I’ve gotten some sleep. Understandably, there are still a lot of questions, and now that I have some of those from you guys, I’d like to try and address them in further detail.
“Why end the comic like this? Why this way?”
It was tempting when I first made the decision to end the current story, to just have Ethan get hit by a truck. I was so anxious and excited to get started working on a revision. But not only did I need time to get my ducks in a row re: what I do afterwards, I’ve spent a third of my life with Ethan, as flawed as he is. If he was going out, I wanted there to be a reason.
I know that this is not a “clean” ending. There are a lot of unknowns. A lot of “Well, what if’s.” I could tell you all of that… I could tell you whether he’s still alive, trapped inbetween time, I could show you Lucas and Lilah reacting to him suddenly disappearing, I could tell you what I think happens to past Zeke now… but I also like the idea that you decide what might happen. Because either way, it’s still over.
Doing a “happily ever after” ending just didn’t feel right for the comic strip… it didn’t feel right for Ethan, as much as I wanted it to. Ethan has spent the last ten years doing incredibly stupid and dangerous things, with very little consequence. The end of him had to be, ultimately, a result of his own doing. And this was the grandest way possible I could think for that to happen.
This way I feel like you know that he really has nobody but himself and his own decisions to blame, but it’s removed just enough that it still feels a little bit unfair… so you still feel a little bad for him. And more importantly, it gives him an opportunity to take responsibility in the biggest way possible, something that he hasn’t done a whole lot of. He gets to go out making a sacrifice to protect the people he loves… protect them from a situation he set in motion, sure. But a sacrifice nonetheless.
It’s a little sad. It’s a little messy. But there’s closure there where I think it counts.
“I’m worried that the Players aren’t well-rounded enough to be main characters.”
You’re correct. In their previous state, they were not. They were basically there to deliver a joke. But we’re starting over here. And that means the Players are being rebooted as well. When they come back, you’ll begin to see some more individuality amongst their personalities. They’ll have likes and dislikes, and interpersonal relationships. My goal is to create a dynamic between the four of them that can support character-based humor and interaction. Very similar to Ethan and Lucas. I don’t intend them to be solely mouthpieces for video game jokes.
The difference is creating these characters without feeling the need to also operate within the boundaries of (mostly) reality. The idea that they can have personalities, but don’t necessarily need real-world responsibilities. While that’s fun to write, I’ll have the other story, with Ethan and Lucas for that.
With the new Ethan and Lucas (and yes, Lilah) story, they’ll be in a setting that is appropriate for me to explore not only humor, but drama, action and romance as well. Because I now know going in that those are things I want to write (something I didn’t when I first started this comic), I can build a world for them where that is all appropriate. Where it doesn’t seem sudden or out of place. The new setting will support these things better than this one did.
The Players, however, are for humor. But just because they won’t have long, engaging and dramatic story arcs doesn’t mean they can’t become new friends. After all, most of you got attached to Ethan and Lucas before they started having big dramatic adventures as well.