Before the arrival of the Internet, there were basically two different formats of
professional comics: comic book and newspaper-comic formats, both of which required a high
level of skill to create. Today, various webcomics not only adapt traditional styles,
but also create hybrids and entirely new styles that reflect the artistic abililties of
the webcomic creator.
However, since anyone who is able to access the Internet is capable of posting a webcomic,
there are a large number of "artists" who post very low quality webcomics. There are
three reasons why:
• They believe their comic is good when actually their artistic skills still need
• They don't have a clear idea of what their comic is about and try to make everything
without any pre-planning.
• They intentionally create their comic merely for the purpose of ticking people off
or wasting time.
These kinds of comics aside, there are several different groups of webcomics that can be
found on the Internet.
One of the most common forms of webcomics are "sprite comics", which are comics created
from pixelated images from existing video games. These are not to be confused with
"pixel art", where the artist creates characters entirely from scratch. Existing videogame
characters are positioned over backgrounds and communicate via word bubbles placed within
the panel. From panel to panel, there is often minimal movement and a full range
of emotion is difficult to achieve. Popular videogames that are incorporated into
sprite comics include Final Fantasy, Mega-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Street Fighter.
Examples of sprite comics include
Bob and George
, and Megaman Warped
Traditional Newspaper Comic
Often the most common form of webcomic that people attempt is a format that everyone
is familiar with: the newspaper comic. A simple three or four-panel comic that can
either be humorous ("gag-a-day") or serious. Also, unlike daily newspaper comics, webcomics
don't have to be black and white. As these examples show, color can be added to make
a comic more appealing:
© 2005, Bil Holbrook. Used with permission.
© 2005, D. Douglass. Used with permission.
And not all of them have to be horizontal. This next example shows a "box design" with
two rows and two columns of panels that are read left/right and top/bottom:
© 2005, Shane Woodis. Used with permission.
Graphic Novel/Comic Book Format
Slightly more time-consuming than a newspaper-style webcomic is one that adopts the
design of a comic book or graphic novel. Some of these comics are in black and white,
but most of them are in color. Some are even at professional-level quality. These comics
take a lot of time and effort to create, but they basically look for the same type of
audience that regular comic books strive to receive. Unlike comic books though, these
kinds of webcomic don't have to be about superheroes or existing cartoons. They can
pretty much be about anything, from squirrels to vampires to teddy bears...as the following
© 2004, Andrew Kaiko. Used with permission.
© 2004, Moujaes Co., Inc., Used with permission.
© 2004, Amy Tomlinson. Used with permission.
© 2005, Antonio Smith. Used with permission.
What all these webcomic formats have in common is that each of them can show virtually
any kind of content the creator sees fit. Multiple genres of comics exist and each has
its own special qualities that make them unique.
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