The Official Guide to Successful Webcomic Blog Rants
Submitted by Sean C on May 3, 2006 - 11:22
The webcomic rant is an art form; it has been largely ignored, and the vast majority of rants are posted in a knee-jerk fashion, with little thought given to the reprecussions of the essay. There will ultimately be a response, but 99% of the time, the writer will be viewed as a jerk and a hack who is just shooting his or her mouth off. The webcomic world is governed by many differetn theories as to how to approach the medium, and when those mindsets clash, self-righteous writers suffer the most. To help with this issue - for the sake of all those with an opinion on webcomics, I humbly offer this helpful guide to writing a thoughtful, successful webcomic rant.
1 Topic - The writer must select a topic that all readers can identify with, be it dialogue, styles of humor, the lack of dramatic comics, etc... Stay on topic; an wandering rant will only make you, the writer, seem like an incoherent babbling fool - the Ann Coulter of comics.
2 Your Stand - You're right, and you know it; the problem lies in convincing others that your way is the only way, and this can be difficult. After calmly and thoughtfully establishing your personal opinion, it's time to explain how OTHERS are wrong, and just why they are ruining webcomics. There are several options for the ranter; here are some of the most common practices:
Single out a Big Name - They're more successful than you; they're doing something right and you can't measure up to it. Therefore, they're doing something that offends you and you must list all of their sins. Make sure to poke at every little detail you can recall, and be sure to blow things out of proportion. Remember - they're a cancer on the webcomics world, and your blog may be the cure. Spite makes right.
Target the Audience - It's not the cartoonists' fault; it's the audience that ruined webcomics. They can't grasp the highbrow stuff that YOU offer, and because of that, they must be generalized to the point that all internet users are on the level of toddlers with filthy mouths. Make it clear that you may not have delivered a quality product, or one with the mass appeal that others have created, but there are no excuses for people not reading your material. (Note - This only applies to webcomic-makers and serious bloggers who focus on webcomics.) Make no apologies.
Use Trendy Phrases - All successful rants use the term "self-mastubatory" at least once. Now, masturbation by nature is a singular action one performs on oneself, but in order to be catchy and trendy, the "self" must be included. There is no acceptible reason not to use it. Other acceptible terms include, but are not limited to, "Dick-and-Fart", "Manga-esque", "McCloudian", (more on this term later) and the classic "Sucks ass".
3 Location, Location, Location - It doesn't just apply to real estate; choose a venue where the maximum number of people will be able to read and digest your rant. Livejournal doesn't always get the job done; MySpace is just a tad better. Other blog programs and even sites like Comixpedia attract many, many readers. Even better, the vast majority of Comixpedia readers are cartoonists themselves. It's the perfect way to spew your venom at your intended targets.
4 Drop the Grammer Hammer - So called, "1337 speak" takes away from the credibility of the ranter, and as such must be avoided. Write like a mature adult.
5 Tone - Be snarky; remember, you're the one who's right. Others must recieve your knowledge and will not grasp it unless the ranter is writing in a condescending manner. Make them learn. Make them cry. Make sure you re-emphasize your main point at the end of each major section of the rant.
The rant is complete and posted, but just how can one measure its level of success. To answer this question, I have devised the following scoring system, which will accuratly determine the effectiveness of your writing: The Kurtz-O-Meter. For those who may not know, Scott Kurtz is the creator behind PvP, one of the internet's top webcomics. He has a reputation for wearing his heart on his sleeve, and for being reactionary. Now, I personally admire him for speaking his mind and for calling 'em like he sees 'em. He serves as the perfect litmus test for rant success.
Level 1 - You have failed to be noticed by Kurtz, his friends, and even the PvP forum-goers. You have failed. At best, you'll recieve some mention from several emo-Livejournal users who interpret your rant as a direct, personal attack on them. Don't let it bother you, if they get so much as a sunburn, that serves as proof the universe is out to destroy them.
Level 2 - You've made it into the PvP forums, and a solid discussion has formed around your rant. Perhaps Kurtz will chime in with his opinion, but it's likely he's too busy to notice your rant.
Level 3 - You've been mentioned in Kurtz's blog, and a discussion is brewing across the internet regarding your essay. Good job; you've basically succeeded, and reached a broad audience.
Level 4 - Not only have you been noticed by Scott, but the guys at Penny Arcade are also taking notice. Keep in mind that the PA environment is far more venomous than the PvP world, so be prepared to be flamed in the PA forums like you've never been flamed before.
Level 5 - This is the ultimate response; Scott Kurtz actually created a comic strip to respond to your rant. Comic blogs across the world will talk about you; comic forums light up about the subject YOU started; and people will remember your name. However, it is up to YOU to determine, through your writings, whether or not you will be remembered as a pretentious prick or a generally good person with noble intentions. The former gets far more attention than the latter, so screw the nice-guy routine, right?
Hopefully, this essay will help future ranters vent their frustrations properly, and in a very public manner. The internet is a very big place, and there are many disgruntled people like yourself; it's up to you, and you alone, to make sure YOU stand out in a very large, very angry crowd. Good luck.