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Comixpedia's People Of Webcomics List For 2006

It's the third annual Comixpedia People Of Webcomics List. This was the hardest one yet to compile. There's a lot of webcomics and a lot of people doing interesting things in and around webcomics. This list, as in past years, is an odd effort to compare apples and oranges: artistic achievement, audience popularity, technical achievement, business savvy, news-making impact all go into the mix. In re-reading the list as compiled this year, I might be tempted to describe it as a combination of those people who are casting a large shadow on webcomics and those we think should be casting a large shadow on webcomics. Undoubtedly you (yes, I mean you!) will disagree with some or even all of the list -- that's what comments are for.

(If you want a refresher on past POW Lists here's the link to 2005 and to 2004.)

For our third annual List of People Of Webcomics (or as I've come to think of it -- The POW! List) let's stipulate right up front that most of you are going to disagree with some or most of the list. A lot happened this year. And a lot more people got their fingers into webcomics in some fashion or another. The lines of "webcomics" if they ever were clear are very blurry now.

And yet what we cover at Comixpedia and what most people think of first when they think of webcomics still has a center of gravity distinct from comic books and newspaper comic strips. And the potential of webcomics remains unfettered. Webcomics are well-positioned as a concept, as an attitude, as a means of distribution, as a medium and as an ethos to overcome any limitation previous forms of comics have imposed on themselves or been trapped in by the expectations of the general public.

This year's list is quite different than previous year's installments although there are still some familiar faces, some of whom did really interesting things in 2006 -- as interesting as they have ever done previously. And we still say no one should ever make too much of the individual rankings on the list, but for the record, the number ones for the 2004 list (Scott Kurtz) and the 2005 list (Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins) do return to the list again this year.

The list is an attempt to highlight those persons who through art, innovation, business, or just plain presence have cast a big shadow on the webcomics landscape this year. We tried as much as possible to focus on 2006 which helps to explain why some otherwise very influential people are not on this year's list.

No matter why they're on the list, we think all of them, in their own ways, were just plain cool to watch this year. So without further fanfare, check out The POW List for 2006.

 

25. Thomas Siddell

Tom Siddell started his webcomic Gunnerkrigg Court in August 2005. By the time the 2006 Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards were handed out for 2006, Siddell's webcomic was chosen by his peers for the Outstanding Newcomer award.

Siddell lives in Birmingham, UK. Like another artist from England, Siddell's Gunnerkrigg Court features well-done, yet interesting art combined with a whimsical fantastic story that contains hints of darker tones to come.

Find out lots more in Comixpedia's interview this month with Tom Siddell.

This is Thomas Siddell's first time on the POW List.

 

24. T Campbell

T Campbell had a slightly lower profile year in 2006 then in years past despite the publication in May of his A History of Webcomics book. Still the History book, based in part on a series of articles Campbell wrote for Comixpedia was the first effort to capture in print the details of the first decade of webcomics. Perhaps it's inevitable that any such "first draft of history effort" particularly one written as said history was still unfolding would cause at least some controversy for who or what was included and left out. The actual debates that unfolded online seemed fairly tame in light of the potential the subject holds. And clearly there's room for additional writing in this area, both to refine what's already been written, but also to uncover islands and continents of webcomics still overlooked.

Even though prior to 2006, Campbell had wrapped up or stopped several previous webcomics, such as Fans and Rip & Teri, Campbell still had his hands full writing for comics this year. Campbell's webcomic Penny & Aggie, with artist Gisele Legace, returned to Keenspot and continues to update. The pair also put out a collection of the comic in print: The Best of Enemies: A Penny & Aggie Collection.

Looking ahead to 2007, Campbell will soon see the debut of the long-planned monthly series Divalicious! which is based on Pop Star, a comic Campbell did with artist Amy Mebberson for Tokyopop's Rising Stars of Manga, Volume 5. The comic will be published by Tokyopop and the series is already available for pre-order.

Campbell is also a regular commentator on webcomics and comics generally, maintaining a regular podcast called Meanwhile, while also blogging. Most recently he's taken on a position as "webcomics editor" with the comic news site Broken Frontier.

This is T Campbell's second time on the POW List (#8 on the 2005 POW List).

 

23. Tim Demeter

Tim Demeter has quickly become one of the hardest working folks in webcomics. His action, anti-hero webcomic Reckless Life appears on Graphic Smash and on the comics for iPod site, Clickwheel. This year he took over the editing reins of the Graphic Smash site where he has helped steer the site in its transition from subscription to free webcomics. He also took over as Associate Editor at Clickwheel where he has a hand in determining the comics produced for the Clickwheel service.

This is Tim Demeter's first time on the POW List.

 

22. Act-I-Vate

The collective Act-I-Vate made a significant spash in 2006. The collective features work from indy comic "stars" such as Dean Haspiel, Nick Bertozzi, Jason Little and Jennifer Tong. Although the idea of a "virtual studio" was not as groundbreaking as Act-I-Vate's press releases might have made it sound ("Act-i-vate is an experimental cyber studio generating new comix content owned by the respective creators," explained Dean Haspiel. " Act-i-vate is a hub glued together by the love and art of eight authors.") it was significant that major talents from the world of print comics banded together to publish comics online in what is essentially another webcomic collective.

And despite the less-then comic friendly navigation system of a LiveJournal site, the members of Act-I-Vate have consistently published webcomics on the site throughout the year. Another break in the (webcomics) wall.

This is Act-I-Vate's first time on the POW List.

 

21. Scott Rosenberg

Scott Rosenberg is the chairman of Platinum Studios which made a splash in webcomics this year with the purchase of the webcomics host Drunk Duck and it's subsequent efforts to combine web and print publishing for title such as Cowboys and Aliens and Hero By Night.

This is Scott Rosenberg's first time on the POW List.

 

...Randall?

Maybe it's just me, but I think Randall Munroe (XKCD) deserves to be on here.

Re: ...Randall?

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

The 2007 list is coming out later this month... stay tuned!

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Xaviar Xerexes

Oh yeah... this place is called ComixTalk now.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Buckley, once more

I agree with what most everyone else has said before me. I think Buckley should be on the list. I'm recently new to webcomics- I just stumbled across them a year or so ago. But the one I stumbled across was Ctrl+Alt+Del, and I am still extremely dedicated to it. It opened the doors to other comics I probably never would have taken the time to read had it not been for CAD. I am a little biased I guess, but it's a great comic and really deserves some recognition.

Buckley again

"As for his being a dick, well, if that really holds any sway over this list or over any awards administered to the industry (if you can technically call webcomics an industry -if not, you'll be able to soon), then the award or mention deserves no merit."

Unfair or not, how you act with your peers and your public does often result in exclusions from awards and public recognition. I can think of more than a few times when popular opinion holds that the reason why an actor lost in Oscar contention was because of their public escapades.

Russell Crowe, anyone?

Is it fair? I don't know. Is it life? Yeah. You don't have to kiss rear all the time, but if you consistantly act like 'a dick,' you have to expect it to have consequences.

Personally, I find it telling that the fans, the ones defending him, are the ones chosing that descriptive. I worked with the man at a con once, he was nothing but professional and polite to the staff and the fans as far as I know.

Buckley's exclusion

First of all, I don't hold myself in any high regard as far as judging goes, but I know that I've been reading many webcomics over the past five years or so, and it all started with Ctrl Alt Del. Buckley has consistently brought excellence to the table since before it became a full-time job for him and he continues to deliver to this day. Even if he has been quiet this year, his name deserves placement if not solely for his long-time dedication to his audience.
As for his being a dick, well, if that really holds any sway over this list or over any awards administered to the industry (if you can technically call webcomics an industry -if not, you'll be able to soon), then the award or mention deserves no merit. Besides, while he definately has a reputation for being (even unrealistically) harsh or biased (I'd always been a Playstation fan -up until the PS3 anyway), that's just his opinion, and he has stated multiple times that a lot of what he says is solely in jest. On that note though, there's an excellent DuelingAnalogs comic that sums him up.
Anyways (sorry this is so long readers), the guy works hard and by all means deserves to see his name mentioned. (I'd make a better conclusion, but hell, this is a long enough blurb) That's my 2 cents.

Cmon guys.... seriously were

Cmon guys.... seriously were is CAD it is an exelent comic that Tim should be very very proud of, its funny, creative and downright entertaining.
Not to mention the massive target audience that it has.... surely he and CAD deserved SOME sought of mention in this list.

To be honest I really find it hard to appreciate the worth of this list when there is a comic so deserving of recognition that has been passed over

Yours Sincerely
Andrew

Also, ChemSet...

I was really glad to see Act-I-Vate up there, but I thought I'd add ChemSet (http://www.chemsetcomics.com/) for anyone who likes the conglomerate webcomics idea. They also debuted this year and, although I haven't had a chance to read much, some of the art is phenomenal!! (I know there were only 25 spots and I can't expect all my favorites to be included, but I thought I'd mention it in case anyone was interested). Thanks again!

Kinda good, kinda bad...

I love finding out about new people on this list (Tom Siddell's art is fantastic - how did I miss him?!), but I'm with GileadPellaeon on the Tim Buckley issue. I know a lot of people don't like the creator himself, but whether he's a dick or not, his comic is top-notch, AND it's one of the better-known comics. Plus the whole animation thing.

On that note, who wrote this article? I couldn't find a name - am I just purely dense? Is it written somewhere in bold letters that I couldn't see?

Thanks!

d

I'm very pleased with this

I'm very pleased with this list. I expected to see a lot more names I didn't know, but I guess this has been a good year for spreading the news between comic artists and their readers, and encouraging people to try new things.

Tim Buckley

I feel like I'm starting to become the resident curmudgeon and the resident Tim Buckley fanboy all at the same time here, but seriously, How does Buckley not make this list? The man debuted a professionally made animated series, for goodness sakes! Maybe he's not top five, or top ten, but he should at least crack the top 25 for all the splash that he caused with that.

The only excuse I could think of was that it was really his announcement of an animated series that made a bigger splash than the series itself, and that announcement happened in 2005, but hey, he didn't make the list in 2005 either.

Pretending Buckley doesn't exist because we aren't fans of his comic isn't going to make him go away, and I think it's time we gave him some of the recognition he deserves.

Good points

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Finally! This list should cause some disagreements at least... On Buckley here's probably the best summary of why he missed the cut this year:

  • Audience-size is but one factor to consider among many (in fact that seemed to be even less of a factor this year once the list was finished);
  • The animated CAD is not itself actually a "webcomic", and although spin-offs of webcomics are important and do seem to be a consistent consideration for this list, I don't think anyone has been put on the list solely (or primarily) for an animation project (Kurtz this year for example was on the list primarily for the Eisner nod, it's hard to say exactly if the animation project bumped him up the list but I doubt it - the difference in his ranking between this year and last I chalk up to the Eisner);
  • In terms of peers or critics, Buckley hasn't won any awards or other mention this year; and
  • Finally, I think Buckley suffers some on lists like this simply because he still seems to be the Pepsi to Penny Arcade's coke. It's hard to pick out Buckley's influence in PA's shadow.

Having said all of that I don't doubt that if you weighed more heavily (i) the animation series and (ii) audience numbers that Buckley would be on the list. Given, however, that last year was when the big publicity from the animation series happened and when Buckley was nominated (but did not win) for both Outstanding Comic and Outstanding Gaming Comic, he was probably closer to making the list for 2005 then this year.

 

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Xaviar Xerexes

On second thought, let's not go to Comixpedia. It is a silly place.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

I dunno. I still think

I dunno. I still think Buckley at least deserves an honorable mention of some form for being the one to start webcomics pushing towards animated spin-offs.

But I have to admit, he's been quiet that past year. A shame - there are so many other webcartoonists I'd rather were silent.

Minor correction: This

Chris Crosby's picture

Minor correction: This summer we announced that Owen Dunne was writing the YDK! pilot script. It was earlier, in September 2005, that we first announced Fox had optioned YDK! for television.

It came from your press release

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Chris

I took that from your press release from this summer, but thanks for the clarification.

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Xaviar Xerexes

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Gnaw.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

The <a

Chris Crosby's picture

The press release seems to be correct, but no worries!

Point to Mr. Crosby -

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

I should have searched my own damn website, huh? I got misled by the googles!

Thanks for the catch.

And edited.

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Xaviar Xerexes

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Gnaw.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

DEAR PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN ON THIS LIST BEFORE:

Tim  Demeter's picture

what can I plan on this doing for my groupie situation? I am expecting muchas smooches here.

Thanks for the nod, Xerexes. I'll do my best to do even more in 2007. (In fact, I gots something BIG for ya in January.)

Also: WEBCOMICS TOOK MY HAIR!!

Tim Demeter
does a buch of neato stuff.
GraphicSmash

Clickwheel
Reckless Life

Tim Demeter
does a bunch of neato stuff.
Clickwheel
GraphicSmash
Bustout Odds