Cellophane or Fame?
Submitted by Nekomimikun on April 17, 2003 - 16:26
In this day and age, starting out in webcomics has become much more difficult in the last two years than in any other time. With hosting services like KeenSpace (http://www.keenspace.com) tipping the scales at around 7325 series hosted, the internet is filled with comic series waiting to be read and noticed by a growing viewing public. It is hard enough finding your voice in this world let alone being pushed into the group of thousands of others trying to do the same. Everyone is fighting to become noticed, and it seems like a competition at times. Many people believe that putting up a webcomic is an instant guarantee to fame and glory, but this conception is false. Many comic artists, including myself, have continued the updating process for well over a year yet only attract and maintain a moderate amount of readers. It is completely possible that this massive inflow of comics expecting instant success will die down when the authors notice they're instant fame isn't coming. The people who continue to fight on could possibly prevail and come to be noticed as a deviation from the others. Many wonder "Why are other webcomics doing better [in readership] than mine?" Well, it could be that the quality of the comics is in question, but quality is relative to the readers. Perhaps it is the marketing that is the key to success. Many comics find a niche to fit into, something that will apply to some group somewhere. You'll find that a lot of comics on the internet focus around gaming, computers, or anime, since that is what most of the main internet audience is into. It is hard to find comics that don't fit into one niche or another, or at least not one that is very successful that started in recent times. Being a fantasy themed comic can bring one the opportunity to be listed in a fantasy webcomic group. Word-of-mouth also spreads faster through people with similar interests. Most of the big names in webcomics started out pre-2000. While this isn't always the case, this is what I have noticed. At that time, many of these comics were revolutionary since this medium was still in its early stages of development. Maybe it was the right place at the right time for these revolutionaries. Starting out in this era is difficult because of this. Why read Go For It! (http://goforit.keenspace.com) when you can read Sluggy Freelance (http://www.sluggy.com), which is much more popular and has been running longer? Why read 21st Century Fox (http://techfox.keenspace.com) when there is MegaTokyo (http://www.megatokyo.com) out there? Who would notice Rae of Darkness (http://raeofdarkness.keenspace.com) when there is a whole directory of popular comics brought to you by KeenSpot (http://www.keenspot.com) to choose from? While these are only small examples of the little obscure comics online, the case can be the same for possibly thousands of web-based comics out there. Comics that aren't able to market themselves easily get lost under the advertisements of others very quickly. While people shouldn't be starting a comic for purposes of only attaining fame and glory, the reason for doing any of this is something one have to figure out for themself. But, if you want to be ambitious and "go for the gold", then by all means, try your hardest and get your name out there any way you can. Sometimes you have to shout to be heard through the noise.