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Michael Jantze

Jantze Announces End of Self-Publication of The Norm Comic Book

Jantze announced on the back of the latest edition of his comic book, The Norm Magazine that as of the 10th issue, he will no longer be self-published the comic book. He also solicited proposals from others to publish his work.

The Great Print to Online Migration: When will that be

When would we see publishers, creators, artists & writers from the print comics world dominated by DC & Marvel migrate to the Internet to do webcomics? When will see these professionals take advantage of the Internet and create great stories online?

And meanwhile, should we usher in auteurs like Gary Larson, Bill Watterson, Berkely Breathed, Frank Miller and Grant Morrison to do their finest work online?

The PC Weenies featured in The Norm Magazine #7

Crossing over into print, The PC Weenies makes its first foray into comic books within the pages of The Norm Magazine #7, available this month in comic shops across the nation.

A Look At The Norm's New Business Model

The Pulse takes a look at the new business model of Michael Jantze's The Norm.

Nicole Jantze told the Pulse "a lot" of subscribers signed on at more than the base $25 -- and the final result was close enough to move ahead. "Michael decided to take a leap of faith and see what could happen." They are still getting subscribers and expect more in the days and weeks to come.

Jantze succinctly sums up her husband's ability to continue with new strips for pay as a huge victory. "It shows that with no marketing, a syndicated cartoonist can leave papers and still make a living," she told the Pulse.

Monday Morning News Roundup

Can you believe this is the 24th issue of Comixpedia? I really can't. (My wife can't either!) More importantly I can't believe it took us 24 issues to get to the funny in webcomics.

Along with some of the obvious front page changes we made for 2005, I am sad but relieved to announce that we're suspending the separate staff blog, 24 Hour Pixel People, for the time being. The two primary authors were myself and Erik Melander. Erik is now penning a monthly column for Comixpedia (the first installment of which is now up) and I'm stretched too thin as it is. But we will continue to provide news and views right here on the front page of Comixpedia. So let's get to those news and views.

Well Will There Be The Norm Or Not in 2005?

The Norm had a proposition for readers after creator Michael Jantze pulled his comic out of the newspaper and left his syndication deal. If he could get 4000 dues-paying members to his website he would keep making new The Norm comic strips.

The amount at issue is (at a minimum) 4000 x $25 or $100,000. That's a lot really in terms of what's been raised by the subscription/fundraising drive model but in some ways it's possible that Jantze is a lot more famous than anyone who has gone this route.

The terms of the drive has always been 4000 or more equals new The Norm and 3999 or less equals a full refund of money to those donating. From the looks of the website they haven't gotten to 4000 yet but I imagine we'll hear the final results at some point in the next couple of days.

2004: A Year in Review

As 2004 packs its bags and prepares to turn over the keys to the new year, we thought we would take this opportunity to look back at certain significant or just really amusing webcomics-related news stories throughout the year.

If we missed your favorite event, feel free to add your own thoughts.

Money Money Money: Need Some, Got Some

An update on recent fundraising drives around webcomicland.

Greg Dean is currently raising money to buy new servers for his popular webcomic Real Life.

Joe England of Zebra Girl is about 1/3 of the way to the stated goal of his fundraiser and Michael Jantze of The Norm is more than 1/2 way to his January 1st goal..

Desmond Seah of Bigger Than Cheeses is not actually very close to his stated goal of 50 trillion dollars, but we wish him luck anyway.

And finally, from the success stories file, Jamie Robertson announced that enough fans had signed up for a Clan of the Cats membership that he could continue to devote the time to making the webcomic.

Looking back at November

When I first did one of these "looking back" thingies I knew that it was likely that there would be months when nothing much happened, or perhaps at least nothing major happened. I am also willing to admit that I've been pandered with the news available for September and October. Enter November. And mind you, I'm not saying nothing happened in November, just that not a lot of similar or connected things happened. Still when reality lets you down, make things up. So sit back and enjoy a ride on the Apophenia railroad, next stop Speculationville.

A lot, most probably, of the creators of webcomics are happy amateurs, they write and draw comics because they enjoy it and because they have stories they want to tell. Some, however, have loftier dreams, they dream of print. I imagine that those are also the creators who dream of making comics their dayjob, but I may be wrong. Two news items from the beginning of the month made me contemplate the goal of webcomicers. The first was that Amber "Glych" Greenlee's No stereotypes got a publishing deal with Sonic publishing, the second was that Dave Johnson's Dog complex got picked up for online syndication on Universal press' Ucomics, not quite newspaper syndication, but a step on the way. I'm probably stating the obvious by saying that print, be it as a collection or as newspaper syndication is the holy grail for most webcomic artists that want to make comics their career.

This was once again brought forth when T Campbell and Gisele Lagace's Penny and Aggie left Modern tales for Comics sherpa as a first step towards traditional newspaper syndication. Now, no-one can accuse T Campbell of being a webcomic luddite, he has two other strips on Modern Tales sister site Graphic smash, but it is clear from a post on the Penny and Aggie board that he is not a believer in the syndication schemes put forth by Keenspot and Scott Kurtz. It seems that no "look back" is complete without linking to Websnark (I actually can't remember if I linked to him in the October look back, if not I'll buy Burns a beer if we ever meet, since I live in Sweden I'll categorise that as doubtful). I imagine that most people reading this has already read Burns' essay on the syndicated cartoonist's view of Kurtz and Keen. If you haven't read it I implore you to do so. Don't bother finishing reading this thing, you can come back to it later.

The point I'm trying to make (or think I'm trying to make) is that if online and print is going to clash it won't be in comic book stores or the graphic novel section of Barnes and Noble, it will be in the funny pages. Perhaps I'm wrong about syndication as a goal, I once again refer you to Burns and his comment on Penny and Aggie:

These days... there's a real feeling on the web that syndication isn't needed, that it isn't even desirable -- that if you syndicate, you lose control over your creation and your licensing and you undergo restrictive editorial oversight. It's almost odd to see a couple of webcartoonists saying "hey, I want to be in the newspapers. I want to get paid for this -- paid by someone else, someone who isn't me doing all the grunt work -- and get the exposure of hundreds of newspapers printing my work."

This opinion is certainly present in the replies to Campbell's post. But I also note that before launching his free syndication scheme Kurtz did negotiate with Universal (I believe it was) about syndicating PvP the traditional way and Tatsuya Ishida is now up to 11 rejections by syndicates. Perhaps the old syndication model is dying, but it's not going to go peacefully.

And to end with something complete (or almost completely) different I note that Michael Jantze's The Norm now has 2431 members, but has extended the deadline to reach the 4000 needed for Jantze to keep it alive to December 31st. Jamie Robertson (Clan of the Cats) has 191 of the 200 needed to keep his comic alive.

Oh and the next time we take a look back it looks like it will be in the form of a real Comixpedia column, I suppose that will mean that I will have to try to actually make some sense instead of these stream of consciousness posts.

Keep theNorm.com Alive!

Keep theNorm.com Alive!

Hey all! Just a reminder to go over to http://www.thenorm.com and donate to become a member and keep theNorm.com alive! The cartoonist there is thinking of hanging it up, but will continue if he gets enough donations. The Norm is a great strip for people who love personal commentary in their comics.

If nothing else go visit it and see what it's all about. Go. Go. Go!