What’s this, am I actually writing an opinion piece? The truth is I’ve been so buried restoring all the archives that I just haven’t had the time to do more then just report the news, but it’s finally all over and now it’s time to step out into the light. About every other day the site is sent some news through the news submission link on the left hand side. I highly encourage this as the Inbox tends to be only looked at by myself and we all know how dependable I am. Anyways I was looking through what was posted and found something called the Global Comic Jam. For some reason beyond me I didn’t give it a second thought.
On Monday just past I remembered at the last minute that Scott McCloud was in Atlanta and I ran down the street to the B&N for his last minute book signing. Skipping that I asked 8 of the 24 questions asked one of those from someone else happened to concern Cooperative Comics. After listening to Scott say they tend not to work because artists tend to try and steal the plot I couldn’t resist going back and looking at GCJ. Previous comic jams that I have looked at have all failed exactly because all the artists can’t agree to a single plot and stick to it. Won’t you know it but I was surprised when I went to GCJ and found several strips that were actually really good.
The site has just received a face lift and it’s looking spiffy. Don’t get me wrong, some of the strips do suffer from Joe and Monkey syndrome but there are several that if the art had all been the same I would never have realized they were different people telling the story. Take the comic Surface. I was completely engrossed and then upset when I reached the end. Not only is this strip top notch but frankly it beats most web comics out there. So does that mean my world has been turned upside down? Can a hundred people come together and create a product better then the individuals?
Most of the time the answer is still going to be no. Most of the time you’re going to get something like Chaos Jam where the only reason I kept reading was to find out how far they would take the story, and believe me they take it far. Generally to make a consistent and readable Jam you need some rules, such as only being allowed to introduce one character per strip or no drastic changes in reality such as waking up or alien invasions. That is if you want a comic where people come back for the strip as opposed to the artists. Chances are that I’ll never find more then a handful of Jams that don’t lose me after the 5th artist but at least I know where to go when I’m in the mood.