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Metapost: Cow, Boy, and COTW

Hello all! Before we get to today’s COTW, I want to draw your attention to a sad — but possibly interesting — development in the comics world. Cow and Boy is a relatively new (i.e., it has not existed since the Eisenhower administration) syndicated strip by Mark Leiknes that I know many of you like. Unfortunately, what with the newspaper industry dying and all, it’s hard for newer strips to find their footing in syndication, and it will stop its newspaper run at the end of this year. Leiknes is trying to transition to a webcomic, and is looking for reader pledges/subscriptions to keep it afloat — $12 bucks a year for access is what he’s asking. I do think the future of comics is online, and I think the folks who got their start in newspapers but didn’t hit critical mass will be in the toughest position as that future unfolds, so I’m pleased to see someone making a go of it and experimenting with a business model instead of just closing up shop. If you like the strip, check it out!

OK, with that out of the way … here’s your comment of the week!

“PJ needs a forehead immensely more than he needs a hug.” –Izzy

And your runners up! Very funny!

“Hmmm, I need the reader to feel even more self-hating and misanthropic when Dawn makes Jim feel like complete shit. But how? I know! I’ll draw a big stupid arrow pointing at his tears!” –sporknpork

“Is that what Cherry is doing in the first panel? Flinching? Because it looks more like she ate some bad mushrooms on her walk.” –Naked Bunny with a Whip

“A million spiders per acre — Mark Trail freak out fact for the day. Oh, I’m sorry. I meant millionS. Millions lying in wait as you are standing still in an empty field. Enjoy Nature, folks!” –ScienceGiant

“Slylock is just covering for Max who obviously popped all the balloons by focusing the sun’s heat on to them. Look, he is still finishing one off now!” –Optimus Prime Rib

With me it’s visible … like my missing arm … which is exactly the opposite of ‘visible’ … ha ha … but seriously, speaking about sensory assaults, what’s with the haircut?” –Hibbleton

“‘The joke’s on you, Clown-9! This isn’t a regular joy buzzer, it’s a joy buzzer that infects you with anthrax! And those aren’t spectators, they’re plainclothes SWAT! But they’re not firing regular bullets at you! No sir! They’re firing bullets that were purchased using money from your checking account! And I don’t know why I’m still explaining stuff to you, seeing as you’ve been dead for nearly a minute!’ The End.” –Steve

“‘Working hard or hardly working’ was never a serious question, Loretta. It’s just boilerplate wordplay that people who are already dead inside use at their horrible jobs to pass the time until they go home to their horrible spouses. Way to suck the fun out of it.” –Doctor Handsome

Morning sickness? Check. Protuberant belly? Check. Virgin insemination? Check. Little Jeffy is with child to keep the Keane line flourishing! Allelieu!” –Greg

I must thanks to all who put some cash into my tip jar! And we must give thanks to our advertisers:

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51 responses to “Metapost: Cow, Boy, and COTW”

  1. Der Schnärkïnätör
    September 21st, 2012 at 4:09 pm [Reply]

    My first first post! Yea!!!!!!

  2. cheech wizard
    September 21st, 2012 at 4:14 pm [Reply]

    Speaking of the Mayan Calendar, I’m looking forward to the new one coming out. I’ve been looking at that guy sticking out his tongue for what seems like forever. Mebbe the new one will have a covered bridge or sumpthin’.

  3. Der Schnärkïnätör
    September 21st, 2012 at 4:15 pm [Reply]

    Sure is quiet ’round these parts!

  4. Sequitur
    September 21st, 2012 at 4:31 pm [Reply]

  5. Sequitur
    September 21st, 2012 at 4:37 pm [Reply]

    Congrats to Izzy and the Float Company!

    All right. Who’s throwing malted milk balls? Those things hurt!

  6. Nehemiah Scudder
    September 21st, 2012 at 4:38 pm [Reply]

    @Sequitur (#Y119): You guys are just jealous!

  7. Nehemiah Scudder
    September 21st, 2012 at 4:48 pm [Reply]

    Felicitations to that happy few, that noble breed, that band of brothers and sisters, the Floaters!

  8. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    September 21st, 2012 at 5:00 pm [Reply]

    Well, okay, but I was really hoping I’d at least see “Mom, PJ needs a hug ’cause somebody kicked his ass and took all his toys” up there. So enjoy your victory

    @Shrug, Speaker to Spam (#y110): To be fair, The Second Sheepkiller (former star of The Wakefield Master’s best medieval play) has a tough choice to make.
    Not to be confused with The Second Sheepkiller’s Tragedie, which some believe to be Shakespeare’s lost masterpiece, Raviolio.

    In other news, we had a guy look at our walls. Guess what? We live in a crawling cess pit of spores. Some of you may experience sore throat, coughing, and allergy symptoms just from reading my comments. Sorry about that.

  9. Dr. Weird
    September 21st, 2012 at 5:02 pm [Reply]


    Wiley continues to viciously attack the strawmen of the military-industrial complex, defying his complete lack of understanding of the Higgs Boson to make his point!

  10. Sequitur
    September 21st, 2012 at 5:07 pm [Reply]

    @Nehemiah Scudder (#6):

    Les and Cayla should look so good.

  11. Nehemiah Scudder
    September 21st, 2012 at 6:21 pm [Reply]

    @[Old Man] Muffaroo (#8): In other news, we had a guy look at our walls. Guess what? We live in a crawling cess pit of spores. Some of you may experience sore throat, coughing, and allergy symptoms just from reading my comments. Sorry about that.

    Gee, I normally have a feeling of uplift and euphoria after reading your comments, and then a weird craving for cheddar and spinach pierogies.

    // There are spores, and there are spores.

  12. Chaze
    September 21st, 2012 at 6:21 pm [Reply]

    Congrats to the funny folk from Snark 101. Sure hope I pass my midterms.

  13. Nehemiah Scudder
    September 21st, 2012 at 6:26 pm [Reply]

    @Dr. Weird (#9): It’s a joke, son.

    // But I’m glad to see someone is around to defend those poor helpless military-industrial complex people.

  14. Charles Henebry
    September 21st, 2012 at 6:30 pm [Reply]

    Regarding “Cow and Boy”, that’s not a comic I’ve started reading, but I’m struck by the proposal, as it’s one that we’re seeing a lot of lately. Tom Tomorrow and Ruben Bolling (both liberal surreal comics writers, the first a pseudonym) both recently launched programs quite similar to this one. I like the idea, but I don’t think they have set the price point very intelligently. I follow about 20 comics, maybe more, and I don’t have $240 to spend yearly to support them all. $3-$5 is a price that will bring in lots of donations; $10-$12 strikes me as likely to bring in few.

  15. Sequitur
    September 21st, 2012 at 6:31 pm [Reply]

  16. Al of the Christian Singles Jungle Patrol
    September 21st, 2012 at 6:42 pm [Reply]

  17. beetnemesis
    September 21st, 2012 at 6:57 pm [Reply]

    Ugh, I don’t know about this Cow and Boy thing. It really depends on how many fans he already has, that are willing to pay for something that they got for “free” each day. (I know, they paid for the cost of the newspaper, but that’s what the subconscious feeling will be)

    Plus, say he DOES get enough subscribers to support himself. Then what? You can’t grow an audience when you’re locked behind a subscription wall. I think a better game plan would be this:

    Start a Kickstarter/Donation Drive to get a set amount- say, enough to support him for 6 months (again, dunno how big his fanbase his, so adjust the amount up or down accordingly). The “goal” of the Kickstarter is to make the comic free on the web. If he doesn’t meet it, do the subscription model.

    If he does meet it, it becomes a normal webcomic, with some merch, some ads, and a Paypal donate button. Then he goes crazy with the networking/advertising/making an excellent comic, and grows his audience.

    I’m just saying, I love webcomics, and the only one I’ve ever come close to paying a subscription to read was David Willis’s “Joyce and Walky.” I’ve spent money on various compliations/extras, but the entitled interneter in me recoils at the thought of actually paying for daily content.

    (And as despicable as that sounds, I bet most of you feel the same way.)

  18. The Ridger
    September 21st, 2012 at 7:06 pm [Reply]

    @beetnemesis (#17): Yeah, I know. I remember somebody ranting about how the NYT was his go-to for news but he was damned if he was going to pay them for reading more than 20 articles a month.

    Me, I guess I’m old enough that paying a buck a month doesn’t seem too much for something. C&B didn’t really move me, but I did pony up for Tom Tomorrow, and I do pay for ten newspapers in various formats.

  19. tallyHO
    September 21st, 2012 at 7:14 pm [Reply]

    Congrats to Izzy and to the Floaters.

    There’s always some I didn’t get to see the first time around.

  20. Droopy Says
    September 21st, 2012 at 8:11 pm [Reply]

  21. tallyHO
    September 21st, 2012 at 8:22 pm [Reply]

    Not sure I avoided “Barney Google” but Jughaid is wearing a sock for a nightcap.
    Looweezy is looking like she’s going to show him what “bein’ sick” really looks like by puking right on his sock-haided self.

  22. hibbleton
    September 21st, 2012 at 8:49 pm [Reply]

    Thanks! and congrats to my fellow floaters!

  23. Artist formerly known as Ben
    September 21st, 2012 at 9:27 pm [Reply]

    Muchos kudos to the folks on the float.

  24. Artist formerly known as Ben
    September 21st, 2012 at 9:29 pm [Reply]

    @tallyHO (#19): Aren’t Izzy and the Floaters an acoustic Iggy and the Stooges cover band?

  25. Poteet
    September 21st, 2012 at 9:44 pm [Reply]

    Congratulations to all the funny floaters, especially Izzy!

  26. Poteet
    September 21st, 2012 at 9:57 pm [Reply]

    A & J — Congratulations to the newlyweds! Which reminds me that at the few weddings I’ve attended in the last several years, the announcements have been something along the lines of “I now present to you the newlyweds, John and Jane!” rather than the traditional announcement in A & J. Interesting.

  27. greghousesgf
    September 21st, 2012 at 10:04 pm [Reply]

    @Artist formerly known as Ben (#24): acoustic version of “TV Eye” = blistered fingers.

  28. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    September 21st, 2012 at 10:05 pm [Reply]

    @Charles Henebry (#14): The second is a pseudonym as well. I’ve seen Bolling’s real name somewhere, but how many names can a guy remember, anyway?

    @Al of the Christian Singles Jungle Patrol (#16): Hoo-HOOOO! That’s great Spore!

  29. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    September 21st, 2012 at 10:06 pm [Reply]

    (Meant to say “That’s good Spore!” Forgive me, Johnny!)

  30. Tangerine
    September 21st, 2012 at 10:52 pm [Reply]

    @beetnemesis (#17): Beetnemesis, this is a really good idea. You are absolutely right that his fan base will stagnate under the subscription model–at least one where his comic is the singular offering.

    I was wondering more about the GoComics model myself. (@Charles Henebry (#14): I don’t like the idea of having a bunch of small automated fees that are hard to keep track of appearing on my debit or credit cards, and would only sign up for one or two beloved comics in the proposed Cow and Boy way, no matter how reasonably priced. I do badly miss the late Clear Blue Water by Karen Montague Reyes and would gladly pay $12 a year to read it).

    GoComics already has a two-tiered system; if it built more perks into its upper tier I might overcome my laziness and paranoia and upgrade to the subscription. I’d like to see them make comments visible to all but only available to make at the subscription level–I think nearly anyone who reads the comments will find that unbearably tantalizing after a while. The subscription level could be more interactive, as well, where you had the option to be alerted if someone responded to one of your comments. If they could build a commenting community anything like the one here, I bet that would really take off.

    I also wonder, if only subscribers could make comments, if that would, um, increase the intelligence of the average conversation there or not. (If you hate the non-ironic Luann fans, you should really see the non-ironic FOOB fans tearing into Connie for her sluttish, non-family-value ways and gloating about her romantic humiliation. They seem to believe that a) the characters are real people who should be psychoanalyzed accordingly, and b) the story arcs are open-ended and could go anywhere.)

    It would be be nice if lesser-established comics like Cow and Boy were only fully available at the subscription level (there could be teasers at the lower level, and of course many subscribers will have been initially motivated to upgrade for other features and are all potential new Cow and Boy fans). Those more exclusive comics could maybe be paid more for their work… maybe that system requires too much altruism and too little competition to succeed. But then again, I guess you could decide what level you wanted your comic to be at, knowing that ultimately being able to offer it for free was the best way to expand your fan base and improve your income from the comic. If that’s actually true. (It does work for xkcd!)

    I’d be really interested in having a better understanding of the GoComics model, both from the perspective of the owners of GoComics and from the individual cartoonists (Ed Power, are you out there?).

    It makes perfect sense to me that the Cow and Boy cartoonist needs to make a living and doesn’t yet have the fan base to rely on other revenue streams like books and t-shirts, and at least for a time needs more support than widely beloved comics that are sure of their audience (and ironically, would be more likely to draw subscribers if they were only available at the upper tier). But how to make that happen in a packaged way that is likely to draw the maximum attention and support?

  31. commodorejohn
    September 21st, 2012 at 11:13 pm [Reply]

    @Tangerine (#30): I also wonder, if only subscribers could make comments, if that would, um, increase the intelligence of the average conversation there or not.
    I dunno, are you prepared to handle the revelation that there are people who would pay to praise Luann to each other?

    Regarding the whole subscription-model thing: I dunno. It’s never seemed to take off with webcomics, and certainly not on an individual basis. That said, if there’s one strip I’d pay $1/mo. for, it’s Cow & Boy.

  32. kkarenb
    September 21st, 2012 at 11:36 pm [Reply]

    The great Chuck Jones was born 100 years ago today. (Hello, my honey – hello, my baby…)

  33. Poteet
    September 22nd, 2012 at 12:10 am [Reply]

    MT — Oh, fer…is the “old miner’s cabin” line supposed to represent a revelation? Was she unaware of the existence of the (color-changing) cabin before? Was she basically telling Rusty, earlier, to go out and get kidnapped in a location she had never visited herself? Doesn’t she live in LoFo and hardly ever leave, and wouldn’t it make sense that she would, y’know, be familiar with the area? And why, why can’t I stop my brain from expecting MT to make some kind of sense??

  34. Poteet
    September 22nd, 2012 at 12:13 am [Reply]

    MT — On top of that, she has SEEN the two sheep-killers in the photo and KNOWS they’re probably in the area, and…no, I refuse to bang my head on the desk again. It hurts. I’m going to just tiptoe away. And have a drink.

  35. Poteet
    September 22nd, 2012 at 12:18 am [Reply]

    MW — Agggh, it’s Dawn in hideous profile again, and look at that perspective in the first panel! AIIEEE! Can’t stop! *headdesk headdesk headdesk*

  36. Droopy Says
    September 22nd, 2012 at 12:21 am [Reply]

    Spider-Bland: Clown 9 leaves them laughing . . . so in some crazy way, he wins.

    Les and Lesser: Actually, Les, this will be a very old-fashioned wedding. You’ll be required to lie on an altar made of firewood, after you anoint yourself with barbecue sauce. Afterward, well, the guests will all wonder “Was that turkey or pig?”

    Jugs Parker: That’s right, Avarice. Let everyone know that Sam is a lawyer and is legally obligated to report a felony when he sees one.

    Pluggers: Bumper cars: Driver’s ed for Pluggers.

    Mock Trail: Get closer, Cherry, Rusty needs you to comfort him.

    Shoe: This may be the most inane pun today, but I’m not willing to verify that by looking at Crankshaft.

  37. Tangerine
    September 22nd, 2012 at 12:23 am [Reply]

    @commodorejohn (#31):
    You know, I think I could be more at peace with it, actually, especially if I reflected that their money was going to support comics that I really cared about. ;-)

    You are right about subscription and webcomics–but I think the reason they can start small and build a following is that they aren’t daily comics. I follow Hark! A Vagrant (once a week postings, or often less) and xkcd (Mon-Wed-Fri) faithfully, and obviously that model is working well for both of them. But it sounds like it was too much work to do that with My Cage, which was a daily comic, and I know that Candorville badly needs to maintain its syndication despite its web presence.

    Sinfest is a web-only that updates daily; I wonder if that cartoonist has a day job, or like Beaton, takes a lot of side commissions. Anyone have other examples?

    I’d love to see the subscription model work so that the daily comic format doesn’t become a thing of the past. When Bloom County became Outland, it lost the story arcs that to me were the most appealing part of the strip. It’s such a drastic change in format to publish less frequently–I’ll bet the Cul de Sac’s Richard Thompson would be considering it right now if it didn’t alter the strip’s world so much.

  38. commodorejohn
    September 22nd, 2012 at 1:09 am [Reply]

    @Tangerine (#37): According to Wikipedia, Sinfest‘s Tatsuya Ishida is or was a penciller for Dark Horse, so he’s got a day job. Narbonic and its successor Skin Horse are reliably daily webcomics; Shaenon Garrity also has a day job (or several.) Irregular Webcomic! was daily. xkcd was daily until recently, and IIRC the reason for the switch was more due to personal issues than unsustainability. It’s doable, by the right people, but it definitely is the minority case. Most of those have tip jars, merchandise, and the occasional print collection to provide financial support, though you’d have to ask them how it works out.

  39. Poteet
    September 22nd, 2012 at 1:17 am [Reply]

    FW — I can’t tell what the tree is supposed to be, but it looks like a maple. I’ve got one Norway maple and it gradually turns a spectacular gold in October and then, the day after it reaches peak brightness, the leaves start falling very quickly and within three or four days, the tree is bare. So I’m hoping this tree will lose all its leaves the day before the wedding and then giggle fiendishly like that kite-eating tree in PEANUTS.

  40. Poteet
    September 22nd, 2012 at 1:21 am [Reply]

    GA — Um. Sure, Skeezix. Yep, whatever you say. *backs away slowly*

  41. Izzy
    September 22nd, 2012 at 1:36 am [Reply]

    @Artist formerly known as Ben (#24): We do a few covers, but we’re proud of our original material!

  42. Morgan Wick
    September 22nd, 2012 at 1:54 am [Reply]

    @commodorejohn (#38): IWC never made one red cent for David Morgan-Mar (which shows just how utterly insane he was, because he was making that AND a number of side projects), and xkcd has been M/W/F for as long as I can remember, which must be at least 2008.

    @Tangerine (#37): Questionable Content has a new comic every weekday, and is its creator’s job. Schlock Mercenary supports its artist with a seven-day-a-week schedule, though I don’t know if he has another source of income, or had one for a relevantly long time; ditto Least I Could Do. I’m sure there’s a good number more.

  43. seismic-2
    September 22nd, 2012 at 2:56 am [Reply]

    The way I see it, $12 per year for an annual subscription to C&B is about what you would pay for 4 “regular” comic books at the newsstand, and it’s roughly the same amount of material in terms of page count. So purely on the basis of quantity, $12 for a year’s worth of C&B isn’t excessive. The difference, of course, is quality rather than quantity. C&B is way better than most comic books .

  44. Baka Gaijin
    September 22nd, 2012 at 3:57 am [Reply]

    @[Old Man] Muffaroo (#8): Spores? Millions and millions of spores? Are the spiders laying them?

    I’ll add my opinion to the Cow and Boy debate. I’ll pay a buck a month for that. I pay for GoComics, too, so I may just be susceptible to that kind of thing.

  45. Comcis Fan
    September 22nd, 2012 at 4:05 am [Reply]

    MW: Sure! Let’s go! I always wanted to score some air!

  46. Comcis Fan
    September 22nd, 2012 at 4:12 am [Reply]

    MW II: Dawn appears to be choking but already has fallen so hard for Jim that she stops to make sure she has more time for him — before giving herself the Heimlich maneuver. Now that’s a hospital volunteer worthy of recognition!

  47. Doctor Handsome
    September 22nd, 2012 at 5:06 am [Reply]

    Gloryosky! Big Laffs abound! Nice work, peeps.

  48. Baka Gaijin
    September 22nd, 2012 at 6:38 am [Reply]

    Life beat Batiuk to this story.

  49. gleeb
    September 22nd, 2012 at 7:34 am [Reply]

    Dick: Man, that aquarium is the hip place to be in Chicago. Everybody runs into everybody there.

    Sam Driver, keen angler!: Sam could not care less about these rural types and their troubles. He just wants to fish.

    Rex: Damn, Rex hates pools. But why? Is this some atavistic polio thing?

    Chix: That woman could use a side table.

  50. anon
    September 22nd, 2012 at 8:35 am [Reply]

    9CL: Gads, that wedding gown is GORGEOUS!

    Cow and Boy: Took a look. I thought it sucked.

  51. Charon
    September 23rd, 2012 at 2:08 am [Reply]

    @38 (commodorejohn): xkcd has been M-W-F pretty much since the beginning (the archive has dates on the mouseover – becomes regular M-W-F late January 2006).

Comments are closed for this post.