I’ve noticed recently that I don’t seem to read comics much anymore.
There are a few online strips, Goats, Achewood, PA, that I still read regularly, but … I don’t know, my reading has just dropped off.
I’m sure part of the reason is bandwidth. I am unfortunately on dialup for th foreseeable future, and simply don’t have the bandwidth to browse a lot of comics. I remember back when I had the bandwidth and the interest, I had a list of over 100 comics that I read every time they updated. No, I don’t even remember what they were.
Part of it stemmed from when I lost my internet access at home for a couple of months and was not allowed to browse from work at the same time; I didn’t read any comics at all for a while. And when I finally could read comics again, I had lost my bookmarks or something, and couldn’t remember what comics I was reading… and somehow didn’t have the interest in going through and reading 90 days worth of 100+ comics. It was just too much. So I caught up on the archives of a few comics, but I never got back to that place where I was reading dozens of comics.
When Modern Tales first launched, I signed up. I was sure it was a good idea; someone was going to try to make money off online comics, and I wanted to be a part of that! And at first, I read most of their comics. But as I read them, giving them all more than adequate opportunities to entertain me, I was continuously disappointed. And the ones I liked (Wedlock, Patent Pending, Lil’ Clango, etc…) kept disappearing or becoming sporadic until I was down to only one or two that I cared about. So after my year pre-paid subscription was up, I cancelled. And around that time I found myself with a pessimistic view of the online comics world. I had stopped reading anything Keen when I lost my internet access, and because of all the negative talk I heard about the whole Keen experience, I never went back.
And now dial-up. I know there are thousands upon thousands of online comics out there, but I simply don’t have the time it would take to even select a few percent of them to read regularly. And I gave up on comics forums a long time ago; too much of it devolves into meaningless blather or flames, and so I’m not in any position to hear about the great new comic everyone is reading. I feel out of the loop most of the time. I make online comics, I host online comics, but somehow I’m not part of the ‘online comics scene’. I don’t know what other people are doing. I don’t know what’s popular, what’s in, what’s out, what’s cutting edge. I read Comixpedia to try to keep up, but the stories mentioning specific comics seem to go right over my head, as though written only for people already familiar with the comics in question.
I’m going to the San Diego Comic-Con International this year, I’m a featured shopkeeper at Cafepress’ booth, and I’m excited about all the hubub that is sure to be present this year about micropayments, but … otherwise I have no idea why I’m going. I never read many print comic books, so that was just barely a draw, and only to the Slave Labor booth. Although this year the artists from 100% of the online comics I read every time they update will be present, I’m not too looking forward to meeting them. Especially Jon.
I think one of the things I’m looking forward to about the con is that maybe it will brighten my waning attitude about comics in general. Of course, the alternative is a possibility, that faced with the reality of the ‘online comics scene’ by walking up to it and chaking its hand at the con, that I will finally see that I should just drop out, have nothing to do with it, stop trying to make comics, stop trying to find new comics to host, stop even reading goats and PA…
Though I hope that that is not the case. If I manage to attend at least one panel with Scott McCloud, evidence from previous years suggests that I will have not less than two new ideas for comics. Although… due to a variety of reasons (the biggest of which being my own procrastination) I haven’t even really made much headway on some of the ideas I got from Scott back in 2000. So maybe that won’t be worth it after all.
I remember the last time I went to the con, I wasn’t sure why I was going, even up to the day I left for it, but I know I had a good time when I was there. And then last year I missed the con, at which apparently I missed the best times.
Still, when I come home from the con, whatever my mood, I will still be on dial-up, and I will still not be a part of the ‘online comics scene’.
And likely, I will still not have all the panels done for my latest attempt at an online comic, The ‘Mouse’ Project, where I tried to push the ‘online’-ness of the online comic to the creation side, but found myself so far from the ‘online comics scene’ that I could not find enough artists willing to sign up online. I am actually preparing pages with a 6″x6″ square pre-drawn and the text and description below. To carry around at the con and try to get people to draw the remaining panels. It