Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Com(ics) Unity

ComicSpaceSo... there's now a MySpace for Comics.

I like the idea, certainly. I don't know how much I, personally, will make use of it, as I never really entered the MySpace craze... but nonetheless, I like the concept of it.

There is often a lot of discussion regarding the so-called webcomics community. Sometimes the talk centers around whether or not there actually is one. A year or two back, when it seemed drama lurked around every corner from one month to the next, it seemed like the community was nothing more than small dedicated camps devoted to their favorite authors, ready to tear into each other at the slightest provocation.

Hmm. That might, just might, be overstating the case a tad. But it is certainly true that many people, time and again, have proclaimed the need for more of a sense of... unity, among the movers and the shakers of the webcomic world. It's a young medium, sure, but that can be all the more reason for people to be presenting a undivided front, all the more reason to work on improving the entire field as a team.

Now, this is another idea I like. It's a great sentiment. That said, I don't expect cartoonists to feel any obligation to work together or devote valuable time and resources to building up the ethereal concept of a webcomic society. The fact is, the majority of webcomickers have enough troubles working on their own comics alone. It's enough that they put up free comics once, twice, three times a week - if not daily - and expecting them to work on things beyond that scale is, well, somewhat unreasonable. More than that, many of the greatest strides and recognitions earned for webcomics comes from individual successes - Penny Arcade's work with PAX and Child's Play, for example.

So I don't expect much. I can't demand much - most webcomics are free. I support them where I can, I enjoy their works and recommend the ones that impress me, and as long as they keep providing them, they've already done far more than they are obligated to.

But it's still damn nice when I see groups like Blank Label form, with members pooling their resources to work together. It's nice to see more and more panels on webcomics, especially with some going an extra step to really discuss more than just your stand Q&A. It's nice to see, in the last year, a lot of previously antagonistic webcomic camps acting reasonably civil with each other in various matters.

Sure, the drama still pops up from time to time. And sure, the webcomics 'community' remains something hard to pin down and point at. But there is more and more discussion going on, both among those who want to take a more intellectual approach, as well as those who just want to sit around and talk about comics. There are more and more gatherings of fans, more and more webcomic collectives, and more and more independant locales for fans of the medium to gather.

ComicSpace isn't really anything world-shattering, or even entirely dedicated to webcomics alone - but it's a neat place on several levels. "A place for comic fans and creators to connect with each other." Sure, you have plenty of those in the form of private forums and messageboards - but an impartial one, open to all? That's a bit scarcer. Also, free comic hosting. That's never a bad thing.

Even if it isn't anything more than a nice little idea, that's good enough for me.

This has been your daily overanalysis of a very simple topic. Tune in next week, same bat-channel, same bat-time!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

That might, just might, be overstating the case a tad.

Nah.

The only difference today is that everyone has learned to ignore each other better because people with money and Eisners to give out are watching now.

Mr Myth said...

You know, as cynical as that is, if that really is all it takes to get everyone to play nice, then I'll take it.

Scott Thornton said...

I think it's primarily because there is now a webcomic mainstream that consists of the older more established strips that have crossed over into major deadtree status (PVP, Penny Arcade, Megatokyo and Sinfest) and the boutique collectives (Dumbrella, Boxcar, Blank Label) Yeah's it's where the money is heading towards.

Things are a lot more certain now as opposed to 1999. There is a place for niche collectives (Koala Wallop is off the chain) but they are still defined by indie status as a sort of defiance.