August 17, 2005

Comics on the web.

Should we see "wild-eyed optimism about Web comics" as "contempt for the comics form"? There was once a big debate about that. One key complaint from back then remains: on the web, there's a pull toward animation that threatens the things we love about the printed page.

4 comments:

J said...

Boxer's piece is terribly researched. Websnark, a blog about web-comics, gives a run down on some of the ways she dropped the ball. The primary beef is that she brings up the "how do you make this pay?" question, and then doesn't even mention any of the strips by web-cartoonists who are making a living at it--none of whom are using either the subscription or micro-payments models that she does mention. The whole discussion is years out-of-date, which is pretty terrible for an article about anything to do with the Internet.

Bruce Hayden said...

I love Day by Day by Chris Muir. Better for me than any print comics, with the possible exception of Dilbert.

One of his strong points is that the art work is minimal - he apparently just cuts and pastes bodys and heads to his stock figures. The advantage this gives him over many others doing comics is that he is invariably topical. Instead of waiting a week (to ten days) to see a comic strip on some issue, you sometimes don't have to wait more than a couple of hours, and never more than a day.

bill said...

J: what you said. The article just had an odd disconnect that didn’t account for all the comic action on the internet. It just seemed so pessimistic, when I see a profusion of styles and voices enjoying a freedom a newspaper syndication couldn’t give them. Some are doing it just for the fun of it and others are obviously looking for exposure for a big sale. None of this is new. Back in 1994 I ended up an editor for a college newspaper and went looking for comics on the newsgroups. Found a ton and signed up a strip all over email.

Bruce: speaking of minimal, one of favorites is Partially Clips. Takes a repeating frame of clip art and adds dialog. Does a nice job of working in a confined space.

J said...

Partially Clips is great. Even more minimal is Qwantz: Dinosaur Comics, a ridiculously literate strip that ranges over philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, and what-have-you...using the exact same clip-art in the same order, day after day. Plus it's got dinosaurs.

Narbonic, which is mentioned in the article, if only to beef about the fact that you have to pay to read the archives (or, gasp, you could buy one of the collections!), is another wonderful strip.

But in the end it was easier for Boxer to read a couple old issues of The Comics Journal and Reinventing Comics to lift quotes, than to do the hard work of actually talking to sources. It's Journalism-Lite: all the column inches, none of the effort.