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Profiled: Howard Tayler and his webcomic Schlock Mercenary

Zack Smith over at Newsarama interviews webcomic maker Howard Tayler, creator of Schlock Mercenary about his strip and production of his webcomic. Howard is one of the web guys I greatly admire and whose counsel I trust. He’s got a good business sense about what he does.

A sample:

Nrama: You have iPad and iPod apps for the strip, and I’ve been curious about the potential that’s opened up for digital comics with these technologies. What have you learned so far, and what do you think both individual creators and larger companies can do to take advantage of the increasing variety of electronic distribution?

Tayler: I’ve learned that iPod and iPad apps are fantastically expensive to produce, and the vast majority of them make no money at all. But I was a software industry guy before I came to comics, so this was no surprise.
I’ve also learned that reading Schlock Mercenary via the iPad app is a far superior experience to reading it on the web.

Ultimately I think the only way some comics genres can survive is via electronic distribution. I think DC and Dark Horse are moving in the right direction. I think the eBook revolution over on the non-picture-book side of the fence is very, very telling.

All of the people I know who have e-readers have told me that they’re reading more than they used to, that they make impulse purchases far more often, and that the e-reader gets all the credit for that.

The comic book industry needs that badly. I think we’re going to get it.

Community Comments

#1 Mark Stokes
November/9/2011
@ 9:13 am

Great interview, Howard! Creating an on-going storyline containing a gag each day is a monumental task, and I’m greatly impressed with your wonderful oeuvre. Interviews with you are always enjoyable because you are so forthcoming and transparent with your hard-won knowledge and experience and you have a generous spirit. As a struggling cartoonist hoping to make an online career myself, this kind of information is always greatly appreciated.

#2 Howard Tayler
November/11/2011
@ 10:30 am

Thank you for the kind words, Mark.

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