In our current phase for senior project, we explain our idea as a “3D modeled webcomic with animation.” At first this sounds rather confusing (that’s why one of our next steps will be re-writing our explanation). Our project willtechnically be a webcomic. It will have a dedicated website and the whole mess of other stuff you usually associate with webcomics. But there are some key distinctions that differentiate our project from a classic webcomic (which by now there are hundreds of). I’ll try my best to highlight some of these main differences here.
First of all, our comic will be released with animated shorts. In fact, I personally consider the shorts the important bit, with the comics leading into them. Some webcomics do have this set up (comics with animations), like Cyanide and Happiness. We are trying to do things a little differently though. Instead of releasing shorts that are not relevant to the comics, we want to tie it all together. Both our comics and our shorts will be revolving around the same characters, setting and tone. Also, when it comes to webcomics, usually everything is hand drawn (via hard copy or digitally). Our webcomics will be modeled and rendered using 3D software. For these reasons, we typically refer to our project as a “web series” (hence the title, Coffeebot: An Online Series).
Secondly, there seem to be two main types of webcomics. There are the series that span an entire graphic novel’s worth of content, with a cohesively advancing plot, characters, etc. They are essentially a graphic novel being incrementally released online. The second type are humorous, but without a central storyline (ex. Cyanide and Happiness). Comics like this are akin to Gary Larson’s The Far Side, where each comic is a single joke (regardless of number of panels it contains), and the actions in the comic do not affect the other comics released. Essentially, they are non-sequitur jokes. Our project is neither one of these, however it does take a number of aspects from both. We are telling one-off jokes that don’t always impact the other comics/animations, but we are using two consistent characters who have distinct personality and growth over the life of the project. It is neither a graphic novel nor a non-sequitur joke comic. This follows our thesis of bringing newspaper comics online, as there are not many webcomics which follow this format. Again, Penny Arcade is close, but they break off and do comics which involve other characters and make topical references to current video game and technology news, which is not a part of our plan.
So, from where we stand now, there is no webseries out there that is exactly like our project. However, if there is, feel free to share because it can only help us better our project. There are many webcomics that exist with different techniques. Some are fairly standard: a comic that gets released on a weekly basis (until the author gets too busy with other work, which seems to happen a lot). Some are more experimental, such as “Homestuck” (I looked at for a few minutes and got put off, although as far as I understand, lots of people like it). There are comics that use experimental CSS or HTML5 stuff to create interesting effects. There are also comics that have incorporated animated panels of ambient effects,. The list can go on . Ultimately, I feel our comic series is unique enough to stand on its own as a new kind of web series.