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Annoying things in Webcomics
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munkymu
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Joined: 30 Nov 1999
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, here's the last (best?) thread we had on this:

http://www.thewebcomiclist.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1427

Spike's list is worth reading. BTW, can a mod remove the broken porn links on the last page of that thread? That would be super.
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Chilari
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Joined: 06 Nov 2005
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vulpeslibertas wrote:
Bad site naviation:

1. Have an archive

2. Every comic needs a first/previous/next/latest button. I hate having to click back to the archive for every page.

4. Link to an html page, not just to an image. It's very obnoxious to have a comic image floating there in the white void of the browser. Usually, the comic isn't scaled which results in the conflict of being able to read the comic versus not having to scroll all over the place.


Care to try counting that again, Vulpes?

Anyway, yeah, mostly my pet peeves have been mentioned already, but I want to reiterate grammar and add spelling. Surely, if you're putting your work on display to the internet-using public, you want it to be as good as it can be, right? After all, you'll get more readers and thus higher revenue from advertising on your site, if it's higher quality. This is common sense. So why do even really well-drawn comics with good plots or great humour, etc, still have spelling and grammar problems? Admittedly, most who have grammar and spelling problems are the shitty little ones no-one comes back to anyway, one ones drawn in pencil on lined paper and start with the main character introducing himself to the reader and telling us he's going to start a webcomic. But still. Bad spelling and grammar is annoying, and only excusable if either a) the creator's first language isn't English or b) it's only very rare - ie, less than one error in ten pages - and the rest of the comic is top notch.

Ooh, ranty.

Oh, and I get a touch annoyed by donation drives where the creator just says something like "I'm really poor right now please give me moneys," without giving anything in return, like donation-reward wallpapers, or promises of additional pages if the donations reach a certain amount, or sketches for those who donate more than a certain amount. Goblins does it very well, with the "Tempts Fate" storylines, since the story is directly impacted by donations - ie, the character Tempts Fate survives if the donations hit a certain point and he doesn't it they don't, so there's quite a temptation to donate, not for the sake of the creator, but to make sure Tempts Fate stays alive. It's bizarre, but it works beautifully.
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chrispco



Joined: 09 Jan 2009
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Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooh, these threads always make me self-conscious! Granted, good execution can erase most transgressions - and there's always inevitable overlap/fallbacks in genres. The problem is when these things appear because of laziness or lack of creativity. Only blind genre fans can like those strips with nothing but derivative, cliched humor.

For me, I dislike excessive fanservice. The goal of cartooning is storytelling or humor, not to sell pin-up calendars. I'm all for cute chicks, but any time it's clear more time was spent drawing a woman's chest than on her face, I know I'm not going to find *intellectual* stimulation.

The glut of po-mo stick figure comics does wear on me as well. Just because they're "easy" to do, doesn't mean they're easy to do WELL.

1: look at the pretty sun
2: if i look at the sun my eyes will burn
1: this sun is made of cardboard

Hi-larious? This stuff also applies to clip-art, sprite and photo comics, which often reduces art to blatant copy/paste. It's rare that I find one with writing good enough to carry it.

I'll also echo annoyance with copy/pasting of hand-drawn art. It's *really* obvious then - even if you change the mouth shapes around in Photoshop/Illustrator.

Of course, posting in this thread opens me up for Glass House Syndrome. My strip is somewhat of a reply to the overly loquacious children of the comics pages, so I dance around those genre pitfalls. Heck, I called it "Precocious" because comic kids who speak like that *should* have been discovered and put in gifted schools! Let's hang a lampshade on it already and get on with our lives!
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Lavenderbard
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Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 845
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ryan.noriega wrote:
Aren't all comics based on random stuff that pops into folks's heads?


No.
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munkymu
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Joined: 30 Nov 1999
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mooncity wrote:

Penny Arcage ripoffs. Extra HATE points when said comic has clones of Gabe & Tycho thinly disguised with different colored hair/shirts or slightly different shaped heads.


Ooh, yeah, I hate that too. Not just Penny Arcade, either, but any comic where you can just look at the bloody thing and say "what, do you think we've never *heard* of Calvin and Hobbes/Ozy and Mille/Sailor Moon/Elfquest/ or whatever thing you're ripping off here?" I mean, there's "I liked this comic's style so you can see it's one of my influences" and then there's "do you like my comic, Kevin and Flobbes? It's about a boy and his stuffed cheetah. I have done nothing but trace Bill Watterson's art for three years, but I will deny it to my last breath if you ask."
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dailywisdom



Joined: 07 Jul 2007
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Location: Oklahoma City, OK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Taran wrote:
I didn't see anybody mention
stick figures!!!
Wait, shit... that's me...


Stick figures can be awesome. They can also be very, very bad.

Taran wrote:

Oh, and does anybody think it would be a good idea to have it where if you click on the comic image itself, it goes to the next page? That's how Facebook does it. This seems like it could be annoying or convenient. I'm not sure which.


That seems to be a common convention for photo albums. Personally, I prefer the "click on this for a higher resolution version" alternative.

I ended up doing the next link in my extras gallery when you click on the picture (as well as regular navigation buttons), just because people would expect it, but I probably will never do that to the main comic.

Also, since your comic requires a vertical scroll, navigation above AND below isn't a bad idea.
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munkymu
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Taran wrote:

Oh, and does anybody think it would be a good idea to have it where if you click on the comic image itself, it goes to the next page? That's how Facebook does it. This seems like it could be annoying or convenient. I'm not sure which.


Yes. Do this. As long as there are also buttons for people who like buttons, it makes my sad wrists SO MUCH HAPPIER if I can click anywhere on the comic instead of scrolling around playing hunt-the-button.
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Varethane



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

munkymu wrote:
Oh, and does anybody think it would be a good idea to have it where if you click on the comic image itself, it goes to the next page? That's how Facebook does it. This seems like it could be annoying or convenient. I'm not sure which.
My vote is for convenient! I can think of a few webcomics that do this, and I have to say, it's really easy to get used to it. After reading one I have this tendency to move on to other comics, try to click on the pages, and be disappointed when it doesn't work. I'd do it myself if I had a CMS up and running already... (sorry Kez I swear I'm working on it!)
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dailywisdom



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

munkymu wrote:
Yes. Do this. As long as there are also buttons for people who like buttons, it makes my sad wrists SO MUCH HAPPIER if I can click anywhere on the comic instead of scrolling around playing hunt-the-button.


Why'd you have to offer a compelling reason for me to do more work?

EDIT: And then I took 10 minutes of time and added it to both my strips. I never thought of the anti-carpal-tunnel angle.
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Senshuu



Joined: 03 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ohh, I love this thread and the one just linked. In fact I added the linked one to my bookmarks; thanks Kallisti.

I had a few small peeves I was about to post and then completely forgot them. I think it's because somebody already mentioned my major ones.

I guess I'll say this... subtlety in advertising is really appreciated. Big boldness is only best when you're making a claim you have actually already fulfilled, or are making none at all (simply presenting the product, which I prefer). Instead of original taglines, people like to say "wacky catgirls!" or "the funniest webcomic ever", and I don't know who they expect to believe them/care.
People crap all over their descriptions, too. I need everybody describing their work to think one thing before they hit "submit" on their new comic listing: what makes that different from anything else? Generic, undescriptive summaries kill me. People need to think back-of-the-movie-box. Everyone reads them; why can't they emulate them?


By the way, re: comic navigation, I have it so that both my comics' archives on the main sites and one of their mirrors have comic image links that move the navigation forward. In my experience it is hella convenient, so I implemented that wherever I could.

It's a nice alternative, I think, to having navigation both above and below the comic, which aesthetically I just don't like. (Aesthetically I like it most when the nav buttons are appropriately on the left and right sides of the comic itself, centered vertically on the page, but I see this rarely done, or done well.)

What do you think about the left and right arrow keys activating left and right in the nav? That really does have a potential to be inconvenient, albeit a small one. I actually don't prefer it as much, though some may.
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Senshuu



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lol, most of the time when I see comics do something like that I really, REALLY hope for some aspect of the comic to back up the claim even slightly, and every time I am disappointed.

I like to give the benefit of the doubt in general, but it's getting harder (and in some cases impossible)!

Oh, I thought of something else. I think this was mentioned in one of these threads, but comics whose names play off a phrase currently known in pop culture/cult followings. Things only some people would get/find clever, in other words. Unless of course it's to that specific audience, it just looks eggghh and makes me not want to read, because I can't get past it. I wouldn't even do such naming for that one audience; not to say every title should be broadly understandable, but I just like titles that aren't derived of anything, since they otherwise seem to, uh, "obvious."

I mean I've seen it done well in the webcomic world (not parodies, either), and I think done well slightly more often than awful, but I feel bad for less-than-par naming because it's something that holds me back as a reader to that comic (it might actually be a good comic, after all).
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Varethane



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hyena Hell wrote:
Also: As much as I rant about poor descriptions, I gotta confess I am awful about describing my own comic. I have a propensity towards not taking myself seriously, so anytime I try to describe my comic seriously, I get this "overly pretentious!" gag reflex. I've actually thought about having a contest where my readers write a quick summary and I can pick the best one, or throw together parts that I like... Good idea? Bad idea?

I have to confess to the same damn thing. x_x I didn't have a description on my site at ALL until someone pointed out a lack of an About page, and then I wrote one that really doesn't say much of anything at all (and actually considered stealing the short one someone else wrote for the comic's TWCL listing. Yes, that is how much I suck). This goes also for writing about myself, although oddly, not for writing synopses of other people's stuff.

That contest is an interesting idea...
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Varethane



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jpcline wrote:
well I also don't want to describe it too much. not having a detailed description on my website forces me to explain the premise and characters through the strip. bottom line the comic should speak for itself.

segway

It bugs me when people expect you to read a 4 paragraph character bio to understand why character A is different than character B. (actually it doesn't really bother me that much, I was just trying to get back on topic)

I actually almost never read About pages, which is why mine is so sadly neglected. So if there's essential info in there, chances are I'd end up missing it.

...So, basically, I agree. A comic should be strong on its own.
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munkymu
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

max1975 wrote:

One thing I don't think I've seen mentioned--webcomics that aren't funny. By this I mean webcomics that aren't intended to be funny. I just think it's the wrong format for serious life & death drama. The exception might be if the comic is completed and published in its entirety. But if I have to read it a page at a time with days or weeks in between, my head just can't get into that space without the payoff of a cheap laugh or at least some amusement.


I almost got sucked into Mary Worth, despite the fact that it's pretty terrible. So I think if you update often enough, even with just a few panels, it would be like catnip to people who like drama or soaps.
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katastrophe



Joined: 19 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hyena Hell wrote:
I'd still rather pass the cup to someone else as far as the summaries go- my readers do come up with some brilliant descriptions that I'd probably never have the balls to say myself.


I posted this here once before and people seemed to find it helpful:

Writing Hooks (Not Crooks)

With a summary, the idea is basically the same. You want to hit the main points of your comic in a few lines while also giving people a feel for the tone, focusing on whatever your primary element is and pointing up what makes it different from other comics. Think back cover copy. That said, most authors I know despise writing back cover copy and I don't really like the description I've got up here at TWCL or elsewhere. I only keep it because my husband liked it. Oh, and because I don't want to rewrite the damned thing.

I think most of my webcomic peeves have already been mentioned here. Yes, I'm enough of a grammar geek to have exited a few sites at speed chanting "Its. It's. NOT THE SAME," and I'm almost to the point of putting a page number on opening infodumps. Up to three, I'll tolerate, but beyond that -- give me some people doing something, for god's sake.

One that I'm not sure has been mentioned is brevity. I'm not always the greatest at this myself, but really, in most cases, the less dialog you can use in a panel the better. Readers will figure it out. I really hate it when people feel the need to have characters repeat themselves, unnecessarily explain their actions ("I'll just walk over to the breaker box... so here I am at the breaker box.... Now I'm reaching for the switch....") or, worst of all, explain the joke. It makes me want to take a red marker to my laptop screen. Narrators are also bad: almost everything in almost every narrative box I've seen could either be lost without hurting the page, or is infodump, and ditto.

But I am a crochety writer-person. Razz
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