A serious issue – and an announcementon September 2, 2010 at 10:12 am
A while ago I read about “irrational escalation of commitment”. What it’s about, basically, is that when you get involved in a situation your mind will push for you to to continue in it even if you’re aware that it’s a big mistake, just because you’re already in it so you might as well keep with it.
COMMISSIONED is about to turn 6 years old next September 10th, and that’s quite a milestone. Not many webcomics can claim going that far, and I’ve sadly seen many great creations come and go during that time. On my side, I take pride in the fact that during these 6 years I have not even once stopped trying my best to make a good product and an entertaining comic strip that people can enjoy while I also try to improve both as an artist and a comic creator.
With this in mind, about a month ago I decided to change the update schedule to once a week and make a much larger, detailed and visually complex comic. I did this with the intention of producing a better story, with better art and in general, a better comic. The decision was met with both praise and rejection and changed the way the comic works in very drastic ways. But I had my mind set on giving it a try and seeing what could come from it. Opinions of all sorts have come and gone in the comments, discussions have been held and so today, after a bit more than a month and with our birthday so close, I think it’s time to give my own opinion.
In this argument, I’ve observed basically two sides: One group of people says that they miss the daily update but that they support my decision and aplaud the extra quality, and the other group says that COMMISSIONED was simply better before the change.
Well guess what? I’m with the second group.
A few days ago I did something that many of you have done (several times, even). I went through my archives. What I found was that the times when COMMISSIONED was most enjoyable, humorous and pretty much at its best was back during the storylines where I’d show O and his buddies having insane adventures in otherwise absolutely mundane places. Stories like the zombie adventure at the restaurant from last year, or the death of Gothshake for Halloween or way back when we made a DVD fort at the video rental place. When I talk to people and the tell me which comics have been their favorites, they always mention stuff like that. Sure, the RPG comics have a strong fanbase – but the adventures of O and his friends are something that both RPGers and people that don’t even know what a d20 is can enjoy.
And that’s the thing. While the comic might be a lot prettier, the new format just doesn’t feel as enjoyable. So, as I said at the begining of this rant, I can either irrationally commit to the decision I made, even though I feel it’s a mistake or I can just admit that it didn’t work out and go back to what I feel makes the comic good.
You might find it hard to believe, but during this month I learned a lot about the way comics (and most geeky creations)are made. It would seem that sometimes, the fans can know a bit more about a creation than the creator does. A lot of times we create stuff and we’re not actively aware of what it is that makes it good. In COMMISSIONED I found that while the artwork might be a strength (or at least, I hope it is), the wackiness of the characters I have created (even if the main one is actually just my own alter-ego) is a great part of what makes COMMISSIONED enjoyable. In the current format we’re a bit limited. We won’t get to see O mix up fantasy and reality at the supermarket, Carlos try to sex up every living thing with a vagina or Batey try to deny that at heart he’s just a big’ol geek. We wouldn’t get to see ninjas flying over rooftops and spying on us from every corner, zombies invade the mall or Cthulhu Ninja Zombie orchestrate the apocalypse.
Besides, let’s face it: the website’s a mess. There’s no comic on the front page and that just doesn’t feel right. Archive navigation is horrible and no matter how I try I haven’t been able to get the damn RSS feed to work. There’s no info or about section, the contact button sends the emails but it doesn’t look as if it did and if people want anything extra like a wallpaper they have to wait for the kindness of my heart to post a new one (even though we’re probably one of the webcomics with most wallpapers, ever). We’re about to turn 6 years old and the site is a disfunctional piece of junk that simply doesn’t reflect what a comic like this one should be by now.
So what am I gonna do about it?
Simple. First, acknowledge that while the atempt to go for a weekly update schedule was an interesting experiment, that the comic is just not as enjoyable this way. I say this from my own opinion, not from any of the comments that have been made or anything like that. This is the comment I would make if I were a reader of my own comic. Second, just go back to updating 3 times a week, with wacky stories and that sort of stuff. I wouldn’t say that the whole experiment (or “transition period”, as I like to call it) was in vain, though. I got me a few new coloring tricks that I can apply to the cartoonish style, and I found that little sketches and doodles are great stuff to update on the days there isn’t a new comic to be seen.
I hope this decision is something that makes you all happy and sincerely hope to get some support from your behalf – but honestly – I’m doing this for myself. I realize that COMMISSIONED has been flip-flopping all over the place this year, but like I said, it’s been our “transition period”. We tried new stuff, learned new stuff and finally saw what we believe needs to be done. Sure enough, most of you probably knew all this already, and yet you stuck around and kept on reading.Like I’ve said many times before: I’ve got great readers. So thank you all for sticking around and I hope we can enjoy ourselves around here for many years more.
TOO LONG DIDN’T READ? Oh, that happens with my rants, I guess. Let me summarize for you:
I’m not happy with the weekly updates so I’m going back to updating 3 times a week. You can also expect sketches and bunnybacons almost every other day, plus the new CHEESECAST on Thursdays and an AUDIORANT every now and then.