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"There's nothing preventing a completely incompetent idiot from doing it": Erik Larsen savages webcomics

--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.

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