Yes, I’m going to talk more about early-2000s webcomics. No, I’m not sorry. Okay I’m a little sorry. But the differences between modern webcomics and, for lack of a better word, “historical” webcomics are fascinating, especially when identifying the strengths and failures of the medium throughout the years. For instance, the most obvious stylistic influence on modern webcomics is clearly other webcomics; there’s a self-sustaining culture that has grown up around putting pictures with words on the internet. But back in the day? The biggest influence on most early webcomickers was newspaper comics.
Most of the time, dead comics are just a project that didn’t work out. Collaborators part ways, inspiration evaporates, mental health ebbs and flows, and jobs place new demands on artists’ time. Generally people don’t get paid to put their webcomic online for us to read, so while it can be disappointing when our fave stops updating, hey, that’s life. But some comics die a death that stands as a cautionary tale – or a horror story – and not all readers are as laid-back about the comics they read as I am.
In the webcomics graveyard, most of the headstones say “Rest in Pieces”, marking comics that no one misses, not even their creators. But some of the graves are still tended, decorated with fresh flowers, visited often by old friends. Some dead comics made such an impact on the culture of making and reading webcomics that their absence is felt to this day. But I don’t give a shit about all that.
I briefly worked at a Subway as a teenager, before the inept manager’s choices got the place shut down by the board of health. It was a hellish job, plagued by horrible customers, inane store policies, an absentee boss, and incessant top-40s radio that couldn’t be turned off. My only solace was the people who were suffering with me: my coworkers. Too bad the boss made us work completely alone most of the time.
So the Ignatz Award nominees were announced last week, and two comics from my reading list were on it: Witchy and O Human Star, both extremely deserving works by skilled (and queer!) authors. There was another comic nominated that I was less thrilled about – so much so that I felt the need to go out of my way to write a review of it. If that makes me petty, so be it; I’ve got an axe to grind with Super Mutant Magic Academy.