So why aren’t webcomics in the news?

Hey, did anyone notice how typing "webcomic" into news.google.com only gets you joystiq.com ? And the result is a webcomic poll.

One would have to wonder what, if any, official news the webcomic community has, or even a real community. You have comixpedia.com (which you are reading.) You have the comicgenesis.com, drunkduck.com, and smackjeeves.com forums. Then there are buzzcomix forums, topwebcomics forums and probably dozens if not thousands of splinter groups that comprise of a handful of webcomic authors and artists. Yet not one of these is something that "everyone who does a webcomic" reads.

Yet there is no "de facto" source for organizing webcomics to go beyond "just an internet passing fad, everyone has one" . The print comics are going online, and yet webcomics are still trying to get into print? Why are webcomics not taking advantage of the cheapness of the digital medium and making comics that fit on cell phones, pdas, ipods, PSP and Nintendo DS's ? ComicCast anyone?

I'm sure someone is going to point out that they prefer paper, yeah but if you make it available as a digital download, they can print their own, AND in whatever language they want with a bit of editing. Plus, you can burn your comic to a disc, or keep a copy somewhere in case your house burns down. Lose your original? Retrieve from the internet. Win-win.

But why stop there, instead of spending hundreds of dollars on making non-representive print copies (like color comics being greyscaled and illegible), buy a stack of cd's or DVD's and put printable versions on them, then you can practically give them away at conventions. Just don't put any rootkits on them. Hey, maybe you can sign them too.

Or maybe webcomics really are a passing fad. Just how many people on the street know of your favorite webcomic?

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Kisai

43 Comments

  1. We were added to Google News sometime around late 2003/early 2004 I think. You actually have to ask Google to do that (at least that's how it worked then). We do show up quite a bit for searches related to webcomics – not always on the word "webcomics" but that has a lot to do with whether we use the word "webcomic" in a front page story that week or not.

    Joystiq uses the word webcomic every week for it's popularity poll for gamer webcomics. It's also a very popular video games site.Â

    ____

    Xaviar Xerexes

    Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Gnaw.

  2. So there's the solution. Put the word "webcomic" in every story.Â

  3. I know this has been debated before, but I feel more strongly now about dissassociation of the art from the method of distribution.

    I think I'd prefer to label my comics based on how they're originally created. Fabricari, MT, Penny-Arcade, Starslip, Paper Eleven, are all created on paper (or tablet) as static images lined up to tell a story.

    That's comics.

    It's on the web, or print, or tattoed on your sister's back – doesn't change what it is. They're comics. Some methods of distribution are cheaper and reach a wider audiance than others, but it doesn't define the art.

    Even animated comics, can be applied to several different mediums: web, iPods, TV (even if totally impractical).

    There is no reason to associate a printed comic with it's web origins – aside from a footnote in the foreward. The goal is to get your art out there. If you accomplished it in the print counterpart to the webcomic – cool! Don't steal the book's moment in the sun – by confusing a reader with semantics. Slap a URL on the back cover and call it a day.

    Tangent:

    I'm sure I'm out of line to suggest that clinging to the webcomic label for your printed book is really an excuse for what might be lower standards. Let's face it – webcomics have lower standards (compensated by accessibility) I'll admit that while I love my web-to-print collections they really don't measure up to most publisher's standards.

    There are, of course, exceptions

     

    Steve "Fabricari" Harrison
    Fabricari,

  4. I've always considered the term "webcomics" to mean "comics on the web" regardless of the level of skill being shown.

    Now I can see why some people, (who also seem to be those who are desperate to get into print, just sayin'), would like to drop the term in relation to their works. After all, the print world's (not all that unjustified) view of all webcomics being free because they really have no choice due to their pure shittiness, is a stigma many wouldn't want getting in the way of their childhood dreams. So it's an understandable intent, and not really too condenmable.

    On the other hand, it seems to be unfair baggage is being dumped at the feet of a rather unassuming term in an attempt to dissassociate oneself and one's work from their lessers. Basically, it smacks of elitism based on a viewpoint manufactured from self-interest.Â

  5. That's not to say this is coming from a sense of elitism. But is does come across that way. I fully admit that I may be confusing it with the "unspoken agenda" vibe I'm getting.Â

    Ah, text and it's lack of subtlety

  6. Â I don't qualify, disassociating one form of distribution (print) from another (web) a matter of elitism. It's a matter of letting the reproduced work stand on it's own.

    As for my own work – I enjoy having my comic on the web more than in print as a hell of a lot more people read it there. Webcomics don't need print comics help.

    Of course I've seen that elitism you talk about – but I've seen it more in webcomics – evoked by terms like "dead tree comics."Â

    Steve "Fabricari" Harrison
    Fabricari,

  7. Let's just take a step back.

    I know there is a standard cliche of "there's a lot of crap comics on the web" and the argument is that there's a low barriers of entry. Right, but – news flash – there's a really low barrier of entry to print too – it's called self-publishing, and/or minis, etc. And my perception of print comics as a whole, even before the emergence of the web wasn't that different – there's a lot of crap comics out there, period. I don't think comics are actually much different from other mediums in their quality to crap ratio.

    As far as the overall thread, I dunno – I'm personally very much of the mind that comics is comics (my thinking on that has very much evolved over the course of Comixpedia) and various "stuffs" to put the comics on doesn't make them a completely different animal. However, I don't see the implications of this thread as very persuasive. My impression is that among the general North American population there are very strong – and negative – views of comic books and comic strips. They have been typecast in limited, specific roles.

    The beauty of webcomics (and a big part of why I still use the term) is that they have not been so fixed in that larger public's mind and so more of that general population is willing to check out a webcomic without a preconceived notion. This is entirely based on anecdotal experience but there are LOTS of people who would never read a comic book because of the perceived social stigma, think comic strips all resemble BC or Apt 3-G and yet still read some webcomics. Why? Because for whatever reasons they have an open mind about webcomics and are enjoying individual webcomics on their own merits. In that sense, webcomics can be a very positive marketing term (in the same way that manga is a very positive marketing term b/c it doesn't carry the burdens of comic book or comic strip in the general public's mind. It may have other/different perceptions that are good/bad but they are not those tagged to comic books or comic strips).

    ____

    Xaviar Xerexes

    Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Gnaw.

  8. What is paper, but dead trees?

    Webcomics are the most environmentally friendly comics around

    </sarcasm>Â

    ____

    Xaviar Xerexes

    Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Gnaw.

  9. [quote=xerexes]I know there is a standard cliche of "there's a lot of crap comics on the web" and the argument is that there's a low barriers of entry. Right, but – news flash – there's a really low barrier of entry to print too – it's called self-publishing, and/or minis, etc. And my perception of print comics as a whole, even before the emergence of the web wasn't that different – there's a lot of crap comics out there, period. I don't think comics are actually much different from other mediums in their quality to crap ratio.[/quote]

    Well it didn't occur to me to exclusively compare webcomics to independent comics. But if you want to lower the curve – you're right, there are a lot of crappy ashcans floating around out there.

    I have many of these crappy indy comics you speak of sitting in boxes. Hell, I printed quite a few of the crappy ones. But I would argue that there are far more crappy comics on-line. There's a lot less of a financial risk for online artists.

    It's not a cliche – it's a fact. There is a much greater tolorance for poor quality comics online. Because they're free. Yes. And because of the typical bite sized morsels, we build up affitinty for comics that would never find love in print. White Ninja, Purple Pussy, and even the first Penny-Arcade comics come to mind.

    But it's this very thing that I love webcomics for. These "crappy" artists are going to mature into incredible artists a lot quicker than the old indy print guys. Practice makes perfect and all that jazz. You even post on occassion first/last articles illustrating that very fact. God, look at how much some of these artists have developed.

    New Tangent:

    Have you ever noticed how tasty a frozen burrito topped with K.C. Masterpiece and a block of melted cheese can be?

    Steve "Fabricari" Harrison

    Fabricari,

  10.  I agree, William, but it works both ways. Publishers stigmatize webcomics as low-quality. But a lot of readers stigmatize published comics as stale, mass-marketed productions, and enjoy webcomics because they have edgier art and stories.

    I think that even if the label of 'webcomics' is hurting us in the minds of publishers, it's helping us in the minds of the readers. And that's who we should be courting.

     

  11. But with a growing number of high-quality high-profile webcomics, they are becomming more of an equivalent to mini-comics. There are some excellent titles and it also makes a great training ground for creators to be seen and get feedback. You never know when a crap beginner will become the Next Big Thing(tm) when they progress enough.

    That feedback is hugely important for a creator to grow. And to get that you have to be seen. Used to be making your own mini-comics was the only way. Now webcomics fill that void also. And crossovers are occuring as many webcomic creators print their collections themselves in mini format. And vice versa.

    Both webcomics and mini-comics are multi-tier systems – high-quality professional level output and rank beginners because the entry level is so easy. We have to keep pushing webcomics as a valid quality format, acknowledge it as a hobbyist and beginner format also, and present both as advantages. Also promote places make the quality easier to find without disparaging the rest. It's a fine line to walk but it can be done. Push the positive.

    Greg Carter Abandon UpDown Studio

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