I’ve long been a fan of Scott McCloud’s work, and I’ve always enjoyed how he plays with the online medium and his comics. He’s written whole books on why comics look and act as they do and how with the web, they can do a lot more. His newest comic is both an experiment in micropayments (costs a quarter to view) and an experiment in display. Using Flash, it’s pretty effortless to get through the story in a couple minutes.
And yet, it still feels like comics done online are at the training-wheel stage of development, if that far. Five years ago, I was amazed at a piece called Fuel at Born Magazine (which unfortunately only works in Netscape 4). It’s a pulp fiction-style little story of mystery and murder, and it’s beautifully illustrated and presented in an innovative way. I always thought that was the just the tip of the iceberg and we’d be seeing all sorts of amazing stuff in years to come, but it hasn’t really happened for the most part. It still looks pretty revolutionary as far as online storytelling and graphic art are concerned. Most of today’s online comics are still just 3 or 4 pane short narratives, designed for the constraints of a printed page.
Scott’s new comic is cool, and I like the ease-of-use on the flash viewer. It’s baby steps, but at least they are steps in the right direction.