TOP

“There’s nothing preventing a completely incompetent idiot from doing it”: Erik Larsen savages webcomics

by  in Comic News Comment


Every crappy submission can “see print” on the web–every reprint book that would sell three copies in print would work on the web. The web is the great equalizer. Every crappy thing can get tossed up there. If it all went digital nothing separates a pro from an amateur. Print is far more discriminating. There are fixed costs which can’t be ignored for long. It’s not the wild west like the Internet is. That’s why the web doesn’t excite me a whole lot. Every nitwit can put stickmen telling fart jokes up–there’s nothing special about it.

Stickmen telling fart jokes is Watchmen as far as the internet is concerned, @BizzaroHendrix.

I mean–there’s things on the internet that people are willing to read but they would never pay for–and those are the success stories.

It’s an entirely different level though, @NoCashComics— even the worst pro comics have a modicum of professional standards.

I’m not saying everything on the net is bad–no need to take offense, @tsujigo @BizzaroHendrix just that there is no filter.

I disagree and I don’t disagree, @IanBoothby — how’s that for being agreeable? There are plenty of groundbreaking things in print as well.

I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the best online work is on par with good pro comics but the worst is far worse. I don’t think there is a web only comic that’s as good as Watchmen or Dark Knight. Correct me if I’m wrong. There are certainly web comics that are good for a laugh–and better than what’s in the Sunday Funnies–but not at a Watchmen level–yet.

Point being–anybody can do a web comic. There’s nothing preventing a completely incompetent idiot from doing it, @215Ink.

No. Nothing promising falls through the cracks, @drawnunder if you can’t get your proposed book in print somewhere–your book sucks.

Savage Dragon creator and Image Comics co-founder Erik Larsen bemoans webcomics’ lack of the quality control inherent in the cost-prohibitive economics of print publishing. (Quotes from Twitter edited slightly for clarity.) Yes, if only webcomics had the high standards on display in any given issue of Previews. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go scour eBay for that Dart miniseries

In all seriousness, Larsen’s right — there are obviously virtually no barriers to publishing comics online. So what? With the advent of easy blogging platforms, there are no barriers to publishing your opinion writing. With cheap digital cameras and YouTube, there are no barriers to making and distributing short movies. GarageBand turned any computer into a halfway decent home recording studio. And on and on and on. Isn’t this, y’know, awesome? On the flip side, is there really any reason to believe that money provides for quality control? All that the expenses of printing do is raise the barrier from “any completely incompetent idiot” to “any completely incompetent idiot with a little cash.” I’m not one for Internet triumphalism, but it seems awfully churlish — and odd, for an artist and publisher — to greet the Internet’s enormous boon to speech and self-expression in this way, quite aside from the question of whether he’s accurately characterizing webcomics to begin with.