My next door neighbours (2)

I just dropped by at Linda de Haan’s studio, to ask if she’d read the coverage of her and Stern Nijland’s first book, which I discussed a few days ago. Turns out she had, and more. She handed me a pile of printouts from news websites, and listed a number of Dutch media outlets that had interviewed her today.
While we were talking she got two more phone calls, and tomorrow she’ll have a local TV camera crew over.

Sales of King & King are brisk, as are the pre-sales for the sequel. Once again, the censorious impulse has defeated itself.

Stop linking to

I have decided to phase out as anything other than an experimental location. It has proven to be too much of a bother to keep track of the four different locations in which the comic appears, and of those four, the supposedly more reliable Keenprime host, the only one I pay for[*], has been the biggest headache. So I’m removing all links to it from my real home page,, and rebuilding the cast section on, a free host that has a much better track record. There may still be some broken links on the front page and inside the cast section, but at least when I fix those, they will stand a decent chance of staying fixed.

So, if you are linking to, please change those links to, or to the ROCR space at Modern Tales. These will also be your backup addresses if one of the others fails.

[*]To their credit, the Keenprime people have been very good about not charging for the months in which one way or another it wasn’t working. However, I didn’t get a Keenprime account to deal with regular interruptions for free.

Princess Juliana and the media

Princess Juliana of the Netherlands has died, so the country is becoming an island for the rest of the weekend. I agree that the death of a former monarch deserves a lot of media attention, and I’m actually somewhat interested in it, but the media here are covering nothing else! As if the world economy, the war on terror, the democratic process in the USA and all other important issues are taking a breather out of respect for a member of a small country’s royal family member who has been retired from active duty for a generation.

Still, it’s not entirely wasted on me. She did lead an interesting life, after all.

Comics for the Exhibit (8)

One of the great things about doing this exhibit is that I get to rediscover and re-appraise.

While looking for Holeboy a pioneering webcomic that other webcomics histories have so far neglected to mention, I was delighted to find that not only was it still online, but that the artist’s other, regular strip, CultuRe Trap had returned in a new format. CultuRe Trap was what made me discover Christian Cosas’s work in the early 1990s, that strange time when people complained about a webcomics glut because there were dozens of them to choose from. I even interviewed him for a magazine I was editing at the time.
True to form, Christian has only produced a few new comics, but it’s still fun to see how the characters and style have evolved. And it’s interesting for me to see how he’s done his entire site in Moveable Type.
Christian should probably have been mentioned among those who went “above and beyond” in my earlier museum-related blog entries, because I asked him to submit material from Holeboy for the columns, but forgot to tell him two weeks later that I’d got enough material from other contributors. At the time, he was still looking for his original files from way back when. So to compensate for this unintentional snub, go and take a look at Holeboy, one of the first webcomics to explore the possibilities of the screen.

When someone suggested I include Ozy and Millie as part of the “Kids” section of the exhibit, my initial reaction was “nah”. I’d read it a bit before, and didn’t think it was all that hot, and something in one of artist D.C. Simpson’s opinion pieces just rubbed me up the wrong way. I don’t remember what it was he said, or even on which subject, but I did remember thinking he was a bit of a closed-minded stick-in-the-mud for saying it. I try to avoid people like that. So imagine my surprise when I went to give it another look, to find that not only was it a lot, really a lot, better than I remembered (I must have had a bad day when I read it the first time), but also that in his newer opinion pieces he showed a much greater maturity of opinion than I remembered from back then. I am now reading those pieces in reverse-chronological order, so I’ll eventually rediscover that old article. I’ll probably find that I was a bit of a closed-minded stick-in-the-mud for reacting like that in the first place.

Symbol for webcomics?

A request came in from the Comics Museum’s graphic designer. She needs a symbol representing webcomics for a placard in the museum. Since she asked two days ago, I’ve been unable to think of any. Does such a thing exist or will I have to use some of my copious spare time and brainpower to create one?

Update: I thought I had found what I was looking for in Scott McCloud’s symbol for Digital Comics (See Page 200 of Reinventing Comics) but the graphics people need something with more of a human touch in it. Hmmmm.

More Sketches.

Thumbnail For Modern Tales subscribers only, I’ve got some more sketches up in the Book of All Things. These show my layouts for pages from October/November, 2003, when my approach to layout changed a little bit.

There’ll be some more sketches later this week. I hope that eventually I’ll be able to have what I originally had in mind for the Book of All Things, which was a more or less complete overview of the preliminary work for the Rite of Serfdom storyline, without interruptions.

(I’m afraid the link goes to a whole archive chapter rather than only the new sketches. You will see some sketches you’ve seen before. Can’t be helped, because this is the only way the archives can retain some consistency.)

Keenspot revenues, new comics

Via Carson Fire:

Keenspot has announced its revenues for 2003. Money quotes (quite literally):

“Our 2003 gross of $188,475 is an 81.2% jump over 2002’s $103,976 in revenues,” said Chris Crosby, Keenspot Co-CEO “These numbers certainly aren’t spectacular in comparison to major traditional print publishers, but they show that webcomics are a thriving, growing industry that could be a major force in the future of entertainment.”

Chris is right about it not being spectacular in comparison to major traditional print publishers. Indeed it’s worrying that after 4 years, the company still isn’t making a living for absolutely anyone involved. Nevertheless, with 4 years of learning everything the hard way under their belts, the Keen people now have something to build upon. The latest batch of promotions is proof of that. Skirting Danger which I blogged about earlier, got 17,000 visitors and 208,000 pageviews on its first day at Keenspot. Sore Thumbs also posted very high visitor numbers on its premiere day. (Their Extreme Tracker says 21,534.) Those are numbers that I’m sure many a Modern Tales cartoonist would murder for.

Keenspot knows its target audience, raises the quality bar for new comics a little bit with every new wave of acquisitions, and uses the popularity of the comics already present to drive the marketing machinery for new comics. Unless the web advertising market tanks again (always a real possibility) they could well double their takings again. And that means even more cartoonists get a Four! Figure! Check! every quarter.