Evolution Of An Artform

Ah, so many reasons to keep from posting for such a long, long time. Reasons that I’m sure you, the webcomic enthusiast/creator could care less about. So on with the insanity!

The webcomic, “The Pet Professional“, has been around for a little more than a year now, garnering a good deal of support early on from friend-in-high-place Scott Kurtz and a one-shot (literally) comic strip format that’s as easy to digest as it is to forget. A few months ago, Jason Salsbury, the aforementioned creator of PetPro, announced that his artist, Matt Kaufenberg, was moving onto other things and so the call went out for a new artist.

In the span of this search, yours truly submitted a test strip and, though I was denied the position, I harbor no ill will towards Salsbury. Throughout this test drive period, I’m not certain how many different submissions Jason took; it could have been five, it may have been closer to five-hundred. Whatever the number, a new Matt was chosen to take up the art reins on PetPro, someone the forums quickly affectionatly referred to as, “New Matt”. (It should be noted that I don’t use his whole name not out of spite, but because Salsbury’s grievous error in excluding his full name from ANY of the site leaves me without a reference point for such information.)

As soon as the first new strip was posted, New Matt’s drastic change in style and form caused outcry from the PetPro faithful, bringing those who had never bothered to join the forums before to enlist and fight the good fight against this artistic injustice. In this artist’s view, the new style WAS quite different and though he lacked the sequential chops to put together a coherent story, the guy’s pin-up work is VERY good. (Again, no link to the artist’s site as I can’t find it anywhere.) And as time went on, week after week, the work progressed to a state where a story could FINALLY be followed and a joke or point could be made.

For the next couple of months, a story was elaborated on, making little sense and showing little to no flow from strip to strip. This flow was so bad that Jason pulled the plug and started from scratch in a controversial decision that polarized the readers even more. So the strip went back to its previous, one-shot format and started its journey back to the top of the webcomic mountain.

And then, just when things were starting to gel, Jason noted that New Matt must ALSO vacate the artist’s seat, leaving PetPro without an artist for the second time in as many months. What are the reasons for New Matt’s departure? The details are known to the creators and they alone will tell when they choose.

I write about this because, while I first felt that Jason came out of nowhere and rose to greatness based solely on his affiliation with Kurtz, he quickly proved, along with Kaufenberg’s sharp, crisp line work, that PetPro was a force to be reckoned with. What say you? Has the style gone so far from the original, distinctive look that its much too late to save the strip? Or is the premise of the strip good enough that it can survive a revolving door of artistic talent?

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10 thoughts on “Evolution Of An Artform

  1. I\’ve been helping advice Jason to take Pet Pro in a direction that will both be pleasing to fans, allow many artist s to contribute and make some really cool and fun products.

    I\’ve seen some work from one of the new Pet Pro contributors and it\’s AWESOME stuff.

  2. So…? Come on! I\’m on the INSIDE now, let\’s see it!

    Oh, and here\’s the link to my submission.

    Yeah, I\’m an attention whore like that. But then again, isn\’t everybody when given half the chance?

  3. I don\’t read PetPro regularly but I do know it and enjoy it.

    Speaking as an artist who\’s followed someone else\’s act, I\’d like to believe that Jason will find a good long term partner for Petpro. It\’s not that there\’s a lack of talent available, but not everyone will mesh in terms of personality and sense of humour. After all, depending on the update schedule, this is suddenly inserting someone into your life that you will talk with pretty much daily. If you can\’t be friends with them and share a vision and goals with them, there\’s only going to be frustration in the end.

    So many webcomics are drawn and written by one person that it\’s an entirely different dynamic when you\’ve got a team going. Once he finds an artist willing to collaborate over the long term he\’s gold.

    Good luck to him in his search 🙂 Strips like Petpro help hold the bar high for webcomics and I love to see that. Later!

  4. Wow, Midnight cartooner, I really liked your style. I loathe to say it\’s better, but I thought it fit PetPro really well.

    If yours was a submission rejected, then I have very high hopes for what I will see in the future.

    *Holds dog over Jason\’s lawn*
    He\’s not touching your lawn…He\’s not touching your lawn….

  5. Well, after the first matt left, i was kinda dissapointed, i had really grown to love his style. Then the new matt came, and no offense meant, but his entire style just threw me away, and it seemed he focused on boobs and ass. And it was so unnormally vulgar, not to mention the *easy button* strip, i considered leaving the comic till it shaped up. Now that the new matt is gone im looking forward to seeing where they take PetPro, but honestly, i wish the first matt was back.

  6. Well done Chad, a minor glitch, however, PP not be killing humans.

    The full name and website of the \”New Matt\” have been mentioned somewhere around the forums and/or on the front page (it be a pitty Jason be using a script that be lacking an archive option) news/

    In me personal oppinion it be that ::gag::, however, I merely be the forums host.

  7. I think PetPro was hilarious at times, and fantastic on the eyes at first. I will keep checking back and still link him.

    Hopefully he\’ll find someone who really fills the shoes. I wanna see those dolphins eat it.

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