Clint Hollingsworth creates the adventure saga, The Wandering Ones, which has been on Keenspot for its entire existence. The comic is set in the future after a manmade disaster leaves most of the world's population dead. With more than 8 years of updates it's pretty epic in scale now. I caught up with Hollingsworth about still working on the strip, sticking with Keenspot and what's next.
I looked through our archives and realized The Wandering Ones was one of the first comics we reviewed – back in May 2003. The strip is still going strong — what do you think are the biggest changes, if any, for the comic between now and five years ago?
When I started the comic, back in 2000, I naively thought that it might have a chance at getting in newspapers, so I was working in the daily newspaper strip format. Later on, realizing that format was kind of a dead end for the stories I like to tell, I switched to the comic book format which is easier to print collections from.
When I started the strip, I was practicing my outdoor skills almost daily and I had a lot to show people. I tended to get a little preachy (though not too extreme), but I also showed a lot of neat stuff, that anyone could accomplish. However, as the comic has gone along, the story has become more important than showing people new outdoor skills.
Now, the stories are more about the characters and the events they're living through. I find that I can be working on a story and new characters will simply introduce themselves and force their way in. Even though I have the story idea in my head, sometimes these new characters will hijack things.
Where are you these days? Do you have another job besides the working on the comic?
I've always had a "regular job", as Wandering Ones had not been a particular money maker during it's run. I work as a graphic designer for the Wenatchee World Newspaper and have been doing Wandering Ones during my lunches and in the evenings. With Keenspot's new ad policy, I'm now making enough that I can take one day a week off and work on other projects. NOW there's a fair possiblity that comics could make up a lot more of my income. The difference in attitude when I'm working on comics and not for someone else, is pretty amazing.
How have the books put out through IndyPlanet been received? Do you have future plans for more graphic novels?
To be honest, the IndyPlanet books sell pretty poorly. For some reason, Wandering Ones has never had much luck with merchandising, and don't think I haven't tried! The original "Ghost Wind" book has sold about 500 copies, but Keenspot has about that amount still in inventory. Thank God for POD (Print on Demand) printing. I order what I need for conventions (Where I sell much better that over the web) and put it up on IndyPlanet in case someone wants to buy a copy that way. It doesn't cost me anything to have it there.
With the advent of POD publishing, I've decided to eventually have the entire thing in print. I'm working on prepping files for a 2nd and even a third reprint collection, both of which I hope to have out this year. I'm also working on a Wandering Ones stand-alone comic book that I hope to submit to Image Comics.
You've been on Keenspot almost as long as anyone I think – were you one of the original members? What is it like working within Keenspot these days? Any changes since Darren Bleuel has left?
I actually started about a month after Keenspot started (April, 2000). I had done comic work for Chris' SCC line of books and he invited me to try my hand at making a webcomic. I was just bursting with all the cool tracker stuff that I had been learning and comics seemed the perfect venue.
With the exception of Mike Roseweig of Everything Jake, all the other Keenspotters had pre-existing comics. Mike and I created the only comics (at the time) specifically made for the site.
These days, all the Keenspotters have the opportunity to run their own advertising on their own site. Chris and Tiffany Ross were very helpful in this, and though I'm not making a living at it, I'm making about 3 times what I was making on the old KS 50/50 plan, even on a bad month. That allowed me to take the extra day off, which has made a HUGE difference in my life. I feel like I have the power to take this as far as I can, so I'm rebooting my Shin Kage comic pretty soon also.
The worst thing about Darren leaving, is that we miss him a lot. He was always not only a positive technical force for us, but just a positive force altogether! I can't imagine going to San Diego without the blue haired one behind the booth. Technically, though Keenspot would never have come to being without he and Nate Stone, they have left the site in some very capable hands. Kisai, who was the admin for Comics Genesis had taken over and things are running pretty smoothly.
You worked on Melpomeme with Jamie Robertson — do you have any plans for other collaborations on comics?
I really enjoyed working with Jamie, he's a great guy, and I really enjoy his work on Clan of the Cats. Mel was a lot of fun to do, and gave me a break to let someone else do the scripting. It also forced me to draw things that I wasn't used to so that I stretched myself as an artist. When you're used to drawing almost nothing but forest backgrounds, suddenly having to draw the streets of Cairo make you use new brain cells!
Unfortunately, as much as I would like to collaborate, I would need to be doing comics full time to have the hours needed for such a collaboration. I'm not ready to leave the full time job and throw my fate onto comics, so it's doubtful that will happen anytime soon.
Still, after doing Wandering Ones for eight years, I feel VERY lucky to have an audience that enjoys my work.