The Web Is Not Enough
Submitted by The Gneech on February 26, 2007 - 13:44
Once upon a time, in the dim, dark past of 1999, "having a webcomic" was its own gimmick. There were not that many of us, and most of us who were there were fairly hardcore about it.
These days, of course, it's just the opposite -- anybody with a graphics program and a few hours to kill can post a few strips and say they've got a webcomic. Lots of these people are talented but lack staying power -- they go for two weeks, discover that it's actually kinda hard, and quit. Many others are, well, not so talented and also lack staying power. A handful are people like Rich Burlew, who have talent -and- staying power, and thus become new stars of the webcomics world.
Combine that with the fact that most of the big syndicated comics are now available online, people like Phil Foglio are using the web to bypass the tedium and cost of releasing monthly issues that don't make money anyway, and so on, and suddenly just being "a webcomic" isn't particularly exciting as leading characteristics go.
In short, ALL comics are "web comics" any more.
This means you have to work a lot harder to break out of the crowd than you did back in 1999. The larger comics industry that so many of us pooh-poohed as "so 20th century" is now absorbing us, and the competition to get noticed on the web is just as fierce now as the competition to get noticed in print (or via 'zine) was back in the days of dead trees.
The "freebie page and hours to kill" model is still a great way to start and has the big advantage of enabling those who -don't- have staying power to realize it early on and get it out of their system. But at some point if you want to grow your career -- and what that might mean is the topic of another post in and of itself -- you're going to have to move on beyond that. "Having a webcomic," these days, is only the beginning.