Most of the time, dead comics are just a project that didn’t work out. Collaborators part ways, inspiration evaporates, mental health ebbs and flows, and jobs place new demands on artists’ time. Generally people don’t get paid to put their webcomic online for us to read, so while it can be disappointing when our fave stops updating, hey, that’s life. But some comics die a death that stands as a cautionary tale – or a horror story – and not all readers are as laid-back about the comics they read as I am.
I’ll admit it: I used to read Homestuck. And when I quit reading it, it left something of a hole in my reading list – a hole shaped like something colorful and funny. What was I to do? It’s a rare piece of comedy that doesn’t rely on harmful and oppressive humor, as I had painfully been reminded by Hussie’s work.
I’ve never been a fan of Kris Straub’s work, to be totally honest. I always found his jokes not so funny, his characters, not so interesting, his plots, not so original. As a cartoonist, he seemed kind of mediocre. Perhaps my opinion was colored by the fact that my first exposure to him was the dreadful, clown-protagonisted Checkerboard Nightmare, back when it was still updating. But those were dark times, and all webcomics were bad back then, so it hardly seems fair to hold that against him. Even if he does strike me as an insufferable nerd-bro.
There’s a certain subset of webcomics that I’m going to call the Old Guard. These are comics that have been around since the early 2000s, survivors of a time when webcomics were… different. Different how, you ask? Well. Hmm. It’s honestly hard to explain to people who never experienced it, but I’ll try.