Sunday, March 17, 2013

"The Rise of Web Comics" + PBF

“And that makes me laugh”

Spiffy little mini-documentary just popped up on a Facebook feed from the PBS series "Off Book" called "The Rise of Web Comics": 
"The internet has given birth to yet another new medium: web comics. Moving beyond the restrictions of print, web comic artists interact directly with audiences who share their own unique worldview, and create stories that are often embedded in innovative formats only possible online. Sometimes funny, sometimes personal, and almost always weird, web comic creators have taken the comic strip form to new, mature, and artistic heights."
This still shies away from the "Infinite Canvas" concept advanced by comics theoretician Scott McCloud (also see "This Exquisite Forest"): the term "webcomic" tends to default to basically the blunt transferal of content to another platform without exploiting either the inherent attributes or potential of the new medium. It's just a different viewing method - whether on a wall, page, smartphone, tablet or monitor, the content is a static and fixed format. Interactivity with the creator is another step on the continuum, where the viewer works in a semi-collaborative sense with the artist, and the narrative becomes more "reader-driven" (as for example in "Homestuck" and "Exploding Dog"). Yet only those two of the nine total featured cartoonists in the documentary to explore this boundary, while the others are conventional.

One of the cartoonists interviewed - and one of the best things to ever emerge from my hometown on the East Coast - is  Nicholas Gurewitch, creator of the Perry Bible Fellowship feature. From my jaded perspective his work was and is one of the most most pleasurable to read from a working cartoonist's perspective as far as craft + writing goes (also meaning it's funny as hell). The comic is also being hosted now at Boing Boing, where, for example, the pure genius of “No one can know about this” appeared just last month.

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