Well, although I’ve already written an article about coming up with ideas for traditional “newspaper comic” style webcomic updates, I thought that I’d quickly share a few more sources of inspiration that have come in handy every now and then.
However, I should probably warn you that this article may contain some SPOILERS for the webcomic mini series that I’m currently posting here (stay tuned for the next update at 8:45pm BST/ 7:45pm GMT tonight).
Anyway, let’s get on with the list:
1) Sports played badly: One of the easiest ways to come up with a funny webcomic is to show two or more of your characters attempting to play a sport of some kind.
There are a lot of potential jokes here, you can make one character terrible at the sport, you can make a character think that they’re going to be good at the sport or you can make all of your characters terrible at the sport in question.
Although it won’t be posted here for at least a few days, one of the comics in my current daily webcomic mini series shows two of the characters going paintballing. One of them thinks that it’s just like a FPS game… hilarity ensues.
2) Genre parodies: One easy ways to come up with a quick and fun webcomic update is to make a parody of an entire genre of film or television that you think looks cool. This is different from parodying a specific film or TV show, since it gives you a lot more creative freedom and it also allows you to make some slightly more interesting background art too.
Of course, you’ve also got to think of a good way to explain the sudden shift in genre. One classic way to do this is just to pull the classic “it was all a dream” thing, like in the comic that will be posted here tonight. Here’s a preview of the first panel of it:
A slightly smarter way to include a genre parody in your webcomic is to reveal in the last panel that the parody was actually a metaphor for events that are happening in the “real world” during your comic.
For example, one of my upcoming comics features a literal “wild west” gunfight between two of the characters, although this is later revealed to be nothing more than a visual metaphor for a fight over the last slice of pizza.
3) Raid your notes: If you’re anything like me, you probably plan more comics than you actually end up making. This is a goldmine when you are feeling uninspired.
Although I didn’t end up relying on my notes much when making this current mini series, there were at least two comics that I planned but never made. One was a cynical comic about wine tasting and the other one was a rather predictable comic about chess (making the obvious, if somewhat risque, bishop-related pun).
However, if you keep your notes, then you can always refer to them later when you’re feeling uninspired. Likewise, even if you abandon a comic idea because it doesn’t work – you might find that you’ll have more ideas about how to improve it if you return to it weeks or months later.
4) Character reactions: This one only really works if your webcomic has been running for a while and both you and your audience have got to know the characters.
Basically, just introduce something unusual into the comic and see how your characters react to it. It’s as simple as that. Kind of like this comic about suspicious noises from my current mini series:
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂