With this week’s #webcomicschat I raised the following question on twitter: “Would we have webcomics today without Steve Jobs?” My first answer was “Yes, don’t be silly. Of course there would be webcomics without Steve Jobs.” In reality I wasn’t asking a serious question I was just trying to be a little provocative but upon further reflection I think there are some interesting arguments to be made. In fact I think I might have moved my own answer to the “No” column. I’d like to continue this discussion and feel free to post your ideas here.
Let me start by first expressing my bias, I am a Mac addict and have been since the 1980’s. It’s no wonder that I have an affinity for the man and his legacy. I love his company’s products and use them every day. That being said there are plenty of technological advances that Apple had nothing to do with, chief among them being the internet. You also can’t just give one man credit for the success of a company either because there are countless nameless programmers, designers and engineers that have never gotten credit for their work. Steve Wozniak and Jonathan Ives are two perfect examples of men that nobody knows but Apple wouldn’t be Apple without them. This is typical though with such strong visionary types like Steve Jobs. These individuals have the magic touch and the ability to chart the course and get others to follow and make it happen. Take a look at Job’s Stanford address and tell me you’re not inspired:
What does any of this have to do with webcomics? Is there a connection between Job’s legacy and webcomics? Webcomics are published online and Apple didn’t invent the internet or html. Here’s the question though: would we have a reason or the ability to use the internet without Steve Jobs? Not only is Apple responsible for the personal computer but they’re also responsible for the first home computer with a mouse and a graphical user interface. I remember DOS. I remember the world before Windows and there was no place for webcomics there. Also, it’s because of the Macintosh that vector drawing and image manipulation became a viable digital art form. From the advent of the Macintosh right down to the iPhone sitting in my pocket Apple, lead by Steve Jobs has reformed the way we make and consume information and media. They didn’t invent the technology they just invented new ways to use it. So is Steve Jobs responsible for Webcomics? No, but he did make them possible.