The End of the WorldMay 8th, 2013 |
Brian and I have an odd situation and a lot to answer for when it comes to the EOTW fanbase and the lack of comics and transparency these days. I’ve personally been on the sidelines waiting for a new comic on other webcomics in the past so I understand how frustrating this can be. Ultimately at the end of the day we decided that the best course of action would be to explain the situation with a look at the behind the scenes of EOTW as a whole over the past couple of years and how all of the changes led to the current situation.
Since the only real way I personally can tell the story of how we got to this situation is telling my part in it, you’ll have to bear with me as I tell you a story of me and the end of the world.
I came into the EOTW comic scene as a happy accident. I had completely failed to make a name for myself critiquing video games on the now rebranded and moved Bitmob.com, and in the midst of a lot of turmoil in my personal life I was desperate to find some other creative purpose. This led to me talking on my twitter about wanting to get into webcomics.
The result of this was a thunderous nothing for me (even now my twitter @Meyeselph is hilariously unpopular and I barely bother tweeting) except for one odd side effect. @Cactrot911 (known to you all as that guy who does all that comicry stuffs round here) had followed me for seemingly no reason. I checked out EOTW from the link on his twitter and then read the first arc of EOTW. I honestly wasn’t that impressed and moved on with my life.
Sometime in the next week I got restless to try and actually talk to someone about how to actually get started with webcomics, and since I didn’t know anyone else personally who worked on them I just decided to private message Brian on twitter.
Once we started talking we got along famously. I told him about my ambitions for storytelling and he provided some interesting wisdom on what it’s like to actually produce content and collaborate on a story. During this conversation I asked him on a lark why he had followed me on twitter. He revealed to me that he had a twitter bot that just automatically followed me because I mentioned webcomics. That to me was a pretty interesting and intimidating look into how aggressive you need to be to try and build a fanbase. At least that’s what I thought once I got past how hilarious it was that I just made one of the best friends I’ve ever had because of a twitter bot.
After I had told Brian of one of my more ambitious ideas for a comic he saw fit to offer me the writer’s chair for a guest arc for EOTW. I was flattered and definitely excited to have an opportunity to get my writing seen but there was a problem. I wasn’t a fan of the comic and hadn’t read much of it. I told him I wanted to but to give me a couple of days to read the full backlog and see if I could come up with an idea that would work for it.
As I read through the entirety of EOTW from back to front I became entranced by it. The characters and art were so expressive and fun that you could really tell how much fun Brian and Brandt had making it. The comic had obviously suffered, however, due to the turmoil of the real lives of the creators. Many of the arcs had false endings, characters (including one of the main characters) would disappear without warning after being teased to have prominent roles, and many of the most strange concepts of the comics were left unexplained. Still as I read through it I became enough of a fan of it that my mind just naturally started trying to fill in the blanks. Where did the female FBI agent go? Why did the comic melt into white at random? Were all these anti climaxes building to a secret climax? As my brain was working overtime thinking about fun reasons for all of these inconsistencies I realized something. I was already writing my guest arc.
Phoebe as a character sums up the entire idea behind the story I felt needed to be told with EOTW. The comic was engaging and fun enough to where I felt it deserved to continue, but it had flaws that demanded to be addressed. Phoebe as a character was created because EOTW had to be deconstructed to be fixed. The story and characters simply needed someone to come along and call out “What the fuck is going on?” so that the universe could look at itself and parse out all it’s errors. The guest arc I had come up with was Phoebe’s rampage against the comic and the begining of what is now known as the Detritus arc.
Now as much fun as I had thinking up the idea, even I balked a bit at pitching a guest arc where a new character came along and told the universe how full of shit it was, so when I talked to Brian about the guest arc my tone was a bit strange. “I had a really interesting idea while reading through the comic but it’s a bit much for a guest arc so I’m stuck.”
After telling him the idea, however, he loved it. There was a problem though. Brandt and him already had plans for an uber arc that was playing out in “Demon Rising” that was fixing to end EOTW entirely and took the comic in a direction that my ideas could not possibly work within. So we went to Brandt and I had to pitch him on the idea of taking EOTW on a hard left turn in a completely new direction in mid arc.
It was a complicated process and one that I personally felt a bit shitty about putting the two creators through it on my account but Brandt agreed to help us work out a new direction for EOTW so that me and Brian could try this crazy ass idea in my head. Since Brandt had a lot of things going on in his real life and his own writing style and mine are two very different beast he let me take over the comic on a trial basis after we collaberated on a rewrite of the end of Demon Rising. Eventually he would make me the official head writer of the comic when he decided that he didn’t have enough time to work seriously on it. So me and Brian began the arc From Ashes as a sort of tone shift of the comic to focus more on my very character focused writing style and set the stage for Detritus.
In the begining Phoebe was going to back down from shooting Brian in the end of the Detritus arc, but Brian actually really thought the story would be stronger if we didn’t take the easy way out and Brian actually got the hard goodbye. This combined with Brandt’s intrest in a potential universe reboot and an idea I had for parodying the DC new 52 reboot and 90s comic book writing led to the detritus arc being expanded into the two part Detritus/Reboot that we are currently in the midst of.
Putting together these ideas led to a wonderful flurry of creativity as me and Brian got used to working with each other. Despite the occasional glitch (try and guess which comics were added into the Detritus arc to cover up a misunderstanding!) we were very proud of what was coming out. There was a problem however. Readership spiked every so often but wasn’t growing in any real way, and the quality of art the comics required combined with the heavy 3 a week release schedual was kicking Brian’s ass.
It’s a really hard thing to admit but a commitment to quality is not a guarantee of success, so Brian and I had to take a good hard look at EOTW and admit that it wasn’t our route to finally making it out of obscurity and poverty with our creative works. I took this particularly hard as I felt that my attempts to retool EOTW and find it the audience it deserves were selling a false bill of goods to Brian and Brandt. Maybe EOTW should have ended like it originally would have without my meddling.
All that said, what did come out of it was a fun set of stories and some great ideas, as well as Brian and I feeling pretty excited to continue to work together. So we decided that the best thing for us was to break away from webcomics a bit to use the extra time to make a graphic novel.
We feel that in order to find a wider audience for our talents we need a self contained and focused work we can sell people on with no caveats. No need to read the back catalog, no need to wrap your head around the twists that the comic had to take during tight webcomic production, no worry about release scheduals. This means however that aside from slowly trickling out the ending to the reboot arc when Brian has the time and intrest to work on it and potentially something down the road if we ever get comfortable enough to go back to it EOTW as a regularly released webcomic is over.
A crappy situation I know, but one that probably would have been easier on the tattered remnants of our fanbase if we hadn’t left that ‘updated mon wed and fri’ nonsense on the site and barely talked to anyone about this as we went on hiatus and figured this stuff out. Pardon us for the inconvenience there. Both of us are disorganized nerds with other jobs and attention span problems.
At the end of the day the end of the world is the hardest I’ve worked on anything I’ve yet written, and I am very proud of it and very grateful to the fans of it that we managed to keep. It’s just a harsh truth of things that finding visability for creative works in this crowded market is a nightmare.
Most of the webcomics that find serious traction are ones that got a boost from outside sources like other already popular webcomics or other large sites and we at EOTW simply have too complicated a history/backlog and too few topical comic by comic yuks to be passed around the internet as any sort of attention grabbing fad. So to survive we must adapt.
In the future Brian will be doing something with setting up a new site focused on his art and trying to get some more commission work going to try and fuel our ambitions and I in the meantime am working with him on the story details and bibles for two concepts. One being the graphic novel we are working on, and one being an unrelated single issue story to proceed it that we will use to prototype the art style and prove to those around us what readers of EOTW already know, that we tell good stories and are awesome!
Until future notice this site will be pretty dead, if we ever post a new page Brian and i will definately talk it up on our twitter (@Meyeselph for me and @Cactrot911 for hims) and we will always keep an eye on the forums and comments if you wish to ask us anything or let us know how you feel.
Once again we do apologize for the circumstances. What fans we do have are appreciated and we don’t want to slight you but if we are going to become professionals we simply can’t cater only to our own whims and a few die hard boosters. End of the World as a comic has to suffer a bit so that EOTW as a creative team can grow.
Our hope is that the results will find EOTW the audience it deserves one day as people look back on this humble little comic series and see the root of all the awesome crap we are going to do.