One of the topics I found myself discussing often last weekend at ConCept was webcomics. Not on panels, just randomly with people in the halls. In a lot of ways, people seem to have stopped reading the comics page in the newspaper and started getting their funny fix online.
The world of webcomics is massive. I don’t even know how many regular series are running but it’s almost certainly more than 10,000. That’s a tough thing to slog through, so it was nice to get some direct recommendations of things worth following, aside from the dozen or so I already subscribe to.
I’d found a while ago that Wikipedia has a list of notable webcomics, though what passes for “notable” isn’t clearly defined. Certainly some of the ones I keep an eye on are listed, but nerdy/geeky comics are extremely well represented, so probably the list is skewed towards “notable among people with a penchant towards updating an online encyclopedia listing of webcomics”. Read: nerds.
One site I was pointed to is the Belfry Webcomics Index. It lets you sort comics by how frequently they update, which is important for continuity. Webcomics that update on a regular basis are a good sign that the creator is taking the work seriously, which is a good sign in any field. It also has a list of which comics are most-subscribed by its user base, which makes me hopeful about finding new stuff of interest. The thing I wish it did was sort comics by topic (fantasy/sci-fi, computer culture, gaming, etc.)
Another site that does seem to sort by subject is The Webcomic List, though the search interface is absolutely maddening. It alphabetically shows you ten results per page, never telling you how many results in total there are, or how many pages of results, and not letting you navigate other than to the previous page or next page. If your never-before-seen-favourite-webcomic starts with a “z”, you’re pretty fucked.
What all of this tells me is that somebody (not me) needs to go and make a usable interface for finding the webcomics you want. In this day and age I find it hard to believe that there’s something I thought of that doesn’t already exist on the Internet, but this seems to be it. Can it really be that we’ve regressed to having to interact with other human beings in order to obtain information? There’s gotta be a way to make a few bucks on a site that saves people the indignity…