Saturday, January 8, 2011

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Crazy Business Idea

You probably haven't yet heard of the latest up-and-coming town, Achewood. That's because Ache-wood only exists in a webcomic of the same name. It's part of a growing cadre of webcomics mixing sharp humor and art with a successful business model.

These online comics have developed a large and loyal fan base of young, hip readers. And webcomics creators are learning to mold successful businesses out of counterculture art. Chris Onstad, the creator of Achewood, for example, sells everything on his website from T-shirts to a cookbook with recipes "written" by his cast of characters.

Joey Manley, co-founder of Comicspace LLC, says comics have always been an effective mass market medium, and webcomics have picked up where traditional print comic books and newspaper strips have left off. "Comics are perfect for the web," he says. Webcomic readers don't think of Dilbert or Garfield when they think of comics, he says. "They have a completely different idea of what a comic is, how they interact with the author and what they're looking for in that entertainment package." These audiences allow the artists to build a name brand directly linked to merchandise, which the fans buy to support a medium and artist they love.

Webcomics cultivate an underground rapport with readers that relies on word-of-mouth, so readers discover the comics--and affiliated merchandise--without the traditional online model of SEO tactics and advertising. When it comes to creating merchandise, says Onstad, 33, whose Silicon Valley-based webcomic earns around a quarter of a million dollars in annual sales and was named the No. 1 graphic novel of 2007 on, "I do what I feel like, and if it's in the Achewood sensibility, chances are it will connect with readers and stick as a product."

Jeffrey Rowland, 34, is profiting not only from his webcomic overcompensating and its merchandise, but also from the webcomic trend in general. His company, Easthampton, Massachusetts-based TopatoCo, handles merchandising and fulfillment for 19 different webcomics and has sales of more than $1 million.

Manley says the future of webcomics is looking bright as a new generation of readers is discovering a new medium for the art.


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Monday, September 15, 2008

Witchcraft rumor sparks riot at Congo soccer game

KINSHASA, Congo (AP)—Accusations that a soccer player was using witchcraft during a match in eastern Congo sparked a riot that killed 13 people, a U.N.-funded radio station reported Monday.

Most of the victims were between the ages of 11 and 16, Radio Okapi said. They were suffocated as panicked crowds ran for the exits during the mayhem Sunday in Butembo in eastern Congo’s North Kivu province.

Radio Okapi said police tried to control the violence at Matokeo stadium by firing into the air to protect their commander, who was hit in the head and wounded by fans.

The two local clubs involved were Socozaki and Nyuki System, the radio said.

Dozens of teenagers marched through Butembo’s dirt streets Monday in protest, and the regional governor, Julien Mpaluku, paid a visit to the hospital.

Mpaluku said the government was investigating.

He made no mention of witchcraft, but confirmed that soldiers had fired into the air to calm angry crowds. The shooting prompted panic instead, which became fatal “when the crowds all tried to leave at the same time.”

“Most of the dead were children, only two or three were adults,” Mpaluku said.
North Kivu has been the epicenter of violence between Congo’s army and rebels over the last year which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Man eats $50,000 worth of Big Macs

FOND DU LAC, Wis. - A 54-year-old man says his obsessive-compulsive disorder drove him to eat 23,000 Big Macs in 36 years. Fifty-four-year-old Don Gorske says he hit the milestone last month, continuing a pleasurable obsession that began May 17, 1972 when he got his first car.

Gorske has kept every burger receipt in a box. He says he was always fascinated with numbers, and watching McDonald's track its number of customers motivated him to track his own consumption.

The only day he skipped a Big Mac was the day his mother died, to respect her request.
The correctional-institution employee says he doesn't care when people call his Big Mac obsession crazy. He says he's in love with the burgers, which are the highlights of his days.

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Worst Defeat EVER!!!

There's the "agony of defeat." And then there's this women's ice hockey score from the European Olympic pre-qualifying tournament: Slovakia 82, Bulgaria 0.

That's correct: eighty-two goals for Slovakia, none for Bulgaria.

The International Ice Hockey Federation said the result, from a game played Saturday at the tournament in Liepaja, Latvia, set a record score for a women's IIHF-sanctioned event. It was not the all-time record for futility, however; that is still held by Thailand, which lost 92-0 to South Korea in the 1998 Asia-Oceania U18 Championship.

Slovakia, which won all four of its games at the tournament, outshot Bulgaria 139-0, scoring on 58.9 percent of their shots on goal. They averaged one goal every 44 seconds.

Bulgaria trailed 7-0 after 5 minutes, 19-0 after 10 and 31-0 at the end of the first period.

The drubbing capped a woeful showing for the Bulgarian women, who also lost 30-1 to Croatia and 41-0 to Italy in earlier games.