The webcomics blog about webcomics

No, Mister Bond, I Expect You To Pay A Much Higher Rate For CPM

There’s a new interview with Robert Khoo over at Bitmob. It’s pretty brief and it doesn’t really cover new ground, but it’s got the basic information about Khoo, his role at Penny Arcade, and how things got started & grew from there. It’s the sort of thing that needs to run somewhere about once a year, because there’s always going to be new readers that don’t know the story yet. Sort of like how every update to your comic will be somebody’s first time, so you’d better have something that appeals to the new reader.

We haven’t seen an outside really do the in-depth interview that crawls inside Khoo’s skull yet (although I suspect that if such a thing exists, it would look a lot like a transcript of 100 or so appearances by Khoo in PATV, reconstituted into a single narrative whole), which is likely a function of time. Khoo is constantly in motion, and there are Bond supervillians that work fewer hours in a week¹.

Someday, when he retires from the PA job (in the month or so I give him before he gets bored and dives into the next 100 hour/week long-term project), maybe I’ll get Robert to sit down with me and a bottle of very good liquor and pick his brain on everything from business strategies to hiring practices to the finer points of wrangling creative types. In the meantime, we can put together our mental models; just remember, Robert is always one step ahead of you. Always.

Short Takes:

  • Rigby the Barbarian creator Lee Leslie (who I know I’ve written about, but for the life of me can’t find in our archives at the moment) writes to let us know that he’ll be one of the creative team on the new Image comic, SCREAMLAND, with the first issue dropping in June. Interesting hook on this one: what happens to all of the monsters that used to star in the classic monster movies, now that their careers are over?
  • Last summer, we told you about an upcoming Ryan Sohmer comic book project called Messiah, about the latest in a series of would-be saviors called by The Big G to do some holy work. I was afraid I’d missed it, but Sohmer tells me that he’s working on the end of the series now, which means when it launches, all six issues will be done, meaning it’s a new comic book title that won’t have late issues. I know! Weird!
  • Stumptown happens this weekend, with a panel on Sunday I’d like to commend to your attention:

    National Cartoonist’s Society — Join syndicated cartoonist Matt Bors for an peek inside the most prestigious organization for cartoonists: the National Cartoonist’s Society. Joining the discussion are syndicated cartoonist Jack Ohman, Jen Sorenson, and Scott Kurtz. [emphasis added]

    For the love of Darwin, somebody videotape this.

  • Let’s end with a bit of housekeeping, if you’ll indulge me: I’ve had a number of requests that I check out comics recently, both new and celebrating milestones, that aren’t going to be written up here. While these included extremely basic (bordering on crude) work that’s not yet worth mentioning (and it’s gratifying that I’ve never really had the problem that other commentators and reviewers have had with creators who think that reviews are legally required to be gushingly positive — I write about what grabs me and people don’t seem to take it personally when their work doesn’t grab me), there’s a second major reason some of these comics aren’t ever going to get a writeup:

    I can’t see them.

    If your hosting is so intermittent, or so slow that your site doesn’t render in a reasonable amount of time, or if it’s so browser-specific in its coding, or so dependent on Javascript (or Flash or similar technologies) that it won’t display anything in bog-standard HTML (and here’s a hint: I don’t turn on script execution for sites I don’t already know and trust), I am not going to see your comic. But it works fine for me is not a valid protest — you are not your target audience. But nobody else has a problem with Javascript or Flash or whatever is not my problem. This is how I browse to minimize the possibility of drive-by nasties infecting my computer, and it’s not negotiable.

    From time to time I’ve seen creators post to their blogs or newsboxes or twitterfeeds that they’ve done some changes to their sites, and Could everybody please take a look and see if there are any issues and tell me what browser and O/S you’re using? That’s a site I’m going to read. So yeah — don’t make it difficult/impossible for me to read, and I’ll give your comic a look. Still no promise I’m going to write it up, but you’ve got to get over that first hurdle first.

¹ Then again, it’s relatively easy as a Bond supervillian to knock off early, you have all those minions to do the detail work. If Khoo ever got an army of minions, I’d expect the UN to be receiving unauthorized transmissions from a hidden volcano lair at regular intervals.

I try to be as accommodating as possible, design-wise, but I’m getting to the point that I’m almost no longer willing to support Internet Explorer 7 and under. You practically have to design two different sites to make sure it can be viewed in IE. Gah.

It’s not really an issue with because that represents about 6% of the browsers that access the site, but my audience demographics are skewed from the norm due to Help Desk and Kernel Panic’s content (the majority of the net still uses IE, but the majority of my site traffic is Firefox.) Over on (which has nothing at all to do with webcomics) I expect my demographics to fall more closely to the norm because the content doesn’t skew toward (or away from) specific products… so I can’t rule out IE just yet.

IE 9 actually seems like a decent browser these days, so there’s still hope for unified designs…

I agree 100% with ya Gary. There’s really no excuse either — some simple googling will find anyone a ton of suggestions on how to build a basic, competent webcomic site.

Unless you’re some lawyered-up large corporation you really have no excuse not to stick to simple html/css (cms like wordpress is fine) for your site (large corporations may have plenty of excuses but I’m not saying that any of them are GOOD excuses).

Oops, that last bit got garbled.
Should be:
“e.g., IE less than 8 or WebKitGtk
compared to Firefox greater than 3
or WebKitQt”

Believe me I know what you mean about a site loading intermittently, I had this problem on my own site and it took months to fix. Because apparently GoDaddy and WordPress do not play nice together, none of Godaddys published fixes did anything. It too tweeting about my GoDaddy issues with WordPress to get a response from Godaddy. Now it works, at least I am pretty sure it works.

[…] I realize that not everybody has my somewhat fanatic level of reluctance to enable JavaScript for anything but the most trusted websites, and then only if absolutely necessary. Consider me an […]

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