Recent Digital Contributions to Comics

Written on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 by Kyle posted by kyle

It’s no secret that comics have become increasingly available online. There are multiple sites, applications and services that will put your favorite comic to whatever size screen you want it to fit. All those things aside, there are a pair of websites that have become so associated (in part) with the comic book industry, that they deserve a special mention (and even respect?) for what they are doing for our beloved narrative fiction.

If you don’t know what Wikipedia is, well… wikipedia it. Huh. Wikipedia is an online depository of information that can be updated by anyone who finds it. There are moderators who fact check things, keeping the site a constant work-in-progress. You can find nearly any information you could want,  as submitted by people (more often than not…) possessing knowledge on the subject.

This means there exists a database where comic fans can submit, update and correct information on their favorite characters, comic series, and story arcs… down to the last detail. Years ago DC and Marvel put out Encyclopedias of their own, detailing characters (and their back stories) for fans to purchase; But these were flawed in the sense that they were product of the time they were published. Characters were missing- making these tomes incomplete, and within a few years (or even months!) they would no longer be worth referencing. Wikipedia solves this problem by having fans updating (in some cases) as soon as a new issue comes out!

For anyone who moans that there is too much character history, or too many old comics that they can’t appreciate… I tell them to check Wikipedia. From personal experience I can say that in a single afternoon (with oodles of time to waste) I went from knowing only what came from Superman: The Animated Series, to knowing the complete back story of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World and all it’s main characters. There’s no reason anyone else can’t do the same when such a rich amount of nerd history living on the site.

One special treat that most comic conventions provide is the ‘artist alley experience’. A series of rows of up-and-coming or even well-established comic creators that are selling their latest work, signing old books, or are just there to gab with their public. For Unshaven Comics, it’s been the launching pad for our company. Now I’ve often thought of Ebay as the internet’s flea market. In that same idea then, I must say that Kickstarter is (in essence) the internet’s artist alley.

You’ll find everything from high schoolers launching self-created conventions off the ground (like Vertcon), celebrated creators continuing their greatest work (like Cerebus: High Society), or even small indie publishers trying to raise funds enough to afford a custom suit of Samurnaut armor (Cough, cough…). Not every project receives the funding it needs to go forward, but the easy navigation makes it simple to find ones you will like and to pass the message along to others who might feel the same way. The ability to “pitch” a project to the world at large gives the comic book industry as a whole the opportunity to reach national markets without having to find a way into the Diamond catalog.

Suffice to day, thanks in large part to these two new stalwarts of the digital age, the comic book industry will never be the same again. But of course, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. So, let’s hear it Unshaven Fans… what sites (aside from ours!) are you using to find new comics, or expound on your base of geeky knowledge? Let us know below!

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