"Why did I frame cut instead of thumbnailing? Because I couldn't upload it for thumbnailing because it was
36 inches tall. Fucking infinite canvas."
In principle, a Web Comic
has several advantages over the print equivalent, due to the greater flexibility of the medium. One such advantage which enthusiasts of the genre often mention is the "infinite canvas": the ability to create pages of nearly-unlimited width and height, with the viewer scrolling around the page. A related idea is that webcomics can have far more pages than would be possible in print, potentially connected non-linearly by hyperlinks.
In practice, both of these forms of expansive "canvas" have proved very difficult to use effectively. Scrolling (especially horizontal scrolling) rapidly becomes tedious, and scrolling in two independent dimensions can cause the reader to rapidly get lost on the page. Similar issues exist with non-linear or multi-linear storylines: they require an exponential amount of writing work for the number of possible paths, something which most webcomic artists (the majority of whom only work on their series part-time) are unable or unwilling to commit to. Deviating from a print format also makes it much more difficult to create a print version.
What's more, there are technical issues as well; many browsers have trouble loading large numbers of images at once (or one extremely large image). Many readers aren't willing to wait several minutes to read a single comic strip, regardless of its quality. This also cuts off some of the accessibility of the comic, since bandwidth access in places like libraries and Internet cafes is usually limited. Using hyperlinks to simulate a non-linear or branching story adds page loading to the technical problems.
The third aspect, unlimited extension, has had a major impact on the genre, but not in the expected way
Few series in the West have (intentionally) applied the infinite canvas principles; most of the comics which managed it either were one-shot strips, or were bonus material added to an otherwise conventional series. However, finite-yet-larger-than-usual canvas has often been useful in comics that stretch beyond a traditional page's length. And it's all better than the space in the weekday newspapers
The concept has taken off with Korean Webtoons
, where each installment is a long, vertical image, typically with frames that take up the entire width of the page. Many authors take advantage of the fact that readers have to scroll through the image by adding space between frames to create dramatic pauses, having a series of slightly different images come one after another to create a sense of motion, or by creating pictures where the subject only slowly becomes apparent.
The idea was introduced in Scott McCloud
influential book about the comics medium (in comics medium) Reinventing Comics