Archive - 2003 - Article
One of the interesting offshoots of the webcomic model has been its propensity for sharing. Because very few people are actually making a living at this, ownership of a particular imaginary world or character has not become the political minefield that it is in print and animation. It is still possible for webcomics creators to ape one another, use someone else's characters (with their permission, of course) and do the occasional cross-over.
I'll admit it. When Paul Daly, my creative partner on Athena Voltaire, suggested that I contact Joey Manley and Chris Mills about pitching our feature to the Modern Tales family, I viewed it as a stepping stone to getting Athena in print.
Somewhere along the way, my thinking began to change. Don't get me wrong; I would dearly love to see our heroine in print, but now I look at the two delivery systems (print and web) as synergistic rather than mutually exclusive.
There's something about the immediacy of the web.
Publishing a webcomic is simple, right? Set up a website and post webcomics via FTP, and readers come to said website to read said webcomics? Well, yes... and no.
In a world of too many webcomics to count, getting a webcomic in front of as many potential readers as possible is a good strategy for building its audience. As the Internet evolves, so do the various methods to "syndicate" webcomics â€“ creators and publishers are finding new ways for readers to follow a webcomic without having to visit the actual webcomic's website.
Time once again for another edition of Measuring the Webcomic Audience. Last month our list relied on visits, page views, and links data derived from Ranking.com and Alexa.com. This month we drop links data from our methodology, and instead rank webcomics based on Ranking.com data for visits and page views and for Alexa.com rankings.
Once again Penny Arcade topped our chart and also dominated all categories of data we reviewed in our methodology. Overall, however, there was a much greater number of webcomics moving on and off the Most Read List this month.
How scary is he, really?
Okay: war, death, disease, famine, telemarketers â€“ they're all bad... but Satan himself? He doesn't seem to be doing much recently. Watching The Exorcist these days, the 70s fashions inspire more terror than the pea-soup-vomit or the little-girl-blasphemy. In the face of real-life monsters like terrorists and serial killers, the cackling flames of the Devil can seem downright quaint. Bottom line is that, in this secular age, we just don't think much about Lucifer anymore.
But he's all over the webcomics.
The main problem with creating something new is avoiding the cheap shortcuts. It's hard as hell, if you're working on a webcomic, not to eschew the hard work and blood, sweat and tears of what we more refined sorts call "thinking" and fall back on those old familiar crutches.
I've always been a Hallowe'en kind of kid. Christmas, yes, fine, but Christmas doesn't give you the opportunity to coat yourself to the elbows with pumpkin gore. Nor, in anticipation of 12/25, does one feel authorized to spend large amounts of money on cosmetics that aren't used in a normal social context anywhere excepting the better geisha bars, and maybe some parts of Dixieland. Yes, Hallowe'en is a green light for every morbid-minded, artsy, exhibitionist kook to inflict their aesthetic on a world that otherwise has very little place for people whose favorite movies universally involve some combination of Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, and Johnny Depp 1.
Is Death a popular guy? Does he have lots of friends? Does he enjoy his job of collecting the souls of the newly deceased and ushering them to their final reward, or does he secretly yearn for something that makes him feel better about himself? These might be, and sometimes are, the issues covered in Dorothy Gambrell’s Modern Tales strip, The New Adventures of Death.
Jon Morris may claim "the things he writes and draws make people sad," but he has had a hand in several well received webcomics. Starting with the Ignatz nominated Jeremy and moving on to current anthology project Open Book, Morris continues to expand the scope of material he brings to his particular style and approach to comics.
I was sitting in front of a monitor, 9 to 5, at an Internet company I profoundly hated to pay for art classes I was finding useless. My dreams of print comic books were crumpling to ash, and I saw the Internet as just one more reason they failed. They were stealing eyeballs from the comic book store. Bastards.
And every day-- every day-- I had to listen to my boss, the Jeff Bezos of Savannah, Georgia, feed his clients the same old hype-lines that pumped everyone's expectations for the Internet to the ceiling: "Oh, yeah. We can do that. If you can dream it, we can do it. This is the future."