Webcomics Are From Uranus: Precarious Pitfalls in Perilous Panel Form
Thinking about starting up a webcomic? Has the thought ' Hey, if they can do it, so can I!' ever crossed your mind?
You've been reading my comic, haven't you?
Before you start looking around for a place to host a comic (or wondering what hosting is and if it requires deviled eggs) or thinking about what kind of comic you would like to do, there are some simple things you should be aware of. Proceed with caution, my friend, for the trip down into webcomic creation is a perilous path!! But avoid these pitfalls and you'll be fine.
A Complete* List of 'Things' to Avoid when Creating a Webcomic!
Pitfall #1 - Creating a webcomic. Most people who set off to create a webcomic fall into this one. It's a big mistake made by those both new to comics and those who have been reading them for ages and think they know everything.
Pitfall #2 - Don't build your entire comic tension on a 'will they or won't they?' romance. The only exception would be if you plan to end the comic when the two get together. If you don't, the results will be brutal. Your fan base will consist of people reading of habit or those psycho fans who think you can do no harm. That is, if you have a fan base at all.
Pitfall #3 - The fan base. Don't get one. They seriously give you more headaches and their praise is a cheap substitution for a fulfilling life building your self-worth from accomplishments instead of what other people think of you. Just quick write an amazing story that becomes beloved the world over, follow up with books explicitly written only for yourself about a group of characters only you care about and disappear in the middle of nowhere Connecticut, scorning anyone who likes your work. Hey, it worked for J.D. Salinger!
Pitfall #4 - 'Making it'. Don't even let the idea of 'making it' enter your brain. It causes you to focus on the least important aspect of webcomics, where relatively few people have 'made it'. Get your priorities straight and worry about your position on a top # list.
Pitfall #5 - Fellow webcomic creators. Don't talk to them, don't go to cons, and pretend they don't exist. I speak from personal experience. I got involved with a bunch of nice folks on Keenspace back in the day and ended up going to San Diego Comic Con and having a terrific time. I met my husband there and now I'm living in Canada (haha, suckers!**) and my life is fabulous. I've never been happier. Let this be a warning to you all!
Pitfall #6 - 'There is no #6' is no longer funny. Except, of course, in the original Bruce Philosophers sketch.
Pitfall #7 - Webcomics lists, crossovers, or any hype event where you're promised exposure in return for looking like a sell-out. Nobody thinks you put that 'click here to vote for this comic!' button on your page for the fans.
Pitfall #8 - Learn how to draw hips, Randy Milholland!!! If you don't know how to draw, either make it a stylistic choice to give every character the kind of posture that gives chiropractors wet dreams and stick to it, or learn how. Almost ironically, drawing a webcomic gives you the kind of everyday practice at drawing that helps you improve. Unless, of course, you are easily satisfied or cover up flaws with shiny color. If you aren't your own worst critic, you're doing something wrong.
Pitfall #9 - Listening to other people. Seriously, this is your webcomic. You don't have to do anything with it you don't want to. You can do it for fun, or for feedback, or for money. Don't feel like you have to ascribe to any philosophy or school of thought. Don't even feel like it has to be fun. And really, don't listen to people who list things not to do or be discouraged in any way by folks who think they know it all just because they've been around a while. It's been, what, half a decade for the bulk of the 'senior' webcomicers? We don't know anything; we're just making it up as we go along, too.
Pitfall #10 - And REALLY watch out for those people who think it's witty to write a list and then say don't pay attention to lists. I could sit here all day and say 'Listen! don't listen to me!'. It's really kind of fun. And that's what I'm in it for, too.