While there are many out there who decry sprite-based webcomics as less than art because they use other people's original material for their own purposes, there are others – like A Modest Destiny's Sean Howard – who actually work hard to not only create their own ORIGINAL pixellated works of comic art, but to also lobby to keep others from stealing said work.
Five Horsemen of the New Genesis
In they rode like heralds of the new era. The next fifteen months saw the approach of five sites that would define the webcomics scene for the next three years and remain important parts of it to the present. Call them the Five Horsemen.
The Five Horsemen were each a commercial success... five of the very few such successes online. This made them influential over both the art form of webcomics and its developing commerce. In this chapter, we'll concentrate on their artistic influence; later, we'll pick up the path of webcomics commerce.
Tellingly, each of them began in front of a computer screen.
Submitted by Anonymous on December 10, 2003 - 21:28
According to the PA site, Howard had written to the PA boys asking (demanding?) them to crack down on PA forum-goers who were using AMD characters as avatars. Included in this letter was the statement that Howard had already "shut down six web comics that were using his art", thus potentially implying that the same could happen to the PA site, if this alleged copyright infringement was not dealt with quickly.
2003 was a pretty scary year. Whether you agree with it or not, war is a pretty terrifying thing. We lost another space shuttle, another crew, and – in a bad case of déjà vu – followed a flurry of finger-pointing in the aftermath.
Submitted by dunk on November 19, 2003 - 22:44
Man. I remember finishing McCloud's Reinventing Comics, and thinking that the internet were about to explode, and that webcomics were going to be the next big thing (bigger than Brittney).
Here we are a few years later, and even Scott has sort of faded in and out (at least in terms of web presence). Where is the revolution? We've seen the introduction of Bitpass, and the introduction of webcomics subscriptions services, but things only seem marginally different.
I have definitely noiced a shift in quality - an awareness of audience that was lacking in some early webcomics - but I don't see that many people pushing the envelope. Not really.
I wonder if it has anything to do with technology? Maybe we might all be creating the comic of the future, but the most of the darn tools we use are intended to create these two dimensional page-like things on a computer screen, and so we do what we can with what we have.
The other possibility is that there was no revolution. It was all a myth, and we've just been feeling the vibrations of that first earth-shattering "kaboom". Maybe there is no infinite canvas.
Personally, I think that most people simply haven't wrapped their head around the fact that there is no canvas at all. All the pixels you see before you are really only points of light, and there is no page (web or other). There is no canvas. We still draw pictures, and we still marry them to words, but those are actions, and the actions themselves are not comics. They are acts of creation. What is created in the case of webcomics, however, is something intangible. We can see them, but we can't touch them.
One of the things that fascinates me about artists working in CG, is that there is no artifact that they can point to afterwards to say "this is a comic". They can direct you to a URL on the world wide web, and you can read what they've put there, but essentially you are reading something which does not exist in any tangible way beyond the experience of reading it.
That's the main problem with making money from webcomics. We are attached to the idea of paying for things we can hold in our hand. I think that's probably what scares music people so much... if music becomes something that you listen to, but not something you can physically hold in your hand (in the shape of a compact disc, cassette tape, or LP), what are you paying for?...
We're paying for the experience. And if the experience is what is really valuable, then all those silly pieces of paper and plastic that distributors try to pass off as music are really just separating us from the actual experience.
Don't get me wrong. I love print comics. I am a graphic novel hound, and I love the physicallity of books, but there is a shift in our culture right now away from things you can hold, or fold, or stack, towards experiences. When that bit of evolution trickles down to comics (which I think it's begun to), then maybe we will see people "paying" webcomics artists for the "experience" of sharing in someone else's unique vision.
Until that gets into high gear - and I think we may have a while to wait yet - I just hope that enough people will stay keen, and continue to poke holes in the canvas until we can see clear through to the other side.
Maybe we should get JustinPie and Eric Millikin in here, and have them duke it out. what do you think?
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on November 18, 2003 - 12:44
Penny Arcade announced its fifth year anniversary yesterday. As Gabe put it on their website:
Wow thatâ€™s right, it has been five years. Not bad for a couple of guys who donâ€™t even know Frank Cho.
Submitted by Surlyben on October 30, 2003 - 20:31
Hello. I wandered over here due to the frightnight thing, and I thought I would introduce myself. My name is Ben, and I draw comics. Um. That doesn't really make me special around these parts. Specifically, I do a comic about cooking. And the apocalypse. Mainly cooking. Or it will be about cooking anyway. At some point in the future.
Also I draw and encourage others to draw 1-hour comics. Which are basically comics drawn in an hour. (You can see all the ones I have drawn on my archives page. And you can see other peoples efforts in this thread at zwol.org.)
I live in Seattle, and I am debating whether or not I want to go to A.P.E. this year.
Tycho and Gabe are the creators of Penny Arcade, arguably the most widely read webcomic ever. Besides practically pioneering the genre of "gaming webcomics" Tycho and Gabe have experimented with every kind of business strategy devised for webcomics including advertising, donations, merchandise, and in the good old Dot-com boom days, getting paid by video game review websites to run Penny Arcade webcomics.
Without further hullabaloo, Tycho and Gabe answer your questions:
Submitted by Anonymous on October 3, 2003 - 15:05
Krahulik and Holkins were quick to respond to the barb with a comic jab of their own today, using the Comixpedia's own most recent Webcomic Traffic Rankings article as cannonfodder. As is expected from the PA pair, they also spoke of the matter in their newsboxes.
At this point, the exchange appears to be friendly in nature.