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?


  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

  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!

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

  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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