Manley man blogs optimistically.

Joey Manley thinks the difficulty of making money in webcomics is, on the whole, good for webcartoonists.

Money quote:
If making money from web content were easy, if it were simply a matter of applying one perfect strategy to the problem, you and I wouldn’t stand a chance. Disney, AOL/TimeWarner, Rupert Murdoch, whoever — you know, the suits — would have slapped down their x’s and their o’s in every corner of the board, and won the game, years ago. That’s exactly what they were trying to do during the dotcom bubble, doncha know: establish utter domination, as quickly as possible, and as coldly. That’s what they do. This does not mean, by the way, that they are evil. It just means that they are large corporations.

But back to the point: if this game were easy, you and I wouldn’t even be allowed to play.

Potential Myazaki-gasm, or dud?

Viz comics has put out a manga-ized version of Spirited Away consisting simply of stills from the animated cartoon movie edited into a comic with word balloons. I’ve been meaning to buy the DVD but as a reader rather than a viewer, and as a cartoonist who likes to explore still pictures for stealing inspiration, I may enjoy these more in the long run. Or would I? It is co-opted art, and rather steeply priced… are these books worth having?

ROCR progress update

Yesterday evening I drew and colored a ROCR update in just under 4 hours, no thanks to the studio computer having some sort of epileptic seizure. Strange how that never happens with my home system…
I need another hour and a bit for lettering, scaling and spit and polish, but I think I may run it as Friday’s update instead of the one I posted on the blog the other day. That way those of you who are taking the background challenge will have a bit more time (and so will I)… and yes, I know there are some people taking the challenge. I think the original order of the updates works better in the context of the full sequence, but that will be easy to fix in the Modern Tales archives.

Meanwhile, over at Elf Life, Carson has announced an end to negativity, and an end to the crisis he’s been in. Pity, really, because I really had a few choice words to say to the spoiled know-nothings who couldn’t be bothered to find out the whole story and wouldn’t know empathy if it smacked them in the face and then felt their pain fine, upstanding, principled webcartoonists populating the not-really-PvP-forums-anymore forums, but well, I’ll just keep them to myself.
One thing needs to be pointed out, though. In a response to my earlier blog entry about the situation (which I can’t find because there’s something wrong with Carson’s blog archiving), Carson (mildly) criticises me and others for handwringing over his actions. While I’m sure Carson did not in any way mean to lump me in with those webcartoonists who called him names over the decision to pressurize people into buying art, I want to point out for the rest of the world that any handwringing I did was over the fact that he *had* to do this, not over him actually doing it. The fact that all he got out of five years’ hard work *and* moderate success was the threat of another eviction. This threat now seems to have been evaded, thanks largely to Amber Panyko of the Dan and Mab, who deserves large amounts of good karma coming her way.

So that’s it! No more negativity! I’m looking forward to seeing the art I bought, and to getting back to normal.

Comment spam

“Waffle” has had its first comment spam! Fortunately I do not allow links in comments, and I was online to delete it on sight, so no harm done.

If it goes on though, I will take more drastic measures. Like maybe propose a law that legalises the use of spammers in medical tests instead of animals.

“Let’s see if this shampoo hurts when I squirt it into your eyes, little spammer! Oooh, it does, doesn’t it? Just like the last time.”

Dangerous and Fluffy: The Sheep of Doom!

Well, it’s 6 more hours before my first webcomic goes live, and I suppose I ought to take this chance to describe how it all came together.

The seeds for D.A. – No, mustn’t use the acronym – Dangerous and Fluffy: The Sheep of Doom were sown many years ago – I can remember toying with the idea of a farmer superhero when I was nobbut eighteen or so, but it wasn’t until about two years ago that I actually commited pen to paper, with a short dialogue between young Gregory Senthwaite and his parents, which is roughly equivelent to this coming update and the first page of the next update (it ends just before the “Clawed Death From Above” sequence on page 4), though various scribbled down notes set out the plot until just before the appearance of Bledlow (the cheerful, nautical-looking individual you may have seen in our promotional art). Everything after that point, with the exception of a single page that will come right at the end of Chapter 1, several months in the future, is new material.

For those of you who are interested in such things, the original title was Superfarmer, changed to the rather more interesting sounding Gregory Senthwaite and the Sheep of Doom before I closed my notes on it two years ago, and changed to the current title just before we started drawing.

About a year ago, I remember showing these little story notes to a friend, who asked me if it was going to become a comic. And I replied that there was no way it would become a comic, it was doomed to remain a story. I may have privately thought it would be nice to have it as a comic, but saw no real chance of it becoming one, and was resigned to having it as an amusing tale.

Fate has made me eat my words. It’s crafty like that.

Late last year, I thought it might be fun to do a guest comic for Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan. I didn’t have much talent, but thought if I carefully wrote the script, I could get away with only drawing people from the front. That… was hopeless. I ended up with a fun script that I was completely incapable of drawing. But Reinder came to the rescue and introduced me to Jeroen Jager. It was a fun project for both of us, and gret fun, but afterwards, we lost touch again.

It’s probably only my Gilbert and Sullivan obsession that leads me to compare this to Gilbert and Sullivan meeting to do an odd little play called Thespis, which went largely unnoticed, then several years later being thrown together again to do Trial by Jury and begining the famous Gilbert and Sullivan Operas, so well loved even now… but I fear my internal scholar is showing. As you may have guessed, another event – me learning about the start of Cap’n, being greatly amused and quite shocked that he was mining the vein of subtle, bizarre, and perhaps just a teensy bit perverted humour that I often use, perhaps a bit more sparingly than in the first three comics of the Cap’n restart, but, well, those aliens that Thomas talks about in our first update and who have slept in my files for these many years are in that same style of humour through embarrassing revelations as Jeroen was using. I had to spread the word about this comic, and doing so caught Jeroen’s attention, and lead to us agreeing to collaborate.

His character designs could have been drawn directly from my imagination. I was shocked – and delighted. We soon got the first two pages of our comic together, whilst wondering what to do with it noticed that Graphic Smash was about to finish up a comics selection period, sent the comics to T on the off chance….

And here we are!

-Adam Cuerden

Dangerous and Fluffy: The Sheep of Doom!

One advantage of reading Cerebus again…

… is that I get this itch to play Dave Sim and work on non-standard layouts! Here’s the art for Friday’s ROCR episode:
Character art

I have not drawn in the backgrounds, because while drawing it, it struck me that someone else might want to play Gerhard and draw the backgrounds in. And you can! If you are interested, fetch the high-res scan, and go nuts!

I’ll probably do my own version unless someone sends a version back to me really quickly, but it would be interesting to see how different people approach the background. The only thing you need to know is that it’s set inside the Gnomian Parliament, and that Maghreid and Feiht are at a table in the background of panel 1.
In the future, I might want to work with a background artist to ease my workload, but for now, this is just for the challenge and the fun of it, OK?

FTP client for linux?

I do most of my heavy-duty ftp work in the studio, in Windows. Today, I had to upload the comics from home though, and once again I noticed how much more slowly I work with the command line ftp client than I do with WinFTP LE. I’ve worked with command line ftp since 1992, but I’m still more productive if I can use a graphical client.
Problem is, I’ve never found a linux client that is

  1. easy to install (I’m willing to compile from source but don’t want to have to do a lot of troubleshooting if a compile fails);
  2. stable; and
  3. as intuitive to use as WinFTP LE (which I don’t think has been updated since 2001, and whose usability was stripped down compared to the commercial version even then. I don’t think that’s too much to ask

KBear, an ftp client that works on KDE, meets the third requirement, but fails the first two in my experience. Filerunner, suggested to me by a computer geek friend, failed the third by a very large margin. What alternatives do I have?