Part Six in a continuing series in which I look back over ten years in webcomics.|
2008 saw the Great Halfpixel Intern War. Both Dave Kellett and Kris Straub had taken on college interns to help with their production, so I decided that I, too, should have one. This is the result.
Meanwhile, the How To Make Webcomics book had a number of benefits. It sold extremely well, it was professionally satisfying, and it exposed Evil Inc to a wider audience. Around the same time, a chain of suburban newspapers approached me about expanding that audience further. The Trend chain of newspapers wanted to run an independent comic in its weekly newspapers, and they contacted me. I offered to combine a week's worth of Evil Inc strips into a weekly comic, and before I knew it, my strip was appearing in front of an extra 1.2 million people a week (based on circulation).
Combining the strips in this way was a natural outgrowth of the Evil Inc Annual Reports. Each of the Annual Reports took the daily comic strip and -- instead of simply assembling a collection of strips -- used the individual panels to build continuously narrative comic-book-style pages. Since the strip conveys an overall story, the result is a freestanding graphic novel -- with never-before-seen content added to ensure a smooth reading experience.
By 2008, I had self-published a handful of books through Lulu.com. Lulu is a print-on-demand printer and fulfillment organization -- meaning they print books only after customers order them and then they handle the money transaction and shipping. I was -- and am -- a fan of Lulu.com. They allowed me to start addressing a demand for Evil Inc books that I couldn't have met otherwise. The only problem with print-on-demand is that it provides a lower profit margin than printing books in bulk with an offset printer and handling the transactions and shipping yourself. This is especially true for books printed in color. So, in 2008, I started my relationship with Transcontinental, which has printed the third Annual Report, the second edition of the second Annual Report, the Phables book, and the fifth and sixth Annual Reports.
Volumes 5 and 6 were printed in color because of one of the most significant milestones in Evil Inc history. At the beginning of 2008, during an episode of the Webcomics Weekly podcast, we talked about using color in our strips. Each of us bemoaned how much we thought our work would benefit from the addition of color, but none of us could fathom being able to put in the necessary extra time.
Shortly after the podcast posted, I received an e-mail from Ed Ryzowski, who said that he'd love to color Evil Inc. We hammered out a contract and discussed details, and on March 3rd, Evil Inc began appearing in color.
Ed's work has added a depth and power to the comic that is impossible to overstate. He is incredible.
To be continued.
Ten Years of Webcomics: Part One | Part Two | Part Three
| Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven