82. Check out comics on web
By Andrew D. Wright
Newspapers have been printing comics since the mid-1800s. Six out of ten
people reading the paper will also read the comics page so it should come
as no surprise to hear that comics are well represented on the Internet.
Online versions of newspaper comic favorites abound; Ucomics.com play host to dozens of
familiar names like Doonesbury and Garfield as well as a wide assortment
of editorial page cartoons. There are also comics that are original to the
Internet, web comics.
Web comics are different from their paper cousins. Adult themes and
content are possible, and so is movement and sound. At the far end of the
spectrum the line between a sophisticated Flash multimedia presentation
and a regular movie is so fine as to not matter.
Anybody can start their own web comic. Drawing talent is not mandatory and
web comics range from breathtaking artwork to the sort of thing you were
doing better when you were four.
Most Internet access accounts come with web space and this is a good place
to practice and get the hang of uploading files and keeping a comic
updating on schedule. Some comics update daily, some weekdays only. The
trick is to set and keep a deadline.
Keenspot.com is a web hosting
service for web comics run by web comic artists. Dozens of premium-quality
amateur strips are hosted by them. This kind of hosting gives strips a
high profile and recently one, You Damn Kid, a kid's eye view of growing
up, was optioned by Fox to make a pilot for a new animated series.
Web comic artists tend to build close relationships with their fans
through interaction on website forums and even live appearances at comic
book conventions. Many web comics are autobiographical in nature, or
portray an idealized life the cartoonist wishes they had. The personal
touch shows and the occasional rough edges can lend a sincerity that
slicker mainstream commercial offerings lack.
Anyone entering this field is doing it because they want to. Some money
can be made from online tip jars, printed compilations of the comics or
other related merchandise but don't give up that day job: building an
audience takes time and a regular output of new content.
That's where a site like
ComicGenesis.com comes in. This is the farm league for Keenspot where
new artists can start out. There are more than 7,300 comics in their
alphabetical listing. Web space for the new web comic is essentially
unlimited. Like parent Keenspot, all intellectual rights and trademarks
from the comic belong to the cartoonist.
Comics are cross-promoted on each others sites and banner advertising
covers the cost of the hosting.
The real winners here are the rest of us non-artists, who get to see whole
new worlds of stories coming from regular folks like ourselves. There are
some very rich worlds full of life to be found online.
The Mousepad runs every two weeks. It's a service of Chebucto Community
Net, a community-owned Internet provider. If you have a question about
computing, email firstname.lastname@example.org. If we use your question in
a column, we'll send you a free mousepad.
Originally published 23 April 2006