While webcomics have certainly come into their own as a medium unto themselves, most creators eventually produce a print volume, either on their own or through a major publisher. Print publishers may put up part of a volume as a preview, or they may post an entire volume (as Viz does on its SigIKKI website) and then pull it down when the print edition arrives. Webcomics creators, on the other hand, generally leave the entire comic up on the web, which begs the question: Why pay for the book when the comic is free?
I recently received review copies of print editions of two well known webcomics, Cyanide & Happiness and Copper (links are to the web versions). In both cases, I had read the comic from time to time but didn’t follow it regularly. And in both cases, I felt that the print edition did indeed present extra value over the webcomic. Read on to see why.