Well, the first official post anyway. I was going to delete those test posts below, but since some nice folks have left comments on them, I guess we’re stuck with them now πŸ™‚

Anyhoo, first up, welcome to Jaxtraw’s Not Safe For Work Blog if you haven’t been here before, and secondly, may I wish you a happy Thanksgiving, if you’re somewhere that is celebrating that today. And indeed, if you’re not.

So. It seems like the proper thing to do on a first post is to do some kind of update on how things are with me, my art, Lucy Lastique, and so forth. The Jaxtraw Studios site- at least, the subscription/paysite type bit- of it is, of course still in mothballs and is going to stay that way for some indeterminate period of time. But I must stress that this is not the end of Lucy Lastique. I have every intention of bringing her back, and am working towards that, so it’s best to see this period as a gap between, um, Lucy 1.0 and Lucy 2.0. Like the gap between Return Of The Jedi and The Phantom Menace, except hopefully considerably shorter, and hopefully less likely to fill the internet with people complaining that their childhood has been ruined by a man whose head is losing an epic power struggle with his neck.

But, I’ll come back to that. Lucy, I mean, not George Lucas’s neck.

Since possibly some of you reading this aren’t former Lucy Lastique subscribers, I’ll quickly do a “story so far” thing. Lucy Lastique was a comic strip I began in 2001, vaguely hoping to conquer the internets, or something. I went “full time” with it a while later, selling it via my own website at Jaxtraw Studios.com, via monthly susbcriptions. Unfortunately, it never really caught on, and I never made enough money, and the stress of all that gradually wore me down until I ground entirely to a halt a couple of months back and admitted defeat, and shut the thing down. Now read on…

Readers will know from my last blog post in the Jaxtraw Studios members’ area that the thing that precipitated my final admission of defeat was a series of hardware failures culminating in my last professional monitor dying on me. On that score, things are much improved. Firstly, due to a remarkable act of philanthropy by a reader for which I will never find adequate words of thanks, I now have a new computer which is actually less than a decade old. So that means I have some reliable hardware upon which to produce Lucy and art in general again. The computer I was using until a month ago was the one I built in 2002. I doubt there are many of that vintage still working, haha. It pays to buy a good quality motherboard, folks!

But that didn’t solve the monitor problem. I’m a CRT kinda guy. I don’t much like LCD screens, and to get a professional quality one now costs a small fortune, compared to the reasonable prices CRTs were selling for by the mid 2000’s. So for a few weeks I’ve been trying to sort out that end of things, and eventually last week acquired, by a lucky auction on eBay, a 21″ HP (rebadged Sony) which is, remarkably, new and unused; it was still in its original carton and everything. To be honest, while bidding for it, I doubted the description, but it was indeed as described.

I’m not really an eBayer by nature. It was the first auction I’ve ever bid on, and I found the whole thing nerve wracking- whether I’d win, what state the actual monitor would be in, and so on. And then there was the shipping… Y’see, the monitor weighs, in its packaging, 36 kilos. That’s heavy. So, the auction was “pick up locally only”, but I messaged the guy and said, since he had the shipping carton, would he mind a courier? And he was like, that’s fine.

So in the end, I won the auction for less than Β£13.00. And had to pay Β£85.00 to UPS to ship the damned thing from Scotland…

So the upshot of all this is, I now have the technology to start again. But I’m not going to. Not yet.

I’m still financially in pretty dire straits. But more than that, I have had a lot of time to reflect on what went wrong last time. And also to reflect on what I achieved. And, I did achieve quite a lot. Over the production run of Lucy 1.0, she went from this-

to this-

-and a cartoon strip that started off intended to be some throwaway pornotoon thing developed into a somewhat epic sci-fi saga, that those valiant few who have actually read the fucking thing think is rather special, from what they tell me.

But what she didn’t do was turn into a financial success, and while I may dream of being a millionaire, I’d be happy with “making enough money to live on”. I may be being conceited, but I continue to think Lucy is a good character, with a lot of potential. But I certainly failed on the promotional front. All around me, the internet and web evolved and changed, and I didn’t. I just kept toiling away in an untravelled corner, like it was still the days of Altavista and Geocities, and everything around me was changing.

So, Lucy 2.0 needs to be a real fresh start, not just a return to the previous failed business and behavioural model. I’m having some ideas in that regard, and I’ll discuss them on this here blog in future posts, rather than go over them all in this first post then have nothing to write about πŸ™‚

But to give one example; a while before the closedown, one reader emailed me to say the links were a bit small on his mobile phone. And I was like, “Wow, people are looking at Lucy on mobiles? That’s awesome!”. But it just hadn’t occurred to me that people were doing that; that form factors are changing. People aren’t just staring at CRT monitors any more. They’re using iPads and other tablets and all kinds of devices that didn’t even exist when Lucy met her first phalloid. And that means, screens have changed shape. Everyone’s either 16:9 (or 16:10) now, or they’re using a tablet in portrait (vertical) format, and so on. But my Lucy pages were 4:3 proportions. Does that make any sense any more? Should I switch to portrait shape pages that can be easily reproduced in print as well, as a bonus? (A few pages of Lucy were published this year in Hustler magazine; I had to do a heck of a lot of work reformatting it all to fit the normal shaped pages, and re-letter the whole thing, and so on).

So anyway, this is all stuff that I hope people will give their opinions on in the comment sections. See this blog as the preliminaries for Lucy 2.0.

And, I think I’ll stop there for the moment and as I said leave myself something to write about in future blog posts. Please feel free to leave a comment below, and don’t be upset that your first comment will be held in a queue for moderation as an anti-spam measure. Once that one’s been published, you’ll have instant posting privileges.

Cheers m’dears,