Friday, May 9, 2014

Recommending a Comic

Oddly enough, despite running a blog dedicated to reviewing and dissecting webcomics, I don't often get asked to make specific recommendations.  Oh, it happens, but not often.  Still, I struggle to do so as I have my tastes and likes and often that clashes with what other people want.  So today I'm going to start changing that by asking the person asking for recommendations 4 questions.  I present these questions in no strict order, but I'd probably ask them this way anyway.

1.  How much time do you want to spend?  Webcomics have a signficant difference from their print cousins (comics books and newspaper strips) as their archives are often freely and completely available to be read whenever.  That means a lot of long stories can be told, and no one misses out.  And some comics, especially the older ones, have massive archives, and if the person wants to spend the time, they can easily spend a week or more on some of them.  On top of that, some comics have single pages that are very dense and may take some time to read.  If the comic takes too long to catch up on, even a great comic might turn away a time restricted reader.  Knowing how much time the reader wants to spend can help eliminate some of the larger comics that are out there.

2.  What genres do you like/do you NOT like?  I wrote series about genres not too long ago, but I won't hold anyone to it.  Still, knowing they kinds of genres a person likes or doesn't like can help remove comics that won't interest a person.  There's still a lot for any one genre (Humor would include nearly everything I read), so asking what genres a person DOES NOT like is just as important as asking which ones they do like.  Even narrowing it down beyond my 6 main ones can help as some comics are really much more focused than others.

3.  How do you like stories in your comics?  This is kind of a multiple choice question because webcomics run the gambit of how stories are built and presented.  Specifically, I am asking about 4 separate types of stories.  No story is pretty much like classic newspaper comics where there is no on going story and the comic is mostly a gag comic.  A on going story is one that is still going on and won't be ending any time soon (maybe).  Completed stories are those comics whose story is done and the comic is complete and there will be no more once they reach the end.  Then there's incomplete stories, comic that don't actually end, the comic just kind of dies before it gets there.  Yes, there are a few of those I would recommend.

4.  How important is art to you?  The first thing most people see of a comic is the art, and that can either make or break a comic for them before they've read a strip or even the first word.  Many comics, however, use less than great art as either a method to save time, make a point, or just because it throws people off.  Then there are some comics whose are is amazing, but other elements not quite as much.  The more important the art is to a reader, the more consideration it must be given, meaning many good to great comics might be eliminated just because they aren't the best out there.

I imagine I should give an example.  Let's say the person says they like science fiction, want a complete story, something that doesn't take all that much time and the art should be at least middle of the road.  I'd recommend last weeks retrospective, A Miracle of Science.  If they wanted something ongoing, The Demon Archives is a good one for that.  Allow for lots of time and have it be ongoing and Schlock Mercenary comes to mind.  And if they said they want no story, doesn't care about art and doesn't want to spend a lot of time on a funny science fiction comic, Station V3 it is.

It's a place to start because I have a lot of comics I've read, but remembering them all is a bit of a pain.  At some point, I could probably put all of them in some kind of spreadsheet matrix and figure out what each one is to make it easier, but for now I'll just have to flip through the list manually.  Knowing something of what I'm looking for helps a great deal.

Next week, well, it's going to be something else.  Until then kiddies.

1 comment:

  1. Oh hey, I got a recommendation for my work :) Thanks for the implied compliments for The Demon Archives :D