Hey, That's My Cape! - Cats and Web Comics
As someone who writes about comics and pop-culture for a living, I get a lot of emails from people asking me to take a look at their “awesome” this, that or the other. It happens more often with independent comics, especially web comics, which is understandable. They have something they’ve (hopefully) put a lot of hard work into and want to make into a success. They don’t have a big name company behind them either so the best approach is the direct approach. Unfortunately, most of them have no idea how to write.
Their emails, that is. Their web comic could be Pulitzer Prize winning material but I’d never know it since I couldn’t get past the horrific sales pitch. There are vast galaxies of web comics out there today, more than ever before. You can’t expect to be the next Penny Arcade, Megatokyo or xkcd if you don’t put any effort into it. Plus, they don’t know who they’re dealing with. I’m a difficult customer.
I don’t like reading for long periods of time on the computer screen. A web comic strip without continuity is easier for me to check up on now and then but trying to read through an ongoing story issue by issue online just kills me. It’s why I’m so happy DC Comics started collecting some of their Zuda books, but again, not everyone can do that. Not everyone should feel obligated to either, after all web comics are the future, it’s just my own preferences I’m talking about here.
So how do you go about getting someone who doesn’t particularly like reading comics online to pay attention to what you have to offer? The surest way for you to get me personally to read your web comic is to have a cat as a reoccurring character and let me find it on my own.
Artist Yasmine Surovec may not be the first to exploit such a simple technique but she’s doing it with panache. Surovec’s Cat Versus Human has only been running a few months but already has a decent following. She’s also got a new fan in me. Not only are her strips beautiful to look at, she’s got an extremely quick wit in both them and the stories she sometimes tags on. For instance, “If my cats were my facebook friends, our relationship status would be ‘It’s complicated.’”Gronk is about a sweet little monster who rejects her own kind and “goes where no monster has gone before.” To live with a human. Like Cat Versus Human, Gronk hasn’t been running for all that long but has grown exponentially in popularity since it’s debut but unlike the former, Gronk is a continuing story with a cast of regulars. There’s Gronk of course, the human he goes to live with Dale, a dog named Harli, a kitty and Kitteh. Gronk’s beloved stuffed cat. Honestly, I was sold just by reading Gronk’s “About” section.
Sure, you can have successful web comics about zombies, cowboys or aliens but when it really comes down to it, there’s nothing like a little pussy to ensure success.