One of the most well-known pieces of advice you’ll hear about making webcomics is to have a “buffer” of several pre-made webcomic updates prepared before you start posting anything online.
There are lots of good reasons for this, since a buffer can help to ensure that you never miss an update and it can also buy you some time when you have writer’s block too.
If you’re posting anything regularly on the internet, it’s always a good idea to have a buffer and to increase it whenever possible. In fact, the article buffer and art buffer for this site have now grown to at least several months in length.
However, there are downsides to using a large buffer for your webcomic and I noticed one of these when I was making another short re-boot of one of my old webcomic series that was posted here earlier this month. At the time of writing, I’m still working on this series and I have no clue how long it will end up being. [EDIT: I’ve just changed the link to avoid accidental spoilers, since my comics always end up on DeviantART significantly earlier than here due to scheduling reasons]
Anyway, the major downside of having a large buffer is that you can’t be topical. If you want to satirise or talk about current things, then you can’t really do this if your comic isn’t going to be posted until several weeks or months after you’ve made it.
I became aware of this when I came up for a brilliant comic idea back in October/November (when I made these comics and wrote this article).
At the time, the upcoming “Star Wars” movie was receiving a lot of hype in the media and, having suffered the disappointing experience of seeing “The Phantom Menace” at the cinema, I was sceptical about this new film. So, I decided to make a topical parody comic about it for my webcomic:
But, after I’d made it, I realised that I probably wouldn’t be posting it until early this month. Even after I tried adding a date to it (eg: the “Back In October” thing), it still seemed like it’d be massively out of date by the time that it went online. So, in the end, I decided not to post it online. In fact, the first time it has appeared online is in this article.
Of course, there are some fairly obvious ways of getting around this problem – like avoiding topical subjects and using slightly more “timeless” jokes in your comic – like in these two comics (about 1990s computers and zombies):
But, even so, having a large webcomic buffer limits the types of humour that you can use in your comics and it also means that you’re several weeks or months behind everyone else.
Sorry for the ridiculously short and basic article, but I hope it was interesting 🙂