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Six things a webcomics fan should do in San Diego (plus one bonus item)

by  in Comic News Comment
Six things a webcomics fan should do in San Diego (plus one bonus item)

It’s hard to narrow down just six things for webcomics fans to do at SDCC, because we are rapidly approaching the point where all comics are webcomics. From traditional print comics (Marvel, Archie) to newspaper comic strips to interesting indy stuff, it’s all on the web, or your iPhone, or some screen somewhere.

Still, there’s something special about “traditional webcomics,” if I can be permitted to coin an oxymoronic phrase. Comics that originated on the web tend to have an edge and an economy of storytelling style, perhaps because so many are produced by independent creators.

Anyway, here’s what I would be checking out if I were going.

Four panels not to miss:

Dumbrella panel
1:30 on Thursday in Room 3

The Dumbrella collective has spawned some very nice comics, and this is a good opportunity to listen to smart people talk about interesting things, and possibly talk back to them as well. Their comics are an interesting mix of story strips and more conceptual stuff, so this should be well worth attending. Panelists include Sam Brown (explodingdog), Jon Rosenberg (Goats), and R. Stevens (Diesel Sweeties).

Kazu Kibuishi
5:30 on Friday in Room 3

Although he’s better known at the moment as the editor of the Flight anthology series and the creator of the Amulet graphic novels, Kubuishi is also the creator of Copper, a beautiful, large-format webcomic that isn’t updated often enough, IMHO. Any panel in which he talks about his creative process is well worth attending.

Webcomics Bootcamp
Saturday, 2 p.m., Room 8

Would-be creators will want to see this one, of course, but I think it will be interesting to any reader who wants to see how the sausages are made, so to speak. Plus, it’s the Halfpixel crew: Scott Kurtz (PvP), Brad Guigar (Evil Inc.), Kris Straub (Starslip), and Dave Kellett (Sheldon). Their Webcomics.com site is home to a steady stream of solid, informative articles on craft, leavened with humor, and I’d expect more humor, less craft, in this session.

Making Webcomics
Sunday, 3 p.m., Room 4
Again, a panel that even non-creators can enjoy. Zuda Comics overlords Ron Perazza and Kwanza Johnson, Kevin Colden (who is so dedicated to the web that he turned down a Xeric award for Fishtown so he could keep it online), Cameron Stewart (Sin Titulo—nuff said), and Molly Crabapple of Act-i-vate. Crabapple is also the founder of Dr. Sketchys Anti-Art School, which, by encouraging artists to actually draw from live models (rather than back issues of their favorite comic) has probably done the greatest service to comics of anyone at the con.

(You can see a list of all panels with some webcomics content here.)

Seek out your favorite creator and express your appreciation

Alice Bentley has posted a handy list of pretty much all the webcomics creators at SDCC. If you’re fan of Big Webcomix, SDCC has made your life easy by grouping a lot of the major creators together: PvP, Halfpixel, Penny Arcade, Dumbrella, are all within a stone’s throw of each other.

If I were going, though, I’d probably head over to Artists Alley to see Spike (Templar, Arizona) and then to the indy section to visit with Scott Christian Sava (The Dreamland Chronicles) and Batton Lash (Supernatural Law). Then I would head over to the main webcomics pavilion but be distracted along the way by the Unshelved guys, and since they are sharing a booth with Jorge Cham of Piled Higher and Deeper, I would never make it any further into the room.

Oh, and by “show your appreciation,” I mean that you should tell the artist how much you enjoy the comic, and buy something as well. There will be plenty of exclusive items on display, and people gotta pay the rent somehow.

(Here’s the full list of exhibitors, with an nigh-unreadable map.)

Wander aimlessly through Artists Alley looking for new comics to read

This is my favorite part of any con, and the main reason to go, I think: You never know what you are going to find. And for ease of browsing, even the internet can’t compare to physically walking down an aisle of booths and stopping at the ones that look interesting. Even if you’re the type who goes with a checklist and a tight schedule, make some tme to browse and let serendipity work its magic.

6a: Pick up The Webcomics Section

Now there’s irony for you: The webcomics creators banded together and produced a print sampler in what looks to be a newspaper format. This is free, so it doesn’t count as part of #6 above, but it looks fantastic—Gary Tyrrell has a preview up at Fleen.

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