When last we left our intrepid heroine (nearly six months gone!), she was leaping into the vast unknown and had just learned the snail’s name. What’s that, you don’t know Kukuburi? For shame — get caught up before it returns on May 12th! Everybody else, mark your calendars for the big day.
- Scott McCloud gets a day’s downtime at home in the midst of his neverending travels, and does he sleep in like a normal guy? Nope — he takes a swipe at the shape of nearly everything and/or engages in equine necromancy. Interesting implications when designing your next website, though. The shape of the screen part, not the dead horse thing. Ew.
- So it seems that the ongoing crisis in newspapers has prompted people from the boardrooms to the beat to opine that the solution to all broadsheet woes (though nearly everything’s tabloid size these days) is to start charging for online content. Over here you got Rupert Murdoch, head of NewsCorp (and owner of MySpace) declaring war on free content. Actually, that’s slightly exaggerated; he actually said:
The current days of the internet will soon be over.
So that’s all right, then. For a more in-the-trenches perspective, I give you David Simon’s testimony before the US Senate; before having a hand in creating two of the best TV shows ever, Simon was a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. His prescription is:
“An industry-wide transition to a paid, online subscriber base”, allied to relaxing anti-trust laws and help with enforcing copyright.
So if newspapers all go paid (and I’m not convinced at this time it can happen), whither webcomics¹?
Will we see them get in on all that sweet, sweet subscription revenue? I find it telling that it’s tough to find webcomics still using subscriptions these days. Will free carry a stigma as people wonder how much it can be worth if nobody pays for it? Or will free content become even more popular in a world where more of online has costs associated? I’m tending towards that last one, but would love to hear any developed counterarguments. Tell me what you think, people.
¹ Yes, yes, you could argue that every syndicated comic also appears on the syndicate’s website, and that subscription fees are necessary to gain unfettered access to the archives. And yes, just this week we’ve talked about how the distinction isn’t properly between medium of publication, but between corporate-owned and independent creators; all of that takes too long to qualify outside of a footnote that you obsessive types are reading, so for all of that we’ll use the shortcut term webcomics.
You still see a long-trending retreat from subscriptions in webcomics, with the significant exception of adult content, where the subscription has the added benefit of providing cover in the form of age verification. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go browse through the no-longer-subscription-walled archives of Digger.