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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

When was the last time you read a book for your pleasure- not for showing off, not for your 'Bookstagram', not for class but your own pleasure? Of course, people who read recreationally still exist, but we cannot deny that their numbers are dwindling every day. I have nothing against the growing technology but we cannot argue that the advent of the internet and digitalization of literature has not changed and transferred our reading habits. In a fast-paced, capitalist world where time is money, we tend to read quickly, get our information (or pleasure) quickly and search for the next thing just as quickly. Binge-watching is but another example of our ‘time efficient’ generation.

This is not necessarily a bad thing- all we are doing is saving time. The internet allows us to get quick information but sadly, this has also significantly decreased our attention span. According to research, this has been happening due to the growing amount of content in today’s world. We want to consume a little bit of everything. Twitter allows us to capture only 280 characters and narrate our whole story. ‘Stories’ on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat last only 24 hours. The world is surely urging us all to keep our narratives short and quick. But how do we do it?

From Doodles to Daring

Humans have always communicated through pictures and art. While the very first cave drawings can be counted as comics, comics and cartoons as we know them probably began somewhere at the end of the 19th century. Their existence solidified, however, after the Great Depression. With comic companies like DC and Marvel making their presence felt with their larger-than-life superheroes, today, comics have transformed into giving the people a voice, allowing social issues to enter the consciousness of its readers.

Now, with the coming of the internet, we have ourselves the newly transformed genre of ‘webcomics’. These are comics published electronically- on a website or mobile app. Webcomics have brought in a whole new revolution in the world of graphic narratives. They have an increased democratic quality to them and are able to engage with a larger audience.

Here is how webcomics are sweeping its consumer base off their feet:

  • Anyone can create: While most artists prefer drawing digitally (which does require expensive gadgets), some webcomic artists hand-draw their comics and put it on social media. 
  • Increased accessibility: Since most of these webcomics are free (with artists drawing revenue from sources like Patreon or commercial sponsors), more people get a chance to read these webcomics.
  • Diverse topics: Due to a larger audience’s engagement (both in creation and consumption of webcomics), webcomics on almost every theme exists.
  • Controversial themes: There is a potential to create anonymity when it comes to the creator of the webcomic which allows them to deal with controversial issues more easily.

Given its form, webcomics today also deal with a lot of socially and politically controversial, progressive themes. Take Rachita Taneja, the artist of Sanitary Panels, who deals with important issues like the idea of patriotism, gender, secularism, etc. These simple drawings are able to put the point forth without much hassle (on both the creator and the consumer’s side) and display reality in a much raw form. The content of the webcomic intermingles with its form. YesIAmHotInThis by Huda Fahmy talks about the struggles of a hijabi woman in Anglo-western circles. On the other hand, we have much more light-hearted webcomics like Olympus Lore by Rachel Smythe that reimagines Greek Mythology. As for me, webcomics allure me due to their bite-size, their beautiful and unique art styles, their special take on our material world, and, well, they are funny. 

Webcomics are everywhere: you can find them all over social media, they are on platforms like Webtoon, Netcomics, Tapas, etc. and you can even find them in print in different newspapers and magazines. This new form of comics is easy to access, easy to understand and (not to underestimate the artists) easy to create. They deal with a variety of issues and themes and go along with breathtaking art. 

Yashica

Delhi South '22

Yashica (she/her) is an undergraduate based in Delhi, India. A student of Lady Shri Ram College for Women, she is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. Her poetry has been published by Sapphic Writers, The Red Megaphone, AsianZine, and The Write Order. She is also the coordinator of the creative writing society of her college. While she briefly worked as a content writer, she usually finds herself writing about the grotesque realities of the human psyche and society. Her work ranges from horror fiction to confessional poetry. She also writes about Dalit issues and her experiences as a member of the queer community.
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