For the purposes of this article, I mean ‘friends’ outside of the webcomic community.
Or should I say, outside of comics?
I ask because none of my friends knows what the heck a webcomic is. I’ve had to explain what a webcomic is as much as I’ve explained what my comic is about. I mean if someone were to take the time to actually look at the word, I’d venture to say most half-intelligent people could realize there’s an inherent meaning in the word webcomic. The problem is, no one cares, knows what the value is and whether or not it’s an actual thing. Is it a thing if it’s not in my ‘spell check’?
My own opinion is this: I have stopped doing a webcomic or more accurately I’ve stopped calling it a webcomic. I do a comic strip. That of course, is outside of the question of whether the content I’m creating is worth anything or has an audience – I’ll let my audience be the judge of that. Getting back to my point, simply put, I choose to no longer call my art a webcomic.
I’m not proposing we kill the word. Nope, that would be murder. And I’m not talking about whether I think there’s a need for a webcomic community (I do), I’m talking about the marketing aspect of promoting your comic. Let’s face it, in general, most of us that are promoting our comic through social media or advertising are not strictly targeting other ‘comic’ creators. Therefore, if you’re promoting your comic to people outside the webcomic community, I’m betting that audience is in the same boat as my friends and won’t call it a webcomic – at least not without you beating it into them. I’m guessing you have better things to do than train all of the media hungry public that has access to the Internet. On the other hand, if you have the time and were looking for something to do, that might be an interesting venture.
I think webcomics is a poorly constructed word.
Generally, just slapping a prefix or letter onto an existing word is silly. Ebook? Ecommerce? Even blog is a mashup of web and log.
What’s wrong with simply using the word comics? Why webcomics? With apologies to Scott McCloud, ‘Sequential Art’ is difficult to spell and well, kind of snooty.
What about cartoons? Does anyone younger than forty refer to their art as cartoons or are they the animated shows from Saturday mornings?
Growing up, I didn’t clip ‘cartoons’ from the newspaper and I don’t recall ever searching for the ‘cartoon’ page in the newspaper index.
Is it just me? Am I the only one who doesn’t want to refer to myself as a cartoonist as opposed to ‘comic artist’? And I’m not suggesting anyone take themselves anymore seriously as a result…
Up for an experiment? C’mon! Science can be fun!! Try telling three different people that aren’t aware of what you do – artistically and without explaining it. Tell one you do a webcomic, tell one you’re a cartoonist and tell the third you do a comic strip (or just use comic if yours isn’t a strip). Then ask that person if they can describe what they think it is you do. I’m going to do this myself and develop a follow up article. I’m interested to see what people think outside of the webcomic community.
After all, if this can help us target and communicate our marketing more effectively, then it’s a discussion worth having. Now if you’ll please excuse me, I’m going to have to see what kind of friends I really have.
Ken Drab (me) of RicktheStick.com has a small brain but a savant-like interest in branding, marketing and design. He better, that’s what he gets paid to do in real life. In make believe – he’s a self-proclaimed comic artist.