Do webcomics make money? If so, how?
July 24, 2006 7:59 AM   Subscribe

What webcomics are actually making money? How do they generate these revenues?
posted by raydexter to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have any insight other than what anyone can see, but I'm certain Achewood, Penny Arcade and Diesel Sweeties are making money.

I'm not 100% sure how PA first made its money, it must be merch, plus their other many enterprises.

Achewood and DS both sell tons of merch -- books and t-shirts, mostly.

Homestar Runner makes money the same way (and lots of it).
posted by o2b at 8:04 AM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best answer: From memory, the authors of Achewood, Penny Arcade, Wigu / Overcompensating, and Dinousaur Comics are all supported by their comics. I don't know what you're looking for as far as revenue generation beyond the obvioius (merchandising and advertisements), but maybe this article from Joey Manley will help.
posted by grapefruit at 8:09 AM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

Scott Kurtz of PvP and Pete Abrams of Sluggy Freelance are other examples of successful, full-time webcomics artists. Again, the vast majority of their income comes from merchandising sales, with ad revenue a small supplement.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:15 AM on July 24, 2006

Schlock Mercenary supports it's author thru advertising, merchandise and appearances.
posted by Mitheral at 8:21 AM on July 24, 2006

Jeph Jacques lives quite comfortably off the proceeds of "Questionable Content" merchandise.
posted by Zozo at 8:28 AM on July 24, 2006

for a long time the folks at penny arcade where supported by reader donations. they stopped excepting them when other avenues of income started paying the bills though. if i remember correctly they make a fair amount on advertisements. if you read through the achieves there are several posts talking about insanely high click through and thus a much better than average rate for advertisements.
posted by phil at 8:28 AM on July 24, 2006

Goats is doing pretty well.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:28 AM on July 24, 2006

I THINK Something Positive makes money, trough donations. Questionable Content also seems to move a heckalota merch so prob is money making
posted by edgeways at 8:30 AM on July 24, 2006

Something Positive's author raised a year's salary in donations in return for the promise of daily updates (and better spelling)
posted by chndrcks at 8:30 AM on July 24, 2006

Megatokyo supports Fred and his wife.
posted by SpecialK at 8:32 AM on July 24, 2006

Dorothy Gambrell of Cat And Girl often draws cartoons illustrating what she does with reader donations.
posted by Iridic at 8:41 AM on July 24, 2006

There's a good interview with Chris Onsted (Achewood) in this month's issue of the Comics Journal, in which he talks specifics of supporting oneself via webcomic.
posted by adamkempa at 8:45 AM on July 24, 2006

I guess I should be less tangential and actually answer the question at hand: He talks about viewing the strip as a 'loss leader' - and how the wide array of merchindise he's created actually pays the bills.
posted by adamkempa at 8:48 AM on July 24, 2006

Penny Arcade and Megatokyo also have book deals with a "real" publisher.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:56 AM on July 24, 2006

Best answer: The “how” question was covered in an SXSW 2006 panel, “How to blog for money by learning from comics”. Luke Wroblewski and Kevin Cheng have good summaries, or you can listen to the entire session (MP3).
posted by mpt at 8:58 AM on July 24, 2006

I believe that Penny Arcade now supports 4 salaries. At one time they relied on donations(and merch), but then started with the ads.
posted by utsutsu at 9:22 AM on July 24, 2006

Total coolness. Thanks for every comment thus far.
posted by rinkjustice at 9:35 AM on July 24, 2006

P.s. This is my daughter's account (her nickname is ray dexter) which I used to ask this question. Thanks again to everyone.
posted by rinkjustice at 9:40 AM on July 24, 2006

Ctrl-Alt-Del is now self-supporting. And Mac Hall does generate revenue via t-shirt and book sales, though I'm guessing their revenue stream isn't as steady right now, since they haven't been updating as often.
posted by limeonaire at 9:42 AM on July 24, 2006

I'm pretty sure Penny Arcade also make money off of the Penny Arcade Expo.

Scott Kurtz (PvP) also does two comic books for Image (a PvP one and "Truth, Justin and the American Way").
posted by PenDevil at 10:47 AM on July 24, 2006

Although I did not attend, there was a "how to make money with your webcomic" panel at Comic-Con this year. Might want to ask around and find someone that attended it, I'm pretty sure some of the big few's authers were on it.

Alternatively, just ask them.
posted by kaytwo at 2:17 PM on July 24, 2006

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