Webcomics makes the Xeric grant obsolete

The Xeric Foundation is going to stop giving grants to small time comic book creators… and it may be ending because of webcomic business model. From Peter Laird, founder of the Xeric Foundation:

Roughly twenty years ago, I started something called the Xeric Foundation. It came about because, with the success of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” property that Kevin Eastman and I had created back in 1983, there were a lot of people asking for money. Many of these requests were legitimate and came from real need, and I wanted to find a way to deal with them in a fair and organized fashion.

I also wanted to help out struggling comic book creators. Having started TMNT with Kevin as a self-published venture, I knew very well how critical even a relatively small amount of money could be for success at that nascent stage.

The Xeric Foundation accomplished all that. The Foundation was able to give many grants to self-publishing comic book creators and local charitable organizations. To date, those grants have totaled more than $2,500,000, and those funds were split equally between the two aforementioned categories.

When I began the Xeric Foundation back in 1992, things were very different. The Internet — and web-based publishing — was in its infancy. This has changed, radically, and the Xeric Foundation needs to change accordingly.

The advent of essentially free web publishing has forever altered the way aspiring comic book creators can get their work out into the public eye. With this in mind, I have decided that it makes sense that the Xeric Foundation will no longer provide grants to self-publishing comic book creators, and instead devote all of its available grants funds to charitable organizations.

It kinda disheartening. I’ve reviewed a few webcomics that have received the Xeric grant. Knowing how tight finances can be for many creators, I have no doubt that the extra help was much appreciated. Ah, well.

(h/t Robot 6)


Posted on July 16, 2011, in The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Up until recently many web comics creators would raise printing money by taking pre-orders, and then going to press when the orders were sufficient to cover printing costs. But PayPal has made that more difficult by insisting that vendors must ship a product within 30 days after it’s ordered. But Kickstarter has arrived as a new (and maybe better) way to crowd-source capital.

    Times change, old solutions fall by the wayside, new ones are discovered or developed. Laird has done more for new independent creators than most anyone else.

  2. wow… i remember the first time i heard about the xeric grant in the mid 90’s, i was so excited.
    i eventually found a different way to self publish but i have to say “Scott Bieser” up there,, put it very well.

  3. The main thing print has up over the web is the well established hype machine that has a long reach into that particular subculture. Having “Xeric winner” on the cover gave the marketers and potential reader an easy hook.

    The web currently only has links and tepid recommendations from people with small audiences since the “big name” creators, all of whom got where they are through the patronage of larger websites, don’t feel they should giving the same sort of break to others not in their social circle.

    Yeah, print has cliques as well, but that only affects who gets in. It doesn’t make or break the thing being marketed.

  4. Awww that is kind of lame.

  5. They could still offer support to those comics that they would have chosen to receive the grant by offering exposure through the same channels that would have previously covered Xeric winners. It wouldn’t be as substantial as actual moneys, but they could still hype the crap out of things!

    • It’s a good thought. I’ve often considered applying for a Xeric grant, but in all honesty I was more interested in the publicity than the money. It might work better as an award than it did as a grant.

  6. You mean I’m slaving away at a day job and all I have to do is ask for people to GIVE me money to print comics? What a country!

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