(web)COMICS and COMMERCE
Some interesting things have been posted lately about the state of the economy, how it’s affecting the comics industry, and what the role of “webcomics” is in the big picture. If you haven’t read it already, you must read Jeph Jacques’ great LJ post here, which was a response to a post by Neil Swaab which seems to now be taken down and replaced with an apology (which is too bad).
One thing Neil touched upon in his original writeup which I must mention here was the subscription model… I have to tell you – we tried it. It didn’t work out all that great. At least not for me. One big problem was my inconsistency… I was posting sporadically at best. I was a young, easily distracted and I guess I was getting way too much attention at the time and I chocked. I’m still trying to recover from all those years of flame wars, idealism, egotism, flaking out on great high profile gigs that would come along, and just general unprofessional behavior.
I think James Kochalka was one of the few to make it work and he eventually opened up his archives after a few years. He was an early adapter that doesn’t get enough credit for staking his claim in the gold rush.
My days of taking sides in these sorts of debates are pretty much over, not that there’s really any debate going on in this case. More like lively and interesting discussion – the kind that comes along every once in a while.
I’ve grown up and come to terms with the idealism that made me come off as so pretentious so many years ago when I was sickened by the thought of equating comics “art” with “product”. Now, I only wish to try to make an honest living on my own terms and I know that the only way to do that is to keep posting here daily. Doesn’t matter to me if it is one panel or twenty. To me, now more than ever, it’s all just “comics”.
The only way to “succeed” at this “business” is to work hard. Everyday. And never stop. Free daily comics is where it’s at. There is no substitution for the true formula for success. Post something everyday and build your readership. Then make stuff they’d like to buy from you. If it’s good, used to be people would support you. Now, with the economy in the crapper, will the caveat be “as long as they’re able to support themselves and have enough income to blow some dough on comics or comics related ephemera?” Did I miss the boat because I spent so many years refusing the see the forest for the trees? How many more clichés can I cram into one blog post???