Bad Machinery and the Economics of Free Comics: A Webcomic Case Study

  • Paddy Johnston Université Paul Valéry - Montpellier 3, France

Abstract

 

John Allison is one of a small number of alternative cartoonists in the UK today earning a living from their cartooning. However, since he began his first webcomic, Bobbins, in 1998, he has given all of his comics content away for free online. This article presents John Allison’s comics, most notably his series Bad Machinery, as a case study of how to make free webcomics an economically viable labour, achieved by Allison’s use of webcomics as a springboard for other commercial activities such as illustration work and printed comics. Taking an interdisciplinary approach consistent with the wider field of Comics Studies, this article draws upon concepts from sociology, literary criticism and economics to provide a theoretical framework through which to understand webcomics as labour, and thus to understand through this reading the economics of free webcomics, with John Allison as the exemplary web cartoonist.

 

Published
June 30, 2015
How to Cite
JOHNSTON, Paddy. Bad Machinery and the Economics of Free Comics: A Webcomic Case Study. Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, [S.l.], v. 8, n. 4, june 2015. ISSN 1755-9944. Available at: <http://ojs.meccsa.org.uk/index.php/netknow/article/view/387>. Date accessed: 29 mar. 2017.