Sequential Underground #46 – Genre and Format in Webcomics

Sequential Underground

Shawn Atkins and Nick Marino are joined by Rebecca Cohen, creator of The Adventures of Gyno-Star, to tackle a ton of massive webcomics topics.

First up, we explore the definition of genre. How does it differ from format and style? And Rebecca asks: does the web have its own genres distinct from print comics?

Sometimes ya feel like a gag…

From there, we dive into an intense discussion about creating gag-a-day comic strips vs. serialized ongoing narratives. How does the creative process differ? What challenges are unique to each format?

…sometimes ya don’t.

We wrap things up by imagining what new webcomics we’d launch today with the experience and knowledge we’ve gained from our past and current webcomics.

**this is the 503rd AudioShocker podcast**

7 Responses to “Sequential Underground #46 – Genre and Format in Webcomics”

  1. 1 Rebecca Cohen/Gyno-Star

    Thanks for having me on your podcast, Nick and Shawn! It was fun. We should do it again sometime.

  2. 2 nick marino

    Thx for joining us!!! I had a great time recording this episode and I got a lot out of our discussion. We should definitely podcast again soooooooon!!

  3. 3 shawn

    Yeah it was good talking to you too.

  4. AudioShocker Shoutouts!

    Nik Furious instrumental music

  5. 4 Smars

    mn, hn good topic.

    i consider superhero to be a genre, with sub genres under it.
    what defines a superhero comic? a character(s) with super powers, exhibiting something super human, or super natural.

    superman, batman, spider-man, the avengers is a clear genre separate from say the walking dead, where the characters are in an extraordinary environment, but they themselves are all realistic in their abilities. super hero is a genre that was born and defined by comic books. or at least comics gave that particular style of story a definitive name.
    because i would consider “the labours of hercules” a superhero story. but existing before their was a term for it.

    but before radio/tv/film wasn’t everything in a genre/subgenre when you looked it up in the library?
    comics: ficition/non fiction (autobio documentary or not)
    genre: super hero, horror, fantasy, scifi, western, crime, romance.
    then subgenres of those.
    everything is a melting pot when you think about it, but certain aspects are what make a genre a genre. the defining feature or theme of that thing.

    it’s a genre, but it’s THE genre, people tend to think of/go to when someone says comic book.

    Manga is definitely NOT a genre, it’s a part of the comics medium. within it you get tons of genre and subgenres.
    the manga One Piece, i consider a superhero/pirate comic it’s 2 genres in one, a subgenre of super heroes. it’s plastic man (SH) meets pirates of the caribbean(pirate theme/genre.

    nick… i like the idea of compiling your strips into a pdf. it’s like a digital trade. very good move. because different people have different reading habits. some people are willing to go through and archive just so they can have a better understanding of things, some simply want instant gratification, and some are in that circle who want the back story in order to catch up, so that they can enjoy the comic as it comes out each newly week.
    people. C:

    tee hee… i’m glad you like the format i work in.
    i think it’s a fun/convenient way to experience a comic.
    especially with the way monitors, tablets, and phones are lay out.
    they extend horizontally versus vertically.
    and the chunks of story is really just me following a manga magazine format. their comics magazines like shonen jump come out every week. so you get a nice bit of the story each week, instead of a whole comic once a month.
    it’s something i learned in a marketing class once. they said, never give your audience time to cool down.
    always stay fresh in their mind, and with the vast amount of comics on the internet, this is one of the best ways i thought to stay fresh in peoples minds without burning out sacrificing story to single page a day updates.
    thanks for the shout out :3

    teeeeeeext waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall! C:

  6. 5 Nick Dupree

    Good stuff Nick, Shawn and Rebecca! Rebecca is right that, paradoxically, the webcomics medium lends itself to 3-4 panel newspaper style strips and gag a day stuff. This is because, despite the nearly unlimited space we have in webcomics, webcomics audiences want as close to daily doses of content as possible, and they shape the medium. Because producing a full color comic book page every weekday is nearly impossible, completely impossible for hobbyists as most of us are, the medium trends toward the possible, and that is brief, weekday or MWF newspaper strips.
    I do a full color full page twice a week for my comic Bunnies in Space and it’s hard, really hard.

    Long-form is all I know, I agree with Shawn, for me, gag a day is too hard. It’s not in me, my humor is subtle, embedded in the premise (rabbits flying spacecraft) or non-existant… I know webcomics audiences are looking for the funny, so I hope my long-form effort isn’t going to be forever doomed to the margins.

    As far as adventure strips that combine the long-form adventure and the 4 panel format, I can agree that Prince Valiant and Spiderman were utterly impossible to follow, but several webcomics, among them Evil Inc and the (weirdly addictive) sci-fi adventure have pulled it off within the newspaper style daily 4 panel format.
    Maybe if I can develop my bunny characters enough …..


  7. 6 Smars

    oh yah, i meant to say. as far as when you wanted to say Goblyn was fantasy or scifi… i think of it as “lost world” themed. that is a world that was very technologically advanced and then something happened that slightly reset the clock.
    um… like thundarr the barbarian. haha
    i love that theme… i use it a lot in all my series i have planned/am working on. C:

  8. AudioShocker Shoutouts!

    Wet Moon comics

  9. 7 nick marino

    @Smars: I like “lost world” as a description. I think that works really well.

    I’m still not 100% sold on that being the definition of “superhero” as a genre because what about vigilante stories? Those are often called superhero stories regardless of powers! Like, is Punisher a superhero to you? Or is he only a superhero by virtue of the world he’s in and not because of the character itself? I guess where I’m going with that is to say that superheroes aren’t always powered. I mean, Kick-Ass — is that a superhero story to you? Because they don’t have powers.

    These fucking ebooks / PDFs… I’m putting them together right now. I originally had most of my pages completed by Friday night when I realized that I had a problem on my hands — I want the stuff to be oriented for widescreen reading, optimized to fit nice and snug on screens (mobile or computer) without a lot of scrolling, just hitting the arrow for the next page. But I’ve switched back and forth between 3-panel strips and 6-panel strips, and when I combine two 3-panel strips, they look and read just like a 6-panel one!!! so I came up with a way to delineate the strips so it’s obvious when it’s 3 or 6 panels… but it’s a fucking PAIN IN THE ASS. Anyway, I’m almost done now. Whoooooooooooooph.

    @Nick D: THX!!! I agree — we’ve developed this system of webcomics delivery based upon constant content. But I feel like there HAS to be a better way. I mean, I’m super guilty of falling into the daily trap. And it has its advantages. But not necessarily creative advantages (with the exception of the deadlines, which keep me productive). I think readers are better serviced by something more similar to comic book delivery, but it’s hard to figure out how to maximize that style of story chunks in the web environment where content seems to be based off of a constant trickle.

  1. 1 The Comics Podcast Network » Sequential Underground #46
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