Commentary

Non-traditional webcomics

mrperezsoso asked:

Hey this bbr sins talk is really good and i enjoy reading your thoughts on stuff. What do you think about “non traditional” webcomics like homestuck and honey crab? specifically how the medium its told in affects how the story is told

Never heard of Honey Crab before, thanks for the rec :в

Anyway, good topic. I really love that webcomics drive people to creating new formats, something that’s beyond the capabilities of printed comics. However, as it always is with the new media, it’ll take lots of trial and error until we really master and perfect this sort of stuff.

I wanna talk about some of those comics first.


As for Homestuck, I don’t think I have any problems with its use of the media. It played off the nostalgia with game-like graphics, and it was appropriate, considering that the plot revolved around a game. It used long, silly conversations that simulate chats, but the text was were color-coded and divided between a few panels. It used animation, but cut corners in a stylish way.


Ava’s Demon is amazing visually, but I can see why people have issues with its pacing. It’s presented as a book of photos or such, and looks more like a bunch of storyboards than a comic. So, when Homestuck uses one simple animated panel to quickly show an action, Ava’s Demon takes several panels to do the same.

It’s not that bad for an archival reader, but serial readers get gorgeous updates that surely took long to make, but aren’t very informative. Yep, that body is still flying to the ground!

I still think you could make this format work, if the art was simpler and quicker to produce, though.


Neo-cosmos, imo, is even less successful example of that. It tries to mix both of these formats, but implements the worst of both worlds.

Homestuck has long-ass dialogs, but one panel advances the action quickly. It reads “vertically”. Ava’s Demon has many panels for an action, but you could quickly thumb through them, as its speech ballons are incorporated in the drawing. It reads “horizontally”.

But in Neo-cosmos you click “next”, look at another storyboard of a character raising their head, scroll down, read one line of dialog, click “next” again. Rinse and repeat. It’s neither vertical or horizontal and thus, slows the reader down more, so I wouldn’t recommend doing that.


Honey Crab is hard to talk about, since it’s not too far into the plot, and I can’t tell if the videogame thematic is gonna pay off yet. But I appreciate that they try to do something cinematic, while keeping the comic structure in many places. I thought about something like that, but I would’ve never had time or patience for it lol.


Anyway, BBR! I tried to use flash games to show some details about the world and the characters that would’ve been boring and uncecessary if I made Dolly examine them in the drawn pages. I still don’t think it was a bad idea, but the execution could definitely use some improvement.

Besides, as many people pointed out, the Homestuck-inspired vintage-videogame aesthetic felt out of place in this universe. I wasn’t really going for it, but I understand what they mean. It’d fit another story better.

Overall, unless:

  • you know what you’re doing (made animation/flashes before and don’t overestimate yourself);
  • your comic is quick to make and/or not too long;
  • you have a team that’d help you,

I wouldn’t recommend wasting much time on flashes or animation, especially if they don’t serve any point besides “looking cool”. I’m sure your readers would rather read half a chapter of the good old traditional pages than suffer through a hiatus for a very short flash.

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