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82. Check out comics on web

By Andrew D. Wright

Newspapers have been printing comics since the mid-1800s. Six out of ten people reading the paper will also read the comics page so it should come as no surprise to hear that comics are well represented on the Internet.

Online versions of newspaper comic favorites abound; play host to dozens of familiar names like Doonesbury and Garfield as well as a wide assortment of editorial page cartoons. There are also comics that are original to the Internet, web comics.

Web comics are different from their paper cousins. Adult themes and content are possible, and so is movement and sound. At the far end of the spectrum the line between a sophisticated Flash multimedia presentation and a regular movie is so fine as to not matter.

Anybody can start their own web comic. Drawing talent is not mandatory and web comics range from breathtaking artwork to the sort of thing you were doing better when you were four.

Most Internet access accounts come with web space and this is a good place to practice and get the hang of uploading files and keeping a comic updating on schedule. Some comics update daily, some weekdays only. The trick is to set and keep a deadline. is a web hosting service for web comics run by web comic artists. Dozens of premium-quality amateur strips are hosted by them. This kind of hosting gives strips a high profile and recently one, You Damn Kid, a kid's eye view of growing up, was optioned by Fox to make a pilot for a new animated series.

Web comic artists tend to build close relationships with their fans through interaction on website forums and even live appearances at comic book conventions. Many web comics are autobiographical in nature, or portray an idealized life the cartoonist wishes they had. The personal touch shows and the occasional rough edges can lend a sincerity that slicker mainstream commercial offerings lack.

Anyone entering this field is doing it because they want to. Some money can be made from online tip jars, printed compilations of the comics or other related merchandise but don't give up that day job: building an audience takes time and a regular output of new content.

That's where a site like comes in. This is the farm league for Keenspot where new artists can start out. There are more than 7,300 comics in their alphabetical listing. Web space for the new web comic is essentially unlimited. Like parent Keenspot, all intellectual rights and trademarks from the comic belong to the cartoonist.

Comics are cross-promoted on each others sites and banner advertising covers the cost of the hosting.

The real winners here are the rest of us non-artists, who get to see whole new worlds of stories coming from regular folks like ourselves. There are some very rich worlds full of life to be found online.

The Mousepad runs every two weeks. It's a service of Chebucto Community Net, a community-owned Internet provider. If you have a question about computing, email If we use your question in a column, we'll send you a free mousepad.


The Mousepad Index


Originally published 23 April 2006


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