Steve and Jason’s Webcomic Colonic this week got me thinking about the way webcomics change over time – like Steve says, the webcomic you’re reading today might not be the one you signed on for when you first started reading. The longer a comic runs, the more fundamental these changes can get.
Now, as I mentioned back in May, I’m a bit of a fan of Dan Shive’s El Goonish Shive. There’s a lot about the comic to recommend it – the (current) art style, the excellent writing and story structure, the themes it deals with regarding gender issues and the diversity of its cast. Recently, the comic has been expanding the history and role of character Pandora (Chaos) Raven – Immortal being of immense power and (until this examination began?) one of the primary antagonists of the comic. So do the recent changes to the Pandora character in El Goonish Shive suggest a fundamental change to the comic itself? Or is it, as Jason puts it, the privilege of watching the writer’s perspective change over time? Continue reading
There’s nothing quite like getting stuck into a long-running long-form webcomic.
I mean, gag-a-day and strip comics are great too, but you don’t get the same kind of joy you get watching your favourite characters grow and develop week by week: fleshing out backstories, deepening their characterisation, refining the way secondary characters interact with the protagonist/s and even watching them go off on their own adventures, and…
Hang on, whatever happened to that character? It’s been years now since they took that new job in another city, shouldn’t we check in to see how it’s going?
Nope! That character you were invested in has fallen victim to the trope so common in this form of storytelling: the rotating cast roster.
“But I loved that character”, I hear you cry! “Why would the author do this to me?” – now before you rage-quit the comic, or lose interest and let it languish as an open browser tab with the dozens of others you’ll never get back to (looking at you, Steve!), let me explain why your favourite comics do this, and why it really is a good thing. Continue reading