So maybe you've noticed them popping up. Like mushrooms after the rain, they're starting up everywhere now.
Don't know what I'm talking about?
Or if you want to be more specific, webcomic-centered commentary blogs. Since the 12th of August 2004 when I first started Webcomic Finds, I've been witnessing the birth of many many new webcomic blogs and discovering many many more. Websnark, Digital Strips, (not to mention all those other blogs that don't focus on webcomics, but mention them frequently) and now even more recently, William G and Phil Khanhave decided to join the fray.
(FYI, it is notable that Eric Burns converted his old blog into Websnark 8 days after I started mine. Perhaps it's a testament to his writing skills that despite starting later, his blog is far far far more popular than mine ;) Dag-nabbit! Of course, I deal more with the lesser-known comics, so that could be it.)
Back to the topic, I'm not pointing hoodoo fingers or bad mouthing the newcomers or accusing them of jumping on the bandwagon or anything. I'm just making an observation that more and more people are realising that serious and regular commentary on webcomics is still a relatively unexploited niche, and there's room for them to fill it. For now.
The webcomics world is growing very rapidly. Some might say far too rapidly, because it is nearing the state of drowning in its own volume. For every good webcomic out there, there's probably another 10(or if you want to be bombastic, 100) crappy ones you have to go through. The webcomic blogs help by doing this job for you. Providing that you and the blogger share similar tastes, chances are you're going to like what the blogger recommends to you.
And if you have a plethora of different bloggers and different personalities and tastes to pick from, it can only be a good thing.
"Wait!" You say. "Didn't the webcomic review sites like Korsil and Comixpedia do something rather similar?"
Yes and No. They reviewed webcomics. They rated them. But most webcomic reviewers had to be impersonal and impartial, just to be professional. Or at least, they had to try to be.
But by doing so they missed out on the spice the webcomic blogs have. The personality behind the blog. The feeling that you're listening to someone you know talking, instead of reading some article written by a faceless someone you will never know.
And this, I think, is the new frontier. I have great hopes that with the new wave of bloggers there will be less insularity and more blurring the lines between the different webcomic collectives. That we might be able to filter more effectively through the great masses of dross from the gold, the serious efforts from the bandwagon jumpers. That more good webcomics get the recognition they deserve.
Granted, for every blogger that can discourse rationally about plot, pacing and execution, there's bound to the odd attention-seeker who sees the success of Websnark and thinks "OMG! All this guy does is sit around and make snide comments about webcomics! I can do that too!". Much like the webcomics medium it spawned from, it is pretty inevitable that Websnark or HB clones will spring up the more popular these sites get. And like bad webcomics, most of them will run out of steam shortly and end up dying by the wayside.
I am no prophetess or clairvoyant. I'm simply an observer of patterns. We saw this pattern happen with webcomics. I see this as something that will happen with webcomic blogs.
Just you see if it doesn't.
Fun fact: The Webcomic Finds system of picking reviews was inspired by this same Comixpedia article of Dalton Wemble's. God, I miss that column.