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Eric: Also, there is floating.

(From Astronaut Elementary! Click on the thumbnail for today's preteen space based goodness!)

Hand in hand with noting the formation of a new online collective, I felt I should mention what might be an even more significant move in the long term. Dave Roman has moved the critically acclaimed and WCCA winning strip (and utterly charming) strip Astronaut Elementary off the subscription based Girlamatic.com to go it alone. That's not the significant point -- people do that sort of thing all the time.

However, Astronaut Elementary has moved from Girlamatic -- one of the Manley collectives that we used to call the "Modern Tales family of Websites" -- to an individual account Roman has on Webcomics Nation. If Joey Manley is making the move from editor and publisher to service provider, then Astronaut Elementary is one of the first sites to be making the leap from "published by Joey Manley" to "self-published using the Manley suite of services."

Hand in hand with that is Astronaut Elementary's shift from being a subscription site -- today's strip and selected archives being free, the rest of the archives requiring a Girlamatic subscription -- to being a completely free site. We haven't yet seen what (if any) business model Astronaut Elementary ultimately goes with, but for the moment, you can leap right in and devour the archive, and that's just plain cool.

Astronaut Elementary isn't the only Manleyverse strip to be considering such a move (I've spoken to at least one other Manley mainstay who's planning the same thing), but given AE's acclaim and recent award, it's a highly visible strip to be making such a move. And, hand in hand with that is close scrutiny, to see how this new service can work for an established strip. Will this begin AE's climb to the top tier of recognized comics? Will this change Roman's fortunes for the better or worse? Will anyone actually notice the change? Stay tuned, true believer.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at August 1, 2005 1:52 PM

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