Open for Debate: Posting an Incomplete Strip: Yay or Nay?

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HELP! Somebody help me! The Alliance has kidnapped me after that 50th podcast I was part of, now they are torturing me and forcing me to write something in here! HELP!

Okay, not really.

So…

There is something that has been slowly (very slowly) boiling in my brain for the past months and I thought it would be a great subject for a Debate here at the Alliance.

There are comic creators, in order to respect their posting schedule, that would post their incomplete strip on the post day. Two of my great webcomic friends, Krishna M. Sadasivam (http://pcweenies.com)  and Byron “Ye Old Fart” Wilkins (http://1977thecomic.com) are what I would call “guilty as charge”.

I’ll be straight to the point: as a reader, I do not like this practice at all. When I read a comic, I want to read the final product, not a work in progress one. To me, it’s as if the next time I’m supposed to see a Dexter TV episode, they would air the rehearsal sessions instead of the actual episode. I don’t know if I would come back back later to watch it as I already know the plot and the ending.

Another strong reason I do not like this practice is the fact that I’m using an RSS reader to read my comics. I look at my reader almost everyday, meaning that I would see the incomplete strip, skip the post and forget about it. Also, some creators are using the Thumbnail feature for their RSS feed and not all the time reposting the final version over the old one would recreate the thumbnail (unless the creator actually takes the time to do it). Then, the next new post, I would have to go on the website, look at the previous comic in order to catch up, I’m lazy that way.

I wish there was a simple way to re-send that post to the RSS feed, but unless the creator deletes the original post and create a brand new one, I don’t think it is possible (deleting the post would mean losing the potential comments already in  there…).

One good thing from this I could appreciate as an artist, is to be able to see a transition within the creator’s steps in creating a strip. But I really don’t feel that is enough for me to enjoy an incomplete strip.

So my advice? You have a schedule? You want to desperately respect that schedule? Well, make sure you finish your strip on time, or revise your schedule.

Again, that is what I think personally, and I threw it in here to start an healthy and constructive discussion with all of.

So, what do YOU think?


Antoine Gagnon always had a passion for cartoons. In his early teenager years, he started to draw but stopped at some point, without really being good at drawing, for obscure reasons. 18 years after, he’s back and rediscovered a passion long gone. The Drunken Fools online comic is actually Antoine’s first attempt at drawing and is inviting you to live the evolution of his style over time.

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Posted in Conversations, Debate, Featured News.

10 Comments

  1. Antoine does bring up good points, but I’ve seen the ‘WIP’ update done well on the webcomic Quantum Vibe. (http://www.quantumvibe.com/). A comic which has been updating five days a week for two years, their colorist was recently not able to finish some pages on time.

    Their solution: they went ahead and updated the inked pages with dialogue, replacing them with their colored versions later on. I didn’t have to wait a week to find out what was going on, they didn’t lose the large volume of traffic their website has each day, and any new readers won’t receive the sudden jarring of a WIP page when they’re reading the archives.

  2. In my opinion, WIP images are more for “bonus content”. Main posts would feature finished products only.
    At least with my comic, if I don’t have anything completed for posting then I wouldn’t post. But it is important to me to have a certain degree of transparency (via the Facebook page or G+ page) and post WIP images to show that you are working, engage readers in the process, and perhaps also give insight on why I can’t post on schedule.

  3. Yeah, ever since I started using RSS to read my comics, I stopped caring about whether or not someone was a day or two late in posting their comic. If it happened consistently enough that it affected the quality of the story long-term, then I might consider dropping it. But for my reading habits, I don’t think the strict schedule is as important as it used to be when I employed “Ye Olde Bookmark Folder of Webcomics” method.

    That said, no one’s going to turn me away from their comic for the occasional WIP art post. Again, if that (or anything else) happens frequently enough to affect the quality of the story long-term… I might step away from the story and just read it when the chapter’s completed.

  4. bonus content, yes. as a regular update? No. Just post it when finished.
    on-time update > delayed update with a note prior > unfinished comic > no comic or note or even a sketch.

    Idea: make lemonade out of the unfinished comic. Turn it into a contest, with a free giveaway. A caption contest, coloring contest, whatever. Then, post your own finished comic after the contest ends.

  5. I think you have to ask yourself why meeting the deadline is so important. Making deadlines isn’t art, it’s management… promise keeping – I don’t know how you want to characterize it but it isn’t *art* or *entertainment* – it’s a related side quest.

    I don’t believe a work in progress post will cost you any fans, I also don’t believe minor deadline skirmishes will cost you any fans, either.

    This leaves me back to my desire to make the best impression possible at all times. Maybe my comic is less entertaining or interesting because it’s late (I doubt it) but it sure can be if it’s unfinished. I’d rather err on the side of putting my best foot forward at all times.

  6. It depends on how far in you are into the page and how much longer it’d take to put up. If on update day, you’re at the inking process, and or finished but don’t see your colors getting finished for a day or two? I think that’d be fine, I’d prefer to see the next page, even if it’s not completely finished.

    However if it’s just a penciled sort of state, I wouldn’t even bother honestly. Bare bones minimum there should be inks or something solid to look at. For me, if the comic was posted, sans finishing touches (including color) I’d be fine with that, because it progresses the story, or what have you.

    But like I said, if it just means you’re going to be a few hours late, then just hold off, people more than likely won’t come back just for the addition of color (not necessarily true, but my two cents).

  7. It’s the internet. I say do whatever you want. There are no rules. That said, I would die before posting a half finished strip. But that’s my own thing. I also don’t put advertising on my site for some artsy integrity reason. Or was that due to laziness?

  8. Just now reading this:

    My 2 cents:

    If people were paying for comics – absolutely – unfinished work isn’t acceptable. My philosophy on this debate is: you’re getting comics for free. That said, I try to be very punctual about putting out finished strips. It just so happens, on rare occasions, where I run a little behind.

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