steven popkes - webcomics

Comics are a passion of mine. Webcomics in particular.

I'm not sure why. It's possible that it comes from the way I read. My eye jumps all over the paragraph, forward and backward. When I'm cranking, I don't even see the words. I see the images.

It's the illusion of motion that I think keeps drawing me to comics again and again. I'm not the most articulate person to discuss the meaning of comics. For that, you should turn to certified genius, Scott McCloud.

For a long time I was only interested in comic books or graphic novels. Something long enough to sink my teeth into. But about twelve years ago I discovered webcomics. The first one that stuck was Sluggy Freelance. Sluggy is a very good comic. I'm still reading it. But what it did then was reintroduce me to comic strips as opposed to books. Most webcomics are really comic strips.

What makes a strip interesting, especially, if it goes on for a while, is how each strip has a limited story to it. A vignette or scene. Vignettes have to be organized into blocks that resemble stories. Stories are assembled into novels or novellas. Novels are assembled into cycles.

I'd seen this lots of times in the comic book world. One of the largest is the Cerebus cycle by David Sim which has been collected into sixteen "phone books" for each of the story arcs. Sim started cycle in 1977 and finished in 2004.

What I began to see in the webcomics was a similar scope but told in these tiny vignettes. Often they had to be funny vignettes but not always. What they did have to do was hold your interest for two or four or eight panels. Many times they failed-- a couple of them just when the author/artist got a good handle on both talent and story. A lot of them were (or are) derivative.

But over the last twelve years it's been like watching the birth of film. Clumsy sometimes. But really exciting.

The webcomics here are organized by my own preferences.