The webcomics blog about webcomics

Fleen Guest Column: David Malki ! In, “Comics Is Killing Webcomics”

Editor’s note: So I promised you an established, respected creator, didn’t I? They don’t get more of either of those things than David Malki !, the man behind the thoroughly wonderful Wondermark. Malki ! tells us that there’s been something he’s been meaning to get off his chest, and here ’tis.

What if you’d never heard of an iPod, and I tried to explain it to you?

I might say, “It’s like a radio. You’ve heard of a radio, right?”

“Sure,” you might say, “I listen to the radio sometimes, but I don’t like it much. It’s full of commercials for eye surgery and car dealerships, and there’s a limited number of stations, and the music they play is usually crap.”

“Well,” I could then say, “you’ll love this personal radio, because it’s totally different.” Then I would go on to explain the features of an iPod. (Or alternative MP3 player of your choice, that’s not really the point.)

But because I called it a personal radio, you’d never be able to shake that comparison from your mind. “Why can’t I listen to real-time traffic reports on my personal radio, like I can on my car radio?” you might sniff. Or, “Man, I’m glad my personal radio can play video podcasts.”

In truth, an iPod is nothing like a radio. You can hear music on both, but in the same way that a car and a bicycle will both get you to the store. The underlying engineering and usage patterns are totally different, even if the effects can be similar. Nobody that picks up an iPod today expects it to be anything like a radio. They know what a radio does, and they know what an iPod does. The two things are fundamentally different. Calling an iPod a “personal radio” both invites awkward, unnecessary comparisons and marginalizes what each device does best.

So does calling webcomics “webcomics.” It invites a comparison with “comics”, which is both detrimental and marginalizing to webcomics.

The word “comics” has two meanings. In the Scott McCloud sense, “comics” means “a sequential narrative of juxtaposed images” etc. (Under this definition, by the way, daily Marmaduke isn’t a comic. It lacks juxtaposed images.)

But a more useful definition of “comics” is its second meaning — the culture of comics. “Comics fans” are part of that culture , not necessarily devotées of the particulars of the medium.

This is the problem, in my opinion, with purists who claim that everyone is a latent comics fan — that if only more people would read Watchmen, or whatever, they’d have their eyes opened to the power of the medium and be won over to “comics.”

I disagree. Some people just don’t like comics. Lots of people, actually. Not because they necessarily hate pictures that tell a story — rather, they don’t like the second definition of “comics.” Comics culture.

For better or worse, comics culture in its many forms — from shiny corporate Comic-Con to hipsters with their Kinko’s ‘zines to webcomics — is nerdy. Sorry, there’s no arguing with that. Comics are nerdy.

Sure, comics are starting to become mainstream, as comics fans grow up and begin to control mass media. And nerdy doesn’t mean bad. But still, the fact is that most people are just not interested in “comics” because the term (and its associated terms) are perceived as perjorative.

That leaves webcomics in an awkward position. Webcomics are different from print comics, and have the potential to succeed on their own terms, but they will always be fighting an uphill battle as long as they remain shackled to the cultural baggage of “comics.”

This is a hard pill to swallow for webcomics creators who are themselves comics fans, and many of whom grew up fighting (or resenting) comics’ negative social connotations.

But it’s true. Webcomics gain nothing from being linked to “comics”. There are plenty of people in the world who like particular comics, but who would not call themselves comics fans. Most people who eagerly flip to Get Fuzzy in the morning paper will never make the leap to actively searching (online or off) for more comics to read. These people outnumber “comics” fans by millions and millions.

But people who like funny, interesting things on the Internet in general are a dime a dozen. These people will read webcomics — they read comics in the paper, and probably like them. They don’t have anything against “pictures that tell a story.” They are your potential fans, but right now they think they don’t like webcomics, because they know they don’t like “comics.” Not comics, but “comics.”

Which is bad news for DC and Marvel, who will never see a dime from these people — but fine for me and you, because a webcomic site, down at the atomic level, is an entertainment website, and people love entertainment websites.

So instead of approaching the whole “webcomics problem” from the direction of comics — trying to win converts at syndicates, comics publishers, and mass media by saying “They’re just like regular comics! Honestly! Only online!” — we should be trying to win converts among fans of funny, interesting things on the Internet in general. The argument then goes, “They’re just as funny as YouTube videos! Just as interesting as blogs! Just as snarky as Something Awful or Fark or whatever! Honestly! Only in comics form!”

By refusing to draw a line around webcomics and say, “These are comics. Thus, they have to adhere to the nerdy conventions of ‘comics’ culture,” we increase our potential audience from “comics fans” to “the entire population of the Internet.”

(And the best part of reaching out to “fans of Internet entertainment” rather than just “webcomics readers” is that you’ll always have somebody for whom you’re the one comic that they read, instead of being #100 on their trawl and #100 in line when they decide to buy merch.)

“Idiot,” you may be saying, fingering your iPod and trying to tune in a radio station, “webcomics are comics. Claiming they’re not isn’t going to fool anybody.”

Oh?

Unlike “comics”, you don’t have to go to a comic shop, or even open a newspaper, to find webcomics. They’re available for anyone to read, anytime. There is no investment of travel or money. There is no social stigma attached.

Plus, they tap into The Power of the Internetâ„¢. Is Kris Straub’s Time Friends a comic? Sure, it’s got panels and dialogue balloons. But the “comic” part of Time Friends isn’t the important part. The audience participation is what makes it unique, and that’s a characteristic native to the Internet.

Staying with Kris for a moment — is his Interweb, P.I. a comic? It’s interactive. It’s basically a Flash animation with dialogue balloons. But it’s shaped like a comic, so yeah, most people would label it a comic.

So what about Kris’ Deep King? Is that a comic? No, it’s a Flash animation, like Interweb P.I. But … one has dialogue balloons and the other has sound. That’s crossing the line. Deep King is not a comic.

Despite that they’re otherwise fundamentally identical — especially in the only way that matters, audience appeal — why does it matter that one is a “comic” and the other isn’t?

Answer: it shouldn’t.

The promise of The Power of the Internetâ„¢ is that it doesn’t matter. Online there are no bookstore shelves, where everything has to be classified as one thing or another. I can show Deep King to a non-”comics” fan and he’ll laugh. There is no need to label it.

On the Internet, the best things are unclassifiable, because they’re the most novel and creative.

So when the default approach to webcomics (a culture as novel and creative as any) is through the lens of “comics,” it’s limiting and regressive. It’s inaccurate, in some cases, and with that inaccuracy comes a stigma.

In other circles, an inaccurate, perjorative label is referred to as an insult.

The New York Times, in their recent profile of Child’s Play, referred to Penny Arcade as “a website featuring essays and comics about video games.”

Essays and comics.

They didn’t call PA “a webcomic.” Not “a comic strip.” Not “a comic strip with a blog.”

People in general don’t care about the medium. They assign no premium to something being considered a “comic” first and foremost.

People care about the content.

Tycho’s essays are arguably as much or more of the appeal of PA than the comic strips themselves. Not that the comics aren’t great, but PA’s appeal is broader than that. PA is an entertainment brand. “Penny Arcade” encompasses essays, comics, apparel, forums, a convention, and (soon) a video game.

Similarly, PVP isn’t just a “comic strip.” It’s an entertainment brand that encompasses online comics, comic books, audio livecasts, an animated series, and playing Warcraft with friends.

On the other end of the spectrum, A Softer World is a “webcomic” that isn’t even a comic. It’s prose poetry set to photographs. There are no word balloons. There are no drawings. And describing it as a “comic” cheapens it.

I’ve lost count of the “webcomics” that incorporate blogs, videos, podcasts, fiction, animation, toys, books, apparel, games, etc., etc., etc. In fact, webcomics are more similar to other entertainment websites that do all the same things but don’t have a comic than they are to printed comics.

You’re reading this on Fleen because a “webcomics community” has come together around a shared medium. That’s great! But we should always remember that it’s creative work — especially innovative, definition-defying, never-before-conceived-of creative work! — that will define us. Not “comics.”

Now, actual comics can be a part of that work, or even all of it. But as long as the work as a whole — that is, online entertainment that we as a community create — is defined via the term “comics,” it will always be marginalized by the audience.

Fleen thanks Malki ! for his contribution.

I agree with some of the points made here, but I think it goes deeper than that for a lot of people. It’s really hard for any of us to know what it’s like to “not want to read comics” because almost all of us have read comics our whole lives. Most of us were pressed to the funny pages every Sunday morning as a kid, reading all of the ones we understood (Sorry, Prince Valiant) and wishing we could do that.

But opening up a piece of newspaper IS a lot more accessible than reading a web comic. Anyone can go to a web site, sure. But we have to remember to do it every day. Email delivery leaves much to be desired, and .rss feeds are great, but separate the community of our sites from our control.

But getting back to the sites themselves. Pick a sampling of web comics you read, visit their site and try to imagine visiting that site if you’d never read a web comic before. I think a lot of sites (my own included) don’t even have a clear link to say “start from the beginning” or even clearly telling you that you CAN navigate through the archives. Many sites are over run with ads or links to other comics, t-shirt sales, comments from the author about what they had for lunch that day, a paypal link asking for donations, etc.etc.

We can do all of this, because many of us have also been reading web comics for as many as the last 10 years, and we know how to read a web comic. We know to look for the four buttons below the comic.

Do we really want Joe Public to read our strips? What is he going to do for me, personally? He’s probably not going to tell his friends. Only nerdy guys talk about youtube and homestar around the water cooler, and chances are, they’re talking about webcomics already. He’s probably not going to buy my merchandise, since he doesn’t wear snarky teeshirts or one inch buttons. He’s not going to buy my collection, because what does he need with a comic book? He’s not going to post in my forums, because he has nothing in common with my readers. All he is is a number on my hit counter.

Say that 80 percent of the nerd population is reading webcomics, and only 10 percent of the non-nerd population. It seems to me that that last 20 percent of the nerds is going to be a lot more valuable to us than the other 90 percent of non-nerds.

[...] In a guest essay over at Fleen today, MT cartoonist David Malki ! does just such a thing. [...]

I’ll take that 90% if you don’t want it.

sweetheart, you’ve got it already. :)

Hooray, I can finally afford the down payment on that third world nation!

Next on the agenda: secret volcano fortres.

Also, spelling lessons.

This column is not even 31 flavors of awesome, for this I have divided the 32nd flavor of awesome and I am pointing it directly at this piece of internet.

Great thoughts David. I’m not sure HOW we can escape the notion of which you speak, but it’s great question to ask.

The sad thing is that I have a stack of Sonic comic books that is easily at least double the size of the one in that photo.

Two points to add/debate:

1. At one point you are talking about webcomic sites as opposed to webcomics themselves. Sure an ipod can play video now and do radio and such but the music is the key, as so is the comic to the webcomic site. Sure there’s lots of other good stuff online but even with PA who generally you require the blog to understand some of the comics, that’s a question of the site and the material on it and not of the comic itself. There is a line between the comic itself and the affiliated material, and there is no sense in equivocating the two. It would be like saying that when you see a movie at a theatre the food, the seating, the previews, the sound system, and the whole atmosphere are the movie as well. They may heighten or lessen the experience but they are not the movie.

2. “Comics” as you talk about it is something that even comic books and graphic novels have to suffer. The medium is much more open now with documentary/biography works as well as greater range of subject manner. Comics are seen by outsiders as two types:a)children’s type, and b)superhero. Today even the traditional superhero comic can change and be about a very different style of superhero ala Sin City, and Powers. Having comics translated to the cinema can work to perpetuate the superhero image, but also can strengthen the arguement that comics are not just for kids.
Cartoons still suffer from a certain stigma associated with their art form. Recently they have worked to break free of this mold with popular works that appeal to children and/or adults, such as the Simpsons, Manga/Anime, Southpark, and the Cartoon Network late at night.

Most people know what constitutes a comic, or at least they think they do. You can call a webcomic something else sure, but in general they will still be recognised for what they are and to call them anything else is just an insult to the intelligence of whomever you intend to trick. It’s indisputable that the “-comic” is holding back many potential readers from taking interest in webcomics, but this in general cannot be avoided. It would serve webcomics much better to take hold of the connotation of “comics” with pride, show that sure they have conventions and fans and a whole “geeky” side of it (if that’s what we want to call it), but just as comic books and cartoons can be so much more, so can webcomics, and by accepting what something is as using its strengths it will only serve to have greater potential and appeal in the future. Even if webcomics never diffuse through mass culture as much as some would wish, being a niche culture can still be great and at least that way this art/entertainment form isn’t stictly controlled by the whims of the masses.

Great article, David, but I’d like to see the point taken even further.

Is an iPod a “music player”? Well, no — it’s an audio player. The content can be anything — news, spoken fiction, non-fiction, old tyme radio plays, whatever. That’s what podcasting is all about. Yet, the iPod is thought of as a music player, and that pushes away people who aren’t interested in music.

Is a webcomic an entertainment site? It certainly doesn’t have to be — we all know the comic form is capable of a lot more than just storytelling. There is vast potential for non-fiction comics to teach and inform. (Just yesterday, I drew up an art analysis piece as a “comic” (for lack of a better word).)

Rebranding webcomics as “entertainment” is certainly a step up from “superheroes”. But it’s still constricting, and still perpetuates a stereotype of “just for fun” that can push people away. Comics are “literature”, with all literature’s capabilities.

Very nice points Malkinator !

‘Tis true, when I tell people I make my living off of the fanbase for my webcomic, it gets a very different reaction than when I tell people I make my living as a sculptor. There is certainly a stigma to that word – I think a lot of people have a pretty narrow scope of what “comics are”.

I agree that, to the extent that average Americans will read comics in daily strip form, but not 24-page stories, you might want to pitch a webcomic as being more like the a newspaper comic strip than a comic book – especially for a webcomic that *is* written and published more like the daily bitesized comic strip than the monthly comic book (and most are).

I can get behind drawing a much bigger line around any media form, but I have a minor constructive suggestion: Your chosen terms make your argument a bit harder to follow. When you say “not comics, but ‘comics’” I’m assuming you mean comic books. You should just say ‘comic books’ when that is what you mean. The problem isn’t the *word* comics at all, but the perceived context. Ask your hypothetical Get Fuzzy fan what his favorite section of the paper is, and what will he say? “The comics.”

[...] I’ve made mention of some of my favorites in earlier columns, like Natalie Dee and Exploding Dog and, of course, this. I’m a fan of Cat and Girl, which I first read in minicomics form, not on the web (it’s weird to be admitting that being a comix geek kind of turned me on to webcomix in the first place, especially in still thinking through David Malki !’s recent article. [...]

I agree that there appears to be some convolution of the terms “comic strip” and “comic book” in the argument. Even before I read them, I always associated webcomics with comic strips, not comic books, and strips don’t have the nerd-stigma that comic books have. Most people I know do, too. (And, yes, I know that the actual webcomics out there come in many forms.)

That being said, what initially turned me off from webcomics and kept me from actively seeking them out to read was that the ones I did come across at first did have a dimension to them and the community surrounding them that felt akin to the aura of comic books. I am referring to Penny Arcade and similar comics; Penny Arcade, the comic and the whole website, revolves around the gaming culture. Gaming is just as nerdy as comic books, guys.

So at first, I erroneously thought that webcomics were all written by geeks, for geeks. Not that I’m not a nerd or a geek, but I don’t always like to limit myself to those cultures – it can become boring and insular.

Then, I randomly discovered , a comic that is amusing in its own right, without an appeal to some pre-existent community. I then spread my webcomics base through Ryan North’s links.

What I read is diverse, and includes short, story-driven dailies (or sort-of-daily), humorous one-offs without story, some long-format, comic-book type stories, and some art comics that are either poetic visually or linguistically.

There’s lots out there in “webcomic” form, but obivously most people don’t know that. However, I think that most people have never really been exposed to webcomics at all. There’s no stigma attached to webcomics for these people – they just don’t bother, possibly because they’ve never thought about what they’d get out of it. If only they knew.

The biggest problem, then, of course, is finding the webcomics you would enjoy. If you find one or two, it can snowball from there. But a lot of it out there is crap (as it is with anything on the internet). But until you’re accostomed to reading (and searching for) comics on the internet, the newspaper is always easier since it presents a filtered selection of comics. Sure, there might be a comic that runs in another city that you’d enjoy, but unless your paper used to run it, how would you know? Your paper runs Get Fuzzy, and that’s really all you need, right?

My Dad enjoys Get Fuzzy and read Calvin and Hobbes to me as I was growing up. He would probably enjoy some of the webcomics that I read. I haven’t tried to get him started on any of them, yet, but until I do, how would he stumble across any of them? I mainly started reading them since I was at my computer all the time anyway and had stopped reading the newspaper since I got to college.

Webcomics don’t really need a unified identity, because webcomics aren’t a single form of entertainment. A webcomic can be about art, story, comedy, or some combination of the three. Most people will visit an art webcomic because it’s art, not because it’s a webcomic. And the people who enjoy “the funnies” might not care that much for story-driven comics.

The more that groups of disparate webcomics band together to form community, the more it sometimes seem to detract from the entertainment itself. I enjoy Dinosaur Comics immensely, and I also appreciate the cool things Ryan North has done for his sphere of the “webcomics community” since I do encourage the advancement of webcomics myself. But there are many people out there who would probably really enjoy comic “X” but who really don’t care about webcomics in general. These people might buy a funny shirt from their favorite comic if it is indeed a funny shirt. And since these people are reading your comic, they will contribute pageviews to maybe sell ads – they are not worthless.

I’ve made many points somewhat incoherently throughout my post, but my mention of ads just reminded me of one last thing I wanted to comment on. Spencer pointed out that, “at one point you are talking about webcomic sites as opposed to webcomics themselves,” in his post, and Coreymarie mentioned that some sites are difficult to navigate. I am definitely frustrated by websites that are obstensibly webcomics but have a homepage that takes you to a blog, not the current comic. Maybe these artists really are more concerned with the blog and/or the community than the comic, and I’m just not getting the picture that the comic isn’t the focal point of the site. However, in some cases, I know this isn’t true. VGCats.com says explicitly that it is a webcomic, but that’s not readily aparent to the average passer-by. Not that VGCats is going for a wider, general audience, but if a comic were, having a homepage that does not “sell your product” will cost you true potential readers that might have stuck around otherwise.

On an individual basis, all webcomics need to determine what they are at heart, and use that to their advantage. If they aren’t doing that, then it doesn’t matter if there’s a misinformed cultural stigma surrounding them or not.

I feel so stupid for messing up the html in my post. Can the moderator fix that, and then delete this one? Pretty please?

I’m inclined to agree with most of the points presented here, because this is a problem I struggle with all the time. When is a webcomic a comic, and when is it something else? And when it’s something else, what do we call it? The word ‘Comics’ does have a social stigma, without a doubt. And the portmanteau we’ve developed to express (generally) serial combinations of art and writing – ‘webcomic’ – is stuck with that word.

But at the root of it, a webcomic is not always a comic strip, and it’s not always a comic book. ‘Webcomic’, in my mind, suggests interface rather than content. In essence, ‘webcomic’ refers more to the “four-button navigation system” and associated blog than it does to any actual website content. Some of you may have seen Tyler Martin’s template, which modifies blogging software to display a date-linked image of any kind above a blog post. In Tyler’s words “people are familiar with navigating blogs.”

So is that what a webcomic is? A visual blog? At it’s roots, I’d say yes. What we’ve got here is a culture based around form rather than content. This is not a negative thing – I like my webcomics. I write and draw something akin to a webcomic, and I’ve got a list of webcomics that I check every day. But it is important to understand that, as David Malki ! points out very well, a webcomic isn’t a newspaper comic strip, and isn’t a print comic book. And, by that token, it need not be bound up in the cultural expectations of these media.

Consider what, precisely, we’re basing this chunk of internet ‘comic’ culture around. I believe it’s something very different from the content-based cultures of print comics.

Time for a new word?

I too, have messed up my html. Thank you, that is all.

What a crock. Webcomics are comics. Mainstream people don’t read webcomics because they’re too stupid to understand them. That’s why they read Rose Is Rose and Haggar the Horrible. Webcomics are like indy flicks, they’re not as popular as blockbusters because they’re fuckin’ GOOD.

Since when are word balloons and drawings requirements for something to be counted as a comic?
Fumetti, wordless comics, and experimental poetry comics all existed in print long before the first webcomic came along.

Even audience participation, like in Time Friends, existed in print before webcomics came along. Newspapers and magazines printed articles accompanied with a comic or cartoon long before Penny Arcade existed.

Webcomics aren’t really different from print comics content-wise, and the ways you list that they are different are rather gimmicky and could be duplicated in print with some creativity.

It’s true that webcomics are nerdy, but don’t HAVE to be nerdy… but you can say the same thing about print comics.

The only real difference between webcomics and print comics is the method of delivery.

An ipod’s not the same as a radio, but it will still be a “music player” no matter what label you slap on it.

To clarify, I’m saying webcomics are more like the music that an ipod plays than the ipod itself.

[...] In preparing to table at the Boston Zine Fair next month and in trying to more closely consider my current webcomics reading as part of this ongoing series, I’ve spent some time thinking about the relationships between minicomics and webcomics. This is also kind of tied in with continuing to think about David Malki !’s recent article (we disagree; I don’t think an association with comics or comix is the death knell of webcomics, by any means. I’m still parsing through the particulars of what and why, though, so some of this piece is going to feel like thinking-out-loud). So I thought it might be worth considering minicomics and webcomics, which feel a little more closely related, maybe, than “comic booksâ€? or “comic book cultureâ€? with all their negative connotations (even though considering “comic stripsâ€? and “webcomicsâ€? might also be an interesting parallel). [...]

malki ! are those your sonic the hedgehog comics.

Very good site, thank you!
Bookmarked :)

So it comes to my attention that some people out there might have a strong bias against “short stories”, but I have written this story that took up about 12 pages in MS word. I’m putting it online, so would it be okay if we could all agree to call it a “story” instead of a short story? I think more people might be into it if that were the case, and we could avoid some of those negative stereotypes people might have from being forced to read “A Rose For Emily”, “The Gift of the Magi,” or some other short story in English class.

[...] have a guest column up at Fleen, the webcomic news and reviews site, entitled “Comics is Killing [...]

[...] and practical. Hell, last night David Malki ! told me that he hates the word (and even the word comics) so much that we should stop using it. His suggestion: Electric Joy. I think that if we were to [...]

David Malki! I wish I could put words together as beautifully as you have.
But all I can say is AWESOME.

[...] your article ‘Comics is Killing Webcomics‘ you criticise how webcomics are often compared to traditional comics as it also associates [...]

Fascinating! And bottom line, I think David Malki ! is right.

I am one of those David describes, one of the people who doesn’t like “comics” and isn’t part of the “webcomics” culture. (just today I learned about David’s honorific ! and how to use it correctly) And David accurately describes why I am here, why I am commenting on this blog post and finding myself entering this world through the back door, as you might say.

As an amateur urban anthropologist (but properly degreed, and with 23 years of practicum experience), I have to correct an important misunderstanding first:

When you say “not comics, but ‘comics’” I’m assuming you mean comic books.

…No, David means exactly what he said he means: the culture that surrounds– and protects and nurtures and shapes– “comics” as they have been understood in the past. Comic books, comic strips, graphic novels, anime, manga, and all the magazines, conventions, professional associations, credit unions, labor unions, etc (do you have those latter things?) that grew up around comics and served the medium, its creators, and its consumers. Culture is powerful: being labelled “comics” is no death knell. Culture excludes too, unnecessarily in this case. And culture is also malleable. Comic Culture might be changing in ways that make it more accessible and less excluding or “geeky” than it has been in the past.

As with many cultures, Comic Culture is easy to evoke but difficult to describe precisely, or to put clear boundaries around it. So let me use myself as an example of an outsider to this culture:
• I have never attended a ComicCon (in any of its incarnations, in any city).
• I do not subscribe to any webcomics, not even David’s (more on that in a moment).
• I do not own any comic books. I sold the stacks I inherited from my father and my aunt, virtually unread except to accurately describe them and their condition on eBay.
• I do have an assortment of costumes in my closet, but none have anything to do with comic or cartoon characters, only historical period stuff and characters from classical literature, so I can be in character when storytelling to children and teens.
• I know what manga is, but only because my two teen sons love OnePiece (that’s the only manga they read).
• I know what anime is, but only because I loved Gundam Wing as a kid, and introduced my boys to it on a nostalgic whim, about eight years ago. Found it under the Netflix category “anime” (?!) and learned that it wasn’t merely a “saturday morning cartoon” but something in a distinct genre.
• I know what steampunk is, but only because I discovered Agatha Heterodyne through Wondermark. Now I am looking forward to reading Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan series as soon as my younger son finishes Behemoth (gotta give him a two-book head start or we’ll be fighting over the third).

So I’m obviously a stranger in a strange land here, but on the other hand, I’m here and I like what I’ve found. I am proof of the effectiveness of David’s approach:

…we should be trying to win converts among fans of funny, interesting things on the Internet in general. The argument then goes, ‘They’re just as funny as YouTube videos! Just as interesting as blogs! Just as snarky as Something Awful or Fark or whatever! Honestly! Only in comics form!”

Somehow, David’s comic about becoming bibliophibians first brought me to Wondermark: I printed that strip and it lived on our fridge door for years. Then I read some other Wondermark strips on occasional visits to David’s site… bought some stickers for my boys, a T-shirt or two… discovered Dresden Codak and the Foglios via links on his site… and my gradual absorbtion into webcomics is proceeding apace, I suppose. But I still have no desire to become part of what David evokes as “comics culture”.

That won’t keep me from reading great webcomics and buying cool stuff from you all, though. So no hard feelings I hope.

I suspect David is right about how many more of me there might be out there on the ‘net. What does that mean in practical terms? Might it change your SEO strategies a little bit? (an honest question, I genuinely do not know, and could be bringing my own small-business-marketing mindset to an arena where it doesn’t apply)

Also, I am pathetically late to the conversation. Just noticed that the fellow I am “correcting” (Jeremy) posted on 2/20/2007. Does the conversation continue elsewhere?

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