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Garza! Demian5! Farley! McCloud! (Part 1)

This chat took place Saturday, March 29, 2003. Cayetano "Cat" Garza Jr chatted with Scott McCloud, Demian5, and Patrick Farley. In Scott McCloud's second book on the comic medium, Reinventing Comics, he wrote about the potential of digital media for comics. He named several artists already on the web in the book, creating a certain aura of notoriety around some artists who may have gone unnoticed before. Among them were Cayetano Garza, Demian5 and Patrick Farley. Comixpedia had the chance to eavesdrop on a chat between the four about the state of webcomics today.

Cat Garza is the creator of several webcomics including: Welcome to Whimville, Magic Inkwell Comic Strip Theatre, and Cuentos de la Frontera. Scott McCloud is the author of Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics. Demian5 is the creator of the webcomic classic, When I Am King, and Patrick Farley is the creator of webcomics such as Apocamon, The Spiders, and The Guy I Almost Was.

catgarza: ok...
scott_mccloud: so we're being preserved for posterity?
scott_mccloud: uh-oh

catgarza: we should go back to what we were just talking about, because i think it's pretty pertinent to what's going on NOW in webcomix with the "worlds colliding" and all...
scott_mccloud: i've never had anything against the strips
catgarza: so to speak...
catgarza: good, now we have it in writing! ;)
catgarza: yeah... me neither..
scott_mccloud: just not a lot to say about design that wouldn't apply to 100 years of printed strips
catgarza: my first comics reading was strips
scott_mccloud: me too
demian5: i'm doing strips right now
demian5: so watch out
catgarza: that's true demian..
patrick_farley: heh
catgarza: lol
scott_mccloud: heh heh
patrick_farley: but what makes a demian 5 strip different from say, Peanuts...
scott_mccloud: i like your strips
demian5: thanks
patrick_farley: is the fact that you have no brick wall to stop you
patrick_farley: if you need to add extra panels, you can.

catgarza: i liked WEDLOCK back when [Scott Kurtz] first started doing webcomics..
scott_mccloud: i think the lack of content restrictions is fascinating
catgarza: i used to check that site pretty regularly
scott_mccloud: WEDLOCK was fantastic
catgarza: the ORIGINAL one was great...
demian5: don't know it
scott_mccloud: i hope he can return to WEDLOCK
catgarza: the newer one was pretty cool, too
scott_mccloud: Kurtz's strip on Modern Tales
demian5: oh
catgarza: yeah, that's a WHOLE nother story....
catgarza: lol

scott_mccloud: one of the reasons i want micro [payments] to succeed is that i want us to have constant incentive to create
catgarza: and i think a lot of the "strip" online cartoonists felt a little "ignored" in lew of the "artsy fartsy" guys like us...
scott_mccloud: which is funny
patrick_farley: artsy fartsy? hmm
demian5: pfffrrz
scott_mccloud: because their audiences have always been bigger!
patrick_farley: it's weird, but i actually feel like i'm on the fringe of webcomics now
catgarza: i'm not artsy fartsy...
catgarza: maybe a bit angsty...
catgarza: you're out of your mind, patrick
scott_mccloud: aaah. we're all artsy-fartsy
catgarza: EVERYONE knows your work....
catgarza: a lot of my austin friends that don't even read comics regularly (much less webcomics) have seen e-sheep and rave to me about it

patrick_farley: i've actually seen one of those "What (xxx) Are You?" quizzes that is, "What Webcomic Character Are You?"
catgarza: really?
catgarza: what were the choices?
patrick_farley: and i realized I had NO idea what any of these comics were, much less who their fanbases are
catgarza: lol
patrick_farley: a lot of stuff i'd never heard of.

scott_mccloud: there are still a lot of barriers
catgarza: yup
patrick_farley: comics about sullen young males and female anime cat/android/strippers who dote on them
scott_mccloud: Keens... MT... the manga guys... the artsy ones
scott_mccloud: so many sectors
scott_mccloud: but thats good
catgarza: well, they're starting to intermingle
catgarza: which is the best part
scott_mccloud: real diversity is when you don't even KNOW everything thats out there
patrick_farley: yeah, it's interesting what you were saying at APE last month, Scott.
scott_mccloud: i wish i remember
patrick_farley: noticing that "webcomics" is almost a redundant distinction at this point since pretty much every comics artist has a website now.
scott_mccloud: now its just comics
patrick_farley: exactly
catgarza: i like "webcomix"
catgarza: lol
scott_mccloud: it was inevitable
catgarza: terminology is so funny
scott_mccloud: yeh. i used to say online comics
patrick_farley: i prefer "digital stained glass" but that never caught on. ;)
scott_mccloud: but webcomics dropped a syllable which is always a good thing

catgarza: i think also a lot of [people] really wanted to "call the shots" about how the public perceived webcomics
scott_mccloud: claim jumpers. all of us
catgarza: and since scott wrote a BOOK that had a major section devoted to them he gets asked to be on tv and in interviews, etc.
catgarza: which caused a lot of jealousy and tension, i guess...
scott_mccloud: a lot of [people] didn't realize that i'd been blabbing about the stuff since 93.
catgarza: and anyone associated to that or touted by scott became kinda blacklisted by that side of this new "industry"
patrick_farley: why, who the HELL does this mccloud guy think he is?!!!
catgarza: lol
scott_mccloud: they thought [Reinventing Comics] was my first foray and that wasn't until 2000
catgarza: yeah, scott had been talking up the idea that comics could flourish on the web for a LONG time...
scott_mccloud: but you can't really blacklist someone in cyberspace

patrick_farley: the funny thing is, there have been many ports of entry. i would guess that at least half my audience didn't come to me through the "comics" channel
catgarza: yeah, i think that's the best part, patrick...
catgarza: i'm still trying to figure out how you did that..
patrick_farley: they seem to have come through the "web art" channel, if that makes any sense
catgarza: because we should all try to do that
demian5: same with my site..
scott_mccloud: and new ARTISTS are coming thru the web art scene
patrick_farley: well, there are websites out there like, and (don't know if it still exists)
patrick_farley: which are basically online literary magazines plus pictures.
scott_mccloud: the web natives.
patrick_farley: and a lot of the fans of that kind of stuff migrated to e-sheep, back in the day.
catgarza: hrm
scott_mccloud: i've been looking forward to the arrival of young artists with non-comics [backgrounds]
patrick_farley: most definitely.
catgarza: me too
catgarza: and it's happening
scott_mccloud: new blood
catgarza: slowly but surely
scott_mccloud: new ideas
patrick_farley: fewer sullen male anime characters
scott_mccloud: :)
catgarza: i think a lot of it has to do with how young people perceive what we do...

demian5: but you need some comic [background]
scott_mccloud: a bit maybe
catgarza: i know i had a lot of romantic notions about comics that drove me for years
demian5: just to have an idea how to write them
catgarza: as i tried to "break in"
scott_mccloud: You draw with a mouse demian.
patrick_farley: but demian, do you think there may be a certain crossover between artforms?
scott_mccloud: That's a wonderful digital-native thing to do
patrick_farley: for example, a person who studies film or theater would understand dramatic pacing
demian5: a little bit maybe,
demian5: comics are mostly a first platform, ...
catgarza: yeah, i think very cinematically...
catgarza: which i think kinda limits me...
demian5: from which people jump on to film or to writing
catgarza: or at least makes things a little too challenging...
patrick_farley: a sculptor, for example, who migrated that kind of 3-D static narrative onto the web...
scott_mccloud: now some are jumping into comics from film and writing
demian5: sounds interesting
catgarza: and animation...
catgarza: i'm currently a bit skeptical about comic's future...
scott_mccloud: the web encourages cross-pollination

catgarza: given the power of the moving picture...
scott_mccloud: why cat?
catgarza: well, most people would rather watch a film or cartoon
scott_mccloud: that's why i'm into this whole expanded canvas thing
demian5: by the way, I've got a penboard now...
catgarza: they just don't have the patience for pacing
patrick_farley: i don't think of comics as being in competition with that.
catgarza: maybe, but it's so marginalized now