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How to Read a Webcomic

It has been brought to my attention that some people new to webcomics may need a brief tutorial. This page uses my own comic, "13th Labour," as an example, but what you learn here should apply to any other webcomics you encounter.

The largest item on the main page is the comic. But that's a little further down and, if you're not used to browsing a lot, you need to learn to skip the stuff at the top to get to the real meat of the content.

That stuff at the top is, first (going from left to right), the "13th Labour" logo. If you click on the logo from any page on this site, it will take you back to the main page. Second at the top is an advertising banner. This advertisement is what enables ComicGenesis (my web host) to provide this site to you and me for free. You can click on it to support them. Otherwise, just train your eyes to bounce over it to the comic page straight below.

Below the comic are some pictures of Uri-as-blob (the red and yellow thing). These may be used to navigate through the series. If a person clicks on "FIRST," the browser will take them to the first comic. "NEXT" will take a person to the next comic, sequentially. "PREVIOUS" enables a person to go back one comic, and "LAST" will guide them back to the main page and the most recent comic update. Most webcomics will have similar navigation tools. They will frequently be in the form of two arrows to the left for 'first,' one arrow to the left for 'previous,' one arrow to the right for 'next,' and two arrows to the right for 'last.' Some author-artists will use pictures other than arrows. Most webcomics are at least semi-serial, so it is wise to begin at the beginning.

On the left side of the screen is an image map, with links to:

  • the Forum, where fans can discuss pretty much anything. It is considered good manners on the web to read any FAQ provided before asking a question or positing a theory;
  • a Fanart page, which contains images relating to the comic, usually of the comic's characters, but drawn by someone other than the comic's cartoonist;
  • the FAQ, which answers Frequently Asked Questions;
  • the Links list, which has mostly links to other webcomics, but also a link to another links list of mostly non-webcomics;
  • the "13th Labour" Wiki at ComicGenesisWiki, which is an encyclopedia entry with some information not found on the FAQ page or in the appendices. Anyone can edit the Wiki;
  • some Appendices, with additional information about the comic and its universe, including a cast list, scripts for the all the comics, a timeline, and a glossary. Other comic creators may provide other resources;
  • an Archive, which has calendars to enable a person to go to any date's comic instantly;
  • the Store, which is on a different site, where you can buy posters, T-shirts, and other merchandise with "13th Labour" strips or characters on them;
  • the Games and Tutorials, which has some fun stuff, some details on the process of creating a comic and how I go about it, some Photoshop tips, and a link to this page;
  • and my Blog, an online journal at Xanga, where I will frequently comment on the comic, and often on events in my life. Sometimes I will include pithy comments or random fantasizing.
Below that set of links is a search engine. Type anything in the white box and click "Search," and if it's been written in a "13th Labour" comic, it will find it for you. Below that is a smaller version of the archive, showing only one month. Then is a dropdown menu of storyline titles which will enable a person to go to the begining of any storyline heshe shooses. And, on the main page only, there is a Shoutbox, which lets anyone post a comment about the comic for everyone to see. On some of the individual comic pages is a "Transcribe This Comic" link. You can help populate the search engine by writing up script for that comic, if this link shows up.

Last on most comic pages are a few paragraphs, which about a third of the time will include comments on the dialogue, art, or humor, and always a brief explanation and requests for attention.

Sometimes the comic will be larger than the screen, so you may need to scroll to the right. There will be an additional scroll bar at the bottom of the page.

As always, questions and comments appreciated!

Regards, Emu.

Return to the main page 13th Labour is hosted by ComicGenesis, a free hosting service for webcomics.