It’s Saturday morning and as I sit here tweaking some code on this website, it dawns on me that what I’m hosting right now may quickly becoming a unicorn in the wild.
When webcomics first popped up on the scene, the vast majority of us had little choice but to buy our own webspace and quickly learn how to hammer HTML into something that would present our comic strips. There was no WordPress and webcomic plugins certainly didn’t exist as they are today. The closest thing I remember was a script called Walrus that made the task at least bearable by automating some of the work. Still, if you weren’t willing to dive in and write code or pay someone else to do it, you weren’t going to have a website.
One of the cool things about early webcomics was discovering their websites. Each one was as unique as the comic strips they hosted. They were like little themed islands in a giant online amusement park. It was fun.
Sadly, as it seems with many things online, the march of time has lead to giant aggregators and collection sites popping up and swallowing content whole. All hosted on nearly the same, boring template. Just one strip in a sea of thousands vying for attention. In a race to satiate the appetites of readers, it feels like something special has been lost.
Oh sure, I understand the appeal of large collection websites. It’s less bookmarks and hassle to see everything in one place. You don’t have to go searching for everything. You’re busy.
But sometimes it’s good to slow down. To check out the unseen corners of the internet and discover something unusual that doesn’t quite fit the modern narrative. Sometimes it’s just cool to find something in it’s purest form of expression.
For me, that is personal webcomic websites. Standing alone in the wilderness, keeping a lantern on for any travelers still willing to leave the main path and go exploring.
How long we’ll last out here is anyone’s guess but I can’t imagine hosting comics any other way.