Adventures in Patronage

Yesterday, one of my favorite comic creators beat me to death with a candy cane. It’s cool, though. I came back from the dead and shot his ass with a mini-gun!

OK, maybe I should back up a bit.

Now that I’m out of college and have a means to support myself, I’ve actually been able to join Patreon and start throwing money at creators I like. The very first person I tossed cash at was Shane Sheenan of the webcomic Beefpaper, a semi-autobiographical comic about Shane’s many misadventures and goofball antics. The coolest part of supporting Shane, other than helping out a cool guy who makes the cutest comic on the internet, is that every month Shane hosts a Google hangout with his patrons, as well as his fellow comic creator Tasha Dancy of the sci-fi webcomic Tethered.

During this hangout we played Team Fortress 2, a video game in  which two teams of players try to complete objectives while killing each other. I had never played the game before, despite it being free to play for years now. Somehow I managed to do pretty well, at least in the first two games.

Anyway, Shane’s favorite weapon in the game is a giant candy cane that he wields like a baseball bat. Me? I seem to do best with the mini-gun wielding Heavy.

Heavy

A screenshot someone grabbed of me during the game.

We spent about an hour and a half killing each other before people had to leave. We then spent another half hour on Twitter talking about the game, tweeting screenshots, griping about how we all got our asses handed to us on the Territories map, and just having a good time.

Being able to interact with some of my favorite comic creators on such a personal level was a mind-boggling experience to me. I’ve loved webcomics ever since I discovered PvP and XKCD in high school. It has been a recurring fantasy of mine to meet and interact with my favorite comic creators. These fantasies usually involve elaborate scenarios in which I not only meet the person in question, but they discover how insanely awesome I am at writing and become my BFF for life. Then we go fight crime and end world hunger. I never really expected any of these fantasies to come true, until one did. Sort of.

Of course, Shane and Tasha aren’t as well known as most of the other creators I follow, so they have an easier time interacting with their fan base just on the virtue of not having thousands of followers and patrons.

I hope that if I ever get “internet-famous” that I am able to establish a relationship like this with my own readers. Being acknowledged and welcomed is a truly self-affirming experience, even when it comes at the end of a blood-stained candy cane.

If you want in on the action, head over to Shane’s Patreon and sign up for a monthly donation.