Skip to main content

Give Them a Sporting Chance

"Who is this clown?" you may ask. Pete's the name. Long time reader, first time blogger. Let's get this show on the road.

This is a topic that's been brewing in my head for a long time now and I need to get it out. In short, I'm tired of the constant spewing of vitriol concerning the number of bad webcomics out there.

I admit, yes, there are bad webcomics out there. There are some truly atrocious ones, the kind that make you scream out in the night in much the same way a full viewing of Biodome will cause you to. But somewhere along the line the pointing out of this fact became a justification for people to not check out new comics.

I say "new" as in "newly started", not as in "I haven't read this before".

The fact is that nobody starts with a perfect comic. Even if you don't subscribe to the theory of human evolution, there is a webcomic evolution that takes place over time. If you don't believe me, choose a handful of your favorite webcomics and compare the first month's worth of strips to the current ones. I can guarantee that 9 times out of 10 there is a significant difference in art style and/or writing style.

And I'm not stupid enough to think that all newly started webcomics will survive. In my OnlineComics.net account I've faved (is that even a word?) a good number of comics that after a while started updating sporadically, went on an indefinite hiatus, or failed altogether. But for every large number of failed comics, there are a small number that continue on with the potential to snowball into something bigger.

On the other side of the fence, new webcomic artists hearing the constant badmouthing of the "bad comics" out there can become insecure because of that. Keep in mind that most new webcomic artists are younger artists, and being young and being an artist is a dangerous combination when it comes to emotions. If anyone had spoken negatively of my comic when it first started, regardless of whether or not it was justified (it was), I would have narrowed my eyes and plowed ahead. But most people don't have that thick skin and motivation (or maybe it's just plain old stubborness). We don't have to coddle these people; we just need to encourage them to grow.

Before you drone on about the number of bad comics that out there, think about this: Are most of the comics out there really that bad, or are you just too lazy to devote time to some comics that have potential?

Comics Fatigue

almamater's picture

Although I've gotten more receptive to new comics, I have had comics fatigue from time to time. Once you have a long enough reading list, it's frustrating to have to invest yourself in something new, and established comics with a reputation and track record have an advantage when a reader is thinking of reading another comic.

It's great that there are bloggers who are dedicated to finding some of the newer stuff out there. Good luck to you guys!

---

---

Craft is the enemy....

Erg's picture

To quote James Kolchaka. Seriously, though, I think there is a difference between bad art and a bad comic. xkcd, for instance, is usually not the most technically proficient of comics. (Even when trying for it, the results are less than inspiring). It is one of my favorite comics out there though. Whatever your skill level is, you should work with it and make the best comic you can.

trumped

robert's picture

...and because good writing trumps all, that guy's a master. Truly hilarious.

>>I'm tired of the constant

>>I'm tired of the constant spewing of vitriol concerning the number of bad webcomics out there.

Who does this? I don't see much badmouthing of webcomics, except in vaguest terms. Tearing apart particular webcomics? Very rare.

To be fair, I guess the use

roofpig's picture

To be fair, I guess the use of the word "constant" was probably a bit of an exageration.

As to who does this and where I've seen it, I hop around on so many webcomic sites and forums that I couldn't even begin to remember the exact locations of such statements, but I hope you'll believe me when I say that I have seen it. I suppose next time I should cite some examples to create a more convincing blog post.

It was my first post - I was bound to make a few mistakes! ;-)

- College is more fun when magic is involved. Bardsworth

- College is more fun when magic is involved. Bardsworth

Did you just stick your

Did you just stick your tongue out at me?

It would be hypocritical...

Howard Tayler's picture

It would be hypocritical for me to say anything disparaging about a beginning cartoonist who wants an audience in spite of amateurish artwork. Early Schlock Mercenary was about as amateurish as it comes.

Fortunately, it's hard to get worse at something you practice every day. These days I'm working full-time as a cartoonist, and I have an audience in excess of 30,000 daily readers. And my artwork is STILL not up to the standards of many of you who have smaller audiences, and who have been cartooning for decades.

Schlock Mercenary

I have always said we need

I have always said we need more cartoonists, no less. An amateur can only get better with time and practice, and there's the whole internet out there to find readers.

I also don't suscribe to the idea that the reason some comics get a low audience is because they can only find the bad comics.

Maritza

CRFH.net

 

Growth Curve

themysticalone's picture

Goodness, yes. Big growth curve. I'll show by example (and shameless plug):

My first comic, July 13, 2003

Today's comic, March 7, 2007

 

That represents close to 4 years, and 880 comics of growth.

Matt Buchwald: Fodi

Matt Buchwald: Fodi

Agreed too

I've seen some comics go from crudest doodle to real pro-looking ink and color work in a few years.

"The reason for the

roofpig's picture

"The reason for the disparity of coverage is that there's a only small number of people writing about comics.

If you've got news about a comic and it's not getting covered, write it."

This is something that I've been planning on remedying for a while now. Things are in motion. < /foreshadowing >

;-)

 

- College is more fun when magic is involved. Bardsworth

- College is more fun when magic is involved. Bardsworth

Agreed

mooncity's picture

[quote=roofpig]

"The reason for the disparity of coverage is that there's a only small number of people writing about comics.

If you've got news about a comic and it's not getting covered, write it."

This is something that I've been planning on remedying for a while now. Things are in motion. < /foreshadowing >

;-)

- College is more fun when magic is involved. Bardsworth

[/quote]

Me, too!

< /kind of foreshadowing >

Mooncity

Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow since 1976!

Mooncity

Autumn Lake

Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow since 1976!

amen brother

robert's picture

Preach on. I'm indebted to Gary over at Fleen for a nod to potential during the early, rough stages (like they're over). It meant a lot.

One of the worst things about subscribing to the idea that there are too many comics out there (or worse: publicizing that opinion), is that it fuels the let's-only-blog-about-the-same-15-comics-and-artists-all-the-time Syndrome. And MAN, have we read enough about them and their life stories, and their dogs, and what Cons their dogs attended, and...

 

How 'bout something new?

 

We're finally getting free of the Syndicate Strangle Hold. Tap the keg.

The reason for the disparity

Terrence Marks's picture

The reason for the disparity of coverage is that there's a only small number of people writing about comics.

If you've got news about a comic and it's not getting covered, write it.

--
Terrence Marks

Spare Parts
You Say it First

--
Terrence Marks

Spare Parts
You Say it First

Sir! Yes Sir!

robert's picture

Is that an order? If so I've already fulfilled it and intend to continue. If it's a request or a suggestion, it could be phrased a little differently to create a feeling of harmony amongst kindred comic artists on the path to eternal bliss.

ommmmmm....

I have to admit....

Erg's picture

I just don't read new comics. Not because they are too bad, but because some are too good. I fall in love, they go on hiatus, and I cry and drink hot cocoa. Its to heard. Too...painful. I am tearing up. I gotta go. Waaaa!!!!

Agreed

Someone posted a comment on TWCL forums recently on a decent, entertaining and skillfully drawn comic that received no replies "if you get no replies, it means your comic isn't terrible. Everybody jumps on the terrible stuff." Too true. Perhaps if we spend our time talking about how bad the majority of comics are it makes us feel better about our own meager hit counts?

I think that there's always been just as many comics out there, but now they're all visible. I remember reading that newspaper syndicates get over 3,000 submissions every year. Many of those are probably self published over the Internet now, so you can see it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly. But wasn't that at least partly the point of this whole webcomic revolution?

It's hard to get noticed because there are so many GOOD comics out there. Every day I see extremely talented artists and writers crying out for recognition, but getting tragically little. People dwell on the negative for an ego boost.

I agree completely. Most

Terrence Marks's picture

I agree completely.

Most comics get very little feedback in the beginning. Discouraging people who are improving is a bit like burning down cheap houses in order to raise a neighborhood's average property value.

 

--
Terrence Marks

Spare Parts
You Say it First

--
Terrence Marks

Spare Parts
You Say it First