Strip Business

Short but meaty, I hope.

  • I read this article that pointed out some useful things about how our comics draw in readers. As a result, I’m thinking that useful thing would be to have multiple fast hooks and a couple of slow hooks for our online comics.
  • This was an interesting post by Kleefeld. It’s true about the comparison between comics and dvds and I wish I had more than half a solid idea about what the sizzle is for comics. The obvious thing seems to be the gap-imagination that a comic reader has to have but I’m at a loss how to show gap sizzle, if you know what I mean. That would mean we’d have to do a potential reader education campaign on the benefits of gap sizzle – which is probably a larger feat than is practical. So, I’m looking for other sizzle options.
  • Twelve Fingers has a nice post summarizing the main comic marketing ideas for online comics. Number 9 is something that is often overlooked – if you have a decent looking, but not too glitzy comic that might work very well.
  • Webcomic Finds talks about what it’s like being the 14 year old evil reviewer. I tried to comment but blogspot doesn’t like me – I enjoyed the ranty rant immensely.
  • And just because I like caricature work, I hope this book gets completed soon.
  • As always, there will be more comic business news and things to see next Tuesday on


  1. Aww… too bad about blogger being wonky with the comments, I’d love to have heard your option on the topic.

    But thanks for the links, the post on comic hooks was interesting too!

  2. Ping,

    Try as I might, I can’t get the comment to post on Finds. I had a mishmash of reactions to your post and they don’t segue very nicely into one another but here are the basic ideas:

    Typical readers, who are more often looking to enjoy the comic than examine it, are more likely to see only what they like in a comic than not. Plus, since they are to some degree emotionally involved with experiencing this comic, they are more likely to lash out at anyone who is not as enthused as they are.

    And as you mention, new readers don’t give each comic they read a fair shake either. We have thirty seconds and maybe two comics to capture a reader’s interest. How silly it really is to expect any other person (be it reviewer or fellow reader) to somehow have an unbiased opinion. It’s all pretty subjective and I’ve come to expect comic fans will rally to their comic’s defense no matter what.

    That’s why – while it’s nice to hear that readers like our comics – to grow we have to look beyond the atta-boys we get, as you said. Sometimes what we need is someone to call us on our shortcomings if we want to improve. I suppose, as reviewers, we should expect the same experience although I am usually surprised at what and how commenters respond to. I should have learned by now.

    Few things in life are technically perfect, including comics. Every comic has flaws in execution and presentation and in innumerable other ways. We can look at newspaper comics and see layout problems, tangents and other technical errors while also imagining alternate ways they could have presented the same material. Good critiques can be hard to write tactfully and -more importantly – read with objectivity. Most of us are not able to handle an in depth critique, no matter how much we might want it. And you’re right, harsh reviews don’t help anyone.

    I review comics that request it and some I pick as striking to me in some way. Even though I tend to focus more on my impressions and the positive things a comic is doing, commenters often focus on some small, side point I offered which could barely be considered criticism. If anything, I err on the mild side so it kind of amuses me to see that reaction. Perhaps my impression of what I write is off from what I actually write.

    Like you, rarely do I try to include any kind of you-should-do-this sorts of advice, which I think is beyond my given authority to offer. Sometimes I wonder out loud about comic makers trying some uncommon practice and creators sometimes respond by trying it out. Usually I mention it because they are already leaning in that direction anyway and it rarely was something I came up with on my own.

    When I truly critique a work, I tend to be as stringently objective as I can be. I always enjoy your very honest reviews and love the thoroughness of Alex Toth’s critiques. I want my own work to someday be of a caliber that could pass critiques like those. I often want to raze things back to the basics and rebuild it to overcome the latest deficiency that I’ve become aware of.

    Interestingly, you mention taking down reviews upon request. I like to think of myself as a nice guy but I’m not sure I would do that without some specific justification (especially if they requested the review in the first place.)

  3. Well I should have mentioned the taking down of reviews is restricted only to those who didn’t ask for it. In my opinion, if they didn’t ask for it, they have the right to be left alone.

    Although in my case, it was a positive review that I took down. The creator liked it, but since they had already previously publicly stated their dislike for reviews in general they felt it would be hypocritical of them to accept a positive review just because it was positive.

    That seemed fair to me, so I agreed. In the end I did get permission to repost it again, but I’d lost the review by then. Oh well.

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