Comic Non-Sans: A Letter

Dear every movie-maker and writer currently creating today (or at least creating good stuff):

Make webcomics.

Some of you have already done this, and it’s genius.  The majority of you are not, and you’re missing out hugely.  And, to be honest, so are your fans.

“Genre” entertainment fans have a double-whammy of being incredibly enthusiastic and liking shows and books that have long gaps between them, eventually reach an end point (as opposed to mainstream series that can be continued for as long as necessary), or just drop off and never come back.  The in-between months or years, while making us appreciate what’s coming up, also drive us a bit mad.  That’s hardly a comment on creator turnover time; a sensible person would no sooner demand a show finished too quickly than they would a dinner sped out to the table before it’s actually properly done.  However, there is something to be said for an appetizer.

Let it be said now that this is not at all a selfish suggestion.  Not in the least.  The brilliant thing about web-exclusive content tied to a lucrative property is that it, too, can be lucrative — and thus all-around beneficial.  It’s a matter of the “impulse buy,” which we’re seeing more and more of online (in webcomics and in other areas).  Charge a dollar for X amount of content, make it easy to pay, and you’re likely to get people dropping that buck here and there.  Or go the advertising route, if you prefer.  Regardless, there are ways to both pay for the comic creation itself and warrant the time that goes into it.

As to that creation?  It’s the same mentality as tie-in books.  There are talented writers and artists out there who can carry on, at least temporarily, in the absence of “official” content — most likely fans themselves with talent worth the time and money spent acquiring them.  In a continuity-driven medium, it’s a way to step outside the storyline, tackle some side stories, or do a bit of prequel.  Make it frivolous, or encourage readers to jump on by offering something secretly essential to the show’s universe.

The fact of the matter is, excusing my circuitous language, we really like stuff we like.  Today’s fandom exists as a massive web of countdowns and impending denouements.  There will always be something we love about to begin or end.  Once the creators see that less as a means of teasing and more as a means of interaction, there’s a chance for a mutually beneficial arrangement.

By which I mean you can totally get us to give you money.

Posted on August 16, 2011 at 16:36 by Kara Dennison · Permalink
In: Columns, The Written Word, Webcomics, Webcomics