Repeat After Me: Comics Need Good Writing…

Over on the Rocketbox forums, there’s a good thread on writing for webcomics, started off with a lengthy post on the topic by Mordred:

In the world of dead tree comic books, 98% of the bad stuff out there is superhero comics. (You want to know more about the failings of the dead tree comic industry? Go read Warren Ellis’s “The Old Bastard Manifesto”. Go read it anyway – so much stuff in there applies to webcomics, with slight contextual differences.) In the world of webcomics, the bad stuff generally falls into four different categories:

1. An American pretending he’s Japanese, trying to write manga, and failing. (More on why this is bad in another rant.)

2. Wacky students go to Wacky University and have Wacky Antics together. (More often than not, this is a vanity comic. To those of you doing this: if the best thing you can think of to do with your time is to write a comic about yourself, except where you live in a universe where your life isn’t pathetic, your acne problems have disappeared, you’ve lost fifty pounds and you actually get nookie occasionally, then you may as well just go do unmentionable things while looking at porn. They’re both the same thing, and doing the unmentionable thing is probably more fun.)

3. Gaming humour. Sprites may be involved.

4. Geek humour. (Ha-hah-hah, Linux, etc.)

Sometimes you get a heady fusion of all four, and then you know you’re really in trouble. Manga written by Americans about wacky gaming geek university students? Bleargh.

Xaviar Xerexes

Wandering webcomic ronin. Created Comixpedia (2002-2005) and ComixTalk (2006-2012; 2016-?). Made a lot of unfinished comics and novels.


  1. Interesting post, partly because I took the approach of trying to tell my webcomic without using art. I only know a few others that have managed to do that successfully.

    Now if only I could somehow convince the world at large that words are not scary.

  2. Somebody get Scott McCloud on the phone! I just got a great idea for a new webcomic!

    But seriously folks, it’s no big surprise that some of the best (or at least more successful) comics fall into similar categories (successful Amerimanga, CRFH, PVP, UF, etc.). Success breeds imitation, the sincerest form of plagiarism.

    I really like the term “vanity comic” and I think it needs to be included in a webcomics glossary.

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