A month ago I went to the first New England Webcomic Weekend
out in EastHampton MA. It started as a little get-together by several western-Massachusetts webcomic artists who invited several of their favorite fellows. Those folks started talking it up on their comic sites and the whole thing snowballed into quite an impressive first-ever webcomic-only convention. There were perhaps 70 webcomic creators there, and lots of fans. I was not quite the oldest there (I found one guy who was 63!) but most were 30-40 years my junior, and therefore full of energy and enthusiasm. I met several of the artists I follow, and learned about a whole lot more.
I am not an aspiring comic artist. Well, not quite. As I lurch and crawl forward (I hope) in my ability to draw, I've held that I lack the one thing that it seems to me motivates all those artists I watch -- a story to tell. All the comics have some
story to convey, whether one-panel gags or epic adventures. Indeed, several comic artists seem to be positively compelled to tell their characters' story, whether they can draw (or, alas, write!) well or not, churning out pages of panels. No such compulsion arose in me.
As I learned when I did the Landmark Forum 20-some years ago, "I wonder what other lies I've been making up about me?" At NEWW I had supper with CD Rudd, who does the "SailorSun.org" comic, and in the course of conversation with him found the beginnings of a story to tell. He encouraged me to flesh it out, and complimented me on my sketches, giving me some hope that, while I'm still not inclined to do a full-fledged webcomic, I might just be able to do something along those lines.
The idea is for a comic based in a small, rather hardscrabble TV station, with a small cast of characters interacting. The initial gags will be based on my experiences just out of college at WFMJ-TV, plus other TV-, workplace-, and relationship-related ideas I can dredge up or invent. As much as I admire some of the quirkier character ideas I've seen (Steve, for example, in SailorSun, exists only in the space just above the comic panel, is never seen but is fully interacted with by other characters), I think mine will be pretty conventional, though it'll be interesting to see how they develop. One already is fleshing out; a twenty-something woman who as "floor director" (making sure the set, props and cameras are in place and the talent knows where to look) dresses in sweats and nondescript clothes and wears her hair in a ponytail, then when she adds the job of "director" (running a program in the control room) upgrades her look to pantsuits and a bun/french roll, and finally is seen off duty at a club with her hair down and sexy skirts and dresses. That should be interesting to draw and write.
In the meantime, I post here now a screen capture of the webcomics that I now follow. In the original the icons are all links, but this photo is just for illustrative purposes. I might follow up with a link to a fully-functional version.