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Burns Takes Over — Modern Tales Will be (Mostly) Free!

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 1:37 pm

Popular blogger Eric Burns announced yesterday that he has accepted the position of Editor for Modern Tales. But that’s not the only big change in the works for the well-known professional webcomics portal. As part of its overhaul for the new year, Modern Tales will be changing its business model drastically, said Joey Manley, owner/publisher of Modern Tales, as well as numerous other webcomics-related sites.

“We launched Modern Tales in 2002, during a time when bandwidth prices were at their highest, and online advertising was in the toilet. In that context, the business model we selected — where only paying subscribers could read the archives of our comics — made a whole lot of sense. We kept our bandwidth prices low by locking away most of our actual material, and we depended on readers, not advertisers, for 100% of our revenue. We succeeded beyond our wildest expectations
with that model, and Modern Tales is a success, still, to this day, with a six-figure gross revenue number, and general acknowledgement in the community as one of the leading webcomics sites — sort of Pepsi to Keenspot’s Coke. But that kind of success carries with it an obligation to maintain our position at the top of the heap, or, if possible, improve upon it. 2002 is long gone, and the business outlook for 2006 is quite different — bandwidth is cheap as dirt, and advertising is skyrocketing again. As fond as I am of the subscription model, for all kinds of reasons, it would be foolish indeed to stick to that model, and that model alone, in the current environment.”

Manley was quick to point out that the current subscription-based element of Modern Tales will not go away. “We will continue to have a set of subscription-based strips, comparable in number and kind to the subscription-based strips we would have had all along, even without making this change. Essentially, Modern Tales as you know it will continue to exist. But beside that ‘classic’ version of Modern Tales, and occupying the same website, will be a much larger new incarnation
of Modern Tales — which will be all free, all the time, and adveritising-supported.”

“This is the part of the business that our new editor, Eric Burns, will be charged with building,” said Manley. “We’ve never really aimed for the mass market. We’ve always had a niche mentality. No more. The goal is to make this new, free incarnation of Modern Tales as large as — maybe larger than — Keenspot, in terms of raw popularity. Maybe even larger than the real webcomics success stories, like Penny-Arcade or Sluggy Freelance (in other words, the kinds of successes that make Modern Tales, in its current incarnation, and Keenspot, both, look like tiny pikers). With Eric at the helm, and our new compensation model for artists in place — the fairest and most flexible model ever developed for a webcomics portal, with no “percentages” or hold-ups waiting for checks — we fully expect to transcend the current glass ceiling on webcomics as a form, and invade the real mainstream.”


Early webcomics remastered and polished up

Filed under: — Reinder Dijkhuis @ 5:06 am

Over the past year, I’ve been bringing back many of my older comics dating back as far as 1989, rescanning them and preparing them for the web. This week, I’ve been resurrecting some comics from the late 1990s on my website. Enjoy:

Pin Drop (wordless): Comics without distracting dialogue.

When We Had Tails -God created Woman with free will and a prehensile tail. Not Her best idea. NSFW
Tree Test - Individualists in conflict. Or something.
The Grim Barrowman - Death stalks his prey with glassy eyes and a wheelbarrow.
Desperately Seeking - When you have an extra dimension to search through, finding what you are looking for only becomes harder.
Seedy Sunspot - Sometimes an empty, secluded spot is empty for a reason. NSFW

Unfantasy fantasy

The Wife in the Hole - A Saami folktale. NSFW
A Trinket’s Tale - A cautionary tale about going out thieving in your underwear.
Chain Mail Bikini - about bikinis and what fills them. NSFW

Little Cottage in the Woods

Nightmares - Aliens probed my historical knowledge!
Santa’s Revenge - On the Dark and Righteous Side of the jolly red guy.


Herman - a quiet afternoon is interrupted by a bang.

Elsewhere, Christmas at Blocksberg by Daniel Østvold and Geir Strøm has wrapped up, with a cozy Christmas celebration and all voices grumbling “Bah, Humbug” effectively silenced. What else did you expect? This comic, though not made by me, is part of the remastering project because it was published in print by me many years ago and had appeared on an early version of my website.


New Publisher’s Weekly article on “web comics”

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 3:43 pm

The latest “Hey! Who’da Thunk? Comics on the Internet!” article in the mainstream press comes from Heidi MacDonald, who writes regularly on comics for PW (as well as running one of the most prominent blogs in the comics world). It’s pretty good, as these things go. Given the target audience (PW is a trade magazine for book publishers), there’s obviously a certain necessary angle she had to write from, which may or may not be of interest to the average webcomics fan.

Read it now!

Pishio on Digital Strips!

Filed under: — Zack @ 12:58 pm

Hey everyone,
I’ve been very quiet lately, I know. But, I wanted to hoook you up with a link to Digital Strips - a webcomics podcast. They just reviewed Pishio on their December 18th show and it’s awesome! Also, they claim that this is only the second WCN comic that they’ve reviewed. The message is being spread!

Webhead # 6: On the Internet, Tentacle Porn is Free!

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 10:01 am

In this week’s Webhead column at Comicon Pulse, I count down the top 5 reasons why webcomics are better than comic books.


VIGIL: New format and free Chapters!

Filed under: — navarro @ 10:43 am

VIGIL: New format and free Chapters!

Decemeber 15, 2005- VIGIL the 2 years running comics by Juan Navarro has changed format! I’ve decided to make it wider and more screen friendly, while also taking advantage of the net and letting loose on certain pages to show more and use the space wiser.
Also, I’ve decided to make all current chapters FREE! That’s right FREE! So you can jump in and read what going on now, while still having available the past free chapters so you can read VIGIL’s past and present and know its future! Take that to MAMA!
SO read it now!


Panel One: A Meta-Fictional Experiment

Filed under: — Alexander Danner @ 12:41 am

Panel One, by Alexander DannerJust launched on Webcomics Nation: Panel One, a free daily comic strip by Alexander Danner, telling the story of an empty comic strip panel in search of content. The first strip ran Monday, December 12th.

Panel One is a meta-fictional experiment designed to give me a vehicle for exploring a variety of narrative and non-narrative ideas I have about comics and visual storytelling. At the outset, it is taking the form of a daily four-panel gag strip. I realize this doesn’t seem particularly experimental, but seeing as it’s something I’ve never tried before, it seems a worthwhile challenge. At the same time, I reserve the right to change format on a whim, if some other form of experiment catches my fancy. Which I’m sure it will. This comic is about process more than product. I’ll be trying a lot of different things, and some will work, and some won’t. Either way is okay, so long as I learn something from the attempt.

Still, I do hope to create something entertaining, if not exactly coherent and logical. The comic will be loose and silly, and most of the characters will be abstract concepts. That’s gotta be worth something, right?

Panel One updates every weekday.


Webhead # 5: In the Can …

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 12:50 pm

The newest installment of Webhead is up at Pulse. This one’s about reading webcomics on the toilet. Here’s the first few:

Back in the days when I used to spend a lot of energy trying to get comic book readers to try webcomics (that is, before I realized that the actual audience for webcomics is larger than the comic book audience by several orders of magnitude), I would hear the same complaint, over and over again, from longtime comic book readers: “But you can’t read webcomics in the bathroom!”

You see, I was a newcomer to comic book culture. I didn’t know the rules. I didn’t understand that most contemporary comic book readers refuse to read comics unless they are pinching off a brown round at the same time.

So I thought about this for a while.

Looking at the quality of many comic books in the “mainstream” market, it was certainly understandable, I supposed, and, heck, there were plenty of webcomics, too, that could cause an involuntary bowel movement if you looked at them sideways, or too quickly, come to think of it.

These old-timey comic book fans are onto something! I remember saying to myself. Better safe than sorry!

read the rest here!

New “Girl Genius Online” story by Shaenon K. Garrity

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 1:08 am

Via Comixpedia: the new storyline that started today at Phil Foglio’s “Girl Genius Online” was written by Modern Tales’ own Shaenon K. Garrity, and illustrated by Foglio himself. With this, and the Marvel story, Shaenon’s really starting to show off her versatility. One time I told her that she could have the career of an Ed Brubaker or a Brian Michael Bendis if she wanted … her response was classic Shaenon! And I’m not going to share it with you!

Go! Read! Now!


Marvel taking webcomics seriously (again)?

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 7:11 pm

William G pulls out a nugget from the latest Joe Fridays over at Newsarama, and analyzes a bit. Here’s the nugget:

Quesada:: No print cost, minimal distribution and no shipping. I see comics someday in this format possibly becoming like weekly animation that you just download and read but also watch. The electronics medium is growing so quickly, it won’t be long before we’ll be able to take John Romita’s art and animate it quickly to the point where comics and their stories may come to the public as mini animated movies. Comics will eventually have to adapt to the coming media revolution, so this is just one more step towards that.

That comes in the context of Quesada teasing the reporter with the possibility of Marvel getting back into the “webcomics” field (though whether or not it will be “webcomics” is sort of up in the air, given the talk of animation).

Here’s William G:

But, assuming they put their B and C level material online, they’re going to have to follow the “Ads n’ shirts” method if they want it to earn them money. And they can probably get a pretty large investor to put some ads up. This is “Spiderman was a popular movie” Marvel webcomics. Not “Jerk and his Xbox fetish” webcomics. They can potentially make a mint from it since their only costs would be paying artists and a webmaster.

In terms of animation, they do have John Barber on staff there (in an editorial role that has nothing to do with webcomics, as far as I know), so he may have been able to show them how to do animated comics correctly. Here’s hoping. The whole Stan Lee Media webisodes thing should stay dead, IMHO.

Or not.


Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 2:01 pm is a luxury pet boutique. I wonder how many of their prospective customers accidentally come to my site, and vice versa? Maybe James should bring back Fancy Froglin!


Hug The Cactus

Filed under: — Phil McAndrew @ 1:43 pm

From February - September 2005, I drew a new comic strip every single weekday. I’ve started re-running all of the best strips from that period on Webcomics Nation, plus some new ones! I’ll be updating daily on WCN for as long as possible!



Pay-Per-View Webcomics a $43M market — this year

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 1:35 am

From The Great Curve:

“Web comics are quite the growing industry in South Korea … 45 billion Won (roughly $43 million) will be exchanged by 2005’s end by readers and sites offering pay-per-view Web comics.”

Many more details on the blog post … but the blogger, Brian Warmoth, forgot to actually link the story from that he was quoting. And since is in (presumably) Korean, I’ll be damned if I can find it. William G, can you help us out, here?


Webhead # 4: teh drama

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 2:04 pm

In this week’s Webhead column over at Comicon Pulse, I look at webcomics drama — back-biting, flamewars, gossip, and intrigue. You know you love it! I name the five biggest trouble-makers in webcomics. And I plug Spike’s Templar. Go now, read!

Christmas at Blocksberg

Filed under: — Reinder Dijkhuis @ 4:11 am

First page of Christmas at Blocksberg. Click to see full-size
Christmas time is upon us, so over at Chronicles of the Witch Queen, we’re running a seasonal story. In the dark days of December, witches ride out on a Wild Hunt! But then they like to follow that up with a cozy evening around the Christmas tree unwrapping presents. One year, though, Santa goes missing. Will Queen Elspeth find a replacement in time? And just what is Countess Alcydia up to? Read all about it in Christmas at Blocksberg! Art by Daniel Østvold; writing by Geir Strøm.

There is a livejournal feed for Chronicles of the Witch Queen. To read the comics in Livejournal, add witchqueenchron to your friends list.

If you have a website you want to liven up with a seasonal comic, you can use our Tooncast: cut and paste <script language=”javascript” src=””></script> into your website.


Webcomics Examiner lists Best Webcomics of 2005

Filed under: — joezabel @ 11:07 pm

December 05, 2005– The Best Webcomics of 2005 are featured in the special end-of-year issue of The Webcomics Examiner. The editorial advisory board surveyed the field and debated to come up with a list of the most noteworthy series and completed works. Says editor Joe Zabel, “Everyone has their own opinion about which comics are best; but we hope our listing efforts will stimulate discussion and attract new readers to a very fine group of cartoonists.”

The Webcomics Examiner is a monthly forum of reviews, interviews, and critical articles evaluating webcomics as a fine art. The free-access website is at

This issue also features Part 2 of an editorial roundtable on The Artistic History of Webcomics, with T Campbell, Shaenon Garrity, William G., Phil Kahn, Bob Stevenson, Eric Burns, Wednesday White, A. G. Hopkins, Rob Balder, Tim Godek, Zabel, Alexander and Brandy Danner. Chronicling the webcomics medium’s creative evolution, the discussion includes profiles of Cat Garza, Tristan Farnon, Demian5, Patrick Farley, Broken Saints, Justine Shaw, James Kochalka, Roger Langridge, Jim Zubkavich and many more.

Also this issue:

–Webcomics pioneer Tracy White discusses her innovative approach to webcomics in an interview conducted by Zabel.

–Philip Sandifer probes the secret life of James Kochalka’s legendary autobiographical comic American Elf.

–Tristan Farnon’s Leisure Town is analyzed by Zabel.

The cover artist this issue is David Hellman, of A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible fame.

Press contact: Joe Zabel,


Gary Chaloner’s ComiCam and b*og

Yeah yeah, you heard right: another bloody blog!!! BUT THIS ONE IS DIFFERENT! This one has a web cam attached too it, with it’s cold unblinking eye fixed permanently on my drawing board! What does this mean? It means that every ten seconds you’ll get to see what I’m drawing, as I draw it (that’s when I’m not working on the computer, toning artwork or designing). It’ll also be a production diary of sorts as well. The blog posts will be talking about comics, Australian or otherwise, ‘Will Eisner’s JOHN LAW’, as well as the process of drawing, writing and creating the pages. It’ll be fun! It’ll be different! It’ll also be in a different time zone to you zany ‘Mericans! Spooky!

Come by and visit…


Full Story: An Index of Completed Webcomics Launches Today

Filed under: — Alexander Danner @ 1:02 am

For immediate release
Contact: Alexander Danner

Full Story: An Index of Completed Webcomics Launches Today

Alexander Danner announced today the launch of Full Story, an index of completed webcomics.

The internet is, in many ways, a cult of the new. An exciting new idea can propagate through blogs, and forums, and e-mail seemingly instantaneously, such that it appears everywhere almost at once. And just as quickly, yesterday’s idea is replaced with today’s. The old idea may never be spoken of again, unless it can somehow be made new again.

This is just as true of interesting webcomics as it is of anything else. Most webcomics have addressed this need for perpetual new-ness through the process of serialization. Each update is quickly replaced, creating a cycle of novelty that allows diligent creators to retain the attention of their readers. It is easy to see that the success of a webcomic is predicated as much on frequency as anything else; a weekly comic will usually be more successful than a monthly one; a daily strip will usually be more successful than a weekly one. And so forth.

Given this environment, then, what chance do stories that have completed their run, or that were never serialized in the first place have of finding an audience? Almost none, aside from the occasional brief flash of recognition as a new short catches the attention of the blogosphere. And finding these stories can be a great challenge, even to those readers who actively seek them out.

Full Story exists to see that these non-perpetuating strips aren’t forgotten forever, but remain visible and accessible to those who are interested in reading them. Designed to be an easily searchable directory exclusively devoted to completed and self-contained comics, Full Story is an ideal resource for readers who enjoy a complete “beginning, middle, and end” reading experience.

Full story is built and maintained by webcomics author, Alexander Danner, and can be found at

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