Hey there, Hooligans!
Welcome to our 2016 Year in Review. I hope you're enjoying the comics as much as we enjoy making them. I'm Sam's wife, Tiffany and I'm one of the other folks involved in making Woohooligan shiny. :) When I'm not immersed in humanitarian stuff or animal rescue, I mostly do the boring stuff like budgeting/finances, maintenance but I also provide creative ideas and a sounding board for projects, upcoming storylines, and I insert a joke here and there when I'm able. I have the super important job of holding down the fort for our family so Sam can better use his time and talents.
Why Woohooligan? In the sixteen years we've been together I've watched Sam use his love of comedy, art, sci-fi, fantasy and his desire to connect to others through laughter to put it all together. There are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes and not just the time it takes to draw comics. There's a fair amount of research, reading and effort to produce content that tickles your funny bone and also inspires a deeper look into ourselves and subjects that are sometimes hard to contemplate.
In this review we'll cover our top ten most popular comics for the year, some other accomplishments like reviews and social media growth (I promise it's not all boring), some setbacks this year, and our goals for the years ahead. It's been a wild ride and I hope you've been keeping up. If not, here's your chance! Bring popcorn. :) I'll touch on the challenges we faced and how those made us take a step back and reexamine our goals going forward. Plus I give teasers about what comics and projects will be coming up in the years ahead. With world events unfolding the way they are there will be no shortage of topics to delve into. Ride this coaster with us and we'll huddle together for warmth, we promise not to get too grabby... :)
Without further ado, here it is. The top ten most popular comics for Woohooligan in 2016! Are they what you expected? Was there something that didn't make it in this list that you busted a gut over? Please share! We always enjoy hearing from you. :) Seriously, we'd love to pick your brain! Only casually, no zombie stuff.
This is one of my personal favorites. I Loved the remake (and originals) and don't get all the fuss about male vs female, it's all good. I'd have loved to see more Slimer; he was a great addition to the cartoons but sadly didn't make much of an appearance. I also loved the cameos of most of the original cast. I know some got hung up on Chris Hemsworth playing "a dumb blond" and as one blond to another, I think he did a great job (besides, they mentioned in interview it was his idea). He's not just something pretty to look at; I think he also did a great job hosting SNL as well.
Trayvon Martin reveals what happened the day he died. This is one of the comics I wasn't sure would be received well, because there's so much tension around the subject, so much room for misunderstanding and because Sam is Autistic I worried that people might take this comic the wrong way. Thankfully you were able to see the humor and depth he tried to go into without too much backlash. I know he wanted this to go well but has his anxiety like the rest of us. [Editor's Note: I had a ton of anxiety about this subplot too, but in the long-run I guess we have to bleed for our art. Seeing that it made this top ten was a big sigh of relief.]
Fake news is all around us. We just have to cut through all the crap. We've learned the hard way, fact checking is important. Also, as a society we've believed all kinds of silly things, even dangerous things, like women who used to ingest tapeworms as a form of diet, doctors peddling cigarettes as good for the lungs, bloodletting to fighting a common cold, stabbing someone to death so my crops will grow... that sort of thing. The most dangerous position to be in is to believe we know everything. [Editor's Note: Like flat-earth societies, some people STILL recommend bloodletting for a common cold… you learn something new every day.]
Hitler's got nothing better to do in hell than harp on others' grammar. Maybe he'll whip out a dictionary next. :P This sets up the current storyline for Amity, if you don't recall, why not take a look back at her misadventures... quick quiz, anyone know how she died? It's just funny. Too bad she didn't wait for the new Switch coming out in March, would have had something to take with her, if only the afterlife had charging ports. :)
Guns in Schools, because what goes better with PB&J than cold metal "justice" in the hands of a teen? I've watched our kids freak out over grades and zits but I'm sure they can handle guns, especially when they get dumped by their dream date for the prom.
There's lots of info here, but it's well worth the read. We need to share the love and support one another. I'm of two minds about this subject, I agree that we can use this time to educate others about the importance of not repeating history and treating each other as equal but I also agree with the quote, "If we were really equal, we wouldn't need a black history month". I wish that it wasn't an issue anymore and we could celebrate as one together. [Editor's Note: I agree, I just don't think we're there yet.]
Holy smokes, Batman, is that Yoshi?! :) I love it, Pokémon and all. I believe this was a commission/raffle concept, which I think could be expanded on, like he keeps them in his pocket and asks them advice or a Harry Potter and the Mirror of Erised cross-over; could be fun. [Editor's Note: This was a patron bonus comic, however, since it's our most popular comic of 2016, I've decided to display the patron bonus here in our year-in-review. If you want to see the Wookiee bonus, or any of the others, you'll have to pledge to the Patreon.] :)
We just couldn't stop at 10... Like chips, or jellybeans... Here are four others we felt were special. I'll give you my reasons for picking these gems, but you decide for yourself.
I know that no matter what part of the political spectrum you fall under it's been a hard election cycle. Not unlike my personal experiences of growing up in south Florida with hurricanes and the endless cycles of "what if's" and path projections it can be very draining. I think about that when I look at the election cycle even more so with the amount of negative energy that has been in the air, how many candidates we had. It can all be too much. This comic addresses that and tries to calm our fears, bringing us back toward equilibrium.
I have a confession to make. I love apocalypse films but NOT for the reasons you might think. I don't enjoy seeing death, destruction and mayhem. I am encouraged by the sheer acts of heroism, the self-sacrifice, the shedding of all the petty bullshit in those moments. Even when "bad men", the greedy, the morally questionable, have been at their worst, they can have redeeming qualities. I like the idea that one day we can come together and see each other as on the same journey instead of someone to be feared/hated/cheated, even if it's our LAST moments... that's what those movies bring about for me; a reminder that all of the stuff we focus on can be blinked out. This comic is great at poking fun of those kinds of movies. I love the concept of a big tough guy fighting zombies in a unicorn onesie because he couldn't find anything else, and when it comes down to it I'd rather have the Wienermobile than nothing.
Also, check out Travis Blair's the Zarf.
This is one of my all-time favorite comics, because it combines two of my favorite things: a musician I admire and will deeply miss and Doctor Who. I've always identified with misfits, with those who don't quite look "normal", because I was never the "normal" one in my family, in my school and the like. I love David Bowie in the Labyrinth because even though he's the "bad guy", he's so much more than that and in my opinion not "bad" at all. More like using tough love to bring about what you're resisting anyway. The other half of this mashup is not only Doctor Who but my favorite Doctor, the first one I ever saw and loved, the Fourth, the incomparable Tom Baker. I love the idea of the Goblin King meeting up with the doctor and going on adventures together. It's a beautiful concept, maybe even secretly being a Time Lord without a TARDIS and creating a strange world in which he can live for a while until he's rescued by the Doctor. But Sam would never go for the sing-alongs. [Editor's Note: No. No I would not.] woohooligan.com/comics/251
I think this one calls to us all because we don't want to believe we could be duped. We tend to hear a thing and through some combination of laziness, bias, shock value and just plain ignorance we're willing accept whatever we hear as fact without actually checking it. I totally do it too. I have a Galaxy Samsung Note and I've been looking to upgrade. When I heard about the exploding truck I wrote a post without fact-checking and felt stupid once I realized it was a fake article. So I get it, we're busy, we're not wanting to take all the time out to figure out who's telling it as it is and who's peddling half-baked ideas. It wouldn't be the first time; snake oil was out there a long time. No worries, we should just remember to not take everything as truth until we dig a little further. :)
Okay, so this isn't a comic, but we felt it deserved mentioning. Dialog is one of the more important things we can do with one another, even when it's sometimes uncomfortable. There's something to be said for learning from all input, seeking the truth in everything. We want you to tell us how you feel, what you'd like to see more of, and even when you're unhappy with our work. Having said that, angry strangers on the internet aren't entitled to special treatment. So when somebody decided to troll a Batman comic, here's what Sam had to say.
Overall I think he did a good job of explaining his point. What do you think?
It's not always easy in a world of rushing around to make sure that you are able to carve out the time needed. Especially with a larger, multigenerational family you're working with, between all the critters and people I kind of feel like a zoo keeper at times. But I do love them all and besides I can't just rent out the rooms to strangers and stuff our family in the basement... We totally don't have enough room for that many bunk beds down there. :) Here's what we've accomplished in the last year and while we didn't yet reach our ultimate goal of sustainability, thanks to your efforts and support we've grown and that's something to be proud of.
We published thirty-nine comics this year, plus journals and extras, in spite of all the things that came up (our washer and car dying, moving Sam's mom from Texas). That's good. Sure we could've not slept but I'm on a strict sleep diet that doesn't allow for fasting of REM cycles. :)
We had a good year for pledges on Patreon and we can't thank you enough! It's about $87 a month at the moment (although Patreon doesn't report the gross), and every bit helps us pay it forward. Patreon reports that after a couple of declined or cancelled pledges and Patreon fees, we received a net $677.84 for the year, which is notably less than the amount we spent on advertising this year. When you add together all the comics, the bonus pages and the monthly art raffles, that means Sam earned an average of about $11.28 per piece (and between you and me, most of them took more than 8 hours to create -- seriously, he's really overworked). Our ultimate goal of sustainability happens at $2,000/month, but this is certainly a start and good growth from the year before so I'm putting this in the win column. :)
As a thank-you to our supporters, we also published 12 new Patreon-only bonus pages which is a treat, (and only a few of them were NSFW). I loved the Deadpool one in particular. If you didn't see it, you should. :)
We had some really good art raffles this year some patriotic, some sexy and don't forget funny as hell. We ended up with about ten of the monthly raffles done but there are a few still waiting on the winners to give more input. So if you've won a raffle, get in touch!
In addition to some of our own advertising (that was taking up too much of our own time), we were able to get some advertising help from No Lotus Design. Beau Brooks has had some good suggestions on how to manage on our smaller budget. We're happy to say it's resulted in 72% growth on Facebook and 1,300 followers in the first month on Instagram, which is a good start.
Over the year we got three new reviews of Woohooligan and overall they were very positive. I've included the links below, please feel free to take a look at them and let me know what you think. Was the review fair? Did it reflect what you experience on Woohooligan?
While we had some triumphs this year, we also had some setbacks, so in the spirit of honesty we'd like to share those unexpected challenges as well. Despite Sam's improvement with his health (no more cancer, yay & he's still diabetic but healthy enough not to need insulin every day ... woo) our budget shrank early on in the year due to an abrupt loss of income, just about the same time Sam's mother needed a new place to live and we drove her from Texas to Ohio to stay with us until she could get on her feet. That alone cost us well over a thousand dollars and we don't really see that being repaid in the future.
I have already cared for my mother full-time since my brother passed suddenly in 2009 (she's elderly and can't care for herself), so bringing Sam's mother in meant a lot of changes in finances, time and space in the house. On top of that, we lost a washing machine, the transmission died in our car (despite all the maintenance being up-to-date and still owing money on that maintenance), forcing us to take on a new car payment.
Of course, these are on top of the kind of things everyone deals with like water pipes freezing... I think you get the picture. But we hold to the belief that overall things will work out, we just have to keep going and see what comes about. You know what they say, "When you can't run, you crawl, and when you can't crawl - when you can't do that... You find someone to carry you." (Firefly! Damn awesome show).
After a year of tracking our progress, we realized we weren't reaching our yearly projection and ultimate goal of sustainability we set at the beginning of the year. We decided that our goals were maybe set too high. So we sat down and rethought the whole thing and came up with a new five year plan that's much better suited to our needs. We're going to take our $87/mo progress from this year and we're going to double it in 2017 and then double it each year after that. It's a balance and we want to give you the best content in a time frame that works with the end goal of being self-sustaining via Patreon, books, or other forms of comedy. We're so happy to bring you everything on the site and are looking forward to much more. I will say that Amity's storyline is shaping up quite nicely with some surprises ahead.
We're always trying to find new and exciting things to bring to you and for a couple of years Sam's been cooking up some stories that will be a departure from what you've seen, but I think you'll love it. We're looking to start "Marbles" and I think we've certainly got enough material; we just need the time to flesh out all of the story and characters. It's about the collective experiences we've had and our different approaches to life with autism, ADHD, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, bi-polar, polyamory and having several generations living in the same house. I hope we can bring you some of that in the coming year.
[Editor's Note: I know Tiffany's been really hoping to see me start publishing Marbles for a few years, but I really don't have the time for that right now and there won't be time for it until we get a lot closer to being sustainable. So she'd like me to start it this year, but that's only going to happen if you guys really get out there and tell your friends about Woohooligan and we get a LOT more pledges on the Patreon.]
Overall it's been a good year, we reached $87/month on Patreon, which is 4% of our goal of sustainability -- we plan to make a lot more cool comedy in 2017 and double our progress to 8% so that we'll be sustainable by 2020. Woohooligan hears you, we read all comments, suggestions and even criticism. We consider this a group project and you're not just supporters and readers, but part of the experience and together we can make Woohooligan shine.
We want to thank you for following us on this journey, for all your time and encouragement, reading the sometimes lengthy editor's notes and interacting online whether it's through DeviantArt, FaceBook, Twitter or wherever. It really does mean the world to us and those who help us in other ways like contributing to our Patreon, sharing and linking to our comics, a special thank you! You make all this possible, and instill hope in our shared future. You are Awesome! Stay with us, Hooligans, we're just getting started! [Editor's Note: Yeah, right. Reading my notes is such torture. :P]
A very Big Thank you!