The webcomics blog about webcomics

Various Newses And Miscellany

No common theme today, just a bunch of different stuff.

  • Let’s start by talking about a new comics that’s going to launch tomorrow; longtime readers of this page know that I rarely pay attention to brand-new webcomics, preferring to see a body of work before deciding if I like it or not. The exception is for established creators whose work is already well-regarded … especially if those creators have a history of making different kinds of comics over time. It’s hard to think of a single creator that made more different kinds of comics (with the common thread: Damn Good) than KC Green, so news of a new ongoing strip? I’m there:

    Tomorrow I have a new comic dropping it’s pants to show the world what its made of. It’s called “He is a Good Boy” and you can follow it on tumblr at this address. There is an actual website, but I won’t be announcing that til tomorrow when it is officially “launched.” But there is a website, this I promise. No april foolin’. Tomorrow.

    Even better, Green showed us all some love with more work dropping early:

    So like tomorrow’s pretty full w/ my new comic “He is a Good Boy” dropping and stuff. I don’t want BACK to get overlooked.

    so have a new BACK…….. TODAY

    I’m excited to read BACK today, I’m excited to see He Is A Good Boy tomorrow, I’m just generally excited. Everybody say nice things about KC.

  • Speaking of new comics, John Allison appears to have settled on a model of let’s do distinct stories from around Tackleford in bursts of a month or two instead of half a year, following on the maybe-last-ever Bobbins story with next week’s launch (ha, ha) of a Charlotte & Shauna story … in space. Add to this last week’s print-comic Giant Days #1 (of 6) and I think that Allison may be on to something: 75 – 100 pages in a story, long enough to develop a plot, short enough to not get bored or bogged down. I think the coming months (and years) are going to be his best yet.
  • Back in November we mentioned that Eric Colossal’s Rutabaga would be getting the book treatment. Know what came out today? Rutabaga: The Adventure Chef (book 1 of hopefully many), in glorious color. You can enjoy a preview of the book starting here and compare to the original black & white starting here; I think you will agree that the color looks great, and resolve to get copies for both yourself and younger readers of your acquaintance.
  • Attention pros: Harvey Award nominations are now open, with just about every single one of you eligible for something or other. Fill out the form, return it by 11 May, don’t be shy about promoting your work. Worst that happens? Nothing — in which case, your self-promotion didn’t result in embarrassing attention. Best that happens? You get recognized for your work and hopefully get over feeling excessively modest. Go. Promote.
  • Final word today is given to David Morgan-Mar (PhD, LEGO®©™etc and semi-pro Mr Bean impersonator), on the value of creating webcomic after webcomic, strip after strip (see footnote 3), with no intention of ever making it a career:

    The non-monetary reward? Making something, and touching people’s lives.


Spam of the day:

Protect and Beautify Your Garage Floor

I don’t normally think of my garage floor (which is made of poured concrete) as either needing protection or possessing the quality of beauty. Did I miss a day in Intro to Homeownership?

Squirrels, Man. Friggin’ Squirrels

Let’s find some things to talk about that don’t involve the little fluff-tailed bastards.

  • Apropos of it always being a good time to keep an eye on the current goings-on around George, this note from George Rohac:

    Huh, wasn’t even paying attention – Crowdfunding Projects I’ve advised or worked on cracked 10,000,000 cumulative total.

    That would be ten million dollars, in case it wasn’t clear … United States cash money dollars. Perhaps more impressively, George has shepherded (by my count) some 30 projects to successful completion, as he is a man who brooks no nonsense, a man before whom logistical roadblocks evaporate, a man who considers reward fulfillment at the promised to time to late, and reward fulfillment a month prior to promised time to be on time. I would very much like to see George and Spike combine their powers to produce a Kickstarter guide that incorporates wisdom from the both of them¹.

  • Apropos of the fact that art thieves suck, Gemma Correll reports that multiple retailers have nothing better to do than steal her designs. This is a repeating story, one I can’t even run every time it crops us because it crops up so damn frequently, but this is the first time I’ve noticed Correll getting hosed and I am more than willing to call out the likes of Yes Style [no link, they suck] and Light In The Box [ditto]. Actually, no, let me provide one link for each of them: Yes Style’s CEO can be reached here, and Light In The Box’s investor relations officer² can be reached here. Be polite, but make your irritation known.
  • Apropos of the fact that his Wonderful Wizard of Oz adaptation is on the verge of shipping³, news of the start of Evan Dahm’s next classic illustration project starting imminently:

    Moby-Dick illustrations start on April 1

    I kind of want Dahm to become a one-man, latter-day Classics Illustrated shop. I want a shelf full of handsome hardcovers of the greats of literature, wiht the exception that if he decides to illustrate The Great Gatsby I will opt out because I hate, hate, hate that book.

Spam of the day:

A Newly Released NASA Study Details Exactly How to Kill from All Types of Diabetes

I suspect that you do not know what NASA does, or hope that I do not. Either way, screw you.

¹ Then again, I don’t want George to lose his powers by sharing them too widely. There’s a fine balance to be followed here.

² Because I can’t find another way to contact them unless you have an order number, the cowards.

³ Not due until May 2015; cf: George, above.

Again With Toronto

I got more comments on the post last week where I mused on the lack of a single, highly-visible song with which one might reference the grand T-Dot than any other recent topic. And here we are again with the news coming from that noblest of cities.

  • To start with, you got your Chris Butcher, retailer, showrunner, relentless promoter and lover of comics and those that make them, and real-life counterpart to the best character in Scott Pilgrim’s world. He’s been a major force in Toronto becoming a center for the comic arts, and it seems that scarcely a week goes by that he doesn’t get to announce something cool. Today, it’s the TCAF pop-up shop in the Toronto Reference Library, launched for the most recent year-end holiday season, with the promise of converting to an ongoing retail endeavour. Today, that conversion comes true:

    The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is thrilled to announce that its festival shop is here to stay for the foreseeable future! Located inside Toronto Reference Library at 789 Yonge Street, we’re pleased to announce that the shop has been newly rebranded as Page & Panel: The TCAF Shop (with a spiffy new logo design by illustrator Chip Zdarsky), and the store will continue bringing the very best of comics, graphic novels, art, design objects and book culture merchandise to Toronto.

    [Please note that the logo mentioned does not feature even one set of genitals.]

    Page & Panel already has author events planned for tonight (for Toronto anthology comic Monstrosity 2), 30 March (Carson Ellis), and 1 April (Jim Zub), as well as exclusive merch from local creators like Kate Beaton¹ and John Martz. Congrats to everybody at TCAF and TRL for making this happen.

  • Staying in Hogtown and speaking of Jim Zub, everybody knows that like every week is Jim Zub week down at the comics shop, but there’s a special coinciding of Zub-owned comics coming next week. 25 March is when we’ll see the release of both the first issue of the last Skulllkickers (aka the series that really launched Zub’s current career trajectory) story arc, and the first issue of the second Wayward (aka the series that took all the hard work that Zub’s put in since Skullkickers #1 and bumped it up even higher) story arc, along with the trade paperback of the first Wayward trade collection. While it seems the dude’s got comics coming out all the damn time, I’m declaring next Wednesday to be Zubday.
  • And rounding out our tour of The Big Smoke, Ryan North² has some news for us today regarding the interactive game version of To Be Or Not To Be:


    There’s now an Android and iOS version of this game, out THIS VERY DAY??

    Yesssssss it is a FACT

    I believe that this means that every single possible vector for distributing North’s CYOA version of Hamlet is now covered. If you don’t own at least one, there is something distinctly wrong with you.

Spam of the day:

Going time for the furnishings shop in Gloucester example

I am utterly unable to parse what this was meant to convey.

¹ Speaking of whom, Beaton is back in The Queen City after her book-promotion trip to Germany which she has comic-chronicled here and here. They aren’t trip-home-to-see-the-family comics, but if you’ve ever wondered about medieval German torture devices designed to wreck your butthole at 9:00am on a Sunday morning — and I sincerely hope that you have — then these will be right up your alley.

So to speak.

² AKA The Toronto Man-Mountain, AKA He Who Has Returned, AKA Lord of Castle North.

Revisits And Continuations

I wonder which is better -- Cub sauce on everything, or room temperature cocoa.

Lots of things getting back into the swing today. Good times, good times.

  • First of all, I don’t wish to get up any hopes, but it appears that there is a new content page at Broodhollow¹, following a chapter title page last week. It’s been a long hiatus, what with Kris Straub welcoming a small alive human into his life and designing the book 2 Kickstarter and in his copious free time making all kinds of other media.

    There’s a million ideas inside of Straub, all demanding to be brought into the world in some form or another, but I suspect that Broodhollow is the one that he will look back on as the most personal and closest to his heart … and the jokes on the new page ain’t bad either. Welcome back to West Virginia’s most eccentric town; hope you decide to set and stay a while.

  • Likewise, I don’t want anybody getting too excited, but in the past week we’ve seen as many updates to the long-paused Misery Loves Sherman as we’ve seen in the past four years. I know that Chris Eliopoulos has been busy, what with lettering every other comic book on the stands, as well as writing and illustrating them². Creating a webcomic takes time and he’s a man with little enough of it, but it’d be good to see Sherman & company back on the regular.
  • Sort of a relaunch, sort of not: Samantha Leriche-Gionet, known professionally as Boum, has been chronicling her life at Boumeries for more than four years now (if you haven’t read it, it’ll make you think of American Elf), and three years back she did a print graphic novel, La Petite Révolution. Starting today, she’s serializing Révolution online in the original French and also translated for the first time into English; A Small Revolution will update Tuesdays and Thursdays, with five pages up today to get you started.

    The main character is young, a street-dwelling orphan, and deceptively cute. I suspect that she is going to surprise everybody — in both the uprising and the oppressive dictatorship — with her determination to make things change, and woe betide those that underestimate her. Never forget: revolutions are where the old scores get settled. For me, I think I’ll read the English and French pages side-by-side, see how much I can make out from context. I’m a long way from studying French in high school³, but there are so many good comics in French, brushing up can only be a good thing.

Spam of the day:

Hello to every , because I am in fact keen of reading this blog’s post to be updated on a regular basis. It carries fastidious data.

I have achieved the pinnacle of hack webcomics pseudojournalizing. Did Eric Burns-White ever get complimented for the fastidiousness of his data? I think not. Suck it, every other webcomics blog!

¹ That one menu tells you more about the town and the place/time it occupies than any three pages of text could. Bravo.

² Not to mention dealing with what must be more-than-infrequent confusion over the fact that there is another Chris Eliopoulos working in comics. I mean, there are other Gary Tyrrells in the world, but none of them are in the field of hack webcomics pseudojournalism.

³ Although, more than 20 years after studying or speaking it, I retained enough to conduct Eurailpass redemptions with a ticket agent in Brussels, and also to achieve my basic standard for functionality in a language: I was able to obtain a room for the night, a meal, and a beer.

Big Damn Number

On his income taxes on the line where it says to enter your occupation, I hope that Jeffrey Rowland puts down internet merchandise mogul.

  • Speaking of moguls of all sorts, you know what they need to keep their air of dapper superciliousness? A Monocle. Know where you can get a supply of monocles? From Zach Weinersmith. As I write this, the campaign to bring single-use monocles to the world is fivehours old and less than US$100 from its goal. If you think that it’s a joke, well, that’s where you’re right, but if you think it’s a scam or fake, allow me to share proof with you that these exist. Thank you to Weinersmith et. al.¹ for gifting me with this indispensible bit of dapperment; I await only an occasion when I must exhibit extreme surprise to deploy it for its intended purpose.
  • Speaking of Kickstarters, I would like to mention that my very favorite webcomic for reading in book-length chunks — Gastrophobia — has launched its latest campaign for its latest book-lenth chunk (which is to say, a book). Gastrophobia volume 3: Best At Winning, Worst At Love has been fundraising over the weekend and currently sits at an inexplicably paltry 75 backers, although they have pushed creator David McGuire up to some 40% of goal. The strip is great fun, McGuire knows how to both build a damn good story and fulfill merch on a timely basis, and there’s nothing that should be keeping you from dropping the dough to pick up this book. Make with the clicky, already.
  • Never bet against Ryan Estrada. Whether it’s setting out to provide guest strips for every webcomic, teach the world to read Korean and Russian in fifteen minutes, or wrangle eighteen different creators to tell one story from six different viewpoints based on an experience from his time running an Indian call center, Estrada takes on seemingly impossible tasks with aplomb.

    The aplombed tasque du jour is the one about the call center, as he’s launched Broken Telephone launched today as his newest serialized webcomic at, and it launched with what I believe is the largest initial buffer on record. Namely, the full year-long story is queued and ready to go on a daily basis. Estrada was kind enough to send me a review copy, which I have only just begun to read; what I have seen, however, is really good and plays to the strengths of his various artists, so be sure to check it out.

  • It appears that the results of the SPX table lottery have gone out, and while there’s no list of who got in yet, there’s a lot of mention on the Twitters and such from people that didn’t. It’ll be interesting to compare the list of last year’s exhibitors (archived here) against the final list of who made it in. It looks like SPX has become a victim of its own success, with a desire to bring in new talent and meet demand for tables — but when your process is designed in such a way that it finds a way to not include such rarely seen on these shores talent as John Allison, it’s time to look at how well you’re balancing your priorities.

Spam of the day:

A friend of mine got off dialysis (stage 5 CKD) and healed his kidney.

You’re lying or fooling yourself. Go hang out with your flouride-decrying, homeopathy-loving, anti-vaxx friends, and keep your crackpottery out of here before I get some on my shoes.

¹ Which group, regrettably, includes the nefarious James Ashby, aka History’s Greatest Monster. And he gets the girl to “accompany him to the opera” in the promotional film! Boo, hiss!

Does Toronto Have A Song I Can Reference?

I mean, I was going to title this We Stand On Guard, but that would refer to all of our Great Northern Neighbor, not just their premiere city. Anyway, stuff about Toronto coming up. The Toronto Comics Art Festival — TCAF, for those in the know — is coming up in about eight weeks time and I will continue my unfortunate streak of missing one of the great shows. This year it’s because I have a niece getting married the same weekend, and comics be damned, I love her more. But if you’re going, you can see some neat stuff.

  • On the official end of things, TCAF showrunner Chris Butcher recently announced a new partnership for TCAF that sounds intriguing:

    The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is proud to announce a brand new partnership with the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival (LICAF)! They are bringing a who’s-who group of the UK’s finest cartoonists to TCAF 2015, including Featured Guest Hunt Emerson!

    While TCAF has gone all over the world to promote and proselytize to folks about the amazing work being done by Canadian cartoonists (at events like the Kaigai Manga Festa in Japan, or the Angoulême Festival in France), this is the first time we are engaging in an honest-to-goodness cultural exchange. This year, LICAF are bringing seven fantastic cartoonists from the United Kingdom, with TCAF bringing our own cavalcade of Canadian creators to LICAF in October!

    TCAF have been instrumental in setting the pattern of public space-based, free, comics festivals, to the point that the CAF suffix tells you you’re looking at a show that’s probably worth your time¹. To see a formal partnership (possibly the first of many) just reinforces the value of TCAF and the likelihood of more good, local shows around the world. Well done Mr Butcher and the organizers of LICAF.

  • While you’re at TCAF, you might pick up a copy of an anthology where the unifying theme — you might even say the central character — is the city of Toronto itself. The first Toronto Comics Anthology released last year, with a dozen stories about the city from some reasonably unheralded creators (the only one that I recognized was Christopher Bird of Al’Rashad, who wrote five pieces, some of which can be seen here and here). The new volume will launch at TCAF, with twenty new stories; several titles have already caught my eye, including Welcome to Turdberg and The Toronto Patty Wars of 1985. If you’re going to TCAF, pick it up and tell me if I’m misplaced in my interest (I’m not).
  • Via Heidi Mac at The Beat, news of this year’s Cartoonist Studio Prize nominees, presented by Slate and The Center for Cartoon Studies. As noted in prior years (this is the third), the CSP is unique in that it’s got two categories — one for graphic novels, one for webcomics — and that’s all. Winners in each category get US$1000, and there’s an intriguing blend of familiar and new works on both sides of the aisle.

    Part of what I like best about the shortlist is the variety of work on the webcomics side; there’s everything from the weekly Oh Joy, Sex Toy to investigative cartooning to shortform personal experience to the obligatory Emily Carroll. Special congrats to Jillian Tamaki for being nominated in both categories for This One Summer and SuperMutant Magic Academy. Winners will be announced on 6 April.

  • Man, I went and had dinner with Brad Guigar last night and I didn’t notice that he’d been recently bounced from the Daily Grind Iron Man Challenge, now going on for ten freakin’ years? I suck. Also, apropos of nothing, that author’s pic of Guigar on the DGIC page is terrible. He’s much more handsome than that, as anybody who actually tore their eyes away from the photo up top can attest. Somebody get on that².

Spam of the day:
Seu fotógrafo privado irá acompanhá-lo em sua próxima turnê.
Yeah, no. This is one of those deals where the “private photographer” ends up selling everything to one of those revenge porn sites. I ain’t falling for that again.

¹ For now at least; if it becomes as widespread and genericized as “Comic[-]Con”, it may not mean much.

² Get on supplying a new pic to the Daily Grind thing, not get on Brad. Jeez, people, get your minds out of the gutter.

All Citizens Are Urged To Stay Safe And Remain Calm

What, no, it’s nothing to do with the weather outside (where the snow is rapidly accumulating and I may or may not make it back to my hotel tonight). It’s to do with the gut-level clench of fear fighting against cautious optimism when John Allison goes from saying (in regard to his characters) as Bad Machinery wrapped up:

Think of this as a Doctor Who-style regeneration in progress. Your friends will be back.

to saying (in regard to his broader shared universe of Tackleford) as the Bobbins revival is close to concluding:

People sometimes ask me why there’s Bobbins, and Scary Go Round, and Bad Machinery, “when they’re all just the same thing.” The answer is, so that I can work out where the line is between these projects, so I don’t have to remember too much, so that I can divide it all up semi-neatly. This last Bobbins story is what happens if I take out all those dividing lines in my head, just so you can see what it looks like. It’s a mess. I’ve started to get emails from people asking for clarification on certain “historical” characters, which suggests to me that it’s time to stop. Time’s pretty much up for the “Tackleverse”, which is why I did it – this is the end of the road for a lot of the characters.

I hope you enjoyed the experiment as much as I have – it’s gone in directions I didn’t expect. At the start of April it will be time for something new.

I am the last person to suggest that Allison (or any other creator) ought to be catering to my whims. If this is the end for many of these characters, I will mourn their departure just as I eagerly await that which April will bring. It’ll be sad, and I know exactly how to react to this — by hunting down people whose obsessive need for continuity have driven Allison to this and wreaking a horrific vengeance. If I have to exist in a world without teen mystery-solvers, fish-men, serial entrepreneurs that speak of themselves in the third person, Devil Bears and Space Owl, then I’m making sure that they won’t enjoy the fruits of their cursed inquiries after filthy continuity.

In all seriousness — if this is the end for Tackleford, let us all take a moment to raise a pint of the best heavy or rough scrumpy (regional) to what may be webcomics longest-running shared universe¹. Things change, after all. We’ll be okay.

Unless Carrot comes a bad end — that happens, I’m going on a spree.

  • Following up on the recent post regarding Raina Telgemeier crushing all who dare approach with her mighty sales figures: I’d wondered if the sales of the Sisters/Smile box set was incorporated into the Bookscan numbers compiled by Brian Hibbs. Hibbs was kind enough to chime in with a clarification:

    Boxed sets have separate listings. Even though I cut this data out of what I present, Bookscan entries are tracked by ISBN, and the box set has a different one.

    Translation: Telgemeier sold more books than the numbers indicated. In fact, due to the limitations of Bookscan, Hibbs would have us know that she sold a lot more:

    Also worthy of note is that SISTERS sold AT LEAST 2 million copies according to the NYT — I can only present Bookscan data that I have though.

    Remember, that’s in four months, and more than ten times the numbers indicated by Bookscan; I knew there were undercounts from the Nielsen data, but never knew how large they were. To put it another way, for more than a decade, the top-selling ongoing comic book from a major publisher in any given month has probably sold on the order of 100,000 copies² in the last four months of 2104, the total number of copies of the top selling book each month amounted to approximately 837,000 floppies sold; if you bought all four of those books, the total cost to you was probably not too far off of the Sisters cover price.

    In as apples-to-apples a comparison as you could make, Telgemeier outsold that wisecracking webslinger, brooding vigilante, most popular mutant of all time, or scrappy set of survivors of the zombie apocalypse by a factor of two and a half to one if you combine their efforts, or at least six to one compared against single titles. Oh, and that was before we consider Smile and Drama (one of which sold steadily through the year, one of which bumped up in the last quarter). Next time some aging fanboy bitches about the comics industry pandering to [fill in the blank], share that little factoid and watch his head explode.

Spam of the day:

Touche. Great arguments. Keep up the good work.

Will do.

¹ Okay, okay, it’s the recently-concluded Walkyverse. Work with me, people.

² There are some outlier books in the back third of 2014, with some one-shots, special events, and zillion-variant-cover tricks, leading to some unusually large numbers.

I Am Puzzled

No image up top; it’ll ruin the surprise.

Let’s get something out of the way: I am not about to argue that if you disagree with me about a piece of culture — a movie, a book, a TV show — that the fact of our disagreement means that you are irrevocably stupid and dumb and wrong. Indeed, the most valuable movie critic I’ve ever read was a woman in the local newspaper <cough, mummble years ago, cough> with whom I regularly disagreed, but did so in a wholly predictable manner, meaning that I could estimate to a high degree of precision how much I would like a movie based on how much she did or did not. That’s some primo information, y’all.

What I’m puzzled by today is a review of Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor (of which much has been written on this page and elsewhere) at The AV Club, whose writers I normally find well-mappable and usefully predictable (in the sense that I can predict my own likelihood of enjoyment from theirs). It’s a pretty mediocre, verging on bad review; I’ve seen less-than-laudatory reviews of The Sculptor, but this one seems to be … mean spirited? It’s drawing inference and intent that I don’t think are accurate in anything but a most cursory read, seems to be unable to separate the creator from the character, and particularly seems insulted that The Sculptor mentions Jeff Koons in a cursory way that is not a big, sloppy blowjob.

I can’t recall the last time that even a novice creators still learning their way around a craft was treated as shabbily as in this conclusion:

A few fantasy bits are cribbed from a photocopy of Neil Gaiman’s plumber’s cousin’s Sandman fan-fic¹. There’s even an angry Russian landlord with mob connections. Is there a word for when talented artists succeed in proving to the world in the most embarrassing and sincere way possible that they have absolutely nothing left to say?

Like I said — puzzling.

Spam of the day:


My thoughts exactly.

¹ One must note that among those that disagree would be Neil Gaiman.

Want To See Something Cool?

NEVER gonna get tired of using this image. All hail Raina.

Over at The Beat, Heidi Mac does a nice piece on the year-end graphic novel sales figures compiled by retailer Brian Hibbs and something awesome jumps out right at the top of the list (of which the ten highest are shown here):

176,197 — SISTERS
150,523 — SMILE
94,152 — DRAMA

Several somethings, actually. First, Raina Telgemeier absolutely dominated GN sales in 2014. Second, keep in mind that Sisters wasn’t released until the last week of August, meaning it was only on sale for about a third of the year; a full-year sales figure would be likely above 500,000 copies. But Gary I hear you cry wouldn’t sales taper off after everybody bought the book?

Third thing: the #3 best selling GN of the year was Smile¹, perennial New York Times bestseller; if she can sustain that kind of interest across five years, Sisters could continue to sell across one. And what’s that at #5? Drama, which came back onto the bestseller list because a new cohort of readers is discovering Telgemeier’s work and seeking it out. If Sisters had released earlier, there would have been a bump on Drama as well.

Yes, this is all based on Bookscan from Nielsen, and it doesn’t cover everything, and the actual sales numbers are estimates² and yadda, yadda. Take all the friction points into account, and the story of one young girl who a) got her teeth knocked out; and b) learned to have a relationship with her younger sister sold twice as many copies as the largest, most globally-dominant IP factory in history; Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, the Avengers, and all the rest aren’t even in the same league as a 10 to 14 year old with braces from San Francisco. It was the Year of Raina, and I’ll fight any man-jack of you that says different.

Also awesome:

Spam of the day:


Man, I wish that Google Translate could come up with an acceptable French phrasing for snort my taint (all credit to the inestimable Ken White).

¹ As it turns out, today is Smile day, 26 years to the day since Raina knocked out her teeth.

² Come to think of it, I wonder how these numbers account for the Sisters/Smile combo box set? One copy of each sold, or does it show up under another line item further down the list?

³ One of three that I hear regularly given the title, the other two being The Great Gatsby (which I loathe) and Tom Sawyer (which is terrific and I guess means the designation of Definitive American Novel has at least a one-in-three hit rate).

Welcome Returns

  • Kickstarter’s back! That’s not the odd part, that sound of a million webcomickers sighing in relief. What’s odd is the progression I’m seeing on the TJ & Amal Omnibus, which I promised a prediction based on the Fleen Funding Formula (mark 2) today.

    I’ve been refining this thing through several revisions, and I think the current model based on the Kicktraq trend value at the 24 – 30 hour mark is as accurate as anything is going to be. I had to come up with the limitation that it’s not appropriate for low backer counts (under 200 in that 24 – 30 hour period, it just doesn’t work), and I think that TJ & Amal and another recent campaign are going to cause me to find some new limits.

    In the case of TJ & Amal, that’s a hell of a drop-off from day one to day two; granted, some of that is undoubtedly due to the Kickstarter outage yesterday, but still. In campaigns where the FFFmk2 has worked well, there’s a day two drop off that ranges from slight (ex: here and here) to about a third (ex: here or here). Where the dropoff is more severe, the formula doesn’t work well.

    Which brings us to TJ & Amal, where numbers have dropped heavily from day one (day two: barely 15% of day one) and new funding has essentially bottomed out. My thought process is as follows:

    • The TJ & Amal campaign launched as close to midnight EST, meaning day one was a full 24 hours. Had it launched later in the day, there may have been a more equitable division between the first two days; at 13 hours, it was at about U$29K, which would have made the day 1/day 2 split closer to 66%/33%. Still a steep drop, but not the 85%/15% split we saw.
    • But even that drop would have put this campaign at the outer band of confidence in the formula. I think we may have seen an unusually-strong early response, due to the limited nature of one of the rewards (creator EK Weaver is printing 750 copies of an epilogue for the strip; this likely provided an incentive for most everybody that might have backed gradually over the 30 day campaign to get in early and ensure they’d get a copy).
    • TJ & Amal doesn’t just have fans, it has superfans; my impression is that there aren’t any casual readers of this strip. It’s your absolute favorite, or you were never going to buy the collection anyway.

    Which I think is going to add another usability limitation on the FFFmk2: An excessive day two drop (let’s say more than 50%) will make it non-predictive. I suspect at this point that TJ & Amal will creep up slightly, maybe adding another US$10K to its present total of US$45K, but not cracking the range of US$175K +/- 35K that the math would have indicated.

    Then again, it may get a weird late bump and meet the predicated range after all, but what I’ll really need are another dozen or so campaigns that meet the 200 backer limit, have day 2 totals under 50% of day 1, and the classic Kickstarter bowl-shaped progress curve. I don’t know what I’m going to do with multi-peak campaigns¹, and other such strange curves.

    And as long as we’re on the topic, I’m not sure what to do with the Camp Weedonwantcha campaign: it launched just before the Kickstarter outage — no doubt affecting day 1 totals — and the day 2 totals are not likely to get above the 50% threshold. Then again, the Penny Arcade marketing machine has not yet been fully brought to bear, so while we could have another strange curve ahead of us, I think this one will be explained more by super-high tiers getting snapped up.

    As of this writing, Katie Rice has 10 (of 20 max) backers at the US$250 level, 5 (of 5 max) at the US$500 level, and 3 (of 5 max) at the US$1000 level. Fewer than 5% of her backers acted quickly to get those high-value rewards, and contributed a full 26% of her funding total; that skew can’t be maintained, which means I may need to add a consideration for super-high tiers to the formula. It’s getting tougher and tougher to come up with a single calculation to predict Kickstarter success, but hey — all of these projects met their goals several times over, and that’s something to celebrate right there.

  • Also something to celebrate? The long-awaited return of the Goats website, with strips running from November 2003 to April 2010, six and a half years of glorious madness rescued from the aether, missing only the story guide I penned for Jon Rosenberg about the time he bought my soul. And just in case you wonder if Goats is still relevant, given that the last of the 1100+ strips here is nearly five years old, I will point out that just last week I saw a Republicans for Voldemort bumper sticker in the wild.

    And remember: the appearance of this revived website — like unto the breaking of the seven seals the the blowing of the final trump — is the harbinger of a resurgence in the very finest of beer-driven webcomics². Five years of bouncing around the multiverse won’t have made the story that Rosenberg still wants to finish any less weird. The End Times are a’coming³, and we get to go along for the ride. Testify.

Spam of the day:

… I am the sales manager at ******* Marketing. I was just looking at your Fleen: Try Our Thick, Creamy Shakes » I Would Vote For History’s Greatest Villain¹ If She Could Break The Spine Of This Winter website and see that your site has the potential to get a lot of visitors.

Wow. Wow. That was just pathetic. Try again.

¹ See also: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which would have been predicated to hit US$32.5K +/- 6.5K, and actually achieved US$61K thanks to a last-week surge. Multi-peak campaigns play hell with the predictions.

² And in case you’re wondering where the black and white strips back to 1997 are, they’re still there at the Wayback Machine. Start here.

³ Okay, fine, The End Times were a’coming in the past and must have been successfully averted because check it out: we’re still here!, is that better? Rosenberg can still tell the story of how the end of the universe was resolved. Sheesh.