The webcomics blog about webcomics

From Zero To Sittin’ On A Mountain With Joey Manley In Three Months, or, The Opposite Of A Review

This touches tangentially on the current Joey Manley-centered shitstorm regarding dick and fart jokes. I’ll save you some time: every prominent name in the first hundred posts or so says precisely what you’d expect; late in the game, Maritza Campos, Jin Wicked, and Jeph Jacques make some calm, rational points. If you’ve had your fill of webcomics drama for the week, feel free to skip the ManleyMillikinKurtzG fest-o-fun. Now let’s wander a little further afield, ‘kay? Over at A murder of crows (side note: I love the entire notion of “term for a plural group of animals”; if you see R Stevens or Jon Rosenberg at I-CON this weekend, ask ’em what the plural term for “webcartoonists” is), there’s a new piece about Hurricane Joey. And it links a second piece about us.

From some digging, it appears that the author of these essays is named Jeff Knooren; I say “appears” because his name doesn’t appear on the blog page or as a signature to any of his posts, so I’m not entirely sure. Assuming I haven’t completely misinterpreted things, Knooren is the individual that I referred to as “this guy” in a previous post, which he’s apparently taken as a vile insult. Sorry ’bout that, but without a name to put to the links, didn’t have a lot of choice there. He’s pretty much got it in for webcomics critics (not my term for what we do here) and commentators (that’s closer) in general, and while he’s pretty angry about how we parasites have conspired against him (honestly, the first time we’d heard of him was when he pinged us to call us “industry heavyweights”, which is a gross mischaracterization), he does make an interesting point in his open letter:

So, I ask you, where will I be the following week after [Fleen’s] trashing review of my comic? You and I both know, a full comic review from you, will not convert into readership for me, come next week. (emphasis original)

I cite the Porkwrench [sic] review by Jeff Lowery. Porkwrench [sic] got a HUGE boost of many thousands of visitors from you, for a week. Your full review did not translate into readership for porkwrench [sic] that I could tell.

(Aside: I have no idea what kind of bump Pork Wrench got from us; I’d be tickled to think that it was “many thousands”, but our traffic logs don’t indicate we have quite that level of influence. Fleen invites Petie Shumate to share what readership changes did or did not come about after the review.) The comic that Knooren’s referring to (actually, it appears to be two comics) may be found here; the “trashing review” is one we haven’t written yet, but which he apparently feels will be both unfair and unhelpful to him. Can’t comment much on the fairness of something I haven’t written, but he’s absolutely right on the second point. A review from Fleen will not convert into readership for his comic.

Because no matter how much we might link to it, or how much we might say it’s good, it’s up to the comic to keep whatever eyeballs might appear. To wish otherwise is to remove the power of deciding “this is good” from the reader and to give it to the critic. Some feel that this is an essential element of critical discourse and the rightful role of the critic. I disagree, and I have a feeling that Knooren does, too. But opinions do not equal facts, and it’s entirely possible that the success or failure of a comic depends on having somebody else invite you to eat lunch with the cool kids.

So now’s when we get to find out. Here is a link to comics by Jeff Knooren. There is nothing here that can be construed in any way as either positive or negative regarding its worth. If anybody should happen to wander over there and take a look, they’re pretty close to tabula rasa. There’s your potential bump in readership, Jeff Knooren. It’s yours to win or lose.

I know my interview only sent about 40 people my way. Which is still pretty cool. I mean, there’s an interview with me out there on the web. There was some increase in daily visits in the days afterwards, but I had another site or two driving in some hits, so it’s hard to tell exactly how much sway you guys have.

I’m wondering what the difference in hits would be between positive and negative reviews is, as well as the difference with things like casual links within more general articles.

Either way, so wise person may have said something along the lines of, “People generally need at least three exposures to something before they decide to stick with it or not.” So how much is one link from one article really going to do for anybody?

Now if Fleen, Websnark, and say, Comixpedia all linked a specific comic in the same day, I wonder if there would be better chances for a reader of all three to then convert into a reader of that comic?

Someone out there should be gathering these statistics. I mean, come on! Imagine the fun we can all have with potentially meaningless statistics! Fun for everyone! Fun is good.

There’s no such thing as bad publicity. But a mention on Fleen (or Websnark or whatever) is only going to get people to look at a comic once. Converting those eyeballs into ongoing readership is the comic’s job.

Now that I think about it, the trick is to wait until there’s an external link, and then immediately put up the most newbie-friendly material possible. Even if hundreds of people tune in to see “month 11 of the 26,000-part storyline”, you’re probably not going to convert many of them.

OK, so I’ll bite:

What’s the plural term for webcartoonists?

A Drama of Webcartoonists?
A Po’ of Webcartoonists?

I am shocked to have not been mentioned. Let’s fight, Gary.

Monty: THat’s sort of my vein of thought for comics of mine that fall on a Friday. I try to shape those into something that’s a real zing-pow, since the same comic is going to be up on both Saturday and Sunday as well. Since it’s there longer, I want to to capture more people’s attention.

You guys gave me about 600 hits on the first day of the link, and I got about 20 regular readers out of that. A little less than the “5% rule” of links–>regular readers that I’d read about a few years ago, but I’m not about to turn away what I can get.

I’m about 1/6th converted to the various reviewed comics here. I learned about ‘A Lesson is learned’ and it stuck to my regular comics….and I rediscovered ‘Sexy Losers’, ‘PBF’ and ‘Sluggy’ thanks to your links’…I’d have to disagree with the mass exposure=readership rule. A trillion links isn’t going to get me to read webcomic x if I don’t like sprites or whatever. (I do like sprites, don’t kill me Brian.)

Seems like market force will prove us either thinking men or sop swilling plebes in time. Are you a dumb V Film guy or do you need the graphic novel to send your mind afloat?

Purely rhetorical.

“A Panel of Webcartoonists”? Maybe that’s a little two obvious.

In light of some of the links up there, how about “A Squawk of Webcartoonists”?

Er. A little “too” obvious.

Most of the webcomics critiques I’ve been reading lately are pretty poorly written tripe that’s more about starting fights than it is about anything thought-provoking or insightful. Joey Manley is a prime example of this. Joe Zabel isn’t that great either.

I quite like what you’re doing with Fleen though, and I find Websnark very interesting (when I have the time to read through it all, of course ;) )

Keep up the good work!

[…] But those people can just … well, shush.  I mean, at LEAST you got art this time.  I figure comic strip audiences are distractable.  Look, shiny colors! and then one can get away with anything.  I mean, just read those signs in panel two.  I’m fucking clever, dudes, and if you don’t even know what I’m talking about, well then, honestly, it would just take too damn long to explain. […]

[…] He’s not afraid to share his opinion, and he makes it clear that he is not going to be intimidated by the “webcomics community.â€? I had the chance to ask him some questions about how and why he creates webcomics, and the artistic and commercial direction of webcomics in general. […]

[…] He’s not afraid to share his opinion, and he makes it clear that he is not going to be intimidated by the “webcomics community.â€? I had the chance to ask him some questions about how and why he creates webcomics, and the artistic and commercial direction of webcomics in general. […]

RSS feed for comments on this post.