On writing a comic strip

I believe most readers think that I’m coming up with all main parts of a new strip at once. That is that an idea pops up in my head and all I have to do after that is to think about some details in the background and to polish the dialog. And if I were a reader of Sandra and Woo instead of its writer, I would think the same.

But this notion is completely wrong! How not to Deal with the Devil was probably the only strip that didn’t require any kind of additional work after I had the basic idea. If you’re taking for example today’s strip High risk of infection, I was struggling for quite some time until I had an idea what Richard could actually say in the last panel. I thought that it would be funny if Sandra would change her clothes in record time after Richard has answered Cloud’s call, but I had no idea what Richard could say to Cloud until “Cooties!” popped up in my head.

Unrelated to this, but worth mentioning nonetheless, is the fact that I usually have no idea if the reaction to a new strip will be particularly positive or rather not. I was surprised several times about the positive feedback that some strips got which got nearly cancelled during the planning stage.

More comic tips

It’s time for another news entry about websites which are worth a visit:

  • Flight: On The Importance of Space Travel by Svetlana ChmakovaFlight is the title of a series of comic books which contain short stories of many different artists. While the artwork of most stories is at least decent or even great, a lot of the artists seem to have no idea of proper storytelling. You can read extensive previews of most stories on the Flight website by clicking at the book covers on the right sidebar. If you’re into marvelously drawn action scenes involving anthropomorphic foxes, you should have a look at Reagan Lodge’s story “The Dragon”. However, my personal favorite by far is Svetlana Chmakova’s “On the Importance of Space Travel”, a light-hearted story about a whacky girl called Jeannie during a rough time of her life. But it’s not only a great story, the manga inspired artwork is amazing, too. Sadly, the rest of the story is not available online.
  • Things they don’t tell you (But should) is a series of cartoons about things that parents don’t tell their children, but should. It’s not funny at all, but the artwork illustrates perfectly the author’s cynical look at life. This gem seems to be the favorite of most people.
  • Our link page already contains a link to Calvin and Hobbes: Magic on Paper, but I believe this site is worth another mention. It contains more background information about Bill Watterson’s legendary comic strip Calvin and Hobbes than you probably ever wanted to know; including rare artwork, old newspaper articles and interviews with Bill Watterson.

Slightly improved design

I have worked a bit on the design of the website, most notably the rounded edges are gone since they did not work together all too well with the sharp edges of the strips.

Update: I’m sorry, but I had to move the skyscraper ad on the right sidebar to the top to meet the requirements of my ad network Burst Media.

All Good Things Come to an End…

… but has it to be that early?

Today is a sad day for me since my favorite webcomic Gill has gone on indefinite hiatus. I guess its creator has burned out after producing five strips per week for several months without seeing a sufficient return of investment (money, fame, whatever).

In the same breath, the website of another one of my favorites, Duxter, has been dead for several weeks now. Since I was expecting something like this might happen after the massive problems Duxter had experienced with its former host, I downloaded all comics before it went offline. If you don’t want to miss this funny comic you can download a -> zip archive of all Duxter strips <- (except for the last four or so).

Several months ago the last strip of the short-lived Whubble was put on its website, another winner of a Webcomic Beaky Award as one of the best new webcomics of 2008 (besides Sandra and Woo and One Swoop Fell).

I guess you shouldn’t take your favorite webcomics for granted. Especially if they are financially unsuccessful “by design”. That means basically any strip without hot chicks or nerdy videogame humor or ones that are not catered towards an enthusiastic niche audience. (The exceptions prove the rule.)

Just Arrived: T-Shirt, Poster and Mousepad

So, several of the merchandising items I ordered myself have arrived in the meantime. I am very happy with the quality of the products. 🙂