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—Phalanx, How Not to Run a Webcomic
So you've gotten really good at drawing your character. Only thing is, you draw him the same way every time. And if you try to change the angle, it no longer looks anything like your original character.
So you draw a few more characters. And have the same problem. Pretty soon you have a cast of five, eight, 12 characters, but only one pose each. Maybe you get lucky and manage three or four poses each. Still, nothing like the range you'd need to draw your own comic, right?
Welcome to the world of cut-and-paste. If you manage to get these pictures onto your computer (or create them there in the first place), you can pop 'em into any decent graphics program (including something as simple as MS Paint) and make your comic. You can create panels, either by hand or in Comic Life, and put your characters into them, even flip your characters to make it look like you drew twice as many poses. Out comes your comic, ready to publish on your homepage.
Of course, without the skills to pull off those awesome Marvel graphics, you'll need to make up for it with an interesting premise, a well chosen setting and plenty of good jokes. (Or drama, but that's a bit harder to pull off. Then again, maybe a Soap Opera....) Believe it or not, many do just that.
Not to be confused with Identical Panel Gag, which is the punctual copy-and-paste of panels for comic effect.
- Stripcreator allows anyone to create their own cut-and-paste comic.
- Elf Only Inn, in the early strips, is set in a chat room; thus, the characters are deliberately cut-and-paste, because they reflect the players' avatars/user icons. The humor relies on the conflicts between playing styles, the conflict between Role-Players and out-of-character players, and the minutia of chat room culture.
- When the strip starts becoming more serious, the art changes from cut-and-paste to more sophisticated art.
- Achewood creator Chris Onstad is known for copying and pasting much of the content of his strip (as he points out referencing a series of mostly empty panels with only a couple of speech bubbles and characters, "This is usually what my screen looks like around two a.m. the day a strip is due."). Strangely, this actually contributes to the subtle comedic effect of the strip, allowing Onstad to have a high level of control over subtle elements of the art and draw attention to facial expressions and the like. In short, Achewood's art is designed not to distract from the top-notch writing.
- Ctrl Alt Del relies on this, particularly in regards to faces. This often leads to errors such as faces being lit from the wrong direction.
- Mr. Square Comics is based around apathy and randomness, so this was inevitable. Lampshaded here: issue 193
- Dinosaur Comics is the ultimate example, using this as its main gimmick. Besides a few strips with minor changes (and guest strips) every single strip uses not only the same art, but the same panel layout. Only the dialogue varies.
- Furmentation: hosted here Webcomic where all characters and props are drawn once in Flash and exported into image files to be cut-n-pasted from later into premade strip templates in Adobe Photoshop. Most characters are drawn with two angles at most, and expressions are changed in post-work. Backgrounds are often gradients, but sometimes blurred and altered photos are used instead, and reused for the duration of specific scenes or storylines.
- Badly Drawn Webcomic uses a similar idea, albeit with a smaller template. In fact, the comic seems to be so heavily inspired by Dinosaur Comics that the creator attempted to Lampshade this with Comic Twelve
- Freaking Awful Puns relies heavily on this.
- Girly is decidedly not a Cut and Paste Comic, but it does have a Cut and Paste character, a little-seen character named Xerox. Apparently in the Girly universe "cutpastes" are their own race, and Xerox's daughter -- Winter's half-sister Collette -- is half-cutpaste, and although she can move, her range of poses are fairly limited.
- And when she does look in the opposite direction, the lettering on her shirt reverses to indicate her image has been 'flipped' rather than her body turning.
- Help Desk is a Cut and Paste Comic set in a not-Microsoft-I-swear company's technical support department. The cut-and-paste style really becomes obvious in a Crossover with General Protection Fault, a more traditionally-drawn comic.
- Red Meat is one of the most famous Cut and Paste Comics, having seen publication in alternative weeklies all across the U.S.
- Partially Clips is a webcomic made with public domain clipart. Each strip uses different art, but usually all three panels are the same unaltered image.
- Spoofed in this El Goonish Shive strip, where the four middle panels are taken from previous strips, without a trace of subtlety or appropriate context.
- Basic Instructions does this, apparently having traced the original artwork from photographs. This goes quite well with the dry humor and instruction-book premise.
- Get Your War On, My Filing Technique is Unstoppable and My Fighting Technique is Unstoppable, all by, David Rees, are all created with black-and-white office clip art.
- Day by Day doesn't make an advertised gimmick out of cut-and-paste, but it relies unusually heavily on it for a plot-based strip.
- As a Stealth Parody, Powerup Comics can get pretty blatant about this. (He's got a hand attached to his elbow!)
- Hamstard, a joke webcomic allegedly by the main character of Erfworld, has a grand total of five different panels in its entire run.
- It lampshades it, no less. "By next year, I might be able to turn all the way around!"
- Wondermark is a comic made using art culled from the author's collection of 19th century publications.
- This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow relies almost entirely on clip-art-looking images of various politicians, generic people,Sparky the Penguin and neon-colored aliens, sometimes with minor editing to fit the occasion.
- Anime example: Doujin Work tells the life of a girl inspired to make dōjinshi with the assistance of her eccentric friends, only to face problems as a beginner. In the anime, one episode in fact details how the main character, despite improving somewhat, can only draw the same pose of her characters exactly the same for each panel. This becomes more so frustrating as she is supposed to form an erotic dōjin. In complete irony, the comic sells because of how bad it is.
- Meta-Fiction features a character named Sheriff Justice Freedom, who has a giant head with the exact same expression every panel, and it's only seen from three angles (but mostly from a 3/4 view). Actually a subversion, since he's drawn freehand each time. The most obvious difference is in his beard stubble.
- The Outer Circle has only five characters and each character has not more than four poses. The only real change in any character is that one of them recently found himself with a mullett but doesn't know why. However, his poses are still the same as before the mullett.
- Casey and Andy admits to this from time to time.
- Sabrina Online parodied this, with an Art Shift to a cut-and-paste style for one strip while a character comments that now the creator will be able to do an extra comic every month.
- A sad case of Truth in Television: Several "professional" comic artists have been known to directly copy their images, not only from their own work, but from alternative sources (magazine covers, other artists' work, and porn). A sample of one artist's work, shown here.
- This issue of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja is one of, if not the only, occurrence of cut-and-paste in the series, and the artist freely admits in the Alt Text that it's crap, and his art instructor would never let him get away with it.
- Le Avventure del Grande Darth Vader (in English: The Adventures of the great Darth Vader) is an Italian joke webcomic, allegedly drawn by and about a dyslexic emulation nerd who goes by the nickname "DARTH VADER" (all capitals), wears a Darth Vader costume and owns a real lightsaber, interacting with other emulation fans mainly by means of slapstick and scatological humor.
- Like Wondermark, The New Adventures of Queen Victoria does this (
quitevery brilliantly) with the same portraits of Queen Victoria and other characters over and over again.
- An early example is David Lynch's The Angriest Dog in the World. It also consisted almost entirely of Beat Panels. For nearly ten years, it appeared weekly, always with the same art.
- The KA Mics is known to do this from time to time, but has been using more original art as time goes by.
- A Game of Fools used this pretty heavily for the first 25 strips or so. Now
there's barely any at allthe amount varies depending on how much time the creator has to draw each comic.
- Spleen Tea is exactly the same art, only the text and mugshot change with each comic.
- Prickly City by Scott Stantis will often repeat the same panel for most of a strip, and sometimes for several days in a row.
- Hello Earthling is pretty unashamed about being a Cut and Paste Comic. New poses and backgrounds get added, but the three characters ambling around the same old same old seems sort of the point.
- Penny Arcade features obvious cut-and-paste, but only when it's justified, like when the characters are just sitting on the couch playing a game and talking for three panels.
- Dandy and Company uses copy-paste in a similar, limited manner.
- Flying Man and Friends is almost entirely cut-and-paste. Characters, props, and backgrounds move, and panel compositions change, but the same drawings are used throughout. In fact, you might actually say that's the point of the strip. There's certainly no effort made to disguise it.
- The Perpetual Aquarium is a Cut and paste fan comic where almost all the characters, props, and settings are graphics right out of the Neopets website.
- Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff does it in a very bad way. But that's the point.
- MS Paint Adventures in general, actually. Though as an ersatz video game, it's quite justified in doing so.
- Additionally, several of the flash animations in Homestuck re-use/modify images from earlier pages so as to make animating easier/faster (most notably in the deliberately bad [S Vriska: Watch street tough maverick with nothing to lose]). Indeed, Hussie has noted that his employment of this technique ties into his love of the Meaningful Echo to create a sort of "language" within the text, with the reuses more often than not being intended as a Meaningful Echo to an earlier scene with similar (or sometimes completely opposite) events. For example, Jack Noir's dog-head silhouette appearing from above main characters quickly became very effective shorthand for "You Can Panic Now".
- A few of the mspa forum adventures also based on this.
- MS Paint Adventures in general, actually. Though as an ersatz video game, it's quite justified in doing so.
- Subverted with Garfield; while the art does often appear to be cut-and-paste, there are subtle variations within the same frequently-used poses.
- However now and then for a closeup it's painfully obvious the clip art has been enlarged so the lines are proportionately thicker.
- Liz is the worst in this regard. She's almost never looking at anything. She always stares straight ahead.
- Intentionally done in Pokey the Penguin. Most characters are exact replicas of Pokey and sometimes you can see outlines around pasted characters.
- Although not entirely a cut & paste webcomic, God(tm) has a small section which uses royalty free clip art.
- Not Quite Daily Comic relies heavily on this.
- Word of God has it that the major characters in The Order of the Stick each have "common poses" that are copy-pasted rather than redrawn. However, the author does not seem to be averse to using uncommon poses when the situation warrants it, so this has not drawn much notice.
- Marvin reuses art on a daily basis, and often uses the same panel every day for an entire week (typically someone typing at a computer.)
- Frequently done by Steve Napierski in his webcomic, Dueling Analogs, to the point that he lampshaded it himself in a strip.
- Done occasionally in Dork Tower, almost always with a self-deprecating joke about how the creator is being lazy.
- Sluggy Freelance reuses art occasionally, but subtly enough that it doesn't stand out unless the repetition is itself the basis of a joke.
- How I Became Yours. The art style is the least of its problems.
- Dewey Defeats Tarzan is a webcomic assembled from old public domain artwork, mostly woodcuts from 19th-century books and magazines.
- Married to the Sea uses both 19th-century artwork and royalty-free clipart.
- "Rage face" comics are the new sprite comics.
- Parodied in Yehuda Moon and The Kickstand Cyclery with comic within a comic Road Rage which uses SUV clipart and Comic Sans to berate cyclists.
- Parodied in a Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin is talking with Hobbes about his grandfather ranting about how comics were better when they weren't just a bunch of xeroxed talking heads, the joke being that that particular strip is just the same pose of Calvin and Hobbes copied four times.
- The Mind-numbingly Boring Webcomic