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On Calling It Quits

HippieVan at 12:00AM, Sept. 30, 2016
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This newspost was inspired by a milestone of sorts sent to me by awsome owl 98, so I suppose I ought to start with that! His comic Powell and Derry has just wrapped up after five years and 374 pages. He’s also written a long post in the forums talking about why he decided to end this comic. The whole thing is in the forums here, but here’s an excerpt:

“ I thought about the sorts of comics I like to read and realized that I like comics that have an ongoing story and good characters so I made an effort to make one like that. Powell and Derry had only ever had very short and made up as I went along story arches and despite making it for years none of the characters in Powell and Derry had really developed any sort of personality to speak of. And I've been working on making a new comic since then! I've gone through a lot of ideas and although many of them have crashed and burned I'm not going to stop trying until I can bring you a comic actually worth reading. So that's why I've finally ended Powell and Derry. Not just because it was well past its due date and mostly bad but also because I want to make a new comic!”

I’ve never been good at intentionally walking away from projects. That’s not to say that I finish everything that I start! The number of half-knitted scarves lying around my house is frankly embarrassing. But I tend to abandon things wordlessly and hope no one will notice, promising myself that I’ll pick it up again someday when the mood strikes me.

Some projects have a defined ending: you finish knitting that scarf, or you reach the end of the story you wanted to tell. Others can feasibly keep going for the rest of your life. When that’s the case, how do you decide that it’s time to wrap things up and walk away?

Awsome owl’s experience is similar to my own with the one project that I did very intentionally abandon. That was the comic that gave me my pseudonym here, “Hippie Van.” Essentially, I realized that it wasn’t as good as what I wanted to be making, and that I could do something better. Okay, actually what I realized was that it was god awful. Thankfully, I doubt most of you ever saw any of it.

Izzy wasn’t so easy to walk away from; true, I’m not as proud of the art or the writing as I was years ago when I made those pages, but that loveable old grump still holds a place in my heart. I notice myself echoing his particular brand of misanthropy in new characters that I write. For that reason, Izzy is firmly in an “indefinitely on hold” category in my mind.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons other than burning shame that you might want to leave something behind. You could get bored with the characters, or feel that you had gotten as much out of them as you could. You might just need a new challenge.

Have you walked away from a long-term project? Why?




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comment

anonymous?

KimLuster at 9:24AM, Oct. 1, 2016

Ha, I guess I'm lucky... I've only ever had one webcomic and I had the whole story in my head before I started, so no stops and restarts... I've considered redoing some of the early pages because the art is so bad but decided I like the look of progress... Whenever I'm not happy with my current ability I just go take a look at those early pages...!!

bravo1102 at 6:15PM, Sept. 30, 2016

And that form has worked for me through five other comics. The endings are open enough that if I want to , I can revisit characters and I have. The Robofemoids saga has continued through three comics and there are at least two more in the pipeline. But I have so many story interests that I ended up with a cast who are actually a film production company so they can reappear in stuff of all kinds of genres. So I have found ways to have on going stories as well as ones that have distinct endings so that I can walk away or revisit as I desire over time.

bravo1102 at 6:08PM, Sept. 30, 2016

I'd been working on what became my first comic for over 15 years. There were all kinds of notes for novels, short stories the all eventually gelled into Go A Viking. I struggled with production for three years, took a break, then went back only to realize; it was just too much and it was no longer what I wanted to do. I needed to work in a shorter form story with a limited cast of characters, not a grand panorama with a cast of thousands. There were at least twelve rewrites of the script before and during production. So much was cut, moved around and after over 100 pages I was just getting to the meat of the story? Stop the insanity. Something short with a distinct beginning, middle and end.

Mika_yi at 8:38AM, Sept. 30, 2016

I had one project, comic I was working on. My very first comic ever. and I went through a lot of rewriting/ drawing because my style improved over the years. But after a while I started a new one, and when I finished book 1 I kind of lost where I wanted to go with it. and when I finally got around to reworking it in my down time,it was then written completely in Chinese; no one can read it on here. It was my very first comic, I didn't want to let it go, those characters I loved so much I think I tried to drag out the story longer then it needed. So in the end I had to learn to let them go. However, I did shorten it to only 10 chapters which would be about 2 books. and I have the chapter summary written. I'd like to finish drawing it someday. but right I don't have the motivation to draw it. or the time, so I moved on. I have one I redrawing from 2001; over 1000+ pages. and another that should end with 5 books. still it's hard to just image even letting those characters go.

Udyr at 7:10AM, Sept. 30, 2016

If there's hope: I've done it QUITE a few times before and honestly sometimes instead of walking away it often just need a breeze of fresh air. My current comic (good morning, miss winter) has been redone six times over the course of 10 years and just the past three I've finally gotten it down.I had to trash most of the old limitations I used to have around the characters and add some new ideas and directions to where it was heading. It depends on the project of course but we all outgrow things in life and our stories being one of them, but in some cases the characters can grow with you. The power of being a creator makes you able to do about anything. You set your own frames and limits. If you made a comic about a high school girl falling in love and then got bored in the middle of it, instead of throwing those years away why not mold it into something else?

Ironscarf at 2:52AM, Sept. 30, 2016

I had a comic on here years ago that ground to a halt for various reasons. I was heavily invested in that project, but attempts to jump start it again with rewrites wouldn't stick. I couldn't recapture that original spark so after six years and with a heavy heart, I finally decided it was time to walk away. Shortly after making that decision, my story came back to life again and I'm working on it every chance I get with all the enthusiasm I had in the beginning. This version of walking away turned out to be more about letting go of old baggage that was holding me back.


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