The webcomics blog about webcomics

Spring! At Long Last, Spring!

Spring when all is good and well again and we may venture outside and breathe deep of the outdoors and almost get murdered by a psycho in a van. Best wishes to John Arthur Kelly, aka the three meter tall grumpy guy from Johnny Wander¹. So maybe stay indoors where you won’t get splattered by a sociopath and if you live in New York and need some work done, you can ask the HVAC company that owned the vehicle in question if they’ve identified their employee that tried to kill John, and too bad, guess you won’t use their company after all since they’re harboring a threat and/or menace.

  • Some 14 hours after closing (long enough to be confident that all last-minute adjustments were complete), the Machine of Death card game Kickstarter stands complete at US$556,596 and 10,666 backers and holy crap you guys.

    What may be most impressive to me is the number of people willing to back the project at levels that were clearly some kind of Dadaesque statement (show your copy of the game to a goat before shipping: five people paid more than a US$100 premium over a tier where they could get the same stuff without the goats) or merely to screw with creator David Malki ! (one person pledged nearly US$500 to make Malki ! hand-write all the card, which come to more than 900 separate items).

    There’s a word for actions that have little direct bearing on the mechanics of our lives but which create their own emotion (in this case: amusement and schadenfreude, respectively), and that word is Art. It maybe disguised as a card game, but Malki ! used it as a vehicle for something more, I think.².

  • In a month and a half, it might be safe to go back outside again, particularly if you rush back inside and the famed Toronto Reference Library for the equally-famed TCAF, which announced some new featured guests yesterday. The one that caught my eye is French [web]comicker Boulet (en Français ici; in English here), who will apparently be making a third appearance on this side of the Atlantic, where he may still have copies of the extremely limited print version of Darkness that will be available at Stumptown³ and MoCCA in the weeks prior.
  • We spoke about Howard Tayler (my evil twin), his nearly-concluded Kickstarter campaign, and the value of reining in the stretch goals a few weeks ago, and Tayler is now chiming in on the same topic in what is likely his last update prior to the close of campaign:

    Enough With The Stretching

    It looks like you’re going to unlock at least three if not four ship coins.

    Once that happens, I am done designing coins for this project. Why? Because the designs take about a week to hammer on and get right. Four coins right at the end is already a bit of a stretch (ahem) and I want to make sure that I actually ship all of these coins out in April, like I promised to.

    Think about that for a moment. A successful project should ship ON TIME. A wildly successful project should ALSO ship on time, right? I’m reining it in as best I can, and agonizing over every potential slip of schedule. [emphasis and large text original]

    Drop in the obligatory noting that a wise man knows his limitations and gratitude towards whoever taught the youthful Evil Version of Gary From A Parallel Reality the values of both time management and fanatical devotion to promised goals.

¹ Most of that sentence is a lie; I’ve met John and while he may look enormous next to Yuko, he’s not three meters by any stretch. He is also a delightful person and even the dreaded Punishment Shirt turned out to be not so bad as I’m told Cricket falls asleep in there now. We are very glad to hear that he wasn’t badly injured, and hope that there’s some form of justice for his destroyed bike.

² Also — look at that chart of backers and dollars by day; that’s just amazing to look at. Malki ! broke nearly every single rule on this campaign and when Kickstarter Theory is taught in the MBA programs of the future, this will be Case Study #1.

³ The annual awards of which, by the way, now include a Best Webcomic. Nominations [PDF] accepted until 30 March.

Gary, I’m curious: what rules did I break? I tried to do things right!! (Of course, my definition of “right” shares a lot with my idea of “amusing” and less perhaps with “what other people often do”, but I didn’t set out to do things WRONG.)

A fair question given my wording. The project did everything right and broke the usual rules of how Kickstarts evolve: biggest support in the first two days, long decreasing tail with possibly an uptick at the end. Final total predictable, being approximately 16.5 – 33% of taking the first two days and multiplying by the campaign length.

You, on the other hand, had a campaign start that wasn’t significantly greater than the long tail and a massive run-up at the end. Your total was greater than what would have been predicted at the beginning. It’s a case if not following the usual, established patterns, to enormous success. But in terms of expectations, it was about 3σ from the mean.

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