As the comic industry grows and embraces new technologies, new forms are born within the digital revolution. A brief history of comic books, the rise of webcomics and the passionate, hardworking pioneers who started it all.
The history of comic books began quite some time ago. In 1933 the introduction to the comic book made its debut with a publication titled Famous Funnies. This was years before Action Comics and the interstellar immigrant, Superman. A few titles grew and evolved and are some of the major titles read today. Jack Kirby who would later team up with Stan Lee after Atlas Comics became Marvel Comics, created some of the most iconic comic misfits and mutant teams. The original comic book men had the same passion and imagination that the current artists and writers have. Since then technology has changed and so has the way comics are distributed.
Webcomics were introduced with the advent of the Internet and even a bit before. From the title this seems to be a concept that would need the Web to exist, but even before the World Wide Web there was a few webcomics. These precursors were shared via CompuServe, FTP and Usenet. It wasn’t until 1993 when David Farley published Doctor Fun on the Web, with his own website. Since 1993, webcomics have continued to gain popularity and grow in part to the readers who enjoy their favorite comics. One site being Questionable Content, it began on August 1, 2003 and continues to grow in popularity. The web has also introduced the comic app; this allows users to download an application to digitally view comic books and comics through phones and most media devices.
With webcomics helping indie comic creators to get notoriety and to reach an audience, is it really easier to get your work noticed? Eric Stephenson, a Publisher for Image Comics, when asked if it was easier to get noticed with the advancement of the Internet stated; “No. Some of the biggest successes in indie comics were around long before the Internet.”
When asked how easy it is to get published and what are some struggles Stephenson said, “If you’re a working comic book artist or writer, it’s not too difficult. If you’re just starting out, it can take a while to make an impression on publishers. Many beginning writers and artists don’t understand the concept of quality control or meeting deadlines.”
With technology in a constant evolution, comics and the way they are enjoyed will continue to evolve. While some comic artists and writers gain popularity and readers this is mostly due to the hard work and passion they have for what they create. When there is a new form of communication, the way people express themselves will carry on. Pioneers will reintroduce a new way to view and understand media expressionism. Much like Jack Kirby, the modern comic book men and women who have the passion will continue to create comics and help them evolve and advance with technology.