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Eric: Alas, poor Sarah. I knew her, Eggntater....

One of the sadder days over here at Websnark Central (defined as "that place where I feed my cat and drink coffee) is when a beloved webcomic moves from the Daily Trawl to the Sporadically Checked list -- a list I realize I've promising to write up for you literally since week two of this thing. But that's neither here nor there.

There are generally two reasons a trawled strip goes to Sporadically Checked. First, it can be because I've gotten deeply annoyed with it. It stops being something I enjoy. My last possible resort for saving it from "You Had Me and You Lost Me" is to set it aside for a month or two and then go back, to see if reading it in great huge bunches would somehow make it better. You'll generally know those strips because I generally will have posted several negative snarks about them. And... well, doing several negative snarks about anything typically gets noticed, because it's not generally my thing.

The second... and sadder... strip-shift happens when a strip just stops updating, and I grow tired of seeing the same strip every day in a vain hope that it will update. Generally, this is a strip I actively like and really want to see more of, but you just can't have it sitting there every day.

Which brings us to my beloved /usr/bin/w00t

I really like this strip. I always have. I like Sarah. I like the workplace humor. I like the relationship humor. I like the LARP humor. I like the Silent Hill humor. I like the asshats and the fangirls and Grammie Frag. I like Darth Boobs.

I like it.

I've known -- as we all have -- that the strip is ending soon. Chaobell just doesn't want to keep doing it. Which is, of course, perfectly fine. I've been holding on against the day she finishes up the storyline, which by definition will be sometime between now and August, when the site expires. To me, though, that means sometime in July I need to hit the site and see if it's updated.

And that bums me out, because it's such a good strip. But there's only so long I can watch Sarah play Katamari Damacy. I mean, I know the theme song supposedly gets stuck in your head, but still.

None of this should imply Chaobell has to update or should update, by the by. She doesn't make her living by this, and she doesn't owe us a damn thing. Comic Book Guy be damned -- faithful reading does not create a sense of obligation in her, but in us. But there still gets to be a point where you sigh and turn out the lights.

So. I'll be back, every few weeks, to see if we've have those last few strips. The rest of the time, however, she's just not part of the daily roundup of strips, any longer. Regardless, I hope she does well and has heaps of fun. And if I ever happen to meet her, I owe her a beer.

Now. Watch there be a strip tomorrow, that she's been working on for weeks....

Posted by Eric Burns-White at March 24, 2005 10:18 AM


Comment from: Brandon E. posted at March 24, 2005 10:52 AM

Yup, there are a few comics I used to avidly read that have done the same thing: Men in Hats has its cycles (as did Pentasmal); Framed used to be a favorite and introduced me to a lot of my current favorites; and there are a few others who stopped and simply died out. I know that unless they are making significant money off my viewing of the strip, they have no obligation to continue their work. I understand that real life has priority. It doesn't make it any less frustrating if it is a strip I really like though.

Comment from: Robotech_Master posted at March 24, 2005 11:12 AM

You might want to check out ChangeDetection.com, a free service which will check a site, once a day, for changes. I've put a somewhat sporadically-updated webcomic that I like on it, so that I don't have to check every day to see if it's updated but will instead find notification of it in my mailbox the next morning. Saves a lot of stressing.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at March 24, 2005 12:54 PM

I understand this; I'm still frustrated about how long I've been waiting for a new Elf Only Inn. I can understand burnout, but I really wish artists would just step up and say that it's going to keep the comic from returning.

Personally, I liked how Steve Troop handled it. He said that he wanted to wrap up Melonpool, put together an ending, and let it stand like that. And when he decided to pick it up, he just floated an announcement and said that he was ready to roll again. I gained some respect for Troop, and I'd wish artists would follow his lead (with or without a wrap-up) when they hit huge blocks like that.

Comment from: Shadowydreamer posted at March 24, 2005 3:01 PM

.. wait.. you mean I can STOP?!

My facetious sense of humour aside.. I absolutely agree with 32. (Twice in two days!) I wonder why artists/writers/etc bother to keep updating with a "comic coming soon!" when it's been MONTHS since their last update. I've told my monitor more than once "Who are they kidding?"

Which has little to do with the topic at hand.. but, yeah, wrap-up good. ^_^

Comment from: Brendan posted at March 24, 2005 4:01 PM

This doesn't apply to more story-oriented comics, though. Remember what happened to Avalon. No, scratch that - at least Avalon ended with some closure (albeit in a synopsis). Remeber what happened to Blotto Street - immediately after what looks like a major twist, she writes "but it was a false alarm. Everyone made it out okay and everyone graduated." And those are the POPULAR ones. The little guys just stop updating with no warning or explanation, sometimes after years. I'm not talking about phasing out like w00t or Avalon; they go every friggin' day for three years, then in mid-story, skip a day and never update again.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at March 24, 2005 4:37 PM

Hey, I'm not that much of a contrarian iconoclast, am I? Oh wait, yes I am.

I'd have to say that my wish works for story comics too. No story ever ends at a point agreeable to everyone (I, for one, would have loved it if Avalon could have followed everyone through college as well). What's important, though, is to be definite about it.

My favorite example is the movie, "The Truman Show." Once Truman walks through the exit, you don't see him at all again. You never see if he reunites with Sylvia, if they stay together, any of that. Once he leaves, his life is off-camera. Would I have liked to see them reunited? Sure, but at least the end makes sense and the story ends.

Or, as an old saying goes, "It's better to have a horrible ending than horrors without end." The latter part, of course, being the frustration of waiting for a comic that isn't returning.

Comment from: quiller posted at March 24, 2005 4:38 PM

Weirdly it is the one's without a regular schedule that somehow keep me checking all the time. Absurd Notions is oh so good, but the updates are so completely random. I sometimes wish some of these artists could set themselves up with a once a month update schedule or something, so at least I can say, hey it's the first of the month, I should go check. (That being said, those comics that have that kind of schedule I tend to check 3 times a year or so, since I never remember any schedule that isn't at least weekly.)

But that's part of the excitement of webcomics, half of them are some high school guy or gal, who suddenly hits Junior year and has to study, or they started out as an experiment and eventually the experiment ends.

One of the saddest for me is Sea of Insanity, who's most recurring problem seems to be the guy's deteriorating wrists.

Comment from: gwalla posted at March 25, 2005 3:00 AM

Brendan: I'd just like to point out that Maboo, author/artist of Blotto Street, is not a she.

He has also recently put up a couple of basically stand-alone Blotto strips on his LJ because he misses it (and feels bad about how he ended it), and is working on putting together a new (apparently unrelated) webcomic project.

Comment from: Shadowydreamer posted at March 25, 2005 3:04 AM

I'd rather have a happy ending than a sad ending.. I'd rather have a sad ending than no ending.. and well, no ending is better than no story at all..

One of my favourite comics has never once said what his schedule is. Sometimes it's Fridays.. sometime's it Tuesdays.. sometimes it's two weeks of silence and suddenly he throws up three. Its always like getting an unexpected gift when there's a new comic.

Of course, I'm the person who went to 7 days a week so I don't have to figure out what the dates are for Saturday and Sunday when uploading a whole shlock. We all have our own way of doing things. ^_^

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at March 26, 2005 12:34 AM

You know, this is as good of a place as any (talking about indefinite haituses... haitii... whatever) to mention that Chopping Block, as of 3/21/05, is back again. And Monday's comic... well, at least I know someone's going to beat me on that bullet train to Hell, and he's going to keep me laughing the whole trip.

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