For many years I’ve resisted the idea of doing comics on the web while sporadically attempting it nevertheless. I’m pretty attached to the notion of always having my comics on paper, reading them while lying in bed during a rainy day, and it wouldn’t matter if there was no electricity. Even now during typhoons when the power cuts out, I’d take a favorite comic book and just read in bed all day.
In many ways, I’m still that way. If I can no longer do comics on paper, I’d rather not do comics at all. I’ve asserted this in my interview with Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter last October, and that is still essentially true. But as an artist, I reserve the right to evolve and explore new things as part of my growth as an artist. If there is no room to grow, I better give it all up right now.
While I continue to do comics on paper, and I always will first and foremost, I’m becoming more and more open to doing online comics alongside my print work.
The first time I tried the online format was when I moved my Crest Hut Butt Shop story “LAST MEOW” from the pages of the mini comic to the web in November of 2000. I broke up the 2 page story into eight parts for viewing online. I posted the link to the message boards of Comicon.com and it got fairly nice feedback, including one from the master of progressive comics himself, Scott McCloud:
I thought… WOW! Scott McCloud noticed me! And that was quite a blast. You can still read the full comic strip “Last Meow” here.
My next attempt was in a different format. I contributed a short segment for City of Light in 2001, an online comic one had to pay to read or download in PDF. I don’t know which exactly now. I didn’t make money out of it, but I’m at least glad I made the attempt.
I’ve resisted doing comics online since then because I did prefer to do it on paper, but also because I needed to earn a living doing comics. And doing comics online at the time simply wasn’t financially rewarding at all for me.
Early this year, I started to consider doing comics online more seriously. This came about because of two things. The first being my old pal Jonas Diego, who has been making a crusade in getting Filipinos doing comics on the web. He’s one of the first to do comics online on a regular basis and is hell bent on proving that one can make money from it through revenue generated from ads.
The second thing that pushed me to do it was my need to draw and sketch immediately after waking up for a full hour before I do anything else. I’ve learned that doing it puts me in a working mood for the rest of the day. Some of the quick sketches I’ve done I’ve posted here previously. It occurred to me that I could use that time to actually create one quick strip. And if I could do a strip an hour a day, it would be the perfect exercise for me, and it would be great to post online.
I began doing my daily online strip last week, and I didn’t want to talk about it until I was sure I could do it on a daily basis. If you remember, I attempted to serialize strips from my mini comic book Crest Hut Butt Shop a year or so ago, but it didn’t work out. I wasn’t in the right mind and I didn’t have the right idea of organizing my time. Also, the bandwidth on that strip was so high it threatened to close my site at the end of every month. Hosting my comic strip at WebComicsNation.com pretty much solved that problem.
My new online strip is called CREST HUT BUTT SHOP, and it carries the name of my print comic book because yes, I’ve moved my mini comic online. I will use none of the material from my mini comics though. All the strips you will read here will be brand new, and will have been written, drawn and colored on the day I upload it. The tone of the strip will be more toned down and less insane and exaggerated, and more faithful to particular events that happened to me on that particular day or the day before. Many of them won’t be funny, and I don’t intend them to be. It will just be me relating what happened to me, like I do on a blog like this.
You can access my online comic strip at gerryalanguilan.blogspot.com. That blog will only always carry the newest, most current strip, which will appear at 1:00pm in the afternoon, Philippine time. Archives of the strip can be read at WebComicsNation.com.
The strip is actually fully hosted at WebComicsNation.com, but the newest and most current strip is “tooncasted” into http://gerryalanguilan.blogspot.com. After almost 2 weeks of doing it, I have to say that it’s quite fun, and beneficial to me to get in the working mood for the rest of the day.
This strip will become part of a Philippine online comics webring put up by Jonas Diego. Jonas is currently looking dedicated Filipino webcomickers to be part of the ring. Read this post on his blog for more info.