‘The Greys’ has never turned a profit. Not even close to one. We’ve earned a small amount from merchandise sales and some donations, but the total amount we’ve made over the past six years wouldn’t even cover one years’ worth of ISP charges.

It’s true that during the 5 months that ‘Monsters, Inked‘ appeared in our local newspaper we earned some money. £550 in total (though we had to threaten to take them to court before we even received that!). But it was quickly swallowed up in a much-needed new computer for Vince. Our Greys strips were becoming more and more complex, and taking too long to render, so we had little choice if we wanted to keep turning out our comics at a reasonable rate. Therefore, despite a nominal “profit” that year, the ISP charges still came out of Mark’s personal account.

This past year, however, we’ve been drawing the ‘Elvie‘ comic strip for Linux Voice magazine. It’s been a breath of fresh air for us. The team are responsive and friendly — and pay us on time. This has allowed us an unprecedented amount of financial freedom, so this year we have:

  • Actually paid for our ISP charges out of our profits, not Mark’s bank account!
  • Bought a Wacom Intuos graphics tablet for Vince, to replace the £35 budget tablet that was used to draw the first 13 Elvie strips.
  • Made a donation of $150 to the Inkscape hackfest.

That last item wiped out the last of our profit for the year, but we felt it was important to give what we could. We’ve used Inkscape almost every day for six years, and every single one of our comics is, at least partially, created using it. It’s good to finally be in a position to give a little back to help support its development.

We would like to apologise, however, to those fans of ‘The Greys’ who have seen a huge reduction in our output this year, and to anyone who might be hoping that ‘Monsters, Inked’ would come out of hiatus at some point. The fact is that our personal circumstances have changed over the years, and we just don’t have the same number of spare hours available as we once did. Obviously the paying gig takes priority, with our other comics — as dear to us as they are — having to take second place. We are still working on ‘The Greys’, albeit rather slowly, and we would like to resurrect ‘Monsters, Inked’ one day, if only to finish the ongoing plot we’ve started.

As we continue in our second year of ‘Elvie’ strips we’ve started to find our feet, and they’re becoming a little easier to write and draw. Honestly, some of the early strips were re-drawn so many times that it’s amazing that we ever hit our deadlines! Hopefully the second year will see a little more time freed up to get on with our other projects.

If you want to see more Greys strips, the best thing you can do is to support the ones that already exist. Comment on them, tweet about them, re-post them to other sites. ‘Like’ our Facebook posts and re-tweet our announcements – this really helps them get seen by more people. The more we see people getting excited about our comics, the more excited we become, and then creating them is less of an unpaid chore and more of an interesting hobby.

Oh, and keep buying Linux Voice, of course, so that we can keep paying the ISP charges from our profits, not our pockets!