Jason Ankeny writes over on the Fierce Mobile Content blog that he believes that the comics future is best served on the mobile platform like Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPhone. Unlike webcomics which has “proven a mixed bag both creatively and commercially,” both platforms support a revenue model of readers purchasing the e-book (or app) which supports the creator’s work.
Few forms of creative expression are better suited to that kind of brief consumer engagement than comic strips. Life in Hell–a crudely illustrated but consistently sharp and insightful black-and-white strip–would seem like a natural on a Kindle or on an iPhone, as would any number of classic daily efforts including Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, Krazy Kat or Doonesbury. I’ve pointed this out before, but the late, great Charles Schulz conceived Peanuts in a four-panel format that could be arranged horizontally, vertically or even as a square, all dependent on the needs of the newspapers that published it–by extension, an entire strip could fit horizontally across an iPhone screen, or as a square on a Kindle screen, or even as a panel-by-panel slideshow optimized for a smaller, more basic handset, and still remain true to Schulz’s original vision. Moreover, a comic strip can offer a complete and satisfying experience whether you read just one strip or several weeks’ worth at one time–after all, the strips were written and drawn for readers to enjoy on a daily basis, but taken in larger chunks, the best comics offer extended storylines and levels of thematic depth as compelling as any more traditional narrative.