Fun Facts About Webcomics

Photo from Twitter of R. Stevens (Diesel Sweeties)

Hey, YOU!

Yes, you, Mr. or Ms. Internet Surfer!

Going to the San Diego Comic Con? ARE you at the San Diego Comic Con? Are you actually wasting your time browsing your iPad when you could, you know, head down to soak in the wisdom at “Rob Liefeld: Designing Iconic Characters”?

Never mind, never mind. I’m not here to judge.

So, are you confused and angered by the sign that says, “Webcomics”?

“What does it mean?” you ask, furiously smashing at anything that moves.

Fear not, noobs. The Webcomic Overlook has got your back.

I’ve put together a list of Fun Facts About Webcomics.  Pretty much all of this was stolen from Wikipedia, though a good portion of it was more or less made up.  Be prepared to impress the fat dude dressed up as Faye Valentine with your mad webcomic knowledge!

(Actual “knowledge” unverifiable. Consult with a webcomic professional before operating.)


  • According to Merriam-Webster’s “Words that were completely made up list, Volume 2,” a webcomic is “a comic published primarily on the Internet.”  This definition is woefully undescriptive, as it includes nothing about video games or two guys sitting on the couch.
  • I should point out, by the way, that some webcomic creators and bloggers dislike the term “webcomic.” I think it might be racist.
  • A webcomic is illustrated. Except when it’s not. Also, it consists of more than one panel. Except when it’s not. And it’s composed of static images. Except when it’s not. Huh. You know that gallery of Ansel Adams photos? Probably a webcomic.
  • Figure A. A webcomic.

  • But one thing we can all agree on is that they’re about video games.
  • The very, very first webcomic was Witches & Stitches, which started in 1985 and was published on CompuServe. I imagine between the modem dial-up (with its melodious boot-up sound), the slow image loading, low computer memory, and the primitive DOS interface, reading a single panel of Witches & Stitches took something like three hours.
  • Witches & Stitches was written by Eric Monster Milikin, who was apparently once an embalmer and a dissectionist. But really, what other career options are open for you when your middle name is “Monster”?
  • Another early webcomic was Where the Buffalo Roam, written by Hans Bjordahl. He is now Mr. Cranky from the website Mr. Cranky Rates The Movies. Just what the world needs: another critic. Hey, if you’re going to criticize something, why don’t you write your own damn movie already!
  • Argon Zark!, published in 1995, is often called “the first true Web comic” because the comic features actual webs.
  • Sluggy Freelance (which, oddly enough, does not star a slug) was published in 1997, back when a bunny with a switchblade was still a pretty novel idea before Hot Topic shirt makers drove the whole scary-but-cute thing into the ground.
  • A year later, Penny Arcade and PvP ushered in the era of the video game comics, because gamers apparently couldn’t be bothered to pry their eyes from their MMORPG just to read a friggin’ comic.
  • There really isn’t much difference between comic strips and gag-a-day webcomics, except with the latter it’s apparently OK to ruin a joke by being needlessly vulgar.
  • In 2000, Scott McCloud suggested that webcomics use “the infinite canvas.” That dream may become a reality once the Large Hadron Collider discovers the Higgs boson. We will also likely be sucked into a black hole, too, which means we may not be alive to fully appreciate the infinite canvas for all its delicate nuances.
  • Despite making revenue from T-shirt sales, don’t call webcomic creators “T-shirt salesmen.” It’s a very reductive and offensive title. Sometimes they sell caps and babydolls, too.
  • Randall Munroe’s xkcd became the most popular webcomic ever, giving potential creators the false hope that all you need to succeed in webcomics is a physics degree and a short-term contract at NASA.
  • Some of the most popular webcomic creators — like Kate Beaton, Cameron Stewart, and Karl Kerschl — are Canadian, so refrain from any remarks about “bacon-eating Francophones” when you’re near.
  • No one knows how many webcomics there are, but the Wikipedia article estimates roughly 18,000 webcomics. They say that if you stack every panel of every webcomic side to side, you are close to discovering the Higgs boson.
  • There are so many webcomics that no two people will ever have the same Top Ten Favorite Webcomics lists. But you will catch hell from xkcd fans if you don’t include it on your list. Oh, you will catch hell.

    Webcomic endorser guy.

  • In 2009, Zuda’s High Moon won the Harvey Awards, which was the first time ever an award went to a comic about a two-eyed word balloon.
  • There are rumors that there were comics on if you waited a few minutes to watch the two-eyed word balloon, but such a thing is likely an urban legend since there’s no evidence available online.
  • TV’s Wil Wheaton is one of the top celebrity endorsers of webcomics. Way to aim high, webcomic types.

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 July 22, 2010, in The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I will try and include all these facts in my master’s dissertation, which is about webcomics. I’ll hopefully be getting paid to do a PhD on them too. So, you know, webcomics are all proper and stuff. You can tell this to ya mum when she shouts at you to put some clothes on and get a job, because you’re 30 now, and she won’t pay for your PvP minis anymore — you’re now doing ‘academic research’.

  2. I just checked back on Dresden Codak for the first time in several months and found that Aaron Diaz has set up a blog about comics with content that could possibly rival the books by Scott Mccloud:

  3. The infinite canvas… is like a horrific nightmare of the future.

  4. This was very amusing. We are pleased.

  5. I had a Higgs boson once… but a little penicillin cleared it right up.

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