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Romantic Raider

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Hey there party people! I, like anyone who thinks they may be able to draw, would like to start a webcomic at some point in time. There are a few that I read or have read but the writing, plot, and style vary so much from my own that I cannot use my observations of them as a rule of thumb for what will and will not work (as much as I wish I had that sort of talent for humor, I do not). Like any good business person I figured I should do a little more market research. That's why I'm here, I would like to ask your opinions on a few subjects so that I may be able to produce a comic worth reading, a comic that will entertain you in ways you never thought possible whee

The more feedback and info the better but answer whatever you want to.
Thanks for all your help in advance heart

So here goes something;

Do you prefer webcomics with a light hearted, humorous plot or a more serious, dramatic plot? (That isn't to say one can't have elements of the other involved)

Do you prefer strips or pages (think Sunday funnies v.s. manga)?

Do you prefer regular release of small portions (single strips/pages) or less frequent releases of a lot of content (chapters,ect)?

What is your biggest/most frequent complaint about webcomics? About plot? Characters? Etcetera?

What do you think is most important in a webcomic? Art, plot, characters, ect?

What would you like to see more of in comics? Less of?

Do you like long running series or short series better? Any particular reason?

Are there any over-represented genres? Any genres you'd like to see more of?

What pitfalls do you think a lot of humorous/strip style comics fall into? What about graphic novel style comics?

What are your favorite series? Why for?

Anything else? Tell me what you think? Rant away about pet peeves or share your boundless love! I want to hear it all!

Again, thank you in advance for any help you may provide. I really just want to make a comic people can enjoy (while staying true to myself as an artist, of course).
Seijaku_Ishida's avatar

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Honestly, webcomic fans vary so much that any results you will get would be all together useless. In addition, there's always the old adage: "Trying to please everyone ends up pleasing no one'.

Most of the successful comics find a niche and a lot of their readers aren't actually 'webcomic readers' although they can become so. Penny Arcade? Video game fans. Hark! A Vagrant? History nerds. XKCD? Math nerds. Oglaf? Fantasy fans who enjoy a bit of pervy humor. Most over represented comics are spin offs of things like these. Video game comics, stick figure comics, and so on.

Choose what you want to do. It's the best way to keep motivated on a project anyway, particularly since most webcomics take years to finish. Make what you love and whatever you do, do it well.
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Romantic Raider

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Seijaku_Ishida
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Quite true! I suppose I'm more curious than anything. There are consistent factors in the stories I write that will define what I produce in the long run. I suppose what's most important about this thread is to learn the major pitfalls to avoid. Learning through experience is great but research is easier. What's more, I'm really curious to see how people respond. I don't know how much the information will aid me but my curiosity could use a little satisfaction. 3nodding Thank you kindly for the advice!
Do you prefer webcomics with a light hearted, humorous plot or a more serious, dramatic plot? (That isn't to say one can't have elements of the other involved)

Either! Both. I obviously enjoy reading a large variety of tones.

Do you prefer strips or pages (think Sunday funnies v.s. manga)?

Either, depending on which style suits the tone best. I read both.

Do you prefer regular release of small portions (single strips/pages) or less frequent releases of a lot of content (chapters,ect)?

Erm...I guess, true to the modern instant-gratification culture, I'd have to say I like getting something small more often than something big all at once. Unless it's in print, then it's worth the wait!

What is your biggest/most frequent complaint about webcomics? About plot? Characters? Etcetera?

My biggest complaint is when I read something that doesn't come from the creator's true passion so much as a desire to mimic the success of others. Stories that are obviously derivative of popular things at the time, art that is heavily stylized and has no substance or skill, and creators with entitled egos who think everything they make should be the next Naruto or Penny Arcade. Try something different for god's sake!

What do you think is most important in a webcomic? Art, plot, characters, ect?

For me, I'm most drawn to the characters and the story. I might come by because the art is nice or the plot seems interesting, but I stay because I care about the characters.

What would you like to see more of in comics? Less of?

See above, haha.

Do you like long running series or short series better? Any particular reason?

Either! Both!

Are there any over-represented genres? Any genres you'd like to see more of?

I'll say this: any story that is being written to cash in on a popular genre or story is over-represented. I'm not much of a genre reader anyway.


What pitfalls do you think a lot of humorous/strip style comics fall into? What about graphic novel style comics?

Being derivative; people not taking the time to understand why they are creating the work.

My biggest thing is that while I may not be interested in every comic people are doing, I'd much rather see a genuine project that comes from the creator's own passion for their story, for the medium, for creating something meaningful, than from a desire to just "make a comic" or do something for the sake of being popular.

I used to have a lot more specific tastes in what I liked to read, and might have gone on and on about why I thought page-style comics had more value than strips. But years later, I've read so many things that I've enjoyed in so many different forms that there's no way I could limit my tastes to one style, one tone, one genre, one plot.

If you are looking to start a project, maybe just try reading a bunch of different types of comics and figure out what you like best about them, about their method of storytelling, their visual style, and so on. Because what speaks to you the most will tell you a lot more about what you want to create than what people "want to read." Not that these aren't good questions for their own sake, though!
What Seijaku said is right on the money, but with that said, helpful stuff for all comics in general re: your questions -

"What is your biggest/most frequent complaint about webcomics? About plot? Characters? Etcetera?"

If you choose to do something more complex than a comic strip which is meant to be a gag, then your choice of paneling and framing needs to be understood as a way to carry the story and not a way to simply show that things are happening. What you decide to focus on is a powerhouse of a narrative tool, and it also makes for a comic that is visually engaging to look at. A lot of comics that you can find by people who are eager to get done with a page or maybe not very confident/patient with their art will rely on the same shots all the time, and talking heads. Zombie Ranch is an example where you can have very interesting ideas and decent paneling and writing and hooks (like the kid that gets bitten early not acting like he should be acting - what's going on in his head?) but the art is so monotonous you feel like reading it is actually a chore. This doesn't mean every panel you draw should look like some lovingly rendered, professional action film with crazy dynamic angles. It just means that a really good way that art can KILL a comic regardless of content, is monotony.

There are some comics that have repetitive angles and shots, but only because this is a deliberate design choice and not because the person who made the comic forgot to consider how incredibly important the camera is.

Do you prefer regular release of small portions (single strips/pages) or less frequent releases of a lot of content (chapters,ect)?
You will probably be able to expect to see readers subscribe to your comic when you have about 15-20 pages done. This is because that way, regardless of your pacing, you should have at least one or two good hooks in there that engage a reader's attention, so they'll want to come back AND because when they see you commit to 20 pages they know you're actually serious and this has a better chance of actually being updated.

Then, the updates - Whatever you say the installments will be, whether it's, "One page every Wednesday" or "Issue 2 coming January 2014", what matters is if you actually DELIVER on (or before) that date. You must be reliable. A reader will take you as seriously as you take yourself. Webcomics that adhere to their update schedules are much more popular than comics that update sporadically because people know to come back and actually expect plot development. And don't update with standalone art when you say "one page every Wednesday," either. Random comic-related art/splash art is cool, but it effects the pacing of a narrative and shouldn't be put in just 'cause you felt like showing the world this here picture of ____. A poorly planned splash picture that exists just to be pretty is usually a disappointment to a reader because they expected a comic page, not an artsy graphic. That's what your gallery is for.
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Ah! Sorry for the late reply! Dem exams and distraction by art got me >_<

Thank you guys for all the great advice! It seems very common suggestions include; don't emulate something to try to cop it's success, draw what you enjoy, different is best, ect.
I'd been considering these things and decided to start with a genre I love reading, love writing, and love drawing; shoujo. It's hella overdone but I figure I'd rather do what I enjoy and try for a familiar feeling even it's been done rather than break my back trying to be original and end up with a forced, mediocre story. I have a sci-fi story brewing it the back of my head that may ferment into something strong but for now I will wait for inspiration on that end ^_^
Thanks again for the advice, it was actually very helpful. Now I've got a couple short series floating around in my brain that I've begun working on. Very excited!
Even still, any additional advice and opinions would still be appreciated heart
Good luck with your shoujo! Hopefully I’m not too late to the party to be answering your questions.

First off, I totally agree with the above sentiments about primarily drawing a comic that interests you, and that you have a passion for. But I also respect your business sense in wanting to feel out the market 3nodding

I’ll preface this by admitting I mainly just read published manga, not webcomics, since it’s not as hard to find a decent manga as it is a webcomic. So, my answers will be mainly related to the published comics that I read, but I think the same standards should apply to webcomics anyway. I hope my input is helpful...


-Do you prefer webcomics with a light hearted, humorous plot or a more serious, dramatic plot? (That isn't to say one can't have elements of the other involved)

I prefer drama, but I can tolerate light-hearted too so long as I have a reason to care about the characters. Getting your reader invested in the characters is the most important thing, regardless of the tone of the comic. That’s usually why I gravitate towards drama, because I can expect the stakes to be higher, and I want a good emotional return on my time invested.

-Do you prefer strips or pages (think Sunday funnies v.s. Manga)?

Pages. But the format ultimately depends on the comic, and whether you can end each page/strip in a way that makes me want to click ‘next page!’

-Do you prefer regular release of small portions (single strips/pages) or less frequent releases of a lot of content (chapters,ect)?

I like chapters. I’m following too many comics and books at once to keep track of storylines with small weekly updates. I can follow a story better with chapters. Also, releasing chapters instead of pages helps me follow the pacing and emotional mood.

-What is your biggest/most frequent complaint about webcomics? About plot? Characters? Etcetera?

I reeeally don’t like it when the art’s sloppy. That gives me the impression that the comic creator is not taking his/her work seriously. I also don’t like shallow plots, even if the story’s entertaining. I prefer plots that give me a feeling that the story’s actually going to go somewhere, like there’s a greater purpose behind it.

-What do you think is most important in a webcomic? Art, plot, characters, ect?

Hate to sound superficial, but art is most important to me. The other elements are important too, but the art is what conveys the plot and characters, so it needs to do so effectively.

-What would you like to see more of in comics? Less of?

I want to see more comics that deal with philosophical issues (moral dilemmas, self identity problems, stuff like that). I’d also love to see more varied casts. Too many comics are either about a bunch of teenagers or a bunch of twenty-somethings, usually all from the same social class. I would like to see less subplots unless they’re super important to the story and the character development.

-Do you like long running series or short series better? Any particular reason?

Long running series. I get a lot of satisfaction out of investing time and emotion into a good extensive plot.

-Are there any over-represented genres? Any genres you'd like to see more of?

I don’t think any genre can be over-done, as long as it’s done well.

-What pitfalls do you think a lot of humorous/strip style comics fall into? What about graphic novel style comics?

I don't have much experience with strip comics. Graphic novel comics usually lose me when their plots start to meander. I also have given up on a few comics since they kept introducing too many new characters, when really I just wanted them to focus on the main characters that I’ve become invested in. The more characters there are, the more diluted the comic gets. Um... Also, formulaic plots. Like, the characters fight one bad guy, move on to the next bad guy, repeat, repeat. That gets boring.

-What are your favorite series? Why for?

The only webcomic I read is Lackadaisy. I love it because the artist treats her work super seriously. It’s high quality, great characters, plot, art, everything. It’s fun at times, dramatic at others, and I love every single character. You can tell the artist lives, breathes, and loves her comic.

-Anything else? Tell me what you think? Rant away about pet peeves or share your boundless love! I want to hear it all!

Biggest pet peeve: Dropped comics! I think the reason I’m hesitant to read webcomics these days is because the ones I’ve gotten into in the past were abandoned. And that doesn’t make me a happy camper. Nope cry
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Romantic Raider

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Oh man! So much great info! xd

I really dig the point about characters and social class, scaregoat. You're 100% right. It's crossed my mind a couple of time to utilize characters of various backgrounds but for some reason I never gave it real thought. I have on story involving a drifter and the daughter of a drunk but that's about as close as I get. Thing is, I have extensive experience with homelessness (a very educational experience) and some experience with drifting, lower middle class life, and upper middle class life. I keep forgetting how much of an asset a varied background can be. Now I have so many ideas running around my head x_x
Thanks for the info, very helpful heart

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