A Confluence of Art and Writing

I know I’ve talked many times about my favorite webcomics, but I’m coming back to it again. For one thing, they are a daily habit. With my morning cuppa, I skim through anywhere from 2 to ten webcomics. For another thing, I said somewhere else recently that I never read comic books as a child. That was an artform – a confluence of story and and art, if you will – that I discovered as an adult. What comics couldn’t give me as a girl was that immersive experience of the book, because I read too quickly. I couldn’t simultaneously appreciate the art, and the story. I wanted to find out how it ended… and with the few comics I can recall, the story was either achingly stupid (Archie & Jughead), there wasn’t a story (Garfield, Far Side, although I’m not sure they count, really…not as comic books), or the story never came to a satisfying conclusion (all the superhero type comics I can ever remember seeing).

I can doodle just fine – the continuous effort to produce actual comic strips? Now, that’s skill and dedication. 

As an adult, I have the patience to follow along as a story spins out for a long time before reaching a conclusion. I can enjoy getting to know characters, like Sam and Florence in the long-running Freefall, which only recently reached something approaching a climax, and it is by no means over. Others, I go and look at for the art, the setting, as much as the story, like Spindrift, which is visually gorgeous. Some of my favorites the art is nothing special, but the story more than makes up for it, like Robert Hoyt’s Ninja Nun, where the witty dialogue and the silliness nonetheless carry you into a world where the hero of Israel might wear, as he puts it, ‘an armored disco ball.’

it’s amazing how much expression mere lines on paper can capture.

Others are special all the way around, like Howard Tayler’s Schlock Mercenary, where art and story come together to create a whole that would not be possible without both components.  Of course, Schlock is also one of the very few places you don’t need as much patience to follow along, as it has updated daily for fourteen years now.

rooster sketch
Animals that can speak and act independently are comic mainstays.

I discover new comics on occasion, through the *ahem* kindness of friends, like Sabrina Chase who recommended Spindrift recently (thanks, fortunately I had already dived into those archives…) and not long ago I found a lovely resource in Introspect, the blog of the creator of Doc’s Whiteboard. He recommended The Bookhunter, which I promptly decided I wanted to read, one of the downfalls of discovering new comics – you want to raid the archives, and then you emerge a few days later with a dazed look on your face… but I digress.

Other than the long archive draughts, you can usually enjoy a webcomic – or I can, at any rate – in sips. Which is useful when pressed for time as I so often am these days.

sketch of a man's back
With only a pen, you can still create more depth than might seem possible.