Considering all the talk of cartooning and cartoonists we’ve done recently it’s a happy to coincidence to see the topic coming up so often in various news items. In my last entry where I disputed the idea presented by Wiley Miller that the number of page views a website gets isn’t relevant I mentioned that high page views actually do play a role in garnering attention from traditional media and as if to prove my point we have this NYT* article about the guys behind Penny Arcade, which is one of the other free web comics where the people behind it somehow magically manage to earn a living from giving their work away. I was particularly amused by one section of the article that actually backs up one of the points I made in my argument with “mysteriousjohnny” on the merits of doing some work for free. Turns out that’s exactly how Penny Arcades’ business manager convinced the guys to hire him:
“If you want them to meet with you, all it takes in Chinese food,” Mr. Khoo said. “Ten minutes into lunch I realized they had no idea what they were doing, and although I didn’t say anything at the time, the opportunity was pretty obvious.”
A month later, he made them an offer: an actual business plan, and the promise to work free for two months.
MJ keeps insisting that offering to work for nothing is “a faulty principle” that “deserves to be contradicted publicly because of the consequences” and yet here we have another example of someone doing just that to great benefit not only for himself, but the people he did the work for. Yet I don’t hear a massive outcry from business managers in America that this guy was devaluing their livelihoods. No doubt MJ will point out either that it was for a short period (which is true) or attempt to claim that there’s no comparison because being a business manager and being a cartoonist are two entirely different things. Apparently the only profession that’s at all similar to being a cartoonist is being a plumber.
Anyway, it’s good to see the guys at PA getting some media lovin’.
* Free registration required.