Sunday, May 11, 2008

True Web Comics Artists Love Web Comics

I've said it recently, but allow me to repeat: If you are an artist you will never get the appreciation you deserve. Some of us find satisfaction within, but there is a social aspect to achievement that is hard to ignore.

This may be true for shipping clerks and bank robbers too, but there is an emotional/intellectual component to art that most jobs lack.

Fans mean well. It's easy to get letters telling you how great you are, but it's also easy to get a cruel letter or review that will shred you. What you really want to know is whether you moved someone emotionally, whether you were understood at a level of depth approaching your own, and whether the person is saying that because you are a little bit "important."

To me, the big tragedy is that one of the best potential sources of support -- the community of artists -- is so poor. Not just bad, but awful: petty, competitive, jealous, sniping, backstabbing, indifferent, too "busy," rank conscious, prone to whining, bad-mannered and egotistical.

This is a reality that I would like to overthrow. I can't do much about the jerks, but there are a lot of decent people too, and I will do anything I can to strengthen them.

I've created a daily web comics blog, Floating Lightbulb, which you're reading. There are, like, 75,000 web comics and about 8-12 dedicated web comic blogs. I've worked hard to promote the other blogs, with the exceptions of one or two that are embarrassments and bootlicking mouthpieces for the status quo.

I've created a site full of resources I wish I could've found in one place when I was started out, Psychedelic Treehouse. It's interesting and fun, and allows me to present bits of work by hundreds of artists, providing lots of  links to their sites and helping them network.

I've created a collective, Flavorwhip, which will be different from its collective peers, finding a new way to make the group formula work for comic creators and fans.

I created a different form of "comic" site, Klink, You Idiot, in which comics that gum up the works receive a humorous scolding. Oddly, that site generates more fan mail than any other. People get frustrated when sites ignore important things, like email. Artists have written to thank me for alerting them to their oversight.

I have two comics sites which I do with my wife, Scratchin Post and Li'l Nyet. But those are for fun, not to save the world.

I am meeting people with vision, who share some of my ideas or have insights of their own. Some of us will work together on the next wave of projects.

If you think we should talk, if only for mutual support, write me. The world may be 90% crud, but it doesn't have to float on top.

Maybe those of us willing to look at things in new ways won't get the full recognition we deserve, but maybe we'll get more of it.