Art and Narative: Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

It’s been nearly a year since Comixpedia began its remarkable transformation from the rough concept that Xaviar Xerexes pitched to me, to the webcomics magazine that it is now, and I think we’ve accomplished a lot for a group of loosely-affiliated webcomics creators, living in our own far-flung corners of the world.

When Xaviar first asked me how I would like to be involved I told him that I wanted to write a column about webcomics theory – something that addressed the relationship between words and pictures on the monitor, and how that relationship was different from similar relationships on the printed page. Most of all, I wanted to preach the possibility of webcomics – the sheer potential of an art form that is still very much in its infancy.

A few years ago I had lost all faith in comics. There seemed to be little else to mainstream comics besides gimmicks and marketing, and the brief renaissance that we experienced in the eighties seemed to have gone awfully wrong. It was during that time that I came across a slightly battered copy of Scott McCloud‘s Understanding Comics in a box of books a friend was tossing out in the trash. Through McCloud’s eyes I saw comics the way I used to see them: they were worlds stretching out before me, and I couldn’t get enough.

That book, and its sequel (Reinventing Comics) not only got me reading comics again (albeit, of the alternative variety), but they also got me to take up my pencil… and eventually my tablet. It seemed to me that the only way to truly explore all that untapped potential was to make some of my own – though my drawing skills were pretty rusty.

At first I lived vicariously through others, and convinced my brother James and my good friend Matt that they ought to combine their efforts, from which was born Man Man on the web. Then, while my brother and his wife were preparing for the birth of their daughter, I offered to fill in art-wise for a few weeks. From there I moved on to my own webcomic, and that has led me to all sorts of discoveries and collaborations.

Being part of Comixpedia and contributing this column have been great ways for me to express my belief in the potential of webcomics. However, it has taken me away from my own explorations to some extent, and it’s time that I got back to them. I launched a new comic a few months back, and I’m hoping to incorporate some of the ideas I’ve written about over the last ten months (and maybe a few I haven’t even thought of yet).

This will be my last turn writing the Art & Narrative column. But it won’t be the last installment of this column. Next month there should be someone new hammering at the keys. I can’t say who yet because we’ve yet to confirm [Ed.–Whew! Thanks Bill!], but I think you’ll continue to find challenging and thought-provoking articles under the Art & Narrative column. I am not planning to go far. I still have my ongoing gig as Senior Art Editor for the ‘Pedia, and I plan to turn in the occasional feature, as well.

I believe in the potential of webcomics. I also believe in a place for Comixpedia, and I would like to see it continue to grow and thrive in the years to come. And if you take anything away from the columns I wrote this year, I hope it will be that we have only just begun to make webcomics, and there is an infinite canvas of possibilities before us, waiting to be explored.

See you around 😉

BIll Duncan