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*** Shopping-Tip: Webcomic

'''Webcomics''', also known as '''online comics''' and '''web comics''', are comics that are available on the World Wide Web Internet. Many are exclusively publishing published online, while some are published in print but maintain a web archive for either commercial or artistic reasons. With the Internet's easy access to an audience, webcomics run the gamut from traditional comic strip cartoon strips to graphic novels and beyond. Webcomics are similar to self-published print comics in that almost anyone can create their own webcomic and publish it on the Web. Currently, there are thousands of webcomics. The majority are amateur-level work of inconsistent quality and sporadically updated, but some have gained popular, critical and/or commercial success.

The web has, at least potentially, several advantages over the conventional form of publishing. It has removed many of the traditional barriers that discourage independent comics artists from having their work published. The restrictions of the traditional newspaper or magazine format are lifted, though most webcomics still adhere to them. Some artists have taken advantage of the web's unique abilities. Scott McCloud, one of the first advocates of webcomics, has pioneered the idea of the ''infinite canvas,'' where artists are free to spread out in every direction indefinitely rather than be confined to normal print dimensions [http://www.moderntales.com/series.php?name=cuentos&view=current]. Other comics have experimented by incorporating animation [http://www.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=010825]. Still others (e.g. ''Framed!'') make use of features that can only work online, such as hyperlinks. The fact that comprehensive archives are often instantly available helps make more complex plotlines and characterization possible. Also, online demographics are significantly different from offline ones, which is often reflected in both the artists themselves and their readers. On the other hand, the huge potential audience provided by the Internet allows for high degrees of specialization. The popularity of video game-oriented comics serves to illustrate the former point, the rise of transsexual biographies the latter. Webcomics are not subject to the content restrictions of publishers or comic syndicates, enjoying an artistic freedom similar to underground comics underground and alternative comics. Some comics (e.g. ''Sexy Losers'' and ''Fetus-X'') take advantage of the fact that Internet censorship is virtually nonexistent. Still, the most common form that a webcomic takes is that of a traditional comic strip, such as ''Narbonic'', ''PvP'', or ''Sinfest''. The gag-a-day comic strip lends itself easily to popular consumption as they are episodic in nature and do not require much foreknowledge of the comic itself. This format also allows for quicker, more frequent updates and allows the artist to build up an audience quickly. On occasion, these types of webcomics have more lengthy story arcs. Webcomics are also presented in the same manner as traditional comic books, manga and graphic novels. These comics, such as ''Fans'' and ''Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki'', come in a page form rather than a strip form and tend to focus more on story than gags. Another format different from both the typical Western newspaper strip format (4×1) and the full page is a 4-panel vertical layout (1×4), commonly seen in Japanese newspapers and known as 4-koma. ''Sexy Losers'' and ''Ghastly's Ghastly Comic'' both use 1×4. There is also a modified 4-koma layout (2×2), which has been used by ''Real Life (comic) Real Life'', ''Megatokyo'' and ''Angel Moxie''. Some webcomics, such as Pewfell have changed formats over the years, appearing at different times in different formats and using the freedom of the web to experiment with different storytelling styles. Curiously, and to the criticism of many, some webcomic artists feel it's no longer necessary to be able to draw. Sprite comics use copy-and-paste copied and pasted video game sprite (computer science) sprites for characters. Similarly, some webcomics are created using clip art, found art and photography. ''Irregular Webcomic!'', for example, is made by photography, mostly of Lego figures. Artistic expression in these read-made comics is funneled primarily into writing. ''Dinosaur Comics'' and others have taken copy-pasting of art to an extreme, with every daily strip having identical art, with only the text changing. Pixel art is similar to sprite comics, but instead uses original low-resolution work created by the artist. There has also been experimentation with 3D art in webcomics, one of the longest running being ''Dragon Tails''. Webcomics which have built up significant archives will often List of webcomics in print publish collections of strips in books. Those in the form of either newspaper strips or comic books often publish in their respective forms, while artists who create webcomics with nonstandard and/or experimental formats find book publishing more difficult.

Some of the earliest online comics include ''T.H.E. Fox'' which was published on Compuserve and Quantum Link in 1986 [http://cmdrkey.com/cbm/genie/geniefiles/Information/T.H.E.%20FOX.TXT], Where the Buffalo Roam (comic) ''Where the Buffalo Roam'' which was published on File Transfer Protocol FTP and usenet in 1992 [http://www.comixpedia.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=696&mode=flat&order=0&thold=0], ''Netboy'' which was published on the web in the summer of 1993 [http://www.comixpedia.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=941#http://www.netboy.com/], and ''Doctor Fun'' which was published on the web in September of 1993[http://archive.ncsa.uiuc.edu/SDG/Software/Mosaic/Docs/old-whats-new/whats-new-0993.html]. Following were ''Polymer City Chronicles The Polymer City Chronicles'' which began bi-weekly updates on March 13th, 1995 as the first video gaming themed webcomic, ''Argon Zark!'', which first appeared in June of 1995, and ''Kevin and Kell'', premiering in September of the same year. Two years later, in 1997, UserFriendly appeared, then ''Penny Arcade'' a year after that. In February 2000, Chris Crosby and Darren Bleuel founded Keenspot, one of the largest webcomics portals. KeenSpot features invited webcomics artists selected for their popularity, talent and/or quality. Crosby and Bleuel also started a free webcomic hosting service in July 2000, originally called KeenSpace but renamed Comic Genesis in July 2005. In April 2000, ''Bob and George'' began to be presented daily. It was not the first sprite comic on the web, but is generally recognized as the one that set the trend. In July 2000, Austin Osueke launched eigoMANGA a web portal that published original online manga "webmanga". Within this year, eigoMANGA brought comic book industry attention to webcomics after being featured in many comic book web magazines articles and later appearing in the March 2001 issue of Wizard Magazine. In August 2000, Scott McCloud's ''Reinventing Comics'', half of which consisted of a treatise on webcomics, was published. Though sometimes controversial, McCloud was one of the first advocates of webcomics and remains one of the most influential figures in the field. His theories have sometimes led to debates about where webcomics should go and what, precisely, they are. In March 2001, Shannon Denton and Patrick Coyle launched Komikwerks Komikwerks.com serving free strips from comics and animation professionals. On March 2, 2002, Joey Manley founded Modern Tales, offering subscription-based webcomics. The Modern Tales spin-off serializer followed in October of 2002, then came girlamatic and Graphic Smash in March and September of 2003 respectively. In February, 2005, the second Daily Grind Iron Man Challenge started: the first had been a small contest featuring 8 cartoonists, but the second got a great deal of unexpected exposure and ended up featuring 56 various comics including such features as ''PVP'', ''Real Life (comic) Real Life'', and ''Melonpool''. According to Alexa Internet Alexa traffic rankings, as of January 2006 some of the most popular webcomics include ''Ctrl+Alt+Del,'' ''Mac Hall,'' ''Megatokyo,'' ''8-Bit Theater,'' ''VG Cats,'' ''Snafu-Comics,'' ''Penny Arcade (comic) Penny Arcade,'' ''PvP,'' ''Questionable Content'', ''Sexy Losers,'' ''Sluggy Freelance,'' ''Something Positive,'' and ''User Friendly.'' The most popular strips are often older, more established strips, partially due to the growth in the number of webcomics making it harder for new artists to stand out.

With the growth of webcomics, there is also the growth of an online community around webcomics. There are fanbases that artists foster through the use of forums, fan sections and blogs. The artists themselves also create a community through exchanges of emails, links, forum posts as well as art in the form of guest filler strips and cross-overs. There are also general webcomic communities emerging through the general webcomic sites that cover news and articles in the community such as Comixpedia, which have their own general forums. Sites ranking webcomics such as buzzComix and DrunkDuck also provide a nexus for webcomic creators and aficionados to convene. In addition, there are multiple art forums where burgeoning webcomic artists can display their work for comments and suggestions. Several ezines such as Comixpedia and the Webcomics Examiner have also been established to engage in critical analysis of the medium of webcomics. With the emergence of such communities, there are also divisions within them. There are writers and artists with further lines of specialization within these two general categories. For writers, there are various genres of interest—each with their own respective subgenres such as comedy, fantasy, science fiction and (auto-)biography. For artists, some are all-purpose while there are others who specialize in specific areas such as illustration, backgrounds, pencilling, inking, lettering as well as coloring. Of course, in the fan-based webcomic communities, there are the fanbases of different webcomics with varying degrees of interest. These communities are commonly fostered by the webcomic artist themselves with forums. The Recent rise of Anime conventions have also attributed greatly to the popularity of webcomics in the otaku community. Conventions have been featuring webcomic artists as guests, allowing them to speak at panels and sell their merchandise. Fans are also able to meet their favorite comic creators in person and help build a stronger fanbase. This has attributed to higher attendance at conventions as well. Some Conventions that feature Webcomic guests as main attractions are [http://www.connecticon.com ConnectiCon] and [http://www.katsucon.org Katsucon]. Several webcomics have begun targeting the otaku community with convention based humor in kind. Some examples of these webcomics are [http://www.hookiedookiepanic.com Hookie Dookie Panic!], [http://www.comedity.com Comedity] and [http://www.convictscomics.com CONvicts]. As with the Internet, the webcomic community has already seen much controversy. Since the nature of a webcomic is closely tied to quality as well as popularity, flame wars can ensue especially if a controversy involves a particularly popular webcomic and/or its artist. Many of these controversies are caused when webcomic artists post an opinionated piece, whether it is that day's update or news post. Rivalries—imagined or not—between different artists are also a common spark to the flame. The controversy can also be fanned by a particular webcomic's fanbase. Some examples of controversies that the webcomic world has seen are the breakup of ''Megatokyo's'' founding duo of Fred Gallagher and Rodney Caston followed by an accusatory joke of Scott Kurtz of ''PvP'' who charged Gallagher with stealing Megatokyo away from Caston. Another involved the release of emails from various artists of Keenspot that included arguments over whether ''Sexy Losers'' should be moved from Keenspace to Keenspot. There have also been various "flame wars" that different fanbases have participated in. There have even been cases where upon a bad review, a webcomic artist would deliberately incite a flame war such as when Comixpedia gave a scathing review of ''Little Gamers'' prompting the creators to urge their fanbase to bombard the site with derogatory comments.

Usually, webcomics artists have to pay for the costs of art supplies, server hosting and other expenses out of their own pocket, making many webcomics labors of love rather than money-making opportunities. For webcomics who pay for their own hosting, bandwidth is a concern; the more popular the comic becomes, the more costly hosting becomes. There are a variety of webcomic hosting sites; some provide free hosting but require advertising, others are paid for and have no such requirements. Webcomic-oriented hosts will often provide software to reduce the technical knowledge required to set up a webcomic and its corresponding webpage. There are different ways for webcomic artists to earn money, such as donations, advertising, and merchandising. Some use tip jars (through PayPal, for instance) or solicit donations through drives. Some sell merchandise featuring their artwork, or sell their artwork directly, sometimes under commission. If a webcomic has enough traffic, advertising revenue can also be generated. Some successful webcomics have subsequently been reprinted in compilations although some artists have also self-published their webcomics. Examples of webcomics in print include ''PVP'', ''Penny Arcade'', ''Sluggy Freelance'', ''Megatokyo'', comics featured in eigoMANGA's Rumble Pak and Sakura Pakk anthologies, as well as List of webcomics in print many others. Some artists are able to work on their webcomics full-time without needing a day job to support it. This group of "professional webcomic artists" includes Scott Ramsoomair of ''VG Cats'', Jeph Jacques of ''Questionable Content'', R. K. Milholland of ''Something Positive'', and List of self sufficient webcomics many others. In addition to individual artists' efforts to profit from webcomics, there are various Internet entrepreneurs striving to develop business models as well. Scott McCloud, a long-time supporter of using micropayments to fund webcomics, is an advisor for the micropayment company BitPass. In 2003, Austin Osueke and eigoMANGA eventually ended its webcomics internet venture in the interest of only producing comic book publications. Some webcomic collectives, such as the Modern Tales related sites, use a subscription model.

Webcomic collectives and companies
*Blank Label Comics *Boxcar Comics *Dayfree Press *DrunkDuck *Dumbrella *eigoMANGA *Gutterflycomix *Keenspot **Comic Genesis (f.k.a. Keenspace) *Komikwerks *Modern Tales **Graphic Smash **Serializer **Webcomics Nation **Girlamatic *PV Comics

See also
{{Commons|Comics}} {{wiktionarypar|webcomic}} * {{Comixpedia}} *Sprite comic *List of webcomics *List of webcomics in print *Cartoonist *Comic strip *Comixpedia *Oh No Robot, webcomic search engine *Manga * :WikiProject Webcomics Webcomics Wikiproject *Websnark *Webserial Category:Webcomics {{PAGENAME}} de:Webcomic fr:Bande dessinée en ligne it:Fumetto online ja:ウェブコミック pl:Komiks internetowy pt:Webcomic fi:Verkkosarjakuva sv:Webcomic


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