I’ve lamented before about the general lack of webcomics coverage. “Why don’t more people embrace webcomics? They’re every bit as good — and in some cases better — than what gets published.”

A few years ago, I might have suggested that it was a fear of change. “I don’t know what the new thing is, so I’ll stick with what I already know.” There’s certainly some of that involved, but these days, I think it has more to do with habits. “I’m doing it this way because this is the way it’s always been done.”

Much of my hesitation to really get into webcomics (and I thought I was coming late to the party a decade ago!) was simply that regular trips to my LCS was the way I’d always obtained my comic fix, and there was no real impetus for me to change. I enjoyed going to the shop and picking up whatever was in my pull file, and browsing the new comics on the wall. No need to change that.

But then due some financial difficulties, I had to stop buying comics. That didn’t satiate my interest in comics, naturally, and I had to sit down and figure out ways to continue reading comics, despite not being able to afford buying them. It was only when I was really forced to re-think my comics habits that I really embraced webcomics for the first time.

I think the economic depression from around 2008-09 was significant because it forced people to change in any number of ways. There was a lot of political rhetoric about “change” for that year’s new U.S. President, but there was some (unintentional) prophetic truth to the claim. I think a lot of issues came to a head more-or-less simultaneously and it did force a large number of people to rethink themselves.

“Do I really need to spend $30 every week on comics?”

“Do I really need 400 channels on television?”

“Do I really need a cell phone and a land line?”

“Do I really need to buy something from Starbucks every day?”

I think a lot of people started seeing webcomics as a viable alternative back then. Over the past 7-8 years, a lot of people changed their habits to include reading webcomics. Some of that was out of necessity. But I think we’re due for another big shift. There’s another presidential election underway, of course, but we’ve also seen a number of big changes on the comics reporting landscape recently too, with notable shifts away from business as usual. I expect we’ll see more in the coming months.

If often takes something big for us to really think through our repetitive actions. Change isn’t easy, and that’s why it often takes some outside force to get the ball rolling. Whether you’re looking at the political landscape, or the newspaper business, or the economy, or the job market, or anything else, change should help goad you into looking at your personal situation — really looking at your situation — and seeing if it makes sense to continue on with business as usual.

About The Author

Sean Kleefeld
Senior Editor, Comics & Lifestyle
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Sean Kleefeld is an independent researcher whose work has been used by the likes of Marvel Entertainment, Titan Books and 20th Century Fox. He writes the ongoing “Incidental Iconography” column for The Jack Kirby Collector and had weekly “Kleefeld on Webcomics” and "Kleefeld's Fanthropology" columns for MTV Geek. He’s also contributed to Alter Ego, Back Issue and Comic Book Resources. Kleefeld’s 2009 book, Comic Book Fanthropology, addresses the questions of who and what comic fans are. He blogs daily at KleefeldOnComics.com.