Resolutions and Renovations
And webcomic creators are no different.
Many creators started the year by announcing that this was the year they were going to update on a consistent schedule and never miss a day. Those creators were promptly laughed out of the building by those still alive in The Daily Grind contest. Those still alive in the contest have consistently updated their webcomic, Monday through Friday, since Febraury 28, 2005 without fail. Interestingly, this past January saw The Daily Grind reach a milestone of sorts: exactly half of the contestants originally in the contest have now dropped out.
Maybe some of them just wanted to have a new resolution for this year.
Of course, some webcomickers are making more traditional resolutions. In the first month of 2006 we've seen not one, but two webcomic creators announce that they were going to lose weight and get healthy. Project One Year, begun by David Wright of Todd and Penguin fame, and The Biggest Webcomic Loser, begun by Philippe Gaboury of The Big Three-Oh! are both public efforts to lose weight. Project One Year is a solo effort by Wright who is documenting his efforts online and in a column for the Flagler Times. The Biggest Webcomic Loser is a group project and Gaboury has been joined by several others, including myself. The Biggest Webcomic Loser website will feature a new webcomic by a participating creator every single day of this year.
Additionally, The Biggest Webcomic Loser is giving people a chance to support their favorite fasting webcomicker by pledging a dollar amount they will give to charity for each pound they lose. My personal goal in The Biggest Webcomic Loser is an overall weight loss goal of 75 pounds, so why don't you go pledge a few cents per pound on me and give me some extra motivation, eh?
Of course, the beginning of the year is about more than just personal resolutions. It's also the time of year when many companies begin making resolutions of their own. They announce new products and new initiatives, new ways in which they hope to do business and do it better. Well, webcomic businesses were no different this year, with a lot of new and exciting shake-ups taking place right around the turn of the year. There was T Campbell re-launching Clickwheel. There was Scott Kurtz and Kris Straub launching Blamimation. There was the Keentoons Video Podcast Network, which is rapidly becoming a smashing success, and coming in hot on its heels at the end of January is the all-new Keencast.
But for perhaps the most interesting development of all we have to go back to December of last year for the announcement that Eric Burns had been hired on as the new editor over at Modern Tales. This announcement sent shockwaves throughout the webcomic community that probably won't stop rippling for years.
First off all, it appears that it was a fulfillment of one of Eric Burns' longest held dreams. Heï¿½s going to get paid doing something he so obviously loves: critiquing and evaluating artistic work, most especially in the form of webcomics. Awesome for him.
It is also a huge step towards legitimizing webcomics criticism. Why? Think about it. It's as if Roger Ebert got handed the keys to Paramount Pictures. All of the critics who have been writing in blogs for years and sometimes characterized as over-analytical, pseudo-academic, snobbish fanboys now get to see their poster child recognized and paid for his skills at dissecting and evaluating webcomics. It gives all webcomic critics hope that someday their reviews and comments will be treated with an amount of respect, or at the very least consideration.
And most interestingly it brought a lot of attention to Modern Tales, which was somewhat stagnant and overlooked in 2005. Remember that last year the hubbub was centered almost entirely around the creator collective model and WebcomicsNation, with Modern Tales and its subscription model fading to gray. But the appointment of Eric Burns should bring a rejuvenated interest in Modern Tales for 2006, and it'll be very interesting to see where things go.
Indeed, it will be interesting to see where all the resolutions for 2006 will be at the end of the year. Which endeavors will endure, which will increase the size and scope of the webcomics community, which will be profitable and which will tank? And will those plucky webcomickers ever be able to pull themselves away from their computers long enough to get the diet and exercise theyï¿½re going to need to lose all that weight?
We'll just have to wait and see!