4: Serialized Webcomics

For my genre project I am looking at serialized webcomics, a genre that includes webcomics that tell a story through several installments of comic pages. Serialized webcomics are an interesting genre because they take aspects of the comic and adapt them for digital spaces. I decided to research this genre for my topic because I am a writer but a lot of my stories translate better to comics than to purely written word. Webcomics are the most accessible way to read comics for the average reader, and they offer a lot of advantages over analog comics. They do not take up paper or shelf space, and it’s easier to self publish as well as to add multimedia elements, as Jordyn says in her blogĀ  where she mentions a mystery novel called Journal 29 that includes elements from video games.

As great as a library is for a cozy reading or studying environment, most people do not have the space in their homes to have an inordinate amount of books or comics. This makes it hard for people to break into publishing because they are trying to sell consumers on the idea that their story is worth the consumer’s time, money, and space.

One problem I’ve run into is a lack of reliable/academic sources. Not many people seem to be writing about this genre, which I find odd since it’s so prevalent.

Because I’m familiar with this genre to some extent, I do know several noteable examples, such as Fisheye Placebo(violence warning), so that could count as a triumph. Also, learning more about the genre means I’ll be better able to write a serialized webcomic.

I am taking a comics class along with digital publishing this semester and it’s surprising how often the two cross over. I learned a lot about the history of the analog/paper comics and it’s fascinating to learn how the webcomic changes things. For instance, the underground comic movement has changed a lot. Self-publishing is now a lot easier with the Internet, which means the underground comic movement is less secretive and exclusive. However, self-published comics are a lot more likely to become mainstream nowadays, for better or for worse.

As discussed in Among the Audience, there is a difference between how people read serialized print comics and serialized webcomics. With serialized print comics, there is a clear distinction between the publisher and the reader. This is the physical-industrial mindset. Individuals are seen as the producers, and “expertise and authority are ‘located in individuals and institutions.'” While fandoms do grow around many print comics, it still remains that physical space is different from digital space. The “cyberspatial-postindustrial mindset” is much more focused on collaboration and groups. There is less of a clear divide between author and audience. The death of the author can be called into question, as stories can be edited even after they are published, and the author can place an author’s note before or after each chapter and even directly respond to comments. Thus, digitally published works are more of a conversation than a product.