To me this is one of the most fascinating elements of storytelling. The idea behind Chekhov’s Gun is to employ parsimony in the information comprising a plot and content: If something isn’t essential to the story, just don’t include it. Little by little, it became more “if there’s a gun in the first act, it has to go off by the third one,” which is similar as advice but qualitatively different- not only has it got to be relevant and essential to the story, but Chekhov’s Gun has to be essential enough to be a game changer.
On the one hand it’s excellent advice that trims and grooms a story perfectly, especially in visual mediums like movies and webcomics- on the other hand, I do believe it’s a tenet that gave rise to whole cohorts of genre-savvy audiences and plot spoiler twits that ruin everyone else’s fun.
So it’s often come down to a game between creators and audiences: creators conceal Chekhov’s Gun in the plot, and the audience tries vehemently to discover it- or enjoy going back to read the webcomic or the book, or watch the movie, to watch the setup after they already know how it ends.
Personally, I feel there are many types of Chekhov’s Guns- not only in terms of items of high plot importance, but also in terms of plot devices concealed in a character’s personality or background or skills, things in the surrounding setup or environment of the characters, warnings or advice that is shrugged off by the main character ( “Trust no one, Dr. Jones.” ), a character themselves (like the Black Knight in so many medieval knight stories) and innumerable others.
In the 80s that was done to death in kid movies where the one hobby or skill or oddball ability of the main kid character became vitally relevant to a positive resolution of the conflict by the end of the movie (even Jurassic Part III did that by having a girl skilled in gymnastics, use said gymnastics to fight off a velociraptor. Cringe at will).
So, what about you? Are there Chekhov’s guns in your webcomics? Will there be? Have you experienced/enjoyed Chekhov’s guns in other webcomics perhaps, or other works?
Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Jan. 7, 2017
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