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Eric: All we need now is a Rich Dansky/Angi Sherstone webcomic and the universe will be complete.

Home on the Strange

(From Home on the Strange! Click on the thumbnail for full sized I'M NAKED!!!!!)

It's rare at best that I put up a note to check out a webcomic on day one. At least, a webcomic I'm not involved in. And it's somehow deeply unfair. I mean, there are tons of excellent comics I've never talked about at all, that have been posting for months upon months -- years even -- and here's this untested whelp with a couple of folks people haven't heard of and it's their first day and it's on fucking Websnark? Where's the justice in that?

The short answer? Is networking. Or nepotism.

Except that doesn't really count, because neither of the people involved know me from Adam.

Which comes down to "cool people who do cool things get attention."

Veronica "Roni" Pare is an RPG illustrator and graphic designer who's darn cool, skilled, and just plain neat. Among many projects (including work for White Wolf), she did the cover art for Beyond the Storm, a Hurricane Katrina benefit RPG work. She's also a very good friend of some good friends of mine, none of whom actually pinged me over this. No, it's just random that I saw this strip and saw her name and said "huh. I know people who know her."

I believe we saw each other in a chatroom once. And I may even have said hello to her in that venue. That said, I think it eminently possible she has no idea who I am.

And then there's the Ferrett.

The Ferrett is an online blogger, working out of Livejournal. He is savagely funny, and often insightful, and just plain good at what he does. He wrote a series of posts dealing with the illness and eventual death of a beloved family member that struck me with the purity of his emotion -- and the sheer universality of his experience. I understood what he was saying, through it all. I bled with him.

And then he would write something that would have me weeping with laughter. I'm jealous of Ferrett's l337 writer skillz. I'm jealous of the facility he goes from the sweet to the sardonic, and skewers and lifts up with an deftness of phrase that's sometimes sublime.

He wrote a "Complete Guide to Livejournal Stardom and Fame" that every blogger who wants more than his mother to read his stuff should read, because he's god damned right in what he says. And in a sequel to it, he included a principle on his livejournal I've never forgotten. It's informed the way I do Websnark since day one. It's a principle, I would add, that Wednesday completely disagrees with. But I think Ferrett is right, and so I'll share it with you now. Please note, these are his words, not mine, but I agree with them:

Do Not Under Any Circumstances Use LJ-Cuts.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Lemme sum up your pro-LJ-Cut arguments for you:

Blah blah blah courtesy to others blah blah blah how dare you take up my friends page blah blah blah bandwidth blah blah everyone loves the LJ-Cut blah blah blah even Mother Theresa said the LJ-Cut was next to Godliness.

Blah.

But there's one fact which all of the LJ-Cut people ignore: Putting up an LJ-Cut is, essentially, saying, "This isn't important. You can skip it." And people do. Every time I've seen someone hold an LJ-Cut experiment, to see if people read what they had to say, it's been the same result:

An LJ-Cut reduces your readers by about half, and sometimes up to two-thirds. And if people don't read it, they don't comment.

The inevitable riposte is, "But people will skim past large entries, anyway!" - and that's true. A lot of people will skip right past this entry, for instance. But some people will read it just because it's there, and they'll get engaged halfway down, and bingo you have a comment.

I'm not saying all LJ-Cuts are evil: I want LJ-Cuts for photos, spoilers and quizzes. And I'm also not taking a moral stance in this case: You can do what you want. It's like yesterday; I said that if you wanted to be popular, you had to add everyone back, and people said, "Ferrettt, no, that's wrong."

Unfortunately, it's right. I've seen it happen at least three times: People either gained popularity when they started adding everyone back, or they lost popularity when they stopped adding people back. Adding people gains friends.

Likewise, regardless of what you personally think of LJ-Cuts, LJ-Cuts cost you comments. Thus, if comments are your goal, you will want to eschew the cut. Then again, I don't add everyone back as a matter of course; you are free to LJ-Cut your posts. Being the Biggest LJ Rock Stah is not my main goal, and it probably shouldn't be yours, either.

Now, this post was on attracting comments, but the principle holds. And it made me realize something very, very important to me: I believe my words matter. I believe that people come here to read them. And I believe very strongly that cutting them, in any situation except the most egregious, only serves to make people not read them.

Wednesday, I reiterate, thinks this is wholly wrong. She believes, fervently, in the power of cutting entries and conserving friends list space. Especially since I write a lot. To her mind, it does neither the Websnark front page nor Livejournal pages nor RSS feeders the slightest bit of good to have a five thousand word exegesis from me spamming them up. So do not take this as a "websnark policy," and further do not take this as something that Websnark.com™ supports in toto. This is an Eric Burns thing, and I could very well be wrong ethically, morally and practically.

However, my practical experience suggests that Ferrett was right: not cutting long text pieces might mean people gloss over some of the words, but a Hell of a lot more of them read at least part of those pieces. And my longer pieces end up being some of the most commented pieces I get.

So. Am I saying this is a wonderful comic strip? I dunno. I have no idea. You've seen everything I've seen. And the first strip is... well, okay. It establishes.

But I know from reading up on this that they've been preparing it for weeks, and I like the initial site design, and I like the inclusion of cast lists and the like. They're trying to get it all right. And it's an irony that these days I have a larger audience than Ferrett claims to have (by, like, an order of magnitude or two). I think Ferrett's at least as good a writer as I am. Maybe better. Maybe a lot better.

And I think Veronica Pare deserves a look see because she's cool.

And I think Ferrett deserves a look see because I've been reading him for years, and it seems to me I owe him this much.

And I have faith in his writing and her art, and think that maybe, just maybe, this will be one of the best strips of the year.

And you actually have a chance to get in on the ground floor of it. This is day one, people. How often do you get a chance to say "hey -- I was reading on the first day."

So yeah, maybe it isn't fair. But who said life was fair.

Check it out. Let's see if this goes somewhere. God knows it has the right pedigree.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at January 23, 2006 1:38 PM

Comments

Comment from: Doublemint posted at January 23, 2006 2:42 PM

Who was it that suggested when Wednesday left we'd get an orgy of snarks amounting to 100,000 words? Well, only 97780 more words to go and you'll be proven right you... you-who.

Comment from: Misha Grin posted at January 23, 2006 2:57 PM

Yeah, I thought about e-mailing you about this, but A) I knew you subscribed to his LJ after the "He-Brew" incident, and B) I didn't know if it was going to be good or not, either.

However, I also thought about calling your attention to it BEFORE it went live, simply because I could, but... well, I didn't know then if it was good or not either, because the little bas-nich wouldn't give me any read-aheads! Not that I asked for them - that would be tacky - but... yeah...

Mainly, though, I just wanted to comment here to do the "Yeah, I hang out with Ferrett" cooler-than-thou dance. :-P

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at January 23, 2006 3:01 PM

I don't actually "hang" with him. I have no reason to think he knows who I am.

(His wife reads my LJ, but that's not the same thing.)

Comment from: ItsWalky posted at January 23, 2006 3:08 PM

That penultimate panel is where the funny comes from, and why I can't stop laughing. Hell, snip off the last panel, and it's STILL funny. It still works. Oh man.

That panel.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at January 23, 2006 3:15 PM

Walky -- yeah. Yeah. Totally agreed.

That grin, man.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at January 23, 2006 3:23 PM

Two things:

1) Errr... I'm not sure it's a good sign that the first strip riffs on one of the better Dilbert gags. The beat doesn't do anything for me.

Then again, I share an apartment with a telecommuter, and an increasing number of my friends work from home. There comes a saturation point. But... no. Doesn't work for me as a strong starting point.

2) See, it's not just that I believe in the conservation of bandwidth, which I do, or screen real estate, which I do. Or scroll prevention -- scrolling is so not ergonomic. It's that chances are very good that most people simply don't care what you're writing if it's not within a very limited field of interest. It's only right to clearly inform the user of what they're approaching if the post is significantly longer than a usefully descriptive cut tag would be.

This has nothing to do with whether the words matter. If they matter, those who care will communicate to those who don't care that the words have value. If they don't matter, we spare the user a negative experience and they will locate the essential message in an alternative fashion.

Comment from: Howard Tayler posted at January 23, 2006 3:23 PM

I giggled.

I work at home.

Boy did I giggle.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at January 23, 2006 3:27 PM

The bad news is, except as implied by the first two things in the links section being blogs, the site doesn't have any author credit. Edit: Okay, it's at the bottom of the image. But I had to look twice.

The good news is, I was interested enough to look for author credit. Twice.

Comment from: Montykins posted at January 23, 2006 3:45 PM

Brief quote from Ferrett's LJ: "I went back and read the first Doonesbury, Calvin and Hobbes, and Bloom Country strips, and all of Îem had that sort of awkward, ÏHi. We have to introduce these peopleÓ atmosphere to them. ThatĖs not to say that the first strip is bad, but rather that it doesnĖt really get rolling the way IĖd like it to this week."

So if it feels First Week Awkward, keep in mind that the writer thinks so too. Very few strips can hit their stride in Day One while still introducing characters. Off the top of my head, I can only think of "Good ol' Charlie Brown . . . How I hate him!"

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at January 23, 2006 3:49 PM

I believe my words matter, too... but I use cuts on all my blogs because a) I think it looks cleaner and b) I want people reading my words because they want to read them, not because they're too damn lazy to scroll down to the next article.

That said, Ferrett is probably right that not using them will increase the number of people who read what you write. I'd still rather use them than not. Which isn't to say you should.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at January 23, 2006 4:09 PM

Eric, your links don't work. There are only two ts at the end of theferrett.

Comment from: Remus Shepherd posted at January 23, 2006 4:12 PM

I think Ferret is trying to drive me insane.


Yes, I saw this comic, which he advertised by way of his editor status on a game site. I commented to him that advertising merchandise for a comic with only one page might be just a bit tacky.

And now it shows up *here*?

I've mentioned before about how nepotism and networking are more important than anything else in getting a comic attention and an audience. Ladies and gentlemen, I now present the poster child. :) By my count (based on all the advice I'd been given when starting up a comic), Ferret and Roni have done two or three things absolutely, horribly wrong so far. Yet it doesn't matter because They Know People.

I wish them the best, I really do.

Comment from: Misha Grin posted at January 23, 2006 4:13 PM

That said, Ferrett is probably right that not using them will increase the number of people who read what you write.

I dunno... maybe I'm only saying this because of my own rather un-read blog, but...

I gotta say that anyone who has the kind of readership Ferrett does has got to have SOMETHING to say about ways to increase your readership, nu?

Comment from: Misha Grin posted at January 23, 2006 4:14 PM

I don't actually "hang" with him. I have no reason to think he knows who I am.

Uhm... and actually I meant that I do hang with him. I used to live a couple of miles from his house. We usually get together to hang out atleast once a week. It was kinda a joke... ya see?

Uhm.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at January 23, 2006 4:19 PM

Remus -- you misunderstand.

I barely know Roni. I don't "know" Ferrett at all. And they know me even less.

However, they've both impressed me in other media. And now they're releasing a webcomic.

Despite my 'networking' comment in the essay proper, it's not who they know. It's that they've earned my respect, and so I have a sense this could be good. And I honestly thought "dude -- why not have something people can read from day one, for once."

As for the 'wrong' things they did? I disagree. Completely. Ferrett's got an audience in multiple fora. Maybe no one will buy their merchandise yet (Jeph Jacques once mentioned 4000 daily readers is a good benchmark for that stuff, and I think he's right), but there's nothing wrong in directing the people who already like his stuff to his new project.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at January 23, 2006 4:19 PM

I'm pretty sure Eric was just trying to clarify that he did not, in fact, share your hanging-with-rodent status. At least that's the impression I ended up with.

Remus: It's not that networking doesn't matter, it's not that people don't read things because of social factors like that, but you seem to be omitting the (to me, overwhelmingly important) detail that Eric is picking up this unknown strip in part because he is terribly familiar with the work of one of the creators and thinks that therefore (1) the further work is likely to be good and (2) the further work is likely to please him, since the previous has done so so much. To me, this is like saying, "Hey, this Douglas Adams fellow had a funny radio show and he's writing a book now, maybe it will be funny." And lo, it was, my fuzzy grasp of the specific original facts hopefully notwithstanding.

Track record of past work one has enjoyed is worlds away from pure "I know this guy!"

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at January 23, 2006 4:20 PM

Eric, your links don't work. There are only two ts at the end of theferrett.

Fixed. I had it correct the first time, but misspelled Ferrett's name (I spelled it like the animal, with only one t). A global search and replace after the fact fixed his name and broke the links.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at January 23, 2006 4:21 PM

Oh, my God. That... with the fast... and the...

I need to institute a damn waiting period before I open my mouth and end up repeating things said already by the more relevant, authoritative and expressive guy.

Comment from: Remus Shepherd posted at January 23, 2006 4:32 PM

I don't think I misunderstood at all, Eric. They are known to you. Because they are known to you, they get attention, and their mistakes are glossed over. How you know them -- by reputation, network of friends, or blood relation -- does not matter.

This is another webcomic that might not have gotten any press at all if they hadn't leveraged prior accomplishments into this new endeavor. The fact that you leveraged it for them without their input also does not matter. It's the human infatuation with celebrities that is bugging me.

Shorter rant: You've got to have fame to make fame.

Don't mind me. I'm just an obscure artist who is very frustrated, that's all. :)

Ferret strikes me as a better-than-average writer, so I'm sure their comic will be worthy of the attention they've stolen. I really do wish them the best. :)

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at January 23, 2006 4:39 PM

This is another webcomic that might not have gotten any press at all if they hadn't leveraged prior accomplishments into this new endeavor.

Well, yes, this is true.

Put another way -- do good stuff in 2005, and people will give you the benefit of the doubt in 2006. ;)

Comment from: Montykins posted at January 23, 2006 4:39 PM

I saw this comic, which he advertised by way of his editor status on a game site.

I don't see an advertisement for the webcomic on Star City. Did he mention it in the forums, or am I just missing it?

Comment from: Remus Shepherd posted at January 23, 2006 4:49 PM

Well, yes, this is true.

Put another way -- do good stuff in 2005, and people will give you the benefit of the doubt in 2006. ;)

Working on that. My advertising campaign starts in a few months. :)

I don't see an advertisement for the webcomic on Star City. Did he mention it in the forums, or am I just missing it?

He wrote an article on SCG (first one in months, as far as I know) in which the first seven paragraphs were about his webcomic. Linking to it no less than four times. And of course there's the hyping on his blog.

I'd be less upset about this if he hadn't replied to me in the SCG forums thusly:

RemusShepherd wrote:
Good luck with the webcomic, Ferret. I know how hard an endeavor that can be. One thing, though -- putting up merchandise after drawing only one page is a bit tacky.

Tacky, shmacky. I want cash! :lol:

Which, you know, is fine, and a great deal more honest than a lot of people are about their comics. But as someone who's doing it for 'Love of the Art', it rubs me the wrong way. His getting snarked rubbed me raw. :)

Comment from: Montykins posted at January 23, 2006 4:53 PM

He wrote an article on SCG (first one in months, as far as I know) in which the first seven paragraphs were about his webcomic.

Ah. I was deceived by the headline into not reading the article (which, when you think about it, is the exact opposite of what a headline's upposed to do).

It's not his first one in months, though; his archive page shows that it's his fifth one in just the last three weeks.

Comment from: Remus Shepherd posted at January 23, 2006 5:06 PM

[blockquote]It's not his first one in months, though; his archive page shows that it's his fifth one in just the last three weeks.[/blockquote]

Ah, you're right. I had missed that he was doing weekly articles again.

Hmmn, I used to get articles up on SCG fairly easily. Viral advertising, aka self-whoring, is something to think about... :)

Comment from: ItsWalky posted at January 23, 2006 5:57 PM

I'm thinking about viral advertising right now! Mmmmmmmm. Oh yeah. YES.

OH GOD.

That's the stuff.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at January 23, 2006 7:20 PM

I'm with Weds on the cut issue. If you're gonna be posting a thesis, give us an abstract and a cut. I have defriended people because all of their entries were 1000+ words and never ever behind a cut. It's just annoying.

And remember, you're not limited to one cut. If you just feel like rambling for a long time in one entry, you can put each topic behind its own cut.

Personally, if I go on for more than the size of the composing window, I go back and insert a cut before posting. I don't require such brevity of others, but I like to have the most recent entry on my LJ take up less than a full screen at my preferred font size (which is 18 point or so), so that I can see the comments link without having to take any other steps. :)

Comment from: PatMan posted at January 23, 2006 7:21 PM

I'm thinking about viral advertising right now! Mmmmmmmm. Oh yeah. YES.


Quoth the viral artist. ;)

Comment from: jjacques posted at January 23, 2006 8:04 PM

I've mentioned before about how nepotism and networking are more important than anything else in getting a comic attention and an audience. Ladies and gentlemen, I now present the poster child. :) By my count (based on all the advice I'd been given when starting up a comic), Ferret and Roni have done two or three things absolutely, horribly wrong so far. Yet it doesn't matter because They Know People.

Bullshit.

If the comic isn't funny (or interesting or compelling or whatever criteria they're shooting for), nobody will read it. If its art is godawful, maybe some people will read it, but it's certainly going to be a turn-off.

Do you think anybody in the webcomics world knew who I was when I started out? Or who Ryan North was? I'm willing to wager that all of the real success stories of the past three years effectively came out of nowhere- they did good work and people liked it, and it eventually caught the attention of folks in a position to promote it to wider audiences. That's certainly the path every popular comic I'm aware of followed*. That's not "knowing people" or "networking"- that's pulling yourself up by your fucking bootstraps by doing something that people enjoy looking at.

Networking helps. Knowing people helps. Having a track record of good stuff online certainly helps. But webcomics have to stand or fall on their own merits.

This strip (to my highly subjective mind) shows promise. The art is a lot more solid than most strips that are just starting out. It's certainly better looking than QC #1. There are some perspective goof-ups but the character art is off to a good start. (Is it just me, or is the screen of the TV broken? If so, nice touch.) I think the joke would have worked better if the strip had ended on panel 3, but that's just one man's opinion.

I'm not one for making predictions about a strip's success or popularity or whatever, but this one shows promise. That's the most you can hope for when you're starting out.

*I'm not trying to claim that I fall into this category, just that I've seen a lot of other strips that do.

Comment from: jjacques posted at January 23, 2006 8:07 PM

Er, I meant if it had ended on panel FOUR. Sorry about that.

PS ERIC WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET AN EDIT POSTS BUTTON HLZGBALGHALGBUH

Comment from: sylvan posted at January 23, 2006 8:31 PM

I knew who Ryan North was when he started out. He previously posted on a couple webcomics message boards, I think, so he was friendly with a few cartoonists already.

This doesn't really invalidate your point, but I can pretend!

Comment from: jjacques posted at January 23, 2006 8:38 PM

The thing I'm taking issue with is the notion that a webcomic can become popular without any consideration as to the appeal of the comic itself. That's simply not true; people don't read comics that don't appeal to them.

Well, Wednesday does. But she's weird.

Comment from: Mazlynn posted at January 23, 2006 8:38 PM

"(Is it just me, or is the screen of the TV broken? If so, nice touch.)"

Nope - if you look closely, you'll see it's the reflection of him and the couch showing up in the TV. :)

Comment from: College Zoo posted at January 23, 2006 8:51 PM

Well, Wednesday does. But she's weird.

Somehow I find this more amusing than it should be.

Comment from: miyaa posted at January 23, 2006 9:01 PM

A couple of thoughts:

1. Page Up, Page Down, End and Home buttons are you friends when it comes to scrolling.

2. Dumb question of the Year (from me): Who is this Ryan North?

3. Popularity is just slightly overrated when it comes to things. It is much more overrated when it comes to people. But then, I value people way more than things, or webcomics.

Comment from: Dragonmuncher posted at January 23, 2006 9:46 PM

"So do not take this as a "websnark policy," and further do not take this as something that Websnark.comŲ supports in toto. This is an Eric Burns thing, and I could very well be wrong ethically, morally and practically."

Remember back in the days when Websnark was a garage operation, running on bubblegum and moxie? An Eric Burns Thing WAS a "websnark policy."

Now they've got the stockholders and the board rooms and the transforming Snarky the Snarkosaurus Happy Meal (soon to be featured alongside Batman in Shortpacked!)

The times, how they change...

Comment from: Mr. Shivers posted at January 23, 2006 10:03 PM

Miyaa: Ryan North is the author of Dinosaur Comics (qwantz.com)


Also, when did Websnark get ads?

Comment from: Abby L. posted at January 23, 2006 11:06 PM

Hmmm. I like The Ferrett, though I never friended him, and I have a friendly relationship with nepotism. Sometimes people won't give you a chance unless they get to know and like YOU as a person. Especially if your project is a personal one. I'm not going to say I haven't had some questions about this process, but I just have to have faith in the people who are promoting me, faith that they actually like my comic and aren't just saying so because they're my friend/they want to be my friend/they feel obligated/they're actually IN the comic.

Obviously, Eric liked this comic or he wouldn't have snarked it. The Ferrett, Roni Pare, and all of us have to have that kind of faith in Eric. Nepotism and networking DO have an important place in promoting a comic, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at January 23, 2006 11:12 PM

Remember back in the days when Websnark was a garage operation, running on bubblegum and moxie? An Eric Burns Thing WAS a "websnark policy."

Now they've got the stockholders and the board rooms and the transforming Snarky the Snarkosaurus Happy Meal (soon to be featured alongside Batman in Shortpacked!)

Man, it sucks being a girl. You find a writing partner, you fall in love, and suddenly your ovaries turn the blog into The Man. They're all setting dress codes and hiring support staff and writing mission statements, and suddenly they're taking three-hour lunch breaks and ten-martini breakfasts and renting their own high-end escorts with hearts of gold and not sharing them with YOU, and you file a request, you know, you say, "I need a MacBook Pro in order to improve workflow," and you get back this weird thing about the budget and you're like EXCUSE ME YOU ARE MY OVARIES.

I DIDN'T MEAN FOR MY OVARIES TO RENT OFFICE SPACE. IT JUST HAPPENED, OKAY?

Comment from: Dragonmuncher posted at January 23, 2006 11:46 PM

Now I have the movie "Office Space" stuck in my head, only all the characters are ovaries.

Ovaries need more flair!

Comment from: miyaa posted at January 23, 2006 11:53 PM

Workflow, Overies and the Apple computers and iPods. Clearly, men are Windows, women are Apples, and eunichs are, well, Unix.

It must be this uber allergy/fever I'm presently suffering under that is making me write statements like that.

Comment from: William_G posted at January 23, 2006 11:54 PM

If the comic isn't funny (or interesting or compelling or whatever criteria they're shooting for), nobody will read it. If its art is godawful, maybe some people will read it, but it's certainly going to be a turn-off.

You talk as if you've never read a webcomic before today.

Yeah, not producing crap does get attention, but I've only seen a couple of comics that have reached the standards you've implied are needed for success. The standards of what's considered acceptable for comics is so low on the web that anyone can gain an audience. The trick to expanding it is fanservice (not just T&A, but doing stuff like having a cute mascot character you've gone on record as hating but you keep for the readers), and playing kissy-kissy with some larger sites to get the links.

Let's face it, in ANY sort of social and corporate structure, sucking metaphorical dicks is the key to crawling up to the top of the pile. Webcomics, while a small handfull do earn some cash off of the hobby, still remains very much highschool in it's power stucture. And while nothing you said was entirely untrue, Jeph, you downplaying the power of networking/ pandering is setting people up for failure. It is very much a popularity contest. There's maybe two or three people making webcomics who are good enough to do it on skill alone. Everyone else has to sell themselves in addition to the comic.

So, I think pushing the starry-eyed idea of "saying your prayers and eating you vitamins" is a nicely political thing to say, it lacks pragmatism.


Now, about LJ Cuts:

1999 was a while ago. Most people have broadband now. Dont cut.

Comment from: The Ferrett posted at January 24, 2006 12:08 AM

Just for the record, if anyone thinks Home on the Strange sucks, I honestly hope they'd stop reading it just 'cause Websnark - or anyone - told them to. I suppose there's an element of "Who you know" involved, but if you think that what I'm producing is no good I wouldn't want you to look at it.

What we'll do won't be to everyone's taste, which is fine. But the idea that I'd succeed only because of my connections is so repellent to me that man, I hope that anyone who'd be that easily led would just stay the heck away.

Comment from: Zach Weiner posted at January 24, 2006 12:14 AM

Eric should be allowed to post whatever we wants with whatever opinion he wants. It's his soapbox. End of story.

However, as much as I love websnark, this posting loses the site a little cred in my eyes.

This is a comic that (were it posted in, say, the forum at topwebcomics, or keenspot, or the like) would immediately illicit insults and hatred.

Mediocre art, mediocre paneling, and a cheesy and tired joke. Then, as I'm struggling to figure out the difference between this and the thousand other strips justlike it, I notice that they're already accepting donations and have a cafepress store.

Pedigree doesn't matter. Product does.

Weak sauce, Eric. There are a lot of better comics out there that could use the press, and pointing this fact out doesn't make it any less true.

Comment from: William_G posted at January 24, 2006 12:38 AM

I'm going to have to nit-pick here.

Mediocre art, mediocre paneling, and a cheesy and tired joke.

I've seen many of the same problems in many webcomics that are far more popular than the one in question. I mean really, it's a gag strip that's just starting out. It has yet to take these problems and find the audience it works for.

But it will. Obviously it appeals to Eric, or else he wouldnt have snarked it. And it's likely that SOMEONE who otherwise may never have heard of it if it weren't for this post, will find it appealing as well.

Yay critics!

I hope that anyone who'd be that easily led would just stay the heck away.

B-but, that's how the internet works!

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at January 24, 2006 12:45 AM

1999 was a while ago. Most people have broadband now.

I have DSL. It's pretty much the slowest DSL you can get. I still have to watch my bandwidth consumption, because I share the line with someone for whom latency sensitivity is an issue. Bulk transfers screw with that.

There are also way more factors than sheer pipe capacity, but, well, everyone reads Alertbox.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at January 24, 2006 12:50 AM

I completely disagree about cuts on written pieces online. Of course, keep in mind that my primary writing experience is for a news-style site. Everything I write except the title and a short blurb is behind a cut. And honestly, I think it works just fine. I mean, who would want to see 5000 words on Mega Man on their front page for a week? We'd lose so many readers that way...

Of course, a blog is a different beast. I guess I like cuts because I came late to blogging - everything I read before that had cuts, it made reading more manageable, and I prefer to stick to them to this day.

Comment from: larksilver posted at January 24, 2006 12:55 AM

I'm certainly going to keep an eye out for it, if only because of that.. that GRIN. It speaks volumes for what we're going to see in the future, even more than the Naked does below.

Saying "hey guys, I've enjoyed this guy's writing before, look at his new project" isn't exactly nepotism, by the way. Just my two coppers' worth.

Comment from: Tice with a J posted at January 24, 2006 1:24 AM

Completely OT post.

Shortpacked: Mr. Willis has posted a new comic without an amusing tagline. Perhaps he's being serious about being serious?

Girl Genius: All I can say is: Dun dun dun!

Comment from: Eytan Zweig posted at January 24, 2006 7:30 AM

Yesterday, when I was stuck using computers with IE that prevent me from commenting, I really wanted to call Remus Shepard on the "attention they stole" comment. Now it's a bit late, since others have said most of what I was going to say, but seriously - if someone gets attention to a new project by having a reputation for good work, that's not stealing attention. That's EARNING attention.

Comment from: roninkakuhito posted at January 24, 2006 7:48 AM

Darn you Tice with a J! That "Dun dun dun" cries out for me to click it, but alas, I have not yet purchased book four of GG, and have restricted myself from reading the new material until such a time as I have read everything between the end of book 3 and the beginning of the new material.

Comment from: Misha Grin posted at January 24, 2006 10:02 AM

Gotta weigh in with me $.11 (inflation or binary, your call): I think the nay-sayers of "It's all who you know! Nepotism! Flood, Fire, and Destruction! Why won't someone pay attention to my comic/blog and MEEEEE?!" are a bit off base here. I write a comic. I'm busting my hump trying to DRAW it now. I like to think that it was once pretty good. Not marvelous, but good. Yes, it got snarked! No, I never sucked Eric's cock. Not even metaphorically. The closest I did was send him an e-mail thanking him for unwittingly closing a disagreement between my artist and I (an article of his came down on my side on the point), and, literally, saying "Oh, and I've got a webcomic. Here's the link. Read it, or not, s'up to you." I've also got a few readers besides Eric. Yes, a couple dozen of them are friends, family, family of friends, and friends of family... the rest didn't know me from Adam (or Eve, for that matter) when they started reading. And yet, they read. I've double-checked my knees and my mouth... there has been no sucky-sucky. No lovin' long time.

For that matter, I *DO* know people who have a major voice out there on the net. Yes, I've gotten a bit of linkage from them, but not alot. I think one of the better ones (besides the 'Snark, of course) was a simple link saying "Hey, I shared a booth with this guy at this Con. Check him out!" And that was that. I've even got this one friend (whose name has come up here a few times already) who has made NO MENTION OF MY COMIC ALL in his on-line rantings, even though he's got a readership about 10x bigger than I currently have. Why? Because he's not 100% sold on my work. And ya know what? That's fine, too.

Meanwhile, you guys are blasting Eric because he's pimping a new endeavor by two artists whose previous works he KNOWS and has been impressed with? What's wrong with that?

Personally, I think there's a word for people who suck the metaphorical cock in exchange for linkage and fresh eyes: Attention whores. And if that's the way you want to do things, be my guest. But don't go all sour grapes if someone "steals" the attention that's "rightly" yours, and does so without the necessity of going down.

Comment from: Remus Shepherd posted at January 24, 2006 10:09 AM

Sheesh, y'all post late at night. :)

This isn't about readership and isn't really about webcomics. It's about a pattern of human behavior that's one of my hot buttons. Sorry my meltdown about it spread onto this site. I'm an asshole with poor social skills -- *that*'s really what this is about. :)

In any case, Home on the Strange just had the best opening day of any webcomic in history, ever. They'll have to work hard to fuck it up. :) Good for them!

Comment from: Tephlon posted at January 24, 2006 10:56 AM

As to someone who is *not* using cuts the right way: Howard Tayler (Schlock Mercenary) has really broken his site with the redesign/technological "improvement".
Case in point, from his latest news post: "Read the rest of Fan Art: The Ceramic Plasgun (5 words)" Admittedly, there is a picture, but he doesn't mention that at all before the cut.

Comment from: Tephlon posted at January 24, 2006 10:56 AM

ehm: /rant

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at January 26, 2006 10:08 AM

I go back to this, because I actually met Roni last night. It was really neat to see her still go on about this snark (overhearing her talk about it is how I realized who she was). I believe the proper phrase is that you totally rocked her world, Eric. It was actually a bit entertaining to see someone obviously confident in their skills act a bit giddy over this.

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