A couple of years ago I made a blog post about the practice of creators going back and “renovating” their webcomic, basically fixing up their early work with a new coat of polish matching their later efforts, and the pros and cons of doing so. It remains a controversial subject, and man, sometimes it’s really tempting to revisit our earlier chapters, but our biggest worry is that dwelling on the past to that degree will impact our present and future.
Now that we’ve got our Kickstarter underway it’s even more tempting. If someone comes to look at our work, will they be turned off from pledging money towards the print volume because the first pages have a rougher look, particularly in the lettering? Possibly. People familiar with webcomics would probably understand, others might not. But trying to fix that is a bigger undertaking that it might seem.
So, insane man that I am, I announced my intention to at least rework some lettering for the print volume if we’re successfully funded. The art will still stay mostly the same because Dawn’s going to have all sorts of fulfillment to have to deal with, but now that everything will be collected together in one discrete package I want to give the reader a better sense of consistency.
Lettering can be an important part of comics storytelling, as I’ve also previously discussed, so this isn’t something to be done lightly, but on those occasions where I’m looking to change more than just the font involved, I’m hoping to change things for the better. For instance, it was only comparatively recently that I learned how to do a nice looking curved stem for word balloons, and because of that there are a lot of panels where the stems are “elbowed” at sharp angles. I want to preserve those angles for any electronic dialogue like the cambots or walkie-talkies, but as I go through this touch-up process I’m trying to make it so people are always speaking with the more organic feel of the curved stems.
There are also cases where, because of need to meet deadlines or whatever, the flow of the dialogue isn’t as optimal as it could be, so I’m having a look at those pages as well. It’s a time consuming process, so in a fit of optimism since the project is over 80% funded now, I’ve actually already started. Ideally I want to be done by May 10th or shortly thereafter so there’s no extra time wasted in moving on to the printing/rewards stage.
It may seem masochistic, but honestly I’m finding it an oddly soothing and rewarding exercise. I think it’ll be a nice feature for the TPB. Will we replace the online pages with those new versions as well? That I’m not so sure about. They stand as one version of Zombie Ranch, our previous print issues another, and the trade volume will be a third. Can’t tell how far you’ve come if you lose sight of where you’ve been, right?
We’ll see if that still makes as much sense to me then as it does now.