State of the Webcomic Address 2012

It's been three weeks since we've started back up so it's time for an explanation.

When I was fifteen, I decided that what I wanted to be when I grew up was a dude who made webcomics.

Flash forward seven years to October 2010. I'd just graduated from college with a certificate in web design, and Cheer Up, Emo Kid is booming. Over 3k unique visits per day, hundreds of likes and comments per strip, up to a million pageviews a month, people demanding books and shirts and other merchandise and junk. Everything seemed to be going perfectly well.

And yet, for some inconceivable reason, I was unhappy with it.

I didn't like anything about it. I didn't like the stories I was writing, the dialogue that was being spoken, the art style. But I couldn't figure out why or what I could do to fix it. And then, suddenly, I got a job, and spending upwards of 10 hours (yeah yeah, slow drawer) making something I was unhappy with suddenly didn't seem as feasible anymore. So I put it on hiatus while I figured out what I wanted to do with it.

In hindsight, I should have put up some kind of notice saying the strip was on hiatus. This has happened more that once. I guess I always thought to myself, "oh, I'll try to update it next week so there's no need for a BRB sign". But that next week never came. Well, it did, like four times ... over the course of the entire year of 2011. Which is terrible. And I'm sorry, I fucked up. I really suck at communicating with people. One of my friends mentioned to me the other day, "for a web designer, you really suck at actually BEING on the web."

This time will be different. (Just like all the other times, huh?) I saved up money over the last two years and finally got one of those high-falutin Cintiq tablets, so not only is it super-fast to draw strips now but they look much better, too (IMO). I also took a comic book production class instructed by the legendary Steve Rolston, which corrected a million different things in my creative process that I was doing wrong. So that's awesome.

Last of all, I think that my mindset over the last few years has changed considerably as well. I've looked back at some of my older strips hundreds of different times to try to figure out how I can improve, and some of them I literally can't look at anymore without cringing. I mean, sure, I can use the excuse that I drew those strips "during a dark time in my life, it was an emotional outlet, if you can make fun of one thing you can make fun of everything blah blah blah" but there's a comic about slapping Rihanna for fuck's sake, I guess 20-year-old me thought that was funny at some point but 24-year-old-me disagrees. So there's that.

All in all, making this crap is what I've always wanted to do and I finally have the means and know-how to do it right. Hence the "Reboot". I hope you enjoy it.

Discussion (13 Comments)

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  1. Never even took you out of my bookmarks. Glad you're back, Enzo.

  2. Thank you all for your understanding and for sticking around. It's always extremely encouraging and motivating to have fans like you guys. Thank you!! Here's to more strips! And stripping!

  3. avatar youknowho

    Thanks for the communication. You true fans understand. I mean, hey, you aren't a machine. People go thru things and grow. Very cool that you invested in yourself to get better at your craft and retain a pleasant work experience for yourself. No one wants you to do something that doesn't make you happy, and it is always very important to define success for YOURSELF. ♥

  4. avatar Evan

    One of the concerns I have with the 'webcomic' model is that it takes so long to build audience, and then there's a powerful obligation to maintain that audience - meaning that the art can become secondary. On the other hand you have the opportunity to build an audience for independent, art-based strips, whereas before comics were only able to work commercially if there was a publisher...

    I guess my point is that I love independent artists, I love what people are saying with the medium of webcomics, and I think that as consumers we need to treat them as artists, not as 'content providers'. In other words, you need the freedom to reinvent yourself, to change your process, to challenge your audience, as you wish. You might lose some readers, sure - but you owe no one an apology.

    Good to have you back.

  5. avatar danineteen

    Did the Rihanna/Chris Brown thing really happen that long ago? Woah.

    I mean *ahem* Glad you're back!

  6. avatar Jeff

    Don't know if you remember the dude back in 2010 who emailed you about writing some piece of code to parse your blog's RSS and feed it to Plurk/Twitter? Yeah, that was me and I never got around to doing it either for the same reasons as you have, so I guess we'll call it quits? LOL JK. Still a huge fan after all these years (and still hankering for some overpriced merch I'll be happy to sell one of my balls for—shipping from Canada to the Philippines costs WAY MORE than it does from the US, apparently)

  7. avatar YeahRight

    We are just happy that you are back

  8. avatar hello

    Just glad you're back, Enzo! I've been a fan since you drew that comic for FML all those years ago. The new art style looks fantastic. I've always thought this comic was one of the funniest on the web, even if you aren't happy with your old stuff. Glad I'll be able to put it back into my frequently checked webcomics!

  9. I'm glad you've found a way to enjoy what you always wanted to do.
    That is easily one of the hardest things to do in this messed up place we call home.

    But I do want to point out that one of my favorite and my friends favorite strips was one of your earlier ones.

    http://www.cheerupemokid.com/comic/settle-down-smiley-kid

    And we're loving the Reboot good sir. Your comic and Dr. McNinja (which you pointed me towards, thank you btw) are by far my all time favorite webcomic(s)/comic(s) ever.
    KEEP IT UP!

  10. YEAH!!! IT'S BACK!

    Enzo,
    I always checked up to see an update. So I'm very glad to see your back with a new style!
    I've got to say, you're bringing webcomic to a higher level now that you evaluated what had to be done to make it better. I really like that.
    I can't wait to see more of you!

  11. Man. 300k unique visits a day. I average about 300 hits a day. I feel your pain, but...do you realize how insanely fortunate you were to get such a positive response? I'm not putting you down by any means, I just...wow, I can't imagine that kind of feedback. Hope the fire of inspiration strikes you again. :)

  12. avatar Derek

    It is so nice to learn that you're back!! I can't wait to see more of your future comics. You can say that I am one of those who didn't give up on you and still longed for the day of your return. I still have you on my Google Reader man! (Ok, I may be one month late from welcoming you, but that doesn't mean I am a hypocrite for saying I was waiting for you to come back!)

    (Seriously!)

    Oh gee *looking at the horizon as the sun sets*. I still remember the days when I loved that "We Clone the Bitch!!!" panel and you thought of it as a great T-shirt idea. Good times.

    I just love how your web comics evolved, and I just love to think that someday I can proudly say, "I was already a fan before that shit got famous". Yeah I know. Hipster. Sorry.

    Proud Pinoy! :)




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