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Metapost: Augh!

Just wanted to catch up to the loyal readers and apologize for the slackness of reviews. Economic times hit us hard, you know … even the ones who’ve got jobs. My time’s been occupied working overtime in the real world. The money’s nice, but free time is at a premium. Sadly, I haven’t been able to read or review webcomics lately. (It’s a rather time consuming hobby when you think about it.) I’ll be lucky if I get anything done by Memorial Day.

Fortunately, Lost is off the air until next January and Smallville just ended its season. Seriously, that cuts down on extracirricular distractions … as long as the siren’s hypnotic allure of Enterprise reruns on the Sci-Fi Network doesn’t snag me. (Yeah, yeah … I watch some really awful TV shows.) I’m hoping to get my webcomic-reading mojo back come summer.

Thanks to all of you for coming by to check this site, by the way. Whether you love or hate this blog, your loyalty to webcomics is what keeps this site from devolving into non-comic content like certain other blogs (Websnark *cough* *cough*).

Parting thought: is there a way to get webcomics into comic book shops? Outside of putting together print versions of webcomics, I mean. Free Comic Book Day was the first time in a while I’ve visited the comic book store. It’s a weird atmosphere: more a club than a store. There’s an awful lot of potential in getting fans of the pamphlet to check in online. Have a couple laptops set up with links to store favorites, perhaps?

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About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on May 21, 2009, in metapost. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. A digital kiosk (including one connected to a digital printer for in-store POD) is an idea that has been kicked around. Most retailers have one of two responses:
    1) computers are for games
    2) LAAALLAAALLA LAALLLALLAAAA I CAN’T HEAR YOU LAALALLLALAAALALAA

    • I think that could work. In my neighborhood, the local music store has a nifty system where you ask one of the associates for a piece of music. You specify the difficulty level and the key. The pull up the music on their kiosk, and they print it out for you for the same fee as the sheet music on display. It’s pretty much the reason I keep going back to the same store when I need sheet music: no matter what you want, it’s right there at their finger-tips.

      Maybe something similar can be implemented via webcomics. Originally, it would have to tie in to the big publishers: maybe a quick and easy way to access back issues of Marvel, DC, etc. But webcomics would also be available for purchase.

  2. For starters, I wouldn’t know where to find a “comic book shop” short of grabbing the yellow pages. I’m old-fashioned, so I would go to either a bookstore if the comic is collected in book form, or to a magazine stand if it’s a periodical. “Comic book shop” never fails to evoke the Simpsons guy, or maybe a store dealing in other hobbies and collectibles, like baseball cards, D&D figurines and such things.

    However, I think that getting webcomics into comic book shops outside of print collections is going to be very difficult if the owner gets nothing out of it. Even in print, I suspect it’s going to be difficult for webcomic creators to gain such access, because print editions of webcomics usually have the stigma of self-publishing, i.e. a sloppy product in all respects, from the content to the printing and binding. In a way, print-on-demand can be useful for books long out of print, but as a first outlet for publishing, it’s a death wish, because it’s inevitably associated with failed novelists who peddled their precious manuscript to every publishing house with a catalogue of 5 titles.

    Is it different for webcomics? Self-publishing online might get you a following, but print is much more traditional in this respect, so the webcomics with print respectability (in the bookstore presence sense) will be few and far between. A select few good comics will get picked up by reputable publishers and sell decently (Perry Bible Fellowship comes to mind, but its genesis was in print, and in many ways it failed to conform to the general format of a webcomic), but what of the rest?

    I haven’t read any studies on this (if any are available), but I suspect that most people who buy print editions of webcomics already know the comic, and will buy it out of sympathy for the creator than anything else. They won’t be found browsing comics inside a bookstore in search of something new. So for the vast majority of webcomics, comic store presence isn’t a priority; online is still the best place to develop a following, and the best place to sell any print edition or merchandise you might have.

    But I am not sure which is your aim by getting webcomics inside comic book shops: legitimacy, exposure, or profit? Respectability for a webcomic (excluding forays into print like PBF) will come in the form of either awards or website traffic, neither of which starts with brick-and-mortar presence (well, not genuine webcomics anyway), which is probably the very last step, as a result of having established previous legitimacy. Likewise for exposure and commercial factors; store presence, for a webcomic, is particularly ineffective: it’s expensive and guarantees nothing, not for the guys having their collected strips printed on demand just to elicit sympathy from their readers.

    So I have to ask, is it really worth getting webcomics into comic shops if the only beneficiaries are the 800-pound gorillas that are already respected (or, like gaming comics, not trying to be anyway), already well-known, and already making their creators rich?

    I’m not even sure of the value of going with Comic-cons and such for the average webcomic creator; I know that if I ever got around to making a webcomic, I wouldn’t go (not my type of crowd, I’d think).

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