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First Webcomic Collective?

What was the first Webcomic collective? What was the first Webcomic hosting site/publisher? I want to say the answer to both was Big Panda, created in 1999. However, the internet is a big place and there could have been something prior to BP that simply didn't get the press.

Thanks

Jamie
Clan of the Cats

Quote:I don't think Big

Jamie Robertson's picture

[quote]I don't think Big Panda really counted as a "collective." It was a hosting service that offered to share ad revenue, but there was no attempt -- that I remember -- towards building any kind of unifying image/branding etc that identified any of the hosted comics as being part of a community. The "community" aspect of a collective is an important component, I think.[/quote]

 

IIRC, Bryan McNett mentioned the possibility of merchandising down the line. Whether it was to be merchandising Big Panda or individual strips, I can’t remember, but it was probably individual strips. The first hurdle was to see if we could make money off this thing, which we didn’t and then everything fell apart. So even if BP doesn’t meet today’s standard as a collective, I have to believe it was a goal that was just never realized.

Clan of the Cats

Hm.

I don't think Big Panda really counted as a "collective." It was a hosting service that offered to share ad revenue, but there was no attempt -- that I remember -- towards building any kind of unifying image/branding etc that identified any of the hosted comics as being part of a community. The "community" aspect of a collective is an important component, I think. I knew Big Panda was hosting Sluggy Freelance -- I had no idea it was hosting Superosity until after Keenspot was started.

Big Panda had The List, but The List was something anyone could join. I was on it, and I was paying for my own web hosting at the time.

Before Big Panda there were other services that tried to sell themselves off as Mp3.com-like organizations that you could upload copies of your comic to and they would publish them on their own servers. I can't remember the names of any of them, but they usually had nasty little service agreements that gave them carte blanche permission to reprint your submissions in any format they chose... I used one of them for one comic, and when I realized what I was doing I never used them again. I wouldn't call any of those services a collective either.

I think the original fleen might be considered a collective of sorts, because it *did* try to use the community-building, community-sharing model (and even used a common branding element, the fleen drop-down). But I can't remember if it came before or after Keenspot, and I don't believe the members had a shared revenue model.

When I joined Keenspot in, uh, 2000 I think, I thought it was the first of its kind. It was certainly the first to explicitly touch on all the points of how such an operation would work: how the community-building would work (through shared site branding elements), how revenue would be generated (through shared advertising) and what expectations Keenspot would have concerning the artists intellectual property (which even today is an extremely generous agreement -- Keenspot's licensing of artists IP is limited only to the comics as they are published on the website).

Based on that criteria I feel pretty comfortable giving Keenspot the nod. However, someone could reasonably object to that criteria.