What’s the difference between About, Cast, and New Reader pages?

It’s a topic brought up by a webcomics.com post that seems to conflate them. To be sure, a conflation can help some to understand why they’re reading old Websnark posts where Eric Burns(-White) calls out webcartoonists that don’t have a cast page (“dude, it’s a cast page! It’s not the Great Artifact that will bring about the Age of Transcendence!”), but it seems some don’t agree.

Whether or not you conflate them probably depends on your specific circumstances – for example, do you have a gag-a-day comic, or a story comic? If you do conflate one or more you can probably label it with anything it fills the role of. Regardless, I would draw the boundaries like so:

  • About: Basic information about the comic, and optionally, about the author. A quick and dirty way to get acquainted with the setting or the concept. A comic FAQ might fall under an “about” header.
  • Cast: Information about the cast, their personalities, and where they are in the story.
  • New Readers: A more advanced form of the About page, explaining “the story so far”, reducing the reader’s need for an archive binge. May contain links to relevant storylines, for example, if the reader wants to “experience it for themselves”.

So, an About page is about the comic, Cast is about the cast, and New Readers is about the story. Burns(-White) loves cast pages because they can so easily serve as a filter to reveal info about the comic and the story. Cast pages can obviate the need for New Readers pages, but About pages don’t obviate the need for Cast pages without turning into Cast pages, especially when you consider the pages’ relative utility to old readers.

(No, you did not just stumble into the Floating Lightbulb by accident.)

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