Batton Lash's online version of his long-running comic book series Supernatural Law celebrates its first anniversary on September 19. It was one year ago that Lash took the plunge to put his characters, Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre, online. Since that time he has written and drawn three full-length stories in full color, all appearing at www.supernaturallaw.com, as part of Webcomics Nation.
Unlike several other longtime self-publishers who have started to put their work on the web, Lash is still continuing to put out his print comics, with the most recent issue having been published in August ( Supernatural Law #1 at the Box Office ). Both the print and online series combine humor and horror as attorneys Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd represent monsters and the supernaturally afflicted.
"I am committed to the print medium, and I love the comic book format," says Lash, who has been publishing Supernatural Law under the Exhibit A Press imprint since 1994. "But I also know that the comic book specialty market is becoming more marginalized and more limited in what it offers, and I wanted to reach a wider audience."
Part of his plan was to do more topical stories for the webcomic. That has resulted in "My Husband Killed Me and Now He Must Pay . . . Damages," a takeoff on both the Scott Peterson case and Nancy Grace/Court TV; "The Life-Partner of Frankenstein," in which a Frankenstein monster runs into local standards when trying to take a Bride; and "How to Talk to a Mortal (If You Must)," with an Ann Coulter-style Medusa going up against a controversial cartoonist.
The plan seems to be paying off, as the Supernatural Law webcomic is consistently in the top 10 viewed strips at Webcomics Nation, with some 350,000 pageviews since it went online. In addition, the strip won the first British Eagle Award for Favorite Webcomic.
Fans of the print comics consistently say that Wolff & Byrd's secretary, Mavis, is one of their favorite characters, and they enjoy following her personal life (as chronicled in the spinoff Mavis comics). So Lash has made Mavis the central character in the new storyline that just started on the webcomic, "Weird Eye for the Normal Guy." This story also features the three Creeps, who up until now have been background characters in the print comics.
"I've been having a ball doing Wolff & Byrd in color online," says Lash, "and I'm tremendously pleased that more people are discovering the print version of SLaw via the web."
You can view the webcomic at www.supernaturallaw.com, where new episodes are posted every Monday and Thursday. Find out more about Batton Lash and the print comics and trade paperbacks at www.exhibitapress.com.