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Scott McCloud: comic’s future to be online; Bill Griffith: and so what?

Two stories of interest on the topic of where the future lies for comics. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at the grown of web comics and interviews the usual suspects, Scott Kurtz (PVP), Scott McCloud, and Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins of Penny Arcade fame.

Scott McCloud:

“It defies reason to think this isn’t a direction comics will be headed, as all media have,” said Scott McCloud, author of “Reinventing Comics.” The book heralds the “infinite canvas” the Web provides to cartoonists. McCloud, known for his work on DC Comics’ “Superman” and his own “Zot!” comic book series, said online success required a quality cartoon and good business sense.

But over at Baltimore City Paper, they’ve interviewed Zippy the Pinhead creator Bill Griffith on his views of where things are going:

Bill Griffith:

“We just had the Tribune Co. sale [to real estate mogul Samuel Zell], which affects several of my client papers, including the Baltimore Sun,” says Griffith by phone from his Connecticut home; he visits Baltimore this week for stops at the Johns Hopkins University and Atomic Books. “It doesn’t scare me as much as it used to. I don’t believe or think that comics or newspapers will disappear from print, but they can’t survive the way that they are. Like movies after TV came along, things will shake out and find their audiences–smaller audiences, yes. But that’s how media works.”

If Griffith sounds Pollyannaish about print, he’s not. Zippy has a user-friendly, full-service web site, with merchandise available, and dozens of online clients, in addition to the strip’s 200 or so print clients. And he says he has no problem if readers, in the future, look at his strip mostly on web sites rather than in newspapers–not that he’d be happy about it.

Community Comments

#1 Danny Burleson
@ 9:13 pm

Another entry for my “pro” list of web-only vs. web & print. Even Gilmore Girls last night made reference to the potentially antiquated medium of newspapers (a show whose main character wants to be a journalist), and a snarky remark about how a paper shouldn’t have a comics section because, quote, “Let’s just say the New York Times doesn’t have a comics section.”

The times they are a changin’. Though I bet about 20+ years from now people will still be like, “When’s this complete shift to the Internet gonna happen?” It’ll probably never happen in full in our lifetimes, but comics specifically, and those who make them, need to be on guard.

What’s up with this part though?: “Kurtz has received offers to syndicate “PVP” in daily newspapers. So far he has resisted the temptation because he fears he would have to censor the often nonpolitically correct content.” Didn’t he offer the strip to papers for free and only had a couple nibbles? Weird.

#2 Charles Brubaker
@ 11:38 pm

Yep…times are changing. And I’m hating it.

Hey, I felt snarky today.

#3 Adam York Gregory
@ 5:41 am

I’ve seen a real resurgence in printed comics over the last two years. The advance of POD services like Lulu and comixpress have helped create a merchandising route for webcomics, but one that is slowly starting to make a comeback in its own right.

The last few comic festivals I visited in the UK had a pretty strong turnout, compared to a few years ago, and the customers (or attendees) were more interested in print editions of webcomics than anything else.

I think it has something to do with personal possession. People like to own stuff, and unfortunately, the internet, and webcomics are the opposite of that, they are not really a possession of anybody.

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