The webcomics blog about webcomics

Parachute Construction

Hey, guess who just made the jump into webcomickin’ full time? Bill Barnes, the artist/non-librarian half of the library-related Unshelved, that’s who:

So I’ve jumped off the proverbial cliff, and now I’m frantically trying to build a parachute. I’ll be doing programming jobs here and there to make ends meet, but obviously my goal is to spend more time cartooning. To this end I’d be grateful for your support. If you’ve been meaning to buy our books, please take the plunge. If you’ve been eyeing our merchandise as a holiday gift then you’ve got until December 9th to do something about it. And, of course, tell your friends/family/coworkers/customers/readers about our little comic strip. Because starting today, the closer I come to making a living from Unshelved, the more time I can spend on it.

For those of you not in the know (and really, no excuse for that, since it’s right in the first line of Barnes’s posting, if you bothered to follow the link), Barnes’s job was at Microsoft. In leaving the software behemoth, Barnes gives up a lot for the chance to make it as a webtooner. Little things like what is regarded as a very nice campus to work on, and the slim chance that Bill Gates might adopt him and make him his heir. Medium-large things like a regular salary at tech industry levels. Ginormous things like health insurance.

He gets stuff in return though — artistic satisfaction/dream-chasing would be pretty high on the list, I’d imagine. The pride of accomplishing something that so few get to … think about how many people there have been on the planet in the past century or so, then how many have been cartoonists; divide one into the other and the answer is near enough to zero that you may as well try to win the Powerball twice as become a professional strip cartoonist.

And if you’ve ever heard Howard Tayler talk about leaving behind his own tech-industry paycheck to become a fulltime webcomicker, don’t neglect the “give up a job, gain a family” aspect.

We at Fleen salute Bill Barnes, and by the wholly undeserved power we claim, do declare this to be Bill Barnes Day in Greater Webcomicstan, and instruct all and sundry to give him a high-five next time you see him. If you’ve ever bought Unshelved stuff, he might even give you a hug.

Confidential to Gene Ambaum: You’re awesome too, man.

Best of luck to him. :D

Welcome to the plummet, Bill! Learn to love free-fall. Forget the parachute! Pray that your fans manage to do what mine have done for me — move the Earth (out of the way).

You can do it! I am about to do the same and all you have to do is believe and visualize! Congrats! I am a big fan for 3 years now! Go! Go! Go!

[...] [Hooray!] Unshelved co-creator Bill Barnes is the latest webcomicker to quit his dayjob and throw himself into his strip fulltime. (Above: sequence from a recent strip in the library-themed series, ©2007 Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum. Link via Gary Tyrrell.) [...]

Congrats to a cartoonist who makes me laugh out loud in my office. I am doing my part to support his family–I just received my T-shirts and bumper stickers. I will pray for the health of his family-no health insurance is scary stuff!

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