Diesel Sweeties to end print run in August

Rich StevensDiesel Sweeties will come to an end, at least in newspapers on August 10, he has announced on his blog. In an interview over at Fleen, he suggests that the additional work to produce DS for family friendly newspaper standards and the lack of significant income contributed to the decision.

From the Fleen interview:

Fleen: What was the prime factor in deciding to quit?

Stevens: Not to sound like a jerk, but time and money. I was (currently still am) spending 12+ hours a day 5.5 days a week keeping my business afloat and doing 12 comics a week. My website and merch were a little over 90% of my gross income last year. When the workload starting making me sicker and fatter, it was pretty much a no-brainer which job had to go.

(And before there is any argument from the Peanuts-worshipping gallery, this was my experience. It is not true for all newspaper strips or print cartoonists, but I lived it and have the debt and carpal tunnel to prove it.)

Fleen: What positive things are you taking away from all this?

Stevens: It was grad school. Med school. Boot camp. The editorial help I got working with Ted was awesome. Having another pair of eyes questioning my writing was incredibly helpful. Would never have gotten that anywhere else.

The perspective of going from moderately well-known on the internet to an absolute nobody in the outside world was really useful as well. Working for a completely new audience who couldn’t give a shit about obscure band lyrics and computer in-jokes forced me to grow a whole lot of new comedy muscles. Hopefully I can still move my neck.

The other positive thing is the joy that I dodged a bullet. You know the bullet where a loved project becomes a fifty year millstone one never gets to put down until one drops dead.

13 thoughts on “Diesel Sweeties to end print run in August

  1. Then this is already the most positive thread in history with the words “web” and “print” in the article.

    alan- I had to hold off on your email until this was a done deal, but I’m happy to do questions later if you think it’s useful.

  2. If it ain’t broke… The web is the right place for any comic that does not involve a dog, cat, or family. This just shows that the webcomic is a different “animal” than the print comic. It also shows how unprofitable print comics really are. The fact that Rich, with a successful webcomic, had to stop doing print shows that for most cartoonist, print i$ dead. Sad but true.

  3. Not to derail this news story – but that Google news story can mark a great turning point for cartoonists. It’s what the syndicates should have done on the web all along. PROVIDE CONTENT FOR OTHER SITES. Isn’t that what comic strips are supposed to do??

    Here’s a line in that article that stood out for me:

    “Instead of creating a Web site and hoping Sethâ??s fans find it, we are going to push the content to where people are already at.â?

    This is the business model I’ve been using for my Buddy and Hopkins comic strip. Instead of showing new ones each week on my website, I have it appear on other websites that pay me in return.

  4. That’s too bad it didn’t work out. DS was (and is!) a promising strip. I wish more fish wrappers were willing to add it.

    Good luck, Rich.

  5. That’s too bad, Rich. At least you had the sense to say it didn’t work and get out without spending the next twenty years of your life working for 30 newspapers.

    Best of luck with DS elsewhere.

  6. I don’t want to sound disapointed but, personally i prefer the print version (witch i read on comics.com) alot more then the web version.

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