Sprite Comics.

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Sprite Comics.

Postby Icnos » April 2nd, 2018, 3:48 pm

First, let me elucidate something. I've been out of the game for a LONG time. Started spriting when I was probably 6-8 years old (I'm now 22). Then I came here around 06-07ish. Some of my best memories as a kid were being a part of the community here.
That being said... I don't know what that is anymore.

Where do sprite comics stand on this site in 2018? They had a bad rap back in the day; but what is their standing now? Do people still make them as frequently? Do people still read them and genuinely enjoy them as I did as a young child. I go to school for graphic design, and never even thought about returning here and making new comics with my more refined, matured graphic skills. (I'd kill it)

Long story short: I know it's got to be a vastly different culture here since 2009-2010. I'm just curious as to how people feel about sprite comics now, and where they rank among the other comics here. I want to get back into creating them, but if there's no market for them here, then why bother?
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Re: Sprite Comics.

Postby DracheLehre » April 2nd, 2018, 6:46 pm

People still read them, they're just not as prolific as they were ten years ago.

That's not to say that there is no place for sprite comics on their site, spriters just try to up their story game to make a narrative that's compelling enough for returning viewers.
But in general, in my experience on this site, as long as the story's solid, reader's won't fault you for your style of comic, be it drawn, MS paint, sprite, or what-have-you...
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Re: Sprite Comics.

Postby Shard » April 7th, 2018, 11:14 am

JonWalter wrote:Anyway, there is that problem with sprite comics that it is hard to portray action with them without animations or such. So they are good for comedy and non action scene plots and such.

I'd have to disagree - you could say the exact same thing about just about any medium. Strip a day comics, manga, western comics... it all depends on the skill of the person making the pages. There have been several sprite comics that have had "fighting" as a main focus and worked out just fine. Heck, some people host entire tournaments where the entire premise is "make a comic about your character fighting the other guy and we'll vote on who has the better one"! Ultimately people who try and limit their work based on the medium are missing out, because if they do so they won't try new things and improve their capabilities!

As an active sprite comic maker, I feel as if I should weigh in on the topic. Really, I think one of the biggest problems for sprite comics as a genre is the fact that not as many games use sprites anymore. Back in the day, anything on a handheld system used sprites! Sonic, Pokemon, Mario, and just about everything else was done with sprites. So a lot of people saw them and a lot of people liked them, and a lot of people looked into them and saw that these could be used to make comics. Other people were doing so as well, so why not? It was a genre in and of itself- but a lot of people who were artists couldn't look past the use of pre-created items, and viewed it... I guess the best comparison I could draw is like how Hollywood sees animated films! A lot of work goes into these things, but people are surprisingly quick to disregard them and lump them all together into the same generalized category, when there's all sorts of different stories within that genre.

The thing is, any comic is whatever you make it out to be. If it's impressive enough, then people will eventually take notice! But you shouldn't make any sort of comic because you want it to be "popular" or "noticed" or anything of the sort. Realistically, sprite comics aren't going to do much for you in that regard because of how other people tend to disregard them. If you're going to make a sprite comic, make it because you want to make a sprite comic. If you're working for anyone that's not yourself, it's going to show. And yes, I use the term 'working' - because making comics, sprite or not, is a lot of work! Since you used to make comics (and I swear some of them look familiar...) you should know that a lot of time and effort can go into putting together pages and figuring out how things should look. If you're making a comic to get noticed or get popular then you're going to feel like you shouldn't bother because no one's noticing it, and you'll fall into the pitfall that a lot of people do when they do comics just for the sake of getting attention: their motivation to work on the comic is directly tied to how many people are reading it. And while that may not seem like a bad thing, it's hell when you're just starting out, because a lot of people are so willing to overlook sprite comics just because they're sprite comics. But, if you're making a comic because you want to make a comic, then that won't be a problem! Since you're working for the sake of the story you want to tell, your ability to continue making pages won't be reliant on how many people are following what you do, and if you have a good enough story, people will start to notice, whether it's a sprite comic or a drawn comic.

Ultimately, to summarize: From what I've noticed, there's less sprite comics because less games nowadays use sprites, but they're still around. Some people still do look down on sprite comics for... some reason, I can't pretend to know what they're thinking. And if you're going to be making a comic, don't do it to get popular: do it because you want to make a comic.
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Re: Sprite Comics.

Postby eishiya » April 7th, 2018, 11:49 am

Shard: Well said!

I think these days, there are more games using (pixel art) sprites than ever before, but they're mostly indie games. Players aren't likely to experience a parade of sprite games anymore, as they'll be playing a mix of 2D and 3D games, and a lot of the 2D indie games are PC-only, and the PC is not where most gaming newcomers are discovering games. Plus, your average indie game doesn't provide as much versatility for comics as games like Sonic, they tend to have smaller animation sets per character, due to being made by smaller teams with smaller budgets.

Another factor is that most of the commonly used sprites are from major franchises with huge fan followings of their own and the vast majority of readers know where those sprites are from. Using them provides an easy point of entry for fans to your writing, they allow communities to form more easily. Even where the sprites serve only as actors in a wholly original story, fans of the original game are likely to check it out. That's not the case with most recent pixel art games, which don't have such large, established fandoms, due to not being long-running franchises. Using those less-familiar sprites not only isn't likely to help new readers get into your work , it's more likely to be seen as "just art theft" because those games and sprites aren't as widely known and well-established for sprite comic use. It's really a shame, since sprite comics could provide a great venue for promoting lesser-known games.
And, as you said, we're not really getting any new big pixel art game franchises to provide new sources of sprites that are harmless to use.
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Re: Sprite Comics.

Postby Icnos » July 13th, 2019, 8:29 pm

Still wondering about this topic. I would love to get back into sprinting. Al the communities I browsed as a kid no longer exist. Where can I even go to make new spriter friends? Times have changed.
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Re: Sprite Comics.

Postby eishiya » July 13th, 2019, 9:08 pm

The situation re: new spriters hasn't changed, as far as I know. There are a few sprite author comics still going on SJ, so you could try to get into those if that's your thing. Other than that, I think the best thing to do is make a sprite comic and see what happens!

I'm not aware of any sprite comic communities, but the Spriters Resource forum still gets occasional posts pertaining to comics and custom sprites, and there might be some Discords out there. You could make one for your own project, and it could become a new spriter hub.

It might be easier to bring new people into the community now because of things like Super Mario Maker and Sonic Mania getting more people interested in the pixel art of those franchises again. They won't get into sprite comics without seeing some though!
If you're interested in making custom spriter friends who aren't necessarily into sprite comics (but who might get interested), then fan Discords for those franchises or specific 2D entries might be a good place. I've definitely encountered people into custom sprites and OCs on such servers, it might not take more than a "hey, check this [cool sprite comic] out" to get them interested in the community.
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Re: Sprite Comics.

Postby Shard » July 14th, 2019, 10:26 pm

If you're looking for a place that's still (somewhat) active and does sprite-stuff, the Middle Ground might be a good bet! The forum isn't as active as it used to be, but that's primarily because there's a Discord Server that people there use pretty actively.
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Re: Sprite Comics.

Postby Mundius » July 19th, 2019, 12:22 am

The problem is, if you want to bring people here to read your sprite comic, you have a great slate to start off with, considering sprite comics haven't really been prolific in the last 5 years, lots of people have forgotten the dregs that were on offer. The issue is you have to make it really good to entice people (and like before, kids) to get off of social media to go to your site; that's a much harder task than you would think.
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