Thursday, March 8, 2007

What's In A Name? (Cartoonist vs. Web Cartoonist)

I'm not trying to turn this into and "us vs. them" situation, because I hate that kind of stuff. Unfortunately many "print" cartoonists use "web cartoonist" as a pejorative, implying that the majority are wannabes and amateurs who can't sell their work to legitimate markets and thus create cartoons for the Internet. Unfortunately, they're mostly right. For every Scott Kurtz or Penny Arcade, there’s a zillion badly drawn and horribly written web cartoons. Web cartoonists can disagree with this and accuse the print cartoonists of being snobs, but it doesn't change the reality of the situation. Don't believe me? Go look at a hundred web cartoons. Go look at a thousand. Go look at a million (because there are at least 6 billion web cartoons currently online). The vast majority are just plain bad.

Web cartoonists are guilty of their own snobbery. They fashion themselves as the creative visionaries of a bold new medium, and sneer at the "boring and mediocre" work of traditional cartoonists. In some respects, they have a point. A lot of print cartooning (especially syndicated comics) is created to appeal to a mass market; it's not particularly innovative. But if you look outside newspaper comics (magazine cartoons, greeting cards), there is a lot of very good stuff being done by traditional cartoonists. It's just as "edgy" and "fresh" as any web comic. And odds are it's drawn a million times better and is much funnier.


hellboy3 said...

There are a lot of great webcomics. newspaper comics are boring.

Charles Brubaker said...

I agree, Scott. Another problem is that webcomics don't have the filtering system syndicates have.

It's true that there are some webcomics that are better than certain newspaper comics, but until then, I doubt webcomics will replace syndicated comics.

Scott Nickel said...

I really hope that someone comes up with a way to make money with comics on the internet, because the newspaper industry is slowly fading away. Unfortunately as it stands today, nobody wants to pay for comics online -- people balk at $15 a year for Daily Ink!

I'm sure that one of these years the syndicates will move into the web more aggressively -- or a new web syndicate will emerge that will do what the traditional syndicates do: filter the content and distribute the material.

Charles Brubaker said...

Gad I hope not. I PREFER reading comics on print. It's WAY better than reading on some stupid monitor.

I guess popular webcomics can be released in books, but it's just not the same.

Anonymous said...

I prefer newspaper comics.

Anonymous said...

The web is where the future of comics. Why? Newspaper publishing is loosing money. They themselves are starting to do more content on the web.