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Comixpedia's List of 25 People Of Webcomics for 2005

A simple list of people of webcomics based on their contributions to the medium in 2005. And we have no doubt that we left off someone we shouldn't have. We're sorry. We'll try harder next year.

Last year's List of People Of Webcomics was one of the most read and discussed articles published at Comixpedia. So it was a no-brainer to tackle it again. Coming up with a more definite name for the list, however, remained challenging. The list is an attempt to highlight those persons who through art, innovation, business, or just plain presence have cast a big shadow on the webcomics landscape this year. We tried as much as possible to focus on 2005 which helps to explain why some otherwise very influential people are not on this year's list (but see our Five To Watch in 2006 at the end of this article).

No matter why they're on the list, we think all of them, in their own ways, were just plain cool to watch this year. So without further fanfare, check out The List for 2005.

 

25. Barry and Jenni Gregory (2004 List: # 14)

The Gregorys rebooted 01 Comics this year with a new mix of business strategies and with webcomic creator A.P. Furtado on board as Creative Director.

Q. How would you assess the launch of Version 2.0 of 01 Comics this year? Are you where you expected to be at the end of 2005?

Our relaunch ... or as Steven Withrow called it "an example of construction through obliteration" ... took a lot more of 2005 than we had anticipated. But the time was well spent. When I came to the conclusion that our old model wasn't working and wasn't likely to begin working any time soon, we completely dismantled the existing site, put up a "coming soon" page and began completely rebuilding.

A few weeks into it I still didn't think it was a radical enough shift away from what we had been doing, so I brought in Thomas Florimonte as Technical Director and over the next several months we built the kind of site I think we needed to have ...a great improvement over the revised site I was building without Thomas and a tremendous improvement over the original site.

All of the comics at the site can now be read FREE ... as webcomics. We also have print versions of some of the comics at the site and soon we'll have print versions of ALL the comics at the site as well as high resolution downloadable versions that can be read outside of the browser environment.

Are we where I expected to be at year's end? In some areas, yes, but there are always others where we are lagging a bit over what I had hoped. I think we're ahead of the game on attracting great comics to our cause. I always believed that if we built the site I envisioned, then great comics from great creators would come our way. And that's working very well.

AP Furtado's Elf 'n Troll is probably the best all ages fantasy comic on the web. Chuck Bordell's Lunatic Fringe was a blind submission, Steven Butler's Tybrus the Mighty (formerly of adventurestrips.com) was a surprise, Andrew Ford and Michael Kelleher are bringing back Rib their hit indy comic from the 90s, and soon Chuck Whelon's Pewfell (which I always believed was one of the best comics at Modern Tales) will be jumping from over to us.

The areas where we're lagging are mostly areas where I just don't have enough hours in the day to get to them. I'm fairly insistent that our comics be in full color (not written in stone, but absent a compelling structural reason for it to be black and white -- I want color) and that means that it often falls to me to either provide the color myself or find a talented colorist willing work on spec. More often it's the former over the latter.

Q. Any thoughts on what you're hoping to accomplish in 2006?

We've got a busy 2006 planned. We're in the final stages of setting up an in-house print on demand operation for our comics, so we should have the backlog of books awaiting print at the site cleared by the start of the new year. That should mean a steady flow of newly printed books available at the site throughout 2006. We've also got a system in place to begin selling low-cost, high resolution downloadables as well. We'll be launching the "01comics.com Network" very early next year. We have two new sister sites as well as a completely recoded, streamlined version of the 01comics.com site that's all finished and will go live at the same time the sister sites launch. There are four additional network sites on the drawing board and I suspect we'll get at least two of those live in sometime 2006. Other than that, we're hoping to continue to grow -- both in readership and in the number of quality comics added to our site.

Q. What do you think were the milestones for webcomics generally this year?

The continued, almost explosive growth of content. There was a time (doesn't seem like that long ago) when it was almost possible to keep up with most of the really good, professional quality work being done online. It's just not possible anymore. There is so much great stuff out there with more and more being added all the time.

The continued erosion of the line between "print" comics and "web" comics. Print on Demand really blossomed in 2005. More and more comics that were once exclusively online are now available in print versions. That's a trend I think will grow exponentially in the coming years as creators formerly exclusive to the web begin to see some revenue streaming in. Conversely, creators who were once exclusively "print" creators are seeing the potential of putting their comics on the web. Continued contraction in the direct market and new policies implemented by Diamond to prune their catalog may be forcing creators to embrace the web, but whatever is driving them they are being driven to the web nonetheless. Carla Speed McNeil and her extraordinary (formerly print exclusive ) comic Finder, Batton Lash and Supernatural Law, and Andrew Ford and Michael Kelleher's Rib are the latest creators/comics to follow the trend set by folks like Jenni Gregory, DreamWalker, Greg Hyland, Lethargic Lad, and Phil and Kaja Foglio, Girl Genius of taking their newest comics to the web first and then later doing print editions. Again, this is a promising trend that should increase greatly over coming years.

 

24. James Turner

Relative newcomer Turner won the WCCA Newcomer award for his webcomic Beaver & Steve. Comixpedia reviewed his work this month.

Q. How would you assess your webcomic work this year? What were the highlights?

I was still only just starting out at the start of the year, so there have been some pretty big changes I guess - the drawings look slightly less crappy now, the comic has it's own nifty looking website and I went to my first conventions, which were a really great experience. There were some pretty cool highlights in 2005 - winning the Best Newcomer award in the cartoonists choice awards was a really nice suprise, and that lead to the appearance on G4's 'Attack of the Show' - it was kind of surreal seeing my comic on TV. But I don't know how much of a big deal to make of this stuff - I'm just happy that people keep reading and seem to be enjoying it!

Q. Any thoughts on what you're hoping to accomplish in 2006?

It would be pretty cool if I could get a book of all my online archives made in time for the UK Webomix Thing in march 2006 - if I don't get it done I have sworn an oath to kick my own arse. Unfortunately some idiot (ie me) suggested that because it's on the internet it doesn't matter if every comic is a completely different shape, which is going to make it a mammoth task to rearrange the strips into something resembling a uniform size. Perhaps I could just have a book where every page is a different shape? I'd also like to learn how to finish the comic before 2am the night before it's supposed to be posted.

Q. What do you think were the milestones for webcomics generally this year?

Hmm - now I have to try not to embarrass myself by not seeming completely ignorant about webcomics... um, seems like webcomics have been cropping up in mainstream media more and more this year. Er, perhaps? That's pretty cool, right?

 

23. Randy Milholland (2004 List: # 9)

In 2005, Milholland continued the simple, yet important step of supporting himself through his work. He continued work on his mainstay titles, Something Positive and New Gold Dream but also launched a new webcomic, Midnight Macabre.

22. D.J. Coffman

D.J. CoffmanIn 2005, after leaving PV Comics, Coffman joined up with a new webcomics collective called Boxcar Comics. He continued work on his primary webcomic, Yirmumah and he also started a blog called $, focused on making money from webcomics.

Q. How would you assess your webcomic work this year? What were the highlights?

It's felt really good to be daily again, instead of M-W-F. I won't lie, I think the highlight for me this year is the growth in readership, and actually making a profit off webcomics this year mostly because of that fact. It's left me kinda baffled and very thankful for the readers and the increasing traffic. While other webcomics have strategically tapped into niches like video games and geeky nemo things, I think we've finally found our own niche, that demographic being "people who like to see cute little bunnies say FUCK".

I also had bought a ComicsSherpa membership thing, figured it was like good advertising, 9 bucks a month to open up to a new audience, but I was promptly told I couldn't say the word "Crap" or "Mother Crunker"... nevermind the fact the first strips in that archive there say FAGLORD a whole bunch, and someone missed that. Go figure. It's still there until some pencilneck who reads this alerts them to it. :)

Q. Outside of your webcomic how was the move from PV Comics to Boxcar? Whats on tap for Boxcar for 2006?

Well, I didn't really move from PV to Boxcar. PV sort of fizzled out after the success of ComixPress left it without solid leadership and I left back in 2004. The move to being affiliated with Boxcar is interesting because it came from simply being friends with Zach Miller who already had it cooking on the backburner with Mitch Clem. Boxcar, to me at least, has become like a seal of quality for webcomics. As a group, we hope to attend more shows next year and do some fun group projects. Boxcar just feels more loose and fun to me than actual work. A bunch of independent minded guys working together.

Q. What do you think were the milestones for webcomics generally this year?

Newspaper circulation numbers are crumbling and falling fast, so for SERIOUS webcomic creators out there with quality webcomics this is good thing, as more and more readers are choosing to read their news AND their comics online. So I think one of the biggest milestones is a really silent one, that is all the the new readers finding webcomics via blogs, delicious links, technorati, etc.

Q. Any thoughts on what you're hoping to accomplish in 2006?

I have some plans for the direction of my strip already laid out, which include many more F words and poop jokes among other things. Actually, I'm just looking forward to continue to grow the audience and entertain the hell out of them. And what's up with some creators saying they're gonna quit in a couple years? Bah! I'd like to state publicly again, as I've already said on my site, that I will draw my comic until I'm dead, and I already met the 93 year old time travelling me. Unfortunately, I've been informed that the Daily Grind is still going on in 2069, where the jackpot will buy you a measily gallon of genetically engineered milk. A message from the 93 year old me: "Damn you Steve Troop!"

 

21. George Panella (2004 List: # 12)

Although it doesn't have nearly the profile of Keenspot or Modern Tales, Wirepop, started by George Panella in 2003, is the third player in the webcomics subscription market. Moreover, with its focus primarily on the popular manga style, it continues to be well-positioned for future growth.

Q. How would you assess Wirepop this year?

WirePop has remained fairly regular overall. We haven't had any major fluctuation in subscriber numbers. We see some leave, but we also have new subscribers coming all the time. Of course we would love more growth, but at the same time it's nice to see that it is a steady business model that retains decent numbers.

We also managed to pull together and self-publish a printed anthology. It's a collection of short stories done by artists on WirePop. It came out really well and people are already asking for another issue.

Q. Any thoughts on what you're hoping to accomplish in 2006?

I'd like to look into doing another issue of our anthology. Of course we would love to see more people come and check out the site. I may look at some advertising possibilities.

Q. How would you assess your own webcomic work this year?

I think I've finally started to find a style all my own that I'm comfortable with. For the last few years I was jumping around trying out different styles etc. Now I'm starting to fall into something that I think is all my own. I just need to keep working at it. It's a never ending experience.

My main on-going story, Xamra, is about to start the last chapter. I'm excited to see all the story elements finally come together. Hopefully it will start to make some sense to the readers that have been following it all this time. Also, I did a little short comic for our (WirePop) first self-published printed title, which was also fun.

Q. What do you think were the milestones for webcomics generally this year?

have my head so deep in my own work and duties to really keep up as well as I should. I can tell you, though, that we've been getting quite a few emails from other companies interested in the site and the comics. Even one from a company that turns comics into movies. It would seem that the webcomic community has caught the eye of companies looking for a new pool of creative talent, which is a pretty big change to me. Years ago it seemed we were nothing more then a small group of people not many paid any attention to. That seems to be changing now.