Steem Blockchain + Webcomics — Making Webomics Great Again? Call for Development.
The Decline of Webcomic?
The situation with Joy of Tech @joyoftech, had me thinking about the situation around webcomics as a whole. I've been on the internet since 90's, and webcomics were a staple of the internet experience for 20+ years now. And with reading a few popular ones, like Schlock Mercenary made me thing that they are going strong.
This is very funny. And relevant. Also not by me.
There was always a vibrant community around webcomics, and while they aren't "networks", they are definitely social. And that got me thinking, Steemit is poised to slay the tripple dragon of Facebook, Reddit and Twitter, but are there any other areas that could benefit from the new economic model, that is the vision of @ned and @dantheman? Folks behind @joyoftech certainly could. Thats weird. I remember them being big enough to keep that donation meter in quite nice condition. Back in the early 2000's. But still, the whole industry is huge, right? Only way to find out:
So I googled "webcomic industry"
And the first two links from the Observer & Entertainment Fuse seem to contradict eachother a bit.
Which is it? Are the webcomics going through a crisis, that is forcing the authors to rethink their business models? Are they a huge industry with the top getting ~300k views a day? Probably both. But what articles agree on, is that the industry is changing, and a lot of smaller webcomics are struggling a bit. Anyhow, I urge you to go read the Observer, piece, since it is actually a series of articles, that talk about Patreon, how webcomics are changing the web & lessons in creativity from successful webcomic artists
There are solutions, like Patreon, that are a good way to fund the content creators. But they have to do with people parting with their money. Which is probably something, that the Patrons can afford, but that still taxes their decision making process. Besides, I am sure that the reach of the webcomics is much broader than the first world, where there are people that can afford to support the creators. Okay, when things are better, I've actually done it myself, by participating in Kickstarters, and stuff like that. So, that brings us to my next point.
Webcomics and Blockchain are Something That Synergizes Well Together
Now, while Patreon & Kickstarter allow the webcomic artists to survive and perhaps even thrive, they are a bit like Uber, that is there is a corporation that takes a cut from those donations for offering that service. There is nothing inherently wrong about that, but that is probably where Steem & Steemit can help out, while expanding the its reach.
Here is a quote from one of those observer articles.
“Some people who made ‘webcomics’ back when ‘webcomics’ were ‘webcomics’ are making comics now and doing really well at that, in The New Yorker or on Adventure Time,” Cat and Girl‘s Dorothy Gambrell said, “or they’re riding that old business model into the sunset adding on Patreon and Kickstarter and whatever other Internet website wants to take a cut of money for asking people to give you money in the way that’s deemed socially acceptable this year,” she wrote in an email to the Observer.
Now, I am sure you are probably aware, that we have our fair share of talented artists, even ones with their own webcomics. I am talking more than just @tuck-fheman (I miss your Steemit webcomic, man!). @johnny-ad has a weekly webcomic that is doing reasonably well (perhaps worse than all the origami, but), there are also people like @neopatriarch, that post their comic artwork, and I shouldn't forget the Last Bigfoot by @papa-pepper.
Still, Steemit as it is lack certain features that the webcomic sites take for granted. Archives. Strip view, with navigation geared to it, some other stuff that I am to tired to remember. But there are a ton of sites that interact with Steem blockchain, and what is needed is mainly UI changes. There might be some features that would be nice to have also, but we are still in beta, and I am sure people would think about them, and request/code them as the time goes on.
Call for Development
Thing is I am not a coder. I know my way around cli, and Steemit has made me excited about coding again, so I will probably pick the skills over time. But this is an idea that just begs for implementation. So I release it to you. I can probably write some tech specifications for the required UI, or serve as an ambassador to the webcomic community.
Back in the day there were hubs for webcomics in the ranking pages, as well as webcomic hosting. But what we need is either something that can be integrated with theexisting standalone webcomic sites, or possibly a streaming of the webcomics by their creators into a place that can serve as some sort comic viewing nexus, with the upvote mechanism built in of course. Any ideas on the implementation are welcome, of course!
But if this is implemented we can improve the lives of a lot of people, as well as increasing the exposure of people to the Steemit. There is also an issue of merchandise, that goes hand in hand with webcomics. Perhaps we can be the revolution not only in social media, but in the art of webcomics? Reinventing Comics, as it were. ;-)