Webcomics are not made for serial storytelling. A lot of people are going to disagree with me on this point, but it’s my contention that if you don’t acknowledge that basic reality, you will not be able to successfully make a serial webcomic.
Fact is, readers of webcomics don’t read every day (or every day you post an update). This is why a lot of webcomics go the gag-a-day route. Gag-a-day comics don’t depend on you keeping track of things like storylines and relationships. They trade on character and, well, gags. Stuff you don’t need a ton of context for.
WHAT’S IN A MEAL?
Serial webcomics (and I’m defining webomics in this case as comics that are posted online according to a schedule—comics posted as entire chapters or issues or complete stories need not apply) are like meals doled out a bite a time. Meals have different components (entrees, side dishes, non-alcoholic beer, etc.) that all work together to deliver a complete experience. You eat it one bite at a time, but you’d never spread the experience of eating a meal out over several weeks or even a year.
If you ate a meal over the course of a year, how would know it was any good? How would you even be able to remember what the first bite tasted like? What if one of the side dishes is no good? Six months into your year long meal, would you just give up on it and never bother with the dessert?
There’s really only one way to make a meal that someone would be willing to stick with for an entire year and feel satisfied by the end: make every bite count.
And here’s what I mean by “count:” every bite has to not only be a satisfying experience on it’s own, it’s got to work as an essential piece of the whole meal, remind the mind and spirit about what’s come before, and excite them for what comes next.
Geez, when I put it like that it sounds impossible. But it’s not.
That was my base understanding. That’s what I had in mind before starting The SuperFogeys. To me, each Volume of SF is the meal. The chapters are the dishes. The strips are the bites.
It’s a model you can apply liberally, all the way down. Let’s say one strip is a meal. The panels the dishes and the dialogue and actions the bites. You get the idea. What’s important is breaking things down in ways that you brain can process through it.
Over the next five parts in this six-part series, I’ll tell you how my brain does it.
Next: How I Started This SuperFogeys Thing