Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

February 7, 2014

This Is A Potentially Huge Story: Meredith Gran Takes Octopus Pie To Patreon (Updated: It's Begun)


I could be totally wrong about this, but it strikes me that a cartoonist like Meredith Gran taking a known quantity like her Octopus Pie series to Patreon is a huge test of that site's ability to support an a-list webcomics project. If it works, I think there could be a rush on Patreon launches the excitement for which hasn't been seen in comics since the days they had food avaialble for Eisner Awards audience attendees over at the Hyatt. I would imagine this could involve people like Gran that come from that traditional webcomics community, but also people that straddle print and on-line production, like the people Zack Soto publishes at StudyGroup and solo operators like Dustin Harbin and Noah Van Sciver. I imagine there will be some distortion here because of the novelty of it -- if Gran kills, there's no reason to think prominent webcomic #132 that does the same thing is going to do well, even if it's well-liked -- but boy, that should be fascinating to watch. I'll warn you that I am not the world's best trends and business development psychic.

Also, you might just like Gran's work and want to support it. So consider this a "go, look"/"by request" as well.

Update: Okay, I screwed this up. Actually, Zack Weinersmith is already at something like $7800 a month pledged for his SMBC. That completely escaped my attention. The Gran story becomes an important additional cog, then, and I think would be more instructive/informative for a lot of single-operator comics folks than success for the kind of work that Weinersmith does and the kind of profile he and others enjoy. (If you read a value judgment into that, you're reading it wrong.) I would expect a flood of projects in the next eight weeks, then, as people follow their natural impulse to make money from their art, perhaps seek to capitalize on any initial novelty factor involved and maybe even negotiate the fear that people may only want to support a limited number of projects this way. This would be mitigated, one assumes, by what Weinersmith nicely informed me is potential momentum by people being able to cluster their payments for all Patreon projects they're supporting and only picking up one processing fee.

How else did I screw this one up? I had noted that Erika Moen was doing a project-based one, although that seems to me to operate on different cultural triggers. Your opinion may differ, but it should have been mentioned again as, like Gran, Moen has a profile that crosses industry worlds a bit and will be paid attention in a specific way. Jon Rosenberg is also using the mechanism. Whoops. Well, welcome to the new gold rush.
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink

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