Syndicated comic authors have been complaining about newspaper size restrictions, content censoring and similar issues for a long time. Comic enthusiasts have been increasingly irritated by treatment their entertainment medium receives as well. Then along came Internet, providing unlimited and unrestricted distribution possibilities. Thus webcomic was born.
There are millions of webcomics out there, dealing with such vast topics as video games, college life, samurai, Lego men, identity and self esteem, depression, suicide, children and joy. People write them either for a living, for fun, as stress relief, for artistic expression, or often just for hell of it. Then they stick their creations on web and hope that just one more person will find and enjoy fruits of their labour.
There seem to be several hundred new comics created each and every day. These often dwindle and fade after only a few months. Occasionally, however, a comic rises above rest and gains such popularity that creator is able to forgo all other work and scrape a living solely off proceeds generated by their websites. Some examples of such are Penny-Arcade, PvP, CtrlAltDel and Squidi.net.
Many people, when introduced to world of webcomics, think to themselves "Wouldn't it be cool to have my own comic?" and a few go beyond this and create their own. So how can a newcomer ensure that their comic continues beyond first few weeks of enthusiasm?
Now before I go into some useful tips it is probably worth noting that I am proud owner of a failed webcomic. It went for a few months before hitting a few snags and then grinding into ground. I have plans to return to creating comics, but as of yet have not. So I'm not really drawing from a foundation of success, more of failure and an understanding of some of main factors contributing to my failure.
For starters, you're going to need to plan a little. It's unfortunate, unfair and certainly not fun, but it is necessary. Sit down and think about your comic. Come up with a location setting, some characters and maybe even a few plots to test them in. Run characters through some adventures and see how they react and how you react to them. Your characters will grow and change throughout this process, and continue to do so throughout life of your comic but you need to get a handle on their basic character traits.
For some reason majority of comics revolve around a group of people (usually guys) that are somewhat geeky and live together. Usually in a university dorm. I would imagine that this is because that's general life of majority of webcomic authors. The premise itself also makes an awful lot of sense for basis of a comic. When designing my own webcomic process went a little something like this: I designed main characters, most of which were drawings that I had been playing with since high school. Then I needed a reason for them to constantly see each other and interact, so I got them living together. They needed character traits that I could relate to, so they become university-aged students that had at least a passing interest in geeky side of life.
I drew my first few strips and showed them to some friends, who liked them, so started looking into putting them online. The initial line up included two guys who lived together, a female love interest for one of characters and a talking animal (in my case a frog, because I had this frog that I'd been drawing for years and had become quite attached to him).
At this point I wasn't very experienced with webcomics, having only really read syndicated newspaper comics that syndicated press companies post online. So I started looking through some of major comics, only to find that Sluggy Freelance had talking animals, geeky guys that lived together and female love interest already covered. A bit more research revealed that "university students living together" was covered in large majority of comics. Furthermore, having a kind of wacky (and just a little stupid) character, and a more sensible and reserved one was practically a given. Then, to rub salt in wound, I found that another comic had its main character design very similar to my own. So I got rid of frog, removed focus on gaming and university and otherwise left comic as it was. Not entirely original.
Anyway, point is that you should probably try to be more original. Check through your concept and remove whole university students living together with wacky talking inappropriately anthropomorphic sidekicks. You'll be better off in long run and have a more original creation.