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Author Topic: Starting Your Webcomic, Part 1  (Read 18372 times)

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Offline TTallan

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Re: Starting Your Webcomic, Part 1
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2010, 05:00:01 PM »
Well, as long as we're debating, I would argue that Menage a 3 is character driven, not story driven. I've never noticed any overall plot, except perhaps that the guy is desperate to get the girl. The comic's cast page says: "Set in Montreal, the finest bohemian city in North America, Ma3 follows the lives of comic book geek, Gary and his way-sexier-than-he-is roommates in their Montreal tight-as-a-sandwich apartment; where the walls are so thin there are virtually no barriers between their rooms." Sounds character driven to me!  :)

Other story-driven webcomics that I can offer up for examples instead are Dreamland Chronicles and Girl Genius, both of which have slowly built up the plot elements and are working towards a conclusion. Both of those stories have strong characters, of course, but the driving force behind them is the plot.

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Re: Starting Your Webcomic, Part 1
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2010, 05:57:10 PM »
Other story-driven webcomics that I can offer up for examples instead are Dreamland Chronicles and Girl Genius, both of which have slowly built up the plot elements and are working towards a conclusion. Both of those stories have strong characters, of course, but the driving force behind them is the plot.

It's easy to name story driven webcomics in general (Flipside, War of Winds Johnny Saturn, Union of Heroes, etc). I was looking for story driven humorous comic strips. However, Menage a 3 might be a bad example. Maybe Dr. McNinja is a better example on a Story Driven humor strip

That's pretty binary thinking there, friend:  It's not X so it must be Y.  I can't buy that, for that all of the reasons that I listed before.  To be character driven, you have to have characters.  Drawings with names are not characters.  Drawings with names who are believable are.  It may not be theme driven, but it's not character driven, either.  I'd say it's gag-driven.

At the beginning however, your jokes were largely dictated by the story (at least from what I saw). I'm not saying that you can't have a story driven comic that has engaging characters that drive the plot along while still creating an overarching theme. What I am saying is that it's hard to think about all those things at the beginning of your webcomic. Take one, and build off of it. Writing is more than "Here's how it works." Sometimes, there's none. xkcd has no story, no characters, and no theme. Is it Gag-driven? Yes. But it's not a good article if I just said "Write something funny." :) It's yet another reason of why I chose to use my work. I don't know what other artists thought when beginning their comic or story, I can only speculate. With my work, I know where I started to build each story, and what developed from it. However, I wanted extra examples of humor based work, since I don't want to turn into some other forums where I just throw out one or the other ;)

Offline Pete

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Re: Starting Your Webcomic, Part 1
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2010, 09:11:18 PM »
That's pretty binary thinking there, friend:  It's not X so it must be Y.  I can't buy that, for that all of the reasons that I listed before.  To be character driven, you have to have characters.  Drawings with names are not characters.  Drawings with names who are believable are.  It may not be theme driven, but it's not character driven, either.  I'd say it's gag-driven.

At the beginning however, your jokes were largely dictated by the story (at least from what I saw). I'm not saying that you can't have a story driven comic that has engaging characters that drive the plot along while still creating an overarching theme. What I am saying is that it's hard to think about all those things at the beginning of your webcomic. Take one, and build off of it. Writing is more than "Here's how it works." Sometimes, there's none. xkcd has no story, no characters, and no theme. Is it Gag-driven? Yes. But it's not a good article if I just said "Write something funny." :) It's yet another reason of why I chose to use my work. I don't know what other artists thought when beginning their comic or story, I can only speculate. With my work, I know where I started to build each story, and what developed from it. However, I wanted extra examples of humor based work, since I don't want to turn into some other forums where I just throw out one or the other ;)
I was actually still talking about Penny Arcade in the above quote.  I can't really argue my own comic because I'm too biased.  :-)

Offline TTallan

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Re: Starting Your Webcomic, Part 1
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2010, 09:24:57 PM »
It's easy to name story driven webcomics in general (Flipside, War of Winds Johnny Saturn, Union of Heroes, etc). I was looking for story driven humorous comic strips. However, Menage a 3 might be a bad example. Maybe Dr. McNinja is a better example on a Story Driven humor strip.

Oh-- I missed that part about wanting humour strips! In that case, allow me to also suggest Narbonic as a strongly story-driven webcomic. It may be difficult to spot in the early strips, but there is a very definite story arc throughout the series.

Offline Alectric

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Re: Starting Your Webcomic, Part 1
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2010, 08:33:00 PM »
I would say Gunnerkrigg Court is a good example of a humerous story-driven comic.

And I definitely consider Menage-a-3 to be more of a theme comic, the theme of course being sex.  To me it seems like the entire comic is an excuse to make as many sex jokes and have as many sex situations as possible without resorting to non-sequitur gags (I don't mean that as an insult).  I figure the story and characters were chosen as specifically the best way to do that.  In fact, it's the best theme-driven example that I can think of.  Although, I do know of a comic called "Knit Princess," so...

Also, I think gag comics like XKCD don't really apply to the theme/story/characters categorization.  They pretty much are just "gag-driven."  Penny Arcade is a gag comic with continuity, so if the three categories apply, they would apply much less so than to other types of comics, which I think can excuse it being called "character-driven."

Offline CorvusErebus

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Re: Starting Your Webcomic, Part 1
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2010, 10:04:08 PM »
Actually, XKCDs theme is Science/Nerd humour. And PAs would be Gamer humour. EVERYTHING has either a Theme, A story, Or a Character.

Offline Alectric

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Re: Starting Your Webcomic, Part 1
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2010, 11:31:38 PM »
EVERYTHING has either a Theme, A story, Or a Character.

What about Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal?  What would the theme be?  Crude humor, or dumb humor?  Not all the jokes are crude or dumb.  (And again, I don't mean to belittle the comic by saying this).  It's really pretty varied, and I think Zach Weiner just uses any joke he thinks is funny.

Offline CorvusErebus

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Re: Starting Your Webcomic, Part 1
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2010, 11:43:30 PM »
SMBC is basically dumb humour, yes. I really can't see any exceptions to that theme in their archive.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 11:45:02 PM by CorvusErebus »

Offline Pete

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Re: Starting Your Webcomic, Part 1
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2010, 11:02:40 AM »
I was thinking about this thread the other night, and I've come to the conclusion that it's ridiculous to debate whether certain comics are theme-driven or character-driven.  Terms like that are reserved for literature, which are stories with beginnings, middles, and ends (not necessarily in that order in some cases).  Comics that do not have beginnings, middles, and ends - like Penny Arcade - cannot be labeled as theme-, story-, or character-driven.  It's like trying to determine what kind of an apple an orange is.

Trevor's comics are great examples of these because they are stories.  Penny Arcade, XKCD, et al, are just comics with a particular genre and subject (gamer humor, nerd humor, etc.).

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Re: Starting Your Webcomic, Part 1
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2010, 02:29:28 PM »
I was thinking about this thread the other night, and I've come to the conclusion that it's ridiculous to debate whether certain comics are theme-driven or character-driven.  Terms like that are reserved for literature, which are stories with beginnings, middles, and ends (not necessarily in that order in some cases).  Comics that do not have beginnings, middles, and ends - like Penny Arcade - cannot be labeled as theme-, story-, or character-driven.  It's like trying to determine what kind of an apple an orange is.

Yep. Because I come from a story background, I used that to discuss how to do webcomics. However, I wanted to include humor strips, because you can approach them in a similar way. If you have a humor strip, you might start with humorous characters or a funny story: Megatokyo (when it was humor) was about two nerdy guys getting stuck in Japan. There's a story. Now you ask: Who are they, and what are their quirks? Create the characters after the story.

On the flipside, Sheldon is about a Billionaire Kid. That's a character. Now you ask: How did he become a billionaire? What do his parents (or guardians) think? Create the story after the characters. There's much more that goes into writing, but once again, this is a place to start with or think about in regards to your webcomic, not necessarily a be all-end all way of doing a comic.

Offline Rob

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Re: Starting Your Webcomic, Part 1
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2010, 07:49:06 PM »
Yeah I think what a lot of you missed about this article was that the categories... whatever you wanted to call them, wasn't the point. Trevor was using them as a starting point for you to focus your efforts on pulling the varied parts of your comic together into coherence.

Start with the funniest guy you can think of. Now make him a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Give him a wacky sidekick. Now put them in the human world and you have a fish out of water story with a fish that can slaughter the other characters with a snap of his jaws. Make the T-Rex a literature critic and now you have a theme. And now you have a comic. Start writing.

I think that was the point of the exercise. In a nutshell. I think. But I don't want to talk for Trevor. It's just my impression that arguing what comic fits into what category is irrelevant to the lesson.

Offline Pete

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Re: Starting Your Webcomic, Part 1
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2010, 09:16:58 AM »
I think that was the point of the exercise. In a nutshell. I think. But I don't want to talk for Trevor. It's just my impression that arguing what comic fits into what category is irrelevant to the lesson.
I think it's relevant if we can pinpoint what comics DO fit under those categories, since that gives people a better idea of what's what.

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Re: Starting Your Webcomic, Part 1
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2010, 08:02:03 PM »
I think it's relevant if we can pinpoint what comics DO fit under those categories, since that gives people a better idea of what's what.

The issue with doing that is that I don't know how other people started thinking about their comics, I can only assume.

Offline Pete

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Re: Starting Your Webcomic, Part 1
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2010, 09:53:40 PM »
I think it's relevant if we can pinpoint what comics DO fit under those categories, since that gives people a better idea of what's what.

The issue with doing that is that I don't know how other people started thinking about their comics, I can only assume.

Isn't that the basis of most literary dissection is?  Or film critiques?  :-)