Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on June 4, 2004 - 01:42
Several threads on Jeff "WIGU" Rowland's message boards cover the recent spider bite received by Rowland. Rowland was bitten by a brown spider on the leg earlier this week, but is reportedly on the way to recovery.
Best wishes for a speedy recovery Jeff!
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on June 4, 2004 - 01:31
In his blog, Hard says no one should review webcomics because they're free to readers. Let's take a look at more of his post:
I don't think reviews have any place in the webcomics community. Period. Why?
1) Because they're FREE. If you complain about something that is free, you're being ungratuitous. If you critize people who are essentially doing unpaid volunteer work, you're a jerk. Reviews exist so that people gather opinions about something before they buy a ticket, or buy a product.
(One may argue that TV reviews are similar. Well, you don't see a lot of TV reviews, and the people who make TV shows get paid for what they do. They get PAID to entertain you. Webcomic artists do NOT.)
First of all, anyone who paints a review, negative, positive or mixed as "a complaint" is just missing the point. A review is an attempt to point out the characteristics or a work, what works, what doesn't and why someone may or may not want to experience the work. Anyone can review something. You do in a sense everytime you recommend or pan a work to a friend. Your friends know something about you however so they may not need anything more than a yea or nay. A review such as published at Comixpedia tries to explain why we're saying yea or nea.
And why review webcomics other than everyone working at Comixpedia loves webcomics and thinks it's the future of the comic artform? Hard suggests that only a jerk would criticize free art. Nothing's free I suppose is the answer. From a purely transactional point of view most readers don't have time to read everything. Time spent reading one thing when they would have enjoyed something else is not free. So I say, no, free art gets no pass because nothing is truly free from the reader's perspective. But more importantly from the larger perspective of the medium it is important to take the work seriously. To treat it as any other medium which is treated seriously. Actions can change attitudes. Comixpedia may not be the voice that changes attitudes regarding webcomics but for now we are leading that charge as best we can. Webcomics are an innovative splinter from the comic medium, something that began as merely a repurpose of existing forms of comics (comic strips, comic books) and is even now pulling at those conventions to become something else: new, different, more.
Serious work should be reviewed. Serious artists should be familar with other work and go beyond it, not just repeat it. Reviews play a vital role in disseminating information in a community of artists, publishers and the audience. There are in fact a lot of people making webcomics. We are not reviewing everyone. In fact Comixpedia early on made a decision not to review work that was not arguably serious.
What do I mean by "serious" here? No matter the level of popularity or visibility of the artist, if the work is worthy it should be taken seriously. Even flawed work can be worth taken seriously. That's half of it. The other half is work that is popular or supported in a highly visible way. At this stage in the development of webcomics something published on Modern Tales or PV or Keenspot or part of a collective like Dumbrella is meant to serious in the sense that I'm using the word. Some fairly high percentage of webcomics is probably not meant to be taken seriously and they are never part of the ongoing dialogue between artists and the audience that is going on in the webcomics community. Hard's webcomic, in my opinion meets both criteria for "serious" and therefore should be reviewed.
In general, I try to stay away from posting hotly negative things about other people's comics. In the interviews and such I am more apt to point out comics I like than comics I don't like. It's because I know that most people, like myself, are doing the strips for little money or no money at all. Simple manners tell you you don't slag on people who are doing their best with no tangible reward in what they do.
I don't see anything to disagree with there. A review is a far cry from Hard slagging on someone in an interview though. Every review at Comixpedia has come from a reviewer who has read the entire work in question. It is edited by the staff. There is a huge difference between what Hard describes and a review on Comixpedia.
People often post reviews to get the attention of the comic artist. It usually works too. I don't link to reviews -- I link to interviews, but not to reviews. Why? Because, if you're reading the links page you've already formed an opinion of my comic. What someone else has to say is irrelevant. So why give reviewers hits?
I'm not sure I have much to add to what I already said other than to repeat that most people are interested in what other people have to think about a comic. Friends' opinions are important obviously, but reviews play a different role. Reviews in fact can be tremendously relevant to ongoing discussions of the evolution of webcomics as a whole in addition to evaluation of the specific work being reviewed. The fact that Comixpedia publishes online increases the "conversational" aspect of everything we publish. What I'm writing right now is really only possible because we're online, Hard writes online and we can link to each other.
I've always thought that people who want to get popular in a chosen field but don't have the skills to become popular in that field will become critics instead. It's a cheap and transparent way to become an "authority" in that field, without having the skills to master that field.
A charge as old as time. True to some, true for others. Ultimately irrelevant to why criticism and reviews are important to the ecosystem of an art form.
Anyways, I'm still pissed at Comixpedia and refuse to read it anymore. Checkerboard Nightmare hit the nail right on the head.
I think this is a shame as Hard was a thoughtful poster on the boards at Comixpedia. I will say that I think the webcomic from Checkerboard Nightmare was pretty funny. I'm not entirely sure Straub meant it to be serious (in fact I have it on decent second-hand authority that no he didn't) but even if he was it was pretty funny.
Submitted by michaelwhitney on April 5, 2004 - 19:30
Scary Go Round's server has been dead recently, in case you haven't noticed every 15 minutes like I have. The verdict is in from John Allison. He blames Texas. As a representative of my adopted state, I'd like to say, "Sorry. Our bad."
You can still get your SGR fix here.
Syndicates, groups, hubs, and collectives.
Despite the fact that few of them ever meet face to face, webcomickers seem to crave community and camaradie. To this end, some webcomickers seek out like-minded creators, and form groups. Some of these groups are meant to do little more than offer comfort and a sense of community, while others are meant to expand reader bases, and occasionally even make money.
This feature takes offers a snapshot of some of the perks and drawbacks of collectives, and then offers a list of these joined creative masses in the event that you've just been itching to be assimilated by someone... anyone.
You may remember that Comixpedia called for questions for Sam Brown late last year. Well, Sam recently came through with the answers. The slightly eccentric but wildly popular creative force behind explodingdog.com has been marvelling the Internet droves with his art, and producing his work through a very interesting relationship with his audience – readers submit titles, and he draws pictures to fit them.
In this reader-led interview, he offers creative sequential words to illustrate our own interrogative titles. Read on, and don’t worry – no dogs are harmed in the course of the interview, even if one may explode just a little.
Not too far from where I grew up, just a bit south of Tombstone ("the town too tough to die" â€“ a great tourism slogan) and east of Sierra Vista ("where vacations last a lifetime" â€“ a more questionable tourism slogan, if you take it from the wrong perspective), there is a little town called Bisbee.
Bisbee, Arizona was created initially because of the massive copper mine there, but as that economy diminished, the town began to lure artists therein to create and sell their wares. More and more artists began to flock there, in search of a community that would support their work not only with a pat on the back but with a greenback or two. People that were struggling to make a penny off of their paintings, jewelry, and other creative endeavors were suddenly able to do what they loved and feed themselves and their loved ones at the end of the day.
Hey there, seniorita, that's very astute
Why don't we get together and call ourselves an institute.
Well, I think that's sort of how it goes, anyway. I can't really remember. But what I do remember is that later in that same song – Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al", by the way – somebody walks on down the alleyway with a roly-poly little bat-faced girl.
"So what," you ask, mouth agape and eyes quickly glazing over in the benighted absence of some sort of fast-moving things you can zap with your BFG?
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on February 21, 2004 - 23:12
We've sent off the questions for our latest community interview with Joey Manley, the publisher of Modern Tales. We should have the answers to post sometime next month.
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.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on October 28, 2003 - 11:26
Bring your Topato pumpkin carvings!