Hayes vs. Simpson

Postby Tbolt on Mon Nov 20, 2006 2:51 am

I think the Skull brings up some valid points as well. I don't necessarily like the tone they are presented in, but that doesn't make them any less valid.

And frankly when I see how rapidly things deteriorate around here the tone is fairly tame.

RH, please don't let your ego blind you to the wisdom in this post, he's not asking you to abandon your christian message. There's a vast untapped Christian audience out in the real world (as evidenced by The Passion of the Christ, and Narnia) We long for something that supports our worldview, but doesn't bash it.

Early Christianity subverted the Roman empire, not by our witty sarcastic sayings, but by how Christians lived their lives and proved that they had something better.

You've shown that repeatedly in your strips, with the Fr. Linnaeus arc, how Quentyn prays for strength and guidance, how Ben and Lily actually waited to get married before even living together, the relationship of the Todd parents,... These are all wonderful examples of Christian living you've woven into your stories!

That is why I am still here, your comics are one of the few places I can go where my beliefs are upheld, and not trashed!

I loved these strips because of your faith, NEVER change that!
Always tell the truth, that way you don't have to remember anything. -- Mark twain
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Postby LoneWolf23k on Mon Nov 20, 2006 3:59 am

Put me in as another vote for regular scheduals.. I remember when Goblin Hollow (Then still Under the Lemon Tree) and Nip and Tuck came semi-weekly, with Tales of the Questor coming once a week..

That was a great time to be a RHJr fan...
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Postby Tom Mazanec on Mon Nov 20, 2006 7:13 am

The times when TotQ came out three or even four times a week are an existance proof that they can come out twice. Someone said N&T and GH are easier to draw, so he could do the commissions and LJ on those days (they are basically one big frame/paragraph or link). Heck, there are times I have to work overtime or six days, and my boss works essentially around the clock...she LIVES at the group home she manages. I once (in another job) worked essentially a double shift, including part days Sunday. A few centuries ago people worked sun to sun every day. If Ralph approaches this like his job, he can easily do the three strips twice a week and have a day off.
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Postby Deckard Canine on Mon Nov 20, 2006 2:16 pm

Dapple wrote:Simpson just wants news to stuff in her Liberal political fodder cannon.


FWIW, DCS recently said that he's decided to stay part of the male gender after all.

I must say, there are times I see RH and DCS as two sides of one coin. Both have had me walking on eggshells (what a thin-skinned dragon), both have cartooning as their one source of income, both are a bit unreliable in updates (O&M currently tries for Monday thru Friday but has frequent breaks), and both continue to put some politics in comics that are not really political cartoons (note the Bolton-like walrus in O&M earlier this year). If I didn't have a fair amount of appreciation for both, I'd be amused at their enmity.

Also, I can tell you that DCS's forums betray more unanimity of political opinion than you find in any of RH's comic forums.
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Postby MikeVanPelt on Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:45 am

Tom Mazanec wrote:The times when TotQ came out three or even four times a week are an existance proof that they can come out twice.


Much as I hesitate to mention this, because I want new strips as quickly as possible, in the interests of having regular, reliably scheduled updates, a lot of web cartoonists build up a buffer of completed strips, so there's slack for the days of illness, writers block, vacation, system crashes, etc.
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Postby Tom Mazanec on Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:07 pm

Oh. Well, I would tolerate once a week, I suppose, if it came out regularly on a certain day, so I could know when. Still, those 2+/week spells went on for a fair while, so it is hard to believe they were all backlog. The other forums (fora?) seem not as upset with Ralph's travel into onionland, so maybe they would be more likely to follow this:
GH and N&T come out each once a week, on a certain day, and HO and cards comes out on other days on those sites (quick to draw and judging by the LJ Ralph would have no trouble finding topics) while TotQ comes out on twice a week on the TotQ site (for the poor readers who are new and have dial-up to go through the archives). TotQ seems to be his money cow anyway.
I see four possible futures for Ralph:
1) He goes on the way he has, living off pin money from these strips and help from his family.
2) He gets a nine-to-five job. We will be lucky to see even one TotQ a week...maybe twice or thrice a month. Knowing Ralph, I shudder to think of his interactions with co-workers, boss, customers, etc. He may not keep jobs for long, unless he can control his temper better than I suspect.
3) He starts his own business. This is more a five-to-nine job...5AM-9PM. We will be lucky to see a few TotQs a year. Most such businesses flop within a few years, btw.
4) He takes the advice we have been trying to give him on this forum and makes the strips a job instead of a hobby. Then he could follow my suggestion.
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Postby Axelgear on Wed Nov 22, 2006 5:22 pm

Two things:

One. RH, if you're reading this, are you and DC actually "butting heads" or is this just a pair of seperate, coincidentally reflecting comic strips happening at exactly the same time? And if he isn't reading this, will someone else please inform me of the same question?

Two. I'd just like to lighten the mood with a little riddle: When life gives you lemons... Who is giving you the sugar to make lemonade?
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Postby Steltek on Wed Nov 22, 2006 11:07 pm

I don't know that you can't put your political opinions on the front page and still be succesful -- Chris Crosby has Sore Thumbs and Chris Muir has Day by Day, both of which have a strong political slant. (The former left, the latter right.)

Honestly, I think Ralph's problem has more to do with promotion than it does content. There's a vast market out there, chock full of right-of-center to right-wing people who want to see themselves represented in entertainment media, not another cookie cutter liberal character who espouses all the PC values, and not some Hollywood stereotype of a heartless, stupid conservative, but someone really like them.

I don't think Ralph injects political opinion into his work any more than a lot of other artists with similar works. For example, Mookie's fantasy comic Dominic Deegan has practically become a bully pulpit for extolling the virtues of homosexuality. Mookie doesn't care about the conservative readers who aren't up for that sort of thing, why should Ralph care about the liberal readers who are turned off by what he creates?
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Postby Nick012000 on Thu Nov 23, 2006 2:22 am

Skull wrote:Howard from Schlock Mercenary supports a family of four, including house and car payments, with his comic.


Family of six, I think. He has four kids and a wife.

Steltek wrote:I don't know that you can't put your political opinions on the front page and still be succesful -- Chris Crosby has Sore Thumbs and Chris Muir has Day by Day, both of which have a strong political slant. (The former left, the latter right.)


That's because the politics are part of the humor, and they're humor comics. Tales of the Questor is not.
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Postby Skull on Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:04 am

Steltek wrote:I don't know that you can't put your political opinions on the front page and still be succesful -- Chris Crosby has Sore Thumbs and Chris Muir has Day by Day, both of which have a strong political slant. (The former left, the latter right.)


Except those are political strips. One should expect to get political content when reading political strips. That's why Doonesbury is usually found in the Editorial section, not the comics page.

I didn't say political strips couldn't be successful. I said injecting politics in place of the regular strip is not going to help the success of the strip.

Mr. Hayes is putting his politics and religion, in a rather confrontational manner (plus other filler) in place of his wizards-and-magic fantasy strip.

As The JAM pointed out, it's like going into a pizza parlor hoping to get a deep-dish double-crust and being handed some soggy corn dogs instead.

Mr. Hayes can make all the excuses and explantations he wants, he can thump his pulpit and vomit all the froth he wants. But if he wants to make a living with the strip(s) he's going to have to realize that such bile reflects badly on him, drives away readers, keeps away potential advertisers, and ultimately limits his income.

Mr. Hayes' strips have been going since what, 2000? 2001? Why is it, might you think, that strips about as old or even considerably newer are much more successful and earning their creators a regular living, while Mr. Hayes is forced to move back in with his parents in order to survive?

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Postby Skull on Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:18 am

nick012000 wrote:Family of six, I think. He has four kids and a wife.


(checks) You're right. I thought it was two, but his author bio says "somewhere between three and five children..." :)

That, my friends, took some serious testicular fortitude to quit a globetrotting job with Novell, and jump into supporting a wife and four kids off of just a webcomic.

But he just took delivery of 5,000 full-color books (or, as he says, "two-point-one-three metric tons of Schlock", and printed by Steve Jackson Games, no less) and sold almost all of them in less than a month.

With a $15 cover price, I'll let you do the math.

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Postby RHJunior on Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:47 am

Subtract the cost of printing, he made maybe $1-$2 per book.

After federal income tax, maybe 2/3 of that.

Chop off another, oh, 5% sales tax (gross).... various incidentals, etc....

He probably made $5,000 profit. (ballpark estimate.)
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Postby Axelgear on Thu Nov 23, 2006 4:10 am

5000 dollars is more than most people see a month anyway...

And RH, can you perchance answer whether the two comic series are deliberate or just coincidences?
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Postby Skull on Thu Nov 23, 2006 5:23 am

RHJunior wrote:He probably made $5,000 profit. (ballpark estimate.)


Nicely done. Dismissed as unworkable, so you shouldn't bother. THAT is why you've continued to fail.

Yes, the profit margin for places like Lulu and other self-publishers and print-on-demand shops is pretty low, because one-off costs are high. Don't make the mistake of using that metric for a professional company like Steve Jackson, making a large order of books paid up front.

I'm making a very educated guess, considering I've been researching self publishing (a photography book) but I'd estimate those books cost between $15K and $20K. If they used a Chinese printer, possibly half that.

Shipping might have been as much as a grand.

So five thousand books at $15 is $75,000. Subtract $21,000... hell, call it $25,000, and you still have fifty thousand dollars. That's what, twice what you made last year, Mr. Hayes? Three times?

To say nothing of the 888 sketches he did (is doing) at $10 each. The sketch copies sold out in less than ten hours.

Now, I'm sure he hasn't sold all of them, and there's additional costs in packing materials, shipping labels and whatnot, but suffice to say your $5K is off by perhaps an order of magnitude.

As I recall, you quit your day job to comic full time, a couple of years ago. Howard quit his day job to comic full time a couple of years ago. Both your comics have been running more or less the same overall tiime. Why is he successful and you're not?

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Postby Skull on Thu Nov 23, 2006 6:05 am

Now, let me ask you this, Mr. Hayes: Do you, in fact, wish to make a living doing any one or all three of your comic strips?

You've said you did, but you're not acting like it. I've wondered if you weren't on occasion posting the pity-me stuff just to extort more donations, but for the moment I'll take you at your word; you're near-destitute, living at home with Dad, and unemployed save for what you make from donations and "greeting cards" off these three strips. Correct?

If you don't want to comic for a living, then shut the fuck up and go get a day job. Stick with it, and do the strips in your spare time if you feel like it. Any donations or book sales after that are just gravy.

If you do want to make some kind of living wage off these strips, then you're going to have to make some changes, boy. I already outlined the high points earlier. Those aren't bits of my opinion, they're what all the other successful strips are doing.

You can break your own trail and hope for the best, or you can follow in the plowed and paved footsteps of others. Take your pick.

Don't want to follow my advice? Scroll down to the bottom of this very page. See that name next to "Images created by"? A little digging brings up his web page. Read through those tutorials. Anything familiar? Clean archives. Clean page layout.

That not good enough? User Friendly sells a book on making a website (including a comic strip) successful.

Fancy that.

Don't tell me you've never looked around the web for advice on making your comic successful. There's better than three thousand webcomics out there, and believe it or not, some of those liberal atheist bastards actually have some pretty good ideas.

Now, you can sit there and ignore any advice given because you didn't think of it yourself. You can sit there and dream of fixing up a rusty rattletrap camper and pin your fortunes on hoping to drive to conventions and sell books.

Though one wonders why people would buy books if they don't read the strip in the first place.

Or you can make a few relatively simple changes, and make an easy-to-do but difficult-to-keep decision to fix a schedule and keep to it, and have something you can earn a real living off of inside a year.

I know you won't like some of those changes, as they would run contrary to your principles, despite the fact those principles amount to little more than "kicking the pedestal" of a webcomic artist who is more successful than you, despite having what you see as an intolerably contrary ideology.

Sorry son, you can't have both. The proof is right here, right now. You're sitting there spewing bile and hate, interrupting your own comics- your income- with meaningless fluff and filler, making excuses when you're given advice, and wondering why you're broke.

You don't have to take my advice. In fact, if it weren't for the purely selfish reason that I want to read more about Quentyn, you could go rot in your own hate for all I care. I regret getting mixed up in all this, as the more I read by and about you, the more disgusted I get.

Piss or get off the pot, Mr. Hayes. Stop making excuses why you can't do either.

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Postby RHJunior on Thu Nov 23, 2006 6:27 am

SuperCD2002
SuperCD2003
SuperCD2004
SuperCD2005
SuperCD2006
UberCD 1

Tales of the Questor Vol 1: color and B/W
Tales of the Questor Vol 2: color and B/W
Nip and Tuck Vol 1: B/W

Currently in the works:
Under the Lemon Tree, the complete collection from strip 1 to the final Retcon.

All of the above available through Lulu.com and Cafepress.

Bulk print runs are currently, and for the forseeable future, not feasible, as I lack the bankroll to fund the printing of a minimum-size run.
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