"Comics is Comics"
Comics is comics. I donít care if ya read your comics on your computer or if ya read them on slick glossy paper. To me thereís really no difference. Comics are comics are comics.
In a time when the comics industry is struggling to survive, it annoys me whenever I see creators or fans taking sides between print comics and webcomics. Comics are comics, regardless. Seeing this divide, and the occasional mud-slinging between the two groups, is not good for us. Itís certainly not good for the artform.
Debating on whether print comics or webcomics are better, which is more lasting, or which is purer to the artform is just a silly debate. Are print comics the old dinosaur waiting to die? Are webcomics just created by a bunch of no-talent hacks that couldnít get work at a big comic book publisher?
Weíre wasting our time fighting amongst ourselves.
Iíve seen plenty of webcomics creators bad-mouth print comics on their websites or forums. Why? I donít get it. Sure big comic book publishers have a horrid history of treating creators poorly, but why criticize all print comics?
Like it or not, the survival of print comics means the survival of the comic book artform as a whole.
Also, Iím seeing so much anger and criticism growing towards webcomics these days. I just donít understand this great need for people to worry about who did what, where, and when, how important he or she really is, or if webcomics are relevant or not. Of course webcomics are relevant!
Webcomics allow a creator total freedom and control of his/her work. He/She doesnít have to worry about an editor making changes to his/her work. Creativity is almost endless! Webcomics afford the creator to not have to worry about the complications that come with dealing with printers and distributors. And it can be (almost) entirely free to create.
We need to stick together. We need to stop all the name-calling, back-stabbing, and infighting. We need to work together to build the industry we love so much, not help tear it down.
All of us who read comics, love comics. So, if weíre going to judge a comic, it should be judged on itís content, not if itís a webcomic or print comic.
So, letís all stop the bad behavior, because if we want comics to survive, we need to start acting like adults, and begin working together. Divided we fall.
ĎCuz comics is comics.
I recently asked a few comics creators what they thought of this topic, and hereís what some of them had to sayÖ
Terry Moore (STRANGERS IN PARADISE): "It would be wrong if there were no comics on the internet, so it seems obvious to me to find them there. An awful lot of comics and creators can be found only on the internet, so I'm grateful for the medium. It would be awful if the only comics and creators we had in the world were mainstream stars."
Joe Staton (FEMME NOIR, E-MAN, SCOOBY-DOO): "I figure that anytime you put pictures in a sequence to tell a story, you can call it comics. One of these days, we'll have some object we can hold in our hands and flip the pages and do the interactive things all at once and it won't bother us at all that we once thought paper pamphlets and plasma screens were at odds."
Rich Woodall (JOHNNY RAYGUN): "I do think it's interesting that anyone would put down web comics, it's merely another format to present your work in. It seems kinda silly that anyone would have a beef with how someone wants to present their work. It's just another form of art."
DJ Coffman (YIRMUMAH, LIONXOR): "I know I can rant on and on about that. I know there are many people in the web community ONLY because they couldnít A: afford to print, B: They werenít good enough to get picked up by ANY Publishers, or C: They failed with their projects and now take Ďem online in some form. --- thatís not everyoneóbut many of those people become REALLY bitter and backhanded about the comic book industry, or anything PRINT. Anything that failed them. They should have kept the faith. Soon, the playing field will be a little more level with stuff like that."
Matt Talbot (JOHNNY RAYGUN QUARTERLY): "It is sort of a silly argument--comics are comics, regardless of format. If the web is exposing more people to comics--people who don't go in comic shops and wouldn't be reading otherwise--then that's a good thing. As far as creators and fans taking sides, well, that's nothing new. Everyone seems to like defending their views on a variety of comic 'issues' outside of print vs. web. You'll have your indy fans putting down super-hero books and vice versa. Your Marvel fans vs. DC fans, etc etc. Comic fans seem to be afraid of the unknown. I've never given much thought to it, really. I like comics, plain and simple--no matter what form they take."
Steve Conley (ASTOUNDING SPACE THRILLS, BLOOP): "I agree with you entirely. The real definition of comics doesn't change when you move the work from one medium to another. The creative process may, the planning should and the execution must differ between print work and web work. As storytellers, we have to take into account HOW the audience will be experiencing what we've created but that's the end of it. The argument of print vs. web is silly. And all the player(s) in the debate strike me as either goofy or grandstanding self-promoters. I think the reason the debate evaporated quickly was that comics fans found real subjects to argue about like if The Thing is stronger than The Hulk or just how bad that Catwoman movie is going to be."
Walt Simonson (THOR, ORION, ELRIC: THE MAKING OF A SORCERER): "I don't know that I can offer any insightful comment about the subject at hand--web comics vs. print comics--except to say that I didn't even know there WAS an on-going debate about the matter. And now that I know it, I'll probably do my best to forget about it as quickly as possible. My deadlines are much more immediate!"
Scott McCloud (ZOT, UNDERSTANDING COMICS): "Alas, it would take a month for me to say it all, Al."