Years have gone by, 5 for those who are counting, since I started reading webcomics and it still surprises me. It is amazing how a medium that feels so niche can also have so many followers, but isn’t that the point? My previous post talked about Diamond not distributing the last week of the year and how it is a great opportunity for webcomics to get on the shelves. But why has it been so hard up until this point? Since my memory works like a plate of spaghetti, another memory came falling out about a mini storyline completed a month ago on Least I Could Do.
It has been some time since I concluded that success of webcomics is due to the combination of Internet and niches. That’s why it so hard to make it on to the comic shelf, because your entire audience is spread around the world and they are not even going to think about running to your home town to buy of the 5 shelves you convinced owners to give you. Instead webcomics sell online, along side their free product. This creates an environment of immediately hostility for those creators who stray even one inch outside their reader’s comfort zones.
So why did the guys at LICD jump on their soap box and tell an audience, generally known for chasing free products, that illegally downloading products is wrong? I don’t know about you but that sounds like shooting a gun off in a small metal box. There are going to be readers that disagree, violently. Yet a short walk was taken and although the why seems obvious, the “what’s for lunch” question seems just as interesting. Has Ryan been drinking an endless supply of red bulls paid for by Bono? or perhaps he personally believes deep down that he isn’t entitled to the hard work of others and that the best solution to make valuable products cheaper is to stop buying or stealing them at high prices? In the end only the artist loses because the middle men all have insurance from theft.
Besides having a pair of bowling balls for walking around with a match at a gas station Ryan showed me something else. They may be running a business with the strip and Blind Ferret but him and Lar are still artists. The product is never sacrificed for the green and the message always comes from the same place. That makes a good start to creating a webcomic. Don’t worry about your readers or any outfall. In the end what you should really care about is if your comic still makes you proud today as the day you started.