Webcomic Workshop Podcast 74

WA_header-Workshop

Solving Webcomic Issues We All Face.

This podcast we discuss:

Chris: Wondering if I should re-title my first three books to remove the “Flick” reference as I’ve noticed this might be turning some people off. Or should I just make one larger volume with all three books in one volume?

Byron/Robin: Both Byron and Robin talk about their depression and how they’re handling it. In light of Robin Williams’ passing, we felt it a good time to bring this topic up and let folks know it’s okay to talk about it and reach out for support in any form.

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10 Comments

  1. well thank was fun to listen to while I drudged through my page inking.

    chris can i just throw a title out there …no fleas on flick (there all on the werewolf).
    use it dont use it but dont tie it to a brick and throw it back 🙂

    I’m please you guys did this and covered the depression issue but that’s as much as I’m gonna say about that here.

    cheers aron

  2. Chris, I think that changing the titles would be a good idea. I don’t think that everyone knows the backstory behind not being able to print “li” in “flick.” I didn’t know that, as a young one here, 26. When I heard you talk about the books on previous podcasts, I thought they were clever, but didn’t know the whole story. Likewise, I completely agree with Byron in that your book titles are not currently attached to your brand. I wouldn’t be expecting Capes and Babes comics based on the book title. I’m currently not at the spot where I am looking to print a collection yet, but I’m already thinking of ideas for names and I’ve been really impressed with Stephan Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine books, who does the same thing by tieing pop-culture with your comic. Also, for the people who already bought the books, I’d maybe put something on the inside saying, “Previously published as _______________ in 2006.”

    Byron and Robin, we are in this together. Byron, glad you are getting help and I hope things work out for you. Can’t wait for you to be back in a stable place and ready to get 1977 back up with new storylines and strips…however long that may take, we’ll still be here.

    • Hey Bret,
      That’s not a bad idea about the “Previously published as______________”.
      Or “Previously titled __________________”.
      I might put that on the back covers though instead of somewhere inside the books though.

      Nice suggestion.

  3. Hey Byron, I know I mentioned this on twitter, but it’s hard to say much in the space twitter allows you to say things in.

    I was diagnosed with primarily inattentive ADHD with comorbid anxiety at 28 (going to be 30 in a couple months). My husband, who recognized my symptoms as someone who has been medicated for ADHD since he was a child, finally convinced me to talk to my doctor about a proper diagnosis, and when the dust cleared, I had my diagnosis and was on a medication that was working as intended, I was suddenly the most functional, organized version of myself I have ever been in my entire life and my chronic headaches (from not being able to filter out anything, especially noise) and anxiety attacks vanished. There’s a lot more to my story, but I thought instead I’d leave you with some tips based on my experience that might help you out a little:

    1) Medication will not solve all your problems. A lot still rests on you, but the good news is that the medication makes motivation to keep your end of what needs to be done interesting, viable and doable. If you have a smart phone, use alarms, calenders, reminders and time management apps to keep you on track, and it will make things a thousand times easier than not using them. barring that, desktop versions of these things can also be a big help.

    2) Medication CAN lose its potency over time, cause side effects even after they were working fine for months and just plain stop working. A lot of people will take this as a sign that NO medication will help, and that is simply not true. If your medication starts wearing off really quickly, talk to your doctor and they will up the dose (mine had to be adjusted for times before we found something that was working fine). If it stops working all together, doesn’t work in the first place or suddenly you start having weird side effects after months of nothing, alert your doctor immediately. My husband had been on Adderall for years when it suddenly started giving him heart palpitations, his doctor switched him to ADHD medication in a different drug family and they stopped. Never just go cold turkey because you think they just must not work for you, always see your doctor first.

    3) Medication is EXPENSIVE! It’s less of an issue in Canada because big pharma doesn’t really have much stake in our healthcare system so it’s not really in our doctors’ best interest to recommend us the most expensive option and not mention the cheaper ones unless we ask, but there are generics of pretty much every type of ADHD medication and you should definitely go for one of those whether you are insured or not–they work just as well and won’t bankrupt you (I’m on a generic that costs half of the price of the brand name and it’s STILL $250 for 2 months of pills). There are also non-addictive options like Biphentin if that’s something you are concerned about.

    4) Not everyone you know is going to understand or even believe you when you say you have ADHD and you are going to feel like you have to justify everything with a story or an example (you immediately did it in the podcast when you brought the topic up and recalled how you were in 2nd grade, unprompted!), and the truth is that you don’t have to. You don’t owe it to anyone, and some people, no matter how many stories or examples you tell them, are still not going to understand or believe that you have a real medical issue (my parents STILL think it’s a made up issue even though my medication is very visibly improving every aspect of my life, and I have friends who still think it’s a trick by pharmaceutical companies to milk people for money for a made up problem or a way to deal with children being children for lazy parents).

    5) ADHD is hereditary! If you get a positive diagnosis and medication is helping, it’s time to check in with your children, even if they’re adults, and get a genuine feel for how they’re handling their own lives and whether they’re exhibiting symptoms or not. Even if they don’t pursue a diagnosis for themselves, it’s helpful to know because odds are their own children in the future may have the same issues you do.

    6) There are non-medication avenues for handling/living with ADHD. A lot of them involve complete diet changes and carefully monitoring your sleep schedule, and they work okay on their own (or so I hear) and help people who ARE medicated as well. Definitely look into them!

    7) Most important: It is completely possible to pursue making a comic while having ADHD and being treated for it. I’m doing it right now and know others who have it and make comics as well. One of the biggest issues I have with getting stuff done was putting myself in front of a computer to draw with nothing else happening. My brain focuses on everything, and even with medication, I’m so used to the background noise of the universe that doing ONLY work makes me anxious and distracted. The simple solution I found as to always be doing two things at once, and when I am drawing, all i have to do to stay on task is make sure I’m ALSO watching stuff on netflix on my kindle or listening to audiobooks, music or, like I am doing right now, listening to podcasts like this one in the background. 🙂

    • Ran,

      First, thank you very much for all of this! It is very helpful. I have just changed my diet after having discussed this situation with one of my Docs. I’m doing a Paleo diet and that has already changed several things in my behavior and energy. I’m not making drastic changes, I’m easing into this, but I have already cut Mountain Dew out AND that was a big step for me. I am addicted to the stuff.

      I will try the drugs. As I said, I’m not a fan, but I know I need the help and therefore will use them properly. Believe me, I will be in constant contact with my doctor during that phase. I also see a therapist who monitors my behavior as well.

      Yeah, my ADHD and depression are something a lot of folks don’t get or understand, and you know what? That’s all on them. I do care what people think of me, but if they can’t handle it, tough shit. I do NOT need anyone’s approval on this. Luckily, most of my immediate friends (and you internet friends) know exactly where I’m coming from and I dont’ have to be defensive around you all. I do throw out stories quickly though and it’s a habit I need to monitor. Ask Dawn, she’s heard ALL my stories. 🙂

      Thank you again for you words. They mean a LOT to me. Especially now.
      🙂

      • A Paleo diet is a great start Byron. Don’t forget about sleep, Vitamin D (best from sun, get outside), reducing stress, and getting some exercise. All of these can improve mood and possibly help manage depression. Once you have controlled for these factors, you are in a better position to determine if therapy and medications are needed or justified.

        If gluten is an issue then you have to be 100% gluten free. Gluten can stay in your system for a couple of weeks. You can be 90% paleo and see benefits but you can’t be 90% gluten free. Also, you don’t have to be celiac for gluten to be an issue in depression. You can have gluten sensitivity:

        http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/824492

        Also, you can message me directly if you want help with the Paleo diet or if you want some other resources.

        G Louis

        • Well, I’m getting plenty of walking now as I started a Part-Time job at a Home Depot near me. I needed to get out of the house and get exercise and this job does both. It also puts me back out in front of people. I’m a very social type guy and I love helping folks (thus why I helped create the WA), so by doing this part-time job, I accomplish several things. The money is insignificant to the benefits to my mental and physical health.

          Oh, and I sleep really well as a rule. My wife hates me for that. 🙂

          I’m not sure if I’m Gluten intolerant. My initial thinking would be “no” but I’ll add it to my list to chat with my MD about.

          Thank you for the support and suggestions, they all help.

  4. Hi, I’m a long time lurker who has recently caught up on all the podcasts so first of all thank you all for all the valuable information, and help you give out. I’m still at the novice level in the webcomics I do.

    To Chris specifically, I went to Intervention last weekend and attended two of the panels you did Saturday, and Sunday so thank you for taking your time out to do that. Anyways, on to the issuuuuue!

    I’m REALLY into titles (as you’ll see from the tons of suggestions I have) so I felt I had to comment on this. So the original problem seemed to be that you didn’t know how to continue with the “Can’t Print Flick” theme of titles for your books. I think you could pretty easily go on with variations on “Print Flick” titles (and I’ll give some suggestions further down in the post), but Byron pointed out the real issue is with how it conflicts with the branding. I think there are more issues with the branding as well. As I said I’m still a novice in webcomics, and I haven’t made or sold a book yet, but I’m working toward a degree in Marketing, and have taken all the actual marketing classes. Not saying that means a whole lot, but just showing I don’t completely not know what I’m talking about.

    The “Can’t Print Flick” titles would work really well for something auto-biographical, or with a character named Flick, but for a book called Capes And Babes about two normal people, a werewolf, and a vampire it doesn’t fit. You have 3 conflicting things going on. I’ve ran into your comics many time through Twitter, and for the longest time I just didn’t quite get it, and I think that was due to the branding. Going through most of your archive to help with this post I have to say the more I read your comic the more I liked it. The art, and the writing is top-notch, and I couldn’t respect it more! Going through the archives though I saw some issues with some radical ideas for them:

    Radical Idea #1: I think the title Capes And Babes hinders you. I know at this point it might be insane to even consider changing the title (and I have suggestions if you want to keep it), but I think it gives people the wrong expectations for the comic. I can only speak for myself, but before I read through the archives I would see the comic often times, not see a Superhero, or a scantily clad chick, and see a werewolf instead, and be thrown off by it. When I think Capes And Babes I think something like superheros with groupies, or a real “lowest common denominator” comic. I think the title promotes in some ways the opposite of what the comic is, and pushes away women who potentially could be a big demographic for you. Not because the title is offensive or anything, but because it might be viewed as a real “boys club” comic. The comic has two major non-traditional, and non-stereotypical female leads in Joey, and Roni, reflecting kind of the opposite of what the title might be communicating. Capes And Babes being the name of the comic shop isn’t readily apparent from many of the strips, and I think in the comic itself Marc should change the name of the shop. Everything in the comic book industry seems to be headed toward being more female friendly, and Marc seems like someone who a) has good business sense, and b) would be sensitive to it.

    Alternate Titles:

    Marc And Roy The Werewolf
    (or the reverse. Maybe “Werewolf Roy” in place of “Roy The Werewolf” to be a little less clunky. Simple, and to the point)

    Drawn To Each Other
    (reflects the relationships, and Roy’s drawing ability. “Drawn Together” I think would be better, but that was a cartoon on Comedy Central)

    Counter Arguments
    (many of the strips involve people arguing at a counter)

    Radical Idea #2 The tag line needs to be changed.

    “A Strip Mall, A Comic Book Shop, And A Crazy Werewolf”

    The strip mall part really never plays into the comic much, and if the title is Capes And Babes then the comic shop needs to get top billing to help communicate that that is the name of the shop. Also the tag really only mentions Roy when Marc should get at least equal billing. In fact in the early strips I’d argue Marc is really the main character, and Roy is more a side character. This does even out over time though.

    Alternate Taglines:

    “A Comic Book Shop In A World Where Comic Book Characters Are REAL”

    “A Comic Book Shop Where The Fictional Is Factual”

    “A Comic Book Shop Where The Normal Is The Absurd”

    “A Comic Book Shop Where Normal Isn’t Even An Option”

    “A Werewolf, A Vampire, And Two Strange People Who Can Never Seem To Get It Together”

    Radical Idea #3: At least in somewhere around the first half of the strips you have 3 different comics combined into one. These are the “normal Capes And Babes Strip”, we’ll call these the “story-line strips”; the “interview” strips, we’ll call these “Marc Interviews” strips, and the random making fun of things strips, we’ll call these “All In Good Fun” strips. To me the “story-line” strips have the broadest appeal as everyone can relate in one way or another to the relationships between Marc and Joey, and Roy and Roni. The “Marc Interviews” strips are usually really insider comics stuff, so they have a more niche appeal, but to a rabid audience. Finally, the “All In Good Fun” strips have a broad, but different appeal than the “story-line” strips as they relate to pop culture. To be clear, all 3 comics are great, but to me they have different audiences, and this can confuse new readers. For example, early on there is a 6 strip “All In Good Fun” story making fun of “The Ghost Whisperer”. If a reader jumps in the middle of this they’ll associate Capes And Babes with this. If they return sometime later and see Marc and Roy they have no idea who these characters are. Also some people might like one of the 3 strips and not others. Later on this becomes less of a problem as most of the strips are “story-line” strips with occasional interruptions. I would recommend separating the 3 comics into separate comics, and put them all under a banner like “Flick Toons” or something. This is also a way you could keep your original book titles from your books if made the books with all 3 comics.

    Anyways that’s my 2 cents as worthless as it may be… And now a ton of titles for your books if you need any…

    Howl Titles:

    Book 1:

    Howls About We Stop At One?

    Howls About We Make A Book?

    Howls About You Buy This Already?

    Book 2:

    Howl We Make Another Book?

    Book 3:

    Third N’ Howl: The Third

    Book 4:

    Howl A 4th Book Do?

    Wolf Titles:

    Wolf In Creep’s Clothing

    Don’t Cry Wolf, Laugh At It

    Don’t Cry, Wolf! There Are Other Vampire Girls

    Roy Titles:

    Roy Rodgers (Roy Standing between Roger Sterling, and Roger Rabbit, or any 2 guys named Roger. Or looking disgruntled in a cowboy outfit)

    Roy Jones [or “Roy Jones… For Roni] (Roy with boxing gloved getting punched by Roni with hearts in his eyes)

    Roy Harper (Roy dressed as Speedy, Red Arrow, or Arsenal and “harping” on how “No one’s going to get this”)

    Roy’d Rage

    Put A Sock In It Roy (reference to “Itchy And Scratchy And Poochie Show” episode of The Simpsons. Roy is either dressed like Poochie; someone is yelling at him; and or he’s stuffing his pants with a sock)

    “Print Flick” Titles:

    You Can Print Flick But You Probably Shouldn’t

    They Can’t Print Flick But I Can

    I Forgot Why I Can’t Print Flick

    Lycan Titles: (and before anyone says anything I know Lycans and Werewolves are different but if anything I think Roy is more a Lycan)

    Book 1: Lycan You Buy This Already?

    Book 2: Lycan You Buy This Too?

    Book 3: Lycan You Complete This Trilogy?

    Lycan You Buy This As Well?

    Lycan You Keep Buying This?

    (storyline specific)

    Lycan You Give Me Advice For Dating A Vampire?

    Lycan You Give Me Advice For Dealing With My Vampire Girlfriend?

    Lycan Marc And Joey Get Together Already?

    Lycan You Build Me Something?

    Lycan I Get A Job?

    Lycan Things Get Any Worse?

    Lycan You Fix My Leaky Faucet?

    Paws Titles:

    Once You Get Your Paws On This You’ll Never Put This Down

    Paws Off The Merchandise

    Paws And Take A Deep Breath

    Fangs Titles:

    Fangs For The Purchase

    Fangs For The Support

    Fang You, Come Again

    Fangtastic Voyages

    Fangs, Fur, And Fanboys

    One Word Titles:

    Tools (Joey in the center with tools with Marc to her left saying “Why are we standing here?” and Roy to her right looking down at the title and saying ” I don’t know… HEY!)

    Changes [or “For Better Or Worse”](reflects on strips where Roy is broke; Roni is “ReVamp’d”; Marc talks about his past; and Joey talks about moving to be near Marc)

    Possibilities (reflects on strips with Hippie Mummy)

    Story-based Titles:

    The Benevolent Manipulator (reflects on Hippie Mummy strips)

    Wasted Talent, Proscrastination, And Squandered Potential (reflects on Roy being broke strips)

    ReVamp’d And Demotivated

    Hard Working Miracles

    The Commercial Within A Dream, And The Comic Within A Comic

    Random Titles:

    Silver Bullets To Boredom

    Relationship Building

    Roni, Drawings, Joey, and Marc (reference to New Edition song “Cool It Now” with “Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, and Mike”

    I hope this was helpful. Can’t wait til’ the strip is back!

    • Ricky, first I gotta say one word that really describes your post: WOW!
      The second is two words: Thank you.

      That was a LOT of feedback to go over and some really great stuff to consider. Also, thanks for coming out to see me at Intervention Con as well.

      Okay, first off…
      I think I am pretty much locked in to the Capes & Babes thing. Changing it at this point would be like McDonald’s changing their name, you know? I know lately I haven’t focused a lot on the comic book shop but I think that’s also a product of having a seven year, 1,000 strip history. Eventually things will progress and grow beyond the comic book shop. And I think that’s what has happened here.

      But you have given me some really great ideas…
      I wasn’t originally going to re-design all of the three books I have so far. I was just going to re-do the covers of each book. But your idea of re-organizing the content into similar categories could easily be applied to the three books… sort of as chapters. That is definitely food for though and I think I’m going to do that with the forth book.

      Instead of just simply throwing all the strips together in chronological order as they appeared on the website, I can organize them into one-off strips, longer story lines and other things like that and give them chapter names. that will require some additional work but since I have been struggling for a way to make book four different than 1-3, that might be just the thing I need.

      But concerning the name of the comic book store and the possibility of people not getting the connection and/or females being a little guarded about the “Babes” part… I’m going to file that away as a possible future storyline I can explore in the strip. I haven’t had many females at conventions seem offended by the name – in fact, I’ve had quite the opposite once i tell people it’s a title of a comic book shop. So, maybe that’s also a sign that i have to do more comic book store-related strips.

      I think i am definitely going to go away from the “Flick” titles and make the titles more strip or Capes & babes relevant. Having said that though, I TOTALLY dig “I Forgot Why I Can’t Print Flick!” That is a great title I might have considered using if I decided to keep with the Flick titles. I might put a special section in the books though to explain why the change took place.

      And some awesome title suggestions as well. I already know what I am naming the forth book though but that’s a very long list so i thank you for taking the time to come up with all of those. I dig many of the “Paws” titles, for sure!

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