< Piro >
Monday - January 8, 2001
I was in a particularly bad mood last friday, and it even slipped a little into friday's rant. As a result, I received many very nice e-mails encouraging me to cheer up and best luck in overcoming whatever it was that precipitated the deleted rant. Thank you, i always appreciate it. I am sooo bad about answering email, but rest assured, I read all of them.
I received quite a few emails in appreciation of last week's 'Piro Bumps Into Kimiko' strips which culminated with the colored strip on friday. I was hoping that people would like them, and according to the response, most of you did. I did get one e-mail which begged me, "for the love of megatokyo take the rest of the month off and get back to what made MT so great in the first place!" Heheh. You can't please everyone. ^_^
Feedback is a funny thing. I get a lot of email - about 90% of it is very positive. The bad emails don't bother me at all. I am a firm believer in not letting your head swell too much from positive feedback, and not getting depressed by the really negative emails. Years ago, a bad email could stop me from drawing for days. Not anymore. I take everything with a grain of salt. If i didn't, all the praise would give me an ego the size of Largo's... and the world doesn't need that. :P
Life has been pretty good lately. I've been busy at work, but not insanely so. The holidays want great, the cats are healthy, the snow has stopped falling, Sarah still loves me... ^^;;. As I explained, it wasn't a negative e-mail that set me off.
So what the heck was my problem last week?
I was in an artistic funk for almost three days. I was beginning to think that perhaps Megatokyo was getting TOO popular. How can this be bad? When it was just me and Fredart, I pretty much could do whatever I wanted. Some stuff came out great, some really sucked. It didn't really matter - I mean, there weren't really any consequences to experimenting. In fact, people seemed to get a kick out of the variety.
Sequential art is an interesting medium to work in. I use the term 'sequential' rather than 'comic' because to me, Megatokyo is more a work of 'sequential art' than a 'comic'. MT is often like a 'comic', because it's usually comedic, and it has a pretty standard format. Last week, there weren't any punch lines, and it wasn't supposed to be funny. MT is 'sequential art' - 3 times a week, there is something new, something that happens in sequence. That's my only real rule.
And it's gonna get me into trouble. I can see it.
I worry that the problem with Megatokyo's popularity is that people will build particular expectations that will try very hard to force it into being just an 'online comic'. This is not an insult to online comics. Most of you know how great and refreshing online comics are. As I've said from the beginning... i wasn't really trying to create an 'online comic' with Megatokyo - there just isn't any other place for us. You know, a comic may or may not have an underlying story, but each and every day there is a gag and a punch line. For me, life usually has plenty of punch lines - but not every day.
Last week we had three comics without a punch line. It was like i broke some code of ethics or something.
MT is going to have some pretty serious moments in it. How are we going to deal with these when people expect to come here for a laugh? Honestly, I'm not sure. The whole thing is a bit of an experiment. Are we trying to do too much? Are we expecting too much of the medium? *I* don't think so. But I've been wrong before.
It's funny, but while i was stewing about a few select reactions to my chicanery last week, i started thinking about Bill Waterson and Calvin and Hobbs. You know, God and his Work. ^_^ Waterson made us laugh every day, and I will forever stand in awe of that comic. Out of all the strips Waterson did, i can think of only ONE strip that was part of a story arc that just didn't have a punch line. (you know the one where Calvin gets as big as the universe then finds a door in the last panel - there is no real punch line there (or i just am missing it)).
What did his editors say to that? "Bill, what the hell is the matter with you? This isn't funny, there is no punch line!" He must have responded, "But i need this in there to get to the next series of strips!" and then proceeded to carbonize the editor with a lightning bolt. ^_^
Right now, Megatokyo is free of strings, for the most part. We really *can* do whatever we want. But if we are to grow, i worry about what might happen when we do have to answer to someone. I don't have any lightning bolts, and even if I did, i probably wouldn't use them. I just hope I never, ever EVER have to compromise what i draw or how i feel about it. Of course, if i believe that i never will have to, i am probably smoking way too much crack.
anyhoo, that was long winded, and boring, and probably didn't make any sense. I guess the point is that some of these quandaries made me realize how important Megatokyo has become to me. At first it was just some silly little side project that i figured would fizzle before it every got off the ground. These days, i wonder. This silly, stupid, lame, badly drawn piece of crap means a lot to me. Who would have thought... but i guess that's a good thing. :)
Thanks for all the support everyone. I mean it.