Comics, Meet the Internet

Comic books – or graphic novels, as the elite would say – have been around for years, generations if you happen to pass down the greats through the family. Many of us, through different incarnations, have probably grown up with the comic series of Superman, Batman, Ironman, The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, and more. Before these were big screen blockbusters, they were comic books. They used to be collected one at a time. Nowadays, you can find a new comic book online and follow the entire series without ever leaving your home.

While most people think of comic books as the stuff they or their parents (grandparents even!) grew up on, thanks to the Internet and mobile technology, future generations can enjoy not only the mainstream comics of DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse, but of those by little known talent. There are now several offerings by up and coming artists and authors for the graphic novel genre, many which are found on their websites or online.

Take, for instance, the Dreamland Chronicles, written by Scott Silva and able to be viewed by new and present fans online. The story involves the dreams of a college student, who had visited a fantasy world in his youth and returns again to help his friends against their evil nemesis and his minions. The comic has gotten rave reviews, to the point where Silva has been able to sell his comic in book form, but his original artwork as well.

Silva’s work is just one representation of how far comics have come. While you may still be able to read the daily or weekly comics in the local paper, the popularity of the Internet, computers, and now mobile computing has opened the door for comics and graphic novels to be enjoyed anywhere and everywhere and by different people. Much of the web comics that can be found are much like the work Silva is doing – creating the art and then posting the work online.

Probably one of the most famous and popular web series of comics is that of the Penny Arcade, a web comic series that premiered in 2010 and has become the most popular and longest running online comic in history. The comic centers on gaming and pop culture references and is currently tied to the artists’ own blog page; like Silva, Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins – the comic’s creators and artists – they have been able to make a living while promoting their work.

Flush the Fashion, an online magazine that discusses music, film, gaming, and more, uses their platform to interview several artists and illustrators on how they create their art, what inspires them, and most importantly, where people can find their work. This helps to spread the word about the artist and their work, bringing more fans to their sites.

With mobile technology, there are now apps in which people can read their favorite comics through their smartphones or tablets. Many RSS readers are capable of reading web comics, however for those comics that aren’t for the web technically, there are several apps for both iPhones, iPads, and Android devices for the user to read a comic book online.

Comics have come a long way from the paperbacks that we had to hide from our folks; now, reading a comic book online is as simple as subscribing to the daily updates or downloading an app to your phone. And thanks again to the Internet, the expanding outlet for the artists and illustrators of these comics open professional and financial doors they may not have seen before.