Thinking Of Your Webcomic Like A Sitcom

2016 Artwork Sitcoms And Webcomics article sketch

Well, since I was busy making a short webcomic series at the time of writing, I thought that I’d talk briefly about one interesting way of looking at webcomics.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but one thing that I’ve noticed about writing short self-contained 3-6 panel webcomic updates is that they’re a lot like the scenes from a sitcom. Although an episode of a sitcom tells a continuous story, many sitcoms can be broken down into lots of shorter funny moments.

This is why clips from sitcoms are so popular on sites like Youtube and why you sometimes even see DVD compilations of clips from classic sitcoms being sold (in the UK, a few years ago, at least). Their structure often allows them to be broken down into lots of smaller self-contained jokes.

The best way to think of a webcomic update (if you’re making self-contained updates) is like one of these scenes from a sitcom. You’ll only usually have room for one joke and, therefore, it can often be a good idea to look to sitcoms for inspiration when it comes to learning how to write these kinds of comic updates.

"Damania Resurgence - Film Night" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Resurgence – Film Night” By C. A. Brown

To give you an example from the comic I made a couple of hours before writing this article, the style of humour in the comic above is similar to the “cut away” jokes that are sometimes found in American sitcoms like “30 Rock”, “Family Guy” etc…

These are jokes where the background etc.. changes significantly in a couple of the panels and yet everything goes completely back to normal a few seconds later. When done well, they’re absolutely hilarious.

Whilst you obviously shouldn’t copy any specific jokes from sitcoms, it can be a good idea to learn things like the structure of a joke and how to set up a joke quickly (by watching sitcoms) if you’re making self-contained webcomic updates. Since, as I mentioned before, webcomics aren’t really that different from sitcoms in some ways.


Sorry for the ridiculously short article, but I hope it was useful 🙂

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