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

November 1, 2004

2168 Down, 1832 to Go: The Norm Extends Its Deadline

There will be another two months for The Norm to potentially find a new home. Nicole Jantze, the wife of cartoonist Michael, announced through the strip's Web site the extension of a subscription drive by which her husband hopes to continue his strip on a Web-only basis

Jantze withdrew his long-running newspaper strip from print syndication on September 12, following several years of successful but not overwhelming sales and interest from newspaper editors.

imageThe subscription offer is not the first time Jantze has reached into different arenas for comics in search of a potential sales boost. Jantze's humor strip about a laidback bachelor and then, later, young married, had previously been collected into various book formats in order to reach a wider audience in markets the strip had not yet reached. That effort reportedly met with some modest success in terms of additional newspaper sales, and made Jantze one of the better-known strip creators among comic book shop and convention audiences.

Because the strip had become a popular on-line destination in a way that suggested appeal beyond its newspaper saturation, as the strip faded from print Jantze's wife Nicole announced a plan by which Jantze would continue the strip if they could find 4000 members for a subscription service, with varying rewards for increased sponsorship and a basic price of $25. A deadline of November 1 by which to meet their goal was originally set, but last week it was extended to January 1, Jantze citing the steady way in which subscriptions were beginning to come in and the potential hook of the upcoming gift-buying season.

The web site currently reports that 2168 memberships were sold.

If the subscription program is successful and Jantze returns to new episodes of his strip, it may be an important step in two ways: as an alternative for other newspaper strips with a modest client list but small number of more fervent fans, and as a development in on-line pay models for comics content.
posted 7:43 am PST | Permalink

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