entry, Friday, November 18th, 2005
We have an Open Door policy here at Blank Label Comics, so when Paul Southworth walked into my new mahogany-wainscoted, ebony-desked penthouse office I thought nothing of it. Paul is part of the team, after all, and notwithstanding the disparity between our working spaces (he labors diligently at a desk we installed in the storeroom between the elevator and the men's room) I recognize him as one of the grand veterans of the webcomic set.
He first launched his work back in the '90s. Some of you kids may not even remember that era, back when speculation on Internet, genetics, and real-estate ballooned the U.S. economy to the point that it could suddenly afford to start spawning "patrons of the arts." But I digress.
Paul came into my office with a question. "How," he asked, "am I supposed to get another 50,000 people to read Ugly Hill? There are no buxom babes in it ANYWHERE."
He had a point. I reviewed his extensive portfolio carefully, overlooking the french-fry stains and tartar-sauce, and determined that if there HAD been any buxom babes in Ugly hill, they would come complete with slug-tails, hairy backs, and galloping skin conditions. Obviously the standard "draw big boobs and anime eyes" trick wasn't going to work for Paul. Besides, at Blank Label Comics we're above that kind of pandering. Our Secret Manifesto says so very clearly: "no pandering without money up front." We had no outstanding offers for pandering, so that was right out.
I re-read his archives, marvelling at how his characters could be so cleanly drawn, so crisply colored, and yet still be uglier than anything I've ever found in a kleenex. It was as if there was something ugly in their SOULS, and I wept inside at the thought that perhaps Paul was exorcising himself of some hideous demon, brought on by the foul sins of his misspent youth (and adolescence, and college years, and mid-twenties, from the look of things.)
That thought bounced around and around in my head, like a superball propelled by a child who has had too much chocolate and not enough ritalin at breakfast. I couldn't let it go... what if Ugly Hill was an exorcism? What if Paul's Inner Axe-Murderer was struggling to find a bloodless outlet? His very salvation (for certain values of "saved") could depend on whether or not we could find another quarter-million people to laugh at the antics of this multiplicity of personalities his sorry, twisted mind had spawned.
Besides, we were running out of places to hide the bodies of his therapists. And Straub told me just last week that it would look suspicious if we bought more muriatic acid before the second pool was finished.
Then it came to me... bribery! We'd tell people that hidden in the Ugly Hill Archives is a pop-up window from which you can print your very own, authentic dollar bills! By the time people decided that their ad-blocking software must be preventing them from printing their own money, they'd be hooked, twitching spasmodically as they waited to find out what atrocity would next walk the streets of Ugly Hill.
I called a quick board meeting, and the vote was seven-to-three in favor (I know, there are currently only nine BLC cartoonists, and seven plus three is ten. I get two votes, Straub gets two votes, Dean gets a vote and a half, Willis gets half a vote, and Kellet gets a soda cracker, courtesy of United Media.). It was settled.
Now we just need to find a suitable place to announce this clever "promotion."
Firefox Referrals and Adblockers
entry Addendum, Friday, November 18th, 2005
While we're on the subject of ad-blockers, I think we've figured out why some of you don't see the "Switch to Firefox" button at the bottom of this page. It's spawned from the same host that spawns Google Ads, and some of you are running ad-blockers that block those ads.
I'm not saying this is the case for ALL of you who don't see the button, but if you're running an ad-blocker, that's DEFINITELY why YOU are not seeing it.
This is a shame. Ad-blockers not only mean you miss out on the hilarity that is context-sensitive ads in conjunction with footnotes about Dark Matter, but you miss out on the opportunity to net me a dollar when you switch from IE to Firefox-plus-the-Google-Toolbar using the button on my site.
This mahogany wainscoting didn't exactly pay for itself, folks. And my kids ate nothing but potatos and top-ramen for six weeks so I could make a down-payment on the ebony desk. You should feel ashamed of yourselves.
Fortunately, like a 15th-century Pope, I can unburden your souls from that shame and guilt for money. Any Paypal donation of at least $1.00 (hit the Paypal button up there on the left) buys you all manner of ad-blocking indulgence, not to mention access to a page from which you can download a brand new desktop background featuring multicannons and Rule 37...