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Comix Talk for Friday, January 22, 2010

Psst.  Super art fight this weekend..

I think I've mentioned it before but whatever compulsion I might have once had to share with you every scrap of webcomic-related stuff... well I ain't feeling it.  So it's great that others are taking care of it and this week you can't go wrong with this round up of webcomic reviews, interviews and stories from Brigid Alverson's Paperless Comics.

SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT THE NEW NEW ECONOMY:  Tom Spurgeon writes about Julie Larson's decision to move from a deal with Creator's Syndicate to self-syndication.  You really can't extrapolate much from a story that includes one newspaper comic (Larson's) and one webcomic (Apokalips) as the basis for discussion.  I feel bad for folks like Larson who are stuggling with the double whammy of tectonic shifts in technology and a bum economy.  But I also think it's annoying and self-defeating to write about how the Internet is killing everything.  The Internet is part of the environment now.  It's the least-cost, most effective publishing tool ever invented -- when before in history has ANYONE been able to potentially reach EVERYONE on the planet at the minimal costs needed to put up a website?  That fact is AWESOME and no one in their right mind would trade it away for preservation of past pratices.

The other thing to keep in mind is that there used to be certain channels of content that we consumed because it was there in a format that required us to read/watch/listen to it on the format's terms.  That's going, going, gone.  Watch teevee when it's scheduled? Nope, TIVO.  Listen to radio live?  Nope, not if you don't want to - podcast, iTunes, etc.  Read the daily comics in the morning at breakfast?  Nope, even newspaper comics are ARCHIVED and available on the web.  I can see it in my kids' habits.  I used to come to the content in a lot of cases... for my kids all content is a library.  They watch/listen/read their favorites -- it's RARE that they ever engage with content because it's there.  What does that mean?  I'd bet a lot of things, but one thing that seems obvious is that FAVORITES will win an even bigger share of whatever new business models sustain creators.  If in the past it made sense to appeal to the largest audience possible (which often meant a softening and blanding up of material) to get into the newspaper, I think creators have to understand that's probably a really BAD strategy now.

PODCAST: The long-running webcomics podcast, the Webcomic Beacon, has two more episodes up: Fan Fiction and Black & White versus Color.

JUSTIFY TOM'S HYPE: Tom Spurgeon also linked to Smoke Signals, a free all comics newspaper based in Brooklyn.  The first two editions are available for a free download at their website.