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Comics are using American comic print formatting, but webcomics are a new formatting style intended for mobile use, it's intended to be read up and down and makes it easier for mobile user to read by just scrolling down.

What are some formatting choices in comics that may make it more difficult to convert it into a webcomics format?

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    Seems related to your previous question what-comic-book-format-should-you-use-to-make-it-easier-to-turn-into-a-web-comic
    – NofP
    Jan 22, 2022 at 18:02
  • I think it's different, because it's more general.
    – Sayaman
    Jan 22, 2022 at 18:12
  • Presumably any comic that is formatted horizontally would be difficult for a website designed to endlessly scroll down, according to your own premise.
    – wetcircuit
    Jan 22, 2022 at 18:41
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    For a mobile phone, it's probably the small viewing area that is the main issue. Showing a full page means it's small and hard to read. One option could be to make a page out of vertical strips placed next to each other in print, and underneath each other for mobile. (although you could just as easily scroll left/right by turning your phone sideways - but that would be inconvenient on e.g. webtoons when viewed in the browser). Anyway, if you want to make a (web)comic, I think all this focus on format is just distracting you from actually starting.
    – user54131
    Jan 22, 2022 at 19:19
  • tips.clip-studio.com/en-us/articles/2812 has a blogpost by an artist that covers his process for making a comic both for print and webtoon. You might find that interesting. You can probably find perspectives from other artists facing the same issue if you google for it.
    – user54131
    Jan 23, 2022 at 15:58

1 Answer 1

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There is nothing inherently difficult in converting a comic to a webcomic. In fact, the laziest option is just to deliver your comic as a PDF version of the equivalent printed comic as let the PDF reader work its magic.

There are however some subtle differences that require attention, in particular if you are new to the world of porting anything to the web.

Copyright

Not a format issue, but make sure you have the rights to put whatever you plan to put on the web before you do it.

The story order

Story arcs in comics are usually bundled together or printed in some specific order. A webcomic author should pay attention to avoid presenting the pages in reverse chronological order as is common for comic strips. The result would be rather jarring for a new reader if they were given the last page and they needed to scroll back, page after page, until the beginning of the story. Bundling together chapters and giving links to the first page in each chapter is a plus of webcomics, which facilitates returning readers when they try to pick up from where they left.

Pagination

Some comics have big reveals on odd pages spanning both sides. This may result in: i) a split panel on consecutive pages, or ii) a larger-than-usual page on display. Once you avoid the split panel by correctly glueing your pages, the size of the comic should not be an issue as a web user can typically zoom in and out. However, a webcomic site set with fixed layouts may unnecessarily shrink the panel. Make sure your webcomic is dynamic and fluid in the layout and can adapt to different panel sizes.

Pagination vs. scrolling

It is tempting to glue all pages together in a single infinite-scrolling website. In my crawling of webcomic I have found this to be rather uncommon. It is also a fairly bad idea. For instance, if poorly done, a returning reader would need to scroll endlessly to find the page they need. Paginate instead and provide links.

Page format

Rarely, some comic strips have a very odd aspect ratio (I have seen a 5:1). The corresponding webcomic would look odd. It may even display incorrectly if set to center the image. Stick to aspect ratios similar to monitor defaults, from 1:1 to 16:9, and such issues should never occur. Also, don't center your comic images if your layout allows for images larger than the screen area. Enable a zoom function instead.

Image format

Print has a target display area. It therefore has a very well defined target resolution in the input are raster images. A webcomic is an entirely different story, and solutions should be considered on a case by case basis:

  1. a large raster image together with a poorly designed layout support may result in images spanning more than the screen size;
  2. a scaled down raster image may produce visual artefacts;
  3. images saved with lossy compression also produce artefacts;
  4. images that are too large may take too long to load, or discourage readers with limited traffic / bandwidth
  5. large images saved with low resolution may lead to grainy pixelated aberrations if the reader needs to zoom in in order to read text, or pay attention to a detail essential to the story.

The answer is given ignoring the following logical fallacies in the OP:
  1. Logical fallacy of absolutes. The American comic print formatting is not a worldwide adopted standard. Mangas are an obvious example. However, even Disney's comics in Europe often adhere to a more compact Taschenbuch format. In a single country different comic publishers use a variety of formats. Further, the same publisher may use different formats depending on the comic.

  2. Definist fallacy. Webcomics may be consumed on mobile devices but their main purpose is to avoid the hurdle of finding a publisher rather than being available on mobile devices. Web content can be consumed on tablets and computers as well. As a counterexample, standard printed comics can be designed for mobile devices and delivered as PDFs.

  3. Mind projection fallacy. readers can scroll a webcomic page up and down just as easily as they read across a printed page. Further, they can also zoom in and out, or click and drag.

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