Digital Strips : Show 47
|This week we talk to Cat Garza, artist, cartoonist, musician, web comic innovator, and modern day troubadour. Cat’s work incorporates limited animation, experiments with panel navigation and original musical scores all in an effort to push the web comic’s form to it’s fullest potential. And speaking of Cat’s musical skill, be sure to listen to the very end of this episode because you’ll be able to hear a brand new song from Cat, Dance Hall Daze. He also produced a brand new theme song for us with lyrics and everything.This week we talk about :
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You couldn’t think of the name for the very first webcomic, it was Doctor Fun you were thinking of, however the very first webcomic was actually Where the Buffalo Roam (if you count comics posted onto Usenet as a webcomic).
Actually, it was Argon Zark (http://www.zark.com) we were thinking of. Dr. Fun was a comic created for newspapers that was later posted to the web. Argon Zark has the unique distinction of being the first “webcomic”, or a comic created specifically for distribution on the web.
It’s also pretty damn good by the way.
“Where the Buffalo Roam” was posted to Usenet, which is not the web, so it escapes the title “webcomic”, in my opinion.
I should have waited before submitting my comment.
Cat Garza seemed fairly critical of selling merchandise, but I don’t think Jim Davis is complaining. If you take away that criteria for making money off webcomics, along with selling advertisements, then yeah a model hasn’t been created yet. However I personally think we’re entering into an Age of Amateurs, where all entertainment will be made by amateurs, and a lot of it will be given away for free. I think trying to basing a business model on the old way of doing business will be a fatal mistake. Of course we’re not there yet.
Y’all seemed a bit hesitant on people paying for webcomics because they aren’t receiving anything physical. I personally think that argument is moot, because cable television (which has really taken off in America) doesn’t give anyone anything physical. Nor does Itunes, and I’d hardly call that a failure. And I don’t think people paying for those things see it as a donation to Apple or the cable company. No, you were all right (IMO) when you said the reason was, so many people will give away their stuff for free.
Cat Garza also brought up the problem with page-by-page publishing. A group that tried to get around this was PV Comics who set out to publish chapters on a weekly basis. This ended up being a failure because it was just too much content in too short a time. They also didn’t get enough subscribers.
I also liked the fact you discussed the Penny Arcade thing. It was also mentioned that some people believe comics aren’t an artform because they’re just trying to make people laugh. Well hell, so was Shakespeare. It’s also like trying to say novels aren’t an artform, because of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Is Hitch-hikers artwork? I don’t know. But I wouldn’t wipe out all movies and novels just because of it. Cat Garza also brought up good points on bias and whatnot.
I also doubt the internet would break down tomorrow. And even if every single network cable currently being used failed, we would have to lose the ability to make new ones. The second it went down, it would quickly get rebuilt, it might take a while to get to the stage it is now, but your local area would definitely get connectivity within itself very quickly.
I also don’t know if VR-enabled comics would be a comic. But how could (with current technology, not future stuff ;)) webcomics cover new ground? I can’t think of anything on a realistic level. The only thing I can think of is “choose your own adventures” which are difficult to do well (in book or webcomic form) because you’re effectively writing 100 novels (if there’s a 100 different combinations) that have to have a satisfactory beginning, middle and conclusion. So I can’t see that being explored anytime soon, simply because it is too time consuming.
Wow John, a lot of great comments there. I’m glad you got so much out of our conversation.
The only point I would comment on is your comparison to Cable TV and iTunes in terms of paying for content. I’m not sure those examples really apply. You can’t get the content on cable TV without subscribing to and paying for cable in the first place. Same thing with iTunes, you can’t get that music on demand without either paying for it or breaking the law. At least 95% of all webcomics are legally free and have been for many years now, so the expectations there are set.
As for VR comics, Cat’s description of that reminds of a series of ViewFinder discs that came out for the Peanuts comics. Maybe I’m dating myself here, but those discs recreated Peanuts comics in 3D dioramas for the ViewFinder display. I can kind of visualize what a VR comic might look like.
i admit, i should probably get over the fear of the internet going down completely and forever someday. just isn’t going to happen short of some kind of ELE (extinction level event) like an asteroid hitting the earth or something…
and i told myself i wasn’t gonna go there in this interview after all that happened with what little i said on the documentary that’s leaked out so far. god, i hope the rest of my interview for that film doesn’t sound as misinformed and ridiculous.
my only regret with this interview is that we didn’t even go into the characters and music for the new strip. still, there’s so little out there right now (save all the preview songs on the various myspace pages). that will be remedied soon with the posting of more strips.
that last link on the word pages should go here, by the way.
also, i’m wearing a prototype tshirt we just made tonight as i type this. if all goes well with a few washings, i’ll try to sell some on my webpage soon… they make iron on transfer paper for dark colored shirts now. dunno if these are any better or worse than cafepress, but they look really good right now. we’ll see how they fade. at least the design’s on a colored shirt.
you truly need money to make money (at least where merchandise is concerned)
i thought usenet was the proto-internet, but i might be mistaken. charley parker has always been the father of the webcomic to me, though…
but maybe Doctor Fun is the first comic to be distributed digitally…
of course, Mark Badger would disagree…