- Posted by Johanna on January 15, 2007 at 8:32 am
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
In a comment in response to a post discussing the GLAAD Awards, Lisa Jonte said “I am disappointed by the lack of a webcomics category for a comics-oriented award.” Earlier this year, Brigid at DigitalStrips discussed a similar topic, about why no webcomics were mentioned in “best of the year” lists.
It’s an intriguing question. I was going to immediately discard the smart aleck answer, “webcomics aren’t good enough”, but I think that’s part of it. I have not seen any webcomic as good as Fun Home or that I enjoyed as much as Dramacon.
A large part of that is down to the technical experience. It took me a chapter or two to fully immerse myself into the world Bechdel creates in her book. With a webcomic of similar depth, I would have bailed before that point, because it’s not as comfortable for me to read onscreen, waiting for page loads and trying to ignore the blinky ads surrounding the material I’m interested in.
Also, I don’t think of most webcomics when making “best” lists for the same reason I don’t think of most superhero comics or other serials — in order to declare something great, it’s got to have an ending that I can evaluate. The only webcomics I’m aware of (and that’s a big limitation right there, my knowledge of the form) that had endings also had print publication.
For example, Mom’s Cancer, one of my best of 2006, started as a webcomic. If it had stayed in that format, though, it wouldn’t have had the power and impact that it did in terms of reading experience. I’ve been trained to think of things onscreen as short and ephemeral. A book contains material worthy of permanent collection, ideas to be reflected on and experiences judged meaningful. Webcomics have to overcome their history as a cheap way to keep up with comic strips at work before they’ll be taken seriously.
There’s also the format of most webcomics. They’re similar to newspaper strips, short groups of panels based around gags. Is anyone asking why no comic strips weren’t included in awards or best-of lists? They have their own recognition ceremonies. In comparison, when it comes to filmed entertainment, there are Oscars for movies and Emmys for TV shows. Is it a bad thing to analogize movies to graphic novels and Emmys to other types of comic works?
I’m curious to know what others think, especially those who think a webcomic should have been named as best of last year. If so, what was it and why?