The Frustrated Cartoonist invited readers to decide the fate of Ginger. Should she be killed off, be erased, move to Garfield or suffer some other shocking event? Well, the results from the polls, emails and comments came in with a curious (to me) result. And by the time you read this, it’ll be too late to vote on this week’s decision, as noted at the bottom of that post. I like the interactivity between artist and readers of this but I’m not sure where it leads – how much of this adds to a strip and how much is too much? In any case, it looks like it will be a regular interactive feature.
And here’s another interactive feature at schmackLab. In this case, you’re being invited to contribute a page – based on the page before it. There is no “formal planning, cleanup or post production.” If neither of those interest you, perhaps you can write a System Comic.
I think you’ll agree that there is a lot going on in comics so I am also curious about the downward slide in the popular webcomics. I figure recreational thing like comics have cycles of waxing and waning interest but there are quite a few significant downward trends there. I wonder if internet use per user is down across the board or if there is a shift towards enjoying more video entertainment, perhaps? Interesting.
A Nickel’s Worth interviewed Randy Glasbergen, Alan Doane interviewed Tony Isabella and Webcomic Overlook told us about Bad Machinery. I also ran across something I’d heard about called Tweeterview, where Agent_X interviews folks like Lonnie from Spud Comics and some others. Scott McCloud encouraged us to check out Tune.
There’s a lot of commotion going on about motion comics lately. Heroes-Inc. pointed us to what they call a REAL motion comic. The comment is made that adding zooms and glides don’t add much by themselves and that the way the comic is ‘built’ definitely adds something – all of which I agree with. However, I think that adding motion that accentuates – like zoom-ins on closeups or a moving background for an establishing shot – to this overlapping display style could push motion comics into its’ own category. That would combine some of the best facets of still images and movement and all of it could be done on handheld devices, too.
I’m pretty sure that WebcomicZ has always had that comic bar across the top but I don’t recall it being $5 a month – which isn’t bad for about 2000 page views a day. I get a decent amount of email from people looking for ways to expand their exposure and this seems inexpensive for the return. Say you get a couple hundred clickers (extra visits) and fifty stickers (readers) for your five bucks – that’s ten cents each for new fan. Not a bad investment once in a while.
I found this snippet on this cartooning school in the U.K. and I emailed them to ask if they would have resources online as well – they assure me that they are ‘centralising information not creation‘ so there will be some online learning available. I applaud their efforts and wish them the best. Let’s keep an eye on them.
Infurnation posts about a new book subtitled “How To Paint What Doesn’t Exist” by Dinotopia artist James Gurney – that might be an interesting read. Forbidden Planet was where I first saw the Comic Reporter’s post on five things about comics that have changed in the last five years. And did Hi & Loisslam or side with webcomicdom? I don’t know what the verdict is but merch can sell well if you have the right products and the right audience. I’m sure people still buy Garfield shirts but I couldn’t tell you why.
PW Beat mentioned Shaenon Garrity’s recounting involving the silent G.I. Joe comic that everyone remembers and was influenced by.
Apple can’t decide whether comics are tv shows, ebooks or record albums. TwiTip linked to an article about tweeting celebrities and whether or not it’s a good idea. As it turns out, it is a good idea for the same reason it’s a good idea for us non-celebrities. And it’s not for the sake of ‘community,’ so don’t gloss over it because of that. It’s worth noting that what we do does affect other people and we should try to do no harm.
Bear with me a little longer, since I see all this as being interrelated… Clay Shirky explains why newspapers will somehow be replaced. One thing said was that media is created on audience demand and that the audience creates the value of the media in different ways. To put that into webcomic context, when readers email/save/link/share your comic, it increases in commercial AND social value. I hadn’t considered that social aspect before by itself- that’s the true value of a comic. Anything (like a micropayment subscription) that gets in the way of sharing the comic is detrimental to its social use by the audience. There are more newspaper fundamentals discussed in greater depth, so give that article a read. We can also see how social web traffic is being measured by newspapers with real consequences.
And Boing Boing commented on an article that talked about paying for content instead of form. It didn’t provide easy answers but it did alter my understanding of the print vs web question. Form dictates use of content. A folding map is used differently than an atlas. News content is more easily obtained online and is then outdated – therefore printed versions are less useful and are being phased out by a large number of users. Some will always have the love of holding the printed pages but others are merely looking for an experience of story, of super heroics, of fantasy – whatever. When I mentally boil all this down, it reminds me of the old adage of “sell the sizzle, not the steak.” What we enjoy most about steak is the experience of tasting those meaty morsels cooked just right. Comics will be okay – no matter what the medium – if we focus more on providing the best experience of a comic ‘read’ that we can.