The webcomics blog about webcomics

An Unusual 10th Anniversary

So Sluggy Freelance hit the decade mark on Saturday, with the usual animated GIF treatment (although this one was creepier than even the blinky FOOB eyes). I haven’t seen a lot in the webcomic-o-sphere about 10 years of SF, which I’m guessing is because the comic is what you might call an atypical outlier and people don’t know what to do with it.

For instance:

  • Abrams was an early entrant into webcomics and can get significant names to do fill-in weeks for him, but still claims the number of other webcomics he reads as “none”.
  • Unusually for any creator (much less one that’s been in the game as long as he has), his character designs are largely unchanged from Strip 1 to the present day.
  • His merchandise line is relatively small and static, but he can support a family of four in New Jersey (trust me, that’s a significant accomplishment).

Most weird for me (and keep in mind that what I’m about to say is based on statistical methods that are extraordinarily suspect), Sluggy claims 100,000 readers (per the interview with Pete Abrams that ran yesterday morning on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday), but there doesn’t seem to be much overlap with other webcomics. There’s no links on to other comics, and you almost never see links to SF elsewhere. My own discussions with webcomics readers indicate that the more webcomics you read, the less likely you are to read (or still read) SF. It either acts like a gateway (where people eventually outgrow it) or it doesn’t (in that you may not read anything except Sluggy).

But on the chance that Sluggy is acting as a gateway comic, I’ll note that Weekend Edition Sunday has a nationwide Arbitron rating somewhere in the millions (best number I can find is 20 million for the weekday version). Somebody there has got to be checking out SF this morning, and having been dropped into year 10 of filthy continuity, may actually look to see if other “webcomics” are easier to start with.

Quickly now: Lucas TdS wrote asking about the Zeros 2 Heroes … let’s call it an “initiative” … with the following question:

Is this another sort of dubious-sounding comic-writer bilking machine?

Short answer: kinda. For the long answer, Mr T wrote about it last week, made some assumptions that maybe were reaching a bit, and wound up talking to one of their honchos. For the moment, let’s call it Zuda-Lite™, at least until we see the Zudacontracts.

And new webcomics interview up at Wizard, this time with Aaron Diaz of Dresden Codak, and I’m informed the next one will be with Kit Roebuck of Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life. As usual, Brian Warmoth’s done a good job and you should check it out.

I don’t know. I still read sluggy and I read a whole lot of other comics too. Sluggy peaked a few years back to be sure, and is really unlike msot other comics in terms of, well, everything, but I think there are alot of people invested in the characters who stuck with the comic.

I tried to get into reading Sluggy – but I guess it was never my cup o’ tea. Oh well, happy 10th anniversary anyway.

Are anniversaries that big a deal in general? I mean, I know there was a party on the occasion of Goats’ 10th, but it doesn’t seem like there’s that much “birthday celebrating” going on with other webcomics in general. Plenty of comics are older or almost as old as Sluggy, so I don’t know if ten years is that remarkable.

That said, I think you’re right that the strip is its own island at this point.

As for Z2H, I stand by my statements. I still think “Comic Creation Nation” gives every sign of collecting intellectual properties the way philatelists collect stamps– and yet I also think that may still be the way some writers can get a good start.

It’s probably worth clarifying that “CCN” is a part of Z2H, not the whole company.

Interesting theory on anniversaries, T. Let me know how it works once you’re married. =)


There’s a big Sluggy birthday party at Dragon*Con Saturday night. (And a couple of webcomic panels right before it.)

Good post! My own thoughts on it at this Comixtalk post.

I loved reading Sluggy when I found it in 1999. I liked the anarchic spirit of it in those days. Once he started going for drama and taking the characters so seriously it lost a lot of its charm for me though. I still read it but it doesn’t feel all that fresh anymore.

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