UPDATED JANUARY 5, 2002
What is Keenspot?
Keenspot is an entertainment company with a focus on publishing the work of the greatest cartoonists currently living, both online and in print, and producing related merchandise based on their creations.
How did Keenspot get started and what are some notable events in its history?
Keenspot was founded by cartoonists Chris Crosby (SUPEROSITY) and Darren Bleuel (NUKEES) in February 2000. After finding themselves extremely unsatisfied with their webhost, Chris and Darren banded together in an attempt to not only provide a better service, but to revolutionize the world of online comics. How? Two major ways: 1.) By providing one steady place for readers to find what we believe are some of the finest webcomics available. 2.) To attract large advertisers and get them to sponsor Keenspot (and therefore each cartoonist under the Keenspot umbrella), with the goal of every Keenspot cartoonist eventually making a living through such sponsorship.
After a lot of hard work (which continues to this day), the Keenspot.com website launched in March 2000. Dozens of the web's best cartoonists were very happy to join the 'Spot, thankfully! For many, their readership numbers rose by hundreds and even thousands of percent after joining and taking advantage of our promotional capabilities. As of January 2002, about 50 cartoonists are members of Keenspot. We have exclusive web publishing rights (including full archives) to the features we sign up. The individual creators retain all other rights. Side projects like merchandising deals (comic books, toys, etc) are worked out seperately.
Because Keenspot is an invitation-only group and the four Keenspot executives (lovingly referred to as "The Fab Four" by some) tend to be crazily picky about who gets in, we launched Keenspace in June 2000. Keenspace is an all-inclusive, non-exclusive webhost providing unlimited space and bandwidth to all of the web's cartoonists free of change. Many current Keenspot cartoonists started their strips on Keenspace, including Michael Poe (EXPLOITATION NOW), Howard Tayler (SCHLOCK MERCENARY), Ian J. (RPG WORLD), and others.
In July 2001 we started our own print comic book line, launching our first two titles (BLACK PLAGUE and SUPEROSITY) at Comic-Con International: San Diego. We had moderate success with our first few comics and sales rise with each new title we publish. We published 10 comic books in 2001 and plan to publish many more in 2002. In the summer of 2001 we also launched Keenspot PREMIUM, a subscription service for fans who want to read Keenspot comics in a more cozy manner (i.e. no ads, all on one page, etc). Hundreds of readers have signed onto PREMIUM since its debut, most opting for the $44.95 one-year subscription.
There have been more than a few bumps in the road since Keenspot launched almost two years ago. The internet economy collapsed, ad revenue (our main source of income) dropped to an all-time low in every single form of media, and we've been no stranger to horrible technical problems. Still, two lovably insane cartoonists with an intense love of funny ink lines on paper, along with hundreds of supportive fellow cartoonists and friends, have kept the 'Spot going for nearly two years. And it shall continue on, annoying the naysayers long after they all die of old age and the living exist in a fantastic, far-flung future world.
How popular is Keenspot.com?
In December 2001, Keenspot logged about 40 million pageviews and welcomed about 2 million visitors.
Is there a way I can read through all the Keenspot comics faster and easier?
Keenspot PREMIUM's WarpKeen service is the fastest and bestest way to read Keenspot comics. If you don't want to spring for PREMIUM membership, try QUICK KEEN. Or the dropdown menu at the top right corner of every page.
How can my comic be listed on Keenspot.com?
Only comic strips that are hosted by Keenspot and are members of our network can be listed on Keenspot.com's frontpage. We are not a listing service for all webcomics. However, Keenspace offers free webhosting and technical services for all webcomics.
How can I become a member of Keenspot.com?
To apply for membership, send an URL where your comic strip is located to email@example.com , along with the TITLE OF FEATURE, DESCRIPTION, CREATOR(S), and ESTIMATED NUMBER OF CURRENT READERS. Keenspot is not very interested in working with cartoonists that have not yet published their work consistently on the web. However, if you can't put your comics on the web yourself for some reason but you still feel you have what it takes to become a member of Keenspot, send photocopies (no originals!) of your work to Feature Submissions, c/o Keenspot Entertainment, P.O. Box 1525, Temple City, CA 91780. Submissions will not be returned unless you enclose a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope.
Would you be interested in hosting Macromedia Flash-format animated shorts?
Not at this time, no. Check back later! Our animation division, Keentoons.com, is currently on the backburner but we hope to launch it in summer 2002.
How long will it take you to reply to my comic strip submission?
Because of the volume of submissions that we receive, and the fact that we consider every strip very carefully, it may take weeks or longer (possibly forever) to receive a response from us if we decide to invite you to join our group. Please be patient, and know that we're considering it as much as we did our current members. We do not send out rejection notices, because any strip may eventually prove it's got the goods to join Keenspot. We don't ever rule anyone out for good.
Also, we just don't have time to send out rejections to everybody, because we get thousands of submissions and it takes all of our time just keeping things running. There's also that little detail.
What is Keenspot.com looking for in a feature?
This is a really hard thing to answer. Basically, if we're gonna pick up a comic, either we'll personally like it a lot for whatever crazy reason people like things, or we'll be fairly certain that a ton of other crazy people like it even if it doesn't appeal to us. If we don't pick up a comic, neither of those things happen. It's all incredibly subjective. That said, here's some stuff we like...
* Consistency, proven by daily (Mon-Fri is best) publication on the web for 3-6 months without missing a deadline.
* Appealing characters and situations are always nice. Us having to read your comic should not feel like we're being anally murderered by you, preferably.
* ORIGINALITY! Strips about wacky college kids can be great, but too many of them and the premise gets a little unexciting. Same goes for a strip about a boy or girl and his imaginary friend, or a gag panel that focuses on the strange side of life and features cows a lot. If we think your strip is hilarious or engaging, though, having an unoriginal concept doesn't matter a whole lot. Unless it dips into plagiarism, of course!
* Comics with responsible, professional creators who are enthusiastic about working with Keenspot to help us to make our uncensored, risk-taking comics one of the most popular entertainment atrractions on the web and beyond. Big dreamers apply here, baby!
* Reader appeal. If you've been producing a strip on the web for months, but your readership still numbers in the double digits, we might have doubts that your strip has what it takes to gain a large audience. Does that mean we won't consider your comic if it's not popular? Definitely not! If we think your comic is great, it doesn't matter how unpopular it is. If we love it and think it's Keenspot material, you're in, even if your readership numbers in the single digits. So forget what this whole paragraph just said.
* We're always interested in strips that focus on niches like gaming, computers, sports, movies, TV, and other hobbies and lifestyles. Comics that focus on a popular topic tend to grow in readership faster than normal, and are easier to categorize for the purpose of attracting advertisers, which we like. I know it sounds very commercial and evil, but we are a business. Kinda.
I want to work for Keenspot's print comic book line! What the hell do I do?
ARTIST/PENCILLER SUBMISSIONS: We are looking for all styles of artwork. Comic book artists work in a 10 x 15 image area on a sheet of Strathmore Bristol board that measures 11 x 17. They usually lay out their pages with a lead pencil or a non-repro blue pencil, and finish their art with a regular pencil. Samples can be sent via clean, clear photocopies, either full size (ledger 11 x 17) or reduced to 66% (letter 8.5 x 11).
INKING SUBMISSIONS: Inking submissions should be in the form of 4-6 pages. Inkers should submit photocopies of both your inks and the pencils you have inked, so that we can compare the two. We would prefer to see your inks over more than one penciller. We recommend that you submit samples of artwork inked over someone elses pencils rather than your own.
WRITING SUBMISSIONS: Submissions for writers should take the form of 2-3 story synopses and one five-page full script sample. Each story synopsis should be a 1-3 page, double-spaced, typed, complete story concept. These can feature any character, any genre.
COLORING SUBMISSIONS: Coloring submissions should be in the form of 4-6 sequential pages. Colorists should either submit color printouts or color copies of their work or E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org the URL of where these samples can be found on the web (NO ATTACHED FILES!). Along with the story pages, 1-3 pages showing cover/pin-up/painted images will be helpful.
SEND TO: Keenspot Comics Submissions Dept. c/o Keenspot Entertainment P.O. Box 1525 Temple City, CA 91780. IMPORTANT: Send only photocopies or reproductions of some kind. If applicable, please include a resume describing your education and work background. Hard copy submissions only. Do NOT send attached E-Mail files under any circumstances! NO HARD COPY SUBMISSIONS WILL BE RETURNED WITHOUT A S.A.S.E. (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope).
What is the Keenspot Mini-Series Event?
We've been kind of lazy about doing new ones lately, but in theory it's the place for creators to showcase self-contained concepts and stories that don't fit in the confines of their regular strip. Mini-Series Events tend to run about a month long, and it's open to all cartoonists, both Keenspot and non-Keenspot. Proposals for a Mini-Series Event can be sent to email@example.com.