I Sing the Webcomic Electric
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on March 22, 2011 - 09:45
So a lot of discussion yesterday about Chris Onstad's public posting (alternate url) on his de facto hiatus on Achewood. Also an interview of Onstad at Comics Alliance that perhaps shed a little more light on it. A lot of that discussion linked to this Neil Gaiman video which is about as good an explanation as any of why the artist doesn't owe you (yes I'm looking at you... and you in the back too) anything really. Most comments boiled down to we feel ya Chris and hope you get your groove back.
Kris Straub, who is one of the most reflective folks in webcomics, posted another take on things in his blog and while his post is as much about himself as it could be about Onstad, it's interesting reading. Straub has not really tied himself to the kind of one ongoing series that some webcomic artists have (like Onstad so far) in the tradition of the newspaper ideal (aka Schulzian). Instead he's had two major projects (Checkerboard Nightmare and Starslip) which while sharing a sense of humor had very different subject matter and approaches; lots of collaborations; and a string of smaller comics, including one (F Chord) that I really wish he had stuck with (but also equally applicable here - this Neil Gaiman video).
Peoples ought to do what they want to do and I don't pretend to stand on high delivering knowledge. But what I've seen is that there is still a bit too much devotion to that old Schulzian ideal of the one strip forever. Taking chances, changing up work, rebooting work, radically shifting and experimenting -- there's a lot to gain from this as a creator in terms of artistic growth and just finding new audiences. While there is always the risk of a mistep (either creatively or commercially or both) there are equal risks to trying to plow the same road forever.