The webcomics blog about webcomics

Ups And Downs

I’m wondering if we’re starting to hit the end of Phase One of the coronavirus response. We still don’t have full distancing in all places (thanks, Republican governors!), and those of us that have been under restrictions for a couple weeks are hitting the it’s going to be how much longer? stage. Various notable people are being reported in critical condition or deceased because of COVID-19, new evidence how just how bad it’s going to get for the areas still in denial drop daily, and a concentrated, national response still hasn’t even started because of the insecure egotist in charge.

Things are about to get explosively bad in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia — and then everywhere else, hopefully not until we pass the peaks in the early-hit places. We’ll get there. We’ll find that what seems hard and isolating becomes doable (and those of us who’ve been doing it for a while will have it incumbent on us to help those that come behind). Practice helps (says the guy that had his first positive-screened patient over the weekend, and expects to get them regularly from here on out), but not as much as patience.

So. Deep breath. There’s some stuff here to take your mind off things for a bit, and an opportunity to help make something amazing, if it’s within your ability at the present time (which is absolutely not the ideal time). And, because we live in a crapsack reality, something that’s usually pretty bad has become downright terrible. Let’s start with that one and work our way up:

  • Diamond is a monopoly, and those are never a good idea. Having already decided it won’t receive/ship comics for the foreseeable future, it decided today that because it’s not got money coming in from comic stores — that would be the comic stores that Diamond’s already said won’t be getting the product they ordered — it’s not going to pay its suppliers for product they’ve already received and sold.

    It’s a neat tornado of shitty behavior: announce you’re not going to be sending stuff to your customers, which causes customers to not pay you to do nothing, which causes you to not have money coming in, so you decide to keep what money you’ve already got and not pay the vendors that supplied you in good faith. Whatever form the direct market takes when all of this is done, I sincerely hope this course of action is the death knell for the crappiest link in the comics chain and that multiple new companies arise and put Diamond in the dirt.

    Oh, yeah, they did the same to the games distribution vendors as well.

  • Couple weeks back we brought you news of Fredddave Kellett-Schroeder’s new interview series Kickstart, a project which got off to a comfortable start and then just sort of stalled. Don’t get me wrong — this funding curve would be great if it were depicting, say, a count of coronavirus infections¹, but it’s not where you want to be for a project funding. The FFF mk2 isn’t looking promising: US$64K-96K, with a goal of just under US$90K would be promising, except for one thing.

    The project was promoted to past backers of Stripped and other Kellett projects for 18 hours or so before the public reveal, and a good chunk of that day one total comes from the pre-announcement period. It’s a useful technique, but it throws off the funding formula, which relies on an organic launch. A better metric in this case would be the McDonald Ratio, which states that the first three days of funding equals one third of the total raised, or in this case about US$65K, well under goal. The dramatic dropoff from day two to day three, and the almost zero funding since² make this one a longshot.

    Which is a damn shame, because this series looks super interesting. There’s still time to turn things around, weirder things have happened, but it’s going to take a lot of people deciding they want this in the next nine days (days of uncertainty and economic stress nobody was considering back in early March). More likely, this is going to have to be shelved until a later time when people have spare money again. Just … if you have discretionary funds right now, give it some thought, okay?

  • Let’s end on some unalloyed good news. Aud Koch has shared her first week’s quarantine art, and it’s stunning. Go take a good long look and forget all of … this … for a while.

Spam of the day:
Got a call from “Mike” who claimed to be calling to reduce my electric bill, from a clearly audible boiler room. I told him You’re lying, you’re trying to steal from me while a plague is underway, and I hate you. Felt great.

¹ It bears a striking resemblance to the curve for South Korea, who have done everything in just about the complete opposite way that the US has. Never forget: both countries saw their first confirmed case on the same day. That being said, some of the worst-hit areas here in the US are starting to just maybe see a flattening in the curve and that’s good news. Don’t slack off now; hold the line and drive it down into the dirt.

² Including three days of negative funding. Ouch.

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