The birth of webcomics gave a freedom to creators who wanted to work in shortform, but were too raw or idiosyncratic to even knock on the door of the walled garden of newspaper syndication. Able to build audiences, sustain themselves through sales of merch and printed collections, and occasionally self-syndicate to print outlets, the pioneers even built a generation of readers for whom soap operas and gag strips and pop-culture parodies on the web were the entirety of their comics-reading experience.
This short oral history at The Verge surveys a handful of cartoonists who’ve sustained careers to this day, and is basically celebratory of their achievements. But many of the accounts have a desperate undertone of how the financial model has had to shift multiple times.. In the same time that Facebook and Google have decimated the 300-year-old newspaper business (online as well as in print), the filtration of the web through social media has also trashed the ways people came to webcomics in less than 20 years.
Regulate Facebook globally, make political advertising illegal, and give Elizabeth Warren a giant cartoon axe with ANTI-TRUST written on it.