Comic Non-Sans: Kara Discovers More Social Networking Outlets

I’m like everyone’s mom in one major respect — when I discover something new or cool, I act like I’m the first person to find it and think it’s new and cool.  The most recent of those is Tumblr, which I’ve heard both good and bad things about.  The good?  It’s addictive (well, “good” there is reliant upon how much work you have to do on a given day).  The bad?  Well, anyone who complains about it basically says it’s just an outlet for reposts of things you saw months ago anyway.

Somewhere in between sending a friend pictures of corgis and guinea pigs while she’s at work and … well … reposting things I saw months ago anyway, I’ve hung around a few fandom-skewed blogs.  Many times these tend to be full of people dropping one line of fannish opinion on something followed by a slew of animated gifs by way of reaction, and while it’s entertaining to look at the cute little Tumblr subculture, those didn’t hold my interest over lunch break.

Then the new Avengers trailer dropped.

I promise you, this is relevant.

Within a few hours, the Internet was already hard at work.  I saw the trailer when I got to work, and by lunch my dashboard was full of resubtitled bits of footage, bizarre screencaps, theories, and … art.  Lots and lots and lots of art.

People were taking 2-3 seconds of footage (the most popular being Loki chucking Tony Stark out a window) and drawing their own silly takes on the how and the why.  Within a day, I had collected a list of bookmarks of related art and gifs big enough to send a friend and keep her busy while I commuted from work to her place for dinner.

Okay, yeah.  Fandom is a machine.  It’s nuts.  So what?

Well, the smarter of the artists put a watermark on their work, and the kinder of the bloggers linked back to them.  Once I was done finding specific links, I tracked back to my favorites.  From off-hand five-minute sketches, I was taken to galleries of some of the most impressive, well-thought-out art I’ve witnessed online.  Were these people putting up stuff with the express intention of driving traffic to themselves?  I don’t know.  I sort of doubt it.  But it doesn’t matter — it works.  Artists get more views, and viewers get an eyeful of some gorgeous stuff.

A few friends of mine run request blogs — people ask them for something, and they draw it however quickly they can get through their pile of Asks.  Excellent practice for an aspiring artist, and a good way for idle hands to pass the time.  But this only ever pulls results for artists with some sort of following, at least in my experience.  (Regardless of how many people actually engage in these, they do turn out delightfully bizarre pictures of “My Little Pony” characters dressed as Phoenix Wright, so whatever works for you.)

But there’s something sort of warm and friendly and lovely about discovering new talent via shared interests rather than viral marketing.  You could call it that.  You could enter into it with that intent, much as a few people now have the capacity to enter into webcomics just to make money.  I’m not sure I could draw anything just to bandwagon.  I mean, yeah, I’ve got my own take on the Avengers defenestration, but I’m gonna do that when I’m bored out of my wits.

Regardless of intent, it feels a lot friendlier than some other outlets, to the point that I sort of take back my initial observation of it as “abusable.”  Pleasantly surprising, perhaps.  But regardless of whether I can look at it as a tool for myself, I’m certainly aware of its value as an introduction for me to other artists I like.

Especially the ones who do pinups.  Good heavens.

Posted on October 18, 2011 at 01:00 by Kara Dennison · Permalink
In: Columns, The Written Word, Webcomics, Webcomics · Tagged with: , ,