News / USA

    Sidestepping Newspapers, Comics Go Online

    Artists earn income from online ads, merchandise sales

    Randy K. Milholland quit his job to work fulltime on his Web comic strip, 'Something Positive.'
    Randy K. Milholland quit his job to work fulltime on his Web comic strip, 'Something Positive.'

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Faiza Elmasry

    When Randy K. Milholland was laid off 10 years ago, he used some of his idle time to create a Web comic called, "Something Positive," featuring a lead character named Davan.

    “When I started the comics off, he was who I had been a couple of years earlier," Milholland explains. "He was very sarcastic, always negative. He would rather make snarky retorts than actually act to make things better.”  

    Even after he landed a new job working for an ambulance company, Milholland kept the comic strip as a hobby.

    “When I was doing comics every other week, therefore I was missing updates," he recalls. "Readers were complaining about it. So I kind of issued a challenge that if they wanted to pay my salary from my day job, I would quit my day job and focus only on the comics.”

    According to creator Randy K. Milholland, his Web comic strip, 'Something Positive,' averages 215,000 hits a day.
    According to creator Randy K. Milholland, his Web comic strip, 'Something Positive,' averages 215,000 hits a day.

    They did, so he became a full-time comic artist on the Web and his website now averages 215,000 hits a day.

    According to Milholland, he’s one of a growing number of Web comic creators. There are 36,000 worldwide by some estimates. It used to be the goal of comic strip artists to land contracts with newspaper syndicates so they could sell their comics to newspapers. But now, for many, syndication is no longer the goal.

    Milholland earns income from advertising and sales of t-shirts and other merchandise, all online.  

    So does Danielle Corsetto, creator of "Girls with Slingshots." Corsetto, who drew her first comic strip when she was eight years old, updates "Girls with Slingshots" five times a week to satisfy fans, who number about 90,000 a day.

    Danielle Corsetto, creator of 'Girls with Slingshots,' earns income from ads as well as from the sale of comic-inspired merchandise.
    Danielle Corsetto, creator of 'Girls with Slingshots,' earns income from ads as well as from the sale of comic-inspired merchandise.

    She says Web comic artists are profiting from the free speech the Internet offers.

    “Part of the reason, I think, that we’ve become successful is that we put a lot of our personality directly into the strip. People who are reading our comics are really enjoying that. People want to know a lot about the personal lives of the people who are creating the comic strips that they love.”

    College graduate Laura Weiner, who follows about 35 comic strips online, is a big fan of Web comics. “It’s somebody putting themselves on the Web for everyone to see and hoping people like it. Reading them online, it’s a little more intimate than just going to a comic store and purchasing a mass-produced comic book."  

    Feedback from fans is what keeps Web artist Milholland going, as does the interaction with other artists.

    Courtesy: girlswithslingshots.com

    “We don’t have a guild per se. We don’t have a union because we don’t really have anyone who hires us that we need to negotiate rights with," he says." But we do have a lot of friendships. The nice thing is a lot of us don’t see it as competing against each other because since Web comics are free, people can read as many as they want.”

    And they are, says artist Michael Uslan, who has taught "Comic Book Folklore" at Indiana University. He says Web comics are getting noticed all around. “I do know that many of the studios and talent agencies and comic book companies troll these websites."

    With more people following them online or downloading Web comic strips onto their mobile devices, the artists say time - and technology - are on their side.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.