I remember reading on some site somewhere a post that exclaimed "why are there so many canadian webcomics?" It was an interesting question that I decided deserved a half assed blog post about. And so here we are.
Now if you've read my blog, you would know I am highly critical of the CRTC AND Canadian Media. both are equally guilty of ignoring Canadian creativity and pushing the cheapest crappiest crap on Canadian audiences over the years. I speak mostly of Television and Movies, which have high concentration of American entertainment. So obviously I'm going to start with that. The potential audience in Canada for a creative work is insanely low. There are something like 30 million people in Canada, more or less, and most Canadians are generally not fussed about going out and watching Canadian television or movies. Usually because the type of Canadian movie or television that makes it through the hoops the CRTC and the like put out, are self - congratulatory pieces of garbage that overemphasize the Canadianness of the production. "Oh HI, I'm Steve from Toronto, and this is my wife from somalia, she's muslim. We just moved to Moose Jaw because our son is playing hockey. Oh he wears a turban in goal. He's sikh for some reason. Also our daughter is a chimp psychologist" this fall on CBC. Occasionally a "Corner Gas" or "Trailer Park Boys" will achieve success. But that is in spite of the rules in place to encourage canadian content, not because of it.
There is a lot of media concentration in Canada that I believe wouuld be better served in opening up the country to foreign investment. Local investment in culture does not encourage canadian content, neither does regulation. Having an open culture allows creative types more opportunity to create and provides a bigger audience than domestic canada. Look at Seth Rogan. Why is he only successful after going to the USA? Is it because theres' a bigger market there? Maybe partially, but mostly because he's a funny guy who writes good shit. And in the USA, they're more likely to get that shit produced.
Which leads us back to WebComics. A lot of brilliant webcomics are from Canada. Dinosaur Comics, about T-Rex and his genius underappreciated ideas, has been going strong for years. Theres also UserFriendly. VGCats, and all kinds more crappy webcomics and good webcomics. Webcomics are an outlet Canadian artists and creators have that might not make a lot of money for them, but allow them full creativity, ownership, and lack of political/corporate interference.
Furthermore, Canadians as noted generally have the ability to tell a joke, and we have a relatively good education system compared to a lot of the world that encourages creative thinking still.
Recently my local "newspaper" the Winnipeg Sun here replaced all their comics (Except the worst one, dog eat doug) with new comics for no reason whatsoever except maybe it was cheaper. Now, the comic strip pages don't change very often and it takes something big to do that, so its surprising to me the extent to which they revamped it. They didn't eliminate comics, obviously, because people don't buy the newspaper for the news (which comes from the same biased sources anyways) people buy it.. well they don't really buy newspapers anymore, but if they do buy it its for something to read to pass the time, as entertainment mostly. The newspapers of today are a lot closer to the weekly world news than they are to anything especially reputable. But even still, they cannot provide the outlet webcomics do.
I predict, once e-paper becomes predominant and simplified micropayments on the internet become commonplace, the downloading of magazines and newspapers will be huge. And the early trailblazers in webcomics are going to have a good collection of creative work to mass market at that point. Although I don't see the Amazon Kindle being the winner in the game. Nor any DRM crippled device.
Anyways, one last reason Canadians are writing a lot of webcomics? It's still pretty cold outside. I bet most webcomics get much more boring during the summer. This has been a half-assed blog post that contains many over-generalizations in order to prove a point which the blogger finds obvious. If you do not find it obvious, write your own damn blog.