The webcomics blog about webcomics

Ice Falls From The Heavens; Is This The End Of Gary!?

Yeah, yeah, I know — sounds like an episode title from an especially enthusiastic anime series. It also describes what’s going on outside the window, so there you are.

  • There’s still (as of this writing) approximately nine hours to get in on the Johnny Wander volume 3 giveaway. I want to have this thing in the mail before the JWv3 book launch party next weekend at Bergen Street Comics. Be there and, uh, I guess that means you don’t need a free copy.
  • Speaking of Kickstarted books, Benign Kingdom Spring 2013 finished up last night a bit over US$45,000 (or three times goal) and Zach Weinersmith’s SCIENCE: Ruining Everything Since 1543 ticked over US$200K (with two weeks still to go) at about the same time and is closing on a stretch goal of hardcover books.
  • Still speaking of books, you may recall last October that Stephan Pastis completely missed the point on webcomics which prompted me to offer a deal:

    Tomorrow, or this weekend, or sometime during the run of NYCC, I’m going to seek out Matthew Inman (whom I’ve met briefly, and liked quite a lot), who has a new book out, and I’m going to ask him if he’d be willing to release an approximate copies-sold total for that book for, say, the three months of quarter 4, 2012. Then come January we’ll run that number here, and Pastis can compare it to the first three months of whichever Pearls collection he likes.

    I didn’t have the chance to have that talk with Inman at New York Comic Con on account of the extremely long lines and crowding, but he’s gone and shared the to-date sales numbers with the world anyway¹ in a State of the Strip presentation:

    As of today, How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You has been on the New York Times Best Sellers List for 17 consecutive weeks, and it held the #1 spot on that list for 7 of those weeks. We’re into our 11th printing, which puts us at over 450,000 copies in print. This has been drastically different from my first book, which saw strong sales at the beginning but then dropped off after all my readers bought copies. Instead, sales have been continually flourishing ever since the book came out in October. It’s mind-boggling for me to imagine nearly half a million cat books out there.

    For reference, Pearls Freaks the #*%# Out released at almost the same time as HTTIYCIPTKY; both books have appeared in the NY Times Best Seller List (Pastis under Paperback Graphic Books as seen here; Inman under Paperback Advice & Misc. as seen here), and I haven’t done any searching through the lists to find out how many times each has been there.

    But I did notice for the first time that PFT#O and HTTIYCIPTKY are both published by Andrews McMeel, so Pastis can probably work out if 450,000 copies is a typical run for a comics collection there, and probably figure that he and Inman are making a similar amount per book sold. That’s how you make a living at it.²

  • Not that popular consciousness equals great wealth. Ethan Nicolle points out that a success on the scale of Axe Cop will get you the freedom to make comics and also a cup of coffee:

    I have made one giant step in comics and that is that I have managed to live off of creating my own material (for the most part) for the last few years. I have made an income that most people who went to college would frown on. That is to say I could probably make a similar income as a shift manager at Starbucks (in fact I could, I checked).

    Not that Nicolle is crying poverty to play for sympathy; his real goal is to spread an understanding of what the business is like:

    I think it’s good for aspiring creators to know that even with a lot of critical acclaim, you still have to do a lot of climbing and the battle is never really over. That is why it is good to know why you are doing it in the first place. Don’t blame those with success for your failure. Don’t do it for the success, do it in spite of the success. Do it because you love it and don’t know what else to do with yourself, and success or not, do it happily and gratefully because making art is a blessing.

    Well said, and the whole thing is well worth reading.

  • More than once this page has discussed the proposition that ideas are a dime a dozen, and that art is more about the execution than the lightning-striking inspiration. On an occasion or two, we’ve even thrown out ideas for anybody to use that might want to. Got another one of those for you (I had some odd dreams t’other night), which you’ll find below the cut. If you want to use it, I waive any and all rights or interests in perpetuity, in all forms of storage and transmission current or future, and likewise release any claims by my heirs and assignees. Go nuts.

¹ Not that I had anything to do with it.

² Also, Inman managed to wang his girlfriend’s website, but it’s back now if you like reading about coffee.

In space there was a ship, a very small thing compared to the vastness of the universe around it. It carried a crew of your fairly ordinary upright bipeds (each somewhere in the vicinity of two meters when on tip-toe or tip-whatever) in reasonable enough comfort. There was a control center on this ship, and a pilot that wore an armored suit of complex design and high quality.

In fact, if the entire ship were compromised and the rest of the crew finding out first-hand the precise degree to which hard vacuum disagreed with their species, the pilot would be just fine as the suit was rated for indefinite operations in deep space, and was for all intents and purposes a ship itself. That’s because it was a ship and had its own crew, each of which was a fairly ordinary upright biped, on the order of two centimeters tall. Again, comfort, control room, armored pilot.

This was repeated on down, each iteration of the ship well-suited for the definitions of “space” at that scale, and when you get right down to it the universe is so damn huge that an order of magnitude or two between friends wasn’t really all that significant.

The only real differences noted involved how the locals at each iteration saw, as the visual receptor organs got smaller and consequently slid to progressively shorter wavelengths so as to avoid having eyes several times larger than the rest of the body. A few pilots down everything was bluish, then glowing with x-rays, then bright with gamma radiation. Another half-dozen pilots along things got really odd, what with how the crew was supposed to be nothing more than probabalistic waves.

But no, it was little bipeds all the way down, trying not to bump into stray things (some underfoot — or whatever — trip hazards, others enormous crushing things that you wouldn’t want to get caught between) with names that ended in -on or -ino.

RSS feed for comments on this post.