10 April, 2009

On Webcomics

Yves Bigerel's neat little webcomics illustrating how webcomics might be developed, without resorting to the cheap tricks of other media (ie. sound effects, animation), generated a fair bit of excitement a couple of months back.

Scott McCloud rightly pointed out that many long-form webcomics offer what seems to be counter-intuitive page design:
"Good artists and writers... force readers to scroll, then click, then read, then scroll, then read, then click, then scroll again for no other reason than a stubborn belief that all comics pages have to be taller than wide, and that all web pages need a metric ton of blinking crap at the top to work."
McCloud's point is that either screens are the wrong shape or webcomics are. While the current generation of comics readers, which did not grow up within the Internet, may be happy to read, scroll, read, click and scroll, net natives are unlikely to be so patient.

Bigerel's examples have the advantage of being self-contained (Adobe Flash) and easy to navigate. Although there may be commercial reasons (at least in the short term) not to abandon the traditional comic-page-shaped format, I think enterprising creators will overcome these barriers.

As comics increasingly become 'native' to the Internet, there will be more along the lines of Bigerel's work.

Until then here are two great-looking webcomics, new to me, which follow the old format in one way and another: Dicebox by Jenn Manley Lee, which is ongoing, and Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch, which is complete.

(via Scott McCloud)