McLuhan posits 4 laws to help us determine a medium.
1. What does the medium enhance?
2. What does the medium make obsolete?
3. What does the medium retrieve that had been obsolesced earlier?
4. What does the medium reverse or flip into when pushed to extremes?
McLuhan used different words to describe the figure/ground relationship, sometimes using content for figure and environment or, more often, medium for ground.
1- Enhancement (figure): What the medium amplifies or intensifies.
Webcomics amplify distribution.
2- Obsolescence (ground): What the medium drives out of prominence.
Webcomics obsolesce print comics.
3- Retrieval (figure): What the medium recovers which was previously lost.
Webcomics retrieve mechanical type.
4- Reversal (ground): What the medium does when pushed to its limits.
Webcomics flip into audio-visual TV.
The medium of webcomics is different to the comics medium.