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Author Topic: What makes a good webcomic? Sound off everyone!  (Read 2448 times)
Steven Heinrich
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What makes a good webcomic? Sound off everyone!
« on: December 01, 2007, 10:46:09 am »

Over the years I've seen numerous webcomics come and go, many simply disappearing within months of making a huge splash at the A-kon artist alley!!

Then I see others that truck along, slowly improving with time, effort and dedication.

Some have incredible storylines, but horrible art and others vice versa...only a few elite stand against the grain and combine the best of both worlds.

Some of the silliest, with the most simplistic artwork are the powerhouses of the industry (I'm talking about you Explosm.net).  Their quick wit and willingness to "go for the throat" humor make them favorites among the college crowd and those that actually get the hidden humor in "Family Guy".

Then we have epic storylines with incredible art such as "Swordwaltzer" and "Star Cross'd Destiny" with deep characters and art that makes you want to purchase a poster and put it in a frame on your wall.

The middle ground would be comics such as Schlock Mercenary with simple, but pleasing art and a fun, involved story line and "the Whiteboard" (a webcomic about a polar bear that plays paintball) both of which I stayed up and read from the beginning to the current comic when I found them in only one sitting....only a few comics can get me to do that!!!

There is, of course, the personality behind the webcomic!  Does that make a difference?  I know many webcomic artists, and I can say that the most popular ones (with only a few arrogant exceptions) truly appreciate their fans and at conventions go out of their way to show their appreciation, staying long hours and going above & beyond the call of duty for personal requests.

What do the rest of you feel makes a webcomic successful?

Please be detailed, as I know that we have numerous, budding new webcomic artists on this site, and the A-kon wave is about to start at the beginning of the year, which will mean a large influx of new people viewing the forum!!!!

***If you put up a link, please make sure you designate whether it is safe for work and what age level is appropriate.  We have a HUGE amount of parents that lurk this forum, since we a the main site for the younger artists to learn about being an artist at conventions.


http://schlockmercenary.com/
(Safe for all ages)

https://starcrossd.net/scd.php
(13+ ages)

http://explosm.net/
(Not safe for work, or children most of the time, or anyone that is touchy about religion or taboo subjects, but it is hilarious)

http://www.the-whiteboard.com/
(safe for all ages and funny for techies who paintball)

http://www.xerjester.com/
(safe for all ages, some violence from sword fighting)
« Last Edit: December 01, 2007, 10:48:25 am by Steven Heinrich » Logged

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bigbigtruck
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Re: What makes a good webcomic? Sound off everyone!
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2007, 05:24:31 pm »

Something Positive
PG-13/R for language
This is pretty much my favorite webcomic. The humor is harsh but not without reason - it's the only thing that can make me laugh AND cry within a 5-strip stretch. I hope Randy gets asked to be dialogue consultant or write a movie script someday - the exchanges between the characters are priceless. Brilliant writing.

As If!
PG, suitable for just about everybody
An odd couple sort of thing - two best friends growing up side by side in the mid-1980's. Nice artwork and a good solid world and storyline - this one doesn't have that "seat of the pants" feel that a lot of longer running or unplanned comics do.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2007, 05:27:09 pm by bigbigtruck » Logged

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Re: What makes a good webcomic? Sound off everyone!
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2007, 01:22:57 pm »

*glomps Steven* Cheesy

I think what makes a great webcomic is someone who is willing to be imaginative and willing to experiment across the medium.  Storytelling is a very nonrestrictive art, as is (in my opinion) sequential art.  But I think the deal breaker between a webcomic that lasts and one that falls has more to do with the creator than the concept.  I think the creators who are passionate about their craft are the ones that last and become great.  They're not doing it for money or hits - they're doing it because they have a story to tell and they love it.  They love their characters.  That love shows through.

These are my favorites:
PinkyTA

Earthsong

A Softer World

All of those are PGish.
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Re: What makes a good webcomic? Sound off everyone!
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2009, 01:38:39 pm »

I think a good webcomic is one that will follow their own story and style.  If we wanted some mainstream popularity type thing, we'd just read pro published comics, right?  The reason why I like webcomics is the variety and individuality.  If you can create a decent webcomic about a niche topic, then I'm sure it will generate a large following.     

Also, the author has to have love and dedication for their work.  They don't get paid very much, if at all, so they really have to have hardcore dedication to their stories and their fans.  So a good webcomic is one that doesn't give up, restart, abandon fans for months at a time without reason, etc. 
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Re: What makes a good webcomic? Sound off everyone!
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2011, 08:26:40 am »

Personally, I have a system I judge most arts by. All the parts should contribute to the whole and feel life they belong together. Even if the point is to create juxtaposition or discord, there has to be some internal logic or connection that makes the juxtaposition work. In webcomics, this means the story (of each comic in the case of one-shots or gag-a-day, and the full narrative otherwise), characters, writing, art, panel layout, pacing of the story in the archives and in the updates, all have to complement one another. Hopefully the website you put the comic on also adds to this effect, but I won't boycott your comic if it doesn't. If all the parts don' complement one another, maybe another medium would be a better choice to work in. So, if you have great art and story but are very bad at panel layout, maybe an illustrated story would make more sense for example.

So, an example of a comic I think does all of this is Brightest. http://www.brightestcomic.com/
The art and story complement each other, the cartoony noodle arms and curvy lines normally wouldn't fit with the muted color palette, but in context of this story it makes a lot of sense, given that Charlie, the main character, would be very vibrant and lively but is beaten down by the circumstances she finds herself in. All the characters are well written and suit the tone of the story, no one feels out of place. The panel layout is simple, uncluttered, and makes reading through the archive quick and engrossing, while the writing puts just enough info into a single page that most readers wouldn't get bored waiting for the plot to progress. I think the fact that it updates every weekday is directly correlated with the simple panel layouts, and it also contributes to the feeling that this is happening in "real time" even though it's really happening very slowly compared to real life. Finally, the website complements the comic itself, being uncluttered and using a similar color scheme as the comic itself, the comic feels like it belongs with this page, not like I should print it out and bind it in a book.

An Example of a comic that fails one category but I read because it does everything else nicely: Girl Genius http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php
It's got the story, there are tons of characters but they all feel well written enough and we don't have too many of them in the action at any given time, the art is consistent and fun and suits the story, the writing is like the art, the panel layouts are often gorgeous, but the pacing is horrible. Each page feels like we're getting somewhere, doing something, and that's great, until you realize it took nearly two years for the current story-arc to get somewhat maybe near the end. Reading the archive can be fun, but you need at least 2 days to do it even if you speed read. It was originally a print comic, so I understand that might be where the pacing issues come from, but it is frustrating to have the characters run into a million and one little problems on the way to solving a fairly big problem, that still is just a piece of solving the really big problem, and take so long to do it. I love that GG is online and free, but it's better suited to being in print than online IMO.

One last thing: Regular updates. If it doesn't update regularly, any webcomic whether or not it meets all my nitpicky criteria, will have trouble holding onto a large fan base. Yes you can still have a loyal following, but it'll be a lot smaller.

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