Robot 6

Quote of the Day | The future of comic strips

“When I started, if you got syndicated, you were basically set — you’d make a good living, and you wouldn’t have to worry much else. In the 11 years since then, that door has basically closed. There is no new great syndicated strip, and there probably won’t be. Literally, there are no new launches. Now, to make it, you have to go that web route. Many of those guys, from Penny Arcade to Cyanide and Happiness to The Perry Bible Fellowship — which are all excellent — claim to make a living, but how do you know? I can tell you that even if someone does a strip and it’s fairly popular online, the money is not online. I question a lot of claims about the money being made, and the question remains that if things continue to go that route for newspapers, and you have to make money online, how do you do it?”

– award-winning cartoonist Stephan Pastis, on how the market for comic strips has changed since Pearls Before Swine received wide syndication in 2002

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The money comes from merchandise. T-shirts, printed collections, nick-nacks and the such.

Yep, and to a lesser extent from ads. “Money is not online” seems like a silly statement. It’s not as easy as it was in the days of syndication, but it’s not impossible.

“Many of those guys, from Penny Arcade to Cyanide and Happiness to The Perry Bible Fellowship — which are all excellent — claim to make a living, but how do you know?”

You assume people are telling the truth until proven otherwise. Duh. :/

You could also ask them, if you can’t see how it works, how it works for them.

Dammit, Pastis, I love your work but questioning the Penny Arcade, etc people is not smart.

I think what you meant to say is “how are you making money, how can other people follow suit?” But you phrased it in the stupidest way possible.

Well, I’d ask them for one thing.

The Penny Arcade guys success is pretty self evident. The guys run their own convention. I doubt guys just scraping by would be able to have that pull.

The statement also ignores all the comic strip guys who DIDN’T “make it” after a while and still held other jobs. Hell, Scott Adams, the writer and artist behind Dilbert, didn’t leave his job for a good number of years after the strip launched. So it’s not as simple as “Get a strip in a paper, make a living.” For every Calvin & Hobbes, there are hundreds of strips that are instantly forgettable.

The online presence is still a new frontier. I think people are still finding a way to crack the code. But there ARE those making a living online. We don’t have to doubt them just because we don’t understand exactly “how.”

“The money comes from merchandise. T-shirts, printed collections, nick-nacks and the such.”

“Yep, and to a lesser extent from ads. “Money is not online” seems like a silly statement. It’s not as easy as it was in the days of syndication, but it’s not impossible.”

Right. And unlike the strips in newspapers, the people working on the strips online own all the rights and get all the money from the merchandising or ad sales. So they get a bigger piece of the pie. It means that they have to be more business savvy and invest their money wisely, but it also means that they have a lot more control over the funds coming from their work.

And the more views that these works get, the more money these creators receive from ads. It may be a different medium, but online reviewers like the Angry Videogame Nerd, the Nostalgia Critic, The Spoony Experiment, The Cinema Snob, Angry Joe and more make their livings off of doing online reviews. And the more people watch, the more ad revenue they receive. I’m not too sure about the details, but it just comes down to the more that read/view, the more likely they’d have more money coming in.

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