The FB for today promoted one of Flo’s side projects, Vetruvian Homer.

I’ve been at this comics-storytelling thing for a while. When I was getting my start, I briefly resented this whole “Internet” thing as an upstart distraction from real comics—you know, the kind published and purchased in specialty shops and maybe collected into trade paperbacks.

I came around and embraced the internet as a low-cost way to publish longform stories. But after a few years, I had to cope with the fact that webcomics didn’t like longform stories that much. Oh, there were a few successes here and there, but by the time Guilded Age started up, the face of online comics looked more like the xkcd and Cyanide and Happiness stickmen than Questionable Content‘s Marten or Dumbing of Age‘s Joyce. In an age of fragmented consumption, it was short, punchy gags that found viral success. The immersive world of Arkerra ain’t gonna fit onto your Instagram. And don’t even get me started on Facebook’s alleged “stories.”

For me, Webtoon represents a new frontier in that regard: a market for digital comics that’s centered on “story” as I know it—character development, plotting, worldbuilding, getting readers invested, creating a mental universe you can explore. (A few notable Webtoons are not so longform. Wayne Family Adventures, a DC Comics project on the platform, is more of a gag strip for Batfans, and Owlbear’s work has little to unite it besides punchy gags and his overall style. But these are exceptional: most of the launches on the platform have a clear narrative thread.)

And crucially, it’s a successful market. Comics attracts more than its share of big talkers whose mouths write checks that their bank accounts can’t cash. Some of them are frauds, some of them are just hopeful dreamers, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter. You learn to avoid those guys if you want to stay solvent.

It’s been kind of amusing to me to see a few Guilded Age readers insist that this “Webtoon” thing couldn’t possibly succeed—not my Webtoon project specifically, but all Webtoons and the entire platform—when it’s been in business for 17 years, has had multiple series turned into streaming movies, started working with DC Comics last year, inspired Marvel to pursue a similar format—guys, I could go on. Yes, it’s a little irritating to read on one’s desktop at times….because it’s formatted primarily for the phone and for apps, because that’s where the young readers are now. The differences it has with the webcomics I did for most of my career? Well, those differences just make me more interested in this strange new frontier, and in its commercially successful infinite canvases.

But is that frontier interested in anything have to offer? Well…uh…the jury’s still out!

(Continued tomorrow.)