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Creating Webcomics Coverage

A couple of good blog posts on why different flavors of comics get different types of coverage.  One last week from The Beat, and one this weekend from The Comics Reporter.

It'd be interesting to talk about coverage of webcomics.  Outside of a few dedicated websites like Comixpedia there are varying levels of coverage.  Some more general comics websites do cover webcomics (noticeably The Comics Reporter and The Pulse) while others seem to ignore them.  Coverage in the more general press seems to remain hit or miss with a very rare "hey there are comics on the web!" article in a national publication and more frequent "hey there's a local dude putting his comics on the web" in local or college publications.

Why isn't there more coverage?  There's almost no "machine" for publicity in webcomics.  One of the things I would imagine that publishers like Wirepop, Keenspot and MT would do for their artists is promotion, but given the extremely lean staffing available I think it's hard for even them to do a lot more than individual artists can do on their own.

Comics as a whole are pretty far down on the celebrity scale so you definitely have to work harder to get coverage.  Obviously good work will get noticed but there's no question that a certain level of press interest will always be driven by notoriety.  I wouldn't pretend to be an expert on how to approach this problem myself but maybe through all of our collective input we can generate some good ideas.

Re: Creating Webcomics Coverage

Chris Jeffery's picture

I also missed this post the first time, but it seems the only place where a "webcomics machine" for coverage exists is in the video game circles, which is probably why there's so many video game comics. You can have a pretty poor to average comic, and if it's a video game comic, it will most likely get 20 times more attention than most non-gaming comics that are much, much better, simply because the gaming media has adopted the internet as their new mode of feeding news. As a result, they're more than happy to tell people about comics around the internet, as long as they relate to video games.

Comics in general, on the other hand, are still primarily something people see in print, so the mainstream media tends to focus on print comics and ignore webcomics.

I'm sure such a machine of coverage will come in time, as the internet phases out various forms of print coverage. Until then, we just have to keep making good comics.

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Chris Jeffery
Cartridge Comics

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Chris Jeffery
Cartridge

Re: Creating Webcomics Coverage

Greg Carter's picture

Missed this post the first time round. Sorry.

The bigger blogs, as you say are covering webcomics a bit. Besides the two you mention, Dirk has a digital comics section on Journalista and Jennifer at The Pulse includes webcomic news whenever she can get it. At The Engine, webcomics are treated as a digital delivery system with the content discussed the same as any comic.

But webcomics are still flying under the radar of way too many people in the public at large. In June I did a true collectors convention and not only were people there surprised to hear that people self-published comics, they were astonished to hear that there were comics on the web. Some knew their newspaper comics were there, but not comic book type comics.

It's up to us, the creators, to try and educate people. The online publishers can only do so much. Like their print equivalents, just the basic publishing takes up most of their time. The creators need to promote the hell out of themselves. Not everyone is okay with that, but, fortunately, a lot of us are.

One idea is to find out who else in your town makes a webcomic and try to get the newspapers interested in writing a story. It's usually easier if there's more than one artist around, I've noticed. And not just the big daily papers. Especially hit the weeklies. Also TV stations want human interest stories so if there's a convention in town and you're there let someone know!

I have been failing at this and needed a bit of motivation to get the promotion wheels back on the track. So I'm glad I saw this.

 

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Re: Creating Webcomics Coverage

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

I was surprised this post got so little reaction. For good webcomics this is still a huge problem with little progress. To attract all of the readers that could potentially like a (web)comic, the webcomic has to inform those readers of its existence and keep reminding them of its existence until they make a habit of reading it.

 

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Xaviar Xerexes

On second thought, let's not go to Comixpedia. It is a silly place.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Giving the ball a push...

You could try promoting comics by the story genres they're part of. Take Science-Fiction and Fantasy: those genres are pretty successful in text and film and TV, and get decent coverage. Maybe we could draw some of that attention to the classy SF&F storytelling being done in comics, online and paper. There's plenty of good stuff to shout about in webcomics alone. And the same's probably true of other genres - mystery and thrillers, for example.