- Be patient! Unlike paper comics, which have to convince a publisher – and therefore have to have a coherent thought-out plot and style, and a presentable art skill, right from the get-go – anyone can start a webcomic. That’s part of the beauty of the medium. But it also means that some comics start out unfocused, or badly drawn, or with any number of problems.
However, if you like the general vibe, or if it’s funny, or if you fall in love with the main character within 3 strips – stick with it. The art will get better. So will the focus. Some of my favorite comics started out extremely goofy, both in writing and in art.
- Cancel AdBlock. Many webcomic artists make their living only off of their art and stories, and even the ones who don’t deserve your support. I’ve yet to see a single webcomic site with intrusive or offensive ads. So when you go to a webcomic site, be nice and add it to your AdBlock’s white list.
- Support the creators! Or don’t. Read a comic you particularly liked and want to show the creators your support? Great! There are almost always ways to do that: donation buttons, kickstarters (usually for print editions of the comic), Patreon pages (which I’ll link to in the comic’s post, when available), and, my favorite – merchandising.
However, remember that free webcomics are free for a reason and by the author’s choice. If you don’t want to – or can’t – pay anything, that’s perfectly fine!
- Check the alt-texts. Alt-text is the name of the little text blurb tool-tip which pops up when you hover over an image with your mouse. Lots of comics have those, usually with a little extra joke or insight from the author. They’re fun.
And they’re sneaky – some comics start out without those, but add them at some point midway, without any outside mention of it.
- Shortforms only – Randomize! In shortform comics, where every strip is a standalone, using the “random” button to browse the comic is sometimes much nicer than reading through the archives in order. Some of these comics have been running for years and have staggering archives, and this way you get to glimpse many stages in the comic’s evolution – plus, it’s less exhausting than reading for an hour and realizing you’re in strip 100 out of 3000.
- RSS is your buddy. You’ve found a thrilling comic, blazed through its entire archive in one sleepless night, and then comes that dreaded moment: when clicking “next” does nothing, and you realize you’re up to date and now have to wait for new strips. Like a commoner.
Personally, my preferred method for keeping up to date on webcomics is using an RSS reader (my favorite is Feedly). No need to remember which comic updates when, no cluttering of your Facebook/Twitter feeds.
- Social media is interesting. Most webcomic creators use Twitter / Facebook / Tumblr. Some of them use it for extra content, annoucements and so on, and some just have fun with it, but if you like their comic, there’s a chance you’ll like their feed. In addition, few authors who are particularly crazy create and maintain Twitter accounts for their characters.