Comics on the Web
Introduction
Webcomic Categories
How I Make a Webcomic
Online vs. Newspaper
Additional Commentary

Additional Commentary


What do I think about webcomics?

The best answer I can give to that question is that I see webcomics as works of art. As a Fine Arts undergrad, I believe webcomics are, in a sense, artworks. They are forms of artistic expression that reflect a certain aspect of the creator's personality. Webcomics display characters, settings, emotions, and narratives that are exhibited to a worldwide audience for everyone to see and enjoy. Of course, there are varying levels of quality in webcomics, each with its own audience. Unfortunately, the majority of comics on the Internet tend to fall below an acceptable level of quality, because the Internet allows anyone to post any form of art with relative ease, and because many webcomic artists have not fully developed their artistic skills enough to create a story or produce good artwork. Nevertheless, there are many webcomics that succeed at giving the reader an enjoyable experience. Since the Internet has virtually no restrictions, webcomic artists are free to create any kind of story they wish without the limitations that similar jobs may have. But then, are webcomics seen as a "job" or a "hobby"? Very few webcomic artists are able to work full-time and be financially dependent on their comic. Overall, webcomics are something many people do simply because they enjoy doing it. Whether it's to get a reaction from an audience or just to brighten somebody's day, webcomics are relatively new forms of media that are slowly gaining popularity.

But don't just take my word for it. Here are some comments from other webcomic artists about their opinions of webcomics and why they are made:



"In my opinion, the main appeal of Webcomics is freedom. The Internet has removed the middleman from the creator and the reader and allowed everyone with a voice the platform to shine. Of course, the weeding process can be a considerable trek, and for every comic-gem online, there are a hundred Final Fantasy sprite comic rip-offs and cuss-factories. It's the price we pay for the freedom to create how WE see fit, not how an Editor for a company thinks we should."
-Derrick Fish, creator of Dandy and Company



"The greatest thing about comics on the Internet is the freedom. It's just like the rest of the Internet. In ideal terms, the Internet is an endless forum for the exchange of ideas, and opinions on said ideas. The endless part is what is so great, because the entire world is connected to the Internet, which thus guarantees (in theory) unlimited exposure to anything posted on it. That's why I like webcomics. With the Internet it's possible for the entire world to see my or anybody else's work that they choose to let people see."
-Kent Mudle, creator of Eggbert



"The easy way to say why webcomics are appealing is anyone can make them. It can mean widely varying quality, to be sure, from the ultra-amateurish to the strikingly beautiful. But more importantly it also means many comics that are arcane, unusual, different, personal, unique and as diverse as our Earth's population. Modern media is put through a filter; mainstream comics are not an accurate cross-section of our population, whereas I believe webcomics are considerably closer... With webcomics, anyone with a scanner and an internet connection can make their work available to the public. It becomes one of many methods that you can bypass the corporate middleman and say what you want directly to the world."
-Thomas K. Dye, creator of Newshounds



"Webcomics are like any form of entertainment, really. It's a thing people do to show something they came up with to other people, and there are a lot of different reasons they do it. Some people just want to express themselves, some of them are looking for fame, some are just bored and want to do something to pass the time. The one thing that they all have in common, though, is that, for one reason or another, they want to show their work to other people. It's a place people can go to express themselves to others without editors or filters. Of course that means there are gonna be a lot of really crappy comics made, but I guess that's just the price you pay."
-Shane Woodis, creator of Elijah and Azuu



"I think webcomics are growing in popularity for the same reason anything else is growing online: it provides people with information instantly and easily. Because many people can't afford to have their comics published in print, and because they don't have the skill but still want to tell a story, or vice versa, the web offers countless opportunities to have them uploaded and read for free. I wouldn't say all of them are appealing (it depends on the content and the writer's skills of course), but those that are usually aim toward a select hobby that is hot today. Video gaming, RPGs, anime, anthro, and sprite comics are, sadly, the only things that attract all the biggest crowds. But you can always try something different! What I am trying to do with 'Norm and Cory' is bring back the old-school animated style into the genre, with stories that are better than Hollywood's, and so far, it's slowly getting more successful!... The only problem I can see with webcomics is that it is virtually impossible at this day and age to make a living off of only doing THIS. Scott Kurtz of the popular 'PVP' webcomic also markets his product with expertise in person, even though he's been reeling in a huge fanbase for 7 years, and Derrick Fish of 'Dandy and Company' still has to keep his real job as a designer in Florida after 4 years. The audience is just not big enough, so you still have to do more offline than just make the comics themselves."
-Andrew Kaiko, creator of Norm and Cory



"I think they're a great way for people to hone their craft and learn how to construct gags, but aside from a few instances, it's still a medium that is very difficult to make money at. One of the biggest problems with webcomics is that some are very, very good and some are very, very awful. This wide range of skills makes it difficult to find the good ones and even harder for the good ones to catch on. Still, allowing pretty much anything online allows webcomics to be a much more creative environment than traditional comics, so [a] lack of an editor does have its perks!"
-Steve Troop, creator of Melonpool



"I think it is a great way to showcase your talent in a public medium, as it is viewed worldwide, taking in all walks of life, without having to make it to print. It's a wonderful way to improve and learn, too. Help and commentary are offered, from people whom you likely wouldn't meet in a public situation. It really puts your work in a vulnerable position... It is also nice to see the variety and originality in webcomics. Because unlike the big-name comics in print, webcomics are done by almost anyone, not just veterans and professionals. Males, females, young and old, and of many cultures may have their own story to tell that may or may not make it to print. Webartists are free to do what they want with their creations without holding back in fear of not being able to "sell" their works... Motivation comes largely from the support of loyal readers, the prospect of improvement, and the satisfaction of doing something you truly enjoy and sharing it with the rest of the world."
-Amy Tomlinson, creator of Charby the Vampirate



"I believe that the appeal behind webcomix comes from the fact that never in history has it been possible for anyone with a story to tell to share their imagination with the entire world without needing significant corporate support... from the comfort of their own home computer no less. To me, webcomix are one of the most significant incarnations of independent entertainment to date. When I was a kid in the late 80s/early 90s, the only way you could get into cartoons or comix was by hoping that you could get a job at a big studio or that one would pick up your idea (which was a very slim possibility). But today, because the Internet is so widespread and available to so many aspiring artists, it has allowed those people to share their work with the entire world, in a way they would have never been able to do before... I'd have to argue that the web is the most powerful medium ever created... because it allows so many people equal access to such a huge audience. From my own experience (I've been making webcomix since 2001), it's so exciting seeing your stories come to life on the web and having people connect with it. Although I've built a significant business around my work on 'Coz/Effect' and 'Battlegate', the majority of web comix artists who strive to making a living around them still struggle with making ends meet. Despite this, it doesn't seem to affect their motivation for sharing their stories with web comix junkies around the world."
–Chris Moujaes, creator of Coz/Effect and Battlegate



"I think webcomics are appealing to artists because you're actually publishing something. It used to take five bucks and a Xerox machine for the average cartoonist to distribute his work without a publisher to back him up. Now with the Internet, just about anyone can put their stuff out in the public realm. It's exciting... you don't know who your work is going to reach... Even now, it's surreal to get feedback from someone I've never met personally. That's what keeps me going. It used to be I kept doing the comic to keep in touch with friends from high school. As my readership slowly expands, I'm now trying to see just how far I can go with this cartooning hobby... who else is out there? Even though I may take my comic less seriously than others, to my readers, I'm still on the same playing field as every other cartoonist. A webcomic author could seem just as professional as a syndicated comic author in the eyes of the reader. Heck, I could be on the same bookmark list as Garfield or Peanuts! It's humbling to think about that."
-Brian Emling, creator of Breakpoint City



"To make things short, I'd say [my webcomic] 'Leon & Kay' just seemed like a good idea at the time and still does. As for what makes [webcomics] appealing... In my opinion, webcomics are very much like sitcoms. Some people like 'Friends' while others prefer 'Seinfeld' and still others prefer something else. I personally think the key things that make webcomics appealing [are] humor, wit, and continuity. Humor and wit are there for the obvious reasons but continuity is one of the things, in my opinion, that tends to annoy people and turns them away if you don't keep it."
-D. “Kei” Douglass, creator of Leon and Kay



"I created 'Kevin & Kell' expressly to take advantage of the boundless space of the Internet. Its archives enable me to do longer, more involved storylines than I'm able to do with my King Features strips, 'On the Fastrack' and 'Safe Havens.' Since readers can easily access past strips, they don't have to worry about missing a day and getting lost. I cannot express how liberating this has been as a writer; I would even go so far as to say it almost creates a new medium by itself."
-Bill Holbrook, creator of Kevin & Kell



"I think a lot of the appeal is that unlike the syndicate, you can start a webcomic basically as a beginner, and improve and mature your work while instantly 'publishing' it. Online, people can set up their own sites for visitors, and not have to rely on getting into (and staying in) the newspaper. I think this allows for more folks to try it out, and just have fun with it, which is what I do, along with those who want to make a career out of sequential art."
-Candy Dewalt, creator of Vinci and Arty



"I think webcomics are a great asset to the self publisher. With printing costs well out of my reach, this medium provides a cheap alternative to the costly paper comic. Not only that, there's instant feedback. You control the story not your publisher. It doesn't have to be about money when there's free websites, and webcomic hosts like Drunkduck around to help out artist/teams. Without webcomics I would still be weighing the pros and cons of pitching in my own money to print a comic I have no idea that anyone will like. Going electronic instead of paper takes a lot of the stress out of making comics too. Puts the 'fun' back in, instead making it into a business. Sure you can make a business out of a webcomic, but there is no pressure to do so. Webcomics also give you, the artist, the ability to create a fanbase then sell your comic in print at your choosing. They can also be about anything, not just limited to superheroes and heroines, just ordinary everyday life... not too many paper comics will chance that with money on the line."
-Antonio Smith, co-creator of White vs. Blue



"The internet has opened a huge doorway for 'underground' art. Every artform is able to be easily presented; from Garage Bands to Film Makers, from Fine Artists to Cartoonists. Beginners have an excellent opportunity to test the waters and get feedback, and more experienced artists can be more experimental with lest risk. But even more important, artists can use the internet to find their audience worldwide. This allows for the creation of more specific themes and styles that may only fit a very specific demographic. On a world wide web, there can be something for anyone. This can be a bit of a double edged sword. The greatest thing about webcomics is that anyone can create a webcomic. The worst thing about webcomics is that ANYONE can create a webcomic. The fact that there's such a huge range of styles, subjects and quality is going to be intimidating to an audience who's just starting to wade through what's out there. That's why I'm very excited to see the growth of webcomic awards [like at] www.ccawards.com", critics [like at] www.websnark.com, and news sites [like] www.comixpedia.com."
-Mark Mekkes, creator of Zortic



"There are two types of webcomics currently online. The gag comic and the serial comic. In the case of the gag comic, which will typically have a joke in every comic, you have thousands of talented people who do not have any avenue to show off their work. There are quite a few webcomic artists who have been turned down by the syndicates. (The powers that be who decide what comics are offered to newspapers/magazines.) These artists often take their work and put it online so that SOMEONE can read it and on occasion, they find an audience, which may be the only thing they need to keep trying. Putting something online gives you the opportunity for feedback, improvement and a little bit of a lift to a person's self esteem. In the case of serial comics, it seems to be a case of the current comic book industry not recognizing anything but superhero and funny comics. This has recently begun to change thanks to the influx of manga from Japan, but the print world is slow to catch onto what's already online. What doesn't find an audience in print, IS finding one online and serial comics offer the additional benefit of being free and having entire archives of work available without having to hit comic book shops scouring them for back issues. Why do we do them in general? Simple. We are putting out stories that we wish someone else would do for OUR own entertainment. We are filling in a gap of what we want to see that the entertainment industry might just be ignoring."
-Tiffany Ross, creator of Akaelae, Alien Dice, Shivae!, and others.



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Introduction | Webcomic Categories | How I Make a Webcomic | Online vs. Newspaper | Additional Commentary