TEMPLE CITY, CA - September 16, 2002 - Keenspot Entertainment and cartoonist Michael Poe announced today that they have entered into agreement to publish a complete print collection of Poe's popular webcomic 'Exploitation Now' (http://www.exploitationnow.com). The strip, which ended in August after an extremely popular run of more than two years online, is an anime-influenced, adult-oriented serial combining comedy and sci-fi adventure, set in a world where the errant bastard offspring of Hello Kitty, ex-porn stars, and misunderstood teenage evil super villains all live together. The book, to be titled 'Exploitation Now: Selling Out For Fun and Profit', is tentatively scheduled for December publication and will collect the full run of over 300 comics.
"It'll be nice to finally get something in print to rub in the faces of the bastards I went to art school with," says creator Michael Poe. Poe and his webcomic had humble beginnings, starting online at Keenspace.com, Keenspot's free-for-all webhosting service for aspiring cartoonists. Keenspot execs quickly spotted the quality and growing popularity of the strip, and soon it was moved to the webcomic big leagues, the Keenspot.com main hub site (where profits generated by each strip's site are split equally with the creators). After moving from Keenspace to Keenspot, 'Exploitation Now' skyrocketed in popularity to become one of Keenspot's top features. Poe will be launching an all-new webcomic series on Keenspot.com soon.
"We're more than happy to be able to bring 'Exploitation Now' to print," says Chris Crosby, Co-CEO of Keenspot Entertainment. "Fans will now be able to read and re-read their favorite comics while away from the computer, and those who never had time to go through the archives online will be able to get the complete experience in one big, nice-looking book."
'Exploitation Now: Selling Out For Fun and Profit' will run over 200 pages, and will be available in a $19.95 prestige format trade paperback and a $29.95 limited edition hardcover format. Pre-orders are being taken now at Keenspot's online store, keenswag.com, and will soon be available to order through amazon.com and other booksellers.
TEMPLE CITY, CA - August 10, 2002 - Keenspot Entertainment, the most popular publisher of original web-based comic strips and a print comic-book publisher, further expands their entertainment empire today with the opening of their first retail store. The 2,700 square foot store, located at 9604 Las Tunas Drive in Temple City, California, carries a wide variety of comic books, toys, and other fun pop culture items.
"The store's right near a school and is on the busiest street in the city," said Keenspot Co-CEO Chris Crosby. "It's what jumps out at you the most when you're going down the street." The front sign features a large Keenspot logo surrounded by dozens of Keenspot's webcomics characters, and below the banner in the window stand life-size cardboard cut-outs of pop culture icons like Homer Simpson, Spider-Man, Scooby-Doo, and Austin Powers. Keenspot hopes to attract a wide range of customers to the store. "We want to see children and their parents in here looking for 'Spongebob Squarepants' toys, hardcore comic-book geeks stopping in for their weekly fix of four-color fun, casual comics readers that devour graphic novels, keenspot.com fans that want to check out our headquarters and buy Keenspot merchandise in the easiest way possible... there'll be something for everyone at the Keenspot store."
With their comic-book store, Keenspot hopes to ride the wave of renewed popularity the comic book industry is experiencing. Comic-book sales are growing for the first time in years, as blockbuster movies based on comics like Spider-Man, Men in Black II, and Road To Perdition are showing the general public that comics are cool and can tell any sort of story.
"I'm really proud of [Chief Financial Officer] Teri Crosby and the rest of the Keenspot staff for getting the new Keenspot store together," said Nate Stone, Keenspot Chief Technical Officer. "Opening a physical store, if it's successful, will be a great way for Keenspot to market our great comic book lines and make some money for our artists. It will also give us a great location to run our business from, fulfill web orders from keenswag.com, print t-shirts, create books, design toys and expand all of our product lines. I think the future of Keenspot will hold a number of stores in profitable locations showcasing the Keenspot product lines and books. The opening of this store is just a stepping stone on the way to creating the business we would like to run on behalf and for the benefit of our artists. I can't wait for the future."
Based in Temple City, CA, Keenspot Entertainment (http://www.keenspot.com) is a multimedia entertainment company that publishes the work of thousands of cartoonists. Keenspot.com, the company's central website tying together 40+ exclusive free webcomics, generates over 50 million pageviews and attracts more than 2 million unique visitors each month. Over 600 members have signed on to Keenspot PREMIUM, a $4.95-a-month subscription service that removes all ads from Keenspot sites and offers exclusive features. Keenspot's print comic-book publishing division has published 26 titles (including 2 paperback book collections) since launching in July 2001. Keenspace.com, Keenspot's free webhosting service for aspiring cartoonists, hosts over 6,000 independent webcomics.
SUPEROSITY #1-2 Review
BLACK PLAGUE #1 Review
COOL CAT STUDIO #1 Review
By Roger Yim
For many comic strip fans, the day doesn't start until they check in with Dilbert or Doonesbury on the funny pages. But others are finding their daily chuckle on the Internet, where an alternate universe of comic strips is attracting millions of readers each day.
Sinfest, Kevin and Kell
and College Roommates From Hell!!! are just a few of the
hundreds of comics that have developed loyal online
A KEEN SPOT FOR WEB
By Dave Astor
There are numerous comic strips outside the realm of newspaper syndication, and one place to find them is at Keenspot on the Web.
The site (http://www.keenspot.com) just reached its first anniversary but already attracts more than 23 million page views a month. It showcases the work of 47 cartoonists who aren't in traditional print syndication and, in many cases, have no desire to be.
"Most of our comics
are too edgy to be in a 'family newspaper' and would have
to be watered down for syndication, even though those
same comics are no worse than what you might see on
prime-time network television during the 'family
hour,'" said Keenspot Co-CEO and
"Superosity" cartoonist Chris Crosby, 23.
STEP TOWARD STARDOM
By Robert K. Elder
Breaking into the cartoon strip business is a feat of almost Herculean scale. It's enough to make even Hagar tremble.
Cartoonists can toil for years, working alone and developing a strip for a syndicate before an audience sees their work. Still, some never make it to newspapers. Thousands try out, but only a few new strips see print.
But a new generation of strip artists is eliminating the middleman and posting their strips on-line. Top Internet strips such as "Kevin and Kell" (www.kevinandkell.com) and "Sinfest" (www.sinfest.net) enjoy millions of readers a month without the help of a syndicate, the conventional means of distribution.
"There is no doubt that over time you will have a top comic strip be born out of an on-line experience," says Bob Staake, freelance illustrator and CEO of trade site Planetcartoonist.com, which monitors the budding industry and provides resources for on-line talent. Staake's site also serves as showcase portal for on-line cartoonists and hosts "The Top 100 Comic Strip Sites" directory.
Artistic freedom, instant
reader feedback and wide exposure are just a few of the
benefits of publishing on the Web, but many cartoonists
see the Internet as the means to jump to more lucrative
newspapers and magazines. Peter Zale's "Helen,
Sweetheart of the Internet," for example, was
recently picked up by Tribune Media Services after
spending two years on-line and other artists hope to
SEE YA IN THE CYBER
by Zachary Houle
A few years ago, it would
have been nearly impossible for Ottawa cartoonists like
Gisele Lagace and Josh Phillips to have their comic
strips read by thousands of readers around the globe.
DRAWING AN AUDIENCE
By CHRISTINA DYRNESS, Staff Writer
Drop in on Bob Roberds at his South Durham apartment any weekday morning and you will find the television tuned in to "M*A*S*H" reruns, or maybe CNN. But Roberds isn't watching; he's drawing. From noon to 9 his day job at IBM, where he does tech support and some Web stuff, has him. But mornings are devoted to his 4-year old comic strip, "Soap on a Rope."
Pop into Westbrook
Studios, a family-run photography studio in Burlington,
and catch Jamie Roberston sketching ideas for a twisted,
"Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer"-esque color comic
strip called "Clan of the Cats."
SEE YOU IN THE
BY HEATHER NEWMAN
Forget Snoopy, Garfield
and Beetle Bailey. Millions of online readers are beating
a path to the virtual doors of cartoon characters like
Bun-bun, Dust Puppy and Kevin and Kell.
More than 26 million
strips each month are read at Keenspot, a highly
selective comics site on the Web. That's about 200,000
visitors every 30 days, or almost twice the readers of
the best-selling comic book on the market now, Marvel's
DOT COMICS by SEAN OHARA
BENDER TOONING UP WITH KEENSPOT.COM
By MARC GRASER
The Internet wing of management production outfit Bender-Spink has inked KeenSpot.com as a client. Move gives it 35 relatively unknown animators to manage along with their ideas for Web, film and television projects.
Chris and Terri Crosby, along with nuclear engineering majors Darren Bleuel and Nate Stone, founded the Berkeley-based site in March as a way to distrib interactive comic strips and cartoons on the Web. They plan to branch out and transform the site into a Netcaster, broadcasting other forms of animation as well.
Dot-com's quirky strips, updated daily, already attract nearly 10 million hits per month -- mostly college students and businessmen. Site is now looking to begin syndicating its strips to other sites.
Bender-Spink's George Collins and Brian Spink will rep the site and its illustrators as they attempt to expand into more traditional animated projects, develop TV shows and films and become screenwriters. Management company has a production deal with New Line.
"We're going to shepherd them through their infancy and help them make connections," Collins said. "The company's made up of some very talented people, and we're excited to work with them."
Bender-Spink also reps Web animation sites CampChaos.com, Sarbakan.com, BogBeast.com, JibJab.com and Sakebomb.com.
(Reprinted with permission
of Variety Copyright 2000)