Ever since high school, I have been suspicious of popularity contests, so when it comes to webcomics, I wonder: Does the most votes=the best content?
Maybe yes, maybe no, but it’s hard to argue with the results of the first Webcomic Idol competition. Templar, Arizona, is the winner, and I can’t imagine a better choice.
Some disclosures are in order here: DS was involved in Webcomic Idol, sponsored by Bomb Shelter Comics. Not only are we co-sponsors of the competition, but Daku was a judge in the first round, and our own Jason Sigler, a.k.a. The Midnight Cartoonist, is a member of the BSC collective.
Webcomics Idol works on a fairly simple model: The judges pick the finalists, and after that, the readers vote every week for their favorites; each week the comic with the lowest total is dropped.
In this case, I think the readers did well. Templar, Arizona is an intriguing, complicated continuing story with well developed characters and an imaginative alternate universe. The second-place comic, Lucid TV, is a single-strip comic about doctors that is funny but is in, shall we say, questionable taste. The art isn’t quite as good, and the humor will appeal to a limited audience.
A nice feature of Webcomics Idol is they post links to all the finalists, which is a great way to discover a new comic. You can click with a fair degree of confidence, knowing that a comic has to have some merit to make it that far. (You do have to scroll down through their news announcements to find them.) They also posted a list of every comic submitted to last year’s competition, in case you have lots of free time, but be warned: These are all the comics, not just the finalists, so the quality may vary.