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Comic Holidays

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Dec. 18, 2021

Holidays are approaching for roughly all mainstream religions, winter holidays for non-observers, and Christmas is generally the main theme for at least the western world. It's a festive season all around! People rush for Christmas shopping, make plans for vacations or leisure or gatherings, brace for meetings with the extended family, and more.

What about in your webcomics?

Are there holidays included in the plot, or perhaps allow for a ‘holiday special’?

Or it's something that would throw the audience off because there's no way that our society's winter holidays/ holiday season could be observed?

The holiday season can be a great plot device if the setting and worldbuilding allow for it. Technically, there's no worldbuilding that doesn't- even in fantasy, civilizations would have evolved to have some holidays with some protocol of festivities everyone agrees on.

When a protocol of celebration is the norm, people tend to try and conform to it in various ways: ‘the season to be jolly’ may make characters put in effort to be jolly even if that isn't their normal countenance or the situation they live it. How they go about it will reveal a lot about their psyche and their needs or wishes. Or they may buck the entire holiday and even actively, aggressively try to undermine it. Or they may feel unable to be jolly, and suffer emotional impact or even backlash for it.

The way characters act and react during the holidays is a great way to get to know them better, making them even more ‘real’ for the audience.

On the other hand, especially when it's a commercial gag employing well-established and popular IPs, a holiday season sequence, episode, or ‘special’ may be shoehorned in. And that's when the ham and cheese or the uncanny valley threaten to make the holiday segment …weird.

Christmas, for example, is a very specific holiday. In a world where there never was Christ or Christianity, having Christmas (or even ‘holidays’ with the exact protocol of celebrations we recognize as ‘Christmas’) is effectively ‘breaking’ the world. Characters can't react to the situation in an organic way because they will be called to have an emotional connection to a religion they don't have any exposure to (let alone ownership).

The better way to have them be in a festive season would be to develop it from the context of the world itself: if it's a largely secular world, then ‘Christmas’ can't exist. There can be ‘Winter Holidays’ or ‘Celebration of Plentifulness’ or some such thing, assuming that there is a winter or that they have plentiful harvests. If there is a religion, then the holiday season will be celebrating important events within that religion. Things can be reminiscent of our holidays but they can't be ‘inserts’.

How do you deal with holidays in your webcomic (if at all)?

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PaulEberhardt at 1:03PM, Dec. 20, 2021

I used to do Christmas specials, as well as Halloween ones and (in the early days) St Patrick Day's pages all in green. And Easter. And New Year's Eve. I didn't do all of that every year, though, nor did it matter whether the holiday in question is actually celebrated in my region. If I had a fun idea that ideally added some kind of twist of my own to the ritual, I drew it (e.g. a Turkish Santa, the problem of frouzen scent marks on a Christmas tree etc.), if I didn't - well, there'd always be another year. Nowadays, I hardly ever get anything done at all, and I probably won't do anything holiday-themed unless I'm really, really sure that I've got something to follow it up. I wouldn't want to get stuck with a Christmas page on top in summer or whatever.

paneltastic at 9:52AM, Dec. 19, 2021

Oh! I've also done a yearly Halloween special called Panelween for the last 2-3 years as well.

paneltastic at 9:51AM, Dec. 19, 2021

Oh sure. Christmas and Halloween are two of the best to have excuses to do fun stories. I've done them for years. I've got a special section of holiday stores on The Deadlys: And we've been running holiday themed stuff all season over several series here:

hushicho at 1:36AM, Dec. 19, 2021

I can never manage to hit a specific time with a comic appropriate to it. I remember doing the yuletide chapter of Kirke Ketterley's adventures in winter and feeling very excited and festive, and then it was posted in July. It did make me smile, at least, but I always feel like I miss the timing! But you can always have a Solstice celebration, or something commemorating nature in some way, or the cycle of the year. It's very common to have celebrations of encouragement through the sometimes difficult winter. And people can and do read webcomics anytime, not just when they're posted and never again, so there is that.

Banes at 3:24PM, Dec. 18, 2021

I've used a birthday once or maybe twice as an excuse for a gathering with my characters I think - when I was updating regularly I'd have a Halloween episode (modeled after the Simpsons' Halloween shows). Usually I'd just jump into the fantastical Halloween stories; I think once I showed the characters at a little Halloween gathering as an intro.

bravo1102 at 2:45AM, Dec. 18, 2021

There's always how the Japanese adopted all the secular gift giving, winter wonderland and Santa Claus traditions of the West but nothing of the religious component. Gift giving, winter, guy in red suit and family. No nativity. To examine the bumper sticker when looking at European languages "Christ" is only in Christmas in English.

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