Are Online Comics "Real" Comics?

     While reading “The Right Number”  by Scott McCloud, I was immediately intrigued.  This type of story is not something I would normally be interested in reading.  It is an online comic that takes you from one frame to the next in a very unique way.  The only way to fully understand the uniqueness of the graphic novel is to actually read it.  Although the format is not what I am used to reading, the story was well written and kept me very interested.  Just the concept of the story made me want to find out what was going to happen next, regardless of how it was presented.  Since I have not read very many comics in my life at all, reading an online comic was not a much different experience from physically holding a comic book and reading it.  However, normally I enjoy being able to turn pages and be able to actually see the progress I have made on any book.  This was not true for “The Right Number” though.  My first thought was that the content was so intriguing and interesting to me that it did not matter the medium it was conveyed through.  Personally, it was very hard for me to distinguish whether I liked the form of online comics without reading more.  I felt that my decision solely based on this comic by Scott McCloud was completely biased because I genuinely enjoyed the story so much.  Therefore, I set out to read another online comic to better determine my actual thoughts on the topic.

“The Man of Many Shades” Graphic Novel

     As I began investigating other online comics, I soon discovered that I, in fact, do not like this type of medium.  I had a hard time finding a comic that even made sense to me.  One graphic novel I did read was called “The Man of Many Shades”.  This story is about a man stuck in a young girl’s drawing and actually had a pretty interesting story line.  The pictures were well drawn and appealing to the eye.  Like most of the other comics I looked at, this graphic novel followed the traditional idea of a graphic novel more than McCloud’s novel.  Each page had several frames in a specific order, unlike “The Right Number”, which followed a more untraditional approach to frame lay-out.  In fact, the only real noticeable difference from this story than a print graphic novel is the lack of a physical book.  Like I mentioned earlier, this does bother me.  Since McCloud’s novel was so unique, the lack of a physical book was not as noticeable as the other novels I looked at.  In addition, from the graphic novels I browsed through, conveying a story in this manner appears much harder than a print graphic novel.  Thus, McCloud’s story must have been pretty exceptional and his story telling is not even comparable to any other online comic I read.  McCloud’s unique experience actually enhanced his story, even though it may not fall into the specific category of a graphic novel.  This may be due to the fact that McCloud is a professional graphic novelist and the other online comics I read could have been completed by anybody.  A lot of the online comic websites seemed to encourage nonprofessionals to submit their work to be displayed, which is actually a great way for anyone to display their work.  Overall, most online comics do tend to follow the traditional graphic novel rules and I would consider them as part of the graphic novel genre.


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