Makeshift Musings and Comic Book Bliss by Jim Zubkavich

Jim Zubkavich — Traitor To The Web?

I was originally going to use this latest column to discuss Hollywood’s current fascination with comics and the inevitable backlash that it will create. However, an e-mail I received asked me some questions that surprised me, and I decided that the explanation would work well here as a new topic.

Comixpedia is obviously a site dedicated to webcomics. If that’s true, why are my columns constantly referencing the print industry? Why don’t I focus on just the web comic perspective of things? Have I got print envy? Aren’t I proud of my webcomic roots?

It’s a valid set of questions, and the answer is quite fundamental to this column as a whole. Webcomics and print comics are both sequential storytelling. There shouldn’t be a rift between the two camps, and I don’t want to further it by commenting on only one or the other. An industry that’s struggling to stay alive and another that’s struggling to begin do not need further backbiting to “help” their cause.

Good quality material can be in a book and it can be electronic; they’re not mutually exclusive. This may seem obvious to some of you, but the zealots from either camp seem determined to stake their territory and declare the other side the enemy. Both types have their advantages and I hope that when the dust settles, the winners throughout comics as a whole will be the creators with the best quality.

The print comic industry has finally started to address the idea of webcomics and web promotion instead of scoffing at it and pretending that it’s some fad that’ll fade away. The web comic heavies are breaking into print and the print creators we love are setting up their own webpages and dabbling in web-delivered content. It’s an exciting time and should lead to more blurring of the edges.

I’m happy to recommend Penny Arcade to my video game playing pals just as quickly as I’d show off a new trade paperback of Gunsmith Cats to my friends who obsess over cars and guns. The comics are the important part, not the method of delivery. Good work is good work wherever you find it. Don’t segregate yourself into web or print and make it an issue.

Even talking about them here in this article as two separate things makes me want to kick myself. Sequential art isn’t the exclusive right of the printed elite or webcomic underground. It’s a silly, unnecessary argument that’s been fueled while comics as a whole get smaller and the world becomes an even more aggressive pop culture machine. We’d be better off working together instead of watching ourselves get ground beneath its wheels.

Having a preference for print or web comics isn’t a bad thing, of course. But when it’s all said and done, it shouldn’t be the point. You should be enjoying the stories, not complicating everything with a “one or the other” scenario.

I’m proud of comics as a medium and the potential they represent. There will be columns I write that will be web-heavy and others that focus on books in print. But I won’t keep track of how many there are on either side and you shouldn’t either. Comics are the medium… where you get them is unimportant. Read, enjoy and be merry.

Jim Zubkavich is a contributing columnist for Comixpedia. More Details.