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Norm Feuti launches Gill as a webcomic

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Norm Feuti, creator of Retail, has announced that he is launching his strip Gill as a webcomic beginning today. Gill is a comic strip that takes a humorous look at the life of an 8-year-old boy who lives under less than ideal circumstances. Gill is overweight. His parents are divorced. His mother struggles to maintain their meager existence. His estranged father floats in and out of his life to offer crude and confusing advice. Gill is an exploration of childhood and the imperfect American family in all its dysfunctional glory.

Gill will run 5 days a week online. The strips that run Monday through Thursday will be in black and white, while the Friday strips will be larger and in color.

Norm created Gill with the hopes of getting it syndicated, but after the syndicates passed on it, but it received positive reviews here on The Daily Cartoonist and his blog, he has decided to take it the webcomic route.

About a year ago, I decided to make an attempt at getting a second strip syndicated. Gill is an idea I’ve had for some time, and in July of 2008 I pitched it to all the major syndicate. Unfortunately it was passed on by all of them.

My initial plan was to abandon the idea if it was rejected and move on to another, but after posting the sample strips on my website, I started having second thoughts. I got overwhelmingly positive comments about the material on my blog as well as The Daily Cartoonist, and received about a dozen private emails from various professional cartoonists (both syndicated and web) complementing the strip. Many urged me to give it a go as a webcomic … and after a lot of thought I decided to do just that.

Community Comments

#1 Jason Nocera
November/10/2008
@ 7:46 am

I think it’s a great idea to make it a webcomic. However, I think you are doing yourself a great disservice by only having one item for sale. Imagine going to a store and only seeing one book available. How do you expect to develop a revenue stream with all of your income relying on the sales of ONE book. I just don’t get the plan.

#2 Corey Pandolph
November/10/2008
@ 9:02 am

Believe it or not, Jason, some of us aren’t obsessed with the ultimate werbcomic business model.

Some of us are just interested in having fun making funny.

I beginning to prefer the age-old practice of riches coming to me after I’m dead. In the meantime, I’ll continue to live a reckless and bad decision-laden existence. At least I’ll have a good time.

Anyway, I’m just happy Norm is giving us Gill. It’s a good comic and if he wants to make a book, cool. If not, that’s his chunk of cheese.

I also think “revenue stream”, “business model” and “viable product” Should be stricken from the English language.

But that’s just me.

#3 R Pyle
November/10/2008
@ 9:09 am

Cool, I’m looking forward to this. As I recall, when we first saw the previews here, I liked the strip overall but was somewhat put off by the design of Gill. Let’s see how the total package develops.

#4 Mike Sieber
November/10/2008
@ 10:05 am

I really liked what I saw when the previews came out a few months ago, and I’m definitely looking forward to adding Gill to my daily reads.

#5 Larry Levine
November/10/2008
@ 10:37 am

Wishing Norm the best of luck, I have no doubt Gill will be a HUGE success!!!

#6 Jason Nocera
November/10/2008
@ 12:08 pm

Corey – if Norm was only interested in “having fun making funny” as you suggest, why would he have an email link for newspapers to receive “rates.” C’mon Corey, I know you like to be the spokesperson for webcartooning diatribes (interesting one page rant in Stayed Toon btw) but to now allude that professionals don’t want to make money – well, that’s just silly. It’s my guess Norm wanted Gill syndicated for financial reasons.

And right now, it’s easy to do a five comic strip a week format when you have a syndicate package to draw upon, but after 8 weeks or so, I think doing it five times a week with no financial support will be quite a hardship. I’d like to see Gill continue, but these sources of income have to be established in order for that to realistically happen.

It’s no sin to have revenue coming from multiple sources, be it newspapers, magazines, ad revenue, merchandise, donations, etc.

So, if you truly wish to see Gill continue, try to be a bit more realistic.

#7 Corey Pandolph
November/10/2008
@ 12:30 pm

I’m sorry Jason.

I forgot you had it all figured out.

#8 Corey Pandolph
November/10/2008
@ 12:43 pm

And I never said professionals don’t want to make money.

I said it’s not always the single driving force. So many people these days are putting sales of merch before the strip itself. Gill is a week old and you want him to put out books and merch right away?

How about allowing him the enjoyment of doing the actual strip, first, then seeing if it warrants sales. With a lot of these webcomics, sale of merchandise is like buying a nice leather case for your Zune. A really nice product, protecting a piece of crap.

I thinkâ??and this is just speculationâ?? for the folks that have the business smarts first and creative second, creating a comic strip online is nothing more than a job. So why do it if you’re not being paid? I half agree. I hate not getting paid, but I love to do it, so I do it anyway. I make next to nothing on BL and TOBY, but man… When I finish a really well-written week, there is no better feeling.

Also, I know Norm. I know how well his “syndicate package” does. It does about as well as mine. He thought long and hard about putting Gill out there. I can’t speak for the guy, but I get the impression he did it for himself. If success follows, that’s the gravy.

#9 Norm Feuti
November/10/2008
@ 12:50 pm

Jason:

Of course I hope to make money from Gill, but at this stage I think it’s far more important to focus on creating something of quality and building an audience.

I didn’t respond to your first post because I have no desire to discuss Gill in terms of my financial strategy in a public forum. I’m not sure why you would assume the Amazon link to my existing book is the linchpin of my entire monetary scheme, but if that’s your primary concern you can rest assured that I have other plans.

I do appreciate your well wishes.

And yes, Corey is a friend of mine so he’s not just blowing smoke.

But hey, let’s get back to wishing me success, eh?

#10 anne hambrock
November/10/2008
@ 1:27 pm

Best of luck Norm! I’m glad to see the idea didn’t just go away after you finished pursuing syndication. You will be in an interesting position having both a print and web comic running full time simultaneously. Forgive my ignorance – but how many of the regulars here are doing both?

#11 Corey Pandolph
November/10/2008
@ 1:33 pm

I have three, two on the web, one syndicated. The two webcomics (TOBY, Robot Satan and Barkeater Lake) run 5 days and the syndicated comic (The Elderberries) runs 7, of course.

TOBY also runs in print in the Boston and NYC Metro.

I’m also feeding family of twelve by converting water into fuel oil and selling it to Wiley Miller, so he can power his two big Gold plated, seal skin carpeted, Cadillac cars.

#12 anne hambrock
November/10/2008
@ 2:46 pm

Corey,
I think you’re lying about all that alcohol you consume – it must be Red Bull 24/7 for you!

#13 Corey Pandolph
November/10/2008
@ 3:16 pm

“I think youâ??re lying about all that alcohol you consume”

Yeeeah… Lying….

#14 Scott Lincoln
November/10/2008
@ 5:43 pm

Congratulations Norm!
I thought it was a well executed comic, it certainly deserves a little time in the sun. I’ve been considering this route myself… if I can work up the nerve.

#15 Garey Mckee
November/10/2008
@ 6:20 pm

Congrats Norm. Your writing is always top notch on Retail and the standard is definately maintained in Gill. Always great work.

And Corey, I’m still waiting for super cool Toby merchandise. I’ll be the first in line with gobs of cash in hand.

#16 Mike Witmer
November/10/2008
@ 6:56 pm

“I hate not getting paid, but I love to do it, so I do it anyway. I make next to nothing on BL and TOBY, but manâ?¦ When I finish a really well-written week, there is no better feeling.”

I’d have to agree…

Congrats, Norm. Can’t wait to see more.

#17 Jimmy Raines
November/11/2008
@ 3:04 pm

Gill looks like it is shaping up to be a great strip. I like what is there so far and the background story sounds solid. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to it.

Congratulations Norm and good luck.

#18 Dawn
November/17/2008
@ 12:11 am

Why is this comic strip getting so much promotion from The Daily Cartoonist? There are plenty of better webcomics that are just as new and are barely getting mentioned here. Is Daily Cartoonist aware of the Comics Sherpa site? There are a few strips on that site that are actually produced by industry veterans who are quite talented, yet they are being ignored here.

#19 Ted Dawson
November/17/2008
@ 1:11 pm

Dawn, what are you talking about?

#20 Phil Wohlrab
November/17/2008
@ 2:12 pm

Honestly i think he shoulda come up with another idea and tried again. If Edison stuck with his first light bulb design we’d all be sitting in darkness. He’s a talented guy and it’s only natural to give encouragement , but I wouldn’t press on with something that was rejected by every syndicate..

#21 Corey Pandolph
November/17/2008
@ 3:00 pm

I disagree, Phil. 99% of the webcomics out there would be passed by the syndicate in today’s market.

The Internet is an entirely different beast and strips that would tank in print can thrive online.

Holy crap. I must be sicker than I thought. I think I just defended webcomics. Maybe I’m channeling Dave Kellet… I am sitting close to a Ouija board right now…

#22 Garey Mckee
November/17/2008
@ 7:40 pm

Thrive. Tank. Who cares? Write what you love and have fun. If you do, you will always be learning and growing as a cartoonist. Don’t worry about the wise cracks from the back of the classroom.

And Dawn, if you talk about Sherpa here it’s REALLY opening up a can of worms LOL.

#23 Phil Wohlrab
November/17/2008
@ 9:39 pm

Well take it as a compliment. He’s got the potential to be syndicated if that were his goal. If a successful web comic can be just as good, then go for it. Whatever works…As far as Sherpa goes, I was on Sherpa at one point. It is what it is. I have no shame in having being on it. But the important thing is, I’m not on it any more. Just Kidding!

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