It’s that time of year again where web cartoonists band together to pat each other on the back. The premier awards in the web comics arena has been gracing us every year since 2001 and came into it’s own 3 years ago with it’s 2003 ceremony. Since then the WCCA Committee has slowly put together the second best reward for doing a job well done, the respect of your peers.
Why have awards in the first place? Shouldn’t the art stand for itself? Of course it should, but then art for it’s on sake doesn’t do anything for the wallet or the ego. This very same argument came up recently and there’s so many right answers that they all seem wrong. The two easiest answers seem to be that there are two camps. The first are the independent artists who have discovered the internet as a unfettered medium for which unrepressed art can now flourish. The second is unless you have a sugar mama to pay your bills or part time job that pays you six figures your art needs to support itself. Of course you could argue that people like to have other people tell them that their great but I’m making an assumption that by putting your art on the web that you either are there to spread art or boost your ego, both of which result in praise if you’re good.
Taking both camps into consideration we can figure out the bad and the good of awards. The bad is awards try to tell the public where to go to find what is good. It almost ignores the other 7000 webcomics, many of which are fantastic but can’t on a simple list. Web comics are boiled down to simple categories and genres but ignore the overall medium as an art form itself.
The good is exactly what many claim is bad. By pointing to a few specific web comics of what the community thinks is above par the public is led to an example which may wet their appetite for more. This is exactly what led to my discovery of Copper and Beaver and Steve. The good vibrations don’t stop there as award shows also give many artists a goal to set their competitive natures against. It’s almost basic human nature to compete.
For me I see both sides but have my own gripes. Why care about an award that gains you almost nothing? The committee is a great bunch of guys but the award doesn’t come with anything but the respect of your peers. You’re all my favorite people but I want the prize package to come along with it and the news coverage to bring more paying fans. Where is Jon Stewart making fun of me and CNN giving the byline? Maybe I’m just being pessimistic but aren’t awards meant to bring exposure?
Update: Mark pointed out that I have the memory of a gnat. Last year he appeared on G4TV‘s Attack of the Show and spot lighted several of the strips. That’s just the sort of thing the WCCA should continue to pursue. So Mark that means you’ve set the bar, what are you going to do this year?