Today I read a blog post by PVP creator Scott Kurtz
. In this post, he points out how out of touch newspaper syndicates are, by explaining how lame a certain cartoonist contest
is. He then goes on to offer his services (along with Brad Guigar) as a paid consultant to the highest bidder. At first, this seems like a funny way of teasing the syndicates for not being able to keep up with the changes happening in the genre. However, it isn't long before he urges the syndicate to bid on his expertise before legends like Jim Davis or Lynn Johnston manage to nab him. All the while, insulting the syndicate and assuring them that they and all newspapers will be gone in five years because he read that in a survey somewhere. I kept trying to laugh it all off as a joke, but that's difficult to do when the title of his blog post is "Yes, We're Serious
Now, I'm no business expert, but I'm pretty sure that it's a bad idea to hire a business consultant who spends most of his proposal publicly insulting you and repeatedly assuring you that you'll be gone soon. I also find it astounding that he envisions the creators of Garfield and For Better Or For Worse rushing to bid on him like children chasing an ice cream truck during a heat wave. We all know that PVP is a major player in webcomics as is Kurtz himself. The man knows what he's doing and he does his job well, but with this blog post of his, I can't help but picture him wearing a tshirt with the words "comics legend" written on it in black marker. That marker of course, being held by Kurtz himself. I also can't help but wonder if all of this animosity has anything to do with the fact that Kurtz was refused membership into the NCS
The cartooning contest that Kurtz attacks will place the winning comic on gocomics.com
, give the author(s) 100% of any ad revenue generated by the comic and offer them an ebook publishing contract. "This is not a prize. Anyone can put their comic on a webpage and populate it with ads from Google Adsense. GoComics.com isn’t promising (nor can it deliver) traffic."
Says Kurtz. "Also there is no such thing as an electronic-book publishing contract. That’s like selling freshman elevator passes on the first day of the spring semester."
Really? Having one's comic appear on Gocomic.com with legends like Calvin & Hobbes, Doonesbury and Peanuts isn't a prize? A site with a global Alexa rank of 3,149 (PVP's rank being a lower 18,619). Also, speaking from personal experience, my own "freshman elevator pass" with Drivethrucomics.com
has been making me residual income for years. It seems to exist.
I'm not saying that newspapers aren't in trouble, and his statement about them all disappearing in five years doesn't seem impossible, but does he really believe that he's cartooning's only hope? That he's so 'Neo-like' in his importance that he can slap them with his right hand while simultaneously offering his expertise with his left "for the right price
" and have cartooning's biggest pioneers fighting to pay him? Wait... I've got to check the title of his blog post one more time. ... Yep, it still says "Yes, We're Serious
". Jesus Christ. Sorry, I meant Jesus Kurtz.
So to the old school cartoonists, I say... yes, you need to do a better job keeping up with this century. But for the love of Starscream, don't hire Kurtz for this job. Sure, he's very successful, experienced and talented, but that'd be like hiring the pissed off, love sick guy you dumped last year, to watch you while you sleep. There are plenty of other successful webcartoonists who'd help you for less money. Many of which have smaller egos and you know... don't hate you. Don't look at me though, I just burned a crap load of professional bridges with this blog post.
As always, thanks for reading.