…As you can tell, there are a few loose ends I need to tie up before launching the Evil Inc graphic novel. This is one of them. Oscar and Oliver are going to live on in the form of Felix and Rex — the Arch Bros. The strip will update sporadically — with Patreon backers at the $5+ level getting early previews. Next week, we find out what happens to Captain Heroic and Miss Match…
As you might have guessed, Evil Inc is reaching the end — kind of. Starting in late December / early January, the Evil Inc comic strip will end.
And in 2016, the Evil Inc graphic novel will launch.
To understand this better, you need to know about what I’ve been doing with Patreon.
In May, 2015, I announced that I would do a NSFW version of my comic strip for $10+ Patreon supporters. My Patreon campaign, that had been the same amount for 7 months, was tripled by the end of that first month. And I don’t think I posted much more than the announcement itself and a sample four-panel strip.
Needless to say, Patreon became a way for my readers to tell me what they wanted. And I’m listening.
The NSFW content on my Patreon page has taken a life of its own.What was once envisioned as a 4-panel adults-only strip has become a series of full-page stories that update once a week. My Patreon backers requested the ability to purchase commissions, and that content has been added. And Courting Disaster, which started as a compliment to a newspaper sex-advice column, is now a no-holds-barred single-panel cartoon that lets me channel my admiration for Playboy cartoonists like Wally Wood, Jack Cole and Dean Yeagle.
Meanwhile, back at the Evil Inc comic strip, I announced a Tuesday-Thursday schedule over the summer to accommodate this transition. But as the months went on — and the scope of what I was doing continued to change — it became clear that it was going to be harder and harder to justify the amount of time that going back to five-days-a-week was going to entail.
But what really put the nail in the coffin was ad-blockers.
See, I used to make a significant amount of money from ads. So, you, as a reader, were always generating income for me — in the form of ad views. (I’m sorry to break it to you, but this free webcomic was never really “free.”) Even if you never bought a book or ordered a piece of original art, you were always contributing to a business plan that put food on the table for me and my family.
Ad blockers changed that. I started 2015 at roughly one half of the ad revenue that I had earned in the same month the previous year. And the next months were no better. Mind you — this was before I cut back to a two-day-a-week schedule.
The reality is simple — I had to find a new income stream. Ad blockers had made it very difficult to continue offering a “traditional” webcomic.
When I saw the response to the NSFW content on Patreon, I knew I had found an answer.
Re-thinking Evil Inc
And, as I settled into my new role as Gentleman Pornographer*, I was able to take a fresh look at everything that I had built around me.
There’s really no reason that Evil Inc has to be a daily comic strip. I’ve spent fifteen years building an audience and a certain amount of name recognition. I don’t need the daily updates for those reasons anymore. And newspapers are not coming back. My strip never appeared in more than a handful of papers, and although I remain grateful to the one that has run it continuously from the start — The Philadelphia Daily News — self-syndication doesn’t generate a significant amount of revenue.
And, when I see what Scott Kurtz has been able to do with Table Titans, I get really excited. His updates are usually half-a-page of the graphic novel he’s producing. That opens up a whole new world of possibilities in terms of storytelling. When the format doesn’t dictate a joke every four panels, the writing has a chance to flow a lot more naturally.
Moreover, as I have launched this new experiment, I find that I’m planning much further into the future. I’m linking up separate storylines, and dovetailing events.
I think it’s going to be a new Evil Inc that you’re really going to enjoy.
Rebooting Evil Inc
Part of this new approach is going to mean rebooting Evil Inc as well. But rest assured, it’s going to be a pretty soft reboot. Some relationships are going to change. Some characters are going to disappear. (Some already have.) And some new faces are going to be introduced. Heck, the Evil Inc company itself is in for a re-imagining. Some of the characters who are getting phased out will re-appear elsewhere.
Scratching that comic-strip itch
When I feel the need to go back to my comic-strip roots, I’ll have Arch Bros… which will update sporadically until I find my footing. And I haven’t ruled out the off Greystone Inn comic here and there. I kinda enjoyed revisiting those guys last month.
The plan… for now…
So that’s where Evil Inc is headed. I have the first 20-page comic plotted, and much of it is scripted. It’s going to update in half-page bursts on Tuesday and Thursday.
And since I’m no longer constrained by trying to make this newspaper-friendly, you can expect it to get a little more edgy. It won’t be Evil Inc After Dark edgy — I’m saving that for Patreon — but language and situations are going to get a little more… modern.
I’m really excited to be experimenting with this new format. I’m really happy with the results so far, and I think you will be, too. And, most of all, I’m immensely grateful to the people who support me through Patreon for giving me the breathing room to make these decisions.
It’s going to be a much different Evil Inc, but I think it’s going to be a change that you’re going to like.