Season 2, Episode 1 Preview blog – by Luke S
Listen to the podcast here.
So, season two of the webcomics company podcast! As we’ll discuss in episode one we want to make the podcast a more interactive experience with you the listener (hello!) – as well as us talking at ya though your iWotsit earphones, we want to hear what you think. Heck, half the time you probably know better than us on these things. To that end each episode is going to be framed around a question, and for week one we’ve got a nice, provocative one:
Why are webcomics terrible?
OK, let me quickly clarify here. We don’t want to discuss (in this episode at least) the quality of the webcomics out there, but instead the merits and pitfalls of webcomics as a medium, mostly as opposed to their dead-tree counterparts. I’ll run through a handful I can think of now to kick off discussion, we’ll be going wider and deeper in scope when we record. A more descriptive title would be “What are the pros and cons of web and print-based comic distribution models?”, but that’s obviously a lot less fun.
The big con, obviously, is the finances. Get a hundred people to buy a printed book of your comic and you’re quids in. Get a hundred, or even a thousand, visits on your website and you might have a few pennies in ad revenue. Webcomics that do make money tend to do so by selling books and associated merchandise to a fraction of their readership. In @badmachinery’s words “Making a living from webcomics is like being a plumber who fixes a customer’s pipes for free then sells them a sandwich to make ends meet.”
However it is generally easier, faster, and cheaper to make a website than to self-publish a book. A website can reach anyone with a internet connection. LukeSurl.com has been read in almost every country in the world (come on Chad, what did I ever do to you?), which is, to a person drawing doodles in his bedroom, pretty dang cool.
As for the medium itself, there’s nothing like having a full-colour shiny physical comic in your hands – but there’s also a load of things you can do with a website that are simply impossible in print.
Updates? A webcomic will drip-drip little drops of comic to the reader a few times a week, whereas a print comic can collect arcs and chapters into issues, but then leave readers with months for any more content. Which is best? Doubt there’s a straight answer there.
So, a lot to talk about, and I know there’s many, many other directions this conversation could go down. What do you think? Is your comic wholly a web comic, exclusively a print comic, or a mix of the two? Why? How about eBooks, which seem to be something of a halfway house between web and print?
We’ll be recording on Thursday eve, so if you have thoughts you’d like us to consider in the podcast, please share them with us by then (commenting on this post is probably the easiest way!) Podcast should be in your iTunes and stuff Monday morning.
Cheers for listening!