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Wrapping Up

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, May 13, 2023

So as some might know, my 12+ year-old webcomic Without Moonlight is about to end!

Ok well its first volume is about to end. I have probably something like 3 more volumes to go.

If I live long enough

Still though, it is basically one book done, and it does need a wrap-up. An epilogue. Yes, that's what I'm making this weekend (yes I know I should've made it last weekend, but real life happened) and that's all I have in my mind, so that's what I'm talking about.

Now, I don't think there's a right or wrong way to make an epilogue. Like rings on fingers and shoes on feet, the epilogue just needs to comfortably fit where the story has ended. There may be a variety of ways to make an epilogue that fits, and I think that hinges a lot on what the creator wants the story to say and what the creator's plans moving forward are.

A “where are they now?” epilogue usually sees characters in the distant future from the now where their story has ended. In Harry Potter we saw all the Hogwarts graduates grown up and about to send off their own children to Hogwarts for their first year.

A “happily ever after” epilogue leaves the characters in a happy place, with clear prospects for the future. In Avatar The Last Airbender we saw the main chacters paired off with their romantic interests as they have a nice, calm evening with tea and a lot of hope and determination for the future. (And a dangling cliffhanger, but we'll get to that in a bit)

A “it all went to shit but it was worth it” epilogue, the characters may be doomed by they are happy as the world perishes around them, or the world is better for their sacrifice, or they go to a happy place beyond the world as a reward for their struggles. In Gladiator Maximus dies, but that is his happy ending because he has accomplished his revenge arc and is finally reunited with his family in the elysian fields (presumably).

A “it was all a dream” epilogue leaves the characters who had the ‘dream’ (i.e. experienced the story) vividly changed in some way in their waking, real life. In A Christmas Carol Scrooge changes from a misanthropic miser to a kind philanthropist thanks to his visions/dreams (that are the entire book).

And then there's the “it's all good for now” epilogue, where the characters are in a happy place which is clearly temporary, with threat and the overall struggle not yet resolved. This is usually the case for modular stories that have big chapters that are supposed to be stand-alone, but also sequential in that they keep up with the same characters as the plot continues where it left off in the previous chapter's epilogue. I'll round back to Harry Potter since it's convenient, and the epilogues in the first few books where the characters are glad the current threat is gone, but know the big bad threat is still looming as they promise to meet again for next year.

I'm certain I've forgotten a couple of epilogues, so list them in the comments. What epilogues have you gone for, or are planning to go for in your webcomic?

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Locoma at 7:30AM, May 28, 2023

Congratulations about finishing Volume 1! I hope you find it really rewarding and a well deserved break. To me one of my favorite endings it could be described as the "A cliffhanger but not really" which are the ones that end in a cliffhanger but it's clearly not really meant to continue (like the one from the original "The Italian Job"). It could fit in the "It all went to shit" one. A really enjoyable reading!

mishi_hime at 12:00PM, May 14, 2023


Andreas_Helixfinger at 2:37AM, May 14, 2023

Much congrats, Tantz:)

Ironscarf at 7:05PM, May 13, 2023

Great achievement Tantz. I'm planning an epilogue page in a few updates time, just to serve as a sort of story break. It an 'all good for now' type I think, but with a disparity between what you read and what you see. My favourite epilogue is the last page of Avengers 57, which shows the fate of Ultron, set to Shelley's Ozymandias, but in an amusing way.

usedbooks at 5:14PM, May 13, 2023


Tantz_Aerine at 2:32PM, May 13, 2023

It's yet too early to moon anyone Banes. XD

Banes at 2:00PM, May 13, 2023

Congrats to you on reaching the end of this volume! So now we just need to see what flavor of epilogue you're going to have. Will the Moon finally appear??

TheJagged at 12:53PM, May 13, 2023

Not a big fan of drawn out epilogues (looking at you Return of the King's 5 fake-out endings), i always prefer more abrupt endings that leave something open to interpretation. There was one comic i included a short epilogue tho, since it had a very large cast i threw in a couple of short scenes showing what each character is up to now. Kind of a Zelda ending. Just a quick overview of the world & its people, and then we stick the master sword back into its stone.

PaulEberhardt at 2:46AM, May 13, 2023

Let's not forget the cheesy parody epilogue. It's not actually a type of its own but any one of the other types done according to certain clichés that are driven over the top, like the protagonists riding into the sunset or a sickeningly saccharine happy family scene on an immaculate lawn in front of an immaculate villa, with everybody wearing an immaculate smile and holding their abominally cute children... Not sure if it counts, though, since it's basically a subversion and often enough not even the actual epilogue but a fake forerunner: this is what we hoped would happen, but... the cowboy is shot from his horse, the painted villa and lawn background tips over to reveal a nuclear wasteland and the sweet little babies grow tentacles - you get the drift.

PaulEberhardt at 2:39AM, May 13, 2023

Congrats, Tantz! Now let's see... the back to hell epilogue, possibly, which is used in films like Rush Hour, I think. Or military action. The mission is over, the bad guys in prison, and the protagonists go back to work, which involves storming a building, narrowly escaping a largely unexplained explosion. Could be a cliffhanger ending, but doesn't have to be. It's closely related both to the "It's all good for now" epilogue you mentioned and the "back to status quo" one, typical of long-running series with a more or less floating timeline like the Simpsons or Star Trek or Navy CIS or basically anything else they give you to watch. They're all open-ended as long as it's safe to assume that the contracts will be renewed for new seasons again and again.

marcorossi at 1:43AM, May 13, 2023

That thing in horror movies where the good guys go away happily but then we see the monster creeping out if its supposed grave!

bravo1102 at 1:17AM, May 13, 2023

My favorites are from comedies like Animal House. "Killed in Vietnam by his own troops", " Senator and Mrs John Blutarsky Washington DC" are just so precious and laugh out loud funny. My own Interstellar Blood Beasts has the "dangling question mark" epilog and Mask of the Aryans has the "where are they now?" The dangling question mark is when there's one little bit left unanswered and it may end up being a big problem for the protagonists and when used right there is no sequel in sight to take care of it. Force 10 from Navarone has a good one where the protagonists did fulfill their mission but in doing so left themselves in a bigger jam that it's going to be a lot harder to get out of, but that's another story and may never be told. Enjoy the end credits dear audience.

Avart at 12:42AM, May 13, 2023

Woah! Congrats Tantz, there's a lot of work and effort in your webcomic. I'm glad you reached the end of Volume 1 :) I'm not an expert but maybe the "main character died and all went to shit"? or it couldn't be considered as an epliogue? Thanks for posting this info, it was very helpful to me.

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