Commentary lists always get me swingin’– I don’t know what it is about the list format that gets under my skin, but they do. It might be overexposure to Rolling Stone’s “Top whoever of 20xx,” or even Wizard’s old “Best XXXX of XXXX”– and let’s not forget the ever-airing VH1 “Top Music Videos of All Time.”

Lists, particularly those debating an art form, make me crazy. I mean, who’s qualifying artist x over artist y?

I understand why these publications/shows love the list format– for one, it gets someone like me, with my blood boiling– to look at the list. I must read what I hate. I must comment as to why I hate. I must tell my friends: You gotta see what they put in the number 4 slot! How could they THINK it was better than number 8?!
In short, it gets people talking…

10 things about Comics

And that’s exactly what happened this week when Shaenon K. Garrity released her Ten Things to Know about the Future of Comics article on Comixology. I’m not going to get into a point by point breakdown of her list, I’ll just leave it by saying there are points I agree with and points I don’t– (although, I’m totally willing to get into it if you’d like in the comments section…)

What I did want to talk about was the reaction to the piece– There’s no question that it set off a firestorm of comments, both at Comixology and at The Beat, where I originally picked it up. (I’m not sure, but it might have been the highest commented article at The Beat– at least it is since I’ve been reading.) I was honestly surprised at the open hostility towards it– particularly, commenter John V, who basically declares that the industry doesn’t need money from girls and people under 30. Perhaps the first time I’ve heard that particular viewpoint.
(note: 4th comment down in the Beat posting)

Like I said earlier, lists get me going: So, I crossposted the link to Shaenon’s piece in a few of the comic-centric boards I visit– and again, was met with a lot of pitchforks and knives– mostly from fans/pros of The Big Two, Marvel and DC.
Now, I’ll pause a second here: I am, by no means, anti-Marvel or DC. Sure, I wave the flag of indie/creator-owned as much as the next guy– but personally, I would freelance at either of those companies in a heartbeat. They are the sandboxes I grew up in, and there’s no question I’d love to play in them. (citizentim at gmail, editors! wink wink!)
Back on topic: I don’t find the article to be an attack on Mainstream hero comics– if anything, I see it as a bit of a warning– sort of “hey guys, change is coming! Let’s get prepared!” But the overall reaction seemed to be: “Everything is fine! Nothing is wrong! We’re doing just fine!! We don’t need Manga! I buy monthly floppies! We don’t need a new audience!”

I’m not sure if it’s a reaction to the Chicken Little-esque “sky is falling” warnings the comic community has heard for the last two years (or more,) — to the point that the mainstream/over-30 fan is now kneejerking to any article which declares the death of 22 page floppies; but this article actually raised some valid points– Things are changing. Change is scary. But with change comes opportunity, and that’s what we should be focusing on.

If there’s anything to be thankful for in Shaenon’s article, it’s that at least comics have a future!

10 Things about Webcomics

In the wake of Comic Book Commentgate, El Santo over at the Webcomic Overlook posted up an off the cuff reaction piece called “Ten thing to know about the Future of Webcomics.” and as usual, even with his self-admitted off-the-cuff reaction, he’s got some valid and interesting points.

His most important is the last:
There will come a day when “webcomics” will just be called “comics,”
I somewhat agree with his followup statement that what we call comics now will be relegated to “things that grandpa used to read”– and once again use the vinyl records analogy: That print comics will still exist, as there are fans of the medium– but I take it a step further and even say that there will be a small, but loyal youth fanbase– those far too hip to read comics on a screen…
Still, his point is true for the mass audience– Personally, I can’t wait for it.

There’s still a massive divide between the print and web comic reading audience– which I honestly feel is a bit stupid, considering that combined we’re only, like 6% of the reading population. Amongst the print population, Webcomics are seen as amateur hour– although, the sea change is beginning. It’s hard to ignore when a guy like Cameron Stewart comes in and wins an Eisner for Sin Titulo.

Webcomics fight for credibility– the plus side is that we’re doing it way faster than print comics did– perhaps its the nature of the information age that we haven’t had to slug through decades of “Webcomics are just for kids”– or perhaps more appropriately, “Webcomics are just for snarky video game nerds”– But really building credibility is the meat of the third point:
Webcomic creators need to be picked up to be translated in other media — TV, movies, video games

That’s the honest truth. Webcomics need that one solid property to launch them into the mass public consciousness. It doesn’t have to be the Batmania of 1989– but something that hits and says: “Based on the webcomic by…”
And I’m not necessarily saying a movie– even something around the level of Plants vs Zombies would work– Sure, you might point to the Penny Arcade game, but I don’t think that game broke out of their audience. They basically preached to the choir with that release. What I’m talking about is a property  adapted into a game/TV show/Movie that even my aunt’s neighbors will be at least casually aware of.

We’re still early into the game– and as much as I hate lists, I have to admit, WCOs Webcomic Future post serves as a pretty good crystal ball into what the next few years might look like.

VOTES!

Well, Top Web Comics-wise, we’re still holding at the 150-ish mark! Thanks to all of you who are dropping us a click and also a big thank you to the TWC member who have fav’ed us! With only a few days left in the month, I don’t think we’ll be jumping into the top 100– so, I’m adjusting the current goal post to try to hit 140 or 130 by November– with the hope being that we can push into the top 100 by early next year– which, yes– feels weird to say, but honestly is right around the corner.

As always, you can help us out by just clicking right here:

Note: I forgot to update our incentive panel for next week– promise to do so soon!

Keep an eye out for a supplemental “Spying on the Net” blog entry sometime tomorrow! Also, brand spankin’ new page coming up on Monday!
In the meantime, if you’ll excuse me, I have a list to write…