Last time on the blog, we took a retrospective look at some of the people who’ve helmed the fair ship Digital Strips as it sailed the still-virgin waters of 2005 internet radio and beyond. But those stalwart few aren’t the only voices who’ve been heard on the podcast – in fact, a wide variety of people and perspectives on the Webcomic world have graced this digital stage. If you’re a relatively new listener, you might not be familiar with the proud lineage of the Digital Strips creator interviews, as they more or less came to a close in 2009 – therefore, this week we’re looking back on some of the Digital Strips interview alumni and seeing where those creators are today. Continue reading
It was just this past episode of the Digital Strips Podcast (or the one before that, can’t specifically recall which) that Steve and I were wondering what had happened to this instant homerun of a comic concept. The man behind PvP, originally a gaming-centered gag comic, and the creators of Penny Arcade, itself a comic about video games and the culture they encourage, got together (i.e. walked down the hall to one another) and came up with another gaming comic idea, this time chronicling the depressing life of a video game tester, and it’s called The Trenches.
Remember, that profession that everyone wanted as a kid? Yeah, you don’t want this. It also looks like the blog will feature true horror stories from actual, former testers, so there’s even more to come to the site for than the regular comic update.
It’s not hard to see why some retailers and/or publishers might be reticent about jumping into the digital distribution craze that’s sweeping through the comics industry. The money stream completely changes and, in most cases, shrinks, and no one wants less money for their product. However, a panel went down at Comic-Con this year where that very real conundrum was discussed, with Scott Kurtz and Mark Waid (representing the Web and paper comic book communities, respectively) heading up the rundown.
Whether they’re laughing and skipping or kicking and screaming, retailers are seeing the revenue being missed in the digital stream and are largely ready to get their share. But with the big two (Marvel and DC) putting more and more content online, there is too much money to be missed by not offering some sort of service to that end, not to mention the squelching of the pirating movement, which is a big problem for nearly any form of entertainment these days. DC is even launching an initiative this Fall, to coincide with their line-wide relaunch of nearly every title they put out, which will see all of their comics coming to the digital marketplace day-and-date with the paper editions. While prices will keep many people from picking up the digital copy in its first month (when the price will be the same as the shelf copy), I know I can certainly wait a month to read the stories I want to read without having to mess with storing a physical copy afterwards.
Also of note in this discussion is the idea of formatting content for reading on digital devices, mostly made up of the growing iPad contingent. Notably, Love and Capes creator Thom Zahler keeps this in mind when laying things out and adjusts accordingly. The more the digital thought process permeates the comics industry, the more this kind of thinking will have to become second nature. Of course, oddballs that must be read in a certain context and fashion will still exist because as long as people care about comics as a storytelling device, there will exist a niche of creative, mind-expanding content.
No better way to bring back some TTotD than with a short but sweet entry from one Mr. Scott Kurtz. In this case, a picture is absolutely worth a thousand words:
Can’t explain why I’m getting chills just seeing that shiny award in some deserving hands, but it’s certainly been a long, hard road for the creator of PvP and that prize could not be more deserved. Congrats to Scott on the win; with that in his hands and ringing in another year as host of the Harvey Awards ceremony, this may just be the best weekend of his life.
After a well-deserved, battery-recharging vacation, TTotD is back! And what better way to get back into it than to talk about the death of webcomics! …Wait, what? Seems Joey Manley (as well as others around Twitter who have since escaped my Following gaze) is curious about the current state of webcomics, even going as far as to ask whether or not the medium (or genre, not sure what classification we’re using this week) has run its course.
We chatted about this on the podcast we recorded last night (which will be in your ears next Monday) so I figured it was well worth a post, especially since the thread is a contribution from Scott Kurtz.
pvponline Remember Joey Manley? He still apparently has opinions. http://joeymanley.com/2010/04/28/the-death-of-webcomics/ about 9 hours ago via Tweetie for Mac
Time for a new regular feature for the site, and since The Geek has deemed me Master of Tweets for Digital Strips, I shall post daily that which tickles my fancy, straight from the free realm that is the Twitterverse. I kick this party off with a three-fer, some choice thoughts that seemed to permeate the thin layer between posts to become something larger in the scope of the community.
First up, Scott Kurtz take issue with Marvel’s idea to release a test digital comic book day and date with the print version, but still make the digital customer pay more. I couldn’t agree more with pretty much everything he’s said on the subject, but here’s what kicked it off:
You like this comic? Want to save a tree? You’ll need to pay more then, please.
Next up, nearly everyone on the Internet today (everyone I listen to, anyways) passed around this YouTube link for a possible Mortal Kombat reboot. Too many people to choose from, so I’ll grab a tweet from Paul Southworth, whose backgrounds on Not Invented Here I praised earlier in the day:
Man, this new Mortal Kombat movie looks INTENSE! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJHbdmbeaXQ
Upon further review, that would appear to be a joke link from Paul. He does that sometimes. Instead, I will borrow a retweet from him, courtesy of Scott Johnson, host of various excellent podcasts on the Frog Pants Network:
Last but surely not least, Charlie “Spike” Trotman weighs in on the syndicated strip debate (not really a debate any longer, just a continuing thorn) and throws in some tips on how to grow your comic to boot. A lengthy thread, but when this girl gets goin’, it’s best to just sit back and listen:
“Syndicates are There for a Reason.” Oh, Daily Cartoonist. Why can’t I quit you? http://is.gd/cHz1v
Okay okay to be totally fair: Syndicates used to be meaningful, relevant organizations with a purpose. Syndicates got you into papers.
And there was a time when being in papers was a good decision that could eventually lead to a long, professional cartooning career.
BUT the average paper reader is now between 40 and 50. Less than 1/4 of Americans under 35 read a daily paper. The market is shrinking.
Newspapers are in decline. It’s much harder to make a living as a strip cartoonist. Syndicates can’t sell for artists like they used to.
Fiending for syndicate representation these days is like pounding on the door of a building under demolition, begging to be let in.
Cuz it’s been asked: If you want to be a professional cartoonist, 1) Start a webcomic 2) build an audience 3) publish & sell collections.
Don’t make any merch (books, shirts) until your readers ask, assume 1 in 100 will ever buy stuff, work hard, and know it’s not guaranteed.
That is what’s worked for me. Other stuff works, too, but that is what I did.
Thanks for the wit and wisdom, folks, and all in 140 characters or less!