As long as web comics have been around the print industry has been thumbing its nose. They have become a grumpy old giant scoffing at our online triumphs, bashing our artistic styles, our approaches, and the varying degrees of craftsmanship. We can read such things on any forum we wish to peruse concerning the glories of our comic medium. Yet on those same forums the web comic folk have been doing the same. We have been nose turning, scoffing, and finagling the print industry for its archaic ways, its smothering qualities, and its out dated practices. Most of all we web comic folk trash the print’s lack of variety and on our own forums no less.
Which one of us is really right?
Variety is sweet. That’s all there is to it really. No sugar junkie can survive off of runts alone (they need sweet tarts too), likewise comics can not survive on superheroes and bulging anatomy alone. Thanks to our wonderful online medium of choice it no longer has to.
Indeed web comics offer a variety that has never before been granted in the comic medium, and in turn it has been upheld as the greatest testament to their superiority over printed comics in the online domain. Anyone can create a web comic. Anyone. And it costs little to nothing to do so. Happily from this we can draw a great deal of quality work and story that do not have to have triple D boobies nor 42 inch biceps as a means of selling.
Conversely the printed industry has looked down upon the online comic industry with its variety as the greatest testament to their inferiority. Anyone can make a web comic. Anyone. Thus the industry is open to the dregs that would NEVER pass an editor’s desk
successfully. Sadly this has created a rift between an online comic community and a printed comic community with the illusion of The Man. Indeed there is a stifling of ripe new ideas not inspired by Spiderman or, God forbid, some lifeless Japanese manufactory, but the other side of the equation (the editor’s side) isn’t so cut and dried. For instance if you yourself were an editor looking over submissions would you accept this as marketable?
It seems to me as though the rift is a mere illusion created by pixels, print, and “pandamonious puffery from the editor.” (Stan Lee) I believe that our illusions have spun a web far too tangled for most eyes to see through, but we have the capabilities to remove it. Comics are COMICS. Internet or print, they both need eyes and intelligence to read, and they can, essentially, do all the same things. Why, then must we keep them separate? We all have the machetes to disrupt our own skewed visions and blur the culture barriers between the guilds of print and pixels and we have everything to gain from helping each other.
This is indeed a meager call to brotherhood, especially since I am appealing to my own internet brethren (and sisteren), but I hope that this does not fall on deaf ears. Printed comics are terrific (sometimes we need Spiderman to save the day) and deserve just as much place as our online works.
Let us embrace each other.