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Author Topic: What do you look for in a webcomic?  (Read 16236 times)

AnotherQCaddict

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What do you look for in a webcomic?
« on: 21 Apr 2007, 16:22 »

I know many people that frequent this part of the forum probably read many webcomics... So I ask what you look for when you are deciding whether to read one for a long time.

For me, a story that I can follow is a must (sorry Cyanide and Happiness, you just don't hold me.(sorry for a sentence that is easily manipulated))

Besides that, it's nice to have a character that you will almost never see doing something serious. (almost is the key word...)

As well as a foil to that character (someone who can bring the comic down to earth when it needs to be)

Color (colour for people outside the states) is nice, but not a must... a background, however, is a must... don't just assume that a blank background is going to sit well (unless it's in comedic interest to, such as in a dream sequence, or when the webcomic is making a joke about the creation of webcomics and the character is wondering why the creator hasn't made a background yet)

Coming close to breaking the fourth wall on a few occasions can be great. More than a few, and it's disasterous. (unless the fourth wall is part of the story... I.E. the characters knowing that something is amiss... that they aren't in control... that for some reason they always get into odd situations... trying to control their own destiny, etc.)

just stuff like that makes a comic worth reading.
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hoax

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #1 on: 21 Apr 2007, 18:26 »

For me, breaking the fourth wall is a definite deal-breaker, unless it's reallllllly funny.

Any comic I like, hands down, has to be written well. If the story or dialogue feels awkward or clunky, I just can't get into it, no matter how great the art is. A good example of this is Wapsi Square. I think it has some really good characters and had some great plot lines, but I really just cannot keep up with all the utterly bizarre twists and turns.

I look for creativity--nothing turns me off faster than recycled material that doesn't offer anything new.

I think an important thing with art is that it suits the writing style. I love Dinosaur Comics and White Ninja, but I don't consider them great works of art--but the artwork is perfect for the types of comics they are.
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alongwaltz

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #2 on: 21 Apr 2007, 20:21 »

Like with anything else, just entertainment.  It doesn't have to be particularly interesting or hilarious as long as it's entertaining.

I never laugh out loud at QC but I still really enjoy reading it and following.  Penny Arcade often has many references that I don't know at all but I still find it funny so I check in every day.
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Blue Kitty

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #3 on: 21 Apr 2007, 22:35 »

oddly enough, I have not actually asked myself this question

I mean I enjoy things that have a story and then I enjoy one shots, I enjoy things that have phenomenal art and then I enjoy thigns that are little more then stick figures

I can actually think of any way to define my webcomic viewing
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Barmymoo

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #4 on: 22 Apr 2007, 04:27 »

I like to be able to follow a story line, so if it jumps about too much then I get confused. Also to have the panels laid out tidily so that I can see where the next one is... this is one reason I'm not keen on Manga, because their panels are non-standard shapes. Just confuses me.
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Renee Katz

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #5 on: 22 Apr 2007, 21:42 »

I look for comics that are drawn well, above almost anything else. Can't stand sprite comics or photo comics.   

Oh, and I mostly don't read comics with a storyline.
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MadOvid

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #6 on: 22 Apr 2007, 22:30 »

I look for what I always for in art or literature. A deep, intelligent core that touches on certain permanent universal questions. Failing that, I want good art.
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The extra letter

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #7 on: 22 Apr 2007, 23:26 »

I like reasonable, even if it's simplistic art, characters I can relate to in some way and at least some humour. An on-going plotline helps, too. I like Penny Arcade, but it's not a webcomic I'll check every day, unlike QC.
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jarska

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #8 on: 23 Apr 2007, 02:02 »

Fanservice.
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HedgemazeExpo

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #9 on: 10 May 2007, 21:30 »

Good writing is most important to me. I'll read a comic with bad art and good writing, but not good art and bad writing.
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jeph

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #10 on: 11 May 2007, 20:25 »

Good writing. For me, this almost always translates to "funny." I can only think of one "dramatic" webcomic I real (MegaTokyo) and it has its share of humor.

Good artwork is ALWAYS a bonus. Half the reason I like Applegeeks is because of Hawk's incredible photoshop skills. (of course Ananth is responsible for the other half!)

I haaaaaaaate it when comics break the fourth wall. Not once (other than perhaps Jerkcity or Death to the Extremist) have I seen a webcomic that does it in an entertaining fashion.

Good site design. I am sorry but if you are on keenspot or drunkduck or whatever I will probably not read your comic because your site design will probably be terrible.
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Shishio

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #11 on: 13 May 2007, 11:34 »

Good site design. I am sorry but if you are on keenspot or drunkduck or whatever I will probably not read your comic because your site design will probably be terrible.

Yes, because everyone knows that the only comics on those sites are shitty ones.*

*Yes, I realize that you are not necessarily saying that all comics on Keenspot, Drunk Duck, etc; are shitty, but I can't help but feel that you are insinuating it.
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jeph

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #12 on: 13 May 2007, 18:09 »

No, if I wanted to insinuate that I would have said "most comics on Keenspot, Drunk Duck, etc. are shitty."

In reality, I can't say that because I honestly don't read anything on any of those sites except for the Devil's Panties, which is definitely NOT shitty.

So I guess I am insinuating that 100% of the comics I have read on Keenspot are excellent!
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Splintered1

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #13 on: 15 May 2007, 09:16 »

Being an artist, I like to see comics that place value on good art.  Let's face it... comics are primarily VISUAL story telling.  I'm not saying each frame has to be a masterpiece, but it should be well thought out and tell as much of the story as the text - perhaps more. 

A good story is also a must.  Daily gags are good, but what really draws me in is some sort of on-going plot line.


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tomselleck69

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #14 on: 15 May 2007, 14:29 »

More of the same: writing that tickles me in the right place, decent art, etc.

Easy, functional site design is always a plus. Sites that tend towards minimalism usually say more to me than those that are bloated with unnecessary information. It is my belief that in most cases, a good comic will be able to speak for itself.

Other things that I can't abide are tired premises and people who don't know what they're doing and aren't making a concentrated effort to learn or improve.
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jeph

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #15 on: 16 May 2007, 21:23 »

Also I really hate it when comics blatantly rip off my characters or setting. Although I guess that means I've "made it"?
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the_shankmaster

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #16 on: 28 May 2007, 23:59 »

I look for regular updates.  I hate checking a comic and finding that it hasn't been updated all week even though it's supposed to be on a 3 a week schedule.
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Stefan Autsa

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #17 on: 29 May 2007, 15:29 »

Good material, preferably funny or witty but I quite happily read most things. I'm not a fan of satire or parody, though. Dino Comics and White Ninja are high on the list! High on the list as in some of my favourites!

Art really doesn't matter to me, but it is a definite plus if it's awesome.
« Last Edit: 30 May 2007, 10:06 by Stefan Autsa »
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Flerg

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #18 on: 29 May 2007, 19:47 »

I'll take bad art with good writing. I'll take okay art with okay writing. Just don't give me the same thing I've seen on a hundred other websites. I want to see YOUR personal style, whatever that may be, not a genre. The world already has plenty of Manga style elf comics.
« Last Edit: 29 May 2007, 20:13 by Flerg »
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jeph

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #19 on: 29 May 2007, 20:33 »

Don't forget comics about video games and your WACKY COLLEGE ROOMMATES LOL THEY'RE SO FUNNY ROFL
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rcmonroe

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #20 on: 13 Jun 2007, 18:14 »

Good site design. I am sorry but if you are on keenspot or drunkduck or whatever I will probably not read your comic because your site design will probably be terrible.

Yes, because everyone knows that the only comics on those sites are shitty ones.*

*Yes, I realize that you are not necessarily saying that all comics on Keenspot, Drunk Duck, etc; are shitty, but I can't help but feel that you are insinuating it.

I just noticed this; it appears you were giving me a plug, Shishio, for which I must say thanks. Only a month late.

I'd also like to mention that at the time Shishio linked me, my site design was, to quote Jeph, "shitty."* I've since redesigned it.

And to veer back towards the topic, what I mostly look for in a comic:

A feeling that the creator(s) are putting their soul into it. Making some kind of personal, creative statement that says something worthwhile.

Good writing and art helps too of course, but without the above, it's all a waste, at least in my view.

*Yes, I know JJ wasn't necessarily talking about my comic or site design. I'm sure he's mightily impressed by both. Or would be, if he knew I existed.
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Stefan Autsa

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #21 on: 14 Jun 2007, 16:21 »

Mspainted boobs, anything else is inconsequential.
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Inner Art

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #22 on: 16 Jun 2007, 11:42 »

The biggie for me is that the comic has to be funny. Unfortunately, solely storyline serious comics just don't hold my attention. =\

My nitpicky thing is site design... I really can't stand a bad site layout. It distracts from the comic.

As for art... It's only a bonus. Chances are that if the art is bad, then it will eventually get better. I mean, if the art is so bad that it distracts the reader from what is happening, then it's a problem... But as long as the artwork is coherent to what is going on, then it doesn't bother me...

A storyline is nice, but I still love Cyanide and Happiness. =D

I've noticed recently that I like many themed web comics such as QC= Indie Rock or whatever (I really consider QC as it's own little thing aside from just music and all now), F@nboy$= gaming comic... Just stuff like that. However, as I've said before, I really enjoy things like Cyanide and Happiness which has no general theme or storyline or anything. lol

It just depends.
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Jab

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #23 on: 17 Jun 2007, 23:16 »

Personal Thoughts:

The only webcomics I seriously read (through the archives of, check every day, etc.) are usually at least three-a-week comedy-with-some-drama strips with large casts and some characters I reasonably care about. You know, like this one, or Something Positive. Penny & Aggie is another favorite. Generally, if I go on Wikipedia and find entries for about twenty people (but not fifty, like SOME fantasy strips I know of...), five of whom are pretty important, that's a pretty good sign. It needs to be either funny joke-wise, or funny observation-wise, and each comic gets at least one or two 'sad' things (S*P's got Faye dying and Davan generally being depressed about friends going away; QC has Faye's dad, P&A have Penny's mom) to be important, without going overboard on the drama (Queen of Wands comes to mind).

Good art is a positive, but not a must. I forgive Randy Milholland's static 'everyone is built the same' style because he's at least consistent and does what is needed, and his strip is actually hilarious and all.

I read a few 'gag a day' type strips, but not seriously, and I usually only check up on them every once in a while (Dinosaur Comics, Perry Bible Fellowship, etc.). Gamer comics are iffy, because I'm not a gamer and am likely to miss any topical humor in them (I love VG Cats, but HOLY CRAP do some strips just go way over my head). I used to be really into Penny Arcade, but fell out of it once I got NONE of the jokes.

I HATE HATE HATE fantasy strips. I don't know WHY, but I do. They're all too similar: It's either a gag strip of "hahah! he's riding a funny mount!" and "let's poke fun at a fantasy archetype, like dumb orcs or easy to kill low-level threats!" type jokes, or a super-jokey strip that's impossible to take seriously because they stick in too many epic plotlines (or vice versa).

I also don't read "manga drawn by white people" strips. Every one I've read just screams of my fellow honkies trying desperately to be an 'egg' (you know, white on the outside, yellow on the inside) and all Japanese, and it usually ends up being WAY too emo and instead of having any semblance of what Japanese comics are actually like, try to pull off EVERY MANGA STEREOTYPE in the span of five pages. Even the more sane ones, like Red String, tend to devolve into "WAAAAAAAHHHH EVERY CHARACTER IS A PIT OF EXAGGERATED EMOTIONS!" situations.
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jeph

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #24 on: 18 Jun 2007, 22:29 »

I also don't read "manga drawn by white people" strips. Every one I've read just screams of my fellow honkies trying desperately to be an 'egg' (you know, white on the outside, yellow on the inside)

Yayyyyyy racism
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rcmonroe

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #25 on: 19 Jun 2007, 16:58 »

Oh, I wouldn't accuse Jab of being racist; I think the point he/she was making was that a lot of non-Japanese people are copying a style without any real understanding of the culture that spawned that style. The use of the terms "egg", "honky", and "yellow" are perhaps ill-advised, but it's always dicey to make assumptions based on the words people use rather than what is behind those words.

Sorry if that came off a bit condescending.
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jeph

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #26 on: 19 Jun 2007, 18:59 »

It's not the point I take issue with, it's the retarded, unneccessary puns on skin tone.
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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #27 on: 19 Jun 2007, 23:03 »

 This is what I look for in a webcomic.

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Narshada

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #28 on: 20 Jun 2007, 02:40 »

Originality is always a bonus. I would never rule out a comic from a particular genre, but I agree that a lot of fantasy/non-japanese manga/gamer comics feel quite samey. That said, if the comic is original in itself, fine.

I can't get past bad art. Sorry but I can't read stuff like White ninja or Dinosaur comics because I just spend the whole time focussing on how bad the art is. By bad art I don't just mean the actual drawing, (there's also a difference between intentionally simplified art and bad art and also between intentionally scratchy or dirty art styles and art that is just bad,) but also things like page composition, panel layout, spotting blacks, well laid out panels and pages that lead your eye through them, character design... the whole shebang. If any of these elements are lacking to a greater extent... *click*, gone.

Good writing is also important - not relying on caption boxes to tell your story, showing not telling, a compelling plot and preferably some humour, which is especially inportant in non-story strips like cyanide and hapiness or Perry bible fellowship. Basically a knowledge of how to write. Even if the artwork is amazing, wooden dialogue means... you guessed it: *click*, gone.

The reason I got into QC was because of the writing. The art has improved dramatically since the beginning but it was the lives of these characters that drew me in.

Personally I think the fourth wall can be broken in interesting, entertaining and funny ways, but often it isn't. Since creating my own comic I've gotten more into the online comics scene and while there are some absolute gems out there, I would say the majority of it is crap, but that's like most other mediums. A lot of comics creators don't seem to have done much reading up on the creation of comics or else they just try to copy others. Some, like Jeph seem to have an innate understanding of how comics work, which when coupled with a desire to improve and make the best comic they can, results in a great read. Others, have a limited sense of how things work, but then go away and read everything they can on the subject. (I'd probably put myself in this catagory.)

I think if the creator has the desire to create a good comic and work on improving it, it shows and if they stick at it it pays off. Those that simply want to make a comic and don't actively try to improve with every issue just blend into the rest of the majority.

One last thing - Comics that include in-jokes that relate to the characters themselves and the past story of the comic = cool. That's a great way to get your readers involved with the characters because they feel they're sharing a joke WITH the characters, based on past events.

Comics that include in-jokes about the authors friends, colleagues or family or whatever so that anyone that doesn't know the author personally can't 'get' the joke = ultimate in lameness.
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rcmonroe

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #29 on: 20 Jun 2007, 09:25 »

It's not the point I take issue with, it's the retarded, unneccessary puns on skin tone.

I make a distinction between people who are insensitive lunkheads and people who are actual racists. I agree with your point too, and when people use those kinds of terms they open themselves up for misinterpretation.

Since creating my own comic I've gotten more into the online comics scene and while there are some absolute gems out there, I would say the majority of it is crap, but that's like most other mediums.

The majority of webcomics are crap because anyone can put a comic on the web. There's no editor to impress, nobody you have to "sell" yourself to in order to be published; all you need is a computer. So, yeah, of course most of it is going to be crappy, because creating a good comic is not something that just anybody can do.

Also remember that some webcomics that aren't particularly impressive at the beginning can get a lot better if the cartoonist has a good work ethic. A certain coffee shop-based comic comes to mind (although I should say that the writing was solid to begin with, it's the art that has grown by leaps and bounds).
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MalMal

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #30 on: 20 Jun 2007, 10:41 »

By the same token RC, alot of webcomics are good because of the lack of restrictions put on them. It also means that webcomics that are popular, are popular because they're good, as opposed to any advertising reasons etc.... The internet is a meritocracy.

I think the overwhelming multitude of crap comics out there are a price worth paying for gems like QC, XKCD et al.

I agree with you totally about QC coming on art-wise. A lot of comics I've read have done that, but none more noticably than QC.
I think it's the writing that's important though. I find myself able to overlook any sort of art if the writing is believable, witty and clever. (Not asking much then!)

Look at White Ninja!
Or Dinosaur Comics. Ryan North has been using the same image for years (over 1000 strips now) and his comic STILL doesn't feel old.
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rcmonroe

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #31 on: 20 Jun 2007, 13:25 »

By the same token RC, alot of webcomics are good because of the lack of restrictions put on them…
I think the overwhelming multitude of crap comics out there are a price worth paying for gems

Actually, that's exactly the point I was trying to make.
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MalMal

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #32 on: 20 Jun 2007, 23:44 »

In which case RC, I thouroughly agree with you!!
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j-tierney

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #33 on: 21 Jun 2007, 12:33 »

I like any comic in which the writing, drawing, and general storytelling come together and compliment each other... If it's framed by a graphically pleasing site, then all the better. 

There's only one way I can tell when everything comes together:  If when I look at a comic, I'm compelled to look at another one.  (referrals from individuals who's taste I trust can help of course) 
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Jab

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #34 on: 04 Jul 2007, 13:19 »

It's not the point I take issue with, it's the retarded, unneccessary puns on skin tone.


Heh, sorry 'bout that. I learned it from asian people I know (most of them call each other 'banana', and an Indian friend gets called a 'potato' by his other, Indian, friends) and felt it was just too funny to not use all the time. It's like "Wigger", a VERY unflattering, un-PC way to insult someone who blatantly tries to copy the ways another race 'acts' (which in itself is kind of offensive; trying to 'act black' is basically implying that blacks 'act' a certain way). If it sounds offensive, it's supposed to be :).

I've noticed that most "Manga Drawn By White People" comics overdo the 'acting Japanese' thing to the point of basically stereotyping everyone as either sad emo girls, psychotic overly happy kawaii girls, manic-depressive lead heroines, and generally using all of the manga stereotypes to an enhanced level, so as to make even the worst real manga look understated. Hence the "Egg" comment.

Oh, and I'm really not trying to sound like an ass here, but using the word 'retarded' while arguing about someone's lack of tact and offensive dialogue is a little suspect, given that some people view that on the same level of offensiveness. So there :).
« Last Edit: 05 Jul 2007, 00:22 by Jab »
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rcmonroe

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #35 on: 05 Jul 2007, 11:22 »

Oh, and I'm really not trying to sound like an ass here, but using the word 'retarded' while arguing about someone's lack of tact and offensive dialogue is a little suspect, given that some people view that on the same level of offensiveness. So there :).

That's funny, because I was going to make that comparison earlier but I changed my mind because I use the word "retarded" that way all the time. Sucks when you can't call people out without revealing your own hypocrisy.

Two lessons to be learned: don't use terms that you know people find offensive if you don't want to be labeled a bigot, and don't judge people's hearts based solely on their words.

Oh, uh, and read my comic.
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jeph

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #36 on: 05 Jul 2007, 17:57 »

Only RETARDS find the word "retard" offensive. ;)
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rcmonroe

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #37 on: 06 Jul 2007, 01:02 »

That pretty much settles that.
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Baggy

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #38 on: 19 Jul 2007, 11:27 »

I have to be honest, I mostly read web comics for the humor.  It has to be well-written, well-timed, and clever or I usually get really bored really fast.

It's not so necessary that it have a continuous storyline, though that can be really engaging (that's what hooked me to QC after all).  The drawing style isn't particularly important, but I prefer something that is actually drawn and hopefully with at least some degree of talent.  I can't really get into Dinosaur, since the creator uses the same frames and changes the dialogue.  But I read everything from extremely simplistic drawing (doublefine action comics, xkcd, tpfd, mtts, and natalie dee) to Penny Arcade and QC with more complex, refined drawing.  And its mostly because they are all well written and I can relate to them.

And no serious web comics.  I don't know why.  I just read web comics for the humor and witty repartee.
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öde

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #39 on: 19 Jul 2007, 19:32 »

I like good, honest webcomics that I can believe in.
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Ally

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #40 on: 19 Jul 2007, 19:38 »

I'm starting a comic soon I hope so I need to do this.

I like comics that are solid. They need to be original. I don't actually like humor-oriented comic strips; I much prefer story-driven ones that are written with enough wit that they can still ellicit giggles. The art must be good. I see comics as a marriage of two art-forms, visual art and writing. They need to support each other - I don't like comics as much that are dependent on one or the other. I once when on a tangent about that so I won't now, but let it stand.

Don't break the fourth wall. Don't have an unmanageable amount of similar characters. Don't fall into cliches.

Obviously there are exceptions, but now I have a guideline for what I want to accomplish and I feel better.
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PenguinNinja1408

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #41 on: 31 Jul 2007, 13:13 »

For me, the first hook is artwork and presentation, the second is story. I'm a little (okay, maybe more than a little) prejudiced against webcomics, manga, and regular comic books if the art sucks. The story is somewhat secondary, as in there doesn't necessarily need to be some kind of story that carries through the entire comic. For example, the Sam and Fuzzy's early stuff had either no story or small, disconnected plotlines. As long as there's something to take the place of a story (i.e. humor), I don't mind. If there is a story, then it needs to be good. The main reason I don't really read Megatokyo much anymore is because I couldn't understand where it was going.
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MysticalChicken

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Re: What do you look for in a webcomic?
« Reply #42 on: 26 Sep 2007, 16:07 »

Anything that makes me laugh out loud is good.  I don't care how good--or bad--the artwork is.  (XKCD is one of my most favorite webcomics, and that's just stick figures!)

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