A few weeks ago I was looking at some of the comics that were buying ad spots on my site and I was noticing that they were more popular then me. Normally I’m not one who cares about such things but one of the comics was a terribly drawn, unfunny comic that had only been in production for about a month and was getting WAY more traffic then me. Discouraged and slightly angry I went to Reddit to ask for help.

Reddit is a user content management system where any user can submit material they like and other users then decide whether they like it or not and mark the content as such so that the Reddit can begin to suggest material to the user based on their input. I’m a big fan of Reddit and Digg (which is another variation, although I perfer Reddit) and occasionally place comics up there with little to no results. This time was different though.

After looking at the strips that were being advertised on my site, I went to Reddit and posted this article:

Dear Reddit: What is it about my webcomic that no one likes!? I’ve been drawing it religiously for 5 years and I can’t manage more then 100 hits. (arustylife.com)

I didn’t expect anyone to check it out or to give me suggestions but boy was I wrong. In a 24 hour period I got almost 27,000 unique hits on A Rusty Life which when compared to the ususal (100ish hits) was a crap-ton (the official unit of measurement for website hits). The best part wasn’t the hits though, it was comments section of it on Reddit that allowed for people to give me their advice.

Here’s a highlight of some of the comments. There were people that thought my art was bad:

“No matter what a lot of people are saying in here, the art is not good. It looks like a blander, lazier version of Penny Arcade, and Penny Arcade is pretty bland already. If I wanted to be really harsh I’d compare it to CAD. I suspect people are only calling it good because webcomics have set the bar so very, very low.”

“You’re right, it isn’t. It looks like something that was done once in a paint program and then more-or-less copied everywhere.”

There were people that thought my art was not as bad:

“Your artwork is fine. The upgrade last year helped. Webcomics have a low bar for art and thats ok.”

“It just wasn’t that funny. The drawings were good, I’ll give you that.”

I think the art is great!”

There were people that thought the problem was facial hair:

“The first [problem] is, too much facial hair. Actually, too much hair in general.”

“Goatees. Lose the goatees.”

Most people thought the problem was the jokes:

“The strip looks good, yes, but the dialogue is annoyingly bland.”

“..the comic is doing the exact same thing every other dull webcomic out there does.”

“Too “cartoony” to be taken serious and not funny enough to be… well… funny.”

“Comedy is difficult.”

And then there’s my favorite comment:

“The characters are bland, the jokes aren’t funny, and the consistency in your failures is the strongest thing going.”

There are 211 comments on Reddit commenting on ARL or giving me some general advice. It’s a really interesting read if you’re bored and got some time. The rest of the comments can be found here. As far as my limited success. I guess I’ll just keep plugging away at it for myself, and if someone else wants to give them a read that’s fine.

Thanks for reading.