“Tight storytelling” is a writing buzzword that I use a lot but have difficulty actually defining, so today I’m challenging myself to do so. A tight story, in my mind, is one that feels efficient – no time is wasted on sideplots or other developments that don’t directly serve the main storyline. This doesn’t necessarily mean a completely straight shot from beginning to end, but it definitely excludes the sprawling, twisting threads of most webcomics I can think of.
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.
You’re familiar with the internet, right? You’re here, so you must be, unless you’re some 90 year old granny at the public library who sat down at a computer looking for that new-fangled digital library card system and happened to find the browser open to yeshomo dot net. In which case, welcome to the internet! You should probably ask a librarian for help.
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.
If you’ve read my list, you might think, “This person reads a lot of scifi and fantasy comics.” You’d be right. You might think, “Don’t they like anything serious?” Sure I do! Allow me to introduce you to Todd Allison and the Petunia Violet.