Sarah Boxer has an article in the New York Times today about the state of web comics as seen through all the 2005 winners of the Web Cartoonists Choice Awards. The apparent gist of the article is web comics are kind of neat, but they aren’t quite there yet.
Just like every other major media journalist who has even mentioned web comics, Boxer first brings up Scott McCloud’s books on the potential of comic art and the benefits of going digital. She then brings up the criticisms of McCloud’s books Gary Groth wrote in the pages of The Comics Journal. Boxer takes Groth’s side in claiming that the use of digital technology in creating comics makes the work animation and not comics at all.
The article goes on to pick apart the winners of the WCCA with criticisms that seem petty at best. One wonders what she was expecting. The article is overall negative towards the whole endeavor and only briefly brings up very many positive aspects to using the web to publish comic art to readers and fans.
The only point of reference Boxer takes are the comics mentioned in the WCCA. She doesn’t appear to have looked very far outside that one sphere of comic links. No success stories about the small, but growing, number of cartoonists who have made their web comic an actual profession or the fact that there are many hundreds of thousands of readers that are out there devouring this content and are hungry for more.
The aloof and dismissive attitude the article takes towards comics on the web is becoming typical fare from print media, the existence of which is threatened more and more every day by the web itself I might add. It isn’t surprising to find a newspaper critical of the idea of moving comics to the internet since the comics section in newspapers is often the only real selling point many papers have left, but the added insult here is the fact that the New York Times doesn’t even run print comics.
Even though there really isn’t anything new or surprising in this article (Boxer’s “research” was obviously nothing more than about 5 minutes with Google), at least this was some good exposure for the WCCA and those comics that were mentioned. Hey, at least the G4 TechTV segment was positive.
* Thanks to Michael Craven for letting us know about the article.