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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Blank Label Comics

Posted by Nathaniel at 8:34 AM
ComicsWhile checking out Kristofer Straub's new comic, Starshift Crisis (mentioned yesterday by my esteemed collegue, Dacquin), I discovered something new and excellent and warm and wonderful: Blank Label Comics. Here is the new label's press release in its entirety:

Independent cartoonists band together for success

Media Contact:
Brad Guigar
(267) 207-1078

Blank Label Comics proudly announces a new approach to self-publishing for cartoonists. Blank Label is a cooperative group of cartoonists who are helping one another succeed as independents.

These six cartoonists, previously hosted at Keenspot, are banding together for cross-promotion and advertising. Each is using his proficiency in a particular aspect of the cartooning business to help the others — who are doing the same in return.

Six cartoonists form Blank Label Comics: Brad Guigar of Greystone Inn and Courting Disaster, Paul Southworth of Krazy Larry and Ugly Hill, Kristofer Straub of Checkerboard Nightmare and Starshift Crisis, Paul Taylor of Wapsi Square, Steve Troop of Melonpool, and David Willis of Shortpacked! and It’s Walky.

Blank Label will not compete with online syndicates such as Modern Tales and Keenspot. It is a small group of cartoonists with similar goals, using individual strengths to help one another reach those goals.

The Blank Label Web site, found at, will feature news and information about the members’ comics as well as special comics created for the site and special features for other independent cartoonists.

Blank Label Comics was formed on the principal that cartoonists can succeed best when they are in complete control of the business aspects of their creations. Since most cartoonists lack expertise in at least one of those aspects, they can gain expertise in their weak points in return for sharing their strong points.

The Blank Label members are available for interviews and comments. Please contact Brad Guigar for e-mail addresses and other contact information.

The URLs for the Blank Label members are:

Checkerboard Nightmare:
Courting Disaster:
Greystone Inn:
It’s Walky:
Krazy Larry:
Starshift Crisis:
Ugly Hill:
Wapsi Square:

I want to say that this is fantastic news, but only time will tell whether or not it has made a difference. I once thought that KeenSpot would be the next big thing, and it was, until it eventually became too big, and now a majority of the great online cartoonists now loathe and despise that monstrous behemoth that supposedly sucks the soul out of cartooning and replaces it with the ravaging desire for profit. I can't really speak to the truth of that, but if you ask some of the heavy hitters in the industry, I think they'll say that's an accurate representation. I then used to think that Rocketbox Comics was the next big thing, and it slowly melted away into obscurity.

And now, we have Blank Label. Some of my absolute favorite cartoonists are in there, the ones I thought were being overlooked and mismanaged at KeenSpot. Obviously, they seemed to agree to some extent. Paul Southworth, Paul Taylor, Steve Troop, Kris Straub -- I adore these cartoonists and their work. To see them band themselves together to form a small community within a larger universe that is daily growing so large, it's at once satisfying and disheartening. Satisfying because I see these people working to crawl out from underneath [what they perceive to be] a smothering behemoth, and that makes me feel good. Disheartening because I see yet another Rocketbox in the future. And I hate that feeling. One of the reasons I say this is because of their new approach: sharing expertise. Sharing advertising space is one thing, but when you have six (potentially more?) people sharing their talents, bad things can happen. The guy who's good at advertising, ends up doing all the groundwork. The code monkey does all the web code. The public relations guru does all the PR and communications. One or two jobs ends up becoming much bigger than anyone expected, but only one guy on the team can do it. Knowledge doesn't get spread as well as they had all intended, and people get overloaded, and feelings get hurt. You have no idea how much I truly, desperately, want to be wrong.

So, I'm being optimistic about this. Since I already read and love these comics, I can't wait to see what they do with their newfound freedom. Godspeed, Blank Label -- we'll be watching.

1/11/2006 12:15 PM: Anonymous Lenny Mclean said...

Stop blogging right now!

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