The Big 500 – Thirteen years, above all, of: Webcomics

Over the past month, we’ve taken a retrospective look at the institution that is Digital Strips. We’ve looked at the people behind the magic, from the early days of Daku and Zampzon, to today’s fearless duo of The Geek and Midnight Cartooner. We’ve looked at some of the creators that have graced the Digital Strips airwaves to speak about their comics and their experiences as creators on the web. But we would be remiss if we didn’t look back on the core of the podcast, the very thing that gets the hosts coming back to the mic every week, what gives us the opportunity to write these incessant and sprawling articles. That is, of course – the Webcomics.Over the course of a long thirteen years (which is basically a geological epoch in internet time), the podcast has reviewed or discussed a staggering total of… 886 separate webcomics, consisting of everything from journal comics, to epic-scale fantasies, to space opera, to gag-a-day anthropomorphic animals, to the classic stick-figure and two-gamers-on-a-couch comics we all know and love (and love to hate).

Looking back over the spread of webcomics in the archive feed, one really gets a feel for the way the medium has developed over the past decade. Initially, the bulk of webcomics mentioned by the podcast were built to ape traditional models: the newspaper strip, or digital graphic novels. Over time, new formats were introduced. The infinite canvas. Interactive webcomics. Flash animation. The kinds of things that really get the DS team up in a lather…

Longtime listeners will have noticed some other trends in webcomics since the podcast began, as well. Although sites like Smack Jeeves and DrunkDuck (now, The Duck Webcomics) still exist, every second webcomic is not hosted there. Long after webcomics sobered up and moved on to Tumblr, Facebook, and aggregator sites like Comic Chameleon and above all others in recent years – Webtoon – Digital Strips has been covering them.

And, of course, there have always been those who stand alone. By far the most predominant of all webcomics reviewed by the podcast, have been those with their very own dedicated sites. You know the ones – the back alleys of the internet are filled with them. Sadly, not all of these weather the test of time: going back through the archives of this very site, the path is littered with the broken links of those who strayed, gave up their vows, and set their hosting fees free at last. Others yet, have kept the stumbling corpse of their abandoned dreams on display, having shifted into the most common webcomic genre:

But as above, not so below! In a world where the bright stars of webcomics flare fast and die young, there is one thing you can always depend on – that Digital Strips will be there to cover them.

This concludes our series looking back over the podcast in commemoration of the 500th episode (although we will return in future for another look at some of the Digital Strips Interview alumni). Thanks for reading and listening, and we’ll catch you back here next time for a fresh look into the world of Webcomics. As always, you can reach out to us in the comments below or on Twitter, and until next time remember: don’t eat the clickbait!

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