The webcomics blog about webcomics

Stop Doing Things, Howard

Three mentions in four updates puts this blog in danger of becoming All Schlock All The Time. I will forgive you this time oh my Evil Twin, since we are talking about the occasion of your 4000th consecutive daily update without any skips, fillers, guest strips or other aberrations. I believe that aside from the rarefied company of strips with a 4K count, yours may be the only one to claim no hiatuses, missed updates, etc. for the entire length of its run.

The other webcomickers mentioned in this post don’t have 4000 daily updates, but I’m guessing that they all intend to one day, one way or another. Let’s give ’em all due attention, shall we?

  • I have a dilemma. Consider the following email from Jean Tripier:

    My new webcomic Travelogue is out! It is a unique webcomic with 1) great art 2) real stuff and 3) maybe some funny ones as well. You can have a look at

    Now consider this screencap of the of website in question. In case you can’t read it, the text waaaay down in the lower left corner reads:

    © 2011 Loading… Oops! You need JavaScript turned on to view this site!

    Now 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 anomaly in that regard, I’m fine with it (as I am due to my choice of Opera for web browser). But to have a site entirely dependent on active content, with no compelling reason given, not even a hint of what I’m missing to try to convince me that the hidden treasures are worth whatever incremental risk executable content might bring to bear on my computer?

    I want to believe that Travelogue is everything that Tripier claims it is … but sorry, no. Want to reach the widest possible audience? Minimizing the use of heavyweight websites and unnecessary technology, and including at least a teaser for those that don’t meet your technological standards are mandatory. Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you about Travelogue in the future but for now, I’m afraid it’s a non-starter.

  • In a similar vein, consider the following email from GC Goebel:

    Hey webcomics people, two things:

    One: check out my site. It’s newish, funny and no one goes there. Like a nude internet cafe.

    Two: how do you guys find out about new comics (besides shameless emails of this sort)? Where am I supposed to get the word out? I’ve posted on a couple webcomic directories and set up a deviant art profile, but figure I must be missing something other folks know about. Thoughts?

    For those that find item One compelling, the site in question may be found at; for me, unsolicited links that promise, hint at, or reference nudity automatically increase the ol’ index of suspicion, so I haven’t been. As for item Two, the answer is lots of ways. The shameless email has a long and honorable history, as do other methods that are pretty hit or miss:

    • Project Wonderful ad link trails (pick the best looking/ugliest/most intriguing PW ad on a page I frequent, click on it; repeat the process wherever I end up. Anything catches the eye within five or six hops, investigate)
    • Eavesdropping (about a year ago, I happened to be talking to Danielle Corsetto while one of Randy Milholland’s fans was talking to him right next to us; she mentioned her webcomic which I eventually checked out, and which has surprised me a couple of times — if you want to see an atypical treatment of a strip club and the ladies who work there, check out KK Skipper’s [usually NSFW] Pink Parts)

    But mostly I rely on the work of the late Claude Shannon, a personal hero of mine, a man who likely never read a webcomic in his life. It was by studying Shannon’s work in Information Theory that I realized something that has served me well in life: Consistency is more important that correctness. Buckle up kids, this will take a little while.

    Here’s our man, an aspiring geek studying hell of communications systems at nerd school in the late ’80s when his mind is blown by a thought experiment: two weather forecasters broadcast each night at 10:00pm. One is right about the following day’s weather 9 times out of 16, the other one is flat-out wrong 15 times out of 16. However, the latter conveys more information than the former, even with that dismal record.

    Because Mr Wrongpants is so consistently wrong, a viewer of his broadcast can comfortably do the opposite of whatever he says and be confident that it’s the right course of action. Ms Prettygoodpants, on the other hand, is only a bit better than random chance; if you follow her advice you’ll be disappointed nearly as often as not.

    Finding the pattern, and being able to map that pattern to your own needs, is the key. For years when I took a newspaper subscription, I would eagerly read the movie reviews because the staff reviewer was of great use to me — she was so stunningly pseudo-highbrow, so amazingly full of herself, that in short order I learned that certain dismissive phrases from her would guarantee me a good time at the theater and that anything she gave three or more stars to was likely to be pandering Oscarbation. I hated reading her horribly constructed writing, but she was incredibly useful to me.

    A’course, it’s better to find consistency that matches my tastes in a predictable way rather than sitting in opposition, so I make a habit of reading reviewers who are good writers — think Matt Zoller Seitz, the staff of the AV Club, Heidi Mac, the Spurge, and Chris Sims. None of them has an exclusively webcomic focus, but you know what?

    I know a lot of webcomickers and other people with a pretty heavy webcomics focus. A lot a lot. They aren’t full-time review types, but that doesn’t matter as long as I have an idea of their tastes. Some have tastes that match mine, some don’t, but I can use their mentions of what they like or don’t like as a guide for what I’m likely to like or not like.

    While that answers the very specific question of how I find new webcomics to read, it doesn’t do much for the followups, which address how a creator can spread the word of their own work. And for that, I don’t have a good answer. Actually, I have a very good answer, but it’s not in the form of Follow these steps, pay for ads in this place, and you will see x number of followers, plus or minus y percent. It’s simply: Do good work.

    Do comics so good that people get so excited that they can’t help but talk about them¹. When trying something new, most people place the greatest weight on the opinions of those that are known to them, so it’s a matter of getting outside your immediate circle of acquaintances to friends of friends, then friends of friends of friends. Eventually, one of those friends of friends of friends of friends is friends with Ryan North and he links you and it spreads like wildfire from there.

    But the key point isn’t Ryan North². It’s Do good work. Or, to put it another way (and I’m here paraphrasing either Greg Dean and/or Matt Boyd): Don’t suck; if you do suck, stop sucking as quickly as possible. Strike that chord with your audience, and the notice will follow.

¹ Case in point: I have had to stop myself from writing about A Girl And Her Fed‘s recent plot points about twelve times in the past month because I find it that good, that compelling, and I want to talk about it that much, but even Otter would give me shit if I turned into her own personal nonstop PR flack. Maybe. Probably. I have to stop speculating or she’ll have her vengeance.

² This may be the only context in which that statement is true.

A Girl and Her Fed really has been dead on these last couple of weeks hasn’t it? Otter is definitely on fire right now.


Regarding those that review other webcomics. Why not go to podcasts that interview a variety of guests from that industry? There are many out there, like TGT Webcomics, that get to showcase a variety of guests that are either new in the community or are seasoned veterans.

[…] so apparently there’s a better answer to the big question of How do I get noticed? from yesterday’s posting than the one I came up with. Consider: Raina Telgemeier, her husband Dave Roman, Becky Dreistadt […]

Thanks for the advice and the link. The nude internet cafe was meant as an awkward joke compairison, though just usuing that phrase has shown me the error of my ways. Next time only advertise real nudity. Advise taken.

[…] Taylor Hits 4000 Consecutive Strips (Original Source: Schlock Mercenary – via: Fleen) Additionally: Other long Running webcomics on TV […]

[…] Taylor Hits 4000 Consecutive Strips (Original Source: Schlock Mercenary – via: Fleen) Additionally: Other long Running webcomics on TV […]

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