One of the great things about webcomics that puts them over traditional newspaper comics in my opinion is the almost instant interaction that you can have with your fans. In a newspaper comic it may be months before an artist gets any feedback from their readers, but with webcomics, the feedback can hit you moments after the comic is posted. Some of the comics can even take on a life of their own and become greater than the sum of it’s parts just be association.
This is just such a story. It began with a comic post from James Boyd of the latest Sunny Side Up comic.
It is a great strip referencing one of the greatest movies of all time. Planes, Trains & Automobiles. James employs his artistic style of making each panel a mini punchline leading up to the ultimate punchline at the end of the comic, breaking with the tradition of the three panel format made popular in the 1980’s by strips such as Dilbert and Garfield. It is a classic in the making, but then another great comic creator Neil Brun formally of Fat Bassist Comics now of Neil’s Comics came across James’s comic and replied:
The comment is reference to the famous speech made by John Candy in the climax of the third act of the film. It is a clever and inventive response to someone who has truly embraced the gag. Then the comment became a part of the gag and the joke went even further:
Now the gag has grown from the movie reference in the comic to referencing the movie director to now referencing the comment of the commenter of the comic. It is the wonderful story building that can only happen on the internet. The legendary Mark Stokes of Zombie Boy Comics once made reference to this phenomenon in an interview, saying that often time comic fans would try to out due the punchline gag of the comic in the comments and make the joke even funnier.
This is the sort of interactive engagement that any artist lives for. To see their art not only reach an audience, but inspire them to continue on with the comic even after the artist has finished with it. These sorts of positive, creative comments are what drive webcomic artists as they toil away in what seems like obscurity. It is proof positive that people are reading their work and it is making an impact on them.
So when you see a webcomic in the daily scrolling of the web that makes you laugh or strikes a cord, be sure to send a little comment back to the artist. With all the negativity and hate on the web, a positive comment goes a long way and a funny and creative comment is more valuable than a six year syndication deal. So think about it next time your scrolling along on your phone or killing time on the company computer, take a sip of your favorite root beer and make a positive difference in an artists life. Until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.