Dinosaurs, Math Jokes, and Dogs in Space: The Rise of Web Comics

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

"There's no gatekeeper ... You're not even limited to the page. You can have your comic be as large or as little or as animated or as interactive as you want it to be," Christina Xu says in the latest installment of the PBS series Off Book. As a sort of expert on the frontiers of Internet culture, she's well versed in the dynamics of web-based fandom. "One of the benefits of having a comic that's distributed on the web is that it's not just distributed to the people who are closest to you, it's distributed to anyone," she notes. Niche audiences drove the success of Exploding Dog and the Perry Bible Fellowship, which are now household names (at least in nerd houses). The creators of both series, Sam Brown and Nick Gurewitch, and a host of other artists describe how their creative process involves some sort of interaction with fans, from sharing ideas to fully interactive storylines. To browse the comics mentioned, check out the full list of sites on the show's YouTube pageOff Book is produced for PBS by Kornhaber Brown.

For more from PBS Off Book, visit the YouTube channel

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2013/03/dinosaurs-math-jokes-and-dogs-in-space-the-rise-of-web-comics/274071/