What’s Your Comics-to-Crap Ratio?
Douglas Rushkoff is offering an online preview of a new comic called X (Heidi’s comments here). Looks like a fairly cool comic, with some pretty art by Cheoljoo Lee and Younger Yang. And as usual, the format got me thinking.
The preview is your basic repurposed printed comic book on the screen (*sigh*), but looking at the tiny, unobtrusive controls on the lower right of my screen, I realized that one of its strengths (offsetting the annoyingly long load times) was the high ratio of screen real estate devoted to comics versus navigational elements.The controls and loading bars were as tiny and unobtrusive as possible, (and the preview doesn’t blur everything between spreads for no reason which is a plus).
So I thought, hey, there are really only three types of pixels you’re going to be looking at if you sit down to read a comic book or graphic novel on the screen. There’s (1) the comic, (2) the controls, and (3) the crap—”crap” being logos, chatter, ads, useless branding, etc.
I figure most readers would want the ratio from 1 to 2 to be as big as possible. On my admittedly big screen, the preview’s comics-to-controls ratio is a whopping 170 to 1. Not bad!
And where the crap is concerned, I’d think that most readers would want the crap to go away entirely when they settle down to read a long comic and sure enough that’s what the preview does.
As usual, this doesn’t really apply to strips which have always thrived in a sea of distractions; and I’d still favor arrow keys or the spacebar over hunting and pecking; but where the long form stuff is concerned—the online equivalents of comic books and graphic novels—I just thought it might be useful if we artists took a moment to consider our comics-to-controls ratio, as well as our comics-to-crap ratio.