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Are webcomics a viable alternative to your recession-plagued wallet? David Gallaher provides a list of his favorites at Blog@Newsarama.
Neil Swaab describes "the end of alternative comic strips," and gives his opinions on webcomics...
"I know there are plenty of web comic artists who are able to subsist on the income they make from their website, but they aren't making money from their comics; they're making money from merchandise. Not to belittle web-only comic artists, but when their income is derived from t-shirts, it makes them salesmen first, artists second. The comics act as a tool to drive traffic to their website and then the sales of their products allow them to continue to make the comics. I know this may seem like semantics and those artists would never see it that way, but I think it's a valid issue, particularly for the reasons that not every comic artist wants to be a t-shirt salesperson."
...and then clarifies those opinions:
"My intent in bringing up the question was that there are a lot of great artists out there whose work doesn’t translate to t-shirts or easily marketable products and who don’t have an interest in merchandising to support themselves. Their work shouldn’t fail because of that and that’s what the current webcomics model thrives on."
So if Swaab is basically saying that "the current webcomics model thrives on" CafePress tees and mousepads, what is the specific objection to that? Is the objection that such a model doesn't generate sufficient cash for webcomickers, or because the arrangement is "gauche?" Is it more gauche to sell T-shirts on your site or have your comic strip supported by an alternative weekly that runs ads (with some of ads, especially towards the back of the publication, being kinda sketchy)? Or are any determinations we make regarding this highly objective and situational?
Also -- I would totally buy a Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles mousepad.
Then there is Brandon Thomas on digital comics:
"If you are a comic book company and are not seriously considering some method of digital distribution, then in the next couple years, you’re likely going out of business. The smaller the publishing house, the more important this ultimately is."
I've been hearing rumblings about the future and viability of original graphic novels as well. Shocking, because two years ago OGNs were the bee's knees and everybody wanted a piece of them, especially the traditional book publishers. Now it's like: "I don't got a &@%$ two years for your book to come out! We might be a Chick-fil-A by the time that happens!"
...and cult-favorite webcomic Achewood goes on hiatus:
"After seven full and happy years, though, production of the strip has had to find space for itself among other projects. Book development, animation development, and most recently, the rapid relocation of my little family to another state. That's the big killer. We lived in Silicon Valley until today. Until three weeks ago, we thought we were going to live here forever. It's a complicated story involving eminent domain, the stewardship of the American financial continuum, and a poisonous dog named Nasturtium. I'll tell you about it sometime."
This prompts Strangeman to muse:
"I don't know what to think. I think an artist has the right to walk away from his art, but it's something to be avoided. That's like leaving your baby at Wal-Mart. If it's ending, I'm going to feel what I felt when Calvin & Hobbes went away. Comics are taken for granted sometimes, be they in the paper, comic book, or online. No one really want to see them go."
Do you have any tales or news for Economy Sad Bear? Or maybe something inspirational to lift our flagging spirits? Let us know!
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