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Theory of webcomics

BVC confronts "ongoing" problem

"Outpost", the Op/Ed column over at Broken Voice Comics, this week argues that the ongoing format so common among comic book titles is stifling good story-telling and is responsible for reducing most comic plot-lines to mediocre soaps.

How to Lose Your Webcomic Readership in 10 Days

Webcartoonists the world over are always looking for new ways to gain more of a following. After all, the number of people who know about webcomics is much smaller than those who do not. The number of people who become aware of webcomics will slowly rise over the years, but essentially the audience we are catering to is pretty small in the grand scheme of the web. With so much emphasis placed on gaining new readership, I thought I'd take a different approach on the subject: how to lose your readership.

So You Want to Create a Webcomic?

I rarely get emails about the 'toon, (I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, but I've learned to deal with it) but when I do, it's usually from someone asking me for advice on how to create a comic. While I don't think I'm the best person to give advice, here's what I've personally learned from drawing a webcomic for nearly 8 years.

On Demand, meet On Supply (RSS)

Update or die?

When I first looked into making a webcomic, back in 2002, the one thing I heard most often was, 'Update regularly or don't bother at all.' The one canon rule I could suss out in webcomics was that you must update often, and you must hit your schedule every chance you could.

These days RSS (Really Simple Syndication) (picked the least ugly page with an explanation) has taken the thunder out of that sole commandment. In the process, it may have opened the field in a way unique to webcomics, allowing us to do more with serialization than we ever could in traditional media. On-demand was the first real revolution in online thinking-- On-supply is the next, and in terms of theoretical discussion, we're missing out on the potential. Blogs have gotten there, so have news services, but many webcomics are still stuck with outdated thinking that's inhibiting their true potential.

Unusual Webcomic Media

What unusual media have you seen and appreciated on Webcomics?

I recall at least one comic I've seen which was taken with a webcam and had posed action figures and rubber dinosaurs as the characters with text bubbles pasted on. I can't say it was an interesting comic but the idea at least sparked my interest even if the dialogue and story didn't.

I personally use 3D rendering for one of my webcomics and I like the freedom it gives me to play with camera angles and textures I could never draw in my lifetime.

Broken Voice Comics mans the Outpost

As from this weekend, "Outpost", the weekly series of articles originally written for Comic Avalanche by David A J Berner (author of online graphic novel "Shades" and former Senior Editor of Midnite Comics) will enjoy a full re-run at Broken Voice Comics. The first article is available to read now at and new articles will be added each weekend.

Cerebus Syndrome: What Makes a Success or Failure?

XEREXES: I CLEANED OUT THE SPAM FROM THIS THREAD AND I'M PROMOTING IT TO THE FRONT PAGE. This thread is/was a great discussion of the Cerebus Syndrome until it got hijacked by spam - maybe now we can pick it back up again.I am doing research for a paper I am writing about webcomics. The specific topic is based on the "Cerebus Syndrome" described by Eric Burns of Websnark. For those of you who don't know, the general concept is that a strip starts out light, funny, and fairly shallow, and then eventually adds depth, characterization, and dramatic story to become something that is a complex amalgam of comedy and drama. A "Cerebus Syndrome" can either succeed or fail. However, what exactly "success" or "failure" means in this context is not at all clear. What I am attempting to do is to develop a rubric for judging the success or failure of a "Cerebus Syndrome" attempt and then use it to judge several example comics. The comics that I am specifically looking at are "College Roomies from Hell!!!" by Maritza Campos, "General Protection Fault" by Jefferey Darlington, the original "Roomies" by David Willis, and "Sluggy Freelance" by Pete Abrams. What would be very helful is if anyone who has an opinion would post on any or all of the following things: -What makes a successful Cerebus syndrome? A failed one? (I have my own ideas, but I am interested to see what others think) -For each comic mentioned above, is it a successful Cerebus syndrome attempt? A failure? Not an attempt at all? Somewhere in between? -Do you know of other particularly good examples of Cerebus syndrome attempts, either successful or not? (I know some others, but I thought these were the most distinctive.) If you do not have anything more to say than yes this is a success or no it isn't, that's still useful, so feel free to post anyway. Also, if you would not like me to quote you, please say so in your post. Thank you all in advance for your help.

Tuesday Morning News Round-up

Fleen interviews Dave Kellett (syndicated creator of Sheldon).  Fleen also wrote recently about Kellett's latest print collection of Sheldon comics.

Eric Burns is commenting on the kissing and the hair at Shortpacked.  Creator David Willis apparently has included Eric and Wednesday White in the current story arc.

The Outer Circle celebrates it one year anniversary with a week of guest strips from Ali Graham (HOUSD), David Buist (Taking the Bi-pass), Tyson Smith (Pirate and Alien), Frank Page (Bob the Squirrel), Joe Dunn (Joe Loves Crappy Movies) and d!o (John & John) among others.

Joe Zabel has a new article up at the Webcomics Examiner exploring a theory of introverted and extroverted webcomics.

The Comics Worth Reading blog recommends checking out Spark-Tower Wilson’s Silent Song by Jeff Coleman and Stephen Greenwood-Hyde.  CWR notes that "it’s cool that they’ve captured the texture of paper underneath the art" and points to this interview with the creators as well.

Digital Strips notes that Keven Volo (creator of PixelSrips) has taken on the daunting task of putting together an eBook on how to market a webcomic dubbed "Marketing Your Comic"”. Many artists and creators are using the web to get their work out there. They create something, they build a site and upload all of it, and wait. Just because you post your work, doesn't mean they will come. Part one of "“Marketing Your Comic"” is out now as a free download at his website.

Webcomics collective, Hyena Comics which includes Taking the Bi-Pass, Bob the Squirrel, and Bored and Evil is currently looking for additional webcomic(s) to join. If you are interested, visit and submit your webcomic for consideration.

Boot_Error released it's first book which collects the first 102 webcomics and includes a 12 part exclusive storyline entitled "The Case Of The Missing Panda".  For more details, visit this page.

Exploring Timing in Comics

Joanna Estep writes about timing in comics at Newsarama. Scott McCloud links to it this morning noting it's "right up my alley, obviously." It's an interesting piece with a theory of how real time and "imagined time" work together when reading panels.

Post President's Day News Update

We should have a couple more articles for the magazine posted tonight. Comixpedia is important to me, but I take my President's Day holiday weekend seriously...

Phil Kahn has an interesting breakdown of an unconventional "panel" layout in a recent Gossamer Commons.

Fleen takes a look at Penny Arcade's latest print venture, Attack of the Bacon Robots and focuses on the Afterword in which Tycho writes about "webcomics" and from the excerpt, it sounds very much like what Tycho has previously written online. Which is neither here nor there really. Maybe next Fleen will get around to reviewing the, ya know, actual cartoons in AOTBR...?