Moderntales.com is a professional web comics site started by Joey Manley in February 2002. It is a collective featuring such comics and such creators as James Kochalka, Lea Hernandez, Makeshift Miracle, Cayetano Garza Jr, the creator of Magic Inkwell and Cuentos de la Frontera , Jonathan Rosenberg, creator of Goats and Patent Pending, Scott Kurtz, creator of PvP and Wedlock and John Law, which is a Will Eisner creation, but is written/drawn by Gary Chaloner.
What makes this setup different from any other web comics collective is not just the fairly well known creators. This site was said to have grossed $20,000 in its first two months. (by Joey Manley on the ecartoonists list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ecartoonists/message/15128 ) This amazing feat, especially when you consider the dot bombs that were leaking money like sieves, was achieved using a hardly innovative marketing plan.
The comics' latest strips/pages are free on certain days and there is a charge for archives. $2.95 a month or 29.95 a year pays for archives of web comic stars and print world creators dabbling into the web world. It is said that seventy percent of the proceeds go to the artists, the percentage of which are determined by how many readers A) tune into the archives B) select the comic from dropdowns and C) say that that artist contributed to their decision to join Moderntales. It may be the big names that pushed beyond the barrier that many web surfers have for paying for intellectual property. Moderntales took a page out of Keenspot's book, by letting webcomics in only by submission, weeding out stick figure and sprite comics, and leaving only comics with actual quality.
Modern tales has done quite a bit of expansion in its mere seven months of existence, as of August 2002. From adding more and more cartoonists until they were up to their current thirty to americanelf.com, James Kochalka's site that focuses on his online diary and offered a discount to Modern Tale subscribers, and the up coming Adventure comics.com , it is growing fast for an idea dreamed up by one guy without any venture capital or huge IPOs like the once proud dot bombs. I hope this is a successful experiment