Welcome to Graphic Policy’s spotlight on webcomics, where we take a look at one of the many comics available online every Monday: Webcomics Weekly (but don’t be fooled by the “weekly” part of the title; the feature may happen more or less frequently than that). We’re defining webcomics as any comics published online for free consumption by the general public that doesn’t require a subscription service.
This week we’re taking a look at Woohooligan. The strip is created by Sam Dealy, who was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about his webcomics below.
Graphic Policy: In a nutshell, can you tell us what the strip’s about?
Sam Dealy: The official tagline for Woohooligan is “Our madness is method free!”
It started out as a variety comedy, in the vein of Gary Larson’s Far Side, just individual, unrelated strips.
Since April, I’m publishing a very tongue-in-cheek, ongoing story about a typical(?) Midwestern girl’s adventures in heaven and hell. It was meant originally as a very loose parody of Dante’s Divine Comedy that started with the premise of reversing traditional conservative Christian ideas about sin, so in this story God is fine with gay people, but you still go to hell for eating bacon. Jesus is black, all the interesting people are in hell and the gods of other religions (Thor, Loki, etc) are also real. More recently, our snappy-dressing, gay Lucifer is more or less date-raped by an unassuming girl from Ohio.
This current story is about half-way through, so I expect to finish it some time probably late this year. It starts here.
GP: How often do you update?
SD: This past year it’s usually at least once per week, but it’s a little more involved than that.
I got a cancer diagnosis a few months ago and it shocked me out of my complacency about a career change I’ve been working on since 2006. So I set a goal for myself of replacing my disability income with my comedy by Jan 1, 2017. That’s a really ambitious goal that means I have to roughly double my income every two months.
Anyone who’s curious about that goal or would like to help can read more about it here. And for those willing to help spread the word about Woohooligan and my goal for this year, I’m giving away free copies of my first ebook, Into Dorkness. More info about that is also on that page.
So realistically to earn a living from my comedy by the end of the year, I have to put in at least 40hrs/week on both new pages as well as a lot of self-promotion and marketing. I’m probably putting in closer to 60 hours a week on average right now, but that also means my earnings are currently a little under $1/hr right now, so I need to improve on that.
My Patreon page promises at least two pages per month once I get to about minimum wage for those two pages (at about ten hours per page), which happens at around $187/mo. My target date for that goal is May 1st. So far I’ve produced a lot more than I’ve promised. So, if it seems like I’m not promising much on my Patreon, that’s because I don’t want to promise more than I can deliver and fall short. I’d much rather make smaller promises and be able to exceed those expectations. So I’m not going to promise to deliver the moon in the early days before I’m even earning minimum wage, and I hope people are happy with me delivering more than I’ve promised. :D
In January, I put out four pages (so one a week), two bonus pages just for my Patreon supporters, and a tribute to David Bowie. Patreon supporters also got access to a high-res copy of that David Bowie tribute, you can see here.
I also publish a progress report detailing all the things I’ve worked on over the previous month and how we’re doing toward the goal. It helps keep me honest with myself and it lets everyone else know what I’m doing to promote Woohooligan! The first update for January showed that we’re ahead of schedule. :D
GP: How long have you been producing the strip?
SD: Man, it’s been a while now. :D I started in 2006, so this is year ten.
I had a couple of stumbles in previous years. I didn’t publish anything in 2008 due to not having the computer equipment I needed (and also still working a full-time job elsewhere).
At the end of 2013, I was in the hospital with the doctors worried I would slip into a diabetic coma and then immediately after that we moved across country to Ohio to the best house we could afford, which needed about $11k in immediate major heating and plumbing repairs, so I had to scramble for software engineering work to pay for all that. So there was another gap through most of 2014.
And then in April is when I started on the current story and have been publishing that consistently several times per month, so if you only counted the current story that’s almost a year now.
GP: Where did the idea for the strip come from?
SD: Depends which idea you’re talking about. ;P
I started in 2006 because I didn’t like where my life had gone. I wanted to do something better and in particular I wanted to make people laugh. That’s still the dream I’m after today. I have this crazy goal to earn a living making other people laugh. :D
The current story started innocently enough… it was an offhand joke about gluten-free diet advocates being zealots, like Jehova’s Witnesses or other missionaries. Once I’d shown someone sent to hell for eating bacon, I thought, “what if God hates bacon, but he’s fine with fags?” (I’m pansexual, I can say “fag”. :P) That led to “what if we just reverse all the rules that conservative Christians have?” So once you start down that road, obviously rich people don’t get into heaven, etc. The rest of the story grew naturally from there.
Why it’s awesome: The mind of Sam Dealy is a hell of a place to visit. Whether it’s his single panel comics (of which you’ll find one below), or the longer form episodic story that he’s producing (two installments are below), his website is one that I was lost in for hours, and his first book literally almost made me late for my day job. His comics are funny, engaging and sometime very thought provoking. Whether you pick up one or two of his books (and they’re all good), or just spend time reading the website, prepare to loose yourself for hours. And you’ll love every minute.
Below you’ll find a selection of strips that were originally posted to the site;
If you’d like to have your webcomic featured here, then drop us an email.