Traditionally people think of comics as being pamphlet style books, featuring heroes and villains. However, since the 80’s, comics have been spread over the net to a much wider range of stories and audiences. Today I want to talk about some of the digital aspects of comics.
Webcomics are not a new thing, at least not anymore. The earliest webcomics out date the internet, at least in retrospect as the term didn’t get coined until the late 90’s. Initially, comics tended to follow newspaper format, four panels for daily jokes and expanded as needed for more complex stories. This can be seen in a lot of early comics, and is still found in most gag or joke based comics. Now that isn’t to say all webcomics are like this. There are many ways people have taken the idea of these comics and expanded on how to present them.
Now as the main purpose of this article is to get people into comics I am not going to go into the history of webcomics or the creators as there are comics that have been around for over 20 years. Instead I am going to post some suggestions of sites and comics that I enjoy or use to find new comics. One of the biggest ways that webcomics have grown is through communities that have bumped or crossed over with each other to boost readership between the two.
The first site I want to mention is going to be one that is the most useful, TopWebcomics. This site was set up as a way of having sites get promoted with out having to break the bank in advertisement budget. Sites often add incentives to entice readers to vote, although some have grown past the need to use the site. Currently it has the biggest catalog of webcomics available to sort through with update news and an ever changing list of content. The only down side is that it hasn’t really gone through a major update in a very long time.
Next up is online publishers. Unlike the traditional printing houses these publishers help promote a community of comics and other original online material. They also help in getting printed versions out which can help those who don’t have easily accessible internet, as well become a source of revenue for the creators. Many groups tend to come and go, but there are currently a few I read from. First off is Keenspot which has hosted a large assortment of comics over the years that they have left, finished, or left unfinished. Next up is relative new comer Hiveworks, which has a large selection of comics and a way to search by genre. Final group is Thrillbent which is backed by big name comic writer Mark Waid (also considered the greatest Superman fan alive.) They are a web first publisher for multiple styles of comics featuring some of the best talent in media. It does have a subscriber wall, but it is at a low monthly cost of $3.99 which is about the cost of one monthly title to get access to multiple titles and issues.
Finally the best way to find webcomics is networking. The oldest and truest way to find any comics has usually been word of mouth. This still holds true as I usually find most of the comics I have read from either mentions from other artists or friends. Other ways this can apply is through conventions, where people are attracted by booths that may have been set up or crowds constantly crowding certain areas. Bigger comics or those traveling with publishing groups may have a booth of their own, while smaller ones or just independent artists may take space in the artist alley. While they may not take an initial glance passing by the booth, people may see merchandise picked up by others. Really, networking works for the consumer as it allows them to feel like a part of something with others. For the artists it is free advertising, and gets them a fan base to support them. In fact a good convention to go to is in the picture and link below if you’re in the area.
Now, these are just some of the ways you can find webcomics. There is no 100% list out there of comics to find, and this doesn’t cover those that are digital first from the big publishers. I could just list off some of my favourite webcomics, but really the best way to find something for yourself is to find it on your own. Keep an eye out for some new webcomics of our own coming soon. Until next week, happy reading.