Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Some hopefully coherent thoughts on web comics

I heard an argument that twenty or so years ago was the golden age for webcomics. The argument went that, by the late 90s and early oughts, the internet had entered into common, everyday use but bandwidth was limited enough that posting static images was the viable way to go.

I have to admit, from my own personal experiences, it seems there were a lot more web comics around twenty years ago. There were mutiple sites that served as hosts for multiple web comics. Sort of online comic pages. (Discovering Keenspot was a big deal for me)

And it is very easy to see how broader bandwidth, allowing for streaming to be viable, would push web comics to one side. I’m not saying that the people who are streaming now would have been drawing web comics back then. It’s just that technology has allowed for a different skill set to rise to prominence.

I also feel that, even during this golden period, web comics were considered a lesser medium. Bill Holbrock, creater of Kevin and Kell, stated in interviews that having the strip published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a high water mark for the series. (I still read Kevin and Kell, honestly just because it reliably posts every day.)

I noticed that two series of graphic novels I just read (Kill Six Billion Demons and Blood Stain) are web comics. Is that the new goal of web comics? To be physically published? Was that always fhe goal if being in a newspaper was such a big deal for Holbrock?

It might just my own peesonal tastes but it does feel like web comics are shifting away from a newspaper format to a page format. Graphic novels have been becoming more and more of a mainstream medium. Are web comic creaters now using the medium as a step towards graphic novels? Have web comics become less the domain of college students and more of professional artists?

You know, I am a daily reader of web comics and I have no idea of what the answer to any my questions are.

(This started out as a blog about El Goonish Shive but my rambling went out of control)

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