(Click the question to see the answer.)
How frequently do your webcomics update?
Thanks to the generous support of our Patrons, The Young Protectors now updates twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. “Camping” in the comments while waiting for the update usually begins the night before around 7:00 P.M. PST. (The “Engaging the Enemy” arc of The Young Protectors is now complete, and we’ve begun a new arc called “Legendary.” It starts here.)
Artifice is also complete, so it no longer updates. You can read the entire comic starting here. And you can purchase the nice, glossy 8.5″ x 11″ graphic novel paperback on Amazon.com (and even a Kindle edition with a groovy Panel View feature which you can borrow for free if you have a Kindle device and sign up for a free Amazon Prime membership 30-day trial).
What direction should I read your comics?
I write English-language comics and follow English-language conventions. You should read left-to-right, top-to-bottom.
Do you have a description page for the characters of The Young Protectors?
Are your comics available in book form?
The art looks different for the first chapter of The Young Protectors: “Legendary” — why is that?
The first chapter of the “Legendary” arc of The Young Protectors features linework by guest artist Julie Wright (“Truth or Dare“) while “Engaging the Enemy” penciler Adam DeKraker takes a short break. Adam will resume his duties with Chapters 2 and 3 of “Legendary.” And Veronica Gandini will continue her awesome coloring work throughout all 3 chapters.
For more information, please check out the notes section of the first page.
Who are these comics for?
Are your comics appropriate for children?
No. While they are not “adult content”, my comics deal with mature romantic and erotic themes and have scenes of very tense action and violence. In terms of content, think The Wire on HBO.
Are your comics just for gay people?
Nope. I write with straight, bisexual and gay people in mind. While I think that those who enjoy guy-on-guy romance will especially enjoy a comic like Artifice, it’s a sci-fi story first and is meant for both women and men to enjoy. Same for my superhero webcomic The Young Protectors.
(Want a more thorough response? Check out my blog post Why call Artifice a “gay sci-fi webcomic”?)
Who actually reads your comics?
In August of 2013, I put out a survey to our readers to answer that question, at least in terms of age, gender and sexual orientation. The survey received 8,387 responses (almost all of them during the first week the survey was up). Interestingly (and in fact very consistent with what I learned in my statistics class), the percentage numbers barely changed once 400 of our readers had responded. (Yay! Statistics actually work!) Here’s how things broke down:
- The majority of our readers are between the ages of 18 – 25 (53.95%) with 82.09% being 30 or under.
- 62.25% identified their gender as female, 31.74% identified as male, 4.38% identified as “something else (gender-fluid, etc.)” and 1.63% said they were still figuring that out.
- 2.97% identified as transgender and another 3.98% said they were still figuring that out.
- 30.06% of our readers would identify as straight to a “close friend”,26.58% as gay, 22.99% as bisexual, 8.33% said they weren’t sure/were still figuring that out, 7.37% would identify as “something else” and 4.67% would identify as “asexual.”
Since it’s been a couple years, I plan to release another survey soon to follow-up to see if anything has changed. 🙂
But you call your comics “yaoi”. That means there’s going to be lots and lots of explicit sex, right?
Actually, no. I’m telling grown-up stories for other grown-ups—and that will include some erotic scenes—but this isn’t porn. In terms of MPAA movie ratings, some of it is “R” rated, a couple pages even “hard-R”, but not X. If you’re looking for that here, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you’re looking for an entertaining genre story for adults with strong characters and a compelling, thought-provoking plot, then I think you’re going to really enjoy Artifice and The Young Protectors.
(For explicit guy-on-guy sex in a sci-fi webcomic, I’d actually recommend the excellent Starfighter by the wonderful Hamlet Machine who helped me bunches when I asked for advice about starting a webcomic. I also strongly recommend the sci-fi comic Buying Time which has full nudity and lots of gay sex, while still offering a cool world, three-dimensional characters, and an interesting plot. Both are very much worth your time.)
What’s the easiest way to navigate through the pages of this comic?
Well, you can of course use one of the Archive pages. But there are also a bunch of easy-to-remember keyboard commands that work on all the comic pages:
- Left Arrow: Previous Page
- Right Arrow: Next Page
- Shift + Left Arrow: First Page
- Shift + Right Arrow: Last Page
- Shift + Down Arrow: Random Page
Other comics let me bookmark a “Most Current Page” link. How do I do that here?
For a long time, that wasn’t something this comic could do. But thanks the the generosity of the Patrons, I was able to update my webcomic software to make this possible. This is the link you need to bookmark:
Now, just so we’re clear, this is a special URL that acts like a computer command — it tells my Web site to take you to the most current page. You actually need to have that exact URL in your bookmark. If you enter it into your browser, it will take you to the most current page. When you use it, it will magically transform into the URL for the latest page of The Young Protectors. If you wait until it’s done that transformation before you create your bookmark — that is, if you actually use it to take you to the most current comic page and then try to add the bookmark– then it’s too late. The only thing you’re going to bookmark is that particular page of the comic, not this magical link that acts like a computer command that will transform into the most current page every time.
So, here’s what you need to do. Create a bookmark from any page. Doesn’t matter which one because you’re going to change it. Once you’ve created that bookmark, go into your browser’s bookmark manager, edit that bookmark, and then copy-paste that special URL to replace what’s there. When you save it, you should see that your edited bookmark’s URL matches the URL above (the one with the “?” in it.)
On some browsers, there’s an even easier method: right-click the URL above and Save As Bookmark.
Finally, if creating a bookmark with a special URL feels like too much, you can simply use one of the subscription methods I offer which will send you a link to the most current page whenever I update 🙂
I don’t speak English. Help!
No problem. Your fellow readers have created translations of some of the pages in their native language. Just click on the “Available Transcripts” drop-down menu underneath each comic page to see if there is a translation for your language.
(And are you fluent in both English and another language? Would you like to help your fellow readers by submitting translations? Email me and I’ll set you up with an account.)
Do you have a comment moderation policy?
How do I add bold, italics and all that other stuff when entering comments?
I’m using the Disqus commenting system and they take advantage of all the standard HTML tags—like this:
This is how you <b>bold</b>.
This is how you bold.
This is how you create <i>italics</i>.
This is how you create italics.
For more options, check out Disqus’ HTML tag page.
I see you have something called a “Patreon page.” What’s that and why is it awesome?
Patreon is a form of crowdfunding, like Kickstarter, that has changed my life. Support from readers like you on Patreon has allowed me to quit my day job and work on these comics full-time. That’s something I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do.
With Kickstarter, you try to raise a huge amount of money in a short period of time to finish a specific project (like printing a book), but Patreon is different. Patreon does involve a bunch of regular folks getting together to make something happen—that’s why it’s “crowdfunding”—but instead each person pledging $25 one time, Patrons agree to pledge, like, $5/month to support a creator’s ongoing work. Patreon accepts international currency, and Patrons can pledge any amount they like and they can stop and start anytime they like.
This has the huge benefit of giving me a predictable form of income every month. Thanks to the support of my readers I can honestly say I make my living as a writer now.
But there are also lots of benefits for being one of my Patrons.
What kind of benefits do I get for supporting you on Patreon?
In addition to being sent the regular updates a few minutes earlier than I post them here, all Patrons also get sent the thumbnail sketches, penciled pages, and script pages for each page. You get “back-stage” access to see how the pages come together, and inside information about what my intentions were for each page.
Patrons also get access to a special series of short stories that I’m publishing that allow me to explore the characters’ backstory. These stories answer questions like “Where Did Spooky Jones Get His Cap?”, and “What Is It Like to Kiss Spooky Jones?” (And readers have really been digging those. Here are excerpts from the comments for that last short story: “Ohhhh myyyyyyyy! Now that was certainly a wonderful diversion, and makes me want to know EVERYTHING about all three characters!”, “Oh Alex. Words are escaping me right now. I haven’t enjoyed myself with written words like that in a long, long time. I could have read a thousand pages of that story in one sitting, food and water be damned!”, and “I’m SO glad I didn’t read that at work! I’m here at home fanning myself.”)
Patrons who pledge $5 or more get access to the Digital Rewards I created for The Young Protectors Kickstarter. These include special Full Monty rewards showing full frontal nudity of my adult characters, something that I don’t show on the site.
$5+ Patrons also get to see special Patreon-only pin-ups, where readers get to vote if they want to see full nudity. (Spoiler alert: they usually do.) And I’m getting the chance to work with some really exciting new artists. Here’s a Safe For Work sneak preview of the Full Monty The Annihilator pin-up that Rum-Locker painted:
There are a lot of other benefits too, including (spoiler-free) sneak previews of future art, voting rights about what the next pin-up should be about, free copies of my Kindle books, a special icon for your Disqus Avatar, and lots more. If you’re curious, you can watch my video over at my Patreon page.
Woah! You get, like, thousands of dollars a month with Patreon. Dude, you must be rich!
Alas, no. My artists are working professionals and I pay them a professional rate for their excellent work. The art costs for just the regular production pages of this webcomic are close to $3000/month. Also, remember that, Patreon fees + credit card fees take 10% right off the top. And, of course, there are taxes, just like for any other income. I can officially say I’m making my living as a writer, but the support just barely covers my living expenses here as a grown-up in the Bay Area who has grown-up responsibilities. It’s not enough for me to apply to savings or pay off the debt I incurred before I started the Patreon Page. (Not yet, anyway.)
But I certainly don’t want to minimize how awesome this amazing support is! I know full-well this level of support is truly extraordinary and I am deeply, deeply grateful for how generous our readers are. And that support has been truly life-changing. Last year, I really wasn’t sure I was going to be able to continue making comics. Now I can honestly say I make my living doing just that.
And, it is my hope that as the Patreon campaign grows, it will allow me start paying off the debt, and yes, even save some money. I don’t see making these comics as a hobby. I’m in this for the long haul—this is my career. And with the support of cool readers like you through awesome new services like Patreon, that now feels more realistic than ever.
This is a really great time to be an independent content creator. And I have the best readers in the world. I feel very grateful.
(For more of my thoughts on whether it’s ok for artists to actually make real money with their art, take a look at my article, “Shooting for the Stars.”)
Advice for Other Comic Creators
Do you have any advice for other writers thinking of creating their own webcomics?
Sure! Check out
Also, you might want to check out some of the earlier articles I wrote on my old blog:
And some of the current things about writing I’m posting on my Tumblr:
I hear that you had a couple Kickstarter campaigns to bring your comics to print and they did pretty well. I’m thinking of maybe creating a Kickstarter campaign for my own project. Do you have any advice?
Definitely. Check out
Do you have any books that you recommend for folks wanting to learn how to create comics?
Sure! I started with this book:
After having read this book:
Then I read all these books:
And then finally this book:
Link Exchanges and Fan-Sub Websites
Can we do a link exchange?
My Links page is just for comics that I think my readers will enjoy and that I myself follow regularly, so I don’t do link exchanges. But I do check the websites of incoming links and I have actually started to follow new webcomics that way (and then included them on my Links page).
I have a fan-sub website and would like to put your pages on my site and translate them into my language. Is that OK?
No. I’m very flattered that you would want to put that amount of work into one of my comics, but for now, I only want the pages of my comic hosted on my site. If you’d really like to help make these comics more accessible to non-English speakers, please consider submitting translations to the “Available Translations” drop-down menu. (See the answer to the “I don’t speak English.” question above.)
Fan Fiction and Fan Art
What’s your policy on fan-fiction and fan-art?
I am very flattered by the thought of someone being so into my characters, story or world that they would take the time to create fan-art or fan-fiction. In fact, I’m very much for it! 🙂 I just have a few rules, so that everyone’s hard work is honored and it doesn’t hurt me financially or keep me from telling the stories I want to tell.
– Credit and a link to this site must always be included with the fan-art or fan-fiction and must be clearly visible to those who see or read your work. (A watermark on the art similar to what I add to my comic pages would be lovely.)
- for The Young Protectors fan-fiction that credit should read:
Original The Young Protectors stories and characters by Alex Woolfson. © 2012-2017 Alex Woolfson. All Rights Reserved. http://webcomics.amwcomics.com/wordpress/
- for The Young Protectors fan-art that credit should read:
Original The Young Protectors stories and characters by Alex Woolfson. Original The Young Protectors character art and pencils by Adam DeKraker. Original The Young Protectors colors by Veronica Gandini. © 2012-2017 Alex Woolfson. All Rights Reserved. http://webcomics.amwcomics.com/wordpress/
- for Artifice fan-fiction that credit should read:
Original Artifice stories and characters by Alex Woolfson. © Alex Woolfson. All Rights Reserved. http://webcomics.amwcomics.com/wordpress/
- for Artifice fan-art that credit should read:
Original Artifice stories and characters by Alex Woolfson. Original Artifice character art by Winona Nelson. © Alex Woolfson. All Rights Reserved. http://webcomics.amwcomics.com/wordpress/
- if possible, the link should be “live”, meaning it should be clickable and link back to this site
– No money should exchange hands. The art should not be placed on T-shirts or any other merchandise. It absolutely has to be non-commercial.
– If you would be unhappy in any way by my using any of your ideas in one of my future comics or stories or would expect to receive any compensation if I did so (you won’t), you shouldn’t create fan work for them. Period.
Even though I plot out my comics years in advance, you hear scary stories about fans suing creators for “copying” their ideas. While I would almost certainly win any legal battle in such a case, even the thought of it totally bums me out.
I relinquish none of the rights to my characters, stories or worlds. So if you would be unhappy in any way by my using any of your ideas in one of my comics or would expect to receive compensation for your efforts, you shouldn’t create fan work for them. It’s just that simple. (Instead, you should create your own original work, which I highly encourage! It’s tons of fun!)
– I might post your fan art up on this site.
If I love it. And it’s not too porny. And you give me permission and a way to credit you.
I’m not promising I will. But IMHO, the world needs to see more awesome guy-on-guy art, so I’d love to share the stuff that really moves me. 🙂
How should I let you know I’ve created awesome fan-work?
The best way to let me know about your fan-work would be to email me with a link. I’m likely to see that first and it’s a great way to share it with other fans of Artifice and The Young Protectors.
Or you can just let me know in the comments on the latest webcomic page. I’m sure to see it there too. 🙂
I subscribed to your comic via RSS, but it seems to have stopped months ago. Help!
There was a problem with the RSS feed for this site for several months, but now it’s been fixed. Unsubscribing in your RSS reader and then resubscribing should fix the problem.
Whoa! Only part of the comic page loaded—the rest is cut off! What gives?
I’m using a caching plugin which makes the pages load a lot faster, especially when looking over comic pages you’ve loaded in your browser before. (Try it! Go back to some pages you’ve already read; they should just pop up.) The downside is, every now and then your browser can get confused and only part of the page loads.
The solution is simple, though—just reload the page. You can use your browser menu to View-Reload or just simply key in Control-R (or Command-R for Macs). That usually fixes it on the first try; pretty much always on the second try.
Whoa! I know you posted a new page a few minutes ago but the “Next” button hasn’t appeared yet on the previous page. Your site must be totally broken, right?!
Heh. No. Again, it’s your browser’s caching which typically takes about 15 minutes to refresh on its own. You can wait the 15 minutes, you can find the link to the latest page on the Archives page or, if not seeing the Next button at the bottom of the now penultimate page is really wigging you out, you can just clear your browser’s cache and refresh the page.