Ten Things To Know About the Future of Webcomics

From Dresden Codak

Shaenon K. Garrity’s controversial Ten Things to Know About the Future of Comics has been making waves lately. Some readers agree with the points presented. Judging from the comments and reactions, though, many more take issue, partially because the tone of the entire list was rather confrontational. Gary Tyrrell of Fleen was especially affected when she started talking about webcomics. Specifically:

5. But there is a canon. As best I can determine, the majority of comics-loving people under 30 have at least a passing familiarity with the following:

Calvin & Hobbes
Bone
Naruto
Death Note
Watchmen

…and a handful of webcomics, but the latest big thing in webcomics shifts so frequently that I can’t even add titans like Penny Arcade and xkcd to the list with any confidence.

Is this the canon I would have chosen to lead the next generation into the great big beautiful tomorrow of comics? Probably not, but it’s not bad. Definitely better than the canon I cut my teeth on, which contained far more Batman than was healthy for the nerds of Generation X.

I don’t want to sound like I’m challenging Ms. Garrity’s expertise on the matter. She is, after all, managing editor at Viz Comics, which means that she has a better feel for the market than I do, as well as a webcomic creator in her own right. However, that list of stuff that under-30 readers have a familiarity with seems completely arbitrary. First of all… that list is hardly a very good representation of “general comic knowledge.” At least three of those (Death Note, Naruto, Watchmen) are on there because there was a TV show or a movie made out of them. Which is then contradicted by Ms. Garrity two points when she says that “Superheroes are not comic book characters” because people know them from other media.

Huh.

(Incidentally, I have a weird feeling that Scott Pilgrim, the darling of the “comics aren’t for kids anymore” crowd, would have made that same list if the movie hadn’t bombed hard in theaters.)

But back to webcomics. Here’s something to consider: the top circulating webcomics get 680,000 (Penny Arcade) to 1.4 million (xkcd) unique visitors. Can most manga, which Ms. Garrity has promoted as the way of the future, really top that? Especially when 2010 has been marked with stories of how sales of manga comics have been declining?

But how about penetration with regards to public perception? I’d say it’s fairly strong at the moment. It was Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik who made Time‘s 100 People list, not Masashi Kishimoto (creator of Naruto, the top manga property of 2010, according to ICv2.com).

I will concede that Ms. Garrity at least raises many interesting things to think about, eventhough webcomics were once again given the “secondary citizen” status in a discussion about the future of webcomics. And from a webcomic veteran, too! First Joey Manley and now Shaenon Garrity? Personally, I think the future of webcomics is pretty bright, PHENOMENALLY BRIGHT, despite my own sometimes dour observations on this site.

So, as a response — mostly good natured — here’s my own list of Ten Things to Know About Webcomics, or 90% of this is stuff I’m pulling out of my butt but should make a handsome list to post on your kitchen refrigerator:

1.) Boys will eventually find a way to make it in webcomics. Unencumbered from the boys’ club system of the comic shop and the traditional bricks-n-mortar publishers, female webcomic creators have flourished. Kate Beaton, Meredith Gran, and Spike Trotman are probably even more well known that most of their male counterparts.

Boys? You need to step up your games.

2.) The webcomic canon will, in fact, replace the existing comics canon. Despite the breadth and variety of webcomics out there, plenty standards fuel the common discussion in webcomic threads. Comics like Penny Arcade, xkcd, Questionable Content, Megatokyo, MSPaint Adventures, Achewood, Perry Bible Fellowship, Hark! A Vagrant … and yes, CAD. You know what? I think that more people read these comics than read actual manga.

However, I do agree that manga does get a better grip in the consciousness of young people because its support in other media. Hence….

3.) Webcomic creators need to be picked up to be translated in other media — TV, movies, video games. Look, this is the number one reason superhero comics and manga are recognized by the public more than webcomics. Superman would not ever have gotten the kind of traction he did if not for radio shows. Naruto would be no where near as popular if it wasn’t for anime. Webcomics are approaching the day when they become valuable media properties. Right now, the foot in the door is video games, the infant media market which, thanks to the burgeoning indie games sector, has lowered the barriers to entry. Penny Arcade and Blade Kitten are there already, latching on the new media of choice for the new millennium like Superman did during the early days of radio. Who will join them?

4.) The Infinite Canvas will die. It’s fun as an experiment. However, it’s not working. And with iPad limiting the screen even more than the computer does, the canvas is shrinking and shrinking. What else is joining the infinite canvas?

Galaxion

5.) Video game comics will completely disappear from the world wide web. Why? Because video game comics will be accessed through the same portal (the future XBoxes, PS3s, and Wiis) that provide downloadable content to gamers everywhere. Why go online when you can get your comics in the same place you play your games, watch your movies, and check your email? Incidentally, the video game as we know it will only be played by curmudgeonly diehards, like the pinball players of today. Everyone else will have moved on to holodeck games already.

6.) A regular schedule will become even more important than ever. Many successful webcomics seem to have settled into a twice or thrice a week updates. The once a week update? Just ain’t cutting it. Also, audiences aren’t getting younger. Hence, stretching out a year-long story that could’ve been covered in a month with better pacing just isn’t going to cut it any more. Economic storytelling is the future.

7.) Webcomics will gravitate toward corporate entities. It’s kinda disheartening when you look at Wikipedia’s List of Self Sufficient Webcomics and come to the realization that only 0.1% of webcomics ever made will ever make enough money to sustain their creators. I know that webcomic creators like to tout the benefits of independence. But, you know, that life isn’t for everyone. Wouldn’t it be nice to have alternative system where you can get paid and do what you love best: either storytelling or drawing?

8.) Webcomics will actually be key into injecting life into the moribund manga industry. Let’s face it: manga? They all look the same now. Zero innovation. That’s because of market pressures: the publishers need to sell, sell, sell, and that means taking very few risks. This site has, in fact, encountered several manga-style comics that have been pretty damn innovative: things like Spinnerette, Galaxion, and Moon Town.

Sam and Fuzzy

Now, let’s take a look at that Top 25 Manga Properties chart again: Naruto. One Piece. Vampire Knight. Fullmetal Alchemist. Bleach. Are you trying to tell me that these aren’t all exactly the same thing?!?!?!? Seriously, if any innovation in the manga industry is to be had, it will be from people not stuck churning out the same cookie-cutter product.

9.) Eventually, some enterprising webcomic creators are going to band together and create a superhero universe that will rival Marvel and DC in media clout. Hey, why not? There’s still a big market for superhero stories out there, and with the Big Two now being hampered by the Time Warner and Disney media empires, webcomics provide an alternate choice for superheroes that are unencumbered by corporate nannyism. Even as recently as the 90′s, it was proven you could start a superhero comic universe from scratch. And I’m sure there’s a lot of people who would appreciate reading something that doesn’t cost $3 to $4 per 20 pages. Webcomics may not always be free, but darn it, they should be able to match that price point!

Finally….

10.) There will come a day when “webcomics” will just be called “comics,” and what we know now as comics will be called “vintage print frolickery that grandpa got from these antiquated places called ‘comic shops’ and ‘book stores’.” Bank on it.

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About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on October 26, 2010, in The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 71 Comments.

  1. Bone TV show? Where?

  2. Im not sure if penny arcade or xckd have more readers than naruto, most of them just download/read online the latest chapter from Japan and I know a lot of people who does that from argentina , peru and chile and never heard of penny arcade , questionable content etc.

    just check the estimate page views from the difunt Onemanga site.
    (that was shut down because of that)

    and seems that manga fans are noiser too since a few minutes after the latest ,naruto, one piece , fairy tail chapter is about there like hundreds of comments on online sites compare that with most famous webcomics forums.

  3. ps I found the page views estimates from One manga
    http://icv2.com/articles/news/17958.html
    As ICv2 reported in May, the one manga site reached #935 on Google’s list of the most-visited sites on the Web with an estimated 4.2 million unique visitors per month and a mammoth 1.1 billion page views per month
    and this is just one website of translated manga , they are a lot more out there.
    seems people dont like to pay for their comics ergo webcomics sucess

    • That actually is pretty relevant. Didn’t realize online versions of Naruto even existed. It definitely is something to consider about the future.

      • Note that One Manga is a bootleg site. It may be useful to look at it in terms of the format that readers want, but it’s not doing anything good for the publishers or authors.

  4. I remember reading something very like this seven years ago except that the infinite canvas was the future instead of the past. And the future of webcomics was a fair bit brighter then.

    I would be very surprised if any webcomic becomes canon because there’s so few that almost everyone seems to agree is worth reading. This is, after all, the whole point of canon – it is the “start here, don’t come back until you’ve read these” list. I would not inflict CAD on anyone, I don’t care for Achewood and I know many people who loathe xkcd. I would have said Gunnerkrigg Court but you don’t even have it on the list, which suggests that it, too, is unsuitable for being wonderful but obscure.

    I also strongly suspect that you don’t know a thing about manga. This is somewhat obvous from the blanket dismissal of the various shonen comics as being ‘all the same thing’ which is very cutting when you pick a bunch of comics from the same genre and then suggest that they are all very similar. It’s more obvious that you didn’t mention that most manga creators started out as fans, publishing their own fanworks and eventually being noticed by creators and publishers. The manga model is analog webcomics.

    And that exposes why the stuff about the bright future of webcomics is wishful thinking. We know what it looks like, and we’re starting to see the edges of that now, what with Kate Beaton doing a Spiderman story. Marvel aren’t going to ask her to do a historical parody series because they won’t be able to sell it. What the market wants to spend money on is what the market already knows it likes.

    • You’re probably right about me not knowing much about manga. I used to do a review site of anime and manga about ten years ago at Guthwulf.com, but back then the big thing was how anime was making headway into the American public with Adult Swim and the biggest thing on the shelves was Love Hina. I will wholeheartedly admit that the field has changed much since then and I haven’t kept up. (Which is the way it’s supposed to be. Thirty-something guy browsing the manga section at the Borders? Creepy as hell.)

      • “You’re probably right about me not knowing much about manga.”

        If you think Vampire Knight (a pretty-boy laden girl’s romance-drama series about dynastic power struggles among secret vampire clans) is “exactly the same thing” as One Piece (an over-the-top boy’s adventure/fighting series about would-be pirates with strange abilities), you indeed don’t know much about manga. :)

        “Thirty-something guy browsing the manga section at the Borders? Creepy as hell.”

        Uh, what? There is plenty of manga aimed at older and/or more sophisticated readers. Try something from Vertical or Viz’s Signature and SigIKKI lines.

  5. “Boy will eventually find a way to make it in webcomics.”

    I really hope you were joking here, given your mention of the PA fellas being in TIME, xkcd’s success, etc.

    Ladies not being actively held back doesn’t exactly mean fellas having zero success.

    I’d also say that manga being “all the same” is rather glossing over the variety of works. Yes, the top sellers are all similar (although having read some of One Piece and Vampire Knight I would hesitate to call them the same thing- one’s a wacky, globe-trotting adventure heavy on the slapstick and goofiness; the other is a more serious, gothic thing with a centralized location and a focus on drama. Hardly the same product at all.) but the same can be said for movies. The issue is not a lack of variety, but a lack of the general audience’s interest in the more out-there products.

    And your statement about updates ignores things like RSS feeds, which reduce the necessity of regular updates.

  6. I don’t understand these analyses of where the future of comics is taking us… They always turn out to be wrong. Why not just sit back and let the future of comics happen? Analyzing the state of the market today, and how it compares to the past, seems a little more productive.

    As for why manga sales are declining… I think it’s because manga readers are getting older. By manga readers I mean the generation that grew up with Sailor Moon and DBZ on TV. These kids would go on to become manga consumers, but there aren’t any kid-friendly anime like that on major networks today. The next generation isn’t going to be exposed to anime and manga, so as strange as it is to think, I believe that anime and manga fandom might be exclusive to our generation of geeks.

    • “Future of…” pieces aren’t always right, but 1.) it is fun to speculate, and 2.) in reality, they’re basically recontexualized discussions about current trends and observations in a readable format. Ms. Garrity, for example, probably could have put together her list as a far more analytical piece showing charts and trends and actual reader surveys (and she probably has, maybe not formally but perhaps as a report or presentation for her duties as an editor at Viz). However, ten bullet points with a focus with a futuristic flavor is far more interesting.

      I probably could have done the same thing, albeit with fewer resources. Again, we could all just wait where comics are taking us, but there are two problems with that: first off, people within the industry are interested to see where things are going so they themselves can make preparations for possible upcoming trends. Second of all, it’s fun.

      • I have a prediction, which will probably be wrong, but I’ll throw it out there anyway: it may become common for multiple webcomics to share a single website, as a sort of anthology site. This way, they would be able to divide the costs of the site, and it would take pressure off of any one creator to deliver regularly (“Sigh, there’s no new installment of LUIGI’S LUMBAGO this week. But hey, JEZUS THE WHEZUS updated!”).

        Granted, the situation would also complicate monetary issues if they ever turned a profit, and there would probably be lots of drama (the internet being what it is), so I don’t know if a site like that would ever function properly.

  7. Can most manga, which Ms. Garrity has promoted as the way of the future, really top that?

    *ahem*

    Vol. 58 of One Piece sold 3.1 million copies when it came out. And this was just in Japan.

    I know, I know. It doesn’t count because it’s not in America.

  8. The infinite canvas died years ago. Seriously.

    With regards to your comment on “regular schedule.” I call nonsense. I will easily admit that I haven’t updated my own comic since April, but the idea that one week between updates is “too much” for readers is not true, never has been true and won’t gain traction. Being consistent will encourage a consistent and loyal audience. If you tell the people you will be there for them in time for their morning coffee every Wednesday, they will be there waiting for you.

    And YES “assuming that the comic is good/people like it/etc…”

    But no. “Economic storytelling” is NOT what all readers want. Many readers greatly favor lush, dense, complex storytelling and often times comics that are too “breezy” go from being popular and easily digestible to easily forgotten.

    • Many readers also favor regular updates. I’ve dropped so many comics because they don’t have a regular update schedule. When I don’t, the comic has to be truly exceptional (like Dresden Codak). It’s not really Economic Storytelling that we’re looking for, it’s commitment from the author.

      • But that’s what I said. I’ll admit that the first sentence of that paragraph was poorly phrased, but I said that. I was responding to his “irregular updates,” which he conflates with comics that update “only” weekly.

        • I see your points, darrylayo. Perhaps a better way to phrase that point would be along the lines of what Angelina said: commitment from the author. After all, readers like to know that the writer has just about as much (and more) invested in the story as they do. Or a clear communication between creator and reader upon when to expect the next updates.

          I stand by my “economic storytelling” though, because I’ve read far too many webcomics where the story just drags and drags. (Specifically: What Birds Know.) Beautiful compositions are nice, but since webcomics are more or less living documents I think there’s less patience on the part of the reader for extended sequences than if they were, say, just a small part of a 160+ page graphic novel.

          • I think the best webcomics take their time to craft each strip carefully from scratch instead of churning out the joke of the day three times a week.
            I think long form webcomics have it harder because they have to maintain a well written and balanced story and decent art and still keep the reader interested with each update.

  9. Santo I love how you think!

  10. “But back to webcomics. Here’s something to consider: the top circulating webcomics get 680,000 (Penny Arcade) to 1.4 million (xkcd) unique visitors. Can most manga, which Ms. Garrity has promoted as the way of the future, really top that? Especially when 2010 has been marked with stories of how sales of manga comics have been declining?”

    The difference is that manga has sales, people pay for it. Webcomics make next to nothing are mainly labors of love. In fact the goal of many webcomics is to get into print.

    Pointing out that a free product gets more readers than one you have to pay for is kind of silly.

    • Not really. Ms. Garrity was pointing out items that have become embedded into the public consciousness. Whether you pay for them or not should factor into the equation. For example: many people know about Superman, even though the y may have never paid for a Superman novel or watched a Superman movie. Additionally, people may know of Naruto, but a lot of it is because they watched Naruto on TV for free.

      So why did I compare page views versus comics bought, which seems inconsistent as you pointed out? It seemed like the best way to compare a nebulous “influence” parameter limited to the comic versions only. People who visit the Penny Arcade and xkcd site are interested in the comic only, while people who buy the Naruto comic are likely interested in the comic only. My point: influence of manga may be on a decline. Regarding the pay, the price itself may be the cause of it. Hence, if people are abandoning manga due to the price and gravitating toward webcomics because they are free, isn’t that a point in favor of the argument that influence of webcomics is underrated?

      (This point, however, is likely undermined by algeya’s excellent point about Naruto being available on the One Manga site and seems to be doing quite well.)

      • I see you’re talking about mindshare not markets but it’s still apples and oranges.

        Items you pay for (manga, print comics, film) and have to seek out or wait for (buy in a shop, order on line) have more commitment than ones presented for free.

        So I would say for a lot of webcomics fandom might be miles wide (or not) but only inches deep.

        It’s the few webcomics that succeed in making people part with their money that can really be considered influential, they’re persuaded us to actually do something rather than accept images for free.

      • Again, Naruto’s presence on the One Manga site is/was strictly illegal, pirate copies; it may gauge the “influence” of manga but it does so in the context of free, easily (internationally) accessible content. Print manga is held back by price and distribution issues, but those issues are there because the publishers and authors have this inexplicable desire to receive money for their products. One Manga’s lesson is that manga is hugely popular with US and global audiences, as long as it’s free… monetizing that demand is still an unresolved issue.

  11. Interesting, stuff I disagree with some of it but one point especially “Why go online when you can get your comics in the same place you play your games, watch your movies, and check your email? ”

    All of that is online accessed though, so there’s only slight difference between the web browser as a portal and whatever interface you use for email etc. It’s all “online” since it requires internet access. It will be interesting to see how it’s all affected by tiered data plans which seem to be taking over. B/c of that I’m focusing on standalone/app distribution.

    One key for the future of cheap access for my comic (which I hope will sell well digitally at $.99 per 22 pgs) is the new paypal micropayment system that was just announced. Really could be big for indie creators selling app/web comics. The costs and interface were too cumbersome until now for small digital transactions like that.

  12. I feel like I am living a Beatles record.

    “#9… #9… #9…”

    Your 9th point is one I’ve been cogitating on a lot. How cool would it be if a bunch of webcomics creators came together and made a “universe.” Why would it have to necessarily be a superhero universe? It could be anything.

    The one thing Marvel and DC have over EVERY OTHER MEDIUM IN ALL OF HISTORY (except one: Myth itself), is that they have the unparalleled ability to allow one writer to use the intellectual property of another writer and draw on a history other writers created (aka, Continuity). It’ an amazing thing, unseen anywhere else.

    What if a group of somewhat similar webcomics just made an agreement “Hey, we can all use each other’s characters in our webcomics”? What effect would that have.

    There would need to be some rules, of course, especially if the creators agreed that their shared world included a shared “history” that needed to be abided by,
    but it could work.
    The rules wouldn’t be that hard.

    It would be awesome.

    I actually suspect it WON’T happen, for reasons I could go into,
    but I’d like to believe it will.

  13. Yes, I will tell you that Naruto, One Piece, Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach are not the same. In fact, that’s a ridiculous statement. They all have different settings, plots, themes, character types, and art styles. That goes double for One Piece. You should be a little more careful wielding broad stereotypes about comics you don’t read.

    Now superhero comics… they’re all the same! Naw, just kidding. That would be as silly a statement as yours. But they do all seem the same to me, a person who doesn’t read them or “get” them.

    • “Now superhero comics… they’re all the same! Naw, just kidding.”

      Why are you kidding? They are.

      • Because I don’t really read them so I’m not informed to make that judgment. Sure, superhero comics do share a lot of the same tropes, but it is a genre after all. You could make a similar point that all Westerns are the same. The real innovation that American comics need is simply to embrace other genres, in my opinion.

        Manga is a bit different in that it’s not a genre, it’s an artistic style. There is plenty of unoriginality to go around, but for cultural reasons, which is different. The same can be said of any medium, for example I could say that American TV is nothing but reality TV shows and CSI. While there is some truth to that, it’s a gross oversimplification.

        Also, if you were looking to choose manga for their unoriginality, you chose bad examples, except for Bleach, which is very unoriginal. I haven’t read Vampire Knight. Fullmetal Alchemist has it’s own unique themes, and One Piece has a very distinct art-style which separates it from other manga. Okay, Naruto is not immensely original either, but it does establish it’s own feel and has a well constructed story.

        The manga-ish comics you picked as “innovative” were odd choices, as well. Spinerette, while pretty, is an incredibly unoriginal comic. Moontown has nothing in common with manga.

      • Well broadly the same yeah while differing in the details. I mean thats what genre means…

      • Draw your weapon, Santo.

        Superhero comics are not all the same. They are a genre. Genres share conventions. They work within, against, parallel to, above and below and so on–through these conventions. But they’re not all identical. Both by authorship of a given run on a title and by the very concept of each title.

        I mean don’t you get irked when people say “webcomics are all about sarcastic roomates talking about videogames?”

        • That’s what I said too, about superhero comics being a genre. Saying “they’re all the same,” is a bad choice of words. However, I think you can accuse them of being part of a lack of innovation… the majority of American comics really shouldn’t be consumed by one genre. We’re starting to see more forays into original territory lately with stuff like Y The Last Man, but there’s not nearly enough of it.

          • A lot of the innovation these days in superhero comics, I’ve noticed, come from what you can probably call outsiders. Who’s the best superhero comic book writer these days? Many, many people will probably name Grant Morrison. Grant Morrison a Scottish writer who made his name on 2000 AD stories and Vertigo titles before being roped into doing superhero comics. His out-of-the-box thinking is what makes him an asset: he writes stories that haven’t been watered down because they’re the same superhero stories over and over again.

            With manga (and again, I’m blockpointing what I saw 10 years ago, though a sampling of recent manga shows little has changed), I see much of the innovation coming from independent outsiders who love the genre but can play with themes beyond the same rehashed ideas. And that’s where webcomics come in. A lot of webcomic creators are fans of manga, but they’re also fans of a lot of other things. I see their influences shaping manga and making it their own. It has been a long time since someone as innovative as Leiji Matsumoto came in to change the face of manga. I imagine the next person to do so will come from webcomics.

          • I don’t know if Grant Morrison, who has been writing capes comics for over two decades at this point, really qualifies as an outsider anymore…

      • And all romance stories are the same, they’re about love! And all tragedies are the same, they’re about tragedy!

    • You’re right, they’re not all the same. Take Full Metal Alchemist off that list. There, now they’re all the same. Only one there with the slightest bit of depth, up to a point at least.

      • Naruto has a decent amount of depth. One Piece isn’t really about “depth,” it’s just one of the best adventure comics ever made. Contrast that with some of his examples, Spinerette has all the depth of a puddle.

        Also, depth and originality are two different concepts.

  14. I didn’t have any trouble with Garrity’s list, It made points I’ve been thinking myself for the longest time. Your list was also fairly accurate.

  15. For #8… I don’t know if “Panty & Stocking” has been made into a manga, but it is f’in awesome to watch. I was wondering if anyone in Japan was ever going to try something different than the conventional anime look, then Brandi Buckingham posted some P&S on Facebook, and it blew me away… it’s like watching a Josh Lesnick comic come to life.

    • There’s a LOT of stuff being made that’s different than the “conventional anime look.” I don’t say that it outnumbers the standard look, any more than the standard superhero style is in danger of disappearing in mainstream print comics, but it’s definitely not a universally clung to style. And there are entire large genres of manga besides shoujo and shonen. Not to mention comics in China, Korea, and other countries, which I know even less about. (Try googling manhua and manhwa sometime.)

      Whether they’re being translated into English, let alone widely distributed and easily obtainable in America, is another matter entirely.

      I realize that doesn’t help a lot for Americans trying to get their hands on these works. I also realize that your average American comics reader thinks instantly of the “conventional style” when asked about manga, and probably doesn’t even realize that there’s variation there beyond “sparkly” versus “giant robots” versus Dragonball Z. But it’s not because Japan is uncreative with the medium.

      (Obligatory disclaimer: I can only quote you a few names here, and a few more genres, because I can’t read Japanese at anything like the level I’d need to to enjoy reading untranslated manga, and I can’t read Korean and Chinese at all. I am not an expert in the field by any means. But I have heard this from everyone I’ve spoken to who is an expert or a collector, or who just plain makes more time than I for delving into more obscure-in-America series and genres.)

  16. Also, I would like to point out that unless you’re part of the sub culture they cater to, the names “XKCD” and “Penny Arcade” will be meaningless to you.

    Should some webcomics get the Hollywood treatment, then I can see “Webcomic canon” replacing the spandex stuff in the minds of the non-geek public.

    But I doubt “Sad girl in the snow” will ever become as world recognized as Superman.

  17. I feel very incensed on your statement about One Piece, Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach, Naruto, and Vampire Knight being the same thing/bland cookie-cutter series, and it seriously disappoints me. But, as you yourself have admitted, you’re not really that into current manga, so I can see why you’d be ignorant of the subjects as a whole. As for the quality of them, well, that’s just a matter of opinion (I really like Bleach and Naruto, LOVE Fullmetal Alchemist and One Piece, and am indifferent to Vampire Knight, since I know very little about it*), and as such you’re entitled to think whatever about them. I just thought it was very silly to say that they’re all basically the same, when they really AREN’T.

    *I do know enough, though, to know that it is a very different beast than the other four examples, especially since it falls under the shojo category.

  18. I don´t like most superhero stuff or manga and care less about their situation so i kinda agree with El santo on both counts XD.
    Give me some Calvin and Hobbes or The Far Side any day.

  19. Vis-a-vis a Webcomic superhero universe…may I point out two sites?

    CROSSOVERKILL which is just starting…

    And its completed two-year prequel, CROSSOVERLORD.

    It’s a webcomic multiverse, actually, more CRISIS on EARTH-ONE/EARTH-TWO/INFINITE EARTHS —webcomics are too chaotic to have a unified single earth, and it would mute too much creativity.

    In the first, five webcomics combined to a team to fight a specific foe (think “Infinity Gaultlet”) and in the second, seven webcomics (and only one is a carryover from the first one—think “Infinity War”) are combining to fight a very different, crossdimensional menace.

    And I might add—we have a lot of fun with it, we round-robin the art chores so if you don’t like it now, just wait—it goes from pseudo-manga to photoreferenced realism to Bruce Timm-like drawing, and everything in between. Sort of how ALL-STAR COMICS originally had different artists on different “chapters”.

    And I’m an old hand at comics. Some older readers might remember me as a letterhack, “Al Schroeder III”.

  20. Hey FMA is good for real! >:
    Originality is overrated. It’s nice but it’s not everything. Sometimes a pretty unoriginal story can be really good if it is just well presented. I mean there are a limited number of human emotions and fiction is supposed to make us feel (and think). If you really really break it down every story is the same and thus boring, so just don’t. It’s more fun to enjoy than to complain about that you’ve seen it before.
    But yes. Every shounen manga is pretty much the same, it’s about tension and crowning moments of awesome. And when I read them I find a way to enjoy them. It’s like I revert back to being 14 again. It’s about enthusiasm and kicking ass!
    This doesn’t mean I’m a retard and that I can’t enjoy classic literature or appreciate anything deep. This idea really bugs me, that if you like “sophisticated” culture you’re expected to hate popular culture. It would make no sense to diss comedy for not making me think about how fragile life is. Shounen manga is supposed to be like it is. But some shounen manga is better and some are worse of course, it would make perfect sense for dissing a comedy for not making me laugh…
    I’m not good at english but I hope my point got through.

  21. So, yeah, this whole list is BS from beginning to end.
    1. as you stated was a joke, because it is pretty much incorrect.
    2. is BS because you pick up ten people off the street, you as them about webcomics, and maybe 1 will know about them. Maybe.
    3. Honestly, I do not feel a whole lot of webcomics would really translate well, especially not the popular joke-a-days, or on the other side, Octopus Pie the movie? I don’t think so.
    4. infinite canvas will die….this is BS, because infinite canvas is already dead. When was the last time you saw a comic that actually used INFINITE canvas. Sure different shapes and some flash, but no body has done a “When I Am King” deal in a loooong time.
    5. Nothing ever disappears completely, everything repeats.
    6. I’ve heard dozens of comic readers who say “I like to let it build up and read it all in one go. They don’t want to check every day, in the end they want a chunk to read through on the weekend, or once a month when they have free time.
    7. You’ve got it backwards, corporate entities are gravitating towards webcomics, just like every other media. At one point Flickering Pictures were indie (Now we call them movies). NEXT.
    8. Yeah, someone already called you on this one too. You picked five manga all in the same genre. Also why woul you define Moon Town as manga. Again BS.
    9. Individual Creators have no incentive to work together, or to work on superheroes, all it means is bickering, loss of individual visions, and yeah let’s face it this was BS from the start.
    10. Really? come on, the web in web-comics is just an extra little definition like print-comics. I mean webcomics isn’t even a word, heck 90% of any population wouldn’t know what you meant when you said webcomics. this is just a very insular system feeling suppressed by their own definition that they used to distinguish themselves originally. AKA BS.

    So, BS, BS and more BS. I’d write the full word out, but I don’t have all day here.

  22. Hm… coming lots of late to the class, but here’s a thing I didn’t see mentioned: would the decline of sales in manga really be a sign of unpopularity? Because I see it as a sign of hundreds of online manga readers being available so people don’t have to wait until some company come and start translating and selling them in this side of the world, but when it finally does come everyone can just read them for free, so why bother buying? In other words: pretty much the only real case of piracy really killing an industry.

    I mean… One Piece simply stopped being translated and sold in Brazil, but that doesn’t mean it’s not popular!

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