The webcomics blog about webcomics


Hey, did you see this thing over at Octopus Pie where originals are now up for sale? If it’s a strip in the post-digital production period (basically, since August) and you’re the first to hit the buttons, you can have it for 150 clams. If you’re after a strip that’s digital, already sold, or you don’t have that many bivalves, you can get a print of anything for only 25. I made my early holiday purchases — how ’bout you?

Speaking of Octopie, did you notice the style homage over at Bellen earlier in the week? The Boxster is doing his comic in the styles of other webcomics this week and next, leading up to Halloween. A’course, the use of disguises for characters has a long and distinguished history in webcomics. Halloween 2000, anyone?

Finally, I think it’s fair to say that User Friendly doesn’t get much mention in webcomics circles; creator JD Frazer has always seemed to float more in the Linux nerd circles — it’s a classic case of have no general audience appeal. You either live and breathe this stuff and it’s the one bit of cultural ephemera that caters to your tribe, or it’s not for you. There’s a comfortable niche to be occupied being a premiere (or even exclusive) supplier of laugh-chuckles to a tribe — just ask the guys at Unshelved (although a lot more people have direct personal interaction with, and understanding of what is done by, librarians than with the running of an ISP).

But even with a webcomic that exists off to the side (as it were), there are things you have to pay attention to. Case in point: a comprehensive, hardcover, ten-year strip collection. That’s more than 1000 pages (at least, that’s what the ad says … the product description says 1000 strips, but it also says all the cartoons, so I’m believing the page count), and unless it’s on really crappy paper, I’m guessing about 7.5kg of dry weight. If you’re the sort that reads UF (and contrary to what many, even this page, may have said, the strip has improved since it debuted), put on the shelf next to your Far Side or Calvin & Hobbes slipcover editions.

You describe User Friendly as if it’s got a tiny little audience — truth is, while it’s no longer the biggest webcomic out there it’s still freakin’ huge. EVERY audience in webcomics is a niche audience… some niches are larger than others, and some comics have more cross-niche appeal despite their obvious roots (i.e., Penny Arcade or xkcd). There is no such thing as a unified webcomic audience.

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