I know Wednesday has meant sketches for the past few weeks, but my scanner is outside of my reach for the next couple of days. So, instead of sharing my art, I thought I would share a short list of some of the amazing webcomic artists whose work I visit and read on a regular basis.
If you’re totally unfamiliar with webcomics, let me see if I can describe them to you and pique your interest. Remember the strips from the funny pages in your daily newspaper? They can be like that. However, they can also be like pages from a comic book. Or they can be like something in between.
See, the digital canvas of the Internet allows artists and storytellers to experiment with form and layout as they tell their stories in the most interesting way they can imagine. While some stick to recognized designs, others prefer to work outside those comfortable confines in a way that print would never allow them to. Using humor and/or drama to bring their characters to life, they are able to avoid the limitations to their content that traditional syndication imposes, and just put their work out there.
Now, while I was originally turned on to webcomics for the art and storytelling, what has really fascinated me is the entrepreneurial nature of their business model. In almost all cases, these folks are presenting their entire body of work for free, and then using that to drive revenue from ads, books and merchandise sales. They are selling themselves as much as their work. There is a lot of wisdom among them on how to make money in the age of the Internet, all while engaging in an activity that they have tremendous passion for.
Here are a few of the webcomics that I check out as often as they update, along with some notes (and disclaimers):
- Looking for Group by Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza. DeSouza is, to me, one of the greatest, and most gracious talents in webcomics today. Sohmer’s writing is very good, but I check out all of their stuff regularly due to how well I think of Lar. They work together on two other efforts, but LFG is the one I can most widely recommend. It updates on Mondays and Thursdays.
- PVP by Scott Kurtz. Kurtz is one of the old guard of the webcomics community, and he strongly advocates for the superiority of the Internet business model for artists. I find his arguments very persuading, mainly because he is living it out so successfully. His art and writing is some of the most consistent on the web, and going back through his archives is a great way to pass the time.
- Evil Inc. by Brad Guigar. Guigar is reported to be one of the nicest guys in webcomics, and I can’t find any evidence to the contrary. I enjoy his daily strip, because it revolves around superheroes, family humor and really bad puns.
- Something Positive by Randy Milholland. S*P is probably the strip I find the most entertaining. The writing pulls no punches, and the humor can be very harsh and biting, but it delivers for me damn near every day. I’ve met Randy at a convention and, contrary to all the hype, he appears to be a really nice guy.
- Templar, Arizona. by Spike. I met Spike at the same convention I met Randy, and she was very fun. Great with my daughter, too. Her art style is beautiful, and I love the story she’s crafting. I wish she would update a bit more regularly, though. This comic has some adult themes, and should not be considered safe for work. You should still check it out, though.
- Questionable Content by Jeph Jacques. This is a very funny and very deep comic. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I do not get 9/10 of the music references Jeph makes, but his writing is so well done that I never feel like I’m missing out on the humor. QC updates every weekday.
There are several others I read, but I might go through my daily trawl and discuss the comics more in depth individually. There are a lot of great business ideas intermixed among all the fun these people have created. You should read them for the fun, though. Tomorrow, when you’re done with all the turkey, take a little time and check them out. I promise you that every last one of them is better than Garfield.
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