24-hour Comics Day
Last year, member Trev Wood commented on why you should participate. And he makes a number of valid points (which is why I posted them). I’m about to disagree strongly, but keep that link handy so you can get a balanced viewpoint from another perspective.
That said, here are a few thoughts from your Favorite Curmudgeon.
I think this event — and virtually all events that turn the creation of comics into a sport or a game — are a complete waste of time and effort.
Why participate in 24-Hour Comics Day?
For starters, I’ve yet to hear one good reason to participate in this sort of event — although quite a few are thrown around.
To get better at your craft?
Really? Wrecking the hell out of your drawing arm for an entire day is going to make you a better cartoonist? This is actually the A-Number-One reason to avoid 24-Hour comics day at all costs: Through straining to meet this make-believe deadline and achieve some sort of dubious honor, you’re risking significant physical damage.
Extra content / premium content for your readers?
That’s what you’re going to offer to the people who support your site? Hastily-sketched-out, poorly-thought-out material you crapped out in a day? That’s not premium. It’s a little insulting.
This is a Webcomics.com mantra: If promotion isn’t clickable, it’s probably worthless. So, participating in the event at your local comics shop or some other public space isn’t going to gain you a whole lot of new readers. And any readers it might offer could have been beaten exponentially by using a fraction of that time in working on some targeted online marketing.
Networking among cartoonists is a valuable and worthwhile effort. And it’s one of the few reasons I would consider participating in something like this. However, it’s also a goal that can be accomplished without the detriment of the stuff I listed above.
Boy are you a grump!
Here’s what really bugs me about 24-Hour Comics Day — and all of the events like it that pop up from time to time.
It seems to me as if there is an entire strata of webcartoonists who are looking for a reason to draw comics.
And wherever you find an event — Talk Like a Pirate Day, Halloween Crossovers, 24-Hour Comics, Family Pictionary Night at the Johnson’s House — there they are, sharpening their pencils. I can see the reason in some cases — for example, the Art Fights hosted by comic conventions… I get the promotional/fun aspect of that. But for the most part, it completely baffles me.
But I already have an excuse to do comics — a daily strip. And that requires the kind of long-term time management and endurance that 24-Hour Comics Day can only scratch the surface of. Actually, a daily strip, a weekly panel, a daily Web site and about three side projects hanging out by the side of my drawing board waiting me to catch up on all that other stuff. Throw in working on developing merchandise. Add in stuff that helps promote and brand my site(s) like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Wibia, Scribol, blogging, etc. Now carve out a little time for business stuff like the hour-and-a-half I spent wrestling with a New York State sales tax application not too long ago.
Being a cartoonist means doing all of that — and most of it is downright enjoyable.
You know what I don’t need?
An excuse — an external reason — to work on my comics.
Every day is 24-Hour Comics Day for me.
In the past, we’ve discussed the validity of 24-hour Comics Day. But this year — like last year — I’d like to pose a new question: How could we do better? In other words, 24-Hour Comics Day is valuable in that it raises awareness of independent comics. It’s good press, and it’s a good way to gather people and foster networking. How could we achieve those same goals without the 24-hour comics gimmick?
I’m going to lock comments on this thread and direct all discussion to last year’s thread, so we can keep all of the good ideas in one easy-to-reference place.