2007-02-06-Towner-&-Mush-trying-to-undersand-the-odd-habits-of-the-average-web-visitor

OK, what do we have to do now to keep you reading? Emulate a video game? Be card game characters? Steal characters and situations from multi-million dollar franchises?

Okay, so, there are thousands of amateur, semi-pro and professional cartoonists out there doing webcomics. Some are very good. Some are ok. Some are pretty bad. And individual tastes vary where one person’s trash is another’s treasure. With everything, such is life. Trying to find your niche audience with so many comics out there is a bit of a mystery. And one that I have not yet been able to solve.

Towner comics were invented in 1997. I missed the hell out of my favorite comic strip – then then-newly retired Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes – and I had already made my own comic book called Chris Stevens’ Crusher Comics (which was portmanteau shortened into ChrusherComix for worldwide consumption), thusly decided to make a comic strip using mostly miniaturized, kiddy versions of the characters that I already had fun drawing for ten years at that time, inspired by comics I loved for years.

I drew them pretty steady for a few months, and then tried out for some of the more well-known syndicates. I was ignored by all but one, who had a few constructive criticisms. I took them to heart and kept churning away, although at a slower pace. I did them on and off at the same as my other comic, Chrusher. My mom is a business owner and employed me to draw strips for ads in the local newspaper. People loved them, but I grew incredibly tired of putting my blood, sweat, tears, heart and soul into for little attention and FAR less money.

Then, in 2005, I was newly married and trying to make a name for my comics so I could maybe make money at my best talent, I started learning basic HTML and putting my comics online.

Years later, still the same. They get ignored.

I sample other webcomics. Some are genuinely good comics that deserve steady audiences. Most are quite sadly unprofessional and horrid. What’s sadder is that my comics have (in any webcomic ratings system that I put them in) probably in the lowest 1-2% of viewership – despite having MORE comics, higher quality illustration, and funnier than hundreds if not thousands of comics with much larger audiences. I’m not being arrogant, I’m a pretty humble, soft-spoken guy in general. I’m just being honest. Don’t believe me, look out there and compare them. Anybody who says I’m full of it isn’t being very objective. Although I can have a dark sense of humor, I went out of my way to keep these comics clean, So, it fills a role than many “postmodern” cartoonists don’t do – be cute and innocent.

The average visitor to this site opens the main page and then leaves. A few more will open a few pages, between 2-4, and leave. With 100+ strips, it is a genuine mystery why people leave after a few strips considering some of the webcomics out there are widely successful and popular look like they were drawn by 10 year olds and written my mental patience on hard drugs. I understand that many people barely read anymore and computer animation is what steals the attention of the youth.

But… c’mon… everybody had to start somewhere. The comic was invented in 1997 and debuted online in 2005, where I have over 100 strips for anybody to view for free! Comics invented years later, with less work, and lesser quality find success and mine get ignored. I feel like Frank Grimes on the Simpsons. I do hard work, good work, find no success, while other idiots stumble upon cozy success by barely trying and just being in the right place at the right time. I try not to get bitter, but man, it’s pretty tough. Imagine working at your craft for most of your life, you’re pretty good at it, work clean and hard at it… and you can’t make a red cent with it. Meanwhile, someone with lesser skill and even less work ethic stumble upon an audience and make a living. And sometimes… make a lot more than that! Some make millions. Some do it while NOT creating anything… just stealing video game or pre-existing and already copyrighted characters. Good for them, God bless ’em! But what about me? Right place at the right time? Or what? Wish I knew. If I knew, I’d so it. And tell YOU how to do it too!

Heh… then, to make matters worse, some people attack me for what I do and not making much money at it.

Sigh. Oh well… rant over. All I can do is put them out there and hope and pray to get noticed by enough people (and/or the right people) to matter.

Otherwise it’s just another in a long line of failed works out there littering the history of time.