The World of Web-based Comics

Over at Smith Magazine (which runs a regular Six Word Memoir project and other interesting writing adventures), they have started to publish a web-based comic called Graphic Therapy that seems pretty interesting as a non-fiction comic memoir. It traces the life of a writer in the midst of, well, some confusion about life.

Then, I started browsing around their site for other comics that Smith Magazine is publishing and I realized they have some pretty neat stuff there. There is an incredible comic about the world following Hurricane Katrina called AD: After the Deluge and another one about the world of the future when a videoblogger becomes the central character of a story called Shooting War. And there is a collective comic series called Next-Door Neighbor about what we think is happening in the homes around us.

But I was looking at the After the Deluge comic and saw this interesting video of the behind the scenes creative process behind the project, which is told through the eyes of six characters in New Orleans following the disaster:

What is interesting about Web Comics is that, just like many other web applications, you can leave a comment or idea for the writer right at the site. I think this opens up so many doors for readers to become more involved with the writers, although how deeply those connections will be is something to be seen as the future unfolds.

Meanwhile, a friend and colleague of mine (Glen) has just completed a long comic that he has been doing about politics and life in the place he lives called Nota Bene (he created 100 comic strips, which is pretty great and he has used photographs altered by technology — see example) and now moves on to a new comic venture called Benny and Sid`s Your Public Service Announcements and Glenn will be doing all of the artwork himself, so I look forward to that one, too.

I love that Glen and others can find a way to publish their work in this wired world and I love that I can follow their work, wherever I am. The comic world has always been under the control, of sorts, of newspaper publishers, who decide what strips will hit our breakfast table in the mornings. Not anymore — and this is another reason why newspapers are worried sick about their future. Perhaps some of them should look to Smith Mag and Glen’s partnership with the Seattle newspaper as models.

As part of my work with the Western Massachusetts Writing Project, I am trying to show some teachers different technology tools and comics seem to be a simple, yet engaging, avenue for creativity. So I created this comic over at ToonDoo and put it on our social networking site. It took me only 10 minutes to make and share.

Peace (in frames),

  1. Kevin,
    I LOVE ToonDoo! I made a comic of a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem for Poetry Friday awhile back.
    Unfortunately, ToonDoo is blocked at school, but my kids have done amazing work with ComicLife, and there’s a comic generator at ReadWriteThink that doesn’t get filtered out:
    You’re right — there’s so much kids can do (and would WANT TO DO) in comics form. Let’s get creative!!!

  2. Kevin,
    My grade 12 students loved creating comics. I had them email me their comics and then I put their individual comics together in Slideshare and then posted the Slideshare presentation on the class blog. The kids loved seeing their work in the blog. I also used comics in my lessons. It seemed to help the medicine go down. I plan on doing more next semester.

  3. Kia ora Kevin

    Some cool stuff here! Thanks for those.

    While you might not be interested in the Chemistry, you may still be interested to know that this site for a Comic Periodic Table of the Elements exists.

    It’s a cool site that’s been around for a few years now. Kentucky and Sheffield Universities collaborated over the whole project to give a site that is both informative with detailed information and comic based.

    Ka kite
    from Middle-earth

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