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Ryan North, for example, drummed up a lot of sales for his anthology Machine of Death, it's sequel, and his recent Hamlet book just because people are fans of his writing. He's got enough popularity that he's writing now for the Adventure Time print comic. Most of the time, people are interested in his stuff because, hey, it's by "the guy that writes Dinosaur Comics".

KC Green writes the Regular Show one. Kate Beaton did some work for Marvel. Anthony Clark has done covers for Marvel, and I'm sure there's a few more examples that are slipping my mind.

They've built themselves a loyal fanbase who will provide interest in their other endeavors.