This is a Preview Blog, an initial discussion about what we plan to discuss in the next recording from one of the team. Hopefully you have an opinion! Leave a comment and we’ll try and include it in the ‘cast.
How good a cartoonist are you? In this strangle little world of independent cartooning that we inhabit; there are several different ways that one can evaluate your level of success or achievement.
A simple answer is to forgo all external metrics and make your own self-assessment king. Some introspection is, in at least this writer’s opinion, necessary – and there’s probably a whole podcast’s worth of discussion on how to be critical of one’s own work without drowning in self-pity or succumbing to the Dunning–Kruger effect. But most people will want some form of external validation/appraisal – so how to seek that?
If you have a webcomic a common currency is # of hits. If you’re selling stuff then the £s or $s on your balance sheet is an accessible go-to metric (and, unless you’re creating comics in your monastery, having money is rather useful). But what we’ll be talking about on this episode of The Webcomics Company is the rather nebulous world of peer recognition.
What’s provoked this discussion is the launch of The British Comics Awards. Launched by Adam Cadwell and with ties to the UK’s premiere comics convention Thought Bubble. We’ll have a discussion about awards in general. Would love to know what you think (comment below!). There basically aren’t any awards specifically for *web*comics existing at the moment. Is this a problem?
Beyond the explicit recognition by one’s peers through awards there is the less quantifiable recognition from the rest of the community. To be honest, the UK indie comics community (the ‘travelling circus’ you see at conventions) isn’t that big, and much of a commentariat for this community is the community. In a group this small, untangling purely meritocratic recognition of talent from personal relationships is impossible (that’s nothing sinister, it’s just how groups of humans this size function). Personally, I would like to see the emergence of more “independent” review blogs for indie comics – people who can review authoritively, but also give honest opinions without jeopardising their own friendships.
There is somewhat of a tier-like system with the word of those at the “top” carrying a huge amount of weight. Personally I believe that in the end the system actually is reasonably good at recognising talent – There’s somewhat of a virtuous cycle of quantifiable success metrics improving peer recognition, and vice–versa. My fear is that this system can be (or at least, appear to be) closed to outsiders.
So we should have plenty to talk about between the four of us. But what we also need is your opinion! How much significance should one ascribe to other artists’ thoughts? Is the “system” that we have the best at encouraging and promoting new talent? How do you measure your own success?
We’ll record on Thursday – though comments on this or any topic we’ve discussed this series are always welcome at any time and will be discussed on the next podcast that’s recorded.