The webcomics blog about webcomics

Big Round Numbers

I can't find the picture I really wanted to run, of Ryan Sohmer's personal Red Bull stash in the BFE offices. Instead, please enjoy a shot of idyllic White River Junction, VT, home of the Center for Cartoon Studies.

How big?

  • How about 10? Real Life hit the ten year mark yesterday, and celebrated with a rare Sunday posting. Creator Greg Dean promises that the week will be following the Inside the Comic Studio with James Lipton theme in celebration.
  • Okay, okay, how does 500 sound? A Softer World rolled over its 500th update over the weekend, with a particularly wacked-out triptych of existential horror (starring Meredith Gran).
  • Okay, if those don’t do it for you, let’s try … 5. Blind Ferret Supremo (or humble shopkeep? only his mother knows for sure) Ryan Sohmer had a damn interesting announcement on Friday afternoon:

    I have always been vocal about my beliefs regarding a career in webcomics. It takes a great deal of work and dedication, a greater deal of luck and a myriad of other ingredients to make it work, but it CAN work. A career in this field is a viable option. Like anything else however, an education would provide a huge leg up.

    Because of that, and our desire to help others break through, we have decided to create The Rayne Summers Webcomic Scholarship, at The Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont.

    Beginning in the fall of ’10, we will be covering the full tuition for the selected applicant. The applicant who, I might add, is working towards a career in webcomics. Over the course of the next 5 years, we plan on adding 1 student per year, thus by 2015, the Scholarship will be putting 5 students through the program per year.

    Let’s put that in concrete terms: for the current academic year (2009 – ’10), tuition at CCS is $16,000; given the economics of higher education, the absolute best case is that next year (when the scholarship starts) it will be only slightly more. In five years, with five students? Very little chance that will come to less than $100,000 per annum that BFE are ponying up to help create the next generation of webcomickers.

    And here’s the thing: every time I talk to Sohmer — every. damn. time. — I come away with two impressions:

    1. He’s funny, personable, and I like him
    2. He is completely, but cheerfully, mercenary in his outlook to a degree that would make any self-respecting Ferengi blush

    By that second point, I mean that all all times he has a monomaniacal focus on what will continue to maintain and grow his business; he approaches that end of the creative game like nobody else this side of Robert Khoo. He has his eyes on his audience, their disposable incomes, and potential competitors for that pool of money, and doesn’t waver in giving them his full attention because he knows that Daddy’s supply of Red Bull isn’t going to pay for itself (actually, given the amount that fans bring him at conventions, it just might … but work with me here).

    And by this scholarship, what Sohmer’s doing is creating potential competitors for himself, “because he can”. Ladies and gentlemen, that is either the act of a clueless, hubristic fool, or a careful, calculating (potentially evil?) genius. My money’s on the latter.

  • One last BRN for the day: 1. Doesn’t sound very big, or very round. It’s the number of strips so far in a brand-new webcomic called Max vs. Max, and normally a new-out-of-the-gate effort wouldn’t get press here. But this one is from Wes Molebash, of the now-folded You’ll Have That, so I’m pretty confident that this one will do okay. Get in on the ground floor.

[…] Fleen […]

[…] to send online cartoonists to the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont — a scholarship that Gary Tyrrell believes to be worth six […]

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