Tonight’s #webcomicschat was inspired by an article I read on Comic Book Resources by @robot6. In it Brigid Alverson commented on this past week’s New England Webcomic Weekend. I’ve heard and read about the convention before and I’d love to go some time. The CBR article also quoted a blog by Mike Peterson. He has a great blog about comic strips. I really enjoyed reading his posts about the convention and his discussion with creators. The CBR article in particular spoke about the need for web cartoonists to maintain an open forum and lines of communication with their fans. They advise that this type of contact creates loyal fans and helps build a consistent audience.

Personally I’ve been following this advice. I’ve tried hard to develop a social media presence to interact with fans and creators alike. It’s worked well for me thus far and I really enjoy the community that has developed (#webcomicschat especially). Ironically I was just listening to the latest Webcomics Weekly podcast and Scott Kurtz and Kris Straub were discussing this very issue. While for many years they have been great proponents of fan contact, for the first time I think I heard them walk it back a bit. For them (and perhaps this is normal with any form of notoriety and success) too much feedback can be a bad thing. Especially when it’s negative and hurtful. Admittedly at their level I’m sure they’ve become targets for angry and disgruntled fans and creators but at the same time they may lose some of their charm and appeal if they come off as too jaded. In any case I think it’s interesting to watch the Webcomic Weekly boy’s transition from plucky upstarts to weathered and wiser pros.

– Patrick Scullin “Plucky Upstart”