If you read any web comic at all, chances are pretty good you’ve run across Penny Arcade, the brainchild of of writer Jerry Holkins and artist Mike Krahulik. Now, Krahulik’s art is very good, but I think that it’s Holkins’ more-than-irreverent wit that brings genius to their comic strip. And the two more than make a living from the strip these days — it is their main source of income, and they can afford employees simply off the revenue from advertising and merchandise. We’re talking about the ultimate in a creative business, about an illustrator and a writer who support their families off their work.
Holkins and Krahulik haven’t just let the Penny Arcade name stop at comics though: for them, writing funny lines and drawing accompanying pictures is a business, as it has to be, and they’ve expanded it. They now support a charity (Child’s Play) with a yearly toy drive, run a gaming convention (PAX), and — as of this morning — have released a video game (On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 1).
And it’s the video game that has me all worked up. The other parts of their business don’t necessarily require either man’s creative skills, but even if you only watch the video game’s trailer, you can see their fingerprints all over it. They’ve put forth a lot of effort to put together a game, which is probably going to sell like hotcakes and just proves once again that you can make a living as a creative — especially when you build up your own business instead of relying on the odd assignment an editor hands you.