August 19, 2010

Shiny Webcomic Thursday - Why do you read webcomics?

Every other Thursday, I typically feature a webcomic that I enjoy in the hopes that someone else will like it too. So far this has been successful. I’ve brought at least a couple of people to new comics, and I’ve been lead to some great ones too.

 
This week, rather than share a webcomic, I want to discuss what grabs my interest in a webcomic and what keeps me going back to read more. I recently asked on my Facebook page what about a webcomic got someone to click and check it out. I received around ten answers, and I was surprised that not one of them was the art. I figured that I would match up with at least one person about it, but no.

For me to follow a webcomic, I need four things:
  • good art
  • story
  • great characters
  • consistent updates

Most of these requirements transfer right over from paper comics. I like a pretty picture, and I like to follow storylines more than gag-a-day type comics. Though I will occasionally click through and laugh my ass off at xkcd, I follow webcomics like Girl Genius, The Bean, and Monster Commute regularly. I know that some people don’t like the pressure of having a story to follow. But even if I don’t read every time they update or even if I miss a couple of weeks, it takes no time to sit down and catch up. I almost prefer doing that so that I can get more of the story at once.
 
Characters.  I want to like them, I want to despise them - I want to be vested in them in one way or another.  I have a hard time doing this when the characters are stick figures.  I feel like I could totally go adventuring with Agatha Heterodyne, and that I would offer Gronk a place to stay.  They spark feelings and attachment.  How could I not read a comic when I care about the players so much?

 
The consistent updates bit might seem like I’m being anal, but I’m going to steal words from someone who has said it better than I – if you don’t care enough about your project to keep it going, how can you expect the reader to? That’s not to stay if updates stop I go right to my RSS feed and remove someone, but I’m not as likely to recommend it to others.

 
What about you? What do you look for in a webcomic? What makes you add it to your RSS feed or tell a friend about it?

4 comments:

  1. The first webcomic I came across was Questionable Content. It only took me 2 days to read the archives. I like the sense of humor and the art style.
    The way it looks is a big factor. It could be the best story ever but if the art is hideous, I won't read it. If one the characters is obnoxious, it doesn't make it to my RSS.
    I have a lot of different webcomics in my RSS. The ones I read daily are QC, Girls with Slingshots and Shortpacked. I also REALLY like FreakAngels. Multiplex is also a fave. I read them because I like the characters and the art is great

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  2. Well, it's like the same thing with regular comics- if the next issue doesn't come out for months or years later, do you really care anymore? When Kevin Smith did Spider-man/Black Cat, and issue #1 and maybe #2 came out, I don't even remember if #2 did ever come out, but I never did finish that series because the next issue never came!

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  3. Thanks guys for taking the time to leave some feedback. I'm always curious what other folks think about webcomics!

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  4. I read gag a day type comics like sinfest, PVP, penny arcade, and amazing superpowers, these are great when you get a strip that hits the joke right on the head and they are usually pretty funny. But I really like my ongoing story strips like, Sluggy Freelance or Dr. McNinja.

    I used to read Megatokyo and enjoyed it, but they were horrible about their updates and they just fell off the radar. I don't even want to go see what I have missed because I am sure they will just fall behind and frustrate me again.

    I am usually looking for laughs and that is what will get me reading a strip, but the characters are what keep you there. A story is a great bonus and might be what seperates good from great.

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