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.
Damonk's Own Quickie Personal Webcomic Year In Review
2003. The Year of Stuff. One Year after 2002, and 365.23 Days before 2004.
Backwards, it would be 3002...
...which time-wise, would actually be forwards.
After having been exposed no doubt to the bajillions of other media's own versions of Year In Reviewstravaganzas, it's clearly obvious that the one thing you would now crave most would be to hear YET ANOTHER person's own thoughts on the year.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on December 5, 2003 - 03:07
Fan Boy Radio has posted its recent interview with Scott McCloud and Scott Kurtz. (Only available for free on website for a limited time)
You probably know that a court can prevent shops from selling certain materials. Did you also know they can prosecute retailers for selling adult comics to other adults? That retailers can be prosecuted and convicted for selling obscene material even if those comics are in a separate part of the store from regular comics? Did you know that law enforcement and the District Attorney's office can make life very difficult for a private individual, for selling comics that are not obscene to minors? Did you know they can prevent you from drawing or creating anything, even if it's for yourself in your own home?
You'd know all these things if you follow the thrilling exploits of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. You'd also know that sometimes, but not always, justice wins out over stupidity and repression.
This week it's a debate question for the artists among you. A deeply complex question, one for all of the ages. Well, perhaps the information age anyway. Enjoy.
The Internet is a wonderful thing. As a culture, not only do we have access to more Photoshopped pictures of naked celebrities now than at any other point in history, but we are also inundated with pornography's ugly sister: Internet news.
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 Al Schroeder on November 14, 2003 - 19:32
I do something a little different from most, and do my panels as seperate images, and use html tables to create the "gutter" between images. I usually do four images/panels a page, a la Tales of Asgard.
I do that for several reasons---
It enables me to have the page reform and resize if you change the browser size on your web page...
It enables me to link from individual images, so I don't need to do flashbacks, etc. Just link to the previous part of the storyline in a particular image.
I've also done things like linking between seperate "realities" in the story, by clicking on one image in one "world" to take them to another.
Today, I realized another advantage. I love to do things in color---a superhero comic in black and white misses the four-color pulp feel that makes it such an enjoyable excess of absurdity---black and white is too subdued to get the superhero "feel" in my (American-centered) opinion.
But that takes too long for a daily strip. (I know Clan of the Cats comes close. And I bow in admiration for that strip.) But I just realized....
I almost always have a new panel every day, just not a new page every day. I can put it out on my front page as a "teaser" on days I'm not updating---or make it a "reward" for voting for me in various lists---so they can see what's coming---something that those who scan the entire page can't, unless they finish one part of the page, scan and upload it, before another.
Very much like Scott McCloud's MORNING IMPROV, which adds one new image a day, I could make it an everyday thing to have new art out there, even though I need two days to finish a new page.
Those are the pros of doing each panel on a page as a seperate image.
It requires some basic knowledge of html and tables. Not much, but a little.
It's okay to vary the size of the panels, but it does make it harder---not impossible, but harder---to have one panel in the foreground of another.
The larger panels will load slower.
Nevertheless...I'm surprised more comics do not load the panels as seperate images, rather than wasting the bandwidth loading the "gutters" and the page as one giant image.
Comments?---Al of http://mindmistress.keenspace.com
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on November 12, 2003 - 13:12
I have been following the story of BitPass for some time now. The micropayment solution provider has been featured on Slashdot before. That article focused on Scott McCloud, and his comic The Right Number. Since that story, BitPass has added a number of sites using their service. From this netizen, it looks like the idea is really taking off.
Submitted by Indigo Kelleigh on November 4, 2003 - 10:36
Until now, the only way that new readers to the popular fantasy comic strip The Circle Weave could read the archives of the series and find out what happened previously in the story was to pay a small monthly fee to subscribe to Moderntales.com, host of a number of premium online comics. However, with the introduction of micropayment service BitPass as an option, readers can now purchase access to the Circle Weave archives a chapter at a time directly from series creator Indigo Kelleigh -- at a much lower price.