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Penny Arcade

The Trouble with Social Media and the New Internet

Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else that is popular this second are pretty awesome. However, the very thing that makes it awesome can also cause some issues for the modern day webcomic professional. There is now a higher amount of information available to us than before. This means that there are more avenues for us to get our brand recognized. YAY!

Unfortunately, the thing that makes social media such a great tool is also burying many new creators. The noise on the internet is so high that I believe it is harder for a new creator to be heard today than it was 10 years ago. Back when there were only a handful of creators online, it was a no brainer to run into everyone at least once. Now, it is not the case. I have met rabid webcomics fans who have never heard of Penny Arcade.

Today, readers like for information to come to them, rather than checking physical sites every day. We have reached information overload. A high number of people I speak with have told me that they and most of their friends now use RSS aggregators or get their information from Facebook and Twitter. I have fans who read my site every single day that missed the GIANT banner on the top of the page and frequent blog posts about the fact that their favorite creator is running AN ENTIRE WEBCOMICS CONVENTION.

Following this relevation, I conducted an informal experiment where I would post happenings on my Facebook and Twitter. Later that month I would strike up conversation with specific people who were very big fans of my work to see how much they had engaged with the information. I had found that most people would ignore the passive postings and almost all of them would engage, support, and spread the word about things that I spoke to them directly about.

The catch, is, you can't be fake about it. You have to love what you do and care about who you are speaking to. I always ignore automatic and sterile messages. I will always reply to people who are genuinely saying "hello".

The best way is to really believe in what you are doing and to treat everyone like you would want to be treated. This in itself stands out in stark contrast to the firehose of information that is today's internet. As corny as it sounds, it seems that today's best weapon is to love the journey, make some new friends, network with your peers, and never give up. I wish I could give an easier recipe for success. The unfortunate truth is that it is not easy, but it will happen if you don't give up! :D

5 Questions: Who Is Your Core Audience?

For a webcomic to be successful, it has to connect to a core audience. The core audience is the comic's natural readership, a defined group, the people who buy merchandise and recommend the comic to their friends. Core audiences are broad descriptions, of course (any single person in the group won't exactly fit the description), but they're useful in understanding a comic and its readers. For instance, Penny Arcade appeals to folks who enjoy video games (among other things). Hark! A Vagrant readers are educated, and have an interest in history and irreverent sense of humor. Understanding this helps determine what kind of content and merchandise may be well received by those comics' audiences.

Comix Talk for Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rogues of Clwyd-RhanThis is fun - Haplog is a website that pulls together a bunch of different publicly available data about a website and then estimates its "worth".  Estimates in webcomicland range -- the top may be xkcd which gets a $1.7 million score followed by Penny Arcade at $669,725 and Questionable Content comes in at around $480,000.

MILESTONES: This month marks the 10th anniversary of the English-language run of the fantasy webcomic Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan.  Congrats to creator Reinder Dijkhuis!  

iWebcomics: Brigid does a round up of all the recent "digital" news.  While there is something to chew on in thinking over the disclosure of DC's plans for compensation for digital editions of its works, in general I'm fairly underwhelmed by the recent announcements.  The true business-shifting pitch for DC or Marvel is something like rhapsody for comics.  I'm also glad to read that Ron Peraza of DC mention that he will either bring Zuda creators into DC proper or work to let them out of their contracts with their rights back.  The whole interview with Peraza at Robot6 is worth reading for more insight into the shutdown of Zuda.

As far as DC's compensation scheme goes, Bleeding Cool reports that DC offered "for every work published by DC in a digital format, writers and pencilers will each receive additional compensation equal to 5% of DC’s net receipts derived from the sale of that work. Inkers will receive 3% of DC’s net receipts. Those of you who have a creator-owned deal in place with us will receive a creator royalty of 3% of DC’s net receipts."

INTERVIEW: Tom Spurgeon presents an edited transcript of his panel with Richard Thompson, Cul De Sac, at Heroes Con. Thompson is the creator of one of the best new comics in the newpaper (or anywhere really).

FROM THE MAILBAG: Sam Costello is back with another comic in his Split Lip horror series – Make Westing adapts Jack London's classic tale of high-seas murder to comics.  Written by Costello and drawn by Anthony Peruzzo, it follows a ship stuck for months trying to catch the wind to round Cape Horn and the lengths to which its captain will go to catch a westward gust. 

AROUND THE BLOGS

NOT WEBCOMICS: Apparently the video below almost got Best Buy employee and webcomic creator Brian Maupin fired.  It's $@^ing hilarious (but some of the language NSFW). Be sure to check out his webcomic Also Coin Operated.

Comix Talk for Friday, April 30, 2010

ComixTALK Man by Stephen McCranie

Stephen McCranie created a bit of ComixTalk fan art, thanks Stephen!  Be sure to check out his comic Mal and Chad a really well drawn comic.

Congrats to the Penny Arcade duo for being included in Time's Top 100 list this year.  Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins are a true American dream story -- doing what they love and creating success with it.

BleedingCool.com reports that the Atlantic Centre For The Arts in Florida is offering a  residency as Associate Artist for a comic book creator in October, under master artists THB creator Paul Pope, Blankets author Craig Thompson or manga creator Svetlana Chmakova. Wow, for almost any aspiring comics creator this seems like taking a PhD course.

MILESTONES: Brat-halla reaches 400 comics.  Congratulations to Jeffery Stevenson & Seth Damoose (and colorist Anthony Lee)!

EVENTS: Noel Curry wants to make May 14th Dialogue Free Comics Day.  It's a good point - which is to remind everyone of the important visual aspect of comics.

FROM THE MAILBAG:  Al Schroeder writes: After two years and ten zillion cameos and interdimensional tomfoolery, the group webcomic CROSSOVERLORD, featuring superheroes from seven different webcomics, reaches the climax of its storyline.  After this, only four or five more strips to go!

Time 100 Competition: Penny Arcade Guys

Time is running its online poll on the world's most influential people in government, science, technology and the arts and this year one of the candidates you can vote for are the "Penny Arcade guys."  Currently Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik are 11th on the list. (h/t 1UP)

Comix Talk for Monday, March 29, 2010

So here's a good question worth a think. Salon just let Reuben Bolling know it's canceling it's contract for Tom The Dancing Bug (which apparently means This Modern World is the last comic at Salon?)  Tom the Dancing Bug is a smart, funny comic and the question now is -- what's the business plan for Bolling going forward?  Seriously, if there's one cartoonist who I would volunteer time to help brainstorm and execute a new business model for, he'd be on the short list. 

Penny Arcade - Penny Arcade Expo: Hope PAX East was awesome.  I'll jealously read the reports trickling in today as attendees tell their tales of brushing against the PA crew and breaking into spontaneous nerdcore beatboxing in the hallways.  In honor of the recent PAX East here's a link to Geekosystem's Top 10 Most Obscure PA characters.

Also, the Penny Arcade crew announced they would not be making a third installment in their videogames series but you can still read Macgasm's refresher review of the first two episodes of On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness here.

OTHER CONVENTIONS: In other con news, I'm still trying to make sure my schedule allows me to attend, but it looks like Rob Balder of Erfworld will definitely be there.  Where? At Intervention of course. And don't forget the Comics Events calendar for dates for comic conventions and other events

Milestones: Gordon McAlpin finished Book Four of his Multiplex webcomic.  This comic has gotten better and better -- McAlpin does the character-driven material as well as the movie-driven stuff.

REVIEWS: El Santo reviews Evan Dahm's Rice Boy - it's another example of why El Santo is one of the best reviewers in comics right now.  (My review of Rice Boy is here.)

INTERVIEWS: Sequential Tart has an interview with Rene Engstrom, creator of the completed webcomic Anders Loves Maria.

Opinion: I'd rather have Tatsuya Ishida on the editorial pages than most working editorial cartoonists.  Ishida is at least as opinionated as 3/4 of them and his art runs laps (MULTIPLE FREAKIN' LAPS) over all of them. 

iWEBCOMICS: Johana Draper Carlson talks about Alex de Campi’s Valentine comic, particularly the effort de Campi's making to bring it to multiple platforms simultaneously.

AROUND THE BLOGS: Last week, Howard Tayler had a great post on ideas and their value in the world - worth reading still.  And Tom Spurgeon lists the webcomics suggested by readers of his site, The Comics Reporter.  Not a bad list...

THE MAILBAG: Jason Whitley wrote to alert us to the return of Sea Urchins, which apparently used to be a newspaper-only comic (there's a book collection of these available here).  The comic is by Whitley and Scott Eckelaert, but so far there's not much in the way of comics up on the website.

NOT WEBCOMICS: I've still only read one Scott Pilgrim book, but the trailer for the movie looks like great fun.  

Comix Talk From Madrid Spain

Gunnerkrigg Court Vol. 2

Sorry for the lack of updates recently - last week I was working on this; this week I'm working in Madrid, Spain.  I thought I might be able to have loaded some "best of" posts for y'all but I ran out of time.  So here's what is in my mailbag right now:

And a few good links to check out today:

Also if you have signed up for a ComixTalk account this week or last, my apologies but I won't have time to review and approve until the upcoming weekend.

Comix Talk for Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins

INTERVIEWS: Time's Techland Blog is the next step on the Penny Arcade book tourSean Collins interviews Nick Gurewitch about some short comics he did for Marvel.  Marvel?  Yeah Marvel!  He has Hulk and Wolverine comics in an upcoming  book.  CrunchGear interviews Drew and Natalie Dee of Toothpaste for Dinner fame.  And David Harper interviews Brock Heasley, co-creator of Monsterplex, the most recent winner of the Zuda contest.  Heasley's other webcomic is the superheroes in a retirement home comedy -- Super Fogeys.  (h/t to Paperless Comics which does a far most exhaustive job than I of tracking down webcomic-related interviews and reviews around the web)

REVIEW: Christopher Irving at GraphicNYC gives Raina Telgemeier's Smile a great review.

LEGAL BEAGLE: Long article at CBR on the Incarnate/Bleach copying scandal and the line on plagerism and homage/inspiration in general.  If you're interested in the subject, worth a read.

JUSTIFY MY HYPE Channeling Randy Jackson for a minute: Dude, Rosenburg you just killed it tonight! That thing is hawt!  Seriously - this animated panel of Goats is great fun and doing it as an animated gif is practically like employing medieval age technology by the standards of Internet time.

AROUND DEM BLOGS: Hope Larson reminds you that she is not Bryan Lee O'Malley's secretaryAlexis Farjado announced that his new Kid Beowulf book The Song of Rowland is off to the printers.

Comix Talk for Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Well hmm, not a whole shaking this morning I guess.

Interviews: Rick Marshall at MTV Splash Page has a great interview with the guys at Penny Arcade about their new book and a book tour this year.

Conventions: Everyone seems to be writing about the possibility of ComicCon leaving San Diego when its current contract is up - here's the San Diego local newsprint article that kicked off the hype.

BUSINESS?: Sean Kleefeld catches some interesting tweets from Brian Altounian, owner of e-publisher WOWIO including:

Launching MoneyTV campaign for WOWIO today. Part of larger marketing campaign that will put WOWIO on the map just in time to go public.
Feb. 18

Comix Talk for Thursday, February 18, 2010

 The 11 1/2 Anniversary Edition

Pretty quiet today although check out this stunning creative innovation from the newspaper comic B.C.  Wow!  Now that's how you stay hip and current...

INTERVIEWS: Josh Lesnick, creator of Girly, is interviewed by the INTERNET!

REVIEWS: Johanna Draper Carlson has a review of the new mega-Penny Arcade book, The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade.  For all the reasons she's a bit lukewarm on it, I will probably love it.

CRAFT: Nice little tutorial from Jim Zubkavich on the process for a recent illustration he did.

BUSINESS: The Beat reports that Graphic.ly, "a fairly new but bold player in the digital comics distribution field", has announced the acquisition of iFanboy, the popular comics news and information community.  Graphic.ly is in "private beta" -- anyone using it right now?