The webcomics blog about webcomics

Aw, Hell, Don’t Tell Me I Originally Posted This Without A Title

This page has previously conducted interviews with Dave Kellett, one of the smarter guys in [web]comics, on the topic of newspaper syndication and the web. It’s been a while since we heard from Dave, so it’s nice to see that Wizard is continuing its series of talks with webcomics creators. As usual, he’s got some good stuff to say about syndication:

United Media has been good, but not great, because their online business model is flawed.

and about the freedom of the web:

I had always created Sheldon with the intention of going to a syndicate. So it always had fairly strong self-censorship in terms of the newspaper style. And in fact the readership in general since then has been pretty family friendly, so I don’t know that I’ll change that much when I go back independent. But I’m starting a second strip online in January. That one, having launched purely on the Web, will probably have more of an adult feel to it, or at least less of a newspaper feel.

What caught my eye (besides the part where he calls Bill Barnes a bastard) was this snippet, about his immediate plans:
about his plans:

I’m the head writer for Mattel Toys, so I name all the toys and write all the stories. I do that sort of stuff. After January, though, I’m going to be leaving Mattel and just being a cartoonist.

We’ve seen a number of creators in webcomics go full-time, either from loss of the day job, or a period of transition culminating in the announcement “I’m a full-time cartoonist now.” This is the first time I’ve seen a creator pre-announce it, though, and it’s exciting to think that webcomics have grown to the point that a plan can be made and it can be said, “I will do this on this particular date.”

On a side note, I always wondered who it was that thought it was a plausible tale that Barbie pays for all those Porsches and Dream Houses on a regular salary, and now I know. Seriously, Dave, does Mattel think we’re stupid? I’ve got $20 American cash money for you if you give us the real story just before you leave. Actually, I’d be willing to pay considerably more than that for a Barbie mint-in-box that says the wardrobe was a “gift” from a “special friend” who made his money in the oilfields; he didn’t find his fourth wife “exciting” anymore, but really likes “play time” and “parties” with Barbie and Skipper (and Ken watches).

Extra special bonus backup news item: The award for Shortest Time From Random Image To Demand For The T-Shirt goes to the customer base of Jeph Jacques. From initial posting of the image to pre-orders took about 25 hours and 4 minutes.

Did you hear about Divorcee Barbie? She comes with half of Ken’s stuff.

Sorry, Gary, no questions about said employer, please, until said employer’s last check is cashed in January.

Then, said employer’s cashed check can buy two Boddington’s…at which point stories can commence.

I’m curious as to how far is too far when it comes to t-shirts. I mean, sure, I know QC and Scary Go Round get a lot of income from those streams but is it purely reader driven?
Is there going to be a point where a webcomic ‘jumps the shark’ in terms of merchandising and focuses too much on it? I wonder.

Dave, that is a great interview, and best of luck with all the hoo-ha: you deserve it, buddy.

Also, Scott: I’m sure there are readers who are shocked and offended whenever a free webcomic makes a mention of the merch its creator offers for sale, but I think there are as many who would be happy to support said creator if the merch appeals to them. I don’t see anything wrong with offering a wide variety of, say, T-shirts. After all, there are websites out there that have the gall to sell T-shirts without even offering a free webcomic to read.

[…] From the T-Shirt Desk, hot on the heels of last week’s prestigious STFRITDFTS Award, (the “Stfritty”), Jeph Jacques is at it again. Something in his brain just produces content that people want to wear, in a legible 100% cotton form, on their bodies. If we could harness this subconscious tapping-in of the zeitgeist, we could rule the world and oppress all living things. And by “we”, I mean “I”. […]

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