The Webcomics Phenomenon
For the beginning cartoonist, the Web is a fantastic place to practice and improve your art. Finding an audience is much easier than in the world of print publication. Furthermore, through e-mail and online message boards, you can get immediate feedback on your work. Finally, since you can post an archive of previous strips, you are much more likely to accumulate new readers who might otherwise be confused by today's strip and leave.
Considering that the oldest cartoon posted on the Internet dates back to only 1991, Webcomics is a medium still in its infancy. But given the ability to discuss your work with both fans and other cartoonists, this is a medium with some considerable power.
The stories told by Webcomics tend to be far more complex than those handled by their print counterparts. The aforementioned archives help to make this possible. So do links to special Web pages that contain background information about your characters and the story you're telling. Where the predominant philosophy in newspaper comics leads cartoonists to consider each day a stand-alone entity, Webcartoonists are free to let the many features of their Web site answer any questions a confused reader might have. That's not to say that the Internet is strictly a practice area for cartoonists who are trying to break into print. Some Webcartoonists are making a significant amount of money from their Web site. A few have even been able to quit their day job, since the money their Webcomic generates is their primary source of income. The short list of full-time Webcartoonists includes the following artists:
Pete Abrams, Sluggy Freelance (
Fred Gallagher, Megatokyo (
Jerry “Tycho” Holkins and Mike “Gabe” Krahulik, Penny Arcade (
Scot Kurtz, Player Vs. Player (
J. D. “Iliad” Frazier, User Friendly (
In fact, Iliad's User Friendly has evolved into a publicly traded company listed on Canada's TSX Venture Exchange.