I’m writing a paper (and latterly an article) on webcomics, comics apps and how the comic reading ecosystem is changing. What ramifications does such convergence hold for the way we read, create and buy comics? The abstract for the paper this research will be used for is below—please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions.
Thanks very much for your time!
Webcomics vs. the World: Scott Pilgrim and the future of comics publishing
My paper will focus on how the internet has created an environment that fosters new ways to package and present text, and will examine the phenomenon of the webcomic and comic apps. I will address how webcomic creators are challenging the role of producer-publishers by directly accessing fanbases online and are consequently moving closer to a model where readers and consumers can be considered their patrons, and have increasing influence on what is being produced, thus changing the nature of the market radically. This encounter between traditional print comics and an emerging virtual comic culture challenges creators and producers to find ways in which to exploit this medium and is reshaping how producers, readers and consumers relate to comics, image and text. This paper will demonstrate the impact these alternative channels of self-publishing has had an on major publishing houses and the role of the producer.
Sequential art and comic books have been profoundly influenced and transformed by, to use Scott McCloud’s term, the “infinite canvas” that digital spaces allow, as well as by a flourishing download culture. The commercial forces to reckon with in the comic book industry such as Marvel and DC, whose stable of superheroes have given rise to numerous film versions and merchandising are now being challenged by a surge in independent comics publishing, both in virtual and print media. There appears to be a renaissance in comic book culture due the increasing commercial acceptance of the graphic novel as part of contemporary literary culture, as well as the role of the internet in growing new audiences. A recent success story has been Bryan Lee O Malley’s comic book series, Scott Pilgrim that despite its modest independently-published beginnings, was bought by Fourth Estate and then made into a major motion picture in 2010. The books themselves, while never having been published online themselves, drew on an aesthetic inspired by webcomics, which are comics that are originally first published online. O Malley’s paratextual material in the comics, for example, echoes the modes that webcomic creators often deploy to allow readers insights into their creative process, through blogs and personal websites. I am using O Malley’s work as an example of how webcomic and comic creators have been more nimble than others in the publishing industry in creating a seamless continuum between their print and online worlds, and how this might be possible by investigating their pro-active relationship with their audiences.