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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 02/10/2009

Which Webcomic Are You Ready to Rally Behind?

By Michael Cavna

My mission is simple, my agenda is transparent: With your help, Comic Riffs is champing at the bit to champion a great webcomic.

Oh, this blog has touted webcomics before, natch, including "Achewood" and "New Adventures of Queen Victoria." But this time the flight plan is a bit different: It's time to get behind a webcomic that -- by all rights -- should appear in print newspapers, too. And that, of course, is where I need the greater wisdom of the Riffian collective.

Yesterday, 'Riffs raised the prospect of whether the wonderful "Pibgorn" -- in all its glorious colors, luxurious size and sometimes "dicey" content -- could survive a Newsprint Transplant.

So many factors to consider, so much conceding that certain elements would suffer the migration. Then again, think of all the new eyes that would discover "Pibgorn" -- and of all the new fans who would seek out the graphic novel, too

But perhaps there's another deserving comic that could benefit from -- and suffer less by -- appearing in the hard-pulp product. Last week, commenters name-checked kajillions (okay, at least ka-dozens) of their fave webcomics. From this cast of so many -- "Medium Large"! "Megatokyo"! "I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space" (imagine THAT next to "Sally Forth") -- surely there's a strip that could settle into the funnypage confines without losing that which makes it fresh, special and unique.

The "Comments" ballot box is now open, awaiting your suggestions as we take up a cause. We know for a fact that syndicate and newspaper editors alike read this blog--now's the time to make our views about change heard.

*Oh, and to those who like to "game" our low-tech surveys: You can try to wage a concerted campaign, but be forewarned -- I hear Stephan Pastis has lent out Guard Duck for ballot-box patrol duty. Guard Duck's bill may be dull, but his tongue is sharp.


Occasionally, I come across a mainstream cartoon that convinces me the editors (censors?) were snoozing at the wheel. Either that or their puritancial dispositions were preventing them from taking a more -- oh, how do you say: "Weingartenian"? -- view of things.

Here are two comics of late -- "Reality Check" and "Piranha Club" -- that stir me to say aloud: "Oh, that is just SO wrong." But not before I'm done chortling sophomorically, of course.


If you missed Stephan Pastis's new link in the Comments field, here's more about comics-poll cheating from a former Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter who knows firsthand of ridiculous electronic balloting habits.

By Michael Cavna  | February 10, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Webcomic  
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OK, I know I'm about to open myself to the floodgates of hate, but here goes:

Don't support them like this. Unless moving to the newspapers is really what the artist wants, this isn't a good thing. You would be sending them to a place where space would be limited and content would be severely edited. If you want to support them and make good things happen, let me suggest the following:

1) Continue to hype them in blog.
2) Interview webcomic folks so that they can have references for verification in Wikipedia.
3) Send people to their comic so the artist is the one who gets the ad revenue.
4) Buy their products.
5) Help them get noticed so they can get their print versions into mainstream bookstores.

My two cents -- give me a moment to get my flame-retardant suit on and I'm good to go...

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | February 10, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Why does no one want to talk about "Red Meat?" A little too edgy (by which I mean, of course, revoltingly, grossly hilarious)?

Posted by: carletonkent | February 10, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

NOTE: I'm getting more than a few direct e-mails that say (and I summarize with abandon): "Please do not let them take my Pibgorn! That would be high treason!" Fine--but what of, oh, "Girl Genius"? The field of print-transplant contenders is as deep and endless as Garfield's lasagna dish--or Bucky Katt's misanthropic bile.


Posted by: cavnam | February 10, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Girl Genius actually started as a physical comic book; I don't remember the exact reason for the move, but I believe they've had better luck with the web version than the print version.

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | February 10, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I've honestly tried many times to get in to "Pibgorn", but as an episodic web-comic it's just not well written for its medium. It may (and probably does) work beautifully when everything is collected into a single graphic novel. But when I try to start reading at a comic like the one presented above, then have to back up a month and a half to get any sense of narrative context -- that just doesn't strike me as good web-comic writing.

Posted by: joshuadevin | February 10, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The best approach would be simply to add a small text box to the first comics page of the print edition, saying that additional Web-only comics (and many print comics not appearing in the dead-tree version of the Post) can be found on the Post Web site, along with the URL for this page. Of course, you should then expand the Web-only offerings by adding "Medium Cool" and "The New Adventures of Queen Victoria", at the very least. Since Pibgorn has a large following, you should also add Pibgorn Sketches, so that folks can see the rough drawings from which that day's strip were generated:

BTW, I really don't understand how the Post separates the comics on this site into the separate headings "" vs. "Web Comics". A lot of the comics under the "" heading don't in fact appear in the Post. Most of the strips under the "Web Comics" heading are in fact print comics rather than Web-only comics, and some of them (such as "Big Nate") **do** in fact appear in the Post! Then there are are strips such as "Pooch Cafe" that appear in print in the Post but that don't appear in the online version. Shouldn't all the print offerings be reflected online? Certainly an egregious example is "Culdesac", which appears in the online version in only its Sunday version. Since that strip is Washington-based, shouldn't it appear in the daily online edition also? As it is, we have to go elsewhere on the Web to read it, which is a nuisance.

Posted by: seismic-2 | February 10, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

As for which webcomics oughta be in the papers, I'd have to nominate Norm Feuti's "Gill". It's sharp and funny, and just the kind of thing newspapers should be clamoring for.

Posted by: joshuadevin | February 10, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Have you guys read Calamities of Nature? Consistently funny and great artwork.

This strip is one of my favorites

Posted by: cackerson | February 17, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

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