Web Comics/Headscratchers

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This page is about Web Comics in general -- if you want to talk about a particular comic, please edit or start the page for that particular work.

  • Why does every webcomic ever refer to 'we' when referring to the cartoonist (such as 'We apologise for the crappy filler comic') when they are almost always the work of one person?
    • Osmosis from cultural etiquette, one imagines. Whenever any form of media apologizes for something, they tend to use we. "We apologize for the inconvenience," "We understand your concerns," "We hope to serve you in the future." It's one of those things that people say without thinking too much about the meaning of the individual words.
    • It's funnier that way?
    • It's called the Majestic Plural, also known as the Royal We. However, since most webcomic writers aren't royalty, Popcultural Osmosis plays a heavy role in its use.
      • Or sometimes the Bastard 'we'. It's like the Royal 'we' but far more dangerous.
      • It could also be a carryover from other forms of media, where it is very rare for only one person to be doing everything, and the "We apologise for the inconvenience" would be referring to the writers/producers/directors as a group apologizing.
    • All cartoonists are secretly a single alien Hive Mind, and in times of stress- such as the need to post a crappy filler comic- may allow their Masquerade to slip ever so slightly.
    • It could be referring to the characters, since there's generally more than one of them.
    • Probably because the author is talking as "the author", instead of as "himself". "I apologize for the inconvenience" seems too personal, considering he's adressing anyone that eventually reads the message.
    • This troper used it as a joke in his comic. Using the word "we" and signing things "The Management" was used to make the suggestion that the production team was something more than just some guy at a computer, usually in his underwear. Since this was pretty obviously not the case, it was played for laughs.
  • Why do most webcomics stick to some version of the format familiarised by newspaper comics and comic books/graphic novels? We can scroll, y'know.
    • Scott McCloud, get out of TV Tropes and get back to writing excellent books! Seriously, though, the comic strip or comic page are interpretations of the medium that have existed for a long time. There's room for variation--see the excellent Kid Radd for a good example--but if you go too far from the panels-and-borders format, is it still a comic?
    • Some webcomics were created with the intention to be put into print at some point--hence the occasional double-page spreads, etc. Plus, the point of webcomics is that it's a comic--only available via the Internet. Most sequential/non-episodic comics do come in pages traditionally, ergo...
    • Also, scrolling is annoying and depends on the user's equipment. If you plan your Infinite Canvas comic on a bit monitor, you might put users with less capable machines in trouble, since they'll have to scroll more and maybe even scroll in the panel space itself. Say you extend your comic only in the vertical, but the user's monitor is smaller, so he'll have to scroll back and forth on the horizontal. Which is annoying.
      • This troper agrees with that. He generally has so many taskbars on Firefox that he has to scroll down for most webcomics. Even when it's vertical and you can use the scroll-wheel, it's annoying.
    • It's what we're used to seeing; it's easier to draw them and think of them that way. It's what our eyes are used to doing - travelling primarily left to right and secondarily down. Monitors and personal websites may allow more freedom than cramped print, but it only decreases, not eliminates, many limitations.
  • Variant on the above question (or just the same question worded more specifically) - why don't more webcomics scroll from top to bottom rather than left to right? Always seemed more logical to me (then again, I had dial-up when I started reading webcomics).
    • I don't know. My webcomic scrolled vertically for that very reason. Maybe if it hadn't sucked it might have been able to have an influence on the webcomics world.
    • I seem to remember that Sluggy Freelance, early on, sometimes had long strips broken up into one-panel images so that they'd wrap according to the width of your window.
  • I can understand that Most Writers are Geeks, fine...but why are so MANY comics the two-guys-on-a-couch thing? Why do so many webcomics (and this is much more annoying) end up being a long ramble about something the author either believes deeply in or hates? Can end up being serious business if it's something like video games/80's cartoons.
    • Because people are lazy. Because people tend to write what they know and what they know best are themselves. Because someone they admire did it and they wish to be like those they admire. Sturgeon's Law. Take your pick.
      • And drawing people just sitting on the couch requires less artistic effort, too, since it makes it easy to get away with copying and pasting.
    • Jumping the Penny Arcade bandwagon, I suppose?
      • The misstep is jumping on the Penny Arcade bandwagon but failing to be compelling.
  • Why doesn't ANYONE EVER use some kind of hardcoded format (like relation attributes or access keys) to ease navigation!? It makes sense when Joe Artist decides to put his comic online in something visually appealing he knocked together with FrontPage, but for super popular comics like Penny Arcade, comics by tech-savvy HTML macho men like Xkcd, big commercial operations like Dilbert, and ESPECIALLY huge special-purpose sites with automatically transcluded templates like Drunk Duck and Comic Genesis, this kind of amateur hour retardation is utterly unforgivable. This makes it so that when I'm trying to relax for an Archive Binge, I need to reach for my mouse and hunt down that stupid “next” button on every single page, instead of just punching a keyboard shortcut. Some browsers like Opera have a feature that allows them to make a wild guess about the function of non-semantic links, but that obviously has its limits, and the HTML coder sparing a few seconds to type in one more tag in their template would be hugely appreciated by me and many other cognizant readers.
  • Why do most webcomic authors, when they have their comic go through Cerebus Syndrome, decide that a main character or two has to die to create drama? I'll admit that it can work sometimes, but more often then not the character that gets killed tends to go out abruptly and that permanently killing off a character almost always tends to go against the main nature/theme/setting of the comic in general.
  • I can understand Manga doing it--they have the excuse of not wanting to mirror the comic and Japanese is very different from English. However, I swear I've seen at least one English-written Manga style webcomic that was written right to left.
    • Yeah, so have I. The answer is simple: Some people are simple.
    • In fairness, there is a certain Scott McCloud element to making your webcomic read backwards, just because it's the internet and you can.
    • The True Art Is Foreign mentality might explain it.
    • Not that he speaks for everyone, but a friend doing this explained it with "if I'm going to mimic the style, I might as well go all the way".
    • It probably also has something to do with the audience. If you're doing something in a manga style, you're probably looking for a manga-liking audience, who are used to reading right-to-left. I know I, personally, have a bit of trouble figuring out which way I'm supposed to read things sometimes if they're in a manga style.
    • To be honest, it'd be stranger not to do it right-to-left. If you draw it the manga way, and the plot is a typical manga plot, and the characters have Japanese names, then for all practical purposes it IS a manga, so you might as well make it the way those comics usually are made.
    • Oh, I get it! The audience isn't English-speakers, it's English-speaking manga readers.
    • I've always thought it was sheer weeaboo-ness. I don't buy the "it's a complete manga drawn in manga-style with manga-plots and manga-stereotypes and Japanese names and so on" because the MAIN reason for manga to be read right-to-left is because of the Japanese writing system, which, for some reason, isn't copied by the mangas in English language. Anyway, the main elements of the manga "style" lie more in narrative than in drawing style (so much so that manga offers a plethora of styles and realism levels in their art), and that is something most amateur manga artists I know seem to completely ignore. So they're mostly just Animesque western comics.
    • Most non-Japanese people have grown up seeing sequential stuff reading left-to-right. It imprints itself in your consciousness and affects the way you think about blocking the page layouts and how the characters relate to each other. Every comic I've seen where non-Japanese tried to do it Japanese style just felt awkward, like someone was looking in the mirror above the page while drawing it. And throw on western artists using Japanese pseudonyms and it comes back to what the poster above this said.