I knew I could be long-winded, but I am genuinely surprised this is my one hundredth Kleefeld on Webcomics column. When I first started this, I had my doubts as to how long I could keep this up, but roughly two years later, I’m still finding different angles to look at!
I had a column written up back in January that was attempting to be very forward-looking. There were some things that I thought we would see happen in 2013 and some things that I wanted to see happen. But then I had a chat with my editor. Don’t get the wrong idea — she liked the column and had planned to run it, but the chat we had was around things we wanted to do see happen on MTV Geek more generally. We were totally on the same page with things, and came up with some new ideas and approaches that I’m pretty excited about, particularly as it means I’ll be able to contribute more to MTVG! More on that in a bit. But she also realized that I was coming up on my one hundredth column here, and thought that this would be a better time to talk about where we’re going.
One of the things I talked about in that un-run column was how we could probably look forward to more webcomic coverage in general. A few months ago, I called out other pop culture and comic news sites for not providing webcomic coverage unless there was a print component tied to it. Do you know what the response was? “Guilty as charged.” Maybe not everybody phrased it quite like that or even openly admitted to their crime of omission, but that was an actual response along with a promise to do more. And while I can’t really take credit for kicking anyone else in the pants on this topic, I’ve seen more attention given already to webcomics from other major news outlets. Many of them have now set up regular, or at least semi-regular, webcomics features like this column has been for the past couple of years.
More coverage is certainly a great thing, even if some of these venerable journalists and writers are still trying to sort out the whole webcomics thing more generally. That they’re willing to dive in, and bring their readers along with them is fantastic! I’m really looking forward to seeing where these other writers go with their webcomics studies.
But me? I want to push things deeper. For the past two years or so, I’ve been doing one column about webcomics a week. Which I’ve certainly enjoyed, but I think does a bit of disservice to webcomics. Don’t they deserve to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other comics in the news? So what we’re going to do, going forward, is to switch this weekly column in with regular comics coverage. I’ll be able to respond more immediately to what’s going on in webcomics and on a more ad-hoc basis. If lots is happening in webcomics in any given week, I’ll be able to jump in more quickly and talk more frequently about it. More coverage that’s more integrated into everything else. I’m going to be working to ‘normalize’ webcomics coverage as much as possible by NOT singling it out with a specialized column. So, while we won’t see Kleefeld on Webcomics as a weekly feature any more, we won’t be missing out on webcomics coverage.
For those of you who just like reading what I have to say, though, and look forward to my Friday ramblings here, I will also be introducing a brand new column next week! It’s on another topic that’s dear to my heart: fandom itself. This will be where we turn the metaphoric camera around and look at the people who pay thousands of dollars for Detective Comics #27, or who cosplay as Mega Man, or who wait in line for hours to get Joss Whedon’s autograph… Who are these people, and why do they revolve so much of their lives around a comic or TV show or movie? This is what I call fanthropology, the study of fandom. In my new column, Kleefeld’s Fanthropology, I’m going to be looking at the who/what/why/where/how of fans and fandom. Be sure to come back next week to check that out!
But for those of you who are more partial to webcomics in particular, don’t wander off too far, because even though the weekly Kleefeld on Webcomics column is going by the wayside, we are far from done talking about webcomics around here!