Once or twice, when I’ve shown people parts of the webcomic mini series I was making at the time of writing this article (and/or the previous versions of it – like this one), I’ve sometimes been asked: “Which character is supposed to represent you?”
My answer to this question is always something along the lines of “All four of them, and none of them“.
This always seems like a much easier answer than saying something like: “This character’s personality is vaguely like mine was when I was seventeen, this character’s opinions in this one comic happen to be similar to my own, this character’s personality is a bit like one part of my personality, that character’s taste in music is similar to my own, this character is a bit like the person I want to be, that character’s hairstyle looks a little bit like a really cool hairstyle I saw a few years ago, this character was initially inspired by a couple of characters from various TV shows- but quickly evolved into something very different, this character’s thoughts in that particular comic are nothing like mine etc…”
The fact is that if you’ve created a cast of characters and are making a webcomic regularly, then parts of yourself might seep into it every now and then. This is especially the case for non-sequential webcomics, where you have to think of a new idea for literally every comic. There’s no real way to tell how much this happens for other webcomic creators, so I’m going to have to use examples from my own comics here.
Although there is certainly a lot of room for using your imagination, it can occasionally be easier to add amusing or interesting things from real life into your comics. And, if you’re trying to think of new ideas for comics every day, then “easier” can sometimes equate to “good”. Here’s an example from my recent mini series:
I made this comic after buying a really interesting-looking indie horror game (called “The Cat Lady”) that I’d been meaning to look at. It was on special offer and it looked intriguing but, whilst downloading it, I realised that it was probably more frightening than I’d thought. So, making this comic was kind of a way to put off actually playing the damn thing, stupid as it sounds.
The irony was, of course, that when I eventually worked up the courage to play the game – it was nowhere near as frightening as I’d expected, and the gameplay was so frustratingly slow-paced that I eventually ended up abandoning it out of frustration (so, don’t expect a review).
In other cases, my opinions and thoughts can end up appearing in my comics in more direct ways – like in these two comics:
Anyone who has read this site for a while probably knows what I think about modern smartphones and about internet-only “TV shows”. Since I was just starting this new mini series at the time and needed quick ideas for a couple of comics, I just kind of put my cynical opinions on the page, using the two characters who I thought best embodied these cynical and old-fashioned parts of my personality.
Likewise, with this next comic, I wanted to make a comic about how I now appreciated Disney movies on an artistic level – but how the musical parts in them sometimes seemed unnecessary.
At the same time, I also wanted to parody these scenes from Disney movies too – so, Roz seemed like the obvious character to turn into a Disney-style villain for one panel of the comic (given that – in the old comics at least – she’s one of the more “amusingly evil” characters).
But, on the other hand, there are quite a few comics in this mini series that have very little to do with me. They’re ideas that I thought were funny enough to turn into comics, rather than anything to do with my life or my thoughts. Like in this comic:
The fact is that the only person who really knows how much of the writer ends up in a webcomic is the person who is actually writing it. Likewise, the only person who can decide how much of yourself you should put into your comic is you.
Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂