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The Rebirth of Comics

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the mary-worth dept.

The Internet 186

Malfourmed writes "The Sydney Morning Herald is running a story on web based comics and how the new medium can change the traditional "left-to-right in a rectangular frame" paradigm. Concentrating on the work of Scott McLoud it also mentions geek favourites Dilbert and The Matrix, among others. Micropayments are discussed, with the article claiming that after you pay your 25 cents "most of which goes straight to McCloud, cutting out the middlemen that make it difficult for comic artists to make a living from their work, and in the process doing justice to their talents." One of the more interesting sites discussed is the Oz Comics 24 Hour Gallery, the result of a competition in which artists had 24 hours to create an original, 24-page comic. So popular was the contest that the server suffered from a veritable slashdot effect."

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186 comments

FUCK THE COMIX--DAILY REMINDERS (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852043)

DAILY REMINDERS:

FUCK "DAILY REMINDERS" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852111)

Accused terrorist Maher "Mike" Hawash earned $357K in 2000 and $184K in 2001 which is a fuckload more than you'll ever see now that American High-Tech is being shipped to India!

Fuck off and learn skills that can't be replicated by the poorly educated. Really, we don't give a fuck about your "daily reminders." At least the mods aren't giving you a "-1, Troll" as you don't deserve it.

Re:FUCK "DAILY REMINDERS" (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852221)

Well basically any "geek" skills revolve around a mixture of human calculator and code monkey which is extremely easily replicated by anyone who can memorize a few formulas and read some o'reilly books.

I suppose you could become a sociologist or something but you know that liberal arts degrees require, you know, thought. Independent thinking is tricky for geeks as can be seen by the same jokes and rants being modded up +5 day after day after day after day...

Learn another job, fucktard (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852176)

How about learning something new that can't be done here? You know, how about going back to school instead of posting racist and xenophobic shit on Slashdot?

Who promised you a career for life anyway, fucktard? If you can't bother to learn another job, you're not worth of a first world top job.

HERE'S A CLUE... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852274)

There ain't no such thing as a "safe occupation [pbs.org] "...

Management: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015: 288,281
Business: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015: 348,028
Computer: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015: 472,632
Architecture: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015: 184,347
Life sciences: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015: 36,770
Legal: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015: 76,642
Art, design: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015: 29,564
Sales: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015: 226,564
Office: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015: 1,659,310
Oh, and, by the way, it's only xenophobia if one is "unduly" contemptuous...

Re:HERE'S A CLUE... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852291)

I'm not talking about safe occupations. That's exactly my point. Be prepared to be outsourced within the next two years, regardless of your field.

Adapt or perish.

HERE'S ANOTHER CLUE... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852426)

The fallacy is that there will be something to adapt to... That if you only guess the "correct" thing to study, you'll do OK...

You will be in for a big surprise when you find that Satyam, Wipro, InfoSys, etc. has leap-frogged you...

Re:HERE'S ANOTHER CLUE... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852549)

That if you only guess the "correct" thing to study

Studying has nothing to do with it. Hell, even now what you study has only marginal importance in the job interview.

Being versatile, a jack-of-all-trades and capable of learning new stuff at a blink of an eye is the ultimate skill of today and even more so in the future.

I like this. Keeps me sharp. Then again, I don't have mortgage or loans, but hey, who told you to get get shit in the first place.

Sanjay Has Access to the Same Shit You Do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852742)

And you think Sanjay in Chennai won't be versatile (or at least be able to present himself as such at a deep, deep discount)?

Keep guessin'... The answer is cost is king!

Re:HERE'S A CLUE... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852337)

We're bound to be a society mostly providing services.

That's missing from your list.

At Least Until the Robots Come Along (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852440)

Robots will be taking over services [marshallbrain.com] ...

Re:HERE'S A CLUE... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852338)

Nice numbers. I particularily like the six digit precision. Of course they could just be BULLSHIT.

Not Racist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852561)

I would not call it racist when an accused terrorist nets half a million dollars while tens of thousands of loyal Americans are laid off...

Re:Not Racist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852598)

loyal Americans

WTF is a "loyal" American? Fuck you. I'm an American and I owe allegiance to no-one except to myself and to my fellow human beings all over the globe.

A Loyal American Does Not Aid Terrorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852708)

Fuck you back. A loyal American is one that doesn't try to enter Afghanistan to fight for murderer Osama bin Laden against U.S. forces as was alleged in Hawash's indictment.

And Hawash still grossed half a million dollars before he tried to cross the Afghan border... You worked hard, paid your taxes, never committed a felony, never pledged allegiance to bin Laden with the intent of shooting at American soldiers... Do you think your earnings will ever match that now that we're moving high-tech to India (especially since your days in the tech industry are numbered)?

In other news (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852044)

Microsoft promotes Comic lock-in.

YOU ARE NOT FUNNY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852199)

(see subject)

They should make a comic about BSD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852052)

in soviet Russia, comics (blank) you.

no middlemen? (1, Insightful)

proj_2501 (78149) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852053)

Then who are web hosting providers and ISPs?

Re:no middlemen? (2, Insightful)

Lawbeefaroni (246892) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852167)

They're like the pen, ink, and paper suppliers. The provide the medium (or access to it). You might say they're like the distributors, but print comics aren't really traditional in that sense, what with the syndicates and all.

Re:no middlemen? (1)

proj_2501 (78149) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852191)

wouldn't the distributors be middlemen? anything that gets in the middle between me and the comic is a middleman, no?

Re:no middlemen? (2, Insightful)

Lawbeefaroni (246892) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852280)

Well, generally middlemen tend to take a cut. ISPs charge a fee non-dependent on what an artist takes in. Of course the more viewers, the more bandwidth so probably more charges but $10 a month or $0.25 a month they don't work off of revenue.

Is the owner of a building a shop keeper leases a "middleman?"

Re:no middlemen? (2, Insightful)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852281)

No more so than the telephone company is a middleman when you make a long distance phone call. Yes, without them you wouldn't be able to make the call. But they're not buying the conversation from you and selling it to the person on the other end.

A middleman is someone who purchases from the producer and sells to the consumer. The ISP/webhost isn't doing this -- they're merely providing transport. And, yes, this is an important economic and (more importantly) legal discrimination. The ISP/webhost is not responsible for policing their content because they aren't creating or selling it.

Re:no middlemen? (2, Informative)

ziriyab (549710) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852197)

Then who are web hosting providers and ISPs?

They are the web hosts and the ISPs. A middleman is a person who buys from producers and sells to consumers. The web hosts and ISPs don't buy his work and they don't sell his work.

If this dude sold his comics out of his apt, would you call his landlord and the electric company middlemen?

Comics.. (1, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852054)


Ah yes, it's been years since I've thought of comics; Archie & Jughead, Betty & Veronica, Darl McBride & the Goatse.cx guy...

Scott McLoud?? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852059)

I read all the way up until I saw the name "Scott McLoud" and realized this article would be a waste of my time. The man is a pretentious ass and I'm surprised any publication still takes him seriously.

Site is slashdotted! Here's the text (0, Troll)

scumbucket (680352) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852076)

The rebirth of comics

Mild-mannered cartoonist Scott McCloud is fighting for freedom and justice. Working from an office in California, the 40-ish father of two is using his Wacom graphics tablet, and Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Flash software to free his comic books from the confines of the printed page. Many are following his example.

McCloud, regarded as one of the world's foremost authorities on comics, has taken his fight online because he believes the web can liberate comics by offering an "infinite canvas". He is one of many authors using the web to breathe new life into comics - transforming the familiar genre into a colourful, dynamic and interactive experience.

Online, comics fill pages of almost any size, allowing artists to ignore the conventional pattern of sequential panels read left-to-right and framed in a rectangle.

"When digital media comes into collision with an art form like comics, it has the ability to bring out what is unique about the medium," McCloud says. "In comics, things change right away. You're no longer confined to a rectangle. You can create a map of time that you move into and navigate through in ways unlike any other art form."

McCloud's work offers excellent examples of his theories. One of his web comics, My Obsession with Chess, tells the story of how his teenage obsession with chess led indirectly to his career in comics. The story scrolls downwards for over five metres, moves from side to side in a chessboard pattern and is engaging, if only because readers must work out how to read the comic at the same time as digesting the thoroughly interesting story.

Another of his works, The Right Number, adopts a new form for comics. Produced in Macromedia Flash - a tool that adds animation and interactivity to web pages and requires the reader's browser to have a Flash plug-in installed - each panel of the comic appears from within the previous panel. The concept of pages has been abandoned in favour of a tunnelling effect, with each new panel zooming out towards the reader and awaiting a further click to progress to the next part of the story. "As a graphic designer might put it, we've moved off the X and Y axis to the Z axis," McCloud says.

McCloud is far from alone with his online experiments. Dilbert creator Scott Adams included the www.dilbert.com address in each of his daily comic strips and found their presence in newspapers quickly built the audience that helped turn his anthologies into bestsellers. Rob Malda also scripts his homosexual adventures daily at slashdot.org.

The hyperactive Wachowski brothers, writers/directors of The Matrix trilogy, were also early users of web comics. The first Matrix film was accompanied by online comics that fleshed out their dystopian universe with material perhaps too dark to have the broad appeal of the movie, but more than capable of building loyalty among fans.

Thousands of web comics have since sprung up, with one site, OnlineComics.net, linking to more than 1700. The comics range from short comic strips updated daily to sprawling graphic novels published in unscheduled but eagerly awaited chunks several pages long. And they are growing in popularity: McCloud's The Right Numbers was read by more than 1500 paying readers within weeks of publication. Electric Sheep counts its readers in the tens of thousands.

Superheroes have muscled in on the action, too. The Hulk, Spider-Man, Daredevil and Marvel's familiar crew take on a whole new dimension in Marvel's dotcomics. The site uses Macromedia's Flash plug-in to replace the familiar process of turning the page with an interactive experience that helps get you inside the hero's head.

Every panel of the dotcomics is clickable, making speech balloons an insight into the characters' thoughts as you progress. Pop-up mini-profiles of each comic's heroes and villains enhance the action too, creating a new experience unimaginable in the offline world.

Web comics offer many other new reading experiences, although most concentrate on innovative content rather than technical tricks. This trend towards more quirky stories makes web comics a vehicle for artists who don't want to write superhero comics for an adolescent audience. Instead, many web comics deal with complex subjects, use strong language and deal with issues that parents would rather shield their children from. By doing so, they not only attract a more mature audience - often comic fans in their 20s and 30s who have outgrown superheroes - they have found an audience willing to pay to access content online. This makes web comics a very attractive proposition for artists, as the web makes it easy to publish their material, is much cheaper than printing their own comics and also makes it possible to make more money from online sales than would be possible if their work were handled by a publisher.

McCloud's The Right Number is a good example of this, as it uses a micro payment system from Bitpass, which requires customers to establish a Bitpass account using their credit card. Bitpass maintains the balance of the account and lets its users spend it to view content on the web. Accessing The Right Number costs 25 US cents (38 cents), most of which goes straight to McCloud, cutting out the middlemen that make it difficult for comic artists to make a living from their work, and in the process doing justice to their talents.

Modern Tales uses PayPal to offer $US2.95 monthly subscriptions to its roster of more than 20 regular features and a back catalogue of more than 4000 pages of online comics. Revenue is shared among all the creators whose work features on the site, depending on how much traffic they generate.

The good news is that these payment schemes make it possible for Australian artists to find a paying global audience. "Because there is no Australian comics industry, local artists spend thousands on printing their own comics," says Darren Close, creator of OzComics, an online home for Australia comics. Even when locals have printed their own, Australian comic shops have been reluctant to stock non-commercial comics. Modern Tales has changed this almost overnight, running a section last month called Short'n'Curlies, which featured more than 20 local artists. Two of the site's regular comics also come from Australia. One of these, The Bizarre Life of Charlie Red Eye, is written and drawn respectively by Matthew William Boyd Langfield, esq. and Edward J. Grug III. The tale of a young boy with a demon eye sent to school in the West Australian outback, Charlie Red Eye would not have seen the light of day without the web, according to Grug. "Publishers won't take a chance because printing comics is expensive and risky. It was much less likely that Charlie Red Eye would have been accepted as a printed comic because of the cost."

Other Australian creators use the web for self publicity, using it to market their comics. Tony Newtown, Nathan Soehardi and Jason Buckley create SuburbanKnights, the tale of four suburban superheroes who are often too busy mowing the lawn to fight crime. Their Fool Proof comics website helps to build interest in their comic.

"We used the web to market the printed comic and vice versa," Soehardi and Buckley say, with downloadable mini-comics and wallpaper on offer to interest their fans.

Darren Close does likewise. The slick site he has created as the online home of his character Killeroo features sample pages for download and pin-ups of the fearsome marsupial. Close also runs online forums discussing comics and uses these to promote the print versions of Killeroo among comic fans, and to recruit collaborators like the artist Ben Templesmith, who has since illustrated 30 Days of Night - a vampire comic set in the Arctic and now a movie as well.

Close is also using the web to evolve the whole idea of comics. In June he used the OzComics site to stage his second 24-hour comics challenge, a competition in which artists have 24 hours to create an original, 24-page comic. Interest in the competition "just about melted my server", Close says, and delivered a month's worth of traffic - 30,000 visitors - in a day and resulting in more than 40 entries.

Several were so impressive they made their way into Short'n'Curlies, edited by Gary Chaloner, a 20-year comic veteran who has worked for industry giants Marvel and DC. Chaloner, a West Australian who writes and draws the comics Red Kelso and John Law for Modern Tales, says the web is making it possible for Australians such as Templesmith and Grug to put their stamp on the comics world.

"Australia has a new wave of creators coming to the fore that are walking the world stage of comics and web comics," he says. "This new breed of young Australian artists owe a lot of their success to the internet and the revolution of new communication methods that break down national barriers, time-zone barriers ... and creative barriers."

Five comic book sites you shouldn't miss

CrossGen Comics on the Web

Adds a soundtrack to comics from mainstream publisher CrossGen. Does the corny dialogue take some fun out of these superhero and fantasy offerings? You be the judge. Free.

OzComics

The results of the OzComics 24-hour challenge await your eyes, with Leigh Rigozzi's Ivory Tower and Killer Mutant Ninja Zombies from Space by Canberra artist "Monkey" being special treats. Free.

Serializer.net

Home to many avant-garde web comics, this mainly pay-per-view site has plenty of free content to lure you in, and is the home of the Amazing Cynicalman, a vastly amusing stick-figure superhero. $US2.95 ($4.50)/month.

Electric Sheep Comix

Patrick Farley's site features some of the best comics available anywhere, online or off. His masterwork, The Spiders, is not for kids - there's violence and strong language in this tale of the US invading Afghanistan - but it is very good: when he posts new pages, his server struggles to keep up with demand from his global fan base. Free.

Top Web Comics

This site links to more than 150 web comics, making it a good starting point to explore the medium. The science-fiction epic Angels 2000 one of the best reads for its fast-paced story and impressive art. Free.

Infofile

How do you create a web comic? There's no hard and fast rule. Scott McCloud uses a graphics tablet and Adobe Illustrator to create his drawings, plus Photoshop for some detail work. Gary Chaloner uses pencil and ink on paper or board "but then I scan the work into my computer, and tone and letter the story using Photoshop and Freehand".

Edward J. Grug III draws his work by hand, scans it then uses Photoshop to assemble it into finished pages. Other artists swear by Microsoft Paint as a viable tool.

Whatever method you choose, one site you'll find indispensable is Blambot, which offers free comic lettering fonts and speech bubbles for non-commercial artists.

First! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852126)

To find the truism:

"Rob Malda also scripts his homosexual adventures daily at slashdot.org."

TROLL ALERT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852141)

"When digital media comes into collision with an art form like comics, it has the ability to bring out what is unique about the medium," McCloud says. "In comics, things change right away unlike on Slashdot where Michael has always been a jerk"

Sigh.

Yet another troll. Mod this guy down.

michael.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852079)

Just Shut Up!!!

no shit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852138)

best way to get a story accepted - either 1) pay Taco, or 2) put something about micropayments in it - idiot michael will post it!

Some Fun Game Related Comics (5, Insightful)

larsoncc (461660) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852090)

I check Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] , Little Gamers [little-gamers.com] , and Real Life Comics [reallifecomics.com] an awful lot. Probably too much to be healthy.

Why? Because the web provides me access to humor that is very, VERY specialized. Find comics like these in a Sunday Paper, or a comic shop, or anywhere else.

Re:Some Fun Game Related Comics (3, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852180)

> I check Penny Arcade, Little Gamers, and Real Life Comics an awful lot. Probably too much to be healthy.

I think you forgot someone [sluggy.com] , NerdBoy. *Ka-CLICK!*

Re:Some Fun Game Related Comics (2, Informative)

Damn_Canuck (702128) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852212)

I think you are also missing PVP [pvponline.com] , which recently has made the jump to print comics, but maintains a daily strip online as well. This is a success story as to how the online medium can make the transition with a large enough fan base as well as a consistently amusing scenario and characters,

Re:Some Fun Game Related Comics (3, Informative)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852228)

As additions, I'd like to add Megatokyo [megatokyo.com] , RPGworld Comic [rpgworldcomic.com] and 8-bit Theater [nuklearpower.com] . Also, I'd like to comment on Real Life Comics that it's cute, at times. Whenever the guy is completely obsessed with something painfully irrelevant to his readers and he continues to post shitty strips about it for weeks after, it's not cute. Really, I quit reading it after reading on and on for about three weeks about the guy whining about losing something irrelevant in a MMORPG and the fact he got a net girlfriend.

Re:Some Fun Game Related Comics (2, Interesting)

li99sh79 (678891) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852318)

Also, I'd like to comment on Real Life Comics that it's cute, at times. Whenever the guy is completely obsessed with something painfully irrelevant to his readers and he continues to post shitty strips about it for weeks after, it's not cute. Really, I quit reading it after reading on and on for about three weeks about the guy whining about losing something irrelevant in a MMORPG and the fact he got a net girlfriend.

If you were to ask me which webcomic was the stereotype for webcomics I would have to say RealLife Comics. And I mean that in all it's intedended good and bad. I mean how many other webcomics are exaggerated stories about the game-obsessed friends of the creative staff?


-sam

Neocons are coming to America (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852091)

Give me back my broken night
my mirrored room, my secret life
it's lonely here,
there's no one left to torture
Give me absolute control
over every living soul
And lie beside me, baby,
that's an order!

Give me crack and anal sex
Take the only tree that's left
and stuff it up the hole
in your culture
Give me back the Berlin wall
give me Stalin and St Paul
I've seen the future, brother:
it is murder.

Democracy is coming to the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852222)

It's coming through a hole in the air From those nights in Najaf Square It's coming from the feel That it ain't exactly real Or it's real, but it ain't exactly there From the wars against terror From the sirens night and day From the fires of the homeless From the ashes of the gay Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean I love the country but I can't stand the scene And I'm neither left or right I'm just staying home tonight Getting lost in that hopeless little screen But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags That time cannot decay I'm junk but I'm still holding up This little wild bouquet Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Re:Democracy is coming to the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852467)

Hypocrisy is coming to the USA...

Comics online will go up as bandwidth does (4, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852097)

I think that media like comics, video, etc. will start to flourish online with things like Micropayments, but more with the increase of bandwidth. It is remarkably difficult to set up a server that will receive & redistribute 10,000 comic strips a day, versus one that just gets 10,000 hits per day.

Unfortunatley. (5, Insightful)

anonymous coword (615639) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852104)

A lot of the web comics are poor quality, make obvious jokes [hackles.org] , and have lame characters. Sure there are some good ones. and I do like the cheap laughts, but reducing the barrier to entry also reduce the quality level.

EAT SHIT AND DIE TROLL! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852164)

Your'e that asshole [slashdot.org] that tricked us into viewing that gay porno! Now fuck off back to your bridge, and you can take your Mandrake zealotry with you you fat ugly cunt!

Re:Unfortunatley. (2, Insightful)

Saige (53303) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852331)

It also allows a lot more comics that are far from mainstream in their topic, but are well done, to survive with audiences of varying sizes. Yes, I agree, there are plenty of amateur comics around, plenty that haven't been updated in months (most of Keenspace's comics fit that), and so on.

But every once in a while one does well - such as Venus Envy [keenspace.com] . Perhaps only a few hundred fans, but very dedicated. Heck, the author needed a grand to make a move across the country, and the fans had no problem donating to her.

I wonder how many little webcomics with small groups of dedicated fans there are out there, especially as compared to failed webcomics.

Re:Unfortunatley. (5, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852490)

Yeah, these guys should strive for the level of quality found on the comics page of your local paper where the jokes are always fresh and the characters interesting...

If you hadn't noticed, 90% of the comics page is stuck in a rut so big it's been reclassified as a box canyon. It seems that paper editors choose the least offensive most watered down cheap fare they can find for the comics page. This practice has turned the whole thing into a tremendous waste of time, as the same few jokes are told over and over again by the same old tired characters.

so, what are the Lockhearts up to this week? Fighting again? Andy Capp is in a bar or falling down drunk? BC is preaching again? Ooh! The Family Circus has another one of those dotted line things.

Re:Unfortunatley. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852579)

I just can't get enough Beetle Bailey either. Hahaha, what crazy situation will Beetle get into this week?

Oh, really? (5, Funny)

Unknown Kadath (685094) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852106)

So popular was the contest that the server suffered from a veritable slashdot effect.

Think they're ready for the real thing?

-Carolyn

Hmmmm. No Sluggy? (1, Interesting)

dejaffa (12279) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852107)

No Sluggy Freelance reference. This story describes what it calls "specialized" comics, but Sluggy seems to have wider appeal than much of what they describe.

Re:Hmmmm. No Sluggy? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852219)

And I was hoping to get the first Sluggy post.. ;-)

Sluggy Freelance [sluggy.com] is possibly the finest web daily out there. The following is powerful enough that when the author (Pete) found out that the comic was making no money, he cried out 'Help Me!' Shortly thereafter, they had a flood of small payments from loyal readers.

A fine example of how online entertainment should be handled. The online comic is free (save a banner ad). You can pay to rid yourself of ads. You can pay to get merchandise (printed books, tshirts, etc). No 'required subscription' or any of that bull$hit.

Worship the comic. Go read some archives. 6 years of comics are online, for no charge. Go get addicted, and give Pete some money.

Okay... (2, Insightful)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852115)

I assume "The Rebirth of Comics" is following "The Death of Comics"? Anyone?!

Up next, "The Rebirth of Linux!"

Re:Okay... (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852315)

I believe you mean "The Rebirth of *BSD".

all for it (4, Interesting)

NetMagi (547135) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852116)

I'm all for ANY distribution method where the artists actually get a sizaeble sum of the profits. .

Re:all for it (0, Troll)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852257)


Kazaa?

Misnomer? (2, Interesting)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852124)

How many widely read comic books are really comic these days?

Wouldn't "dramatic" or "tragic" books be a more apt name?

Re:Misnomer? (0)

Damn_Canuck (702128) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852239)

Hey, it beats the older name of "funny books" for comics, since a majority of the comics these days (online or print) are not humor-based at all, or in the case of those that are meant to be, just horribly fail at being humorous on a regular basis.

Re:Misnomer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852578)

heh. "Tragic books." I like it.

Stan Lee (2, Interesting)

Worminater (600129) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852142)

Does anyone remember the late stanlee.net?

Ah, such great expectations till it crashed:-p

Flash Comics (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852157)

Just one more reason to love Opera.

It's McCloud (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852174)

not McLoud, michael

Or if you're bored (2, Interesting)

yoshi1013 (674815) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852179)

I agree that specialized comics are probably one of the best things about webcomics. Plus, since they're not controlled by someone in a suit (unless the artist wears a suit) and they can have content that you might never see in a newspaper. The site of the character in Penny Arcade banging his head against the wall drawing lots of blood comes to mind, or zapping the N-Gage pimp with a cattle prod or whatever that was. I made a webcomic 'cause I had nothing to do while unemployed and needed some type of cheap creative outlet.

Heard this before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852183)

Other comic gurus like Stan Lee have thought the web was the answer to revitalizing the comics industry. They fail to realize that part of the comic "experience" is the collecting, going to the comic shop, etc.

Books vs. Strips (3, Insightful)

shelleymonster (606787) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852278)

The article is also mixing comic books and comic strips. Sure, stuff like Dilbert [unitedmedia.com] , User Friendly [userfriendly.org] , The Boondocks [ucomics.com] , and Achewood [achewood.com] work well on the web. They're short and easy to read. Most people who read comic books, however, relish the strip to the store, holding it in their hands, filling up the long white boxes...

Re:Books vs. Strips (1)

danielobvt (230251) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852539)

You touch your comic books? Some collector you are. ;)

Good point (2, Insightful)

YllabianBitPipe (647462) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852672)

I think the web (as I posted below) is most suited to strip comics. Not graphic novels or comic books. But collecting, I agree, is a huge deal to many comic book collectors. There is no value in an "issue 1" of a website comic, if it's been blasted all over the web. I don't even know how one would begin to value jpgs and gifs. Will the print versions always be more valuable just because of rarity? What if there is no print version?

The comic book store is another story. While for the average comic book reader, the comic book store is part of the experience, I think a lot of people are afraid of comic book stores. Seriously. the other day at a comic book shop two of the clerks were slapping shipping tape on each other's heads and drawing on them with magic markers. Don't ask me why. All I can say is, if that were going on in your local Barnes & Noble bookstore many people would say, the help there is retarded, we're not shopping there anymore. Only in a comic book store have I had clerks look at what I was buying and make inane comments like, "This shit scares me". Luckilly I'm used to that kind of crap so I keep going back for more (a couple of comic-cons will harden you up for that kind of banter). I've also had a few embarassing experiences when I take someone into a comic book store for the first time, and all they can focus on are the anime chicks with huge boobs. How many of them there are and how large are the boobs. So many potential customers leave the stores thinking most of the comics out there center around muscle-bound super heroes and over-sexed babes with huge boobs. And I guess, truth be told, this is actually an accurate observation. But many people just don't look beyond that to realize there's other kinds of comics out there.

I guess if you LIKE that kind of experience, then comic stores are enjoyable but my point is, I think in general the "comic book store experience" is detrimental to the comics industry and in fact is a barrier to comics gaining a wider audience. It's the image, the types of people that shop / work there, the attitudes of store owners that customers aren't a priority, etc.

Lest we forget? (2, Interesting)

TyrranzzX (617713) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852194)

Megatokyo.com Machall.com

Re:Lest we forget? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852687)

Megatokyo.com Machall.com

lest we forget how to use the <A> tag:

megatokyo.com [megatokyo.com]
machall.com [machall.com]

and even /. sigs accept HTML:
www.ranttv.com [ranttv.com] - Educate yourself here. www.gp.org/platform.html [gp.org] - Read their platform here

Political commentary... (4, Interesting)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852205)

Concentrating on the work of Scott McLoud [scottmccloud.com] it also mentions geek favourites Dilbert and The Matrix, among others.

Is this an unintentional spelling error of Scott's last name, or an intentional jab at what some people [penny-arcade.com] think of his ideals?

Re:Political commentary... (1)

revividus (643168) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852294)

McLoud

Maybe they're just trying to be efficient. The `c' character is overloaded, functioning as both the Mc and the Cloud at the same time...

Re:Political commentary... (2, Informative)

Malfourmed (633699) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852499)

It was unintentional and caused by lack of sleep. How embarrassment. Must now flog and flay myself.

Or... I can blame the editors' lack of proof reading! Yeah, that's it... damn slashdot editors.

e-comics e-books, etc (2, Insightful)

Brahmastra (685988) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852209)

e-comics, e-books, et. al. just don't work for me because I cannot lie back on the sofa, sit on the toilet seat, read while eating, etc. Good old paper is my preference until there's a more handy way to read e-books. Handhelds don't work well for me either since they just don't contain as much information in 1 page as a book and require frequent scrolling.

Re:e-comics e-books, etc (1)

Lane.exe (672783) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852584)

What? You can't eat/sleep/shit while connected to the computer? You mean you haven't modified your computer chair/display to tilt to a reclining position so that you can nap or relax while computing? And you haven't install that toilet-plumbing system in your chair either? And -- horror of horrors -- you don't have a microwave and a ready supply of ramen and Easy Mac within reach of your main box?

JUST WHAT KIND OF A /. READER ARE YOU?

I recall (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852231)

I remember an article that Scott Kurtz (pvponline.com) posted a while back, on how the sunday comics haven't been funny for the past 10 years. Blondie, while starting off in the depression, actually had a plot based on romeo and juliet, with unlikely characters Blondie and Dagwood. Anymore, it just doesn't have the magic, or the humor. The great thing about web comics is that they do not have to have an audience in order to thrive. The greats like Penny-arcade, Megatokyo, and Mac Hall, are all very specialized and niche-based humor. Whereas, in a syndicated comic, it would be hard to be successful while making jokes about video games, anime, and other relatively 'outside' subjects.

Not to mention the fact that free hosting and no need for an editor produces a lot of general crap, but that's really just the price to pay for the really good quality webcomics that are out there.

Interesting, similar article (2, Interesting)

Psychic Burrito (611532) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852236)

Interesting article [ipaya.com] about the same subject.

Summary (from the site): Although micropayment is a great thing in principle, existing implementations contain big problems which block their success. This article analyzes these problems and proposes a new solution without them. The solution lacks most traditional spending features, but still preserves the "spirit of micropayment".

Cheers! The Psychic Burrito

Infinite Canvas? Why aren't Web ads that way? (3, Interesting)

ianscot (591483) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852248)

Anyone familiar with the publishing of Web-based ads -- you know, banners? banners with standard sizes and pricing for levels of traffic? -- could tell you that Web publishing faces some of the same constraints traditional paper models do.

Strips within Flash movies -- to use an example from the article -- just replace the four-panel, left-to-right constraint with another set of limitations. Have the right player? How big a monitor? Do sites that might want to syndicate your comic have a layout that'll accomodate your "infinite" canvas? Maybe we should agree on some standards to help people along... Sound familiar? Take a look at the flash-based ads you see around; they're a standard size, usually more or less square, so as to be set into a variety of text articles.

I'm not convinced that a subscription service is the model that'll reach critical mass, either. A dedicated site of comics for $3 a month will reach solid fans, but it won't have the same broad appeal as the funnies in your paper. And there was already a specialty market for graphic novels, right? We're talking about freeing the popular, daily strip from the tyranny of four-boxes-in-a-row. To do that you'd want to get to a sort of syndication model: ISPs might allow their users' custom home/news pages to include a certain comic, something like that. Again, you're facing some standardization to make something like that work.

It's a publishing thing, not just a magic Web thing.

The server already suffered the Slashdot effect? (1)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852264)

No fair! I demand the chance to get involved in any Slashdotting!

On a more serious note, Dilbert fans please note do *not* forget the "t" in the web address when at work.

and the scripts that run them (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852292)

i host two [studio-e3.com] sites [squarecatcomics.com] that use a crappy bash CGI that I wrote... although they do the first 90% of the job, is anyone aware of any comic specific CRM packages available? I've been trying to teach myself enough PHP to finish a half written phpnuke module I wrote that does the same as the bash above, but I mean... c'mon. Admitting I wrote a CGI in bash is embarassing. Help a brother out with a handy hyperlink!

Re:and the scripts that run them (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852323)


|sed s/CRM/CMS/g

web comics ... sigh (4, Insightful)

YllabianBitPipe (647462) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852293)

Ah another comic thread on /. I really like the idea of web comics but the comic world is going to run into the same problems the music biz is dealing with. First off, there's a lot of people saying, let's do a comic on the web, it's so cheap, we'll get more of an audience, we don't have to go through a publisher. Well, then there's the whole issue of how do artists get paid, how do artists keep their work from getting ripped off, etc. but I think a lot of these topics miss a key element of web comics ... is the medium even appropriate for the type of comics that you create?

I think the type of comics that are most suited for the web are strip comics like the dailies in your local newspaper. Reading a graphic novel on a computer screen via the web is, frankly, a huge pain in the ass. I don't care how you present it, panels to fit the screen, no scrolling, click on the image to go the next page, I just find it tedious. The content is too long for the medium in my opinion. And I WANT to read graphic novels ... it just seems like, not on the web. I think what needs to change is, higher resolution monitors.

So I think graphic novel type stuff CAN work on the web, it just needs to be created with the web in mind from the beginning. Make the pictures standard screen size, use nice readable anti aliased fonts, make the art appropriate for web reading: large, not tons of tiny characters that look like blurs, and LENGTH. I don't really want to click through 100 images and bore myself to death.

And, I would argue, as soon as you start thinking of putting multimedia geegaws like audio, just go Flash all the way and animate your whole project.

Here's one: Pray For Satan's Salvation (1)

simetra (155655) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852356)

This one is sometimes pretty good.

Here's the LINK [normalbobsmith.com] and the url: http://www.normalbobsmith.com/pfss_comic10.html

YOUR STUPID SIG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852629)

Those who confuse civil liberties with inalienable rights deserve neither.

Pedants like you need to get beat with a clue stick. "Inalienable" means just that, inalienable. That means that even people who don't know the difference between the two have them. Your opinion about such people not "deserving" them doesn't matter.

dumbass.

Don't forget AMERICAN SPLENDOR! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852365)

... at a theater near you. http://www.americansplendormovie.com/main.html [americansp...rmovie.com]

Re:Don't forget AMERICAN SPLENDOR! (1)

glitch! (57276) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852641)

American Splendor?! Cool! Then I clicked on your link to check it out. Blank page. Crap.

Well, I _was_ going to mod this up as informative. But this link doesn't seem to work unless I spread my cheeks and let Javascript in. (Nice imagery, eh?)

Re:Don't forget AMERICAN SPLENDOR! (1)

erasmus_ (119185) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852760)

The link works fine for me and loads up what looks to be a nicely done Flash site. Sounds like a user issue.

Slashdot Effect? (0)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852368)

"So popular was the contest that the server suffered from a veritable slashdot effect."

Yes, and now they will suffer from a real Slashdot effect. Bravo.

A Modest Destiny (1)

Frederic54 (3788) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852384)

talking about webcomic, here's one I like a lot: A Modest Destiny [squidi.net] , a few days ago, the owner's forum was kind of attacked by people From Mall Monkeys, who were jealous because AMD reach 3rd on the top web comic [topwebcomics.com] ...
it's a hard business to be a web comic...

OSDN funded shit (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852387)

Another OSDN funded fuck fest focker fuck off free for all.

The Devil's Panties! (2, Interesting)

computersareevil (244846) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852389)

Think The Devil's Panties [keenspace.com] , which is probably one of the most creative comics I've ever seen. Always funny. Usually twisted. %-)

The other way around (2, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852392)

Some of my favorite weekly comic strips have made the journey from print (in news weeklies) to online. Presumably, these guys don't get paid to reprint their comics on the Web, but it increases their exposure and maybe convinces their fans to lobby to get them into local weeklies.

Tony Millionaire's Maakies [maakies.com] is pure genius.

Try Underworld [kazunderworld.com] , by Kaz, if you want to tickle your cynical side.

Comic BOOKS vs. Comic STRIPS (2, Insightful)

ReyTFox (676839) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852404)

I think these two comic formats have very different venues from each other. A comic book is meant to have more than a 10-second total viewing time, and usually has a more involved story and has a larger time to develop the action. The strip, on the other hand, must be satisfy the reader on a daily basis, and usually has to stick to formulaic jokes in three or four panels to succeed.

Correspondingly, in the physical world, the comic book is sold by itself, while the comic strip is tossed in amid a sea of other reading material(other comics, ads, articles...) and left to "sink or swim" as it will.

I think a similar dynamic applies online. The web-comic in strip format generally relies on advertising to succeed, but a full web-comic book might get somewhere through micropayments.

But I can say fairly confidently that nobody would pay money to view one strip.

Birth at ODSN (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6852412)

OSDN funded this which was funded brith shit rapers scok hop hip.

Noooo, this is a slashdot effect... (0, Offtopic)

kclittle (625128) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852417)

"So popular was the contest that the server suffered from a veritable slashdot effect." Ain't nuthin' like the real thang... Here ya go, see? Doh!

homestarrunner.com (3, Insightful)

efflux (587195) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852520)

not comics (more like an interactive cartoos)...but definately worth a look, and it definately shows off the media potential of the internet.

"Tyranny" of Left to Right Format long broken (5, Interesting)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852594)

Bill Watterson broke this a while back in the later years of his Calvin and Hobbes strips. Once he got popular enough to be able to dictate some things for artistic sake, he declared that his comics will only be published in a rectangular area where he has free rein inside, free from panels or any other limitation within. Most papers required all comics to be broken into panels so they can be arranged how they saw fit. Watterson hated those limitations, especially for a strip that was so involved with fantasy and imagination. Some papers had to actually shrink his area in order to keep the proportions right and for other comics to flow right around it, but he remained steadfast, and thats how the sunday strips were presented until he ended the strip, a strip still sorely missed by me and many others.

Re:"Tyranny" of Left to Right Format long broken (1)

Dstrct0 (442821) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852633)

Bill Watterson's work on Calvin & Hobbes was absolutely brilliant.

I was really saddened when the strip came to an end.

Any word on what he's up to now?

Magic Inkwell (1)

jankyPhil (317751) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852623)

I used to really love Magic Inkwell [magicinkwell.com] by Cayetano Garza. He's been into this whole weird mexico-type stuff for a little while now that I don't really dig as much as his older stuff, but I still really like his style.

Order (4, Funny)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852628)

the new medium can change the traditional "left-to-right in a rectangular frame" paradigm.

I find this to be quite true when I look at comics in the *.jp domain. Everything is right to left for some reason, and the characters speak in little picture symbols. Must be the Internatioanl Date Line.

I have a hard time with comics from the *.au domain, thought. They appear on my monitor upside down.

e-sheep (1)

jwinter1 (147688) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852668)

I can't believe that nobody's mentioned e-sheep yet. e-sheep [e-sheep.com] rocks! Apocamon, The Spiders, Barracuda, they're all great. And jwz loves 'em too [livejournal.com] .

Funny Adult Comic Strip (2, Informative)

WarDancer (542700) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852703)

If you have an open mind and want a good laugh. You should check out this site :

Sexy Losers [sexylosers.com]

You may be grossed out by a few of them at first, but they are just so funny.

Irregular Webcomic (2, Interesting)

Ondo (187980) | more than 10 years ago | (#6852735)

I'm a fan of Irregular Webcomic [dangermouse.net] , which seems more innovative than any of the examples mentioned in the article. The comics are pictures taken with a camera, rather than drawn. Generally pictures of Legos or painted miniatures, with some shots of the script's creator in there.

Lots of funny strips, especially the Star Wars ones.
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