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August 18, 2005

Honorable NON mention ...

If you've been reading this blog for long (more than six months or so), you probably know I love webcomics. At the old place, I had links to several comics I read on a daily basis, and there are a lot more now than there were before (I'm up to 15 right now). So when I saw that the New York Times had done a story about comics on the web, I had to check it out.

I was disappointed.

The article talks about cartoonists trying to make money on the web, but ignores the sale of merchandise that so many depend on for their money. It focuses on those who have subscriber content. Many of the comics that I read do offer extra content for subscribers (all of the Keenspot comics do, IIRC), but I don't miss out on anything by not subscribing. If I had the money, I'd probably subscribe to Sluggy Freelance, just because being a "Defender of the Nifty" just sounds cool. But I thought the lack of any mention about merchandise was a shortcoming in the article.

The most glaring omission, though, was a mention of any web comics I'd ever read, or even heard of. No Sluggy, no PvP, no Penny Arcade. No GPF. No mention of Keenspot at all.

I didn't expect them to mention some of the comics I read, because they aren't hugely popular. But those I just mentioned are almost web comic legends. Even if you don't read Sluggy, odds are you've heard of it if you read web comics. Same with PvP and Penny Arcade. It almost seemed like the author of the article started with one guy, checked out one contest, and looked at the comics they mentioned. Didn't seem to me that there was any interaction with the community at all.

And that's one of the points of web comics -- the community. That's what keeps many cartoonists going. The article talks about cartoonists "always begging for funds through PayPal." The strength of community is what keeps them going, because when they ask, their readers deliver.

The article gives webcomics some publicity, and any publicity is good publicity. But it also misses a big portion of the web comics community, and can leave readers with the impression that web comics are a small but growing medium. In fact, it is a large and growing medium, full of diverse comics drawn by artists with diverse styles and abilities. There are new comics being released every day, it seems. Go read a few!

PS -- a great resource for those of us who enjoy web comics is Comic Alert. You can subscribe to an RSS feed that will deliver your favorite comics to your RSS reader.

{EDITED: Guess I should have actually given you a link to the story, huh? It requires a free subscription, but if you enter piewview for the username and blogger42 for the password, it will let you in.}

Posted by Warren Kelly at August 18, 2005 01:32 PM | TrackBack
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