jbgall (jbgall) wrote,

The first Buzzboy Webcomic, Part 2

So last time, I mentioned that Steve Conley, and a few others had inspired me to do a daily webcomic of Buzzboy.  Steve had devised a code, not even conceived by other comics syndicates, to distribute the comic to any website, via free distribution. "Tooncasting" is what Steve called it, and it was a hit. Anyone could add our comics to their site-- and usually we came along as a package-- which was greate, because the only thing better than free content was a LOT of FREE content. Ours was always in color, well done, in my opinion, and we each had thousands of readers a day.
Abby's Menagerie, a webcomic by Jenni Gregory & Barry Gregory
Other webcomics popped up, and soon there were pages that carried all the webcomics, like Comicwerks, and Benchcomics, and eventually there was a young startup named-- what was it, Cosby, Crosby, I forget... :)

This sudden onslaught of fans led to an increase in book sales  advertising income ... nothing, at least for me.

No additional sales, no ad revenue, just a lot of eyeballs, and no way to turn it in to anything.

Why? Because we were too early. DC Comics didn't even have a website back then.
Ctaer kid, by Marty Baumann
There was no Paypal, no Amazon, no Google Ad system. at least as we know it today. I had print fans that did not go on the Web, and Web fans that did not go into comics shops. If just 10% of my daily viewers had purchased Buzzboy at their local comics shop, it would have been a consistent Top 100 Diamond seller.

But they didn't. And it wasn't.

There were people making money, folks like Scott Kurtz and PvPOnline, who was paid to create content for a specific site. But I was still thinking as an indy comics guy, doing it all myself, not really thinking about treating this like a new frontier. (Before anyone gets in an uproar, I am sure there were ways to make money-- I just didn't figure out how. By mentioning Scott, I am not trying to ignore what anyone else has done, but merely mentioning someone whose work I admire, and whose story I know.)

So I began to pull back on the web. And focus more on print. My success in print showed up because I decided to pull all my BB's together into a "trade paperback," and comics shops JUMPED... in a different direction. Graphic novels were still a few years away from getting popular for die-hard comics readers (although Diamond Books was just starting, and I was lucky to be one of the first publishers invited to join)-- but now librarians across the country were starting to notice GN's.

Soon Buzzboy was selling well, well enough that I went right to graphic novel for the next volume.

Well, that's all for now-- I promise to share more, with a more positive slant.

Such as how awesome it was to get instant feedback on the strips, sometimes within seconds of posting. Or how webcomics made me a better artist, and a better storyteller. But that's another story...
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded