The following rant was meant for the Comments area of Daku’s post about the strip, Doctor Fun. Simply put, it got away from me. BIG TIME. So I have cut and pasted the glorified goodness to my column for you to peruse. If you’re not an artist, please excuse the loaded question in the conclusion. Enjoy.
William G’s first comment on the matter of whether or not it’s ethical or right to leave no reason for ceasing updates on a webcomic seems like more of a personal statement than anything concrete or steadfast. Many would argue that there comes a point, regarding traffic numbers, fan participation, or mainstream penetration, where the art becomes something more than words or pictures on paper. We have investments in these art forms, be they comic strips, novels, movies, songs, or any other choice of medium, and to dismiss these is to disrespect the audience and act unethically toward your fellow man.
As Scott Kurtz pointed out in my last Comment section, fans can develop more than a simple interest in a comic strip for any number of reasons, be they personal or professional. They could read your blog, buy your merchandise, check your strip RELIGIOUSLY every single day, but no matter what form their investment takes, they have essentially taken stock in what you have to say and show. To shut down this connection between creator and viewer so abruptly and without warning or explanation is to show the fans you have no respect for them, whatsoever.
Respect must be earned, bottom line. Once earned, respect must be maintained and held in the highest regard. Even if you start a webcomic just to satiate your own delusions of fame and fortune, if you gain that respect, either from the audience or your fellow creators, you have an obligation to show them the same courtesy and at least acknowledge their respect in some form or another. Respect is the ultimate form of flattery. Conversely, disrespect is the quickest way to tell someone you don’t care.
While this could open quickly into the debate of whether larger-than-life icons that started off as simple pieces of art (i.e. Superman) belong to more than just the folks who created them, I’ll save that for another column. The point here is to do unto others as they would do unto you: show them respect and courtesy by alerting them to delays and/or terminations and they will, in turn, show compassion as to your decisions for that ultimate outcome. If you can’t understand, grasp, and utilize this concept, taught to us as children as, “The Golden Rule”, then I am ashamed to call you an artist.