What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

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What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby CMikeNIke on Tue May 01, 2012 4:27 pm

Now, it's well established by anyone who's written about webcomics you shouldn't go into looking for success/fame/big money. That said, what is the least feasible type of web comic? What's really hard to make work? Whether it be because there's not really a market it's so off the wall or esoteric, or because that particular type is super-over saturating the web comic reading communities. Or anything else you can think of. 

And I say type instead of genre so as to not exclude everything from story heavy chapter types to gag strips or whatever. 

Personally I think that slice of life is really hard to do well without introducing fantastic elements, or being dull. Other than that, Superheroic titles are tough because there's so much of it already, and the bar is set fairly high (depending on your thoughts of super hero comics, of course).  So I'm clearly some sort of masochist for wanting to do a super hero webcomic...

What do you think?
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby VinnieD on Tue May 01, 2012 8:23 pm

Massive crossovers. They're fun, but it's hard to keep that many artists enthusiastic about the project and keep their contributions coming on on time.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby Terotrous on Tue May 01, 2012 10:18 pm

Web-comics, like basically anything else on the internet, are vulnerable to the fact that the average web browser has the attention span of a gnat. As such, any strip that requires a substantial investment of time to be enjoyable is at an immediate disadvantage.


However, if the art is good enough, you can get away with anything. So basically, you'd better make sure your comic is either gorgeous or the comic displayed on the front page is totally hilarious.


But of course, that's assuming you care about being popular. Since we already established that making money through comics also doesn't work, this is probably not something that should govern how you decide what to write.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby Phact0rri on Wed May 02, 2012 1:40 am

I'm assuming your referring to genre being how you referenced Super heroes. Though I got to say I'm hard pressed to really think of genre that can't at all never ever ever work in webcomics. First thing to concider is there is not a lot of basis on how to relate to "what doesn't work". No editors, no sell quotas, and functionally anything that can be put on a A2 size paper can be thrown on the web without much issue.

As for formating. I think thats where the drama lies. I don't think webcomics should be the same shape and size as regular comics. Sure there's the call to make printed versions of the comic that started on the web. But I believe we haven't exhausted a lot of the lines of the "infinate canvas" but most page layouts feel the invisible boundaries of what will fit on a comics page. Also Augmented reality, and that new 3D stuff. Also I don't think holograms and foil covers work so well on the web.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby McDuffies on Wed May 02, 2012 5:49 am

CMikeNIke wrote:Now, it's well established by anyone who's written about we comics you shouldn't go into looking for success/fame/big money. That said, what is the least feasible type of web comic? What's really hard to make work? Whether it be because there's not really a market it's so off the wall or esoteric, or because that particular type is super-over saturate the web comic reading communities. Or anything else you can think of. 

I've never seen french/belgian-school-influenced comics doing particularly well on internet. I don't see the kind of low-key but grand adventures that I've read in Tintin or Spirou because people seem to require adventure or action comics to be more dramatic. Also, their kind of humor is missing as people seem to require humor to be punctuated by the newspaper comic rhythm. I don't mean to say these comics would be impossible to do well on internet (I've seen it done), just that there doesn't seem to be any audience.
When I think about it, I rarely see straight adventure comics, unless it's crossbred with some other genre like fantasy of sf. It's a genre that requires you start a large narrative, plan it out and stick with it to the end, and people just seem to not do that unless they have some additional mothivation, like their love of vampires or elves.
Anything that requires a fair amount of research (I am, of course, referring to my attempts to write historical fiction, but some other genres require research too) is difficult to do because it requires a kind of time that anyone with day job doesn't have, and that time isn't even spent drawing or writing comics. People succeed, though.

Personally I think that slice of life is really hard to do well without introducing fantastic elements, or being dull.

I can imagine something like Joe Matt or Alison Bechdel stuff working really well in webcomics, and even being fairly popular. You just have to dig deep and do away with vanity and there's a goldmine in the most ordinarily life.

And I say type instead of genre so as to not exclude everything from story heavy chapter types to gag strips or whatever. 

I imagine this will soon devolve into arguement over whether manga is a "type" or not.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Wed May 02, 2012 6:40 am

McDuffies wrote:I imagine this will soon devolve into arguement over whether manga is a "type" or not.


Not to poke the ant-hill but "manga" is not a type - just as "comic" isn't a type - however there are certain unique-ish genres within Japanese comics (or at the very least unique tropes/cliches) same as within any culture's entertainment there is going to be differences from other cultures.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby CMikeNIke on Wed May 02, 2012 8:50 am

Phact I said type so as to not limit it to Genres. I probably should have said conventions of webcomics. I used two genres because those are two paths you can take for webcomics I think are hardest, but if someone thinks comics that are long narratives are less likely to work that's what they can put. Or any other comic-based idea. Sorry about the miscommunication.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby McDuffies on Wed May 02, 2012 11:41 am

Not to poke the ant-hill but "manga" is not a type - just as "comic" isn't a type - however there are certain unique-ish genres within Japanese comics (or at the very least unique tropes/cliches) same as within any culture's entertainment there is going to be differences from other cultures.

My joke about how people on internet argue about the silliest, most imaginary dictionary-defying topics, backfires. :P
Seriously. Check the dictionary.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby K-Dawg on Wed May 02, 2012 6:31 pm

Sports.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby Terotrous on Wed May 02, 2012 6:49 pm

K-Dawg wrote:Sports.

That's odd, I can almost recall this one sports comic that was pretty good, but it ended way before its time.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby Bustertheclown on Wed May 02, 2012 8:59 pm

Terotrous wrote:Web-comics, like basically anything else on the internet, are vulnerable to the fact that the average web browser has the attention span of a gnat. As such, any strip that requires a substantial investment of time to be enjoyable is at an immediate disadvantage.


Phact0rri wrote:As for formating. I think thats where the drama lies. I don't think webcomics should be the same shape and size as regular comics. Sure there's the call to make printed versions of the comic that started on the web. But I believe we haven't exhausted a lot of the lines of the "infinate canvas" but most page layouts feel the invisible boundaries of what will fit on a comics page. Also Augmented reality, and that new 3D stuff. Also I don't think holograms and foil covers work so well on the web.


I think that the technological advances of the internet over the last several years, along with the publishing trends that have come along with those advances have come a long way in solving those particular riddles. Since we don't really have to worry about load times anymore, and as online publishing moves farther away from the print syndicate method of old, I've noticed recently a lot of comics, including some pretty popular entries, batch uploading masses of strips or pages to a single post, blog style, and they seem a lot more inclined to post when the work is finished, rather than sticking to some arbitrary yet rigid update schedule.

This makes me happy. I've never been much for the whole page-a-day model being used for anything that isn't a standalone gag strip. It just doesn't make sense to me, and never has, especially when it comes to long-form narratives. Well, now what I'm seeing when I bother to look around is stuff that gets loaded up all at once, and keeps scrolling downward until the story is finished. It may not be the ultimate artistic application of the infinite canvas (which I'm philosophically ambiguous about, anyway, but that's another topic) but it is a fine utilitarian application of the infinite canvas theory. What's more, it allows for creators to stick with the standard page layout by splicing together the pages into a longer downscrolling or sidescrolling page which can be unspliced and put into a traditional bound format with little to no trouble. It's a win/win. Creators aren't bound by a publishing method that doesn't suit most comic formats, and readers don't have to worry about impatiently waiting for little bites of a story each week or having to "save up" sufficient enough story to make the read satisfying. It appears all at once.

It really seems that creators are finally realizing that publishing can be a matter of personal preference, and we don't have to make up weird dogmas about how a thing should be uploaded in order to suit a notion about readers' habits that was obsolete even before it was adapted to the web (I mean, seriously, the newspaper syndicate structure was probably the lousiest method for webcomics to emulate, and I still have no idea why it gained so quickly in popularity.) And, as a bonus, if the creator is on the ball, there will be regular updates, which was never a guarantee with flaky cartoonists, anyway.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Thu May 03, 2012 2:03 am

Bustertheclown wrote:I think that the technological advances of the internet over the last several years, along with the publishing trends that have come along with those advances have come a long way in solving those particular riddles. Since we don't really have to worry about load times anymore, and as online publishing moves farther away from the print syndicate method of old, I've noticed recently a lot of comics, including some pretty popular entries, batch uploading masses of strips or pages to a single post, blog style, and they seem a lot more inclined to post when the work is finished, rather than sticking to some arbitrary yet rigid update schedule.

This makes me happy. I've never been much for the whole page-a-day model being used for anything that isn't a standalone gag strip. It just doesn't make sense to me, and never has, especially when it comes to long-form narratives. Well, now what I'm seeing when I bother to look around is stuff that gets loaded up all at once, and keeps scrolling downward until the story is finished. It may not be the ultimate artistic application of the infinite canvas (which I'm philosophically ambiguous about, anyway, but that's another topic) but it is a fine utilitarian application of the infinite canvas theory. What's more, it allows for creators to stick with the standard page layout by splicing together the pages into a longer downscrolling or sidescrolling page which can be unspliced and put into a traditional bound format with little to no trouble. It's a win/win. Creators aren't bound by a publishing method that doesn't suit most comic formats, and readers don't have to worry about impatiently waiting for little bites of a story each week or having to "save up" sufficient enough story to make the read satisfying. It appears all at once.

It really seems that creators are finally realizing that publishing can be a matter of personal preference, and we don't have to make up weird dogmas about how a thing should be uploaded in order to suit a notion about readers' habits that was obsolete even before it was adapted to the web (I mean, seriously, the newspaper syndicate structure was probably the lousiest method for webcomics to emulate, and I still have no idea why it gained so quickly in popularity.) And, as a bonus, if the creator is on the ball, there will be regular updates, which was never a guarantee with flaky cartoonists, anyway.


That is an intriguing idea, it solves my main complaint about webcomic storytelling - namely updating page at a time doesn't allow for a proper presentation of the story at all times.

I might have to try batch uploading one day - the only problem would be motivating myself if I don't have a set update schedule.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby McDuffies on Thu May 03, 2012 5:02 am

My feelings toward daily publishing haven't changed from the last time this was the subject but that was a long time ago so I'll repeat them. But look, these are the reasons why I would choose this publishing model. They are not reasons why I think you should choose this publishing model. I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do and I certainly don't think that all webcomics should follow the same model, specially not to follow it regardless of whether it suits the comic's writing and timing or author's needs. I'm not advocating anything, I just wanna say why I think current model is so compelling:

-I think that readers like page-by-page publishing model. I know a lot of people who assemble their picks on bloglines or elsewhere and then read them every morning, much like you would read funny pages with your morning coffee. With page-by-page publishing, you enter the reader's home, you become a part of his daily life. It's a sort of intimacy that you don't get otherwise.

-There may not be too many comics that update in batches to make any kind of conclusion, but otherwise comparing success of comics that update regularly to comics that update irregularly, it seems like regular and often updates, even if they are a few panels, are an important factor to success of a comic. Constant presence and constant giving of reasons to reader to go back to your comic turns out to be more important for capturing reader's attention than quality of the comic itself.

-Page-by-page is great for motivation, you don't have to wait to finish a batch of comics before you publish them and get some sort of feedback. This is specially important for all the amateurs in the medium, who can afford to spend much less time on comics than professionals do, so a slower schedule is a given.

-Particular blend of comedic timing and long-term storytelling that you see in webcomics is a single most idiosyncratic addition to comic medium and as such I like it.

-I don't think that page-by-page publishing is such a big leap from printed comics. I believe that a comic page should stand on it's own in a printed comic as well; turning of the page is a short breaking point whether author has intended it or not, the pace of reading the comic is punctuated by page turning, so good authors account for that and make the end of the page a place where breaking point comes naturally. So since pages are statements for themselves, in a way, it's not such a big leap to publish them page by page.

-On the other hand, many other comic formats don't offer proper representation either. Comic books in particular, are often snippets of larger narrative that don't make much sense, nor are even remotely entertaining, when read alone. Add a few splash pages here and there, account for artist and writer biding their time, and you end up with as much story in those 24 pages as you would in a 6-panel webcomic page.

The biggest disadvantage is that if you wanna publish page-by-page, you have to keep that in mind and plan your pages accordingly, like have a gag at the end if it's a humor comic or whatever you have. To me it's not so much a restriction as a challenge, as I always impose restrictions on myself anyway.

(As for infinite canvas I gather that it's supposed to include anything that isn't strict A4 format so things that I'm doing too. But when you say "infinite canvas" most of people think those stretched comics that you have to scroll around a lot to read. Not that I haven't seen some fine comics done that way, but I don't see them taking prevalence or anything, in fact now more than ever I rarely see them. It seems like they may as well be the 3D of webcomics.)

(When I think of how webcomic past has been marked by big rifts caused by different "models", I can't understand why people thought these models should have been exclusive of each other? Why many webcomickers were so passionately involved in this arguement that they openly hoped that the other model would bite the dust dragging several small business with it, is beyond me. Though not beyond the psychologists maybe.)
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby Phact0rri on Thu May 03, 2012 9:37 am

what is interesting about the batch loading blog style set up. Thats how they use to do comic books. they would just glue in sunday paper comics in strips down the page.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby McDuffies on Thu May 03, 2012 9:52 am

Phact0rri wrote:what is interesting about the batch loading blog style set up. Thats how they use to do comic books. they would just glue in sunday paper comics in strips down the page.

You mean like old Mandrack and Phantom comics... I always wondered why they had to constantly recap what happened in previous panels.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby Phact0rri on Thu May 03, 2012 7:48 pm

McDuffies wrote:
Phact0rri wrote:what is interesting about the batch loading blog style set up. Thats how they use to do comic books. they would just glue in sunday paper comics in strips down the page.

You mean like old Mandrack and Phantom comics... I always wondered why they had to constantly recap what happened in previous panels.


I've read bios on some old comic artists like Eisner, and kirby and what not and they always mention just glueing and photocopying the pages for the early magazines before they started experimenting with the full page layouts.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby Terotrous on Thu May 03, 2012 8:26 pm

McDuffies wrote:-Page-by-page is great for motivation, you don't have to wait to finish a batch of comics before you publish them and get some sort of feedback. This is specially important for all the amateurs in the medium, who can afford to spend much less time on comics than professionals do, so a slower schedule is a given.

This is very true. I'm currently working on a secret project that won't be posted until it is completely done, and sometimes it's hard to stay motivated. The more manageable size of a strip-a-day comic is definitely a lot easier to work with.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby MixedMyth on Thu May 10, 2012 1:52 pm

I would actually say action scenes. Because webcomics update at most once a day, if you have a long action scene that takes up five pages...that's a whole week if you update every day. And over a month if you update once a week.

Now there are ways to make action scenes work...condense it to one page, or have other interesting things go on in the meantime. But if it's just one long, big fight you're guaranteed to bring your comic's flow to a grinding halt.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Thu May 10, 2012 5:52 pm

MixedMyth wrote:I would actually say action scenes. Because webcomics update at most once a day, if you have a long action scene that takes up five pages...that's a whole week if you update every day. And over a month if you update once a week.

Now there are ways to make action scenes work...condense it to one page, or have other interesting things go on in the meantime. But if it's just one long, big fight you're guaranteed to bring your comic's flow to a grinding halt.

Especially since so few people are good at drawing an action scene so that it's visually itneresting to begin with. Too often I see flat motionless drawings or too many details that distract.
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Re: What can't work (easily) in web-comickry

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Thu May 10, 2012 6:00 pm

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:
MixedMyth wrote:I would actually say action scenes. Because webcomics update at most once a day, if you have a long action scene that takes up five pages...that's a whole week if you update every day. And over a month if you update once a week.

Now there are ways to make action scenes work...condense it to one page, or have other interesting things go on in the meantime. But if it's just one long, big fight you're guaranteed to bring your comic's flow to a grinding halt.

Especially since so few people are good at drawing an action scene so that it's visually itneresting to begin with. Too often I see flat motionless drawings or too many details that distract.


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