The webcomics blog about webcomics


Everybody read the interview by Rick Marshall Will and Holly with Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins over at MTV Splash Page? It’s a good ‘un. I particularly liked this bit:

MTV: While “Penny Arcade” has certainly evolved over time, one thing you’ve never really embraced is a pay model for the comics — something we’re starting to see more of around the webcomic landscape as more publishers move to the digital world. Why have you avoided the subscription model or other types of pay-for-content systems?

HOLKINS: I consider that a political discussion, and we don’t really traffic in politics generally. As somebody who’s followed webcomics as you have, you know how strenuous those arguments about pay become. For us, I would take it a step before that and say that we think a webcomic is a freely available comic.

We think that’s one of the things that defines a webcomic. It can’t just be that it’s on the web — though that’s the term we have and it makes sense. For us, a webcomic is a comic that is freely available, with an author who is a real person, and who is accessible to the consumers of their work. I would say those are tenets that we think are inextricable from webcomics.

KRAHULIK: As soon as you put up a pay barrier, you really limit the number of people who are going to be willing to look at your work. As “Penny Arcade” was growing, I don’t think we were ever in the position where we wanted to limit the number of people who could look at the comic. That always seemed like a bad idea.

A’course, we’re no closer to a single definition of webcomic that everybody will agree upon; my working definition is probably closer to that espoused above than any other I’ve seen, although I’m not sure that I’d make an absolute requirement of freely available. It’s too nice a day (as it rains upon the just and un-just alike) for political discussions, manifestos, and the like. One day we’ll have to have a summit of all interested parties whereupon such things are decided once and for all (until the beer runs out and we instantly fall into squabbling factions full of muderous intent — which is pretty much the same state as before the beer).

  • In other news, I got a nice package in the mail from Tom Dell’aringa, who you probably know best from Marooned. This was a minicomic — so mini, in fact, that the envelope was sized such that it could have been mistaken for a tasteful greeting card from a respectable publisher of such. Inside was a copy of Rag The Viking: The Cubicles of Valhalla, the first joint effort between Dellaringa and Steve Ogden, newly released by their nascent WishTales Publishing Studio.

    It’s a clever riff on fantasy that left me not quite sure whether Rag Ragnarsson is indeed a viking trapped in cubicle hell, or merely a guy daydreaming about how much awesomer his ancestors had it. It’s a hoot and a half, and I’m seriously impressed by how much story and character can fit into just sixteen pages. Since RtV:TCoV is listed as the first minicomic from WishTales, I’m looking forward to what others might be coming down the pike. Also whether or not that pike has the head of Rag’s enemy upon it (in the coffee room, over by the artificial sweetener).

  • Stray thought for the day: Scott Kurtz notes that Scripps is looking to dump United Media Licensing (the story is a little vague, but it appears the sale does not include the related United Feature Syndicate, but UML definitely includes licensing rights to a bunch of comic strips). Since Kurtz is singlehandedly killing newspapers, it makes sense that Ryan Sohmer suggested that he and Kurtz buy up the corpse (at press time, it has not yet been determined if their aim is revivification or desecration).

    The real punchline here — in another three to five years, the economics might actually make such a thing possible.

Thanks for the nice review Gary! There will indeed be more minis. Steve’s “Cubicle Pigs” will be one of them. (I don’t think we’re on a “cubicle” kick – just coincidence.) And I would definitely like to do a follow-up to Rag, too.

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