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One Page per day or Ten pages per week?

The common problem with webcomics right now, is that they're mostly one page per day. Long from, story based comics such as Megatokyo seems to have no end in sight.

Why not have them delivered in at least six or ten pages per week? Or how about in the usual Mon/Wed/Fri schedule, have at least three to five pages of comics posted online?

Also, why not complete an episode of a webcomic ahead of time before posting them bit by bit according to schedule?

 

Alright, so I brought up

Alright, so I brought up Bill Holbrooks, perhaps I am kinda put up a wrong example of a webcomic artist. However, perhaps Wil Eisner should've been a better example. Or Charles Dickens, who split up each of his stories into chapters, and release each chapter monthly or weekly into a magazine.

But, yeah, I am talking about longer installments, maxiseries, big stories, epic myths etc. I asking, if the creator is trying to make a longer serial webcomic with a clear beginning, middle & end, she or he should at least plan ahead before putting them down. I brought up Megatokyo 'cos here's Fred Gallagher who's taking longer to "finish" his webcomic that we'll never know when it'll end. It's fortunate that he has fans who's sticking with him to keep going.

Anyway, I look up at webcomics as a logical heir to what Wil Eisner & Charles Dickens have pioneered with serial fiction.If they can take advantage of the printing press, why not we for the Internet?

I'm not sure Eisner is a

Erik Melander's picture

I'm not sure Eisner is a great example either. He had assistants as well, and the Spirit was published as a 16 page inset in the sunday edition of newspapers, but only 8 of the pages were a Spirit story, the other were backup features.

Vir Bonus

Dickens lives!

[quote=Altercator]... if the creator is trying to make a longer serial webcomic with a clear beginning, middle & end, she or he should at least plan ahead before putting them down.[/quote]

I suspect you'll have people disagreeing with this statement too! It seems to me that a large number of "story-driven" web-comics are, in fact, planned no more than an episode or two ahead with no real idea of how the story will end or what relevance the intervening episodes have to the story. But maybe that's okay. Maybe the very nature of the web does lend itself to a much more "open-ended" type of fiction. Only time will tell.

As far as my own comics are concerned, I tend to agree with you. I do think it's important that my stories should have a beginning, middle and end and I do want each of the events that happen along the way to be there for a reason which is relevant to the plot and/or the development of the characters.  And yes, for me, that means that advance planning is critical.Â

All four intended issues of The Spires were planned out in outline form before I wrote the detailed script for Part 1 and the script for Shades (all 16 chapters plus the prologue and epilogue) was fully written before I even began looking for an artist to work with.

Sadly, it doesn't help me to get the pages turned out any quicker. Does it make me a successor to Dickens? Yeah, why not? But don't tell him. He'd turn in his grave!

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Some may be

The William G's picture

Maybe yes, maybe no.

If people work similarly to me: The next four Bang Barstal stories have been plotted out, and thumbnailed. However, I do change things as the need arsises. Mostly because I got a better idea than what I was originally going to go with... or because of noticing some suckatude that I wish to eradicate.

This is to say: I think a lot of folks have a plot/ goal/ story arc. They either just change them, add on to them, or have them utterly decompressed so they appear to be endless.


I do recall Wil Eisner

I do recall Wil Eisner coming up with The Spirit every week in the newspapers. And then there's Bill Holbrooks who's balancing between three of his strips, Kevin & Kell, Safe Havens & On The Fastrack.

And of course, a manga have 18 pages a week, so I don't see why it is not possible to have at least less than ten pages for a weekly webcomic. The best Bil Holbrooks does is that he finishes his comics a few days before he puts them online. I mean, why not the creator just finish the story arcs a few weeks or months ahead and then post the few pages from that finished arc bit by bit every week?

Three answers: Money, Money and Money. And maybe cash too.

Shishio's already answered this. Will Eisner was paid to do The Spirit. Likewise the Manga creators. Bill Holbrook is a professional comic-strip cartoonist: Safe Havens and Fastrack are his paying job. If comics are your day-job, you can turn them out at paid-professional rates. If comics are what you do after work in between eating, sleeping and having any kind of outside life, then one page a week is generous. And as I understand it, big-business professional comics are generally team efforts done between writers, pencillers, inkers, letterers and whatnot. Webcomics are more often solo jobs or small collaborations.

Executive summary: You get what you pay for.

Sorta. The professional

Sorta. The professional webcomicers aren't really producing at a rate much greater than the average amateur. Essentially they're getting by on that "you get what you pay for" amount of work of the average guy squeezing comic time into his day... which is really awesome for them if you think about it. Not so great for the reader if they're telling a long elaborate story but oh man, if the readers are following along with the slow story anyways... unless you're really really concerned about how a story is paced there's little reason to make significant changes to your output.Â

Comic strips online are mostly fine with their output though, I think? Part of that is that comic strips tend to not require the hours of a full-time professional to make them. If you're spending 8 hours a day coming up with a single strip something is wrong with you probably.

<a xhref="http://www.kiwisbybeat.com" target=blank>Kiwis by beat!</a>

Single strips

[quote=rezo]Â If you're spending 8 hours a day coming up with a single strip something is wrong with you probably. [/quote]

Lol - well, since I don't produce a "single-strip" comic, I guess you could be right. Hope you don't get too big a backlash from web-comickers who do spend more than 8 hours on a strip, though! (Well, there may be some!)

Given that the original post was advocating the release of longer instalments, however, I assumed it wasn't referring to "single-strip" comics which are, after all, designed to be read in short bursts. I could be wrong.

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

The original post was

The original post was advocating installments,but Bill Holbrook a comic strip artist, was used as an example of someone producing comics at a "professional-rate".

Also on topic: http://www.kiwisbybeat.com/cr1.html

I made those comics at the end of 2005 and released them online earlier this year one story at a time per week over 11 weeks, averaging about 15 pages per update.Â

<a xhref="http://www.kiwisbybeat.com" target=blank>Kiwis by beat!</a>

Why not try?

Exactly, Tim (and everyone else who's replied here!) For the comics on my site, one page a week is definitely generous! At the moment I manage it because I have a "buffer" for each of the comics featured but - as someone else mentioned - it doesn't take long to run through that.

The script for Shades, for example, took nearly a year to write (before rewrites and revisions which are still ongoing); the layouts for each chapter (only 14 pages each) take around a month; and the production of the final inked, coloured and lettered versions of those 14 pages take the artist another 2 - 3 months.

Perhaps the only way to really understand why more web-comics don't update more than one page a week, Altercator, is to try making one. You don't have to post it anywhere if you don't want to but try to make it as professional as you can and it might just give you some idea of how much work goes into one of these things.

Actually, now I think about it ... we must be mad!

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

...

Shishio's picture

[quote=DAJB]

Perhaps the only way to really understand why more web-comics don't update more than one page a week, Altercator, is to try making one. You don't have to post it anywhere if you don't want to but try to make it as professional as you can and it might just give you some idea of how much work goes into one of these things.

[/quote]

Took the words right out of my mouth.

One-liners - After all, as a teenage girl, you must be quite used to having orgasms in your mouth.
New Comic Posted 06/30/06

...

Shishio's picture

Also, on a related note, I think it is better to update more often with less pages, than less often with more pages, because it will give people a reason to check your site more often, and increases the chances of it being remembered.

One-liners - After all, as a teenage girl, you must be quite used to having orgasms in your mouth.
New Comic Posted 06/30/06

A comfortable schedule

Fabricari's picture

I don't see what the problem is about ongoing page-a-day comics. If you deliver too many pages at once, you're going to overwhelm most readers who are working through a huge list of comics.

The first rule of any schedule is consistancy. As a webcomic creator you figure out how much art you can COMFORTABLY produce. And you make a deal with your readers. Complaints about a comic's schedule are never about quantity, but irregularity.

I stress "comfortably" because burning out on a hobby will not help anyone. The fans will get a huge batch of comics and then suddenly - none.

As for myself, I have a family, a job, and a life. I fit 3 strips a week in just nicely. I don't work with a buffer - as that immediate posting gives me a thrill. I can meet my deadline without compromising the more important things.

If I were working on this full time, I'd probably increase production to 5 full sized pages a week, but no more than that - I'd need to leave room for other stuff and other projects, still.Â

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison
Fabricari,

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison

Schedules and instalments

Also, as if to prove there's nothing new under the sun and the problems we encounter in webcomics are not so very different from those in other media there's also perhaps a useful comparison to be made with print comics.

Some readers are happy to read their comics in weekly or monthly instalments of 20+ pages each. But as story arcs have become longer and more intricately plotted (yes, don't look surprised - even in the mainstream!) it's clear from the webforums that many - like myself - prefer to wait for a collected TPB or graphic novel. Beginning, middle and end all in one package with no need to wait for the next instalment.

Readers of web-comics have the same choice. They can tune in weekly for the next (admittedly short) instalment or wait a little longer and read a more substantial piece of the story in one go. The creators can only do as much as is physically possible with the resources they have, but the readers have a choice.

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

speaking from my own experience...

I run a full page, long-form comic on a daily schedule 7 days a week, and let me tell you, I wouldn't wish that amount of work on anyone. I get by because I work in black and white, don't go overboard with detail, and have gotten to the point where I can crank out pages fairly fast, but it was a tough haul even when I wasn't working a job full time like I am now. When I first started I had a full chapter finished in advance but it didn't take too long to eat through that buffer. Now I just try to keep a week ahead of myself.

Some long form comics like Inverloch have had success updating once a week with multiple pages, so that's definitely an option. But I'm sure that for every reader who likes to get their pages in chunks there are plenty of others who would rather get their fix spread out and as often as possible. It's up to every webcomicker to decide what update style fits their comic and what kind of schedule they can handle.

re.- pages

algeya's picture

it`s relative it depend on how much time it takes you to make a page as Shishio said,

now the facts a regular comic has 22 pages each month and the team its big (penciler, writer, colorist , inker and maybe a lot more  )

a Manga has 18 pages every week (team members the author and 3-5 helpers)

Webcomics done by the author most of the time, (yes there is a lot of teams out there but vastly its just one guy)

Remember ultracool art takes time, and its a quality vs quantity topic, but the author as he works on a comic he becomes faster , count your sheep was weekly webcomic now updates mon-friday, Pvp updates everyday even on holidays.

As for Megatokyo the best way to read its to wait a couple of months and read it at once (why did you have to chose megatokyo anyway Fred G. its one of the slowest artist on the web (but still his art its ultra cool)).

most of the artist on the web have comics done ahead , but those are like a buffer zone if we dont get an idea , get sick or something else (like a life).

In my case before I was using a weekly schedule now Im its tue-friday (but the last 2 weeks were mon-wed-friday) so as the webcomickers get experience they become uber fast

thats my two cents

http://pilli.smackjeeves.com/comics/

I am actually curious to see

Erik Melander's picture

I am actually curious to see how Megatokyo's publishing schedule will be from here on. Vol. 4 collected chapters 5 and 6. Chapter 8 has just begun online. Will Gallagher increase his output or perhaps the collections will be thinner.

Vir Bonus

...

Shishio's picture

Based on what I know, it simply is not feasible for most webcomic creators. Remember, the vast majority of creators do it as a hobby, and it is a very time consuming hobby.

I believe it takes Scott Ramsoomair about nine hours to do a VG Cats strip. I think Jeph Jacques usually takes about six hours to do a Questionable Content Strip. Not to mention the fact that he also has to spend a lot of time dealing with customers, filling out orders, and you know, having a life.

Personally, I update my comic weekly because if I updated more often, I would likely run out of ideas very fast, and I don't have gobs of money to spend on it.

A lot of creators are in school, or working full time, and again, they don't have very much time to devote to comics. And since most webcomic creators are not able to make a living off of their work, webcomic readers have no right to complain.

One-liners - After all, as a teenage girl, you must be quite used to having orgasms in your mouth.
New Comic Posted 06/30/06