Well, at the time of writing this article, I’m busy making another webcomic mini series that should be posted here a few days before Christmas. I So, for today, I thought that I’d talk very briefly about how to come up with hilarious punchlines for the jokes in your webcomics.
In short, if you know your characters well enough – and your characters are strange enough- then thinking of amusing punchlines can be surprisingly easy.
To give you an example, one of the comics in my upcoming Christmas mini series is a parody of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Of course, this is about the most clichéd thing that you can include in a Christmas-themed comic. It had the potential to turn into a very boring webcomic update.
However, as soon as I realised that one of my characters would actually get along really well with the ghost of Christmas Past (or something slightly similar, but different…), the comic quickly went in a much funnier and slightly more inventive direction.
One of the most basic comedy techniques is to set up an expectation and then subvert it in an unusual way. Having a very good knowledge of your characters’ personalities can help you to work out which situations they will react to in an “unusual” way.
From that, you can than work backwards and come up with a “normal”-looking set up for your joke – that you know that your character will react to in an amusing and unpredictable way.
Many brilliant examples of this comedic technique can be found in a traditional newspaper comic called “Alex” by Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor. The titular character in this comic is a greedy and unprincipled businessman, who will unfailingly react to all situations in a way that serves his purposes.
Of course, this technique is used countless times in many amusing ways by putting Alex in situations where it seems like he’s making a principled stand, giving wise advice or seemingly doing something good … only for it to be revealed that he has an ulterior motive of some kind.
So, if you know your characters well, then finding punchlines for the jokes in your webcomic won’t be too difficult – for the simple reason that you’ll be able to come up with set-ups for your jokes that allow you to come up with great punchlines really easily.
Sorry for the ridiculously short article, but I hope it was useful 🙂