After what’s seemed like ages off – months, really – Eric Burns(-White) has been surprisingly active recently at Websnark. In fact, one recent post had all the trappings of Websnark’s heyday, complete with “click for full sized (insert description relevant to strip under discussion here)” and short, snappy description of the strip in question. (And he’s done another one since then!) I don’t think he dipped very far into the lexicon, but it was a far cry to the more in-depth analyses of the “State of the Web(cartoonist)” series, and a welcome change of pace from the lengthy exegeses on non-webcomic-related Internet controversies that had marked the last few months of seeming hiatus. Eric Burns’ audience was built on webcomics, and I think a goodly number of people reading the RSS feed probably read these exegeses and thought, “That’s great, but when are you going to talk about webcomics again, Eric? When are you going to talk about the Ctrl+Alt+Del miscarriage storyline? Or the recent racheting tension at Order of the Stick? Or Girl Genius? Or whatever the hell happened to Penny Arcade? Or or or…”
Well, on the aforementioned harkening back to Websnark’s heyday, I had left a comment saying as such. And on a recent strip marking Websnark’s fourth anniversary, Burns(-White) referenced that comment and referred to me by name.
Okay, so maybe this is a narcissistic, ego-stroking post. But if he’d bothered to link to Da Blog, it would have been an acknowledgement of a traffic bump! But it points to a reason why I’m doing webcomic posts: Websnark has loosened the slack, Tangents basically doesn’t exist right now, and I don’t know of another active site that’s really a close equivalent to either. (Okay, so Burns(-White) tells me there are “a f***ton of blogs about webcomics”, but damned if I know what they are.) But I can’t pick up the slack too much because I have other interests as well and I don’t have that kind of time.
I do feel this line may be relevant to me:
Well, for one thing, it means we can all stop taking things so fucking seriously all the time. I gave up drama a while back, and I’ve mostly stuck to that, and I’ve found I enjoy things a lot more than I used to. It means that the chances that Websnark — or any largely webcomics related blog — can claw up to almost six figures of readership again are pretty damn low. There’s too much out there, which means there’s too little need to congregate at one writer’s doorstep. It means that there’s no need to do this kind of thing… except of course if you enjoy doing this kind of thing.
Except. It’s still worth it to make sure everyone’s doing everything right, to keep webcomics honest, to show who deserves a biscuit and who deserves dog s**t, because market forces are the only way comics get forced out on the Web. That’s the stated goal of the site I intend to look at in my second webcomics post of the week. Whether it succeeds – and what its unwanted success in terms of readership numbers really means for the future of webcomic blogs, and webcomics – will be among the topics I intend to look at.