Webcomic Workshop #19

Solving Webcomic Issues We All Face. Now featuring a listener’s issue each podcast!

This podcast we discuss:

Ken: I’m wondering if I’m going far enough with the absurdity of my comic. If you compare the wacky/outlandish things that go on in some wildly funny cartoons on TV to my comic I think there’s a huge disparity. I’m wondering if I should not be afraid to push the boundaries and make things a little more absurd and take more chances.

Antoine: Following the discussion we had on podcast #15,ย  Is it relevant for one artist to be under a Studio Name? Example (fake name): Drunken Studios.

Dawn: Signs your comic and/or side projects are killing you, and you need to cut back.

Byron: Rebooting your comic.ย  On August 1st, 1977 will change dramatically.ย  How do I best transition from the old to the new?

Reader Issue: Bearman’s advertising questions: You always hear comic folk talk about Project wonderful but is there a better source?

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Posted in Featured News, Podcast.

6 Comments

  1. I’m surprised at how you’re all hitting the wall at the same time! It’s a good thing you have the podcast to talk it out – this is probably one of the more ‘somber’ episodes I’ve heard.

    Ken – You could start adding a few absurdist strips here and there – but I wouldn’t do a complete anvil drop on the heads of your fans. The Simpsons got wilder as the seasons progressed and you can see the change in the tone of the humor. RTS can benefit from new crazy gags and tamer safer humor – writing absurdist humor is difficult because you’re tasked with writing strips that top the last funny strip. It can be really exhausting, because your fans wont allow for slacking since that is the nature of that type of humor.

    Antoine: If you’re planning on creating a number of different properties, the studio idea will work. You can transition your fans into recognizing your studio if you promote it properly. But if you’re only working on one property, just stick with that name for now.

    Dawn: Simple solution. Finish your story arc, and take a month off. No Abby, no Z&F, no Alliance, no portfolio stuff. It may take a week to completely turn off your brain to webcomics and projects, but that creative reboot is completely necessary to return to center and focus on how you can be efficient, and what you can cut out of your life. You’ll begin to see where your priorities lie.

    Byron: If you do a mini-comic transition from 1977 to your new project, it will be a good way to tie up the 1977thecomic loose ends, and help migrate people over to the new site. From there 1977thecomic.com can serve as an archive. I wouldn’t do a complete redirect just yet – have a number of entry points to the new site and leave the site as an archive for the first year to pick up any stragglers. After a year is up, you can simply move towards the complete redirect. Then once you’ve phased out your website from your print material and online links, then you can drop the domain completely.

    I don’t understand why more webcomic authors don’t follow the lead of bloggers/online marketers and look for affiliate marketing and ad sales than they do. It works – its slow like GoogleAds, but it can net you some decent additional funds. I still don’t see the value in PW since there is far too much noise on there. I think a better bet would be to contact advertisers personally to set up some kind of ad program.

    And Antoine does have a muscle – its called a ‘Molson’ muscle.

  2. Dawn’s issue: My brain works the same way. I’ve attempted meditation, and have never had any luck with it, in part because of severe back pain, but mostly because I cannot stop my brain from chattering. Tai Chi has helped a little, because it is a form of moving meditation, so I don’t get stiff and my brain has something to focus on. I’ve also found that gardening really helps. In all seriousness. Can’t rush a seed, and if I over-do the intensity that I put toward it, I may kill or warp that plant. If I think of “webcomic” or “relationships” or “life” = plant, it makes me approach it differently.

    Unfortunately, I also have a REALLY bad memory, and my DO IT NOW habits are so I don’t forget or miss something. So now I’m trying to slow things down, and I’m worried about how to keep things together without that frantic energy. If anybody has any suggestions on that one, I’m all ears.

    (“Quitter” by Jon Acuff is also a good resource for this issue.)

    Byron: I really, REALLY like this reboot concept. Generally I hate reboots, because it’s just the same story. I really appreciate that you’re not doing this with your comic. You’re actually opening it up for new and exciting directions! Question: What elements or “flavor” of your story will continue over? Is everything new, or is there going to be enough of the old vibe that will ease the transition for readers? That would be my biggest concern. The social contract is changing for the readers. How has the spirit of that “document” changed, in addition to the letter? Can that shock be lessened in mood, if not in content?

    And why not keep the archives up, but make sure the “next” button just goes to the next page of the new comic at the right place? The easier it is to make that transition, the better.

    • Taking the advice of my fellow WA friends, the domain is not going away and the archives will remain intact. The new comic (or new version of the comic) will refer to those old stories, so it makes sense to keep the old comics around.

      I’ve pretty much at this point have the new “1977” ready to kick off, and I will be doing some transition comics to introduce the new version so the current readers are not “shocked” by what’s happening.

      Thanks for the support and input!

  3. @Antoine – Not really related to the rest of the podcast (just started listening to it 5 mins ago), as much as it is to your ‘not diet’. I’ve been on a ‘not diet’ since last September, and have lost 73lbs as a result. I haven’t given up anything I like (espeeeecially not beer, rye or rum), and have actually been learning to cook and eating waaay better (and more deliciously) than I have been in years. Sometimes just knowing how many calories you are supposed to eat in a day (based on height, gender, age, etc.) will help you make better decisions regarding proportion.

    Anyhow, I bring this up because, as cartoonists, many of us lead sedentary, desk-oriented lives (and as Canadian cartoonists, sometimes there is awesome beer at that desk). Myself and about 5 other cartoonists I know use loseit.com to calculate and track how many calories we should be eating every day, and have been charting progress there. I really, really recommend it–it’s [retty much the only thing that’s been keeping my Not-Diet working out and successful. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anyhow, I’ll likely be back with more comments that actually have to do with the rest of the podcast. lots of good discussion happening here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Finally got around to listening to this podcast and wanted to compliment you guys on a great show. I have to commend you for providing your listeners with a great experience, it is a real delight to hear the four of you guys together. I feel like I’m the fifth guy at the table, just listening in. And I’m aware of the dedication you guys have to doing this and I’d like to say it is greatly appreciated.

    Some thoughts: Ken, from reading your strip and your blog and listening to your comments I know that you are a meticulous planner and that what you have developed with Rick has been attained through a lot of hard work and contemplation. So when you ask if you’re going far enough with your work I guess that depends on what you consider too far. There are no limits. As a matter of fact, I think comics can take it even further than animation, after all animation is just moving drawings, right? Go for it, there’s nothing stopping you but yourself!

    Antoine, a studio name is an excellent idea. Especially if it is all-encompassing to cover some of your other concepts as well. I think it helps with branding when you have a distinctive name that people can identify with you as much as your work.

    Dawn, I sympathize with you about the hours in the day. I have a day job as well, and I really couldn’t see myself doing all the things you obviously do over and on top of your strip. I have at time pursued acting, stand-up comedy, fine art, illustration, animation… I’ve worn many hats, but one thing I’ve learned is that at some point you have to pick one thing you know you can do, and do that well. For me, it’s my strip, although I will still try to fit other freelance in when I have time. Also too, when you become so encapsulated, you lose touch with the outside world, and frankly those are the very things you need to bring back into your work. A tired, exhausted cloistered Dawn is not beneficial to you in the long run. Exercise is also something to consider, even if it’s just your and your husband walking the dog around the block a few times. Step away from it all and spend some in the “real” world!

    Byron, lots of great suggestions, can’t really add. But Good Luck with your reboot! I think it’s an excellent plan!

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