While I am finishing my undergraduate at the UO, I stumbled upon a class called comparative comics (the UO now offers a full major in comic book study). One of our studies in this class was to look at post-colonialism in the forms of comics (think Hergé’s TinTin and Joe Sacco’s Palestine). We also had to relate the comics we read with our own personal connection. Honestly, I don’t read many comics, but what I do read is mostly online.
Comics are usually books consisting of colored or black and white panels, some forms of speech, and usually a caption here or there. Online, the game changes. Comics on the internet (aka webcomics) can range from your regular style of physical comics or it can be so much more. It also allows those who would shy away from buying comics in person for risk of looking uncool, to partake (though this notion has been changing recently). Take a look at Tiny Kitten Teeth, Doctor Cat, or VG Cats; both are widely different in terms of context and art, yet they offer a same sense of style in terms of structure.
My favorite comic in the entire world is an online comic written by Andrew Hussie entitled Homestuck. No I’m not going to tell you about Homestuck other than it is about a whole bunch of time shenanigans with aliens and post-apocalyptic earth children and you should give it a read. The end.
The webcomic itself still isn’t done, but it’s not what Homestuck is about that makes it fascinatingly brilliant, but how it is made and used. Homestuck is comprised of multiple pages (6239 pages so far) that usually consist of a one page picture or gif and some text describing either what is going on in the panel or speech of characters talking. Than there are pages that Hussie has incorporated with original music, flash videos, and short interactive games (don’t click if you don’t want to spoil the comic). One of the videos from the comic was actually hosted offsite on Newgrounds and when released, the amount of traffic from comic fans crashed the Newgrounds’ site. It also raised over 2 millions dollars on Kickstarter for a video game version of the comic.This webcomic implements everything that is original content-music and art-from still panels to interactive flash videos. It utilizes the internet and is the first to do it well (though arguably Argon Zark! was the first).
Webcomics have been around since 1985, they’re not new. But with the way the internet is being shaped and re-thought about, the medium is slowly being reformed. Typical webcomics are your normal print comics but available online, but now artists are utilizing technology’s tools to re-imagine the comic online. This also means a broader and wider range of audience who can now read comics from all over the world. Furthermore the availability of comics now means more diversity of what is out there. From the young to the old, comics just got a little bit more trendy.