September 20th, 2002

Drezzer cool

What To Do, What To Do...?

Something I'd like for SJ to have that it hasn't for a while, is "buzz." Some of that is due to the frequent outages, I know; some of it is because the strip has been wandering around a bit lately, too. There was buzz about the Leonard/Tiffany situation, but a lot of that was of the "Resolve it! Resolve it!" variety, which isn't how that particular storyline is going to play out.

SJ has some very dedicated fans (and I am grateful to all of 'em!), but in the larger scale of things, it's not exactly where the action is. I would love to find some way to bump it up a notch in the world of webcomics; not in terms of "making it more marketable" or some such thing, but in terms of finding the ineffable "it" that makes something like "Sluggy Freelance" such a runaway hit ... or makes "Sabrina Online" consistently popular, even though it is only 5 - 6 strips a month. [1]

I wonder how much of it is a consistency problem ... people go to Sluggy every day because they want a specific something, and Sluggy gives it to them. But with SJ, particularly since I lost the LifeMinders job, has been a very hit-or-miss affair. "Is there a strip? And if so, is it a real strip or a filler strip? And either way, who is the artist? Does it follow the main story? WHICH main story?" Since 2001, SJ has been a long series of detours.

Hmm ... I think maybe it's time for another reader poll!

-The Gneech

[1] Whenever I make a comparison like this, I get responses of "Don't compare your work to others' ... just make the best SJ you know how!" etc. Unfortunately, that rather misses the point; I'm not whining about the fact that they're more popular or whatever, I'm using them as an example of what I want to achieve. Gaining, keeping, and pleasing a large audience is a very important aspect of what I want my strips to do ... and I'm not going to achieve that by sitting in an ivory tower producing whatever comes into my head. I have to pay attention to what other people are doing and watch what works, what doesn't work, and why.