I decided to give online comics another look this week. I chose Girl Genius which can be found at www.girlgeniusonline.com for free. I have heard many good things about the comic and all of them proved to be true. In general, I am still lost on the overall purpose of independent online comics – monetary gain cannot be the main motivation and the love of comics does not seem strong enough. Anyways, the medium presents some interesting insight into the industry.
In contrast to the last online comic I looked at, 2 Guns, Girl Genius is not created by industry-renowned writers and artists; instead, the comic is created by writers/artists which do not seem to seek industry success or interest. As best as I can gather, the online comic seems to be a way where a writer/artist combination can publish intellectual properties without the hassle of creation rights. Whether the publication is just a hobby or a committed effort, Girl Genius is important to analyze because it is a large component of the online side of the comic industry. In fact, the online movement seems to be a reaction to the distribution of the larger industry – regardless if its an anti-industry action or just another avenue for publication.
With online comics becoming so prevalent due to our culture’s saturation with the Internet, the implications on the comic industry can be immense. Initially, the effects cannot quickly be written off as utterly devastating or entirely beneficial. On one hand, online comics can become a pestilence in the industry because the very nature of “free” comics begins to wick profits away from big publishers. Readers may turn away from comics which cost $4.99 to a cheaper alternative – online comics. In contrast, online comics also serve the industry because they can serve as an effective vehicle into the broader comics world. Thus, new consumers would be introduced into the market.
In connection, Girl Genius certainly can be an enemy of the industry because it was a fairly well written comic. The use of sarcasm and quick wit was expertly employed which created a highly entertaining read. The art, however, did not seem very innovative or new. I still do not understand the purpose of online comics and how they substitute for the actual books. Can anyone shed some light?