At the time of writing, I’m busy preparing this month’s webcomic mini series (which will start on the 21st). But, due to writer’s block, the mini series will consist of modern remakes of several old comic updates from 2012-13. As such, I thought that I’d provide a few tips for remaking webcomic updates.
1) The older, the better: This one is fairly self-explanatory – but if you’re going to remake an old webcomic update, then try to make sure that it is as old as possible. Not only will this be a good source of nostalgia for older fans of your comic, but it also means that the difference in art quality will be a lot more noticeable too. For example, here’s a comparison of a panel from an old comic update from 2012 and the modern remake:
However, one thing to watch out for in older comic updates is what TV Tropes calls “Early Installment Weirdness“. Chances are, when you started your comic, you had a completely different idea about what it would be like. As such, seeing ultra-old comic updates can be a surprisingly weird experience.
For example, in my webcomic, the characters used to have slightly different personalities to their current ones and there were also a lot more horror/fantasy elements (because I’d originally intended it to be a slight parody of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer“, of all things) in the older updates.
To avoid confusing your audience, it’s usually best to avoid remaking comic updates that include too much “Early Installment Weirdness” or to do a very minimal amount of rewriting, so that your remade comic updates are more comprehensible to newer fans of your webcomic.
2) Artistic licence: Unless you have a George Lucas-like attitude towards your past work, then the originals will probably still be on the internet for people to view.
This means that you can use a little bit of artistic licence when remaking your comic updates. Whether this involves visual changes or rewrites, don’t be afraid to do something a little bit different. But, try to make sure that your remake is at least mostly faithful to the original and that you have a good reason for making any changes.
For example, the first update in this month’s mini series will actually consist of two shorter comic updates that have been merged together. This was mostly because they were both set in the same location and neither comic was quite long enough for a full remake. Of course, in order to merge the two comics, I had to rewrite a couple of lines of dialogue and remove a panel. However, the bulk of the comic update is a reasonably faithful remake of these two old comic updates:
Think of your remake a little bit like a “live version” of one of your favourite songs. People listen to live recordings of music because they are often very slightly different to the studio version. A live recording will still usually be the same song, but it is the variations that make it interesting.
3) Have a good reason (or do something else): Simply put, if you can make new and original comics, then make them instead!
Remakes are something that you should only make if you’ve got serious writer’s block and/or you have an extremely good reason (eg: it’s an anniversary or something like that). Basically, a new comic update is better than a remake, but a remake is better than no comic updates at all.
If you’re feeling nostalgic, but you don’t want to do a full remake, then either make a partial remake or include some kind of call-back in your comic. Doing this is more creative than just remaking your old comics. For example, the final panel of last year’s Halloween comic is a new comic panel in the style of my old comics from late 2012. This isn’t a remake of a specific comic update, but it is a call-back.
So, unless you’ve got a good reason for remaking a comic update, then try to do something slightly different instead.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂