Wednesday, October 22, 2008

HalfPixel Buys Webcomics Gateway

I think going to HalfPixel is perfect, because it symbolizes what is wrong with webcomics and who is responsible.
You recall the auction a while back. The site was sold for over five grand.
I had some ideas for the site myself, and spoke to the seller. Ultimately, I was not involved in the bidding.
I was concerned that purchase of the site would seem arrogant. The URL is the welcome mat for webcomics, and any non-inclusive use would seem like a power play.
I remember talking about it with my wife. We decided the most stupid thing a buyer could do would be to slap their own comic on the site. It would be like declaring yourself Lord of Comicdom. We talked about how much money we could afford to pretty much toss away moving comics resource site Psychedelic Treehouse to that URL, perhaps inviting one of the better webcomic lists to provide a home for everybody. We reviewed the list of fresh comic site ideas to see what might be grafted on. We were feeling mixed, when a crisis pulled us away on the last day of bidding.
When we saw the sale figure, we were both sad and relieved. It was where we expected. But we realized how much work we had saved by not winning.
Since then, my opinion of the average webcomic creator has slipped. The passivity and unprofessionalism, the ignorance and pettiness that I increasingly see, rub me wrong and I find myself wondering if I want to be bothered being of service when maybe I'd be happier just working on my own stuff with my friends and letting everyone else find their own way.
My opinion of HalfPixel has fallen as well, since my interviews for my analyses of their business model resulted in treatment out of synch with their public image. And I didn't even interview Scott Kurtz, who I rather admire for being himself.
Over all, the symbolism of having "" being a HalfPixel site confirms my worst instincts and sharpens my alienation. What should be a site for the good of all webcomics has become another piece of a personal empire.
P.S. After posting this I happened to see HalfPixel on Twitter, inviting free content from all webcartoonists -- columns, tips, ideas, etc. Do these guys even know Psychedelic Treehouse exists? Do we really need an unscientific, redundant site, when there are so many other needs? Do you really believe this will be a site "for all webcartoonists?" If so, Barnum was right.
P.P.S. A late tip, too late to verify tonight, says the financiers of the deal were Kurtz pals of Penny Arcade. See the comments section for more. I took the Straub claim of "landing" the site at face value. I may have been fooled, but I hold readers to higher standards: when you see me taking a HalfPixel quote at face value, unverified, immediately dismiss it. I'm almost certainly in error.