Why Comics? And Why Webcomics?

I’ve been thinking about comics and webcomics lately (surprise, surprise), and I realized that some people reading this journal may not be all that familiar with comics and why people love reading them so much.

So I thought I’d discuss what I find most intriguing about comics in general, and webcomics in particular.

First off, comics. Why do I read comics instead of “real” books?

Well, I read all kinds of stuff — comics, short stories, novels, in a variety of formats — online, in bound books, in electronic format, even in printouts from a Word doc. The format doesn’t matter so much to me as the STORY.

When I read, I want to learn. I want to be entertained. I want to get inside someone else’s head beside my own.

The format is secondary, but what I really like about reading a comic is that it’s always FUN. Words and pictures — that goes back to those picture books your parents read to you as a kid. Match up a good story with eye-catching or moody or flashy art, and I’m sold.

The art also gets you to appreciate setting, just like in a movie. But you don’t have to worry about bad computer graphics throwing you out of the story if you’re reading a science fiction or fantasy comic (the way it would in a movie. In a comic, it all just flows.

Comics also manipulate the way you move your eyes across the page. Clever comics will play with your expectations, making the reading experience a challenge at times, or building to a cliffhanger on the final page. There’s movement in a comic page, but it’s different than the movement in a movie.  The movement is happening in your head.

Comics are a great bridge between reading a novel and watching a movie. They use different muscles, and they have different payoffs. But overall, it comes down to experiencing a great story.

And it’s usually a BIG story. Because comics are serial, usually coming out every month, you get an ongoing story with usually the same set of characters, having adventures and traveling all over the world (or worlds). If you find a character or comic you love, you could be reading their story for YEARS. Just look at Superman or Batman, or Spider-Man or the X-Men.

Also, comics are more than just superheroes… But that’s a whole ‘nother journal entry!

What I wanted to talk about next are the new kids on the street — the webcomics.

Here’s a quick-hit list of what I see are the cool benefits of webcomics:

  1. You can read a webcomic whenever you’re at a computer with an Internet connection (and what computer doesn’t these days?).
  2. Most webcomics are FREE.
  3. You don’t have to worry about spilling coffee or soda on your valuable #1 mint condition comic book; just keep that drink off your keyboard and screen!
  4. You can promote your favorite comic via email and send people right to it, like this: http://www.zudacomics.com/node/1540
  5. No weekly trips to tiny comics stores on the seedy side of town (okay, there are fewer of these kinda stores these days, thank goodness!).
  6. Webcomics never sell out!
  7. No variant webcomic covers that force you to buy five copies of the same damn comic.
  8. You can do a screen grab of your favorite comic panel and make it the background of your computer (beats cutting up your valuable comic to make a pin-up!).
  9. Webcomics are serial just like regular comics, so you can get your weekly fix the same way.
  10. More webcomics are coming every day. Too many to ever read ’em all. And that’s a good, good thing.

Interested in reading more about webcomics? Check out this cool site, which is a sort of gathering place for all things about webcomics: Paperless Comics.

Also, you can learn more about DC Comics’ Zuda imprint in this excellent article: The DC (Digital Comics) evolution.

And finally… (you had to see this coming, right???)

If you haven’t had a chance to check out our webcomic, please take a look here: http://www.zudacomics.com/node/1540

And in case the site has you a little stumped, here are some tips on registering and voting: http://niki-smith.com/about/in-maps-legends/

If you could spread the word today, and tell maybe 2 or 3 people to check out the site, too, that would be awesome. If they wanna know more about this whole “webcomic thing,” then send ’em here first. Thanks!

6 thoughts on “Why Comics? And Why Webcomics?

  1. Nice post! One thing I hope that people will come to understand more universally is that comics are a medium, not a genre (which you hinted at here). In Maps and Legends will soon be among those “too many to ever read”, but I’ll be reading it!


    1. Thanks, Chris! Those old stereotypes about comics being trashy are hard to break — I’ve been wrestling with them in the non-comic genres of fantasy, SF, and horror for over a decade.

      It’s all about the story, letting the imagination soar. And having fun, dammit!


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