The webcomics blog about webcomics

TopatoCo Continues to TopatoGrow

There are a few people that I pay close attention to in webcomics for their continued performance over the long haul. For example, Krishna Sadasivam hit fifteen years of making comics for the onlines at the start of the week, with no sign of stopping.

Also down as a long-haul vet, particularly when you recall the years running webcomics in parallel with print, and before that comics in print solely? Phil and Kaja Foglio, especially considering that I was reading Phil’s stuff in nineteen-friggin’-eighty-two, making the more than a dozen years of Girl Genius not even half of a long and storied career. Considering the time that the Foglios also ran the Buck Godot series online (from print, then back again), you’ve got a few thousand pages that have gone online (plus some really sex-positive porn over at Slipshine [NSFW], I’m told), and even more comics that haven’t made it online … you don’t have a career like that without making some good decisions, or at least learning how to not repeat the bad ones too many times.

And the thing about good decisions? Over time, they can change to become “indifferent” or “suboptimal” or “why did I choose to do this, again?”. Case in point, the Foglios have decided that running a store is no longer in their interests, and hooked up with the merch-slingin’ wizards of Starhampton, TopatoCo, just in time to not worry about the holiday rush. The news page and the press release essentially say the same thing; from Professoressa Foglio:

We are very excited to be handing the direct sales of our Airship Entertainment products over to the wonderful people at TopatoCo.com They are all set up to sell you fun things from lots of great webcomics, and we absolutely LOVE the idea of not having to pack orders in our basement any more. Our sales have simply gotten too big for us to handle ourselves, and we really need to concentrate on making more things over shipping more things. So please have a look, and check out all the other great webcomic-related stuff they sell.

And and from her male half:

The creative staff at Studio Foglio have been running a successful business since 1993, but lately the increased volume of sales has become difficult for their small organization to handle. Also, Phil Foglio grouses: “We aren’t getting any younger. The last thing I want is to be shlepping forty-five pound boxes when I’m sixty.” The Foglios believe that TopatoCo will be an excellent solution for dispensing books, especially since it puts them in the company of so many top-notch webcomic creators.

Taking on Studio Foglio’s stock had some unique challenges for TopatoCo. Diamond Comics has been the distributor for Studio Foglio’s brick-and-mortar sales since dinosaurs walked the Earth, and that will not change. Studio Foglio also has rather large initial print runs, which translates to massive stacks of books that need storage when they arrive from the printer. All of this had to be dealt with by TopatoCo’s shipping and warehousing staff, and has been handled with remarkably little bloodshed.

Note to self: still need to pick up Girl Genius volume 11, and can now bundle that with QC book 3 and perhaps Tom Tomorrow’s latest, since he’s part of the TopatoCo Cult Family You Can Never Leave Burgeoning Empire of Minimal Bloodshed now, too.

  • Today’s remarkable thing: Jillian Tamaki did a short story called Half Life that has been preying on my mind all day. It’s quiet, contemplative, occasionally creepifying, and ultimately … I’m not sure if “peaceful” or “resigned” is the better word? It’s a damn good comic is what I’m telling you and you need to go read it now.
  • Dave Kellett’s talked to me a few times about the difficulty in getting clips for STRIPPED at a reasonable price; the estate of Johnny Carson saw that a few seconds here or there were worth a modest fee, but other, bigger players have been tightening the thumbscrews because they can. Even in what must be a frustrating situation, Kellett is determined to stay on the ethical side of things, which I get the feeling is even more important that the legal side of things.

    I can understand his reluctance to pull the trigger on what would be a logical solution, and at this point I’m hoping somebody gives him a winning lottery ticket for a nice investment opportunity. Fleen wishes Kellett all the best and notes that he and Schroeder are doing so well on generating their own footage that we’d be willing to kick in a few extra bucks. Just sayin’.¹

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¹ What I am saying is I would pay money that Kellett could to a major motion picture studio in payment for its “Bein’ a Dick” tax.

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