Bandit FAQ

(Version 1.1)

I have a website, and I would like to be able to run the daily Bruno strip on it.  May I?

As you probably know already, Bruno the Bandit is hosted by the fine folks at Keenspot, and one of the conditions of being hosted by the 'Spot is that the daily Bruno strip be available on my site only, unless you're willing to pay for the privilege of running it on your site.  Hey, what can I say, I'm a professional (well okay, a kinda-sorta- semi-professional), and can't afford to give my work away for free, so to speak.  If you really are willing to pony up the dough to run Bruno on your site every day, your best bet is to contact sales@keenspot.com.  Our rates are quite reasonable, you should find.

I have a website, and I would like to put a sample Bruno strip on it.  May I?

This is a different kettle of fish altogether.  If you want to take one of your favorite Bruno strips and put it on your website, be my guest.  Hope you'll link back to me in return, of course.  Also, if you are looking for a Bruno link graphic or banner to put on your site, you can find a bunch of 'em here.

Here's an idea for a Bruno the Bandit story.  Will you draw it?

I have received quite a few interesting story ideas for Bruno the Bandit over the years, and I am quite flattered by this.  It says to me that my work has captured your imagination so much that you are willing to explore Bruno's world on your own, and I don't think you can pay a creator a much higher compliment than that.  I usually have several ideas on the backburners of my mind just waiting to be taken care of, so rarely do I have a shortage of material.  As a result, I generally stick with my own stuff.  However, one idea sent to me did help in the creation of the Elysia story, so, you never know.

One idea I've been kicking around is the possibility of a Bruno the Bandit fan fiction page.  If you have a story idea for Bruno, you could try to develop it yourself.  That way, you'll have a much better chance of seeing it available online.  The first example of this is the story Are We Having Fun Yet?, by Amanda Crick.  And if you're a cartoonist, you could even draw the story yourself, where it would be featured on the fan art page.  Believe me, I'd love to see what adventures you guys could cook up with Bruno, Fiona et. al.  But try to keep it reasonably clean! :-)

Are you Canadian?

Canadian readers are usually able to figure this out after they read the Elfquestion storyline.  Indeed, I am Canadian, and live in St. John's Newfoundland.  I'm hoping to include more "Canadian content" and even "Newfoundland content" stories in my strip, but want to do so in a way that it'll be entertaining to readers no matter where they're from.

Do you play RPGs, like Dungeons & Dragons, etc.?

Many readers picked up on this after reading the Dice story.  I used to play D&D, but it's been quite a while since I've sat in on a game.  Unfortunately, the friends I used to play it with had to move away to find work. :-(  And, well, the computer D&D games just ain't as fun to me.

Have you ever thought of getting your work published in one of the RPG magazines out there (Dragon, for instance)?

I have been looking in to the possibility, actually.  Updates will be posted as they become available.

Do you have any advice on getting started in cartooning?

There are a whole bunch of resources on the 'net for aspiring cartoonists, which should not be too hard to find, courtesy of your nearest search engine.  They'll give you all sorts of great info on what materials to use, how to get started, artistic techniques, etc.  Rather than rehash all these ideas, I thought I'd offer a few of my own, instead:

1. Have fun!

That's probably the most important piece of advice I can give to anyone.  Your comic strip has got to be fun to do, especially if you're in it for the long haul.  And if you're doing a comic strip now, and it ain't fun, make it fun!  I have been drawing Bruno the Bandit for several years now, and my financial success has been, I would say, rather modest.  If I was only in it to make money, I probably would have given up years ago.  For me, doing my strip is its own reward (but the money is nice, too :-)).  Trust me, if your strip is not fun to do, you won't want to do it, and most likely, people won't want to read it.

2. Get on the web

What better way to find an audience for your work than to put it on the Internet?  If you're any good, and you promote your online comic strip carefully and persistently (but no spamming, please!), you will find an audience out there.  Online comic strips are growing in popularity, and believe me, there's always room on the Internet for more good comic strips.  But, don't expect the Information Superhighway to be paved with gold, either.  Very few online comics are making any money, and fewer still are earning a living for their creators.  That sort of success can be a long time in coming, and takes a great deal of talent and dedication.

In addition, here are a few quick pointers on making a good web page for your strip:

1. Keep it simple, stupid! - Your main page should have as little as possible on it.  Don't clutter it up with all sorts of animations, music, etc.

2. Where's your strip? - Your latest strip should be one of the first things readers should see when they visit your site.  They shouldn't have to scroll down your page, or jump to another section to read it.  The more obstacles you put between your potential readers and your latest strip, the less likely they'll bother to look for it.

3. You archives are your friend! - Make sure your archive system is easy to use and navigate through.  If readers have a tough time wading through your archives, many of them won't bother.

3. Remember, doing a regular comic strip is a commitment!

That is, it's a commitment if you want your readers to keep coming back.  A website that's sporadically updated will have a much harder time keeping a regular readership, if that's what you want.

And, while your strip should be fun to do, it will also take a lot of effort. It seems to me a lot of would-be cartoonists go in to their comic strip projects with a lot of enthusiasm, which quickly wanes once they realize how much work a comic strip can be.  In truth, if you have a full-time job, or are a student, or have a life of some sort (unlike myself), I really don't recommend that you try to do a daily comic strip, unless you honestly think you can handle it.  I'd recommend publishing your strip maybe 2 or 3 times a week.  Trust me, you'll want to have some spare time outside of your job (or school) and your strip (though I am in awe of those cartoonists who are able to maintain a full-time job and do a daily strip as well).  I also recommend working a couple of weeks ahead of schedule, to allow for time off and such.

I notice that Ambrose (Bruno's dad) is one-arned.  How did he lose his other arm?

That's a question I don't even know the answer to yet!  I haven't gotten around to writing the story of how Ambrose lost his arm, but I will, eventually.  If you have a copy of my second book, Bruno Most Wanted, you'll notice that in the bonus story, Ambrose has both arms.  This story takes place when Bruno is around 17 or so, so we know Ambrose lost his arm some time after that.  Note: Bruno's age in the strip is a (for now) unchanging 35 or so.

How come you don't do a Sunday strip?

I would love to, but unfortunately, I just don't have the time for it.  Doing my 6 daily strips every week is time-consuming enough.  Maybe some day, when/if I figure out a way to get faster at this.

Why don't you color your strips?

Again, maybe some day, but for now, I'm quite happy with having my strips in black and white.

Are you hoping to get Bruno the Bandit syndicated some day?

Nope!  As Pete Abrams once said to me "I like it out here on the frontier", and I feel the same way.  I did submit Bruno to the syndicates years ago, but received the standard form rejection letters (when I got any reply at all, that is).  Perhaps I have given up on this route too early, but given up I have.  I suspect that, for me to get Bruno accepted by one of the major comic strip syndicates, the strip would have to undergo a lot of changes, more than I am willing to make.  I am unwilling to compromise my vision for the strip, as only I know what is best for it.  Besides, I enjoy the creative and editorial freedoms that come with being an online cartoonist.  And I firmly believe that, with hard work and determination, I will be able to make a living as an online cartoonist eventually.  But if not, I'm happy to have this a s a hobby.

What can I do to help you, the creator of Bruno the Bandit, earn a living at this?

Actually, this question isn't as Frequently Asked as I would like. :-)  But your help in making Bruno successful for me is always appreciated.  Hope you'll consider buying a book or a T-shirt if you like what you see here.  And I hope you'll continue to recommend Bruno the Bandit to anyone you know who you think might also enjoy the strip.  At the very least, I hope when you're here you'll take the time to click on the odd banner ad that appears above my strip each day.  Click-thrus mean a wee bit more money for me, and these ads help Keenspot and me pay the bills around here.

But as always, most importantly, thanks for reading!
 
 

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