John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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Genre: The Two-Edged Sword

Related to my post about sales yesterday, I've been thinking lately about the problems of genre, and particularly of the furry genre, since that's where Suburban Jungle is.

See, I love the furry genre and always have, even before I knew there was such a thing. Starting at an extremely early age with Kimba, the White Lion, I've had a particular affinity for lions in art and literature, and with funny animal/anthropomorphic stuff in general by extension. That guy in the gaming group who always wants to play the cat-person, no matter if it's a fantasy, SF, or pulp game? That's me. Thus, SJ was a natural fit for me when it came to doing a comic.

And the furry fandom is a wonderful fandom! It's funny, given the way "bait the furries" is such a popular sport in some circles, but compared to a lot of the other fandoms I've poked around in, furries as a group are happy, well-adjusted, and wonderfully friendly people. They're also extremely loyal and generous to artists, which is nothing but good for me! ^.^

The downside, alas, is that furry is a very small fandom by comparison, with all of the economic ramifications that includes. Those numbers I posted yesterday about daily readers? Guess what: that's roughly ten percent of the readership of something like PvP.

Let me just boggle at that a moment. *boggle!boggle!boggle!* Okay, I'm back.

Now let's get something clear: I'm not doing SJ for the money, I'm doing it because I love it. In many ways, I'm doing it because I can't not do it without going crazy. But still, the realization that for every one person who reads SJ, ten people are reading PvP (a comic I can't bring myself to be interested in, tho it seems a perfectly good comic), is a sobering one. What could I do with ten times the banner income? What could I do with ten times the book sales? Ten times the merchandise? Ten times the licensing opportunities? I could almost -- dare I think it -- make a living at something I love to do. 0.o

The problem of genre is that most people like one or two and don't care for the rest ... people who like giant robots may not object (and may even think it's cool) if there are furries in their giant robot comics, but they won't read a furry comic that doesn't have giant robots in it. Similarly, a lot of furries don't care for anything non-furry, no matter what it is.

Thus, it seems to me that the only way to grow the SJ fandom is transcend the furry aspect ... i.e., think of it (and market it to the "mainstream") as a romantic comedy that just happens to have lions and tigers in it. That also means that I need to start broadening my horizons, in terms of cons I attend, contacts I make, and so on. I'm going to need to start going to manga/anime cons, Comic-Con, and the like, and finding ways to appeal to that larger crowd without abandoning my current fans.

I'm also going to need to invest in a few extra layers of skin; the mainstream comic audience occasionally has a viciousness problem. -.-

-The Gneech
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