Hmmm....

| 79 Comments

Southworth, Willis, Straub, Troop.

And, as one e-mail correspondent opined to me, the week isn't over yet.

It seems to be an interesting week in Webcomickdom. And an even more interesting week at La Casa de Afilado. La Escuela de Afilado.

79 Comments

La Escuela de what? Man, I HATE it when I have to be bilingual. IT'S UNAMERICAN! ;-)

Fortunately, there's Google...

(Afilado... sharp, edgy, keen... hmmm...)

So, the School of Keen? Keenspot is a school? I STILL DON'T GET IT!

::breaks down and cries::

--Howard

I'm a little confused myself.

That... and I didn't study...

Well, they do LIVE in a school :)

Senor Southworth has the right of it. One can't really call it the House of Keen, since... well, it's a school.

Oh yeah.

I actually keep forgetting that.

YESSSSS.

*pumps fist, annoys peers*

I do find it interesting that so many Keenspotters are jumping ship recently. I mean, Howard Tayler left back last month, too. Strange.

Not so strange. Keenspotters do leave: two prominent examples are John Allison and Greg Dean. T Campbell and Dave Simpson also spring to mind. The Keenspot contract gives its artists an enormous amount of freedom (some say too much, though I disagree) and one of those freedoms is that you can leave pretty much whenever you want, without penalty.

In each case I remember, including this one, the cartoonist(s) gave notice in advance of the actual leaving... so this seems a lot more abrupt to the rest of the webcomiverse than it does to me.

You do have to give notice before leaving keen - there's not really a contract, per se, but it's the only real caveat to the whole thing. They want 30 days notice. I had to give mine - the difference is, it doesn't have to be PUBLIC notice. I sent it to Chris, Teri, and Darren, and that was that. Apparently nobody else at Keenspot knew I was leaving until the last minute - I just found this out recently. Why the people at keenspot choose to try and keep things like this under the rug, I don't know - this seems like the kind of thing THEY should be handling.

It seems to me if a bunch of your artists are leaving at the same time, it kind of behooves you to have something to say on the subject. But that's just me. Just one of the reasons I left keen in the first place.

This isn't just some random people leaving Keen. This is like a mass exodus! Maybe some of the other Spotters caught wind of how well Howard Tayler is doing for himself-- heh.

Damn, I was actually pushing to get Yirmumah INTO keen, but obviously there is some sort of problems there where the creators aren't happy-- I know no one could make me get rid of my precious googleads now. GOD BLESS YOU GOOGLE!!!

Um... there are 62 comics on Keenspot. Last time I counted.

Four just left.

You are obviously using some variant of the phrase "mass exodus" that I'm not aware of...

The other Keen artists are wafer-thin and extremely short.

Some are Smurfs. Others are Littles. Still others hire themselves out for the "they shrank themselves with a shrinking ray and went inside this guy" episodes of such shows as Futurama and Magic School Bus.

Christopher -- I agree, though it is a trend. I don't think it's a destructive one for Keen, though.

And I think D.J.'s fears might be groundless -- there's lots of people perfectly happy with Keenspot (I point again to Troutman going back).

Um... there are 62 comics on Keenspot. Last time I counted.

Four just left.

You are obviously using some variant of the phrase "mass exodus" that I'm not aware of...

I think it was the rate of leaving that was alarming. I mean, 3 in a week. That HAS to raise some eyebrows even if it's coincidence.

Ah damnit. Screwed up the quotes. First three paragraphs were supposed to be quoting Mr. Wright.

That was my thinking, too--not so much that a 'Spotter leaving is cause for alarm or wonder, just that so many of them are making the decision at about the same time (and, as was mentioned, three in one week. That's just downright odd, even if it is coincidence).

4 leaving in a week. Not three.

SIX in a DAY, from my point of view.

Oooh! Six in a day, plus me two months earlier... out of 62... That's seven out of less than seventy to start with.

DECIMATED!!! ROMAN STYLE!!!

(Except that in decimation, one townsperson in ten ends up crucified along the road into town... I'm not sure I like where THAT metaphor leads...)

--Howard

Coincidentially, I have accepted David Willis as my personal savior.

Oh, don't be so dramatic, Howard. It's all good in the hood.

This is only a story because it's usually so rare. Other webcomic publishers have somebody leave, like, every HOUR, right? There was one where people started jumping ship, like, the first MONTH.

Five years is a pretty good run. A year more than STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE! :)

Um... there are 62 comics on Keenspot. Last time I counted.

True, but of those 62, probably 10 are the bulk of Keenspot traffic and 6 of those are leaving. Wow.

This is only a story because it's usually so rare.Other webcomic publishers have somebody leave, like, every HOUR, right? There was one where people started jumping ship, like, the first MONTH.

I think it's more of a story than you might want it to be, Chris.

Scott, your numbers are off.

Scott:

The six cartoonists leaving currently generate about 5.5 million pageviews monthly, combined. As a comparison, that's about 1/3rd the size of KeenSPACE's total traffic, and about 8% of KeenSPOT's total traffic.

To tell you the truth, while I'm sad to see all six of them go, I'm kind of excited about these recent shake-ups. We've all been in a rut. Hopefully this'll result in good things for all involved.

Yeah...losing 8% of Keenspot's traffic, representing some of your most popular and seasonsed strips. That's such a GOOD deal for you.

Somebody call ABC and tell them that for the good of the company they should cancel LOST. It'll shake things up.

Come on, Chris. You can't put a better spin on this?

Scott, it never ceases to amaze me how you can ignore your previous posts, change the subject, and pretend that you were always talking about the whole thing the entire time.

You specifically said that there were 10 strips that made up the bulk of Keenspot traffic, and that of those 10, 6 were leaving. Chris didn't say that he didn't care about the loss of those strips, he was pointing out that the loss of traffic was not even close to what you were implying.

If only 10 of our strips made up the bulk of our traffic, the loss of 6 would represent far greater than 8% of our traffic. Which is not to say that their leaving is no big deal... but your take on it is pure FUD.

"the whole thing" should be "the same thing." Lack of edit strikes again.

OK, so Southworth is Krazy Larry, Willis is Roomies et al, Troop is Melonpool, but which comic does Straub do? The name sounds familiar, but I can't place it with the comic.

Oh yes and by the way, Kurtz-Crosby Part umm Many, now appearing in Websnark! The Rumble in the Bisquit Factory!

Scott:

I'm not trying to put a spin on it.

I feel Keenspot is not making progress quickly enough, and I believe the six who are leaving share that sentiment. If them leaving causes us to wake up and make some progressive changes, that's good for all involved in the long run.

We're obviously not ABC. (Did you hear somewhere that Disney is pondering buying us?)

Quiller:

Kristofer Straub does the wonderful CHECKERBOARD NIGHTMARE.

...and the upcoming daily strip STARSHIFT CRISIS, launching May 23rd!

Straub does Checkerboard Nightmare.

--Howard

A Straub is Checkerboard, got it now... (Just had to look through comments until I saw one from him... I wonder how many webcomic creators don't have an account here?

If only 10 of our strips made up the bulk of our traffic, the loss of 6 would represent far greater than 8% of our traffic. Which is not to say that their leaving is no big deal... but your take on it is pure FUD.

Six strips have left and you're traffic is down 10%. Yeah. I guess I'm blowing things WAY out of proportion.

I feel Keenspot is not making progress quickly enough, and I believe the six who are leaving share that sentiment. If them leaving causes us to wake up and make some progressive changes, that's good for all involved in the long run.

Well, dude...aren't you the chicken in charge? What the fuck have you been waiting for? Six people to leave? Well congrats!

Did you ever consider making progress BEFORE losing 8% of your traffic in one month?

Scott:

Well, dude...aren't you the chicken in charge?

I am one of four people in charge. Four who each have equal power over what Keenspot does.

Did you ever consider making progress BEFORE losing 8% of your traffic in one month?

Yes.

That said, I have a feeling you aren't going to be comfortable until I DO put a spin on it, so here's this: even Disney couldn't keep PIXAR. (Which, incidentally, was probably ACTUALLY responsible for the bulk of their film-related profits last year.) Go laugh in Michael Eisner's face.

I am one of four people in charge. Four who each have equal power over what Keenspot does.

Okay. Well what were all FOUR of you waiting for?

That said, I have a feeling you aren't going to be comfortable until I DO put a spin on it, so here's this: even Disney couldn't keep PIXAR. (Which, incidentally, was probably ACTUALLY responsible for the bulk of their film-related profits last year.) Go laugh in Michael Eisner's face.

Huzza-WHA?

Six strips have left and you're traffic is down 10%. Yeah. I guess I'm blowing things WAY out of proportion.

8%, Scott. Let's try not to inflate the issue just to make the FUD sound more impressive.

Now, with 64 comics on Keenspot, if we assumed that all comics were responsible for an *equal* share of traffic, that would mean that each comic brought in 1.5% to 1.6% of the traffic. This means, under that scenario, that the loss of 6 of these comics would result in a decrease of 9% to 9.6% of the traffic... which oddly enough is *higher* than the 8% Chris mentioned... and again, that's assuming all comics were equal -- which they aren't. It's Walky beats the pants off of Help Desk, puts the pants back on, and then beats them off again.

So I'm afraid you're viewing the situation through the lens of personal preference. Kurtz-colored glasses, as it were.

Okay. Well what were all FOUR of you waiting for?

This, hopefully. Frankly, I couldn't say for sure.

Huzza-WHA?

Hey, you're the one who compared us to ABC. If we're fools for letting such a fine group of cartoonists as The Six go, Disney's just as foolish for letting their biggest moneymaker by far go bye-bye.

I like that "Huzza-WHA?" thing you've got going, though.

Whoops, my math is wrong, since I was using "62" earlier, and "64" now. But the error is in my favor, so I think I'm OK.

Christopher,

First of all, you can just say FUCK. It's okay. We all know that's what FUD means.

Second of all, you're forgetting that those numbers come from Chris and we can't trust that source of information. Clearly, the guy couldn't find his own ass with a map and a sherpa. Now he's going to be quoting statistics and doing math. I don't buy it.

For example, only four cartoonists have left and Chris keeps mentioning SIX cartoonists. Now you want me to trust his COMPLEX numbering skills.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, pal!

He's got me there, I'm terrible at math.

Chris,

You might want to distance yourself from the Disney comparison, if you were smart. If Keenspot is Disney, that'd kind of make you the Michael Eisner of Keenspot. Last I checked, he got the boot thanks to a vote of no confidence.

Hey, you're the one who compared us to ABC. If we're fools for letting such a fine group of cartoonists as The Six go, Disney's just as foolish for letting their biggest moneymaker by far go bye-bye.

This is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk, but Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now, think about that. That does not make sense! Why would a Wookiee -- an eight foot tall Wookiee -- want to live on Endor with a bunch of two foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense!

But more importantly, you have to ask yourself: what does that have to do with Keenspot? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense!

If Chewbacca lives on Endor, then 6 cartoonists leaving Keenspot is good for us! The defense rests.

You might want to distance yourself from the Disney comparison, if you were smart.

I'm not that smart.

If Keenspot is Disney, that'd kind of make you the Michael Eisner of Keenspot. Last I checked, he got the boot thanks to a vote of no confidence.

If only Keenspot had a board of directors!

Four cartoonists...

But two of them do two strips each.

Six comics.

And I'm talking about FUD -- that is to say "Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt" -- a certain type of misinformation campaign that was started by IBM when it was king and popularized by Microsoft when it was on its path to world domination.

Scott:

If Chewbacca lives on Endor, then 6 cartoonists leaving Keenspot is good for us! The defense rests.

Hey, you're the one who told me to spin. I didn't say I was good at it.

Christopher:

Four cartoonists... But two of them do two strips each. Six comics.

No, it's six cartoonists and eight comics. Ten if you count Paul Southworth's UGLY HILL and Kristofer Straub's STARSHIFT CRISIS. Eleven if you count ROOMIES!

This is a mere technicality, but I should metion that I never moved anything back to Keenspot - Felicity and VH were never on Keenspot to begin with, having started on GraphicSmash.

That said, yes, there was and still is a great financial advantage and yes, I think Keenspot is still a super-duper place.

(And holy geez, is it just be or is this getting blown way out of proportion? I'm sorry to see these guys leave, but there is far more on Keenspot than just these few comics. Although thanks for making the rest of us feel irrelevant.)

No, it's six cartoonists and eight comics. Ten if you count Paul Southworth's UGLY HILL and Kristofer Straub's STARSHIFT CRISIS. Eleven if you count ROOMIES!

Oh? Well we only know about four cartoonists so far: Troop, Willis, Southworth and Straub...who are we missing?

Oh? Well we only know about four cartoonists so far: Troop, Willis, Southworth and Straub...who are we missing?

I'm feeling that this question may be a cunning trick, so I'm not going to tell you. They can announce that for themselves.

So the 8% includes Real Life and Schlock Merceneary then? That makes more sense to me then.

To be honest, I've read most of these comics as part of my quickkeen crawl. If it comes down to actually bookmarking pages and stuff, I'm not sure how many of these last 4 I'll be keeping up with. Willis is the only one I've read through the archives of. But it's not like they were making any money off of my viewership anyways.

Oh, wait, the 6 includes the two who haven't made it public yet, got it.

So the 8% includes Real Life and Schlock Merceneary then? That makes more sense to me then.

Um, no. REAL LIFE left in April 2003 and SCHLOCK MERCENARY left in April 2005. The roughly 8% of pageview traffic I speak of are all leaving this month.

To be honest, I've read most of these comics as part of my quickkeen crawl. If it comes down to actually bookmarking pages and stuff, I'm not sure how many of these last 4 I'll be keeping up with. Willis is the only one I've read through the archives of. But it's not like they were making any money off of my viewership anyways.

Why would you say that? I wonder if there is some validity to the comic-ripper software service that we're always cease and desisting. Is it lack of ads or having them all in one place that's more appealing?

Steve

It's people who need to learn the gloriousness of firefox+all your bookmarks in a folder, and clicking that folder with your center mouse button. AW YEAH.

All of the comic surfing, none of the work. :D

Two notes--

First, don't forget to debate topics, not personalities. Because it is my job to tell you that.

Secondly, we're doing our level best to get editable/non-typekey comment systems going, while maintaining the spamcontrolling bits. If someone knows a good replacement system that works with Movable Type, let me know.

(We can't move to Wordpress yet, as Wordpress doesn't do the right thumbnailing bits. I've tried. Oh, but I've tried.)

I agree with Greg, Firefox is quite nice. (It even lets me post on Websnark, unlike IE6.)

That really is too bad, Eric. If my server could handle it, I'd be using wordpress for my rants TOMORROW. :P I love it.

Yeah, I used to use the drop-down list to read all the Keen comics, but when I learned you guys were moving I made sure to update my firefox bookmarks... now all my Keen and non-Keen comics (which will now include you scurvy lot) open with the click of one button in one tab in my button bar...

Greg -- Weds did our entire site management system for Gossamer Commons in Wordpress. It's fantastic.

And... er... won't thumbnail gifs. Oops.

We're looking into plugins for that, too.

What I liked about Wordpress was that I could force the system to integrate with my current rant style seamlessly - i just coded the div tags, dropped it in, and it did the rest. Even auto-placed the writer picture tags.

Sorry to derail the topic. Please, continue. :)

Eric:

WordPress Plugins Database

The Media link has a plugin called "Picture Glue" that looks like it does what you want.

It is really the fact that I can read so many with just a click of a button to go from strip to strip. I consider 80-90% of keenspot to be worth reading, and I can skip past the rest on a regular basis, so it is mostly efficiency for my reading time. If there is something unusual about the strip I may click into the site to see if there is anything in the rants, or if it is jarring to my sense of continuity I'll click in and go back a few strips, but otherwise I read my keenspot strips in one chunk.

Admittedly, it doesn't take all that much effort to bookmark a strip, but my actual permanent storage is a geocities webpage that organizes strips based on their update schedule, which means it can take me 5 minutes or so to update a strip's listing, including logging on and copying and editing the html code.

I enjoy Melonpool, but I'm not that invested in it, sorry to say. Much like most newspaper comics, I'll read it when it is there in front of me, but I don't go out in search of it, or worry that much if I miss a day. If there was a first page link to it on one of my daily trawl comics I might click on it and stick with it, but it was really only on my daily trawl because of the keenspot interface not because it grips me.

According to our reader surveys, roughly 4% of our visitors read every single Keenspot comic. I imagine a good number of those people use QuickKeen.

Well bear in mind that some of them are only glanced at! ;->

Here's why I love Websnark: You've got about, oh, say, half of the people I rely on for entertainment (outside of game studios) here, arguing. You have the Chewbacca Defense. You have a first-hand example of Scott blowing his mouth off (seriously, dude.) And on top of all that, you have all the news that's fit to print. In one page.

This is a mere technicality, but I should metion that I never moved anything back to Keenspot - Felicity and VH were never on Keenspot to begin with, having started on GraphicSmash.

If I may continue my poor attempt at spin, it could be noted that, while the asteemed Mr. Troutman doesn't count as someone who moved back (he never left to begin with), Keenspot has seen four former Keenspot creators return to the fold recently. Gavin Chafin and Steve Wood returned with DOWN TO EARTH in March (after leaving four years ago for a deal with NCBuy.com), and T Campbell and Gisele Lagace (of the 2000-02 Keenspot comic COOL CAT STUDIO) brought over PENNY & AGGIE this month.

Geez, I've been reading Websnark for a good 6 months now, but I've never before actually come and checked out the comics section. It's like going to a McDonalds every day of your life, and the first time you go and play in the playground finding John Cleese, Johnny Depp, Spielburg and Jesus dancing around together.

Or, more accurately, arguing with each other. Which is equally interesting.

Woo! I'm being seen on the same page as celebrities!

*eyes Scott Kurtz*

Don't make me regret giving you a nromlicious homemade oatmeal cookie on my review site, Scott.

Chris: Thank you for the excellent comments you've written, refusing to rise to Scott's baiting, and just telling us what's going on. I also respect the fact you're not revealing everyone who's left, because it's up to the people leaving to reveal that fact.

It's part of what makes Keenspot such a good company, in my eyes.

Take care!

Robert A. Howard, Tangents reviewer

http://tangents.keenspace.com

The no personality debate light has already been lit. Let's assume it'll be followed until otherwise seen. And please, enjoy some delicious crumb cake.

Damnit! Comment. Comments, not comics.

I previewed it and everything...:(

Sidenote: I just realized that I commented on the wrong post. Eh, whatever. Its all the same discussion.

"Why would a Wookiee -- an eight foot tall Wookiee -- want to live on Endor with a bunch of two foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense!"

Sure it does! Everyone knows that Chewbacca lives on Endor because he's actually a filthy midget fucker and there are simply not enough short wookies around to satisfy Chewie's sick desires... so he has to use the closest substitutes available.

Yes, I make disturbing sex jokes to stop myself from making topical rants...

Next: Wapsi Square.

Beaten.

But yeah, we need to add Paul Taylor to that list.

And now Brad Guigar? Looks like Greystone Inn is also going independent.

My first thought upon reading this was "god, no wonder webcomics don't get any respect." But then I thought of some of the squabbling on the Comics Journal message boards among what should be respectable members of the comics community (not to mention the multitude of other public comics feuds) and thought, "god, no wonder COMICS get no respect."

Then I remembered the history of western literature.

Seriously, if they'd had a message board, Sappho and Homer would've spent all their time scoring zingers off one another and Odyssey would've been twenty pages long.

Ay!

Thank goodness the conversation got derailed into the merits and drawbacks of Wordpress, because Kurtz vs. Crosby got old years ago (Internet time). Although I have to say that Kurtz wins for using the Chewbacca Defense (because the Chewbacca Defense always wins).

All these cartoonists are saying they're going independent, but the timing is suspicious. I suspect a spinoff collective. Troop and Willis share a comic universe, for one, and both have made recent appearances in Real Life, another ex-Keen indie.

"""Seriously, if they'd had a message board, Sappho and Homer would've spent all their time scoring zingers off one another and Odyssey would've been twenty pages long."""
Half of the Carmina Catulli was made up of personal attacks against other poets.

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