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March 7, 2007

Captain Occam

Adam pointed me to Jonathan Kane's comics on DeviantArt. They're rather poorly drawn, but funny as hell. His superhero, Captain Occam, fights creationists wielding PRATT lists (meaning Points Refuted A Thousand Times) with his mighty razor. It's got lovely quotable lines like Bill was training the Tyrannosaurus to eat plants, but he didn't do a good enough job and generally mocks fraudsters like Kent Hovind, as well as their deluded fellow travelers. I especially liked his Deinonychos telling a Deinonychan myth about bird flight to help out the Captain, who had commandeered a vehicle that ran on bullshit.
DeviantARt isn't an ideal interface for serialising comics, so I'll list the episodes so far here.
Captain Occam versus the Prattmasters
The Prattmaster, ep. 2
The Prattmaster, ep.3
Dinosaur Adventure Land
Reverend Zedekiah EDIT: Replaced it with a better link, as the old one didn't work. -Adam
The Origin of Flight.
You'll need to click on the images to enlarge them, and in one or two cases that won't work and you'll have to click on "Download" instead. And there are people who say Livejournal is a poor comic hosting choice...

Of course, Captain Occam can't really compete with Dresden Codak, but honestly, what can?

March 10, 2007

Submitted without comment

If job interviews worked like Wikipedia.

OK. One comment: Bwa ha ha!

Edit: Link fixed. Matt's so smart, yet he creates front page URLs that look like archive links. Boo!

March 12, 2007

Errant Story fundraiser

Creator Michael Poe of the webcomic Errant Story has been hit with some unexpected bills totaling $ 10,000, so he's having a fundraiser involving auctions, a donation drive and sponsored wallpapers. Errant Story has a reputation for being a very popular webcomic, and its Advertising page bears that out - 115,000 uniques a month is not to be sneezed at. So it's sobering to think that such a widely-read webcomic still has to do that sort of thing. Clearly, the revolution hasn't quite run its course yet.

In the forum thread, Poe's partner Hillary Hatch gives a breakdown of both the couple's immediate expenses and their more long-term needs. I like that they do that - transparency is important. Webcomics artists have for the most part been unsuccesful at setting up solid businesses, so we've had to become good at emergency fundraising, and telling people what the real situation is and where the money goes is a major part of that.

I'm afraid, though, that this post will be my only contribution. I've been falling far short of my own needs over the past six months, and can't afford to donate or buy stuff. I expect that this blog reaches a handful of people outside the webcomics community, though, and these people are invited to at least give reading Errant Story a try.

March 21, 2007

Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan visit small Somerset Village

Spot the significant drunk in today's (and the previous - oops!) Dangerous and Fluffy: The Sheep of Doom

March 28, 2007

Quick webcomics links

We're finally getting to the point in the crossover where we're actually crossing over with more than one comic. For those of you keeping score, we've so far been to:
Evil Overlords Online
CameoComic
Dog and Pony
Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic (in-comic visit only)

Bar Dork
(Drawing by Calvin Bexfield of the character in the background from Tuesday's Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan comic.)

Calvin drew this character in the background of Tuesday's comic, because he thought a nude woman appearing out of nowhere would raise some eyebrows. Caitlin Woods of Dog and Pony (and CameoComic) decided to keep him around for another strip. Cool. Dog and Pony, by the way, is usually a better showcase for Caitlin's art than CameoComic has been, though I've taken a liking to the looseness of Cameocomic in the past few days.

Other things I've been reading: the recent Butchless Book storyline in Liliane, Bi-Dyke has been one of the best in a long time. The tale of a dream job turning into a nightmare should be recognisable to many illustrators and cartoonists.
Sharing A Universe doesn't have much in the way of originality or characterisation, but it is a fun comic that grows on you. It's also noteworthy in that it's stayed true to its roots as a humour comic for four years now. Good call - no Cerebus Syndrome for Lynette and Alison, thank you very much.

Oh, yeah, and I keep forgetting this: The Bare-Pit has completed its Enchanted storyline and sent off my character Abúi, who had been on loan. Abúi's journey through various webcomics worlds continues in the Crossover Wars, but I don't think she'll be spending as much time in any single world as she did in that of The Bare-Pit. That comic's creator has declared a six-month hiatus to recharge his artistic batteries, so now's a good time to get all caught up and stay caught up until he returns in October.

April 11, 2007

I like the cut of your jib, gal!

Tera Forming is a well-drawn, well-written autobiographical comic that is a lot of fun to read. The only downside to it is that it isn't inked, but even under the greyness of the scanned pencil lines, Tera Sanders' drawing chops shine through. Recommended, especially if you like autobios like Planet Karen, which you should.

Update: The comic seems to have disappeared from its webhost, Drunk Duck. Let's hope it turns up somewhere else soon.

April 27, 2007

Jon Swift has a drawing assignment for you

Jon Swift:


If Chris Muir drew Charles Schulz's Peanuts, for example, he wouldn't have bothered drawing a panel showing Lucy pulling the football away at the last minute when Charlie Brown tries to kick it. That would be too Old School for him. Instead, Muir would just have Lucy say, "Democrats always pull the football away at the last minute when you are trying to kick it, Charlie Brown." Lucy and Charlie Brown would also probably be in their underwear.

Internet meme in 5... 4... 3....

May 7, 2007

Action Figure Graveyard

DFG pointed me to Action Figure Graveyard, a wonderful surrealistic, science-and mythology-literate comic drawn in a loose, lively art style. The archive has only 34 comics, but each of them is a full-colour, full-page bundle of awesomeness and glee.

I'd also put up the makers, House and Greer, for a webdesign award, because their clean, uncluttered design with just one persistent mindfuck in it - the back to front navigation buttons - is a work of evil genius in its own right.

I'd particularly recommend it for fans of Dresden Codak and XKCD, even though it doesn't really resemble those comics at all. It just hits the nerd buttons in the same way.

May 8, 2007

Reconceptualising micropayments.

Micropayments are a perfectly valid and succesful business tool - as long as the end user stays out of the picture

In the wake of the failure of Bitpass and Scott McCloud's decision to stop charging a micropayment for The Right Number, discussion of micropayments as an option for making money with web content, specifically, webcomics, has flared up again. Note, for example, Clay Shirky declaring victory for his side of an argument that took place several years ago. Joey Manley thought the tone of the article was a bit vindictive, but like several commenters to Joey's post, I think it was necessary for Shirky to make the post so that debate had some closure.

Of course, these things never truly end. On Comixpedia, Joel Fagin has another go at it, making some good points about the difference between a service and a project and arguing that that distinction, not micropayments themselves, are what caused micropayment-supported webcomics to fail. As long as webcomics are sold as a service (you pay to login and see the comics on the server), rather than a product (you pay for comics to download and keep), they won't be worth charging for. As an example of a micropayment-enabled product, Fagin cites iTunes (and comment hijinx ensue).

I have trouble with the idea of iTunes as a micropayments business, though a quick look at the Wikipedia article on micropayments suggests that it qualifies, because the payments involved are too small to process economically through the credit card system, and aggregated inside iTunes' billing system on a weekly basis. But I don't think the 1-dollar per song price tag was what micropayments' original boosters had in mind. The Case For Micropayments by Jakob Nielsen, from 1998 (that's how long we've had this conversation, folks), talks in terms of cents rather than dollars. That's a big difference.

By the definition that allows iTunes to be a micropayments-based business, Modern Tales is one - though no longer primarily so. In its original business model, prices for monthly subscriptions were in the too-small-for-credit-cards category, but annual subscriptions were not. Today, of course, most of the content is free, supported by ads from Google and Project Wonderful.

What happens internally at Modern Tales is a lot closer to the original idea of micropayments than what happens at the customer level at Modern Tales, or at iTunes. When a subscriber clicks on a link to an archived Modern Tales comic, that creator gets points equivalent to the number of comics pages served as a result of that link. These points get aggregated and divided by the total number of points in a given period to give a percentage of the earnings that the cartoonist should get. I'll spare you the details, but "points" act as stand-ins for really small sums of money - i.e. micropayments.
Likewise, Project Wonderful's cost-per-day, measured in tiny sums of money that are aggregated in advance by the advertiser, is a micropayment-based system. Come to think of it, for most smaller hosts, Google Ads' internal accounting and aggregation would count as well.

In the backends of web-based businesses, micropayments are used all the time. Maybe that distinction, between charging micropayments to end users and charging them to advertisers or publishers/portals, is more meaningful than the distinction between products and services.

It's probably ironic that the biggest boosters of micropayments wanted them to kill ads, when what micropayments actually do is enable them on more sites that wouldn't otherwise have had them.

May 14, 2007

Timmerryn's run on Dangerous and Fluffy starts today.

Adam, who is leaning over my shoulder as I speak, reminds me to mention that Timmerryn/Rahball's run on Dangerous and Fluffy started this weekend. Timm brought a lighter touch and atmosphere to the comic during its first run, fitting the farcical turn Adam's writing was taking at the time.
Timm appears to have dropped out of comics, though, and hasn't even posted on this blog much, despite being a co-blogger since almost the beginning. Too bad as Timm's work on this and The Pantheon was always fun to read.

There's about three months' worth of reruns left - three months for Adam to find Artist No. 3. I'm not sure if he's put out a call, but it's likely he will.

August 4, 2007

The end for Fight Cast or Evade

On the day when Matt Trepal announced the end of his webcomic, Fight Cast or Evade, its website was down, so I'm taking note of it now instead of yesterday. I've enjoyed Matt's humour and storytelling a lot over his comic's seven-year run.

In recent months it had been updating sporadically, and I guess Matt is right to end it now instead of pushing through with it without having the motivation to really do so. Seven years is much longer than most webcomics survive anyway, so well done and thanks, Matt.

Taking some time off from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan

I'm taking the rest of the month of August off from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan. Three reasons:

  1. While the quality of the last month's updates was all right, I was finding it harder and harder to make them even at the reduced schedule. I wasn't having as much fun with it and I was getting more than a bit fed up with the work. I need to recharge those batteries.
  2. Statistics for the website show that it's getting hit hard by the summer doldrums. If I'm going to take a break, it might as well be now.
  3. Most importantly, I can no longer afford to go on spending so much time on the comic. My hunt for paying work is finally picking up steam but I really need to work full-time on it until I'm employed and earning a wage. A good one, as I've been sliding into debt over the past few months. I'm working on it, but the compulsion to create comics has been a big distraction. Time out is necessary.

Of course, if, as is the plan, I'm employed by the end of the three-week period, it's quite possible that I'll need more time off as I settle into my new schedule, and in any case I will have less time to write and draw. So further reductions in the schedule are very likely.

Over the next three weeks, starting on Tuesday, August 7, I'll be running the White House in Orbit story "Marauders of Mars" from 2001, on a daily schedule, on this website. The Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan story "Feral" will continue to update on the Modern Tales mirror on a weekly schedule as planned, until I run out of material. If I end up staying away for longer than three weeks, I've got one or two plans lined up that will at least keep the ROCR flame burning through my leave of absense; one of these plans is already in operation and I've noticed that some people have spotted it.

If, on the other hand, my jobhunt fails, I'll probably have at least some new material ready at the end of the three-week period. I can't guarantee how much it'll be, but there'll be some.

August 18, 2007

Guest comic at Cameocomic

I've got a guest comic up at CameoComic. For some reason, the regular artist on that comic, which has crossed over extensively with ROCR over the past six months, has been falling behind on her updates, so various webcartoonists are chipping in at the last minute to catch up.

The update is part of a long story and won't make a lot of sense on its own, but I thought some of you might want to take a look at it anyway.

September 2, 2007

Wowio

Wowio is supposedly a rather good way for webcartoonists to get their e-books out and even make a bit of money through the advertising Wowio embeds in the e-books, but when I try to sign up so I can try it out and see how it works, I get this. Boo hiss.

Ironically, their About us page says:


WOWIO opened on the World Wide Web in August 2006 endeavoring to dramatically expand access to important written works by eliminating the economic, geographic, and logistical barriers of readers while also ensuring that content owners are fairly compensated.

Looks like they've got a long way to go then. They also require authentication for downloaders of the free e-books and limit the number of downloads per day. On the whole, I prefer the system that Joey Manley's Modern Tales uses. How about rolling out this feature for Webcomicsnation, Joey?

October 29, 2007

Comicspace and Webcomicsnation to merge

ComicSpace and WCN are Merging, and Getting Investment Capital.

I knew about the investment capital but I hadn't seen the merger coming in a million years. And yet it makes perfect sense. They really are complementary services run by complementary talents, to the point where I could use the word "synergy" with a straight face without feeling a complete wanker.

I'm very excited about this news. This doesn't usually happen when there's talk of mergers and investment capital, but it is happening now.

January 10, 2008

The comic that put me on the dark path

2008-alfheim-babes-box.jpg

The comic that first inspired me to seriously pursue web cartooning has been back and on a mostly regular schedule for a few months now, and looks like it's back to stay. It also got a new name: Alfheim, which now that I'm used to it, I like a lot better than I did the old one. Let's never speak of the old name again.

January 23, 2008

I ATEN'T DEAD!

cc186-300.png


cc189-300.png
Oh, no, I ain't. I'm just not drawing much. Or writing much. I did manage to get these two CameoComics done though. They're a little easier to fit in than those elaborate full-colour ROCR pages.

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Waffle in the Webcomi cs category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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