Friday, June 28, 2013

The Standard: The Lull

Oceans Unmoving was finished in March 2006, Sluggy Freelance wasn't even 9 years old by then.  So what happened in the last 7 years?  The next important story, and the one that started off the current sequence of events started in late 2008, 2009, about 4 years ago now.  So there's a bit of gap and I'll be honest, I don't remember much of it.  Any of it in fact.

I think Abrams knew he had messed up with Oceans Unmoving, and was determined to get back to "normal" Sluggy, but by then the damage had been done.  Keeping the fans that were left was going to be a struggle, so he cut the strip sizes back down to 4 panels, had the Saturday guest artist focus more on their version of old school Sluggy (Bikini Suicide Frisbee Days, harking back to first year Sluggy) and went to work on non-epic pieces.  It also meant taking fewer chances, doing more parodies and more silly jokes.  It didn't make the damage worse, at least, but those who had tuned out with Oceans Unmoving saw little reason to return.

What was there to return to?  Yeah, that's kind of hard for me to say because, well, I don't remember it.  Was this Sluggy's fault?  Not sure.  Shortly after Oceans Unmoving, I moved across country.  I also went from having a 56k modem, to broadband for the first time.  The number of comics I was reading EXPLODED as a result.  I added 120 comics to my list from 2006 to 2009, that's a LOT of comics and Sluggy wasn't standing out at the time.  So I don't remember much of it.  Or any of it up until bROKEN.

What IS in there then?  Let's see, Zoe gets a job at a radio show as wacky intern.  Gwynn works in a zombie themed restaurant, that actually staffs zombies.  Aylee has an entire chapter dedicated to her, where she's a dragon (I didn't even REMEMBER that).  There's a chapter dedicated to inner workings of Hereti-Corp.  There are also several parodies of Harry Potter, World of Warcraft and 24.  Nothing remarkable.  So unremarkable I'm not even going to bother to link to individual pieces.

What I do remember is that few of the stories were very dark or dramatic.  They were light, and meant to be fun or silly.  They also actually did have meaning later on.  Dr. Schlock takes over Hereti-Corp during this period, there are more details about Oasis that came out, and the Zombie Head On A Stick appears for the first time (okay, important is relative).  This is a very dry period however, and Sluggy became not just average, but below average.

This simply fueled the rampant denunciation of Sluggy by those who didn't think it was all that great to begin with.  It's was almost sport during this period to hate on Sluggy for being "not funny" or "poorly planned" or whatever.  If a new fan had come into Sluggy during this period, I doubt they would have stuck around to see more.

It's not that Sluggy was BAD during this period, it just didn't stand out any more.  At the beginning of this series, I made clear that there was nothing special about the comic and this three year period is why.  There are dozens of comics that were exactly the same as Sluggy at this time, and so one of the comics that started the webcomic revolution really wasn't doing anything special any more, except make money.

And that's all I really have to say about this period, next time I'll cover the current state of Sluggy Freelance.

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