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Market Research????

 
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The Hat and Fat



Joined: 12 Apr 2013
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 2:29 am    Post subject: Market Research???? Reply with quote

As web comic readers, when you find a new strip, what makes you click through their older comics?

For me, it's if one blows me away, shocks me, or is just really, really clever. If so I click through to see if they are doing the same kind of material time and time again. Or if the art is amazing.

But also, if one doesn't really hit the mark with me, I'll click through a couple to see if some of them do.

The ones I leave out are if it's just kind of funny, or silly. Those usually only get one click and then I'm gone.

So what makes you stay on site for a little reading?
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MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 306

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I had to pick something that convinces me to give the comic a chance, it's the artwork. Though I really can't get more detailed than that.

I'm most likely to give a comic a chance if I get a good recommendation for it. I've also been more willing to look through comics posters on the forum here, even if their comic isn't something I'm initially interested in.

I don't really like to look at it so much as "I'm looking for X" in a comic, but rather "here's what I DON'T want to see." There's some neat stuff out there so I don't really know what it takes to draw me in, but I know what will send me away:

Website design is what will initially make me decide whether or not to hit the back button. If it's too cluttered or uninviting, I'm gone. If it takes me more than one try to figure out how to view the archives, goodbye. All of this is typically judged subconsciously, so I'll be gone within the first two seconds if it doesn't pass the test.
If it's okay, then we move on to the actual comic.

Artwork. I'm pretty accepting of different styles, but you have to demonstrate you at least understand what it is you're trying to draw/render:

  • Stiff characters are not fun to look at.
  • Panels can't be too crowded or awkward, otherwise I may not even understand what's happening.
  • The image needs to be clear enough to figure out what it is. If it takes more more than two seconds to figure out what I'm looking at, there's a problem.
  • Excessive copy/paste is tacky. I don't mind it on occasion, and sometimes there's a reason to use the same panel/background/whatever (like emphasising pause), but I think it's really annoying and distracting when you do it in every comic.
    I do make exceptions for this rule for well-made comic strips, but not page-length comics.
  • It has to look like you actually care somewhat about what you drew/rendered. I know some people here have some really simple styles, and that's okay. But just slapping something down and not taking the time to edit shows.

Dialogue. Take the time to make it sound like an actual conversation, please. Most of the time this isn't a problem, but some people just don't seem to get it. And excessive spelling/grammar mistakes are a turn off, as well as not capitalizing anything. This isn't a text message to your friend, hit the shift key.

Writing/Story is a longterm thing to judge, but if I've been reading something for a while and the story just doesn't interest me anymore, I'll stop. At this point, artwork and dialogue don't matter.


Most of what I read aren't strips though. I like the full-page comics with long story arcs. But there are some strips I read.
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Lo (Aquapunk)



Joined: 09 Oct 2009
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I know it when I see it."
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Casual Notice
Spambot Extraordinaire


Joined: 18 Mar 2005
Posts: 2959
Location: Oh my God, It's full of stars!

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Site availability and navigation are number one. If I have to turn super-monkey flips just to read a comic, I'm not going to bother.

Assuming the site is navigable, it depends on the comic. I follow Penny Arcade, but since it's almost entirely a gag-a-day, I've never bothered to plunge the depths of their prodigious archive. Girls With Slingshots, on the other hand, is gag-a-day but the gags are based mostly on plot and character, so I immediately looked backwards, because while the first strip I saw made me smile a little, I could tell that understanding the full weight of the strip would make the jokes better.

For long form comics it always boils down to the writing. Action should be paced so that there is definite progress (of some sort) between panels one and six, while still making me want something more. The author should also have enough of a working knowledge of metaphor and allusion that he's not wasting 300 words per update explaining how his dystopian future is the end result of (inset batshit insane political/social theory).

Also Bewbs.
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The Hat and Fat



Joined: 12 Apr 2013
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Navigation is big. I didn't even think of that, because I figure if you want to make it hard for me, then you don't really want me to look.

But what about gag-a-day? Are they less likely to get looks into the archives from you guys? If so, why is that?
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MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 306

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Hat and Fat wrote:
Navigation is big. I didn't even think of that, because I figure if you want to make it hard for me, then you don't really want me to look.

It's one of those details that's important but sometimes gets overlooked by someone who has no idea what they're doing.

I like to look through the archives of gag-a-day comics too, but like Casual Notice said, some are too big that it just isn't worth the time it would take. I used to read PvPOnline and tried going through the archives, but gave up so I could get to the daily updates that were sometimes relevant to today.

Going through the archives can be a chore sometimes because you have to dedicate time to do it. It doesn't take much time at all to just start on the current page. Gag-a-days are the easiest to just start following from any arbitrary point.

If a comic's new, then I'll look through the archives, sure. Because that won't take very long.
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Varethane



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
Posts: 559

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've run into a few comics with appealing-looking art, but I couldn't figure out how to work their website (whether to find the newest page, or to find a way back to the first page once I had done so-- seriously what is up with longform webcomics whose archives don't have a 'first' or 'go to beginning' button?? I've seen it more than once and I still don't get why anyone would DO that?)

I pretty much exclusively read longform comics these days (with few exceptions); I agree with pretty much all of what MindChimera says, with regards to things that will lose me as a reader. Though I want to add excessive use of those chibi-style faces to the list of artistic things that will turn me off-- I might read through the current archive of a comic that makes frequent use of those, if I don't happen to have anything better to do that night, but I probably wouldn't go back for more.
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Lady Tygry



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 235
Location: Buckeye State

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoy the medium almost exclusively because of the art so that's probably my biggest factor in deciding whether to keep up. I can think of at least two webcomics where the creators produce astounding art but they suck out loud at writing. I follow their comics anyway but I probably couldn't tell you what's going on in the story because I've been ignoring the writing for so long.

Conversely, there are a couple occasions where I've followed good writing and bad art but it's kind of a case-by-case decision. I'm a harder sell in that regard, I guess.


If someone mentions their comic in a forum, I'm more likely to check up on it (repeatedly), even if I don't actually care for it. I suppose just having that little bit of a connection helps.

I haven't stumbled on too many where I've had difficulty navigating the site but I suppose that could be a deal breaker.

I'm a behind-the-scenes junkie so while it won't necessarily affect my enjoyment of a comic, I like extra tidbits (information on development, FAQs, etc.).
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iaviv



Joined: 03 Sep 2011
Posts: 279

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Varethane wrote:
I've run into a few comics with appealing-looking art, but I couldn't figure out how to work their website (whether to find the newest page, or to find a way back to the first page once I had done so-- seriously what is up with longform webcomics whose archives don't have a 'first' or 'go to beginning' button?? I've seen it more than once and I still don't get why anyone would DO that?)


I would really like to know that too. I've run into a few webcomics lately that I just couldn't read for lack of navigation. What is going on people.
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QueenAmanda



Joined: 20 Jan 2012
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lo (Aquapunk) wrote:
"I know it when I see it."


That's pretty much my approach.

But a few things is, I have to get interested in the story fairly quickly. You don't have to grab me right away - some of the best comics have rough starts. But after a few pages, there better be a reason I'm still reading it.

Also, if the archive is hard to navigate, it's more of a turn off. If it's impossible to navigate, then I'm out. If it's navigate-able but needs work, I might stick around - these things can be upgraded.

But other than that, I very much am a "I know it when I see it" type person.
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Ka-Ching



Joined: 09 Feb 2013
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Almost every time I check out a new comic it's on the recommendation of a trusted friend, or one that someone's posting in a forum like this. I'm drawn in immediately by strong art -- it shows how much time and effort is going into the work. Great writing will keep me coming back, though -- distinctive characters, snappy dialogue, and interesting and well-paced story (I'm more into the long-form stuff, as it's more akin to my own comic).

But yeah, if I can only find the one page of your beautiful art before having to click everything on the page to figure out where the archives are, it doesn't matter how good your stuff is. I quit.
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mcmasters



Joined: 28 Jun 2012
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll join the "know it when I see it" bandwagon. Art doesn't have to be strikingly good, but if it is it usually buys more patience with a comic that may not be as good or as gripping or as funny as a poorly drawn one. I try to keep that in mind and fight against my own prejudice; sure enough I often find that ones that are stunningly beautiful and visually professional are actually quite shallow story or funny-wise. In fact, to take it a step farther than I should, I'm often quite pissed off how bad many wonderfully drawn and colored comics are; I think, damn you have that art at your disposal and that's what you came up with? Your artist should sue.

So I try to ignore all but the most primitive artwork and focus on the story (if allegedly a story) or humor (if allegedly humorous), and I dip into the previous comics and give everybody at least five looks.

---

www.mcmasterscomics.com
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Metruis
Postpostpostpostpost!


Joined: 14 Oct 2008
Posts: 1019
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a TERRIBLE habit of reading backwards, longform comics as well as shortform, so if by the time I've mashed a dozen pages backwards and I'm going 'okay, this looks nice, the story now officially makes no sense, and I really want to know what the crap is going on'... then I'll go to the first page. I really should stop this, I know, but I prefer to judge a comic, especially if it's been around for a while, by the art and writing they have now rather than later. I anticipate evolution.

Not having an obvious first button will lose me in a big hurry but otherwise I'll try almost anything and give it a few pages.

I'm a hard sell on a follow though. Getting me to read an archive isn't so hard, but getting me to come back regularly, that's the hard part. I'm generally willing to try most comics once.
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