By the nature of their medium, webcomics are an ever-changing field. One of the challenges in writing about webcomics is that even with the speed of the internet, articles are sometimes outdated before they’re even published. So it’s not a huge surprise that there have been few books written on the subject.

However, since many people like having all the information collected in one set of covers (unlike online, where most pieces are fairly short and scattered all over) I thought I might take this week to highlight the printed books that have been written on the topic…

Webcomics by Steven Withrow & John Barber, 2005.
As the first book of it’s kind, this largely covers the basics of how to create webcomics. In that respect, it’s very functional and practical, but with over a decade since it was written, the technology has changed a fair amount, making much of the material dated.

A History of Webcomics v1.0 by T Campbell, 2006.
This is the best (and only!) history of webcomics out there. It obviously only covers up to the early 2000s, and Campbell has since noted that he made a few factual errors in it, but it provides the best coverage of webcomics as a whole.

Webcomics 2.0 by Steve Horton & Sam Romero, 2008.
This book does talk to the how-to side of making webcomics, but it’s not as focused on specific technology as Withrow & Barber’s book, so it holds up a little better. It also covers promotion and earning revenue, but since it predates crowd-funding platforms, the landscape on that front has noticeably changed.

How to Make Webcomics by Brad Guigar, Dave Kellett, Dave Kurtz, & Kris Straub, 2011.
All four authors had been working as webcomikers for at least a decade each before writing this, so they approach the topic from a very practical and functional perspective. They don’t focus as much on technology, recognizing how much it can/will change, and approach the business side of webcomics with a more “from the trenches” perspective.

The Webcomics Handbook by Brad Guigar, 2013.
This book acts as a companion to How to Make Webcomics. It doesn’t spend much time on the basics of cartooning, but instead covers all the other stuff someone who wants to make a living at webcomics might need to know: taxes, intellectual property, etc. This is the only book in this bibliography that addresses crowd-funding.

All but the most recent two of these books are out of print. While you will almost certainly find more up-to-date information about webcomics online, and will likely keep the number of new entries here small, they all have the distinct advantage, as I stated earlier, in collecting a lot of information in a single place.

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.