Creator of Courtney Crumrin, Polly and the Pirates and artist of The Good Neighbors, Ted Naifeh, finally has a new website launched. It’s full of galleries with his art, influences and his future appearances.
Newsarama had a chance to speak to Naifeh to do and get some information about the new site and what he’s been up to.
Newsarama: So, why the new website and what’s different about it?
Ted Naifeh: I moved from the horrendously out of date website with broken links that I didn’t know how to fix (okay, I was just too lazy to go in there and figure it out) to a much simpler, sleeker new wordpress site. I’ve been slowly realizing, as I talked to my tech-savvy friends and worked on the new site with my webmistress, that websites aren’t a big online portfolio of static info anymore. They have to be a means of direct connection with the audience. Even the word audience is outdated, because it’s not enough to let people sit back and listen. They want to interact, call and hear a response, connect with a living creator, not just an obscure name somewhere on the cover of the books. It’s intimidating as hell, because I’m pretty clueless about how to interact online, unlike some of my friends who understand the subtle workings of written conversation. But I’m learning. Slowly.
I hope that this growing culture of fan/creator interaction builds deeper bonds between fans and their favorite creators, so they’re not just following characters anymore. In the past, most comics fans didn’t associate creators with the characters and stories that they loved. This created an environment of interchangeable writers and artists, watered down characters, and unreliable books. Sometimes it was a good thing. Some of the greatest comics stories ever told are by authors who didn’t create the characters. But I’m optimistic that this new interaction will encourage readers to follow creators from the mainstream to the indy world and open up to new ideas. I also would like to see the independent creator market grow, because I’d like to buy a house someday. And that’s not easy for an artist in San Francisco, unless they work at Pixar.
NRAMA: Why such the long wait?
NAIFEH: It’s a big project, and as time went on, the option of just updating what I had diminished. Eventually, I realized the whole thing needed an overhaul, I’d been using Dreamweaver 2 as a web design program, which was horribly out of date, and I didn’t really understand how WordPress worked. And between my workload, traveling for promotion, and living in one of the most distractingly fun cities in the world, it was hard to find the time. But eventually, I realized that I was becoming more and more out of touch with fans, and that’s not a good way to gain more fans, nor keep the ones you have.
Also, as much as I love working on Good Neighbors and other work for hire stuff, there’s nothing like creating a concept out of whole cloth and seeing it grow. That’s what keeps me truly in love with this industry, and makes me want to interact. And Good Neighbors has been distracting me from my own work. In the future, I intend to do shorter work-for-hire projects, so I’m not kept away from my personal work too long.
NRAMA: I know you’re also working on a fan art/sketch gallery. So fans can just send any art that you’ve done at conventions and whatnot?
NAIFEH: I’ve been meaning to do that forever. It’s just getting the time. Of course with the new site, I can just pop in a bunch of pics and make a new gallery without too much fuss, thank goodness. Once I get it going, I’m going to do a major call for entries. But I have a few pieces here and there ready to go. It just want to finish my script for Polly 2 before I put too much more time on the site.
You can check out the site out now: www.tednaifeh.com.