Although this problem will affect some of the comics that I’ll be posting here over the next few months, I thought that I’d talk about weak endings in comics.
This seems to be a problem that I run into whenever I try to make a webcomic mini series that tells any kind of story. The story itself will be interesting, but the ending will sometimes just be dull and anticlimactic.
So, I thought that I’d list some of the reasons why weak endings can happen when you’re making comics.
1)The status quo: When I was making my “time travel trilogy” of comics (that can be read here, here and here), the endings to the first two were a lot better than the ending to the final one. And I think I know why.
With both of the first two mini series, the endings led directly to the beginning of the next mini series. At the end of these parts of the story, the characters were somewhere new. Something was different. The dynamics between the characters had been affected by everything that had happened before.
In other words, the events of the story had a noticeable effect on it’s outcome.
However, at the end of the final mini series, everything (mostly) returns to normal. After all, I was going to use these characters in many other self-contained mini series. Even when I attempted to add dramatic changes to the end of other mini series that I’ll be posting in the future, they often had very little effect on any mini series I made afterwards.
Returning to the status quo at the end of a comic is something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it makes future comics easier to write and it means that the audience can read many of your comics in any order that they want to. On the other hand, it also means that your story ends with a dull return to normality. It means that your characters have done nothing more than go around in circles.
2) Creative exhaustion: Although it may look easy, even making shorter comics can take quite a bit of effort. By the time that you reach the ending of a comic, you might even feel slightly glad that it’s going to be over (even if you’ve had a lot of fun making it). This is especially true if, like me, you often can’t just stop and start a comic once you’ve started making it.
Regardless of how fun the rest of the comic has been to make, there’s often a very strong instinct to just finish the damn thing and to either take a break or move on to the next excitingly new project. This can, of course, affect the quality of the ending.
After all, if there’s one thing that I’ve noticed about the endings of a few of my comics that have (or will) be posted here this year, it’s that the art in the final “page” is noticeably more rushed than the art during the middle of the comic.
3) Planning: Even though I tend to plan my comics a lot more than I did a few years ago, one thing that I’ve noticed is that the ending will often have less planning than the rest of the comic.
Often, when I’ve planned the beginning and the middle of a comic, I’m really eager to get started on making these parts and I often have a general feeling of “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it” with regards to the ending. Sometimes, this works – sometimes, it doesn’t.
So, I guess that lacklustre endings can sometimes be part of the trade-off between starting a comic when you are still filled with enthusiasm about it or waiting until you have slightly less enthusiasm and a better plan.
Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂