A generation ago, becoming a comic book creator was usually a solitary and self-guided process. Sure, there was How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, The Kubert School (still going strong), and a few other tools, but for the most part you were on your own. Today there is a blossoming variety of resources that are building a smarter and more skilled community of tomorrow’s comics makers.
One of the most recent additions is Comics Workbook, a new web magazine set up by cartoonist Frank Santoro (Storeyville, Kramer’s Ergot). As he explained on his own Tumblr, Santoro intentionally set out to put together a team of contributors that consisted of more girls than boys to “flip the script on this comics magazine thing”. Instead of looking to other comics sites, he turned to girls roller derby and the supportive community those teams create, and is trying to “copy their model.” The results are a rough yet immediate DIY vibe that displays comics and minicomics in-progress (such as “The Great” by Alyssa Berg, pictured here), brief yet hilariously brash reviews in comics form, a series of reflections on Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy, links to interviews and reviews, and more.
Santoro is in the middle of teaching an eight-week correspondence course for comic book makers, and has written a series of columns examining layouts and color for The Comics Journal. So the guy definitely knows his stuff and has some interesting theories (even if they are beyond me as a non-artist).
Brad Guigar has a pretty good perspective on the world of webcomics: He is the creator of the daily webcomic Evil Inc., one of the co-authors (with Dave Kellett, Scott Kurtz and Kris Straub) of the seminal book How to Make Webcomics, and the editor-in-chief of the website Webcomics.com. He was nominated for an Eisner Award for his earlier comic Phables, which has now come to an end, and he draws Courting Disaster, a weekly panel that accompanies a dating advice column. Guigar is a busy guy.
In January 2010, Guigar put Webcomics.com behind a paywall, a move that initially caused a lot of controversy. Two years later, I thought it would be interesting to talk to him about how that move worked, and about the state of webcomics in general in an increasingly diverse comics scene.
Robot 6: I want to start with a general question: Are webcomics still an important sector of the comics world? And how do you think their role and significance have changed in the past two years?
Brad Guigar: I think webcomics are the most important, most vital comics being produced today. I think the term “webcomics” has come to represent not just comics posted on the web, but rather, independent comics as a whole. The recent cresting of digital downloading is going to be one more tool — like social media was a few years ago — that webcomics will incorporate to help make independent comics thrive.