It’s that time of year again where web cartoonists band together to pat each other on the back. The premier awards in the web comics arena has been gracing us every year since 2001 and came into it’s own 3 years ago with it’s 2003 ceremony. Since then the WCCA Committee has slowly put together the second best reward for doing a job well done, the respect of your peers.
Why have awards in the first place? Shouldn’t the art stand for itself? Of course it should, but then art for it’s on sake doesn’t do anything for the wallet or the ego. This very same argument came up recently and there’s so many right answers that they all seem wrong. The two easiest answers seem to be that there are two camps. The first are the independent artists who have discovered the internet as a unfettered medium for which unrepressed art can now flourish. The second is unless you have a sugar mama to pay your bills or part time job that pays you six figures your art needs to support itself. Of course you could argue that people like to have other people tell them that their great but I’m making an assumption that by putting your art on the web that you either are there to spread art or boost your ego, both of which result in praise if you’re good.
Taking both camps into consideration we can figure out the bad and the good of awards. The bad is awards try to tell the public where to go to find what is good. It almost ignores the other 7000 webcomics, many of which are fantastic but can’t on a simple list. Web comics are boiled down to simple categories and genres but ignore the overall medium as an art form itself.
The good is exactly what many claim is bad. By pointing to a few specific web comics of what the community thinks is above par the public is led to an example which may wet their appetite for more. This is exactly what led to my discovery of Copper and Beaver and Steve. The good vibrations don’t stop there as award shows also give many artists a goal to set their competitive natures against. It’s almost basic human nature to compete.
For me I see both sides but have my own gripes. Why care about an award that gains you almost nothing? The committee is a great bunch of guys but the award doesn’t come with anything but the respect of your peers. You’re all my favorite people but I want the prize package to come along with it and the news coverage to bring more paying fans. Where is Jon Stewart making fun of me and CNN giving the byline? Maybe I’m just being pessimistic but aren’t awards meant to bring exposure?
Update: Mark pointed out that I have the memory of a gnat. Last year he appeared on G4TV‘s Attack of the Show and spot lighted several of the strips. That’s just the sort of thing the WCCA should continue to pursue. So Mark that means you’ve set the bar, what are you going to do this year?
Note that last year I did appear on nationwide cable TV promoting the awards. G4TVs Attack of the Show isn\’t that far away from Jon Stewart.
Thanks for the nice write up though, and definately keep an eye on us next year.
OH yeah! I\’m such an idiot for forgetting. I\’ll update the article.
This is EXACTLY why I don\’t like watching the Academy Awards!
Points on your points
1- Who says art and commerce are mutually exclusive? That person is silly. They\’re not. There\’s just a decision that gets made which side of the concept you feel is the most important to you, and that\’s where you place your focus.
2- No one is telling anyone where to go with an award. They are telling people \”Hey, a number of people have agreed that this comic is good. Check it out.\”
3- I don\’t know about you, but I also ignore the other 7000 webcomics. Almost everyone does due to sheer numbers. I also don\’t eat many varieties of ice cream at Baskin Robbins 31 because I can only fit so much on my cone. Life involves sacrifice sometimes.
4- This leads to the supposed \”more exposure\” problem. Which you deflated yourself before you even asked the question by stating: \”This is exactly what led to my discovery of Copper and Beaver and Steve. \”
This suggests you weren\’t a reader before hand. Which I guess means it worked as a way of gaining more eyballs.
Maybe in ten or fifty years, the WCCAs will be on the level of the Oscars. But for now, I think getting the thumbs up from a bunch of people you\’re competing with every day for eyeballs is a good thing.