Friday, January 14, 2011

You know the best part?

I have read a lot of webcomics over the years, and in that time I have learned one thing:

Eventually, webcomics die.

No matter how good or bad a webcomic is, there does come a point when it dies.  These are not like newspaper comics that continue to exist perpetually.  Newspaper comics are supported by large comic syndicates that feed money into them constantly, feeding a workforce of artists, writers and colorists.  It's why Blondie can last 80 years.

Webcomics don't have that.  Artists make money alone, from ad and swag sales.  Some run the convention circuit, while others are simply overwhelmingly popular and make money that way.  I don't think more than a handful are over 10 years old, and they really don't make the kind of money needed to last until the artist is dead and certainly not enough to last past that.

When a webcomic dies, whether it be by the choice of the artist, death by hiatus or simply because the story is over and there's nothing more to tell, it's a sad thing.  But it also signals a worse fate is in the cards:  The archives may soon go down.  Sure, the Comic Genesis and Keenspot type sites might stay up, but those independent sites are under threat of going down the moment the updates stop coming.  The internet is not forever, especially if someone isn't paying the bills.

Reposting my old reviews gives me a chance to see if I can find a comic I read, and often the comic is gone, entirely.  The website has vanished and the archives gone for good.

That's when the best part happens.  When a comic that I thought was gone for good resurfaces.  Jeremy did that, showing back up after year or so of being missing (though now it's just in book form, but hey, it's still out there).  I was thrilled at that.  Life of Riley disappeared long ago, but someone managed to salvage the archives.

The day I write this is Wednesday, January 12th.  Today I am excited because I discovered another of these lost comics.  Road Waffles is one of my all time favorite comics, but it's been dead for more than 4 years, until now.  Thanks to a random ad on Out There, a comic that's very similar to it in many ways (aside from the zaniness), I discovered it had relaunched last November.  I'm so excited about this discovery, I haven't even read the new strips yet, but I intend to.  Hell, I may even reread the archives again because this comic deserves it.

That's the best part about reading webcomics, watching your favorites come back to life.

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