Adiantando do estado da arte para uma base de discussão comum.
Comics through Time
A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas 2014 (€386,17 ou $415.00)
Webcomics and New Media
The continuing emergence of computer technology and new media formats has had an important impact on comics design and distribution. Webcomics that use traditional formats, motion comics that combine animation and sound, interactive comics that use gaming elements, and infinite canvas comics that break the traditional comics grid are four key formats that utilize technology to tell sequential narratives. Despite popular reception of web-based works like xkcd and motion comics like Watchmen: The Motion Comic critics’ views remain mixed as to the future of these works, especially as the lines between traditional comics and other media forms become increasingly blurred.
The earliest known webcomics debuted in the mid- 1980s. Eric Millikin’s CompuServe-based Witches and Stitches is frequently cited as the first webcomics, appearing in 1985, followed in 1986 by Joe Ekaitis’s T.H.E. Fox in 1986. Because of the Internet’s niche audience at the time, the distribution of these comics was limited; however, as the Internet expanded in popularity, additional titles followed. Where the Buffalo Roam (1991), based on college life at the University of Colorado at Boulder, was among the first webcomics distributed via USENET, and comics based on college life have subsequently become a popular subgenre of webcomics, of which college readers form an important audience base. A gag-strip, Doctor Fun (1993), is frequently cited as the first webcomics on the World Wide Web.
The early webcomics evolved along with technology. Basic illustration and small image sizes were initially common, mostly due to the length of time it took to download or display large images. These restrictions improved alongside bandwidth capabilities, and webcomics became a medium where experimentation was welcome. Various styles, including fumetti (photocomics, most notably Joey Comeau and Emily Horne’s A Softer World, launched in 2003), sprites, or pixel-art (most notably 8-Bit Theater , launched in 2001, which was awarded the 2002 Web Cartoonists’ Choice Awards for Best Fantasy Comic), and later infi nite and interactive comics were introduced.
The open nature of the web, and the accessibility to website-building tools offered sequential artists with less traditional styles a place in which to publish works that might not have appeared elsewhere. Stick figure comics, for example, use very basic art to convey their stories. The earliest in this genre was NetBoy, which debuted in 1995 and ran until 2010. The critically acclaimed xkcd launched in 2005 and continues to publish. While its characters are stick figures, the strip recently branched into infinite comics with the publication of “Click and Drag” on September 19, 2012. Meanwhile, webcomics offered opportunities for a variety of other projects that might have had trouble making their way into print, but that nevertheless had considerable merit. For example, Ulysses Seen, by Robert Berry and Josh Levitas, presents a comics adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses that has appeared as a work in progress and is still evolving as of this writing.
Another trait common to traditional webcomics is the use of the newspaper-style gag strip. Jorje Cham’s Piled Higher and Deeper (a chronicle of graduate school life that spans back to 1997) and Scott Kurtz’s PvP (an ongoing tale about a video game magazine company that started in 1998), typically utilize a three-to-four panel grid to tell ongoing narratives, similar in style to a weekly syndicated newspaper comic. Other comics, including Tim Buckley’s Ctrl+Alt+Del (2002–present) began as single-gag strips, moving into sustained narratives as they gained an audience. Strips like Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik’s Penny Arcade (1998–present) include recurring characters, but without narrative continuity. Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant began as a webcomics, posted on her LiveJournal blog, and later was published in print to critical acclaim by Drawn & Quarterly, winning the 2011 Harvey Award for Best Online Comics work and the 2012 Harvey Awards for Humor, Online Work, and Best Cartoonist. Another example of a successful long-running gag strip is Ryan North’s Dinosaur Comics (2003– present), a constrained comic (a reaction against the infinite canvas concept) that uses the same image with different wording in each episode.
The gag-strip format works well for webcomics, partially because it is easy to update, but also because it suits the web medium. A short strip can be easily shared via social media, and it is easier for new readers to jump into a series with shorter story- arcs or frequent chapter breaks. However, there are many successful webcomics that reach beyond the newspaper-style humor genre, taking the form of web-based graphic novels. Justine Shaw’s Nowhere Girl (2001–presently on hiatus), was the first webcomics to be nominated for an Esiner (2003’s Best New Series). Josh Neufeld’s nonfiction work, A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge was initially serialized online through SMITH Magazine’s website (2007–2008), and later expanded and published by Pantheon Graphic Novels in 2009. It was nominated for a 2010 Eisner Award and a 2010 Harvey Award. Raina Telgemeier’s Smile (A Dental Drama) Scholastic/ Graphix optioned it for publication in 2010. It was awarded the 2011 Eisner for Best Publication for.
While the transition from long-form webcomics to print, or even gag-comic collection to print seems natural, other comics have taken alternate routes. Phil & Kaja Foglio’s Girl Genius was initially designed and printed as a traditional comic in 2001, and moved to the web in 2005. Another interesting comic is Dan Perkins’s (aka Tom Tomorrow’s) This Modern World. While this strip started in print and continues to run in various alternative weekly papers, the author also publishes his strips online. This online presence has helped the strip develop a large online following, in addition to a print readership.
Motion comics combine the traditional comics grid with elements of animation, including animated transitions, panning and zooming into key details, and a soundtrack. One of the earliest motion comics was 2001’s Broken Saints, which used flash animation to move between scenes, but utilized a number of comics elements including speech bubbles and static character poses. While the story is narrated, the text is both spoken and reflected in speech bubbles or subtitles, while ambient music helps to set the scene.
Watchmen: The Motion Comic was released on the web between July 2008 and February 2009. Its look reflects that of the original Watchmen text; however, it animates rain, walking scenes, and gestural elements. While the characters are not completely static, the art, text, and pacing reflects the original comic closely, with ambient sounds and character vocals being used in addition to the speech bubbles from the original text. The complete work was released on DVD in 2009.
Motion comics have also been used to promote films and TV shows. Saw: Rebirth was a motion comic used to promote the Saw fi lm franchise. Dexter: Early Cuts appeared in 2010 as a tie in to expand the story line for Showtime’s popular drama, Dexter. These tie-ins both helped to build hype for releases, but also presented additional content for fans without upsetting the continuity of the continuing filmic story line.
The Submarine Channel is one venue for more experimental motion comics. The Killer, produced in 2001, was based on a graphic novel (Jacamon and Matz’s The Killer- Long Feu) and adapted into a “transmedia” motion comic. This text integrates the look and feel of a motion comic with static characters and speech balloons, but also integrates user interaction. Readers need to click to advance the scene, an interface that makes the work read a bit less like a fi lm, and a bit more like a traditional webcomics.
More recently, Marvel’s iPad app has integrated elements of motion to the reading experience. Users can opt to read a comic in a traditional view, or tap to view a panel-by-panel view. In the panel-by-panel view, the screen will adjust to suit the types of panels being shown, with some animation used to imply transitions. For example, on a full-page spread that includes narrative in the upper left corner, the viewer will zoom in on that corner first, and a finger flick on the iPad’s screen will zoom out onto the whole spread, effectively pacing the action for the reader.
It can be hard to segregate interactive comics from motion comics, mostly due to the presence of animation; indeed, the labels are often used interchangeably, relative to the amount of animation versus interaction. Like motion comics, the interactive comic blends multiple media, specifically video game style interactions with illustrated sequential narrative. Interactive comics are sometimes referred to as hypercomics due to their similarity to hypertext fiction.
Charley Parker’s Argon Zark! debuted in 1995 and ran continuously until 2008. This comic was designed to maximize the click-based exploration practices of the Internet, similar to a hypertext story. A user can click on a character’s head and be invited into their thoughts. Mousing over areas of a panel can cause events to happen, lighting to change, or commence animations.
In 2004, the Submarine Channel website released Hotel , an “interactive tale” by graphic designer Han Hoogerbrugge. This text blends multiple genres, including video games (each scene has a timer and the text can be “won”) and hypertext fiction (in which clicking on elements can commence alternate story lines). The tale includes a comic that can be discovered by clicking on a navigation bar, or by finding issues scattered throughout the scenes. The characters, Flip, The Princess, Imp, and Inspector McCay, are derived from Winsor McCay’s classic comic Little Nemo in Slumberland , and the plot of the story reflects a postmodern takeoff on the fantastic worlds McCay created. Hotel demonstrates a complex blending of media to tell a story that is reflected in later interactive works such as 2007’s Dead on Arrival by Matt Gibson and Geoff Gaviria. Which utilizes some traditional comic elements (readers turn virtual pages and the primary story line has a traditional panel structure) with photographic images and a complex forking narrative where a reader’s click pattern can change the depth and direction of the story.
Other interactive comics retain more traditional comic styles, but use interactive technology to forward the story. Stu Campbell (writing as Sutu) launched his interactive comic, NAWLZ in 2008. This work uses a side-scrolling format to unveil the story. Unlike a motion comic, readers can pace their own experience by clicking on arrows to move the story along when they are ready. This reader-centric navigation is a good fi t for the story, as NAWLZ presents complex visuals, including what appear to be digital readouts from a heads-up display, along with animations, and reader-propelled transitions. The most recent version of the comic uses an iPad application to enable enhanced interaction as the user moves the device.
Chris Ware, best known for his traditionally printed graphic novels, branched into iPad comics with 2012’s “Touch Sensitive,” a 14-page comic produced for the McSweeny’s iPad app. This story uses the tactile dimension of the iPad to simulate how the meaning of touch can change, from an act of affection, to an act of aggression. The story primarily focuses on the unnamed husband and wife from Ware’s Building Stories and the reader engages their relationship through an increasingly frustrating touch pattern, one that begins with almost sensual swipes to convey parts of the story, and ends with the need for more aggressive fi nger swipes as panels flicker on and off. Again, the reader’s active interaction with the text helps to convey the narrative, setting this apart from the more passive viewing patterns of a motion comic, or the segmentation of a traditional webcomics.
The infinite canvas
While web-based comics, motion comics, and interactive comics have made strides toward widening the comics field, the notion of the infinite comic takes these traits a step further. Scott McCloud describes the infinite canvas in Reinventing Comics (2000), a treatise that was revised on his website (2009’s essay, “The ‘Infinite Canvas’ ”). McCloud describes CD-ROM based comics (like the CD-ROM edition of Maus, published by Voyager in 1995) as early attempts to blend media that did not go far enough. While the Voyager Maus did include a lot of supplementary materials, the pages of the comic remained unchanged, and thus the reading experience just moved from the page to the screen. McCloud describes motion and interactive comics as falling into the same problem— using the screen as a page, as opposed to a window into something larger (McCloud 200). The goal is to use the infinite nature of the web to the advantage of the medium, rather than be constrained by panels and pages.
McCloud cited various traits for these comics including improved pacing, dynamic ranges of panel shapes, a clearer relationship between distance and time and rhythmic flow between panels, and the Z-axis. The notion of the Z-axis is key since it involves a third dimension to the infinite comic, which helps create a unique identity apart from other webbased texts. One example is Scott McCloud’s “The Right Number” (2003), which uses a zooming function that takes readers into the third dimension of the story. McCloud displays a single panel at a time. When the reader clicks an arrow that points into that panel, an embedded detail with the panel fills up the screen. The text becomes a layered visual that ties the various dimensions together.
In McCloud’s 2009 revision of Reinventing Comics, he cited various successful applications of his concept. Daniel Merlin Goodbrey’s “Po- Com-UK-001” (2005) is a collaboratively created comic that uses the Tarquin Engine to create a complex narrative. The comic was initially created as an installation to be shown on a wall at the Comica Festival at the London Institute for Contemporary Arts. Drew Weing’s “Pup Contemplates the Heat Death of the Universe” sends readers scrolling across a massive canvas that shows the depths of space as the character fl oats up above the world, and into the galaxy. Other infinite comics include Daniel Lieske’s The Wormworld Saga (2010– present), which uses traditional panels, but foregoes traditional page structure, merging the story into a vertical structure.
The concept of the infinite canvas reached a wider audience in 2009 when Microsoft Live Labs released their Infinite Canvas web application. Various comics created with the tool are archived online, among them Neil Gaiman and Jouni Koponen’s “The Day the Saucer’s Came,” a text that uses layering to present a stacked narrative, similar to a traditional text using cut-outs in which elements of former scenes can be seen in the current panel.
Criticism and the future
While these experiments with web-based technology and new media have reached a wide audience and have records of success, critics continue to question their value. Scott McCloud rejected the “gimmick” response in his 2009 revision of the infinite canvas theory, noting that many of the former criticisms of the medium (bandwidth issues and technology gaps) have been overcome; he continues to see technology- enhanced comics as the future of the medium. In 2009, the blog Comics Worth Reading raised questions about the value of motion comics; one such question has been applied to transmedia comics as a whole: “When you add camera tricks and a soundtrack to a comic, is it still a comic?”. This question taps into long-standing debates about what makes a comic, and will likely continue to be a topic of debate as technology advances.
Still, despite the criticism, mixed-media comics continue to have an impact on the industry. The Comixology platform, for example, has become a top distributor of digital comics. Sites like Top Web Comics and The Webcomics List catalog thousands of webcomics by genre. Further, the use of mobile device technology has spawned a new genre of mobile comics, viewable only through downloaded apps and designed to utilize the navigation patterns of a given device.
Para arquivo e porque online não significa para sempre, fica aqui também um resumo 15 jul 2011 no TCJ.
"The History of Webcomics", Shaenon Garrity 15 jul 2011
1985-1992: The Stone Age.The earliest webcomics predate the World Wide Web and are almost as old as public online file transfer. Eric Monster Millikin, best known for the alt-strip FetusX, lays claim to the first online comic, a Wizard of Oz parody called “Witches in Stitches” that he distributed through CompuServe. Hans Bjordahl’s Where the Buffalo Roam, a gag strip published online through FTP and Usenet starting in 1991, billed itself as “The Internet’s First Comic Strip” and was the first regularly updated online comic. Doctor Fun (1993), a gag panel by David Farley, was the first comic published on the Web, with its own website and everything.
These were hairy and primitive times, with comics sparse on the ground. The few comics that made it online tended to be work by college students studying computer-tech stuff, since those were just about the only people with Internet access. Readers had to subscribe to mailing lists or Usenet groups and have comics emailed to them. How did we survive? Well, I didn’t. I was ten years old and just starting to think a computer would be a cool upgrade to my IBM Selectric typewriter. I always had very wrong ideas about cool. But not even I discovered webcomics until…
1993-1995: The Bronze Age. With the Web successfully invented, cartoonists who were nerdy even by cartoonist standards began to colonize it with comics, mostly black-and-white, newspaper-style strips. Many were college newspaper strips posted on student websites; some of these, like Darren Bluel’s Nukees (launched in 1997), continued long after their creators graduated from college. Now-familiar genres arose: computer/technology strips, gaming strips (the first, Polymer City Chronicles, launched in 1995), and general geek-interest strips like Steve Troop’s Star-Trek-reference-heavy sci-fi comic Melonpool (1996).
Penny Arcade, the gaming-humor juggernaut that now earns Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik six-figure incomes and their own branded electronics convention, started in 1998, as did Scott Kurtz’s eternally popular PvP, a workplace strip set at the offices of a gaming magazine. In the immortal words of Strongbad, webcomics were “all about video games, gamernerds, webgeeks, dorknerds, gamewads, nerdgames, webwebs, and elves.”
That said, some webcartoonists were already beginning to play with the possibilities of the form. Well do I remember sitting in front of my uncle’s modem-enabled computer in 1995, waiting half an hour for each page of Charley Parker’s full-color, animation-embedded, visually experimental Argon Zark! to load. Story-wise, Argon Zark! is geeky simplicity itself: a nerdy guy, a hot girl, and a robot wander through the Intertubes encountering weird stuff. But Parker was playing with flashy and imaginative visual ideas when most webcartoonists were still drawing basic art with BASIC gags.
Parker wasn’t alone. Psychedelic alt-cartoonist Cat Garza launched his website, The Magic Inkwell, in 1996. Jesse Reklaw’s Slow Wave, launched in 1995 and still running weekly, latched onto a smart, simple premise: readers emailed Reklaw descriptions of their dreams, and he adapted them into four-panel strips. It was a concept that would be hard to pull off without the instantaneous communication of the Web, and it presaged the importance of reader/creator back-and-forth in the webcomics world.
The first webcomics published from outside the U.S., Dutch cartoonist Reinder Djikhuis’s Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, launched in 1994. Some print cartoonists started posting work online, most notably Dilbert creator Scott Adams, who built a loyal online fan following. Starting in 1995, cartoonist Bil Holbrook began a daily Web-only strip, Kevin and Kell, in addition to his two newspaper strips, Safe Havens and On the Fasttrack, which he had syndicated since the 1980s.
1996-2000: The Singularity. Around 1996, as the online population touched a crucial event horizon, webcomics exploded. Suddenly you could even make money from these things! Newspaper-style strips continued to dominate, but now the winning genre was the ongoing serial adventure strip, usually done with a heavy dollop of geeky comedy: Pete Abrams’s Sluggy Freelance (1997), Jonathan Rosenberg’s Goats (1997), Maritza Campos’s College Roomies from Hell! (1999), and my own Narbonic (2000). Not all of these strips were sci-fi/fantasy nerdfests; Chris Baldwin’s Bruno, launched in 1996, was a gentle slice-of-life comic about the travails of a young woman, and brainy, surrealistic strips like Dorothy Gambrell’s Cat and Girl (1999) and Chris Onstad’s Achewood (2001) were and are uncategorizable.
Trendy art styles emerged. Manga-influenced art began to appear in the late ’90s, most notably in Megatokyo (2000), by Fred Gallagher and Rodney Caston. Furry cartoonists formed their own massive, insular community with its own stars, like Eric Schwartz’s Sabrina Online (1996). With the success of sprite comics like Brian Clevinger’s 8-Bit Theater (2001) and clipart comics like Ryan North’s Daily Dinosaur Comics (2003) and David Malki’s Wondermark (2003), people discovered that they didn’t need to be able to draw to be webcartoonists. The barn door flew open.
Webcomics Explosion 1.0 climaxed with the publication of Scott McCloud’s Reinventing Comics in 2000. Entranced by the possibilities of the Web, McCloud devoted a sizable chunk of his book to what he saw as the three areas where computer technology and comics could intersect: digital production (producing comic art on the computer), digital delivery (publishing comics online), and digital comics (creating comics specifically designed for the Web). Reaction to Reinventing Comics was mixed, in both the print and web-based comics community, but McCloud was right in all the ways that counted. From here on out, comics and computers were increasingly inseparable.
2001-2006: The Age of Shit Getting Real. Reinventing Comics ushered in a flowering of webcomics experimentation. Some webcartoonists were inspired by McCloud’s book; others were just taking advantage of the new digital tools available for artists. Patrick Farley launched Electric Sheep Comics, a website for his many experimental comics projects, in 2000. In 2002, Cat Garza started Cuentos de la Frontera, an collection of Hispanic folk tales and urban legends adapted to explore McCloud’s idea of the online “infinite canvas.” Swiss cartoonist Demian5 published his silent infinite-canvas strip When I Am King in 2001.
In 2001, Justine Shaw posted an entire longform comic, Nowhere Girl, in a single chunk, in pages formatted to fit the Web. The word-of-email success of Nowhere Girl helped start a wave of online graphic novels. Around the same time, a loose group of cartoonists calling themselves Pants Press launched a number of smart, engaging longform comics, including Dylan Meconis’s vampire comedy Bite Me!, Jen Wang’s supernatural romance Strings of Fate, Vera Brosgol’s surrealistic comedy Return to Sender, and Bill Mudron’s sci-fi crazyfest Anne Frank Conquers the Moon Nazis. The Pants Press comics were all the more impressive given that, except for Mudron, the artists were all teenagers. More online graphic novels followed, including Jenn Manley Lee’s sci-fi epic Dicebox (2002), Spike Trotman’s alternate-universe bildungsroman Templar, AZ (2005), Tracy Butler’s anthropomorphic 1920s gangster comic Lackadaisy (2006), and Swedish artist Rene Engstrom’s slice-of-life drama Anders Loves Maria (2006).
Autobiography became another popular frontier. In 2002, James Kochalka moved his daily diary strip American Elf, which he had been drawing since 1998, online, making it possible for him to post each strip the day after drawing it. Kochalka’s example inspired many other cartoonists to try their hand at online dairy strips. Some, like Jennie Breeden’s The Devil’s Panties (2001) and Jeffrey Rowland’s Overcompensating (2004), mixed autobio with comedy and fantasy elements. Erika Moen’s DAR: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary (2003) attracted attention and occasional controversy for its cheerfully frank portrayal of Moen’s shifting thoughts on sex and sexuality.
Truly it was a time of stunning invention! Stunning invention and gaming comics! But mostly gaming comics! All this experimentation notwithstanding, the most popular webcomics tended to be gag strips about nerd interests. Strips about video games outstripped all else in popularity, with Penny Arcade and PvP standing atop a pile of lesser (but still often enormously successful) “two gamers on a couch” strips.
As the 2000s wore on, it became increasingly clear that gaming strips were just the most prominent example of a larger trend in webcomics: special-interest niche strips. One of the most successful webcomics of the era, Unshelved (2002) by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes, is a strip about librarians. The jokes may only be funny to people who work at libraries and bookstores, but a lot of people work at libraries and bookstores, and they all read Unshelved. The most esoteric and academic special-interest comics were often, nonintuitively, the most successful: the most widely-read webcomics today may be Randall Monroe’s xkcd (2005), ground zero for obscure math and physics jokes, and few webcomics have been as warmly received as Kate Beaton’s brilliant, witty history comics.
During this period, web and print started to feed off each other. As the direct market became increasingly hostile to small-press comic books, a number of indie artists moved their work online. Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Girl Genius, which began life as a print comic in 2001, became a phenomenon after it moved to the web in 2005, attracting a massive readership and winning the Foglios two Hugo Awards (the only two Graphic Story Hugos awarded to date). Other comics launched online, then moved into print. Gene Yang’s National Book Award-nominated graphic novel American Born Chinese (2006) was initially serialized on the webcomics site Modern Tales.
Also, during this period, webcartoonists learned how to draw. Historians remain unsure how or why this occurred.
2007-Present: The Age of This Whole App Thing. Throughout the 2000s, the reading habits of webcomics fans underwent a gradual shift. Graphic novels and ongoing serial strips gave way in popularity to stand-alone jokes that could be emailed, Liked, and shared. Nicholas Gurewitch’s sleeper hit The Perry Bible Fellowship (2001) paved the way for bushels of edgy gag strips like Cyanide and Happiness (2005) by Kris Wilson, Rob DenBleyker, Matt Melvin, and Dave McElfatrick. Few, if any, of these strips matched Perry Bible Fellowship for cleverness, skill at constructing gags, or visual imagination and polish (over the strip’s run, the art evolved from sketchy to elaborate, including spot-on pastiches of artists like Shel Silverstein and R. Crumb), but that didn’t hurt their popularity, especially after Gurewitch put the strip on hiatus in 2010, leaving a gap for other cartoonists to fill.
Today, webcomics are increasingly moving off the Web, adapting to social media sites and mobile devices. Kate Beaton, for example, originally posted her comics on LiveJournal, until her readers demanded a dedicated website. Her work is now available on LiveJournal, Twitter, and her website, Hark! A Vagrant! Art-oriented social media sites like DeviantArt remain fertile soil for new webcomics to develop. Many webcartoonists are now using or building apps to distribute their comics over iPhones or other devices.
Webcomics are, in fact, becoming memes; the most successful are those that can flee their original context and put a girdle round the earth, skipping from format to format. T Campbell argues that graphic/text memes like Hipster Ariel (look it up) are effectively comics. What’s more, they’re comics anyone can produce, publish, and share in minutes.
Is this the future of webcomics: stick figures and screencaps that can fit to an iPhone? Maybe, but at the same time, good webcomics are better than ever. When I started drawing webcomics in 2000, my chicken-scratch drawings and barely-legible lettering represented some of the better effort in the field. I could never have imagined that work on the level of Danielle Corsetto’s raunchy lady strip Girls with Slingshots, Ursula Vernon’s fantasy graphic novel Digger, or Blaise Larmee’s haunting experimental comic 2001 would be representative of the medium.
Let’s face it: webcomics are now better than regular comics. You can argue this statement, but remember, DC just took the red underpants off Superman’s costume again.
hiztory (hiz-tuh-ree): 1) history: the branch of knowledge dealing with past events 2) his story, not ours... 3) Z: tha very last and least