Building The Brand

I read an article in Wired about the secret lives of Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade. It was eye opening to say the least. Penny Arcade is not a simple two man production whose sole focus is uploading jpegs and cracking wise. Oh no. Gabe and Tycho are merely figure heads that sit loftily atop a monolithic stone edifice overseeing a vast corporate empire. PA is a business. PA is a profit generating, self perpetuating turbine of lewd and lascivious 1’s and 0’s. I say this not to disparage, but to demonstrate my extreme reverence and awe.

Here are the Cliff’s notes:

  • Gabe and Tycho oversee a staff of 10, including a full time sales staff
  • PA Generates profits in the multiple (at least 2) millions annually (the writer estimates)
  • Gabe and Tycho were contemplating day jobs at the height of their initial super stardom due to VASTLY undercharging for advertising. Robert fixed all that.

Read the article. It was good. What a surreal and amazing experience the last few years must have been for those two.

Josh met Jerry and Mike a few years ago when they were working on a promotional piece for a game he and Eli were developing (and for which I did voice work). He said they are extremely cool guys and quite down to earth. I believe it. Their intentions seem to be pure and their motivations just. My one and only confusion stems from the fact that Tycho writes from time to time about not having money for this game or that peripheral… YOUR WEBCOMIC GENERATES OVER 1 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR! Stop fucking with me.

Also, Gabe looks like Freddy Mercury.

Also, Also: On the subject of hoboes, you must download and listen to John Hodgman’s (PC from the Mac commercials and Daily Show correspondant) 700 hobo names. Its fabulous beyond repair. “Boxcar Aldous Huxley” is my favorite. It also features music from the fantastic Jonathan Coulton. When you are done you can visit the site with all 700 hobo names in illustration form.

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  1. I really liked the article, too. I was amazed to hear that PA was bringing in multiple millions, and I really was surprised when he said “Now I drive a fucking mercedes.” It’s kind of sad to realize that practically no other webcomic is going to reach that height. Ever. But we can still try to become self-sufficient!

    Also, John Hodgeman is awesome. I love when he has a segment on This American Life.

  2. @ Sam

    I dont consider their success to be exclusive to the realm of webcomics. This is a VERY successful business, first and foremost, and a webcomic 2nd. They are an advertising, and merchandising business more than anything. So to say, “no other webcomic” is almost pointless because in reality most businesses, regardless of their trade or market, will never see multi-millions.

    I agree, that my only long term goal for “webcomic success” is that it sustain me full time. What more can you ask for?

    Hodgman = Rule.

  3. Wow, shivved by a hobo.

    That’s cold, but funny, so it’s ok, like when Gob got shanked by White Power Bill.

    Getting stabbed in the liver is comedy gold.

  4. Interesting article, but what did it for me was the rat in the hobo’s pocket. Seriously though, in comics and animation, details make your universe come to life.

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