Thursday, August 16, 2001
Ripe for explosion
After reading a thread about Berke Breathed's interview in the Onion on Slashdot, I got to thinking about newspaper comics, and I'm of the opinion that the newspaper comic is truely a 20th centure phenomenon and that they won't really survive all that long in the 21st century (although they may be about for the next decade or so).
Just as the first newspaper strips started out in the 1890s (as we know them now), the first online strips, made exclusively for Internet distribution, appeared in the early 1990s, starting with Dr. Fun on September 23, 1993. While I wasn't around for the start of the newspaper comics, I was around for the start of online comics and I do remember downloading (via FTP when it first started, although it was also available on USENET (I don't recall which group though) as well. And now, eight years later (nearly), there are possibly more online comics than there are newspaper based comics.
The innovative strips are now being done on the web. And like the old joke goes, the good news is there are no editors; the bad news is there are no editors. Nor is there a syndication that will reject a strip because it's dull, racey, or not the current fad, or the next Garfield or any other number of excuses. Nor are there space or format restrictions (although most still follow the daily three or four panel format found in newspapers). It's an open field, ripe for exploration (and Scott McCloud is pretty much shouting this out to anyone that cares to listen).