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The Media The Internet Entertainment

Comics Escape a Paper Box and Evolve to the Web 159

securitas writes "The New York Times' Sarah Boxer takes a look at the evolution of comics from paper to the Internet and asks: 'It's drawn and it's written, but is it still comics?' She cites Scott McCloud's Reinventing Comics '...in which he argued that the future of comics is on the Web.' Also cited in the article are Copper by Kazu Kibuishi, found on boltcity.com and The Discovery of Spoons by Alexander Danner and John Barber, found at twentysevenletters.com, as well as several others. The article links to an angry attack by Gary Groth of Fantagraphics against McCloud and his views in Reinventing Comics."
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Comics Escape a Paper Box and Evolve to the Web

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  • by gbulmash ( 688770 ) * <.moc.oohay. .ta. .suomaf_imes.> on Friday August 19, 2005 @01:12AM (#13353469) Homepage Journal
    To me, comics will always be a few pages of pulp between a glossy cover, read in the back of my dad's car to make bearable the 2-hour drive to visit my grandparents. The drive back was spent listening to Dr. Demento (also becoming a relic of the past, sadly).

    But addressing the point... Whether it's the funnies available on many newspaper sites or indie stuff like pennyarcade.com [pennyarcade.com], I believe that a comic is defined by the narrative format, both in terms of length, and in terms of having "shots" enclosed in panels. The long ones you can call "graphic novels" if you want, but they're still comics in my mind. And whether they're delivered digitally or in print, they're comics.

    Where the border blurs, IMO, is when the panels are animated: still being laid out as a comic, but each panel having more action/content than a printed panel could (possibly with sound as well). I think that's the way digital media is breaking down many old formats and (uggghhh, about to use corporate-speak) creating a new paradigm. It's allowing older mediums to evolve and incorporate new elements that, if not breaking them out of old boxes, allow them to push the envelope of what the status-quo would consider their format to be.

    Greg

    • Whoops, minor correction. Should have had a dash in that URL... penny-arcade.com [penny-arcade.com].
    • You've got a point (Score:5, Insightful)

      by conJunk ( 779958 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @01:34AM (#13353517)
      The article gets this funny perspective where is hails McCloud for his "vision", and then comes down on him for that vision not being fulfilled.

      That "vision" is identifying the need of comics to "go digital", but then argues that those comics that have done so are fruitless, because they either resemble animation, or are still trapped in little boxes.

      That seems a little odd to me. For as cool as computers are, they are limited by human perception, and if you are going to accuse any moving animation of being "really more like animated cartoons", and accuse any still comic of being trapped in a box, an limmit your horizons of criticism to that, well, I think you're stuck.

      Nowhere does the article mention homestar runner. I'm not a fanboi at all, I haven't seen it in almost 2 years now, but let's be fair: Homestar runner's a "comic" that has really used what technology offers quite well.

      I reckon that those comics that embrace the "digital revolution" (not my language, that's from the article, thank you) are those that use the user as part of the comic experience. While the user's input isn't much of Homsestar runner, there certainly is an element of that, and I imagine future online comics that really can offer something new are those that will make the user's experience an increasingly integral part of exposition.

      Maybe something like choose your own adventures, maybe something blog-ish where user submissions/comments are included as a vital part of the comic, I dunno. Hell, maybe something where the die-hard users become characters themselves.

      *Anyway*, I think the author of the article wasn't thinking too hard about this one. She seemed to have a destination in mind when she started, and didn't make too much of an effort to see where the box v. animation paradigm might be starting to break down.
      • by bmeteor ( 167631 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:56AM (#13353925)

        I agree with you, she didn't think about this too much. The box v. animation paradigm, is a huge distinction to make. Part of the beauty of the comic book box is that it's compartmentalized. while the author can choose what the viewer looks at, the viewer can go at their own pace. My twin brother and I grew up on comic books, it'd usually take me 15 minutes to get through a book, while it'd take him 45 minutes because he'd really look at all the pictures.

        The editing in animation doesn't allow that, it makes time the necessary component in determining pace. the box, on the other hand, determines the pace by just how much you are giving the reader to look at. smaller boxes can mean faster pace, and larger boxes can mean slower pace, but it really depends on how the author is using them and laying them out.

        Personally for comics to succeed in the digital age, I think that the medium should be balanced between both the internet syndication, and the intensely private and personal act of sitting down with a book in your hand.

        Incidentally, my brother graduated with an animation degree, but he hasn't had a job in production, because they were leaning him into flash rather than 2d traditional. i thought that sucked because the message behind watching handdrawn animation is "wow, some one drew all those frames"

        • Really interesting. I'd always considered the exact oposite in terms of box size: Big boxes (say three or four to a page) really sped the action up (if the viewer is just glancing at the pictures), while lots of smaller boxes forced you (i.e. the viewer) to slow down a bit.

          I hadn't even considered that pacing isn't something the author has total control over.
        • There's also the distinguishing mark of what McCloud calls "closure." It's the ability, the necessity actually, of the human mind to connect the panels of a comic together narratively.

          For example, in a comic ilike this episode of Order of the Stick [giantitp.com], the humor lives in the last two panels. The reader creates the action of the dragon eating the party.

          McCloud draws levels of closure distinguished by how granular the passage of time is as related to the narrative. Animation easily eliminates much of the inst
      • Hell, maybe something where the die-hard users become characters themselves.

        you mean like userfriendly then perhaps ;) the comment section is often used to draw inspiration for future strips, etc.. i'm sure some fo the characters there have been influenced by regulars etc ;)
      • Homestar runner's a "comic" that has really used what technology offers quite well.

        I always thought of Homestar as animated shorts in the tradition of Bugs Bunny rather than "comics". Maybe a fine distinction, but that's a medium with an entirely different history, distribution, pricing model, etc.

      • I'd say that Strong Bad Emails [homestarrunner.com] of Homestar Runner fame is about as close as I've seen any comic come to user participation. I mean, answering fan letters in a comical manner is nothing new. It's just that the execution is... well... maybe the only good use of flash i've ever seen?

        Although I've never really thought of Homestar Runner as comics before... I basically considered them to be cartoon shorts. But I guess I can see where you are coming from... not so much in the presentation as in the framing
    • ever since I learned that the funny dull gray squiggles represented sounds.

      I was reading "Tintin" "Spirou" "Modeste & PonPon" both the books and the magazine form. The European "Bande Illustre" has always been much more than the English saturday morning "comix for the kids". (Though the first strip was "Mutt & Jeff" and that was basically 'coded' race results. How far from never-never-land can you get.)

      Then I discovered English. Marvel and DC comics weer a staple but I missed the sheer breadth of su
  • Do Tell! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Maavin ( 598439 )
    Comics are in the intarweb now?
    sheesh... what next? Places where you can buy stuff?
  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FireballX301 ( 766274 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @01:24AM (#13353495) Journal
    First, lets take newspaper comics, in terms of format - typical 3-panel blurb except for Sundays. To be honest, there's really no real difference between having them in print on the newspaper or having them online - neither method of distribution makes a difference in this implicitly limited format. Though it would be nice to see Penny Arcade in the Union Tribune.

    On the other hand, I believe having real comic books published online would be a boon for the industry. I have a good friend that runs a comic shop, and I frequent it regularly - I'm quite possibly the youngest customer (16) that my friend has. Everyone who shops there is either a 'Comic-Book-Guy'esque collector or some old dude reminiscing about his kid days. Paper comics are great things, but their manner of distribution towards the audience (teenagers, younger kids) is out of touch with this generation.

    The future of the narrative comic with real storylines and interesting people has to be online - that's where you'll find your waiting audience. Webcomics for the most part don't have stale and old plots, nor do they have coughed up variants of the same characters. If DC/Marvel had a decent online presence and started making original comics again, Keenspot and the rest of the webcomic industry would be hard-pressed.
    • Re:Well... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by audiodude ( 897858 )
      I've always been interested in the mythology of comic books, the fact that entire worlds are carefully woven over a long period of time....but I've never really gotten into reading them. For me, the problem is the entry price. I'm not interested in a single episode, I want to digest an entire series. So from this perspective, the chief advantage of an online comic to me is the fact that with such low distribution cost, there is a potential economic model where I can get a vast quantity of comic goodness fo
      • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jaruzel ( 804522 )
        A lot of good comics get republished in 'graphic novel' form, ie. the whole weekly series rebound in a single book. I am serious collector of Batman (Dark knight ethos) Graphics Novels. Half of them were originally weekly serials rebound to form a complete 'story' and the other half are original 'novels' first published as a complete 100 odd page story.

        Like the parent, I have no desire to consume a story one 'chapter' a week, as this pace is far too slow for me, and I feel that this is whats wrong with the
    • Re:Well... (Score:4, Informative)

      by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @01:47AM (#13353564) Journal
      On the other hand, I believe having real comic books published online would be a boon for the industry.

      They have [rocketsurgerycomics.com] for quite [seraph-inn.com] some time [twilightagency.com] now [alpha-shade.com]. They're certainly nothing new (unless by "real" you meant the many rehashed comics [wikipedia.org] from the 1930s [wikipedia.org].

      If DC/Marvel had a decent online presence and started making original comics again, Keenspot and the rest of the webcomic industry would be hard-pressed.

      I can see them having an online presence before they start actually make original comics. But even if they did do both, I just can't see them handling the sort of comics [reallifecomics.com] I've come to enjoy [giantitp.com], so I doubt very much Keenspot would be threatened by them.
      • Point of clarification, I meant having the comics that are published by the monolithic comic companies, be published online. By 'real', I kinda meant 'tangible'.

        Though I don't dispute the fact that webcomics are usually more enjoyable. After you start seeing the same storyline with the same characters in a slightly renamed comic for the third time, it kinda grinds on you.
      • There are some excellent comics online which are also available in "dead wood" format. UserFriendly [userfriendly.org], of course (who doesn't know about it on /.?) (nice punctuation sequence there, uh?), Piled Higher and Deeper [phdcomics.com] ...

        An interesting one is Girl Genius Online [girlgeniusonline.com]. This was a traditional printed comic. Recently, the authors put up the website. New pages are put online on MWF, and when a volume willl be complete it'll get published in paper format. At the same time, they're rehashing their old issues (GG101), again o

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dal20402 ( 895630 ) * <dal20402.mac@com> on Friday August 19, 2005 @01:59AM (#13353595) Journal
      To be honest, there's really no real difference between having [newspaper-style comics] in print on the newspaper or having them online

      There are big differences here. The print format has the giant advantage that you tend to see comics other than your "favorites," because you can't help but read those nearby; you may get exposed to lots of artists including a great one or two. I would never have known a damn thing about newspaper comics if I had started reading them online.

      But for each individual artist the online format is much more liberating. All of a sudden restrictions on size are completely gone; much more detail can be stuffed into each frame without it being reduced into illegibility. Color can be used every day, not just Sunday, and even the format can be changed in whatever way the artist likes (assuming he is willing to do separate versions of the comic for print and online).

      Of course, the online "liberation" requires a new level of discipline from the artist. The truly great newspaper cartoonists were/are great because they can convey either jokes, an entire world, or both through a necessarily very simple and limited medium. Great online cartoonists will have a different set of skills, more akin to those of comic-book creators or even visual artists.

      All this leaves aside the question of how much computer assistance is valuable in the daily-comic medium. Most artists use computers extensively these days; to my eye, the most successful are those such as Tom Tomorrow and Aaron McGruder whose styles deliberately showcase electronic techniques and are unafraid to admit it.

      • Och, I wasn't quite thinking on that level. Instead of thinking on the artistic expression level, I personally am more thinking of the contrast between any 3-panel comic and an actual comic book - you can't tell the story of one comic book in one 3-panel without gross oversimplification.

        But you also have to keep in mind that once you fit enough detail and plot and such into what was a 3-panel webcomic, it becomes a bit hard to define it in the same way as other 3-panels simply because of how it's constru
        • Sluggy Freelance (sluggy.com) is the best serial I've ever seen to succeed in both the "1 humorous strip a day" and "continuing story" thing. It's a long, drawn out comedic-sci-fi-soap-opera, but it tends to have at least one punch-line per comic. SomethingPostitive.net does the same.

          Compare v. For Better or For Worse, which hasn't had a punchline since the '80s.
          • Yeah, what happened to For Better or For Worse? It used to do a good job of having a continuing story, developing characters, and funny punchlines. Now it's just a big long soap opera like Mary Worth. I keep checking it out every so often to see if it has gotten any better (kinda like I check out new Simpsons or SNLs) but it hasn't (kinda like new Simpsons and SNLs).
      • There are big differences here. The print format has the giant advantage that you tend to see comics other than your "favorites," because you can't help but read those nearby; you may get exposed to lots of artists including a great one or two. I would never have known a damn thing about newspaper comics if I had started reading them online.

        Those are advantages, but I think the benefits of online overcome them. For example many websites have links [queenofwands.net] to other comics that the author enjoys [purrsia.com]. Some having free [alicecomics.com]
      • whose styles deliberately showcase electronic techniques and are unafraid to admit it.

        I don't have a problem with it, so long as readers in general don't demand it of all comics, and that the tech is used as a means to an end, rather than the end itself.
      • Only if the editors choose good comics to put on the page though. I'll grant that tastes differ, but even still there are a large number of comics in my local paper that I can't find anyone who is interested in them.

        The editors choose the comics I see. I don't get the paper from the next town, so I won't see that editor's choice. Even if their comic editor is better I won't because the rest of the paper is useless to me. So when the editors do a good job you are correct. When the editors make po

  • by bensafrickingenius ( 828123 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @01:24AM (#13353497)
    If you can change the media from print to web and still call it a comic, why not from print to big screen? Personally, if i can't feel the shitty paper, and smell that shitty ink, it aint no comic. Don't get me wrong, I'm no luddite; I read more ebooks than printed, for the last several years. I'd just prefer a new moniker for the online comics. Hey, here's a catchy one that the kids'll love -- E comic!
  • Sounds like good fodder for a PhD thesis... I see grant potential.
  • by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @01:34AM (#13353519) Journal
    I'm not surprised to see this article here, but if you click here [websnark.com] you'll find a good disection of the piece. Here's a small snippet that summarises the post:

    Boxer's research would barely qualify for a Freshman Comp essay, much less a piece of journalism in a newspaper of record. She seems to have drawn her information off of several Comics Journal articles, read Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics, and looked at the Web Cartoonists Choice Awards.

    Well, at least she dipped her toe into webcomics before declaring it a failed experiment.


    I found that blog post (yes! It's a blog post! Oh noes!) much more interesting (and informative as well as correct) then the actual news paper article itself.
  • Strongbad! (Score:2, Informative)

    Nuff said.
  • As an ex-panelologist [google.com] I must say I do enjoy a few comics on the web, but they tend to be the shorter daylies, such as Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com].

    However, balancing a laptop on your lap whilst reading the latest comic on the loo is not such a rewarding experience as flicking through the pulp of printed comics.
    • Your toilets have comics printed on them? Damn, the cool stuff never makes it to America.

    • tell you that it really doesn't matter to the strip whether I read it on paper or online.

      It matters to me, sometimes I also like to read the sunday New York Times and get a 'sunlit moment of "Pottery Barn"/"Martha Stewart" suburban living', but it matters not to the strip.

      Sometimes I reread a strip in two differing light environments because I am curious as to the effect that has on my appreaciation. When I read "Maus" the second time, I made it a point to sit on the throne in a 'dimmed' bathroom. It was ev
  • by openSoar ( 89599 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @01:48AM (#13353567)
    There is a new genre of comics appearing that are both digital and portable like this [nyc2123.com] outstanding one that's specifically aims at the Sony PSP. Some of them (like this one) are also have a Creative Commons license so readers are positively encouraged to remix it.
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @02:04AM (#13353607) Homepage

    From Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com], one of those comics that actually, you know, pays a living wage to its creators.

    If you want to do webcomics as art, then sure, do it the Scott McCloud way, and suffer for your art. If you want to actually make a living at it, i.e. a full time job that allows you the time to do it professionally, then sticking to formats that actually lend themselves to serialisation, syndication or page-by-page paying adverts is probably a better idea than relying on the cloud of fairies [penny-arcade.com] to pay your rent.

    • I think that the creator of Penny Arcade (whose name escapes me now) has been very up front in his belief that the market can only support a small number of popular AND financially successful web comics, so it's probably not really an alternative for most people.

      I mostly agree with Groth when he sticks to actual criticism of "Reinventing Comics". Understanding Comics was about comics, and Reinventing Comics is really about Scott McCloud. Groth gets irritating when he can barely keep from insulting McCloud o
  • From the Angry Attack [tcj.com] link:

    It is axiomatic that the commercial colonization of new frontiers, real or virtual, must be accompanied by hyperbolic rhetorical claims that are clearly perceived after-the-fact as transparently propagandistic and whose vastly inflated humanitarian forecasts are unrecognizable when compared to the inevitable outcome.

    Mod me down -5 Offtopic Idiot, but it took me 3 or 4 readings of that sentence to figure out what the hell he's is talking about, an I'm still not sure.

    • What else do you expect from Gary Groth, professional-grade comics asshole and all-around hypocrite? The guy's philosophy is that anything he isn't associated with sucks, because if it didn't suck, he'd be associated with it.
      • and I was disappointed.
        Sometimes an angry rant means someone has put some real thought into their position and is willing to go out on a limb to defend it. Not always, and this definitely was not one of those cases.
        Aside from being long, which is a plus in my opinion, and having a nicely narrated build-up, the conclusion was a total disappointment.
        The gist of his argument is that there are commercial interest on the web and so that mea
    • Allow me.

      New kinds of businesses bullshit.
    • Mod me down -5 Offtopic Idiot, but it took me 3 or 4 readings of that sentence to figure out what the hell he's is talking about, an I'm still not sure.

      He isn't talking about anything. The whole rant is apparently generated by some sort of computer program (like the complaint letter generator [pakin.org]), and only appears to make sense because of the inherent tendency of human brains to find patterns anywhere, even in white noise.

      That, or he's just trolling. And let's not forget that he does have a financial int

    • by kahei ( 466208 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:46AM (#13353813) Homepage

      Okay, guys, it's time to test our company's newest product..
      Let's turn the Simplificator to level 1!


      Everyone knows that when a new area of business opens up, lots of exaggerated claims are made -- and then later it's easy to see that those claims were just propaganda and have nothing to do with what actually happened.


      Hmm, good -- but not simple enough! Let's crank up the power a bit and turn to level TEN!


      Whenever a new world opens up, some pompous twits will sound off about it, but the clamor dies down and is forgotten in time.


      Short and to the point! Now, let's put on our goggles and lead coats, and turn it UP TO ELEVEN!


      Scott McCloud is a pretentious idiot, but the comics business will carry on regardless. Duh.


      Hooray for the Simplificator! It cut to the very heart of the discourse -- and the only damage was some trivial radiation leaking!

    • "It is axiomatic that the commercial colonization of new frontiers, real or virtual,..."

      It is a basic rule that any industry, built around a new idea,..."

      "must be accompanied by hyperbolic rhetorical claims..."

      will generate alot of bullshit claims.

      "that are clearly perceived after-the-fact as transparently propagandistic..."

      After a while people catch on...

      "and whose vastly inflated humanitarian forecasts are unrecognizable when compared to the inevitable outcome..."

      because it becomes ob
      • To me that style of writing, (or speaking), screams intellectual snob

        You're so right. It's always amusing to me how many 'writers' think good writing is about using long/unusual words. Good writing is about communicating. If he was Thomas Hardy then maybe the flowery prose might have a point, but in a rant like that there's no excuse for this sort of thing:

        ...given the loveliness of these drawings and the concomitant interest the reader could have in these drawings qua drawings, they are entirely

        • I don't really think I'd call him a wanker. I believe the appropriate term here would be "hack."

          And I don't mean that in a good way.
    • He definitely needs to put down his William F. Buckley Book of Big Words. It doesn't get better:

      [...] given the loveliness of these drawings and the concomitant interest the reader could have in these drawings qua drawings, they are entirely superrogatory.

      Unless you've been reading ahead in your Word-a-Day calendar, you'll need, like me, to look up concomitant and superrogatory. I'm still not sure about superrogatory, because he's actually found a word that's not in my Concise Oxford.

      The deal is seal

  • Internet comics expand the boundaries of humor on a level print, because it is more easily censored, never will.

    See

    http://www.jerkcity.com/ [jerkcity.com]

    http://www.sexylosers.com/ [sexylosers.com]

    • Much as I enjoy reading a good online comic, there are more reasons for them not being in print than some establishment conspiracy to censor them and generally keep them down.

      E.g., since you've mentioned Sexy Losers, he's had how many strips in the last year? 1? Maybe 2?

      There are plenty of porn comic books (e.g., hentai), and comic strips in adult magazines (e.g., when I last read a Playboy magazine, a long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I seem to remember a comic strip in there too.) So there is no real r
      • "Look at Dilbert or Calvin and Hobbes or, better yet, at the one that got attacked by both PvP Online and Penny Arcade: Non Sequitur. I'm not saying the individual comics are better, but I'm saying that they've produced one comic a day for years straight. No "shirt-guy stick-figures" filler strips, no "today (or this month) I don't have time to draw one", no "I forgot I was supposed to draw one in colour for today", no other excuses."

        Dont be so sure that they never had there days where they couldnt get a st
        • Yes, I remember times when artists would go on vacation and print re-runs. Webcomics have archives and give away the reruns for free, so that wouldn't work for them.
  • Short of Marvel's dotComics, which are usually 6 month old storylines set into flash. There are not alot of comic books online. DC has some cheesy lame-ass scroll all over to read comic thing on their site and there's always torrents and the CBR program but I find it miserable reading comics on a screen. The article seems to be more about web comic strips which are in no way new or news. Moving to E - comics or whatever is NOT a good idea financially for comic book companies because already they are fre
    • Short of Marvel's dotComics, which are usually 6 month old storylines set into flash. There are not alot of comic books online.

      I disagree* [slashdot.org]

      because already they are free and I think that's the ONLY way anybody would be willing to be subjected to that experience.

      Not too sure what you mean there, but if you're claiming people won't pay for webcomics, I'm sure these guys disagree [moderntales.com].
      • I just don't think people will pay for webcomics that have PREVIOUSLY been free, not in general. My point w/ Marvel and DC is that they are the biggies. If their products online are free crap as industry leaders this doesn't bode well for the chance of pay per view online distrobution of quality and popular comic books in the near future.
        • I just don't think people will pay for webcomics that have PREVIOUSLY been free

          Faans did actually. [wikipedia.org]

          My point w/ Marvel and DC is that they are the biggies. If their products online are free crap as industry leaders this doesn't bode well for the chance of pay per view online distrobution of quality and popular comic books in the near future.

          They may be industry leaders in the print comics, but in online comics, they're nobody. [keenspot.com] IMO what they do, only matters for what the other print dinosaurs do. Web
          • Wow good (albeit obscure) example. I agree w/ you 100% that web comics aren't in danger of disappearing, however this is irrelevant. The article seems to insinuate that comic books (Marvel/DC) are going to be going web... which I don't see as likely. You've probably noticed that most successful web comics are in strip format not book format. There is a good reason for that! Strips work well on a monitor... books do not. Noticed that the 6th potter leaked to web as pdf hasn't hurt sales? That's becaus
  • What a load of... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NcF ( 847200 )
    To define a comic, as I believe the article is suggesting, as a sequence of drawings, constrained by length/other matters, is the same thing as saying a poem is only a poem if it is iambic pentameter. Really, I think Mrs. Boxor (writer) has her head on backwards if she's trying to define a comic and say that web comics arn't so much comics, and I hope somebody slaps sense into her, if at all possible.
  • There aren't many, but here are a few that are more than just print-like comics repurposed for the Web.
    • Shujaat [aljazeera.net], al-Jazeera's editorial comic.
    • Mondo Mini Shows [mondominishows.com], a holdover from the dot-com boom.

    Enjoy.

  • by ErikZ ( 55491 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @02:34AM (#13353668)
    It's drawn and it's written, but is it still comics?

    Yes.

    Where are the media getting their reporters these days? Rejects from beauty school?
  • by darketernal ( 196596 ) <joshk&triplehelix,org> on Friday August 19, 2005 @02:35AM (#13353673) Homepage
    Possibly one of the greatest webcomics since the inception of webcomics is Dinosaur Comics [qwantz.com].

    Strictly speaking, it's not a comic, because the art never changes. It's identical day in, day out, and that's completely intentional. Read a few, and you'll agree with me that it is quite a comic regardless of how it is not a stereotypical comic.
  • by el_womble ( 779715 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @02:44AM (#13353690) Homepage
    ...isn't paper still better for comics? I pick up Dilbert in my mail box every morning, but thats because its a 3 pane comic that takes less than 20 secs to read. I couldn't imagine sitting down to read a graphic novel in front of my PC anymore than I could imagine sitting down in front of a PC to read a book. I know some die hards can do it, but I'm not one of them.

    The paper interface rocks. Zero eye strain, intuitive, future proof, pretty cheap and very portable. Its rubbish at animation and sound, and the searching facility can only be described as rudimentry (even with a good index). Its also renewable and recyclable.

    The only reason I can see artists moving from print to html to because of startup cost and creative control. All power to them - thats what the digital revolution is all about! But with that come piracy and constant struggle to figure out a way to make people pay for something which is percieved as free. I'd probably be more inclined to subscribe to a comic site than a news site, but I'm also more tollerant of advertising surrounding information as opposed art.

    Can you imagine reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance only to be forced to click through an advert for OCC after every page?

    Comics should be affordable to young, imaginative minds, and should be accessible as such. The web sucks for that as, however much you try, you can't just stick your pocket money in your PC and get a comic out. Even if we give children credit cards thats still a bad deal for artists, as cards are rubbish for micropayments. We shall see...
    • Idunno, I've read through the whole archives of Sluggy.com, which is a very, very long running daily webcomic. I'd say the internet + screen is a fine format for flipping through a comic book. Of course, the ads are inobtrusive, so it's pretty much just click - read - click - read. The same as turning a page.
    • ...isn't paper still better for comics? I pick up Dilbert in my mail box every morning, but thats because its a 3 pane comic that takes less than 20 secs to read. I couldn't imagine sitting down to read a graphic novel in front of my PC anymore than I could imagine sitting down in front of a PC to read a book. I know some die hards can do it, but I'm not one of them.

      In a word, yes . Comics, as well as books and every other still media requiring one to pick up fine details (such as text) are much more u

    • Paper is better for long sessions, but computer screens are fine for checking the daily strips. That said, I've at various times sat and read the entire archives to Sluggy Freelance [sluggy.com], User Friendly [userfriendly.org] (when it was still funny), Queen of Wands [queenofwands.net], and Something Positive [somethingpositive.net]. Of course, none of them was more than a year old at the time I read through them -- I can't imagine trying to read eight(?) years of Sluggy online. Hooray for the books!

      One comic that's got an interesting hybrid model is Girl Genius [girlgeniusonline.com] by Phil and
  • by CleverNickedName ( 644160 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @02:52AM (#13353711) Journal
    Next week:

    Transmetropolitan's Spider Jerusalem takes a look at the evolution of newspapers from paper to the Internet and asks: 'It's investigated and it's written, but is it still newspapers?'
  • Argon Zark [zark.com]

    You can't have any discussion of web-comics without including the father of all Internet comics.
  • Paper comics have nothing to fear from me! [spaceadmiral.com]
  • Do these count as comics [mnftiu.cc]?

    Some of the characters repeat, and the stuff goes over multiple panels. They were some of the funniest anti-war comics I saw; they captured the spirit of the time, and the cowboy-Americanness of Bush and the neo-Cons.

    These were made possible by clip art. After they spread like crazy on the web, the book came out.
  • ... i can freely say that the guy is seriously behind; webcomics have been around since '96 (the trophy for oldest webcomic that is still updated goes to http://www.sabrina-online.com/ [sabrina-online.com], closely followed by sluggy and user friendly).

    So why does he notice only now?

    You know, here in germany we have this term called "saure-gurken-zeit" (roughly translates as "pickled cucumbers period"), meaning this stretch during the summer where there are NO news at all, and the papers start publishing cooking recipes on thei
    • You know, here in germany we have this term called "saure-gurken-zeit" (roughly translates as "pickled cucumbers period"), meaning this stretch during the summer where there are NO news at all, and the papers start publishing cooking recipes on their frontpages for lack of anything better to print...

      I think it would probably be the Silly Season [wikipedia.org]. I prefer "pickled cucumbers" myself... And the best online comic is, as everyone knows, the mighty Pokey [yellow5.com] :)

  • Link pimping day!! My dailies are sinfest [sinfest.net] and suburbantribe [suburbantribe.net]
  • by jpiggot ( 800494 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:48AM (#13353821)
    "The New York Times Sarah Boxer takes a look at the evolution of comics from paper to the Internet..."

    That sentence struck me as fairly amusing.

    We started drawing our comic (link below) over a year ago, put it exclusively on the internet, and (oddly enough) grew such a devoted and wonderful audience, that we're printing a "best-of" collection this fall. We went from internet to paper.

    So in a way, I guess we're the opposite of what Sarah Boxer calls "evolution" And I'd wager we're not the only ones.


  • To my jijnd, ocne you start adding too much animation to the comic you are creating a cartoon/animation. I would expect a digital comic to be more interesting by allowing user interaction - maybe picking your own plot or ending... soemthing like the following perhaps?
    http://micomicsnet.rzero.com/cyop/ [rzero.com]

  • Check out Tapestry [tapestrycomics.com] for all your favorite comics.
    Tapestry is a directory of RSS feeds for online comics. They help you to keep up to date from within your favourite news aggregator, especially if you happen to miss a few days.
  • And while I like Kevin and Kell, User Friendly, Penny Arcade, Player versus Player, and Piled Higher and Deeper, there is one comic I've found on-line which is my favorite.

    It has black humour, confronting topics, and it's furry, but it's not warm and cuddly furry by any stretch of the imagination.

    Jack [pholph.com]

  • Comics are like blogs - anyone can now create them thanks to the web, but most are crap. I follow links to comics sometimes and read them wondering how people find them entertaining. They usually involve poor artwork, poor writing, zero humour, humour for twelve year olds, or a combination of all of these.
  • been a few years... (Score:2, Informative)

    by SecularG ( 901350 )
    web comics have been around for years. Comics like PennyArcade and Ctrl+Alt+Del [cad-comic.com] are pretty successful and have strong followings. I would have to say that the New York Times is running this is story several years to late.
  • All this talk about digital comics and not a peep about UserFriendly [userfriendly.org]?? This 'is' /. right?

    I check it daily and have several of the books in print. It's a great example of how well comic strips can work online; in fact the books actually feel like they are lacking in comparison to the web site.

    What I'm really waiting for is the digital comic as invented by Tom Hank in Big, all those years ago. I don't know about the rest of you, but it made me drool at the time. So, my powerbook is a bit bigger, bu

    • All this talk about digital comics and not a peep about UserFriendly [userfriendly.org]?? This 'is' /. right?

      UF is a lot like PvP. Both seem to go for quantity over quality, often rehashing the same tired old jokes. It gets tedious. A lot like newspaper comics actually.

      Penny Arcade takes a different approach. They only do a few comics per week, but they're usually really good. Not always, but...they don't keep pulling out the same old gag like Scott Kurtz.

  • Bill Waterson (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jonadab ( 583620 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @07:41AM (#13354292) Homepage Journal
    IMO, the number one force in changing the world of comics in the last twenty years has been the influence of Bill Waterson. Other comic strip artists (well, the ones who were paying attention) have picked up two things as a result of his strip.

    The first is that the strip needs to engage the reader every single day; I think other comic strip artists had known that in the past, but they had forgotten it, and the comic strips of the 1980s were a bland world wherein out of an entire page of comics, with eight or ten strips, the reader hoped to get a chuckle out of one of them. That trend has reversed now, thanks in large part to Waterson.

    The second thing, however, is in the long term probably the more important influence of Waterson's work -- not because it's not important to engage the reader every day, but because the other strips would have figured that out anyway. But Waterson was the one who rebelled against the constrained panel layout that the newspapers and syndicates had been enforcing on everyone and experimented with more interesting layouts. This has inspired other strips, and will presumably continue to do so. Most strips still fit in the standard panel layouts, but the door has been opened for other possibilities.

    And that's where we come back to topic, because publishing on the web gives comic strip artists the opportunity to do, layout-wise, whatever they want. Some of them are taking advantage of that. This is the beginning of a whole new *kind*, IMO, of comic strip.
  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @08:16AM (#13354442) Homepage
    http://www.questionablecontent.net/ [questionablecontent.net]
    http://www.dieselsweeties.com/ [dieselsweeties.com]
    http://www.catandgirl.com/ [catandgirl.com]

    http://www.vgcats.com/comics/ [vgcats.com]
    http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php [penny-arcade.com]
    http://www.megatokyo.com/index.php?strip_id=631 [megatokyo.com]
    http://www.bobandgeorge.com/Archive/Apr04.php?date =1 [bobandgeorge.com]

    There must be a way to just "slip" these into the discussion, but why bother? What's the good of an article ranting about webcomics without finding new, good web comics?
  • Someone figured out how to scan an image and put it on the web? WTF?!!! You know what would be really cool? A comic about gaming. I really hope someone comes out with one. And maybe one about geeks who spam satan while wearing clothes 10 years out of date.
  • Really, reinventing comics, is that what's going on here? Or is it just putting a comic up on the interweb?
    Let's ask Penny Arcade what they think about this [penny-arcade.com].
  • Anyone remember that one? Guy scanned in Family Circus cartoons every couple days or so, people would submit new captions for them, guy and his friends would review them and put up the best (and the funniest of the worst) ones. Very perverse, very, very funny. He had to shut it down when Bill Keene complained. Well, at first he wasn't going to, but then he talked to Bill, who said, "Basically, this comic is me and my family. You and your contributers aren't just breaking copyright law, you are making me out
  • Quinton for Prez [iboxpublishing.com]


    -FL

  • over inflated Ego.

    His points are:
    When something goes online, it changes... well duh. When anything is put an a different medium it changes to some extent.

    People are doing it wrong, because that's not how he thinks it should be.

    People who put there comic on the web should have to pay him.

Lend money to a bad debtor and he will hate you.

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