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Synonyms: Online comic, webmanga, webtoon
See also: fancomic, doujinshi
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'Webcomic' is the name given to any comic published online. Webcomics are usually original work, though some[1] are fancomics in the style of fanfiction, based on characters and canons by other authors. Most webcomics are by amateur creators, though some professional comic artists publish online as well, and many syndicated comic strips are available online (though it's not always clear whether these are considered true webcomics).

Web comics vary from 3- or 4-panel strips like those found in newspapers, to graphic novels published as chapters or page-by-page. They may be updated daily, semi-weekly, weekly, or more erratically. Many are comedic; some are more dramatic in tone. A webcomic influenced by manga or drawn in a manga-like style is sometimes called a webmanga; as well, some Japanese artists publish their own webcomics. In South Korea, webcomics are called webtoons; some of the most popular manhwa titles are webtoons. [2]

The first known webcomic was Eric Millikin's Witches and Stitches, which was published to Compuserve beginning in 1985.[3] Since that time, the webcomics medium has exploded in range and diversity, with a new generation of artists embracing the medium and its possibilities. Numerous webcomics have garnered sizeable fandoms complete with fanfic, fanart, wank, and the rest, and have enabled their creators to make a living from their art, through website ads, crowdfunding, book and merchandise sales, commissions and donations. Most webcomic artists who earn a living off their comic do so independently, without being contracted or syndicated by a major company, straddling the border between amateur and professional publication.

“my boyfriend at the time showed up with a bunch of Megatokyo pages he’d printed out and said ‘what if you put your comic online’” actually probably sounds really weird to people these days now that I think about it but that’s just what the 2000s were like [4]

Site Hosts

Many webcomics are hosted on their own domains, and this was especially true before the rise of social media. The blogging software Wordpress has a range of themes and plug-ins for turning a blog into a webcomic, such as page browsing, skip to first or last page, and so on.

Some platforms exist specifically to offer hosting services for webcomics. SmackJeeves is one of the oldest, well-known webcomic hosting sites, home to many yaoi and video game comics. LINE Webtoon, although more popular in Asia, has been steadily gaining ground in English-speaking countries as well.

Other artists choose to post their webcomics on social media sites like Tumblr or Twitter, or on art gallery platforms like DeviantArt.

Fan Interaction

Webcomics are somewhat unique in that it is a medium where the creators often interact with the fans to a much larger degree than is often seen in traditional comics publishing. This is often done through comments on individual comic pages, social media, or even an official ask blog; Twitch streams are becoming increasingly popular as well, where the artist might draw upcoming pages or unrelated sketches live. Even less well-known webcomics often have a small but dedicated group of fans, some of whom may have been following the author's work for a long time or know them personally. As well, many webcomic authors are themselves fans, producing fanart and contributing to zines.

Some Common Webcomic Genres

See also Category:Fancomics

Webcomics That Have Found Financial Success Via Their Fandoms

A shelf of books for sale in London comic book store Forbidden Planet, including books by xkcd creator Randall Munroe, and the creators of the webcomic The Oatmeal.

As the webcomics medium has grown in reach and popularity, and methods of supporting independent creators on the web have increased in number, a number of creators have found financial success via their webcomics and webcomic fandoms.

The crowdfunding website Kickstarter is a popular platform for monetising webcomics, and it is common for creators who have amassed a large enough fanbase to crowdfund a volume of collected webcomics in print, usually with some associated merchandise and/or artwork as additional backer rewards.

Other common methods of monetising webcomics via engaging the comic's fandom include merchandise sales, book sales, convention attendance (to sell books, meet fans and give away or sell sketches) and donations, particularly via Patreon.

Some webcomics which have achieved financial success thanks to their fandoms include:

Well-Known Webcomics With An Unknown Financial Status

Fannish Resources


  1. ^ For example, the Smallville parody RPF webcomic Lanarama
  2. ^ troisroyaumes in a comment at the Fanlore Dreamwidth community. (Accessed May 17, 2011)
  3. ^ Webcomics, Know Your Meme. Accessed September 3, 2017.
  4. ^ Tumblr post by kintatsujo, 19 Aug 2020.
  5. ^ Fan comics, published to Fanthropology on LiveJournal. Posted April 30, 2007 (Accessed September 6, 2017).