Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on November 23, 2004 - 13:21
Eric Burns recaps a particularly immersive moment in the City of Heroes RPG. I've been toying with the idea of buying this game knowing that if I do something else will suffer (I am literally booked up between work and hobbies and family everyday all the time and have been for a couple of years).
Anyhow this is a nice entry from websnark - funny, informative and honestly enthusiastic about its subject matter. It's exactly why I like reading Burns' blog.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on November 16, 2004 - 10:59
Here's a question - name someone you thought made a big impact in webcomics this year - either artistically, in business or any other way you think was important. It could be because of something the person did this year alone or it could be of things they kept on doing.
Submitted by Stark on November 9, 2004 - 08:07
I have just read the new article 'Beyond Journal Comics: Life-like Webcomics' and I must ask: what is the point of this article?
Okay, I'm being a bit unfair to pick on this article in particular because of something that is endemic across the site, but this is where my patience snapped.
When 'Comixpedia' launched, I was very optimistic; I thought that finally there would be a site covering webcomics in critical depth. However, instead we get numerous articles like the above: 750 words that skim the surface of a topic, patronising lists of obvious terms (does anyone, anyone really imagine that people need to have the difference between autobiography and biography explained to them?) with random words made into links and absolutely no attempt at analysis beyond a couple of throwaway questions. How much thought goes into creating an article like this? Ten minutes, maximum, with maybe another five to collate the links? It's lazy, that's all it is. Lazy and patronising, both in its condescending tone and in its assumption that people are so stupid as to find something so devoid of original thought interesting.
And the reviews are no better: mere descriptions of comics, again with random linked words. One single (pre novel-writing-month) article on http://www.websnark.com/ has more depth of analysis than every review Comixpedia printed in its first six months. So it's a good thing that Burns is now writing for Comixpedia, but it doesn't excuse the lack of substance that still abounds over the entire rest of the site.
I know that people aren't getting paid for Comixpedia work, but really, what is the point fo doing something if you don't do it properly? A real, meaty site dedicated to webcomics would be a wonderful thing but Comixpedia just isn't it.
So I suppose the question is, what is Comixpedia meant to be? Is it just a glorified news site for which people occasionally dash off articles form the top of their heads, articles that say nothing -- candy-floss for the eyes? Or is it a serious attempt to provide commentary on the emerging medium of webcomics? Because if it's meant to be the latter, you really need to shape up and start writing articles that assume your readers are intelligent, knowledgable people, not children who need to have it pointed out to them that there are 'many moments within journal comics and illustrated blogs that definitely fall within the slice of life category' as if it's some great revelation, rather than something which any webcomics reader with half a brain has already noticed for themselves. That assume your readers can understand basic critical terms like 'focalisation' and 'diegetic' and discuss such things in articles that provide real insight.
So which is it?
Feeding Snarky on Photojournalism Versus Picture-Art.
The assignment is "journal comics," and I read some. And yet, I'm turning in a column on my two favorite photo comics, instead of one on actual journal comics. This is because I can't do anything entirely right.
And yet, when I think of "journal comics," even though it's completely... well, not the genre at all... I think of Sinister Bedfellows by mckenzee. And whenever I mention Sinister Bedfellows, someone else mentions A Softer World by joey comeau and emily horne.
As an aside, what is it with producing a photo based comic strip and using all lowercase letters in your name? I'm just asking?
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on November 7, 2004 - 12:13
Eric Burns is writing a novel for NaNoWriMo and he recently posted a map for the universe of his project. Slowly word is spreading that when you look at the map, "It's full of (webcomic) stars!" Okay, bad pun(?) there I know, but hey, I got a corridor named after me.
Feeding Snarky on Pitfalls amidst Pratfalls
So this month here at the ol' 'Pedia we're supposed to talk about Politics. I'd note, by the way, that nine out of ten of our readers (a statistic I have generated through the "out of my butt" method) are so utterly sick of politics that they're angrier now than they were when Comixpedia featured a woman having sex with an iMac as the cover art. Why angrier? Because a certain percentage of the people who decried the iMac-humping-art secretly described it as "funny" or "pretty hot," but absolutely none of those people describe Politics in 2004 as anything but "a miasma of horror and despair the likes of which we haven't seen since the Great Depression, (which was so-named because we had no Paxil back then) and they get furious the moment the site loads right now. "I don't read webcomics for politics," they scream. "I read webcomics to get away from politics!"
Well, my own political opinions aside (you guys couldn't care less, and you've heard it all before, and if after the last four years you don't agree with me, there's nothing on Earth I could say now that would cause you to do so), I'm intrigued by the metaquestion raised by the topic. "Politics in Webcomics" is less about what individual webcomics espouse and more about how political content -- or more broadly, topical content -- can be slid into a webcomic effectively.
Submitted by Erik Melander on September 30, 2004 - 19:47
As the end of September approaches it might be interesting to look back at what webcomic events made the headlines.
September saw two webcomic creators take the leap and try to turn their hobby into professional careers. In truth I suppose it would be more correct to say that Howard Tayler, creator of Schlock Mercenary, took the leap and Jeff Rowland, creator of Wigu, was pushed. While Taylor assures his readers that he and his family is in no critical financial situation as a result of his career change, Rowland notes that he needs the support of his readers.
I will need your support, however, in the coming weeks. As bad as I despise the entire "donations" aspect of Inter-Net art, I am going to ask for your help in a fund-raiser of sorts, if only to secure my habitation.
Will draw for food
Rowland is not the only webcomic creator that found himself forced to make a career change. Jamie Robertson also found himself out of a job and announced that Clan of the Cats would end at christmas without finishing the current Dracula story line. Robertson also has a fund-raiser of sorts as a possibility for continuing COTC, Sebo's kitty klub. I'm not sure how well that has worked, the only figure I heard was that he needed 250 subscribers and at the time of the announcement he had 16.
This was, however, not the last creator to turn to his readers in attempts to build a bussiness model in September. Michael Jantze, creator of The Norm, did the opposite of what many webcomicers aspire to and left syndication after finally becomming fed up with it. His wife apparently conviced him to try the webcomic route and he agreed IF she could get enough subscribers by November 1st.
How many subscribers do they need?
As previously noted Jamie Robertson needed at least 250 each paying 2,50 USD to keep doing his comic. Jantze needs 4000 subscribers to keep going, each paying at least 25 USD. Some swift calculations bring the sum of money to a minimum of 100 000 USD unless I'm mistaken... They currently have 661 subscribers. As an extra incentive they give away one ipod mini to a subscriber as they reach each 1000 subscriber plateau.
This made some ripples in the blog-pond as several people gave their opinion on these events. Most seemed to agree that 25 dollars was somewhat expensive. I'm reminded of the sister of a friend of mine who made a living as an artist. She an exhibit where she showed her latest works that were sheets of photopaper that had been run through an x-ray machine at the airport (or something like that). The pricetags on these artworks were, in my uneducated opinion, rather high and when I asked her about it she explained to me, much in the same way one explains something to a child, that if they were cheap no one would buy them.
Anyways, it is interesting that The Guardian online also had a story about online charity, or cyber-begging, including a couple of paragraphs on Randy Milholland. But perhaps the most interesting entry was by Eric Burns of websnark entitled "On supporting webcomics and the survival of the fittest fandoms".
The question is, how many fandoms is the average webcomic reader a part of, and how many of them can they afford to support
Who snarks the snark
Websnark is no doubt one of Septembers success stories. The quality and quantity of its entries propelled Websnark onto most "Must read"-lists. This quote from Joey Manley's blog pretty much sums it up.
Websnark.com is the talk of webcomicsland right now. Everybody who's anybody (yes, I'm an elitist -- and so are you, actually) is reading it.
Speaking of Joey Manley ofcourse brings us to the topic of Modern tales. That Modern tales and its sister sites have relied on subscription sales as a bussiness model has probably noone missed, but now they also sell adspace.
Subscription support will continue to bear the most weight in our business model, but we have decided to try to mix it up a bit, especially now that banner advertising seems to be coming out of the post-dotcom-crash doldrums.
The Webcomic examiner
The webcomic examiner will be allowed to wrap up this little trip down memory lane. Septembers issue had a great cover by Chris Watkins as well as a focus on the work of Derek Kirk Kim. Some really good stuff and I do believe that they are starting to find "their voice". There was also a "guest editorial" of sorts by Barb Lien-Cooper entitled "Webcomics have rights".
While I'm the last person in the world who wants to cause trouble, something about comic book review sites on the web is starting to bother me. It's the fact that many web sites dedicated to comic book journalism simply refuse -- often without explanation -- to review web comics.
Well that ends Septembers round up of things. Got an opinion on this, I'm itching to hear it. Perhaps I'll try to add some actuall analysis of events for next months roundup (if I do one that is).
As we roll out the final week of this issue it's a good time to say thanks to the many folks who have worked hard to create this magazine and website called Comixpedia. Why now? Well besides the fact that the September 2004 issue is the 20th installment of Comixpedia, Frank "Damonk" Cormier is turning over the editorial reins of Comixpedia magazine to Xaviar Xerexes (See, I'm already writing in the third person - this EiC thing is going to go to my head!) and in many ways this marks the end of the first chapter for Comixpedia. It is also the beginning of a second act for Comixpedia, oÂne where I fully intend to bring new voices and new features to this project to continue to make it a worthwhile resource for the webcomics community as well as a great read every month.
Feeding Snarky on Language and Art
All written language is visual communication. This seemingly innocuous -- even obvious -- statement mystifies many who hear it. "I know from language," they say. "Itâ€™s verbal. Itâ€™s communicative. Itâ€™s certainly not visual." Of course, unless someoneâ€™s reading the sentences aloud to them, thereâ€™s noting verbal about the written word. Itâ€™s all ideograms in patterns weâ€™re trained to recognize and manipulate.
And for the cartoonist -- or any sequential artist, really -- the number of ideograms they have to work with approaches the infinite. Itâ€™s whatâ€™s heartbreaking about "talking heads" comics, even when theyâ€™re great -- yes, you can make your point or direct your story or tell your joke with the twenty-six letters of the standard English alphabet, with your figures standing, cut and pasted into four panels, barely showing dynamic motion or range. You can even be brilliant at it (two of my favorite webcomics in that vein are Her (Girl vs. Pig) and Lore Brand Comics). But as dry and witty and pleasant as these comics are, they do not take advantage of the richness of linguistic possibility in cartoon art.
Obviously, when considering "Romance and the Relationship" in webcomics, I'm drawn to those folks who do take such advantage, both in the traditional, glorious palette cartoons enjoy, and in the ways that webcomics break free from the traditional. And that focuses me, in entirely different ways, on Queen of Wands and No Stereotypes.
Submitted by Eric Burns on August 26, 2004 - 18:27
Hi all! Name's Eric Burns, and I'm the guy who writes http://www.websnark.com. I thought I'd say hi, invite folks to come kick the tires, and the like.