Alright, one week down. The feedback so far was nigh perfect and some amazing people are helping Ivo open doors and make contacts but it seems that there are still some misunderstandings about why Joel and Ivo are trying to raise money through the Kickstarter. Are they being greedy? Are they dirty capitalists who are blocking the way of the free people? Are they trying to build a paywall? Not at all! The reasons why they are not making “The Unnamed” free is carefully explained in the little rant below.
You, dear audience, are spoilt. Everything you could ever want is not only available but even immediately available. You want some rockin’ tunes? Just open Spotify. Need something to watch? YouTube and Netflix. Want to read a comic? Where do you even begin? Owlturd, Questionable Content, Gunnerkrigg Court, Sam & Fuzzy, Fowl Language. You don’t even need to look some of these up because they get shared so many times on 9Gag and Imgur. You can just read them without investing any time, effort or money. Lucky, lucky you. So, if so many creators are putting up their content for free then why won’t Ivo and Joel? Why is “The Unnamed” not up for free?
If you have seen the preview, you will have noticed that “The Unnamed” has a particular style and pace. How many comics do you know where the main character doesn’t appear until page 5? In the first volume? Not to say that “The Unnamed” is slow, it definitely is not. Although you wouldn’t tell from the preview, there IS a lot going on that is hidden from the viewer. It is something of which Ivo is very proud (will he ever shut up about it?) but it also make the comic completely unfit for webcomic publishing which is more tedious and the comic needs to hold the audience’s attention page per page, either by ending on a cliffhanger like “Gunnerkrigg” does brilliantly or sneak in a joke in the last two panels as Sam & Fuzzy’s Sam Logan often does. “The Unnamed” however is best read volume by volume and not page by page.
It is also quite a process to make “The Unnamed”. Its very nature requires elaborated artwork, reference pictures, research and communication. This is by no means a slab at the artists working for comics like Donald Duck or Garfield. That’s an entirely different field which requires appropriate skills but let’s just say that churning out lasagna-jokes on a daily basis is a lot easier if you don’t have to sift through blogs and books for pictures of 19th century furniture. Then again, if Hecate and Monsieur Loup were drawn with big round eyes and dots for pupils against a triangle for a background, “The Unnamed” would have looked incredibly stupid.
Another significant difference from webcomics is that “The Unnamed” is a two-man operation. Ivo delivers the script and Joel turns that fuckload of words into panels and ink. If Joel had written the story on his own, he could finish it at his own pace. If Ivo could draw, he would have done it himself but in either case, the end result would not have been the same. The story is great because Ivo dedicated himself to it. The art is great because Joel did the same with the artwork. “The Unnamed” is so well done because they cooperated. The payoff is however that working in a team is more difficult and costly than when you’re working alone but that’s a price Ivo and Joel are willing to pay.
So, in short, it’s simply a matter of “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys” and that’s why you should think about what you’d want from a comic and how much it is worth to you.