Comic Non-Sans: What do you need?

Of late I’ve been talking in my Tuesday columns about what I think webcomickers (including myself) ought to do with their sites and merchandise — be it for their own benefit, that of the readers, or just because it’s likely a good idea to get oneself in certain habits.  The thing is, everyone who talks about that is, naturally, a webcomicker themselves.

I think the time I spent between starting to read comics and starting to write them was inhumanly short.  Therefore I had little to no experience being a reader, with no personal influences to help me decide for myself what I wanted in my reading material.  When you’re a creator and a fan of other people in the same field, you have your own experiences to work from and use to color your opinion of other people’s work.

I mean, that’s likely a good thing.  In the heyday of reality TV as we (sadly) are, we always criticize judges we hate by saying “Oh, they think that guy’s no good?  Let’s see them get up there and sing/dance/bake/etc.”  All that said, though, my curiosity has been piqued.   And it leads me to ask …

… what do webcomic readers who aren’t webcomic creators want to see in their reading material?

I know this is a loaded question, as I’ve had many readers writing to me asking for things that are ludicrous, ill-advised, or downright impossible because they aren’t on the other side of things.  They want more updates than I can give in a week?  No.  They think I should offer my merchandise cheaper (or free)?  No.  They think the site needs to be coded/presented in a way that either I can’t manage or no one can manage?  You get the idea.  And that’s why I tend not to pose the question: you’re gonna get a lot of unhelpful answers.

But nowadays, I really am curious.  So Geeking readers: if you read webcomics and don’t work on any of your own … what does a comic need to get you to follow it?  And I don’t mean what’s your art style/genre preference.  What, independent of the creative nature of the work, would immediately turn you on or off to a creator?  Are there certain necessary design elements?  Will certain types of site design drive you away?  Do you find it impossible to keep up without some sort of social networking tie-in?

I realized recently that this is the sort of thing I need to address at least once in this column — what do people out of touch with the workings of webcomics feel they need/want/deserve, and is more of it feasible than webcomickers might think?  Talk to me, gentle reader.

Posted on December 21, 2010 at 00:12 by Kara Dennison · Permalink
In: Columns, Webcomics