Part Five in a continuing series in which I look back over ten years in webcomics.|
One year after launching a weekly single-panel comic, Courting Disaster, I approached the Philadelphia Daily News about allowing me a full page to do a comic about Philadelphia. It would focus on everyday citizens and their extraordinary lives. I was allowed one page every other Monday, and Phables was born.
After its first year, it was named the Best Newspaper Column in Philadelphia by the Philadelphia chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. And, believe me... for a cartoonist to win in a category that had traditionally been bestowed upon writers... this was a bit of an uproar.
Phables' initial success lead to a new every-Monday schedule for the feature in 2007. And later that year, in early April, I found out that it had been nominated in the Best Digital Comic category for the Eisner Award. The Eisner is perhaps the very top honor that can be bestowed upon a cartoonist. Being nominated for that award is among my very top professional highlights.
I lost the award to Sam and Max, but I got to be in that room, man. I was in the room.
Unfortunately, cutbacks at the DN would make it impossible for me to continue Phables, and it ended in 2008. I collected all of the comics into a single book to help remember that amazing period in my life.
Around the same time that Dave Kellett, Kris Straub and I started to feel a disconnect from Blank Label Comics, we found ourselves working more and more closely with Scott Kurtz. Earlier in 2007, he and Kris had begin work on a how-to book about webcomics. They brought Dave and I in, and together we found that we worked together extraordinarily well.
As an offshoot of this mutual friendship and professional partnership, we started the Webcomics Weekly podcast, which launched on Talkshoe, and migrated to Libsyn. Webcomics Weekly developed out of our brainstorming sessions in working on the HTMW book, and posting it as a podcast was a perfect way to promote our upcoming book.
Between the book and the podcast (and scores of other possibilities that were forming) Dave, Kris and I decided that it would be unfair to continue as members of Blank Label Comics while we poured so much energy into this smaller partnership that included Scott.
So, on November 1, 2007, we announced our departure from Blank Label and Halfpixel was born. Halfpixel wasn't even a collective, though. It was merely a title that we used to group all of our partnership-related projects under. In reality, Dave, Kris and I had each become completely independent webcartoonists -- with no tether to the psuedo-syndicate system that had pervaded in one form or another since our Keenspot days.
Early the next year, the How to Make Webcomics book was released by Image Comics. It was a run-away hit, with several people dubbing it the "Bible of Webcomics." We had set forth to write the book that we wished we had had when we were starting out. And, with two editions sold out and a third on the way, webcartoonists are still telling us that we succeeded.
To be continued.
Ten Years of Webcomics: Part One | Part Two | Part Three
| Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven