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What is a webcomic?
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wendyw
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with jaygeefisher. For me it's still a webcomic.
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KEZ



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrote an article about the definition of webcomics vs. digital comics a couple months back.

Also, old news by now, wrote my college thesis on it. Did I mention I majored in biology?

http://warofwinds.com/winged-wolf-studio/jargon-webcomic-vs-digital-comic-whats-the-difference/
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jdalton
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A webcomic is a comic on the web. That is all. Is it a comic? Is it readable on the web? Then it is a webcomic.

Quote:
Do syndicicated cartoons, such as those on comics.com count as they are now freely available online?

Yes. They are comics on the web. SOme of them are already listed on TWCL.
Quote:
What if you're serialisng something already compliled into a book?

Is it on the web right now? Then it is a webcomic. Comics move back and forth between print and the web all the time these days. A comic in print is a print comic, a comic on the web is a webcomic.
Quote:
How much animation can one include before it leaves webcomics territory and becomes something like weebl&bob?

Ah, well here's where we need to break out Scott McCloud. Does it include at least some panels juxtaposed in space? Either panels that sit next to each other on a static page, or panels on different pages that must be manually clicked through by the reader? Then it's (at least partly) a comic. If all it has is a single frame that changes over time at a pace determined by the creator, it is not a comic. This is an animation.
Quote:
What if your "comic" is 100% amusingly labelled graphs? How about a collection of illustrations someone has used for forum posts?

Again, are there multiple panels juxtaposed in space? Are they put in deliberate sequence? Then it's a comic.

The only things I would not include are comics scanned in without the creator's permission. If the creator never intended for it to be seen online, it's not a webcomic. It's a print comic stolen and distributed illegally.

So Calvin and Hobbes, Homestar Runner, and Fruits Basket are out, Dilbert, Argon Zark, and Finder (which is awesome by the way) are in.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, but C & H and Dilbert are NOT webcomics. They are merely regular print comics that have a web presence, but they are in no way "webcomics." They were not placed on the Internet as their primary method of distribution, but as an afterthought by the syndicate marketing guys. That shouldn't count. They also shouldn't be listed on TWCL IMHO.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think things are going to get very difficult very fast if you try to judge what is or is not a webcomic based on the artist's intentions rather than its physical form. Maybe when the guy who draws Dilbert started out he never suspected his comics would some day get stuck on the internet, but he's still drawing Dilbert, and he knows they're being put on the web now, right? If this dual presence on the web and in print hasn't influenced the way he draws or writes at all, doesn't that just make it a BAD webcomic? How are you going to decide whether a given comic was designed primarily for print or the web? What if it's designed for both? What if it was designed for print all along, and the artist just hasn't told anyone that? What if it was designed for the web, but somehow ended up in print first?

I really don't think web-centric webcomics are going to suffer from competing with the stuff on Comics Sherpa or whatever crap Marvel is posting online and calling "webcomics." these are generally speaking BAD webcomics. They usually have little to no promotion behind them, poor navigation, ugly presentation, and fall into very narrow genres that web readers are not necessarily interested in. This is why they read webcomics. Ultimately, Dilbert just isn't GOOD enough to win a webcomics award if it goes toe-to-toe with Perry Bible Fellowship. That doesn't mean it's not a webcomic.

Webcomics, as soon as they are put into print, become eligible for print awards. I'm not aware of any print competition that bans comics that were on the web before they were in print. Wondermark (the print version) was even nominated for some awards this year. And that's as it should be. It's an awesome, beautiful, and hilarious print comic. it it ALSO an awesome and hilarious webcomic.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Web presence does not equal made for the Web. One is simply not a webcomic by design or motivation.

If awards for print accept something that was originally on the Web, fine, but that isn't what the material is being judged on, is it? It's partly on the presentation as it appears in print. Dilbert or whatever can't even be considered as a bad webcomic because it simply isn't a webcomic to begin with.

A Prius and a Formula One are both cars, and you can, technically, race both, but you're not going to see the Prius on the track during the Indy 500.

Likewise, saying a print comic is somehow the same as a webcomic is like saying a baby stroller is in the same class as a car or a truck because it has four wheels.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mooncity wrote:
If awards for print accept something that was originally on the Web, fine, but that isn't what the material is being judged on, is it? It's partly on the presentation as it appears in print.

It's based entirely on its presentation in print. As Dilbert should be, in my opinion, judged entirely on its presentation on the web.
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KEZ



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mooncity wrote:
Sorry, but C & H and Dilbert are NOT webcomics. They are merely regular print comics that have a web presence, but they are in no way "webcomics." They were not placed on the Internet as their primary method of distribution, but as an afterthought by the syndicate marketing guys. That shouldn't count. They also shouldn't be listed on TWCL IMHO.


I heartily agree. I classify them as "digital comics" myself (perhaps digitalIZED comics), based on my own definitions (rather arrogant of me, I know.) Webcomics use the web for more than mere distribution. There's a web presence involved as well, not to mention community and communication. Uh oh, I'm going McCloud on you guys.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KEZ wrote:
I classify them as "digital comics" myself (perhaps digitalIZED comics), based on my own definitions (rather arrogant of me, I know.)

Which is fair enough, though I still disagree, but the main point I'm trying to get at is that for the purposes of a contest like this you need a clear and easy-to-understand definition of "webcomic" that doesn't rely on knowing anything about the artist or what they may or may not have in print. Imagine how much work it would be for the organizers to vet each and every webcomic submitted for whether the artist has previously printed their comic (or ever intends to). It's not enough to just disqualify the ones you know are in a daily paper somewhere. Not every comic on Comics Sherpa is a "digital comic." An unbiased contest would need to have the same rules for everybody.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would suggest the criteria for this contest be:

Webcomic: a comic displayed online whose primary method of distribution is over the internet.

I would furthermore suggest that it must be available in its entirety for free. It's hard to judge a webcomic if it can't be read without paying, but that's a gray area.

I would also suggest that comics available only as downloaded bundle-issues be not eligible. They're not "web"comics, since they are not displayed online, merely downloaded to be read offline.

So, really,

Webcomic: a comic displayed, archived and free to read online, that uses the internet for primary distribution second to print or bundled downloads.

I don't know if anyone else agrees with that definition, but what's more important I think is that for nomination round for people to know that how it's made or where it's hosted doesn't count, but WHERE the majority of its distribution-focus is DOES count. DC/ucomics/comics.com all have secondary web presence, to increase the sales of their print comics.
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dooky



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rather than trying to define "webcomic", which could take a long time, we should be trying to define what a webcomic is for the purposes of these awards. For instance, I'd say that Dilbert, Garfield and the like are webcomics, at least technically, but they also shouldn't be eligible for these awards.

jaygeefisher wrote:
If the printing and distributing happens subsequently to online publishing and if the material is still fully available online, I'd say yes...


This was my first thought: If it started on the web, it's in; if it started in print, it's out. Unfortunately, this throws up some anomalies. The excellent Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, which certainly should be eligible, actually began as a small-press comic in 1991. So I'm not sure how feasible it's going to be to establish completely solid criteria. A webcomic is like pornography... I know it when I see it >.>
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that I've been thinking about it some more, for me part of what makes a comic a webcomic is the fact that it is being serialized in a particular way. I come back every update day and read the new page or strip, instead of getting 24 pages (or 100+ pages in the case of a graphic novel) in one lump like I would in a print comic. It's a different way to read a story, and also a different way (ideally) to write a story.

I know there are webcomickers who like to post whole chapters at a go (Platinum Grit comes to mind), and I wouldn't really want to exclude them. But what I would exclude are comics that are just being made available to read on the web, rather than being serialized the web.

EDIT: By your definition, dooky, Galaxion is not a webcomic. Crying or Very sad Nor is Girl Genius. Or Platinum Grit.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, that's really my point. It seems to be logical at first but then it bars some comics that obviously should qualify.

I like the definition "Comics that are primarily distributed over the web", but that's a hard one to actually test. Likewise, I agree that the one-page-per-update thing often has a profound effect on how webcomics are made and read, especially story-based ones... but again, you have comics like Platinum Grit and Pawn that are still basically webcomics, despite updating in batches and reading rather differently as a result...
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about this:

Webcomic: a comic displayed, archived and free to read online, that has been serialized on the web as a primary means of distribution.

Excluding PDF downloads and pay-per-view webcomics seems fair.

"Primary distribution" is a tricky thing though. If I sell more print comics than I have regular online readers, I might be disqualified. And I expect there are a LOT of webcomics that would be in the same boat. Templar AZ, Pewfell, Much the Miller's Son, half of the webcomics I read regularly have dual distribution methods with a strong small press print presence. I know because I've got all their books. And I honestly don't know which method gets these creators more readers. They might not even know themselves (it's such a hard thing to compare). If you're going to start disqualifying comics that are print-centric, they need to be CLEARLY print-centric. So print-centric that their online distribution method is atrophied and ineffectual. But it's still going to mean someone's making a judgement call. Who gets to make the call on Dilbert?
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't believe this is still an issue. This all seems fairly obvious to me. I mean, if your cat had kittens in the oven, you wouldn't call them biscuits, would you?

We need someone to make the call on Dilbert? Fine. I volunteer.

Dilbert, et al, are NOT webcomics. They just aren't. They are obviously print-centric, licensed by corporations, and syndicated. If some joker at the syndicate throws it on the Internet, that doesn't change the fact Dilbert is not, has never been, and will never BE a webcomic. Same goes for samples of print comics thrown on the 'net for the sole purpose of selling and promoting the print copies (which is a different kettle of fish from serializing a story as a webcomic and compiling a book out of it later.)

Bill Holbrook makes three comics. Two are strips syndicated by King Features. The third is "Kevin & Kell." Even though Bill is a pro, "Kevin & Kell" is a webcomic and can be considered. "On The Fast Track" and "Safe Havens" should NOT be considered because they are NOT webcomics.

Honestly, I doubt anyone could name a given comic that is really, truly, reasonably, and legitimately going to be affected by the exclusion of Dilbert & Co.

And no one is going to exclude "Templar, AZ" simply because Spike sells a bunch of book compilations of the Templar WEBCOMIC. I mean, I wouldn't. Would any of you?

And if it ain't free, most people ain't readin' it, and therefore it shouldn't even be nominated, so adding that to a definition to guide the awards seems a bit overkill to me. The awards are, in a way, meant to promote the art of webcomickry, so if a comic is pay per view, I say it gets an insta-mega-fail disqualification from any consideration of an award... except maybe the Insta-Mega-Fail Award.

Just sayin'...
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