So Sluggy Freelance hit the decade mark on Saturday, with the usual animated GIF treatment (although this one was creepier than even the blinky FOOB eyes). I haven’t seen a lot in the webcomic-o-sphere about 10 years of SF, which I’m guessing is because the comic is what you might call an atypical outlier and people don’t know what to do with it.
- Abrams was an early entrant into webcomics and can get significant names to do fill-in weeks for him, but still claims the number of other webcomics he reads as “none”.
- Unusually for any creator (much less one that’s been in the game as long as he has), his character designs are largely unchanged from Strip 1 to the present day.
- His merchandise line is relatively small and static, but he can support a family of four in New Jersey (trust me, that’s a significant accomplishment).
Most weird for me (and keep in mind that what I’m about to say is based on statistical methods that are extraordinarily suspect), Sluggy claims 100,000 readers (per the interview with Pete Abrams that ran yesterday morning on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday), but there doesn’t seem to be much overlap with other webcomics. There’s no links on sluggy.com to other comics, and you almost never see links to SF elsewhere. My own discussions with webcomics readers indicate that the more webcomics you read, the less likely you are to read (or still read) SF. It either acts like a gateway (where people eventually outgrow it) or it doesn’t (in that you may not read anything except Sluggy).
But on the chance that Sluggy is acting as a gateway comic, I’ll note that Weekend Edition Sunday has a nationwide Arbitron rating somewhere in the millions (best number I can find is 20 million for the weekday version). Somebody there has got to be checking out SF this morning, and having been dropped into year 10 of filthy continuity, may actually look to see if other “webcomics” are easier to start with.
Is this another sort of dubious-sounding comic-writer bilking machine?
Short answer: kinda. For the long answer, Mr T wrote about it last week, made some assumptions that maybe were reaching a bit, and wound up talking to one of their honchos. For the moment, let’s call it Zuda-Lite™, at least until we see the Zudacontracts.
And new webcomics interview up at Wizard, this time with Aaron Diaz of Dresden Codak, and I’m informed the next one will be with Kit Roebuck of Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life. As usual, Brian Warmoth’s done a good job and you should check it out.