Today marks the 100th Super Siblings comic strip. While that number is small in comparison to other daily comic strips, it’s quite a lot when considering Super Siblings updates once a week. Thank you to everyone that supports the strip and rest assured I LOVE doing it and have no plans to ever stop. Please pass the word to anyone you think might enjoy our family friendly comic strip aimed at geeks with kids.
Archive for ‘news’
Today it was announced that webcomics.com would change it’s format. No longer would articles and comments be available for free to the public, instead a $30 annual subscription fee was offered for exclusive content. I’ve read through the article and comments on webcomics.com. I’ve also discussed the matter today with other cartoonists and fans on twitter at #webcomicschat. I also recommend a blog post by Byron Wilkins, @tr1guy about it. With that I’d also like to post my thoughts about it here.
I’ve met the halfpixel guys. I’ve purchased and read their How to Make Webcomics book. I highly recommend the book and learned a great deal from it. The question I have for myself is, if I’m willing to buy and promote their book, why do I hesitate in signing up and recommending a subscription to their site? The only answer I can come up with is that I still value books more than the internet. For whatever reason (I admit this may be a generational thing) I’m much more apt to pay for a tangible object I can place on my shelf than digital content on the web. This, ironically, is why I was so affected by HTMW. It made sense to me that the online content would be free because it was subsidized by the sale of books and merchandise.
Admittedly, Brad comments on the fact that the business model still holds for his own comic Evil, Inc. but is impractical for a professional content site like webcomics.com. He is right of course, news sites and other publishers have been struggling with that fact for a long time. No one wants to pay for news online, and if no one’s paying for it online then how do you stay in business? Who pays the journalists? Who keeps the lights on? Ad revenue alone is not going to cut it. If that’s true, then how does one expect to make it in webcomics? My answer has always been, aim low and have a day job. Consider the webcomic a small business that over time has the potential to make a one family income. It doesn’t need to be successful enough to maintain a large media conglomerate, just enough to provide a reasonable salary for one cartoonist and his family. Kept in that context it’s always seemed possible.
Again, from what they’ve said Brad and Scott still agree with the webcomics business model and intend to continue it for their own comics. What it seems to come down to for webcomics.com though is that it’s too much work and too much free content to give away for nothing. This is totally true, I agree with it. Brad deserves a good salary for what he’s been doing. He’s a very good writer and editor. All true, but isn’t that exactly what we’ve been trying to “un-learn” for all this time working on our own comics? They can’t have missed that fact, the irony seems too obvious. That being said, I don’t fault them for what they’re doing I’m just disappointed by it. Not disappointed in them, just disappointed that it had to happen. It’s true I guess, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
I enjoyed our #webcomicschat , thanks to all that participated. We covered a number of topics and the conversation continued long after I left so feel free to add your own comments to this post if you wish. To start we talked a bit about web collectives. I didn’t know exactly what they were at first but I realized that I’ve been joining them without knowing it. Over time I’ve added Super Siblings to web comic directories and websites. The ones I’ve used so far are: Webcomicplanet , ComicRank , TheWebComicList I’m no expert so I can’t say what the best way to use collectives is but for me it seems like a good idea to post my site address anywhere I can. The only limitation I would put on it is that I’m not going to use a site that charges a fee or tries to take any ownership of the strip (i.e. Drunk Duck or Zuda). Personally I’d rather build my own identity online and retain ownership of all my work.
Next we had a good discussion on scripting techniques. If you haven’t done so, do a #webcomicschat search on twitter and you’ll see many of the cartoonists contributions on the subject. For myself I usually try to set aside an hour or two to write each week. This works well for my weekly comic strip and quarterly comic books. Writing is a fun experience for me. It usually happens that after coming up with the first gag others follow easily. The first one is always the hardest, but if I stick with it and work through the writer’s block it never fails that one good idea leads to others. Writing ahead is also a good way to let ideas stew in my brain for a while. According to our chat this is also something that many other cartoonists like as well. The extra time usually leads to rewrites, which for me, seems to improve my strips.
It’s always a good idea to have someone edit your strip. When I first started out I hired a friend of mine to help me. She is a great writer and I always appreciated her feedback. In the beginning, having her review my scripts really helped boost my confidence. Since then I’ve transitioned into self-editing my comic strip but I still go to her for my longer comic books. I think no matter what it’s a good idea to have a second pair of eyes look at your work. If you’re interested my previous post is the actual script I used for the comic posted on 11/30/09 “Instruction Manual”. You might find it interesting to see some of the changes I made to the final draft.
Check back next week for a #webcomicschat at 6pm PST / 9pm EST on Wednesday.