Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

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Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby LibertyCabbage on Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:57 am

What are some of your ideas that aren't for webcomics, but are for stuff that's related to webcomics? Which webcomics-related projects already out there do you like the ideas of, but feel like they could be done better, or at least done differently? And what webcomics-related stuff do you think other webcomic creators/fans would want to see that isn't really being done yet?
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Re: Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Fri Jul 03, 2015 6:33 am

Can you explain a little more in depth what you're referring to? When I think of "webcomics related stuff" i just think of conventions, livestreams, things like that, and am having a huge chunk of sight missing when it comes to anythign more inventive than that.

It's tough for me to answer either way because while I love talking with people in comment sections and have made a lot of great friends through sites like this and smackjeeves forums, for me that's where the buck seems to stop as far as "what I want to do regarding these projects." I write and draw my comic, I put it online, sometimes people respond, when I respond back sometimes we get a dialogue going. And then vice versa for their comic- I want ot read it, respond to it, again if I get a dialogue out of it that's great. But there's no comic I like enough to go to a meet up for (also part of the reasons I've never gone to a con in general) or even to spend money on besides, like, through advertising. I'm not interested in the tertiary materials produced by a creator unless it's someone I happen to be friends with. I don't feel inclined to watch a livestream, if I have questions for the creator I'll just ask them in a coment or email, I probably don't care enough to post on a messageboard dedicated to the specific comic.

So it's kind of a dead-end question for me personally because as much as I love the medium, once it gets too far away from the actual comic and creation thereof my interest peters out.

The closest thing I guess is creator-oriented- I like places where creators can just get together and talk shop about the writing and drawing process. It's inconsistent though and it's an easier topic to bandy about when it's just me and one person I'm close to rather than a forum. I have places where this discussion happens sometimes, but tends to focus more on selling or going to cons/ the "suggested business model" I guess, which doesn't interest me at all, or someone comes to the table whose entire way of creating just seems so far removed from anything I do that I find it difficult to relate to them, or give or take advice away from. Most people don't want to talk shop as much as I do, and I can easily see where that's coming from because it's kind of like listening to someone talking about, I dunno, custom repairs they did on their car or something, it's not interesting unless you a. also do custom car repairs AND b. are familiar with that person's specific car and have vested interest in it.

But like I said, I might just be missing a huge option because it's not something I've ever really spent time thinking about before. I also feel like I'm probably in the minority here, I think especially with internet culture you get a lot of people for whom "what I read/watch/etc" is an inseparable and foundational aspect of "who I am" and therefore find a lot more value in communities, meetups, and opportunities to be more, like, pious in their fandom.
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Re: Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby LibertyCabbage on Sat Jul 04, 2015 10:38 am

Thanks for your detailed response, but I'm really referring specifically to the idea of webcomics journalism. I'm not sure exactly how to define that, but I'm basically talking about webcomics fans creating journalism-type media about webcomics. Webcomic reviews are the most obvious example, but I'm curious as to what other forms of webcomics journalism people think would be cool to see, or might have potential to be cool if done right. And the explicit reason I made this thread is that I might be interested at some point in expanding the Webcomic Police to be more than just reviews, but I want to get a sense of others' interests first.
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Re: Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:06 pm

Okay, I see what you mean. I know there's been sites in the past that have done like tabloid style highlights of "what's going on this week in webcomics" but my experience with those is pretty limited because they usually all tended to discuss the same ten webcomics everyone knows about and either actively follows or deliberately does not (as opposed to comics where the only reason you wouldn't read it is because you hadn't heard much about it or heard about it at all before).

Though to get extremely literal, it's interesting (to me at least) to think of different ways webcomics journalism might resemble a real newspaper. Looking at how different politically bent comics handle discussing the same real life event might be kind of amusing. An obituary column drawing attention to comics that either deliberately ended or seem to have gone to that great hiatus in the sky would be kind of funny (and who knows it may be the kick in the pants people in the second category need to get to work again). One could also report on actual drama that unfolds between different creators, creators and fans, etc, though that also gets kind of gossipy (and may encourage harassment) and may be one of those things that's better left discussed in shitty hole-in-the-wall forums than presented as news.

Reportings on people's Patreons and perceived worths would be kind of a new thing. Like take two comics comparable in popularity leverage and note that Creator J updates daily and makes this much per month whereas Creator A updates every three weeks or so despite promises to update biweekly and still makes a killing more than J.

Other comparisons may include looking at a creator's old art (whether within their current comic or from a preveious project) and showing how far they have (or have not) come in that time.

I think youv'e done this before in your reviews, but articles where a topic is analyzed over a few different comics as opposed to just reviewing one comic in its entirety are also interesting. Like to pick a random example, transgendered characters being represented- obviously there's mostly going to be the fetish comics, but then there's also some that genuinely try to tackle the subject meaningfully, what makes one representation less offensive than another? That particular subject is probably either overtrod or just not something worth spending that much time analyzing but any umbrella topic that spans different comics (and even genres) may get people interested in a discussion.

Idk if any of these are more in line with what you're thinking of but maybe it'll jumpstart somebody else to have a more relevant idea.
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Re: Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby LibertyCabbage on Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:48 am

Awesome. That's the kinda stuff I was looking for.

Okay, I see what you mean. I know there's been sites in the past that have done like tabloid style highlights of "what's going on this week in webcomics" but my experience with those is pretty limited because they usually all tended to discuss the same ten webcomics everyone knows about and either actively follows or deliberately does not (as opposed to comics where the only reason you wouldn't read it is because you hadn't heard much about it or heard about it at all before).
That sounds like Tangents. I get the appeal, but I wouldn't do that.

Though to get extremely literal, it's interesting (to me at least) to think of different ways webcomics journalism might resemble a real newspaper. Looking at how different politically bent comics handle discussing the same real life event might be kind of amusing. An obituary column drawing attention to comics that either deliberately ended or seem to have gone to that great hiatus in the sky would be kind of funny (and who knows it may be the kick in the pants people in the second category need to get to work again). One could also report on actual drama that unfolds between different creators, creators and fans, etc, though that also gets kind of gossipy (and may encourage harassment) and may be one of those things that's better left discussed in shitty hole-in-the-wall forums than presented as news.
One advantage of being more newspaper-y is that it'd make the blog more active by letting me do smaller pieces in between the longer ones. Like, in your first example, I could post pages/strips from three-ish political webcomics and write a bit about them. I'd have to search for them, though, since I don't know of many. There are obviously a lot of non-webcomics political cartoons, but I really just want to cover webcomics. As for the hiatus thing, I could do police blotter gags where I joke about hiatus'd webcartoonists getting arrested or killed. It's kind of douchey, but, really, I think most webcartoonists would just be glad to have their work acknowledged in any manner, and it would be ridiculous enough to not be taken seriously. And while I know I should be focusing on actual reviews instead of gags, I've been able to do the joke posts really quickly since I'm just making random shit up. As for "drama," I wouldn't cover gossip-y stuff, but I would cover sketchy behavior. Some examples where I did that are my reviews of A Link to the Webcomic, UnCONventional, and Shredded Moose. Stuff like tracing and plagiarism could also merit coverage. So, basically, situations where someone did something shitty and deserves to get called out for it.

Reportings on people's Patreons and perceived worths would be kind of a new thing. Like take two comics comparable in popularity leverage and note that Creator J updates daily and makes this much per month whereas Creator A updates every three weeks or so despite promises to update biweekly and still makes a killing more than J.
There's probably enough material for me to do at least one article on Patreon. I mean, it's kinda crazy how big it's gotten already even though it's still pretty new.

Other comparisons may include looking at a creator's old art (whether within their current comic or from a preveious project) and showing how far they have (or have not) come in that time.
This idea seems to be the most difficult, but I might be able to work with it.

I think youv'e done this before in your reviews, but articles where a topic is analyzed over a few different comics as opposed to just reviewing one comic in its entirety are also interesting. Like to pick a random example, transgendered characters being represented- obviously there's mostly going to be the fetish comics, but then there's also some that genuinely try to tackle the subject meaningfully, what makes one representation less offensive than another? That particular subject is probably either overtrod or just not something worth spending that much time analyzing but any umbrella topic that spans different comics (and even genres) may get people interested in a discussion.
This idea's really helpful since I've had a problem keeping up with requests. Sort of like I did with that review where I put two single-panel gag webcomics together, I could do two or three webcomics together that have something significant in common. I could then compare/contrast them a bit, write about the subject, and then score them based on how well each one covered the subject. As long as I can do those in a high-quality way, I think they'd be pretty entertaining while also helping more webcomics get attention.

Idk if any of these are more in line with what you're thinking of but maybe it'll jumpstart somebody else to have a more relevant idea.
These ideas are definitely helpful. I just don't want to get too comfortable doing the same thing all the time, especially since there's a lot of room for experimentation.
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Re: Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby Bustertheclown on Wed Jul 08, 2015 9:20 pm

Is it really all that necessary any longer to make a distinction between comics on the web and comics found in other formats?
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Re: Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby LibertyCabbage on Fri Jul 10, 2015 7:31 am

Bustertheclown wrote:Is it really all that necessary any longer to make a distinction between comics on the web and comics found in other formats?
I'm not interested in discussing that right now. I am, however, interested in hearing what you have to say about the questions I presented in my initial post.
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Re: Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby LibertyCabbage on Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:41 am

I'm also looking into doing something nonwriting-ish to supplement the blog, like live-stream reviewing or podcasts or whatever. One idea would be to have a format where people can submit samples for informal, quick critiques. Another idea would be to do something like "The Black Die" again, where I reviewed random Smack Jeeves comics really quick, again with the idea being to do something more informal. I'm gonna check out various webcomics podcasts soon and get an idea of what formats people are using, but I think something like this could be both pretty fun and useful. I also just finished reading my print copy of Derelict, so I'll be doing a video review of that soon. It'll be short since I already reviewed the webcomic, but it's mainly a way to get more video-making experience before I do any bigger stuff.
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Re: Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby Ahaugen on Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:58 am

You could talk about Berkley Breathed bringing back Bloom County as a webcomic
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Re: Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby LibertyCabbage on Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:10 am

Ahaugen wrote:You could talk about Berkley Breathed bringing back Bloom County as a webcomic
Nah, but if you want to do it, I'll upload your post to the blog.
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Re: Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby LibertyCabbage on Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:20 am

So, iTunes has a Podcast section that makes downloading webcomic podcasts super-easy. There's also one from last year where FezWorks interviewed MercuryHat. The podcasts are kinda pissing me off so far, though, as while my sample size is tiny, they've mostly just been people bullshitting around and not even talking about webcomics. It's not like they're being entertaining or funny, either, although I considered that they might just be tired or having an off-day, or whatever. Still, it's just people hanging out in front of microphones, and it's kinda shocking how dumb and low-quality they've been.
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Re: Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby LibertyCabbage on Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:23 am

edit: double post
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Re: Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby LibertyCabbage on Fri Jul 24, 2015 2:29 pm

Holy fuck, I just wasted an hour listening to a podcast called Webcomic Workshop, and they didn't even bring up webcomics until the very end where one of the podcasters talked about his own webcomic for a few minutes.
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Re: Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:49 pm

LibertyCabbage wrote:Holy fuck, I just wasted an hour listening to a podcast called Webcomic Workshop, and they didn't even bring up webcomics until the very end where one of the podcasters talked about his own webcomic for a few minutes.

That's just obnoxious.
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Re: Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby LibertyCabbage on Mon Aug 17, 2015 7:10 am

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:That's just obnoxious.
They actually admitted it, too:

In this podcast, we chat about how we we’re using Video chat on Skype, the Weather, Dawn’s new Surface Pro, Byron’s Manga Studio 5 demonstration in Chicago, smoking pot vs cigars (briefly), Memphis and Graceland, Remakes of Movies, Women as Heroes in Movies, New Comic Con in Columbus, Ohio in October, and 1977 the Comic Spoilers. Not bad for only three of us.


In their defense, they went an entire hour without anyone having a nervous breakdown or threatening to kill themselves. Not bad.

I did find a few webcomic podcasts where they actually talked about webcomics, but they were just some bullshit about fans and popularity and money. TL;DL is "Don't sell your comic's rights" and "Don't quit your webcomic just because it isn't popular." One of them actually did talk about making webcomics, but it was all basic Webcomics 101 shit that everyone should know already. I'm leaning more towards doing one now since all the ones out there suck dick and also it would probably help me get more reviews done.
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Re: Ideas for next-level webcomics journalism

Postby LibertyCabbage on Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:39 am

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:I think youv'e done this before in your reviews, but articles where a topic is analyzed over a few different comics as opposed to just reviewing one comic in its entirety are also interesting. Like to pick a random example, transgendered characters being represented- obviously there's mostly going to be the fetish comics, but then there's also some that genuinely try to tackle the subject meaningfully, what makes one representation less offensive than another? That particular subject is probably either overtrod or just not something worth spending that much time analyzing but any umbrella topic that spans different comics (and even genres) may get people interested in a discussion.
I'm actually planning on doing a series of these "umbrella topic" reviews soon as a new strategy for 2016. My idea's to do something kinda epic and new that also helps me get a lot of requests done.
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