Before I launch into today's post, I'd like to bring your attention to a good cause. Rachel's Wonky Teeth.
From the Beat: Webcomicker Rachel Nabors (Rachel the Great, Crow Princess) reports that she needs $25,000 worth of dental surgery and orthodontics. She’s a freelancer with no health insurance.But she does have a Paypal button.
I met Rachel at HeroesCon 2007 last Summer. Her booth was sort of across the corner from our Flashback Universe booth, so during the course of the weekend I had an opportunity to chat with her. She's a very cool person who is having a spot of trouble with her teeth, so I thought I would help spread the word.
If you would like to learn more, (or hopefully donate) feel free to click the banner below.
Now about Web Comics in general...
I can really only think of one web comic I follow with any regularity now, and that's High Moon at Zuda.
Outside of High Moon, I really have a hard time with web comics, and I don't think I'm alone on this. I find them a little at odds with one of the fundamental principals of the internet, and that's the idea that we often surf the net for complete experiences - I think that's why YouTube videos work so well - you never, ever expect that any YouTube video that you are going to click on is going to be part 1 of a continuing series (unless, someone has, you know, chopped up, say the entire War of the Gargantuas and posted it on YouTube.)
For the most part, when someone sends you a YouTube link, you expect, at tops, to be completely entertained in 5 or less minutes.
And if YOU don't, you can damn well be sure your kids do!
However, with Web Comics, unless they are the sort of PVP daily *strips* you don't often have that nice satisfying feeling of getting a complete experience from reading them. (even PVP seems to demand that you catch up on the previous strips in order to enjoy the latest ones...)
With that in mind, I actually think Zuda will be MUCH more worthwhile endeavor a year from now when the first batch of stories have been completed. (It might not even be a bad idea for Zuda to consider different sized stories in the future as well. Currently they seem to want in the neighborhood of 50 installments for each story. Setting up different categories with shorter story lengths might be a way to increase the content on the site AND give visitors choices as to the amount of time they would spend on each visit.)
On the flipside, Web Comics seem to be a financially wise route to go. Or at least wiser than self publishing... Todd Allen's The Economcs of Web Comics seems to make it clear that Web Comics can be good way to make some money and/or build an audience for a published version of your comic, while self-publishing paper comics has become harder and more expensive.
Todd Allen says...
Web Comics have, to some degree, stepped in and are picking up large audiences as the printed small press continues to wither in circulation. Web Comics show greater diversification of genre. Web Comics are, at minimum, in the process of blowing up the Print Comics small press, if they have not already done so.
So, with all that said, would I ever consider working on a web comic? Yeah, but only if I felt like it was going to be something with a definite ending. And it wouldn't be Superheroes. I'm pretty sure the success I've had with Flashback Universe is because I'm really serving the CBR downloader market in *exactly* the way it wants to be served. Once you start eyeing the high seas of the CBR unitiated, you really need to start thinking about something other than superheroes. (It'll be interesting to see how Warren Ellis's Freak Angels project goes.)
Hm...I think this is the part where we open the hymnals and you pretend to sing. :D