Skip to main content

Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

In a column for Sequential Tart that I wish had been written for Comixpedia, Barb Lien-Cooper writes about the advantages and disadvantages of webcomics. Definitely worth reading.

 

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

I agree, Phalanx!

There is a fine line between false modesy and just being honest. I think it would be disingenuous of Barb to say "Gee, I write a comic, but don't know if it's any good." Hell, I'm not going to walk around saying "the art on my strip sucks and I can't draw" because I know that's false. It would come off as someone fishing for compliments.

That's being disingenuous.

To admit that one works at a professional level is not to say that one is the best. It's not intended as a challenge to be ranked, either ("you may be better than So-and-So, but you're nowhere near as good as Whos-It!").

It is what it is: a professional talking about creating professional-caliber work.

Anonymous Poster, don't look for insults where there aren't any. Don't look to be slighted by someone who merely puts their money where their mouth is.

You don't like current comics (print or web)? You hate SPIDER-MAN or HELLBOY or REX MUNDI or whatever? You don't like Barb's GUN STREET GIRL or my own ATHENA VOLTAIRE? Fine. Do something about it. Make the kind of comics that you want to read.

That's what Barb did. That's what I did.

That's the main thing that I take away from reading Barb's articles and from corresponding with Barb and her husband, Park. Make the comics that you want to read.

--Steve Bryant
artist co-creator, ATHENA VOLTAIRE
a MODERN TALES comic
http://www.moderntales.com/series.php?name=athena&view=current

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

As the other posters said, I don't think that's arrogant. Frankly, I usually find a review or critique from someone who's actually done what I done to be better than the criticisms of someone who's no idea how to do a comic.

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

Those don't count. They aren't Modern Tales or GraphicSmash. ;)

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

Uncle Ghastly's picture

The only problem I have with Gun Street Girl is I keep singing it to the tune of Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl".

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Hell, I'm not going to walk around saying "the art on my strip sucks and I can't draw" because I know that's false.

Piro?

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

I think she was quite careful not to look arrogant, actually.

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

It's not like she went all "U SUCK IM THE R0XX0RZ LOL!!!1"

Many times she backed herself up with words of people with distinct reputation, like T Campbell and such.

When you want to give a story credibility, that's what you do. Also, false modesty is not modesty anymore. There's nothing wrong with giving yourself credit for what you're good with, that's called sincerity. And as I always say, a sad truth is better and a false happiness.

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

Plus, it bugged me how she took the most idiotic reasons for choosing print publication over the internet ever and presented them as the best reasons that anyone can come up with.
Of course it's easy to argue against choosing print over web if you pretend the good reasons don't exist.

Maybe you do have a point here. Why don't you try discussing this with her?

But let's not forget she wrote an article, not a piece of news. It's okay for it to show only one side of the story, even if the author's points of view are stupid.

I mean, wasn't this what happened last month with Andy Inatko from the Chicago Sun Times?

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

She FAILED MISERABLY, then!!!

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

Oops! That was me!
Sorry I forgot to log in.

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

I know it’s difficult for some to see a female comic book writer be so confident about her work’s worth and be willing to say so in writing
-
This is a gender issue, now? O_O;

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

I decided that I just couldn't review one more person's comic until and unless I could do better than the comics I'd reviewed. I decided I had to put myself in the hotseat, to walk a mile in their shoes. And, I gotta say, wow, I like these shoes! They're really stylish and comfy! In other words, writing a good comic is a joy, not a task. Without patting myself on the back, Gun Street Girl is that better comic.

Jeez, that's pretty arrogant.

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

""I double dog dare one of ya print publishers to publish a webcomic as a series." Be the company that's pushing the envelope. "

I was about to say... wouldn't that be megatokyo and dark horse? Or better yet, PVP and Image? Publishers ARE pushing the envelope and trying out webcomics. Maybe if this article was written a year or two ago it would've made more sense... Regardless, an interesting read.

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

Now, now. Not all webcartoonists know all the webtooning news. That's why Comixpedia exists.

I took a long time to learn about Megatokyo in print, myself.

Maybe she is a little arrogant.

: So, I took a page from my hero Will Eisner's book and compressed the storytelling of Gun Street
: Girl. I believe compressed storytelling moves fastest, so I did it on purpose. Well, there's an
: interesting story there. I've had one editor ask me "where's the establishing shots?", as if a short
: caption saying "London, Early 1990's" didn't tell you what you needed to know.
-
It kind of sounds like editors were trying to give her advice and she took it as an attack on her artistic vision.
I agree with her about splash pages being unimportant, but establishing shots are a vital storytelling tool. I'd *really* like to see if anyone can find me a Will Eisner story that DOESN'T have an establishing shot in it.

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

I don't think it is arrogance.

There's a fine line between false modesty and calling a spade a spade. If you can't tell the difference between a good and bad comic, and if you can't tell where your comics stands in that scale, how on earth will you know what to do next?

Besides, it's not like she said "My comic is the best and everyone else is a hack!". She said "I've read a lot of comics, and I think the one I finally created is better because I managed to cover what was missing in all those others."

But hey, if you still think it's arrogance, at least read Gun Street Girl first. If anyone has a right to be 'arrogant', then I think Barbara Lien-Cooper does. :)

Re: Why I Have A Webcomic by Barb Lien-Cooper

: It's not like she went all "U SUCK IM THE R0XX0RZ LOL!!!1"
-
Well, no, she didn't go to the EXTREME, but I definately detected an arrogant tone in the article.

: Also, false modesty is not modesty anymore. There's nothing wrong with giving yourself
: credit for what you're good with, that's called sincerity.
-
While she did call her comic one of the best comics out there, that's not the main example of arrogance in her article.
It was her general attitude towards the print industry.

Plus, it bugged me how she took the most idiotic reasons for choosing print publication over the internet ever and presented them as the best reasons that anyone can come up with.
Of course it's easy to argue against choosing print over web if you pretend the good reasons don't exist.

Barb responds to arrogance claim

I’m reposting this here because I think my response to the claims of personal arrogance on my part because I’ve said in a Sequential Tart article that the comic I write (Gun Street Girl at Graphic Smash) is quality work deserves a more prominent response than where I originally posted it. Here’s the text in full (with a few edits)---

A problem I see with web comics is that we DON’T blow our own horn enough. It’s also a problem that women in comics in general have. I’m tired of the inferiority complex web comics seem to have about themselves. I have worked very hard for over three years to make a web comic that would equal any comic being printed today, at least in part because people outside of the web comics community are simply ignorant of the worth of web comics or unfairly prejudiced against them. I’m not about to pretend that my comic less than great just because it’s published on the web when I’m getting incredible reviews (in the main), more web coverage than most web comics, and a devoted and intelligent readership that eagerly awaits every installment of the work. Rather than remark upon my arrogance, I think that the fact that I have a comic I can be proud of and even people outside of the web comics community can see the worth of reflects well upon the medium of web comics in general.

To me, arrogance means saying something and not having the work to back up one’s claim. Before you say I’m arrogant, I suggest you google up the reviews of Gun Street Girl. It’s very nice to see really good reviews of a comic that just happens to have its home on the web. Better yet, read the comic and its archives on Graphic Smash before judging my statements about my work.

I know it’s difficult for some to see a female comic book writer be so confident about her work’s worth and be willing to say so in writing (especially if it’s a web comic). While self-confidence about one’s work is often seen in male writers in comics, it’s a sad thing that it’s not always seen in female writers in comics. Perhaps because it’s not often displayed by female writers in comics, it can be a shock have a woman come out and proclaim her work’s worth, especially if she’s not Warren Ellis famous or whatever. However, I was always taught that if a woman has intelligence and talent, she should not hesitate to be self-confident about herself and her work.

Having said that, I don’t believe I’m particularly arrogant for myself. I’m just a web chick doing her own thing. But, as with many web comics I’m sure you’re familiar with, my work has worth and no one’s going to tell me it doesn’t, no matter where it’s published. I’m more than willing to be arrogant about my work if it will grab readers’ attention, even at the risk of alienating some potential readers who’d prefer that I hide my light (and by extension, web comics) light under a bushel.

I’m tired of “it’s just a web comic” philosophy. There are excellent comics on the web. If we don’t say so, whether it’s about our own work or other people’s, then who else is going to? When excellent web comics like Athena Voltaire or Digger are ignored in terms of publicity (interviews and reviews) just because the works are published on the web, there’s something seriously wrong. We HAVE to say we’re here and we’re great or else we’re not going to be taken seriously by a comic book community seriously prejudiced against web comics. How can we reach an audience outside of those already into web comics if we don’t grab the readers by the throat and proclaim that web comics have a lot more worth than those outside our community give them credit for?

So, I’m called arrogant by some.

But can anyone here really tell me that web comics AREN’T worth being proud of?

Barb Lien-Cooper