Webcomics are, in a nutshell, sequential stories or comic strips presented in a digital format on the web. Although the actual depth and breadth of the entire webcomics scene is something entirely different.
A ‘webcomic’ can be anything from an epic graphic novel, to a gag-a-day ‘newspaper’ strip in single, dual, four or more panel format. It can be funny, dramatic, humorous, serial, or existential. The beauty (and bane) of webcomics is that there is no editor, no person to say ‘you aren’t good enough’, anyone (and I do mean anyone), can put up a webcomic with a little elbow grease and know how.
Why Webcomics are great
Webcomics breathe a much needed freshness into a floundering north American comic industry. In a way, its a sort of revolution to the old norm of nothing but superheroes and tights. Artists and storytellers who would never have been able to show their work to anyone other than family and friends under the old model suddenly have a chance to show their work to the world and gain followings and fans. It also allows artists and authors to experiment with freedoms and formats that were previous alien when things were printed on dead trees.
Storytellers and artists are able to bring new topics, new ideas, and completely original stories and materials to the table now. No longer must we, as readers, be stuck to a superhero diet, but now some of the richness of manga, and some of the retro of years past are bringing back genres such as horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and other types of comics that had been virtually extinct in the era of marvel and DC. And when the sunday funnies were going the way of the dodo, one can now find all the old favorites and well as new favorites, for free, online. Often every day of the week!
From humble beginnings on a handful of webpages, today there are millions of webcomics online, with hundreds popping up every day. The vast majority are free, but some people are even finding the opportunity to earn a living doing something they love.
- Every subject under the sun
- Amazing innovative material
- Anyone can do it
- Anyone has a shot at fame and fortune
- There is a chance to make a living at it
Why Webcomics aren’t so great
In the same breath of their being no editor or authority of any kind to answer to being awesome, having nothing to seperate the good, from the bad and the ugly creates a certain glut of poor webcomics on the web. As this huge number increases hand over fist, day after day, the task of sorting through the ‘slush’ pile of crappy webcomic is a daunting one indeed. This creates a sort of landscape where the best of the best will rise up through popular opinion for one reason or another, and others will float in mediocrity for eternity (or until they up their game), or sink into the oblivion of the internet dregs of free webhosts. Although there are still ‘publishers’ of sorts on the web and if one can get noticed by the right sorts of folk, a webcomic can be rocketed to fame overnight, much like something like ‘rickrolling’ or ‘numa numa’ can become popular over night. However, in the same breath, if your comic gets noticed by the wrong people you can become famous for all the wrong reasons.
Even if you advertise, and do all the ‘right’ things to get your comic noticed, if it doesn’t have that special ‘something’ it can be all for naught. A handful of fans, and that’s it. Or, you might be the subject of a virtual smackdown if your comic is particularly bad, or deemed to be so. Even if your comic is awesome in terms of art, if the story is lacking one can still find themselves on the end of ridicule, or vice versa.
Ah, the internet, you are a fickle mistress.
- There’s a lot of crap to wade through ( read 95% of webcomics are mediocre to craptastic)
- Some stuff keeps getting done to death
- Its hard to get seen in a sea of cruddy comics
- Its something of a thankless hobby
- You can sink a lot of money and time and still not get anything out of it
- There are a lot of abusive asshats who are going to probably dis your work.
There are a lot of sites that have popped up over the years that have tried to help people keep up with a growing list of regular reads, as well as try to help sort through the quagmire of comics on the web. Some of the better ones have things such as ratings, suggestions, comments and other features that make sifting through the deluge of comic offerings on the internet a little more tolerable.
Some comics that are a part of networks, such as Drunk Duck or Smack Jeeves
Lists of webcomics:
Making webcomics of your own isn’t too hard. Even people who can’t draw or write well have found ways around their failings to create their own webcomics. The pasttime has become quite popular, so much so there are now even programs out there to help crutch you along.
Not to say that every person who attempts a webcomic will achieve any sort of fame and adoration, especially those who stumble into certain pitfalls and perils of webcomic-dom as it has evolved.
Many of the articles on this site are focused in this area, as it is an area I am passionate about. The making and creation of webcomics. I will be writing articles on all sorts of things, such as the fickle nature of webcomic popularity, the strange world of webcomic marketing, the elusive goal of collecting money for your webcomics, and the legendary ability to make a living on webcomics. From bringing in the readers to sending out hardcover editions of your creation, I will talk about it. If you have a request or idea for an article, feel free to email me.