those teeth. I personally have a taste for salty things. When someone else might head for a Krispy Kreme, I make a beeline for the nearest Hot Sam. While it is true that I probably get enough salt to sustain my body's needs through normal meals, if popcorn, peanuts, and pretzels were taken away from my life I would miss them, and I probably would never really stop missing them.
I am absolutely convinced that I have an online comics tooth. When I don't get to read and/or create them, I feel it nagging at me until I can satisfy my craving. So my incentive for doing my online comics is simply that to not do them would hurt too much. Fortunately, I have a flexible enough "real" job (i.e. paying) to support my family that allows me to think of my comics as just an enjoyable hobby. What often concerns me, what in fact most concerns me, about the very limited money currently being made in the online comics industry, is how much talent we will never get to see due to lack of funding. Even the people currently in the industry are probably not able to reach their fullest potential because they have to spend a third to a half of their conscious time at a job that actually pays them for their efforts.
So how do we bring in the cash to support the online creators so they can do their thing? Well, there are three main battles to be won on this front; online comics need recognition, readers need an efficient way to pay the creators, and people who have found online comics they have the ability to pay for must want to pay for them. All three of these topics are individually big enough to warrant their own issues of this column, and they'll get them in the next few weeks.
I have witnessed some success in bringing an audience to online comics from the pool of readers who already buy and/or enjoy print comics. A major concern of mine, however, is although the forums discussing online comics at comic conventions have definitely been growing in popularity (roughly doubling in population every year), after two years of doing online comics the average Joe on the street still reacts the same exact way to me when I tell him or her I do online comics - vacant blinking and a slightly loose jaw indicative of a complete lack of comprehension.
I intend to change that. I intend to do everything in my power to get people who have never read comics before to get interested in online comics. I am working on a new site design that encourages people to read other online comics who only come to my site because they are friends or people I meet and are curious to see what I do. As I explore the world of online comics in this column, in my work on my own site, and in discussions with others in the industry already, I hope to find a way to give others a taste for online comics that keeps them coming back for more.