CRITICAL WEBSITE ANNOUNCEMENT:
I apologize in advance for this wall of text. It's asking a lot, but I beg every community member to please read it. The future of Justice Hentai itself is at stake!
Justice Hentai membership is at an all time low. Where we once had 204 members at our peak in 2011, today in 2016 we have only 60 members remaining. Clearly, with so few members left, we can't sustain updates every weekday. The funding doesn't exist. =(
As you know, I (your friendly neighborhood webmaster, Deep Star) do not receive any money from Justice Hentai. All our funds go towards the JH artists, who themselves aren't paid anywhere near what I feel they deserve, but bless them, they carry on because they love making naughty superhero art just as much as our community. ^_^
We've been at this dangerously low level of membership most of 2015. We kept hoping that the numbers would come up, trying a variety of event specials and newsletter promotions. Alas, it hasn't worked. =(
During the span of the last six months, we were running in deep, deep red. I made up for the website's large financial losses by selling some of personal comic collection (including a rare Showcase #22, first Silver Age Green Lantern). This helped us get enough funding to keep JH releasing art steadily in 2015. And I made a point of cranking up the number of new, full color art updates during the holiday season, knowing full well the website's existence was hanging in limbo. But if we were going to go out, it would be with a bang (or better yet, a gangbang)!
Justice Hentai is now in its 9th year (First 2 years on Deep Star Books, and the last 7 as its own website). It's been a great run, leading to the creation of thousands of pages of art for our community. The JH team has discussed whether it's time to call it a day, take our ball and go home.
I'm here to tell our community that's NOT going to happen. Our goal is to make naughty art of your favorite superheroes and villains and we're going to keep doing that for as many of you who will stick with us. Justice Hentai's mission is never finished, never over.
But there are realities we must face. We don't have enough funds to maintain our current production pace. There's been talk of doing a fundraiser, similar to what was done over at Ranmabooks.com. But we won't be doing that at this time. Those fundraisers work when a large number of community members pitch in a little, which cumulatively turns into a lot. Our problem is that our community is small, so asking our membership to donate all the funds we need would be asking everyone to make large donations to keep up production, and that's not likely to happen. JH membership is expensive enough, without asking everyone to donate $100 to help dig us out of the hole we're in. Even if we DID somehow get that level of support, we'd be right back in trouble in 2017 when that funding ran out, effectively making us the PBS of hentai, begging for donations all the time. =(
So there won't be a 2016 donation drive. We need a long term solution.
People hate change. We get that. But if Justice Hentai is to survive, it MUST CHANGE and address its problems or it WILL CEASE TO EXIST! =(
But we have a plan! And with our community's support, we believe it can bring us back from the brink!
Here are the problems Justice Hentai faces, along with our answers to those problems:
WILDCARD UPDATES SUCK!
Tuesday and Thursday updates, called Wildcard Updates, are supposed to be either preview art OR new art pages. But Wildcard Updates are rarely new pages because of low funding. Might as well call these Preview Art days. Worse, many people do not like seeing the sketch/line art previews the day before the finished page. They see these sketches less as "works in progress", and more as spoilers. And that's why Wildcard Updates SUCK! (We agree with our critics on this issue.)
Wildcard Updates are being dropped from the schedule starting this week. That means Tuesday and Thursday content slots are going dark. For now, we will ONLY post new art for each content slot. There could be a variant once in awhile, when it makes sense and is worthy, but no more preview (spoiler) art!
For those who liked the sketches, we're simply going to post those along with the color art. So you'll still get that sketch art, you'll still get all the art you were going to get that week, but only alongside new color art Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Justice Hentai updates every weekday, but with roughly 60 members, we only have enough funding for the creation of TWO pinups each week! O.O
We can't afford 3 updates each week. But, for the moment, we will maintain a schedule of 3 art updates anyway (1 new pinup Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).
If necessary- if it's the ONLY way we can survive- we will cut the Wednesday update too- or only update it when membership is high enough.
We can't do this for much longer though. We need more members to keep 3 content slots going. For this reason, we'll be running a special "come back" promotion where previous JH members can return for a period of time at a discounted price. If enough people return- and stick with us- we'll hopefully be able to save the Wednesday content slot.
Should we gain enough members over time, we'll bring back more content days (fingers crossed).
Justice Hentai is too expensive!
We raised prices to $24.95 some time back because our audience was eroding, and we needed the extra income to balance the budget. But this in turn made it less attractive for new members to join us. And harder for community members to maintain their subscription month to month.
Prices are coming down!
1 month of Justice Hentai currently costs $24.95. When you look at the thousands of pages in our art gallery, you'd think that was quite the bargain for a newbie, right? Unfortunately, due to rampant piracy, we're essentially competing against free.
We believe most people are fundamentally good and would like to support artists who make things they enjoy, but if the cost is too high the moral struggle between support and piracy becomes more difficult, especially with the economy as shaky as it is. So to make the choice to support easier, we're cutting prices!
The new 1-month sidekick membership will be just $14.95 per month. $10 less than the old price! And hopefully low enough to make potential JH members who are on the fence choose to support us, the creators of this art, rather than these pirate websites who create nothing and don't care at all if we never produce another picture. But you guys care, you're better than they are, and we're counting on your support! :)
For those members who want us to make art for them, good news, you'll be saving money too. The new membership price for the Hero tier is just $19.95 per month! Avengers, your membership dues are coming down as well to $24.95 per month. And for those that sign-up for the long haul- the new 6-month subscription period- the price for Hero tier falls to just $15.95 and Avenger tier to just $19.95! So everyone is going to save! ^_^
Justice Hentai Fan Request turnaround is too slow!
This is mostly due to lack of funding, which is a combination of low membership and community members who would pay for a single month of membership, then disappear for many months, only to return and then ask for their requests to go back into production.
When membership is steady, Fan Request production is steady. When it's chaotic, as it has been the last year, we get a logjam of requests that start and stop production.
Take this typical scenario. Say someone who made a Fan Request is a member of Justice Hentai in January, April, June, and November- but not during any of the other months. Their art request gets put on hold THREE times (Feb, May, and July) before we finally receive enough funding from that community member to finish it in December. These delays impact not only that single fan request pinup, but all requests which are produced around that time, hampering them as well. -_-
It's situations like this which have made the production of Fan Requests so messy lately (and why Commissions have been placed on hold much of the year. It's all we can do to try and keep requests in production).
We're changing the length of Hero and Avenger memberships.
Fan Requests are slow because, frankly, we're being suckered. Remember that scenario where a community member signs up for 1 month, bolts, then their art gets put on hold? Bad news for them, but why should that affect the rest of our community? The problem is time. We lost time on that request. Pre-production, sketching, color, post production- whatever stage the page was in, we lost all that time starting it. And that means the loyal guys who were with us month-to-month waiting behind them in line were forced to wait that much longer to see their art. =(
Now imagine the lapsed member comes back (which is good, we need everyone), and of course demand their art goes back into production. So we have to put a request that was received after them back on hold, and return to making their request- or delay their request. Either way, both community members who made the request are disappointed, both members get their art slower than they should!
That's ending. From now on, only JH community members who subscribe to the 3-months or longer periods can make art requests. This is to ensure that our hardworking artists get the money needed to make these Fan Requests upfront. That way, if someone lets their membership lapse for whatever reason, their request is not put in limbo. We'll make it, post it, should they return someday they can see it. Nothing gets put on hold, no more Fan Request logjam.
We were too trusting, for too long. And our community suffered. I apologize to them. We had the best intentions, wanted to give people some leeway, hasn't been a great economy, money is tight for most people. But we were taken advantage of, and we now will do what's best for you loyal community members who are sticking with us month to month. We're clearing the table of current Fan Requests, then I promise you, art is going to come out faster and more fairly than before.
Too many updates of obscure characters who appeal to a small portion of our audience!
Normally, Justice Hentai balances these situations with the release of gallery art with popular characters (Wonder Woman, Mary Jane, etc.). But the low funding has made that difficult, and so we have had periods where a popular character disappears for months, sometimes even a full year. Although this doesn't impact those who request as much, it's terrible news for the large chunk of our membership who lurk and don't use the Fan Request system.
If you are a JH Hero or Avenger, you can request any comic book character you want. That's not changing. So how will things get better? Two things. With the changes in Fan Request requirements, there will be less abuse of the system. That means faster Fan Request production. That means more Fan Requests coming out, and more chances for our membership to see the characters they are hoping to see.
Our team will look at the crop each month, and if we feel that Mary Jane Watson hasn't appeared enough lately, one of our artists will make a gallery pic of her. We may even allow our community members to pitch ideas for it on the forum. So it would basically go like this- Deep Star: Hiya JH gang! Mary Jane hasn't appeared for awhile, so we're doing a gallery pic with her. Pitch us your naughtiest ideas, and our artist will choose the one he likes best and make it!
So the popular characters will be turning up, and we're going to let community members have more say in the creation of gallery content too. More reason to visit the forums and give us their 2-cents. More power to the Justice Hentai community in getting a say in what we make- which has always been our intent from the beginning. ^_^
I love comics, so where are the new JH COMICS?!
Full comics ceased production due to lack of funds several years ago. The stand-alone comic pages we have offered via the Tales of the H-Side format have had shaky art quality, which again can be chalked up to lack of funding.
There is no funding for comics. =(
This is no surprise. We don't even have the funds for three pinups, which together can cost roughly what a single comic page does! So we either have to hire artists who will give us a comic page at a pinup price (and get shitty art in the process), or accept we simply can't do them, right? Incorrect, friend.
For now, comic pages will be available to any community member through the commission service. If the JH membership wants to see comics, we will make them. But it's up to the community to step up and fund them. So whether you would like a single page of Tales from the H-Side, or a comic that spans several pages, it's on the table for community members who will fund those projects. Wish we could do it another way, but with such a small membership, this is the only way we can currently create comics.
So these are the problems, did we get everything right with our solutions? Probably not, but I want to lastly promise everyone that nothing said here is firmly in stone. The bottom line is, Justice Hentai is going through a period of change and evolution. We have to survive, and we're going to do our best to adapt and overcome the hardship we're facing. We need your support to do it.
Thank you for reading this wall of text, I know it was not an easy read. But with your help, we can make Justice Hentai the best it can be in 2016!
DEEP STAR & SHADE & THE JUSTICE HENTAI TEAM