Webcomics in Germany

In my first post, I called webcomics in Germany “a fringe experience”. If that makes it sound like there isn’t much going on out here in terms of webcomics and that we’re a little behind on things, I can assure you – about half of that is exaggerated.

It’s not like we don’t have good and popular webcomics. Quite a lot, actually, including several Internationally-known titles. If you’ve been around in the scene, you might well know Arne Schulenberg’s superhero photo comic Union of Heroes, Sarah Burrini’s semi-(if you don’t count the talking mushroom and the jazz-loving elephant, or maybe, what do I know)autobiographical Life Ain’t no Pony Farm or Sandra and Woo by Powree and Oliver Knörzer (which makes it only half-German, actually – Powree is from Indonesia). Maybe you remember demian5’s ‘Classic’ When I Am King, from way back when Infinite Canvasses were all the rage. (Actually, demian5 is Swiss. But when I say ‘German’, I usually mean the language rather than the nationality. It’s really a small scene as is.)

If you’re looking for new German-language titles, Das Webcomic-Verzeichnis is a good place to start. It lists more than 200 titles, both old and new, cartoon and long-form. You might also want to check web 2.0 platforms like MyComics, toonsUp and Comicstars.

There’s a lot of good stuff there, considering that as recently as two years ago, we hardly had any webcomics scene to speak of. MyComics and Comicstars have been online since early 2009, das Webcomic-Verzeichnis since mid-2009. (Okay, toonsUp has been there since 2007.) Early attempts to compile comics for larger audiences include online magazines like LOA and Inkplosion, the latter of which abandoned the magazine format in 2007, though, to concentrate on themed specials. Some comic news sites like Comicgate and PANEL online also published comics.

But most of us either hosted comics in the archive sections of our own sites or tried our luck in the International scene. (Which is probably, if you know any of the comics above, why you know them.) It’s only natural – the comics scene itself is pretty small to begin with, and the webcomics scene, naturally, is just a fraction of that.

Since 2008, German webcomics have become much easier to find. This year, for the first time, the German cartoon award Sondermann even has a category for webcomics. (The finalists will be announced on August 30th.) It took us a while to get there, but that’s okay – we were late on that comic book thing, too, remember? Took us most of the Fifties to get the hang of that.

Max Vaehling