Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Real Life Vs Webcomics

Death by Hiatus was one of my first articles on this blog.  The reason for it is that a lot of comics die because the artist "took a break" and never came back.  Often the question left by a hiatus death is why?  Why did the artist leave and never return.  For the lucky ones it was just plain boredom.  For the rest, however, it is Real Life, and it can be far, far worse.

The simplest, and probably most common Real Life issue is computer failure.  Obviously a webcomic requires a computer to at least publish, but many artists use computers for cleaning, editing, and sometimes even drawing in the first place.  Failed computers have stalled out a great many comics, including most recently Head Trip, and even Sluggy Freelance has suffered (though that was more due to massive power outages).  These problems are usually temporary, but with artists making so little money on comics, if any, the incentive to get a new, functioning computer to continue updating is small at best.

Work and school is the second most common issue.  The vast majority of webcomic artists do NOT make money on their comics, so they have to do something else.  Most do some odd office jobs or if they're lucky, they'll actually have a job as an artist.  Either way, work causes stresses that maintaining a regular update to a webcomic that make no money less appealing.  Punch n' Pie is going through that now, as is (I hope) Sea of Insanity, neither of which has updated in months.  Will they come back?  Work isn't something that is simply going to go away, so if it's so stressful they can't come back now, will they ever?

And then, there's the big one/two shot:  Personal and medical.  Medical has killed a great many comics.  It nearly did in Sea of Insanity once (thus the "I hope" previously), Metrophor was killed by a medical problem, the same problem that seems to be effecting Emergency Exit I'm afraid.  Worse problems occur like those plaguing Michael Poe's wife which is about as bad as you can get short of dying.  He also had the issue of his father dying and that estate issue which has stalled out both Errant Story and Does Not Play Well With Others.  The comics still update, but then, these comics are his job.  I'm surprised the man can still tell funny jokes at this point.

Frankly, the worst fate is one that's hard to fathom:  The artist simply loses interest.  At least with work or medical problems, there's usually some indication as to what happened, but other times, the artist simply doesn't want to do it any more.  They walk away and never return, no comment, no reason, just gone.  This is true Death by Hiatus, the worst kind of death a comic can have.  I'll forgive Poe if he elects to stop both his comics for his wife.  I'm fine if Punch 'n Pie disappears because the writer is buried in paperwork.  Hell, if Sluggy Freelance vanishes because Abrams' computer explodes in a giant fireball, I'll let that go, but simply walking away with no reason ever given, that is unforgivable.

Well, enough of that.  Until next week kiddies.

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