The Art of Storytelling

It's not really something you notice so there's alot of people who don't know how to utilise it.

That is, how to tell a story in a comic book, manga or web comic.

This is far more important than the art itself.

Which is why my favourite webcomics have decent or poor art (not really poor as such, just more casual) but I can't stand certain other webcomics with beautiful art no matter what.

A manga is not an artbook, there is an actual story you are trying to tell. And like any novel, the manner of writing, the dialogue, the pacing of the story needs to be managed. As a visual novel, you also have to watch out for how panels are presented, how each page is layed out, when to insert a page break. This is by no means a simple task; which shows in how first time webcomics have their stories comes off as being bland and dull.

The best example I can think of is Gunnerkrig's Court and U.F.O.

Their art as being very similar, cartoonish, thick lines, simple shapes.

But Tom of Gunnerkrig's Court is a master at storytelling and there is something immensely gripping about GC that just doesn't exist in U.F.O. Perhaps, to some degree having a firmer plotline helps, but I think it's more than that. Tom knows how to create suspense between pages, that makes you want to turn the pages, makes you want to wait eagerly day by day for the new one to come out.

UFO, well, it doesn't. I read it once, thought it was cute but I never came back regularly. The story was paced poorly and presented poorly so at the end it doesnt retain my interest.

Another webcomic example is No Rest for the Wicked and True Magic. True Magic has lovely art, little stiff but the colors and the proportions are wonderful. But yet again, the artist fails in the storytelling portion of the web comic and No Rest comes out on top as being far more interesting, far more exciting, far more likely to establish a consistant fan base who'll keep pleading for more.

In short: how you tell your story is far more important than the visuals of the story.

This even applies to published manga. Guru Guru Ponchan is way more engaging than Ouran High, simply because Ouran High the manga is a horrible mess that is impossible to read. (I am serious. I couldn't get through the first chapter because of how awful it was, and I loved the anime.)