While we’re waiting for the newspaper comic strip to die, let’s take another look at what’s supposed to replace it: the web comic. I’m probably off-base here but it seems to me that the format is an extension of the underground comics of the sixties that uses the internet as a medium. This explains certain characteristics that, to my mind, distinguish the typical web comic from its more established cousin.
- First of these is, of course, the subject matter. Unlike the typical newspaper comic, web comics tend to focus on fantastic settings and characters; this is why Power and De Jesus’s My Cage looks like a web comic that somehow wound up in newspapers.
- Second, the authors allow themselves to handle more adult themes than one can get in print; this, of course, means profanity, nudity and sexual imagery.
What they have in common is the loyalty (usually before reason) of the fan base; just as Effie Gronvlop of East Westboro, Winnemac gets sort of pissed if you dare question the perfect love of Awfulny and Lizardbreath, people with screen names as goofy as my own engage in flame wars with those who don’t automatically kiss the artist’s hindquarters.