The webcomics blog about webcomics

Successes And Less Successes

Let’s get the bad news out of the way right away.

It’s better news from here on.

  • Raina Telgemeier gets so much press (not sure who provides all of that, certainly nobody we know here at Fleen) that sometimes it’s easy to forget that her husband is just as accomplished in comics as she is. Dave Roman and his longtime creative partner John Green announced the latest entry in the Teen Boat¹ series of comics/graphic novels has a cover. Look for Teen Boat! The Race For Boatlantis in October wherever comics, books, or boats are sold.
  • As noted about ten days ago, Erika Moen and Matt Nolan did everybody considering a crowdsourcing campaign a tremendous favor by releasing a detailed Numberwang on their experiences with the first OJST print volume Kickstart. Nolan’s back with more information that explains just how a webcomic about sex toys can support two adults, which I would sum up in one word: diversification.

    It’s a fascinating read for anybody that wants to make comics their livelihood, but I urge you to keep a sense of reality as you do. Moen spent a decade on earlier comicking projects and a good nine months on OJST before launching her Patreon; without that loyal following and proven ability to produce quality comics, she could not have gotten support in excess of US$1000/comic. Remember: you’ve got to show people that you’re good enough to give money to before you can expect them to give you money.

  • From George², busiest man in webcomics, as part of one of his myriad jobs (in this case with the doing-well-by-doing-good anarchosyndicate known as Breadpig) comes news of a shift to webcomics. Specifically, the critically-lauded (but curiously not chart-topping, because people don’t know how good it is I guess) Atomic Robo is getting ready to serialize its first nine volumes of stories online, leading up to the debut of volume 10 later this year. For those that haven’t been keeping up Atomic Robo is the brainchild of Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener, and this release the back catalog online approach is the same one used by such creator-owned stalwarts as Jim Zub and the Foglios.

    For those that haven’t followed the earlier stories, Zub has credited the online serialization of Skullkickers with driving convention sales of print collections and Girl Genius started as dead-tree quarterly comics, a model which proved to be economically nonviable, prompting the shift to online distribution of the back-catalog, then eventually all new story pages. Going forward, AR will follow the Girl Genius model of web-first, as opposed to the Skullkickers model of print issue first.

    What’s a bit unique about AR‘s shift to the web is how it’s going online: the entirety of Atomic Robo volume 1 will be released on 21 January, followed by a full issue each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We’re going to see more than 1000 pages hit in short order, the better to get everybody up to speed for the debut of volume 10 this summer. To make sure that Clevinger, Wegener, et. al. actually get some value from this massive act of sharing, they’re going to be part of the Hiveworks family, where you’ll find approximately every webcomic and its dog.

    Plus, y’know, Atomic Robo has dinosaur mad scientists creating weapon-bedecked cyborg T. rexes, which can only be good.

Spam of the day:

Both men and woman have been using perfumes for over 4,000 years.

That’s almost as long as they’ve been using knives. THESE KNIVES!

¹ This is the obligatory reminder to never do a Google image search on any string including the word “teen” unless Safe Search is as on as it possibly can be.

² Who, in accordance with the Fleen Manual of Style, is only ever referred to by his first name

You know … One Way was a terrible story. It was horrible and hopeless and doomed from the outset. Everyone was a douche, every dream was dashed, and overall it was just a miserable experience. Like the lows of Bruno without the highs. And coming RIGHT on the heels of Space Trawler, which had similar problems, I had trouble separating them, and it ultimately just didn’t feel like a great project.

Plus, the RSS feed spontaneously broke at the end, and I realized when I saw you mention that it was done that I’d missed the last dozen strips, so the ending was kind of extra-anti-climactic.

It feels like Bruno was his best work. Lil Dee was good. Spacetrawler was … okay. After One Way, I don’t think I’m going to bother with his new series. I’m not saying “omg death to Baldwin,” nor am I saying he used to be cool–but my enthusiasm for his work has gone steadily downhill over the last decade of following it, and I’m making a conscious decision NOT to fund his Kickstarter, because if it flops, he’ll hopefully go in a different direction with his new works.

Since you asked, I’ve kind of been wanting to get my thoughts out on One Way for a while.

Its initial problem was a setup that led to a lot of sitting around doing nothing. This was the case pre- and post-Reveal, with the post-Reveal sitting being particularly miserable. You’d think a murder would spice things up but since the characters didn’t care, why should the audience?

But the main problem is that readers like progression and development and achievement in a story. Characters find out early on they are on a futile mission, don’t do much about it, mission is futile. I asked a few friends if they’d read a story where the characters discover they’ll die at the end of the journey, then do die without achieving anything. They were not enthusiastic.

Add to that the art being not great, and the RSS stopping working, and it’s not something I’d recommend or want to reread. I bought the 2-book Little Dee set, and liked Spacetrawler, but I won’t be reading his next work. Why risk investing in a comic if it could turn out like One Way?

I agree. Spacetrawler was a disappointment after Little Dee, and One Way seemed to take everything that was disappointing about Spacetrawler and make that the whole of the story. I too am not interested in anything else CB creates from now on – there’s too much else out there that doesn’t concentrate on the dark and depressing.

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