Wednesday, February 18, 2009

State of the onion

First the bad news: from next week there only be four comics a week (M-T-Th-F). I need a bit of breathing space to avoid burn-out. I'm sorry if anybody is disappointed.

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to make some decisions about Scary Go Round and where it is going. This is not meant to be some terribly dramatic news post where I bleat on about how hard it is to make a comic in the comfort of one's home day in day out.

I consider myself very lucky that tens of thousand of people read my comic every day. But it is a sad fact of long-form, story-based comics like mine that it is hard, after a certain point, to add new readers. The perception is that they carry a lot of history - even when like mine, the creator has been burning the history books every couple of years in order to survive.

In the last year or so I have tried to make the stories as stand-alone as I can, but the fact is that you lose readers over time and if you don't get new ones to replace them, slowly but surely you will go the way of all flesh! There are already a few webcomic ghost ships out there, long sunk by the weight of history. I am not keen to join them!

After 7 years it is probably time to replace Scary Go Round with something new. I have a pretty good idea about what to do next. But I still have a lot of SGR stories to tell and I don't really know what to do.

188 comments:

Scott said...

Thanks for the update, Mr. Allison.
Rest assured that you will always have a loyal cadre that will continue to read your stories regardless of the direction. Good luck with finding your compass, and I look forward to what your digital pen creates.

Jaimie said...

It's true - any outlet for your splendid form of cartoontastic lunacy will be readily followed.

I would like to say that it doesn't take all *that* long to flick through the archives, I've just reread the whole lot and it only took me a couple of very late nights. They're so much quicker to read than create!

Speaking of which, I don't suppose there's any likelihood of reprinting the books before The Retribution Index, is there? I've just had 4/5/6+Ghosts arrive, and they look lonely without their older siblings.

Chelle Lynn said...

You're a wonderful artists/storyteller and an inspiration to us all! Press on, John Allison, go bravely into the black. We, your faithful soldiers, will follow you to the ends of the webcomicing world!

Doctor Oddverse said...

I think I started reading somewhere around Fallon turning up in Bobbins, and I am a proud owner of far too many tee shirts. I think it's great that you've got a good idea about what to do next, and I look forward to reading them.

As for Scary Go Round - if it needs to go, it should go. If you want to tell more SGR stories then tell more SGR stories. Even if it's as a "guest spot" in whatever you do next, or a weekly strand, or anything.

But do, seriously, try to please yourself. Pleasing everyone else will probably happen anyway.

Caitlin B said...

Good luck deciding, Mr. Allison. I'm with you either way.
Caitlin

alice said...

It's going to be fop chaser from now on, right? right?

Donna Marijne said...

Good luck to you John, I look forward to Fop Chas-- er, your mystery new project!

Verny said...

Three words for your remaining SGR stories to tell...

Major Motion Pictures... or at least a running gig on adult swim.

Roman said...

I bet it's five days a week of Joey Fonebone, plus a special Adventures of Fop Chaser on Sundays!

Well, maybe not. It's encouraging that you still feel that you have SGR stories to tell. I don't think I need to point out that you've kept the comic fresh over the last 6+ years by introducing plenty of new characters and using something of a rotating cast. You're nowhere near "Simpsons" territory yet - you're not even close to running on the memory of the smell of gas fumes.

Christopher said...

Has it really been seven years already? Well, I've been reading since that week in Bobbins where Amy and Shelley came to fisticuffs over Rich (was that storyline called Safety Girl? If not, it should have been), and it's pretty much all been upward and upward from there. I'd be very happy to read the next project in your mind.

As for Scary Go Round... maybe you could use the next few stories to segue into the next comic? Assuming it'll have any of the same characters. Bloom County did it brilliantly. Rachel and Tessa were maybe not the best characters to spearhead the SGR era, but it was kind of funny seeing Holly go totally berzerk at the end of Bobbins. If they won't be connected... maybe take a few months off, and write them as a book! I'm very pleased with Ahoy Hoy.

John A said...

Jaimie: there is no money in the kitty to reprint those books, I wish I could reprint them!

Christopher: The problem with making a webcomic for your job is that if you stop, you don't make any money and you starve.

The truth of the matter is, if you haven't done an XKCD or a Perry Bible Fellowship or an Achewood (that is, gone over the top spectacularly) after seven years, you are never going to. I've not been able to connect with people the way something like Questionable Content does, and I'm not sure it's in me to be able to do that.

I am celebrating this realisation by staring at my navel all day! JOIN ME.

Ian said...

John, one comment I'd make as a reader of comics, and occasional new reader of long-established comics, is that you can help a reader out. Make the "Start at the beginning" type link point to the beginning of the current story, not your Day 1 comic. This is considerably less daunting.

Then, indicate in some sly way that this is the beginning of this story, and there's more, but this is a good place to start. Indicate that only truly OCD readers should start at Day 1.

I realize as I type this that this is the way your Doctors McNinja work, making each story obviously self-contained and easily-referenced. If you're in communication with Mr. Hastings, you might see what he thinks of this strategem.

All said and done, however, I also wanted to put in my little "well done, much appreciated," word. SGR is one of the most consistently pleasing comics I read, and I would be equally thrilled with it if it went to M-W-F.

Good luck with your decision.

John A said...

Ian, that is where the back to the beginning link sends you already! I do try, I promise!

Rob said...

If the cookie jar is dry re:reprinting books, how about PDFs or something like RS did with the DS archive a while back? They wouldn't necessarily have to be free, but maybe making making, hmmm, e-books (sorry) of the stories that could be passed around ("here, read this") could drum up new readers?

Kyle Phaneuf said...

John, say it isn't so. I absolutely understand how hard it must be to sustain so many readers week in and out, but i would be heartbroken to lose Shelly Winters and Amy Chilton from my daily wakin' up and drinkin' tea routine.

I will support you and follow you through any decision you come to, i just wanted to my throw my two cents in. Perhaps we need a word-of-mouth campaign, bombing the internet with Scary Go Round propaganda.

I love your comic, is all i'm saying. Good luck.

Don Carson Creative said...

You lead, we will follow. I am sure you will fill any project you undertake with your unique wit and flair.

zebrastripes said...

Your comic is part of my daily routine and I always enjoy reading it! On Wednesday, I will read Tuesday's again and still be amused. Thanks for such great stories!

Ian said...

Also and BTW: Questionable Content is essentially a soap opera. Scary Go Round could be considered as essentially a soap opera on acid. If you want to appeal to more people, make with more love interests and melodrama, but in doing so, you'll have to discard a large portion of your reader base. I personally read both, and appreciate both for their own styles, but I would be disappointed if SGR lost the weirdness.

John A said...

Rob: if people can read a pdf, they can read it on the website. I don't really have the mechanism to sell pdfs to people.

Kyle (and anyone else worried): any future project will ensure Shelley Winters' brand of good intentions continues far into the future. I know which side my bread is buttered.

John A said...

Ian: the reason I can't do a QC is that after 4 years everybody has done everybody from every angle and it's boring to write and draw. Jeph has amazing tolerance for drawing day after day of talky comics and for sheer endurance and persistence alone deserves all his success.

I am well schooled in soap operas and after 4 years they reset and the stories start again. That's fine if you're a viewer, you can watch the news! But if you're the only person making it, god help you!

John A said...

Re: Fop Chaser

I am not sure Fop Chaser could carry the weight of all our expectations, she is fierce but very small.

Miss Mary said...

Dear Scary Go Round,
I recently found your comic, and have found it delightful. I enjoy it because THINGS HAPPEN and, though there is some of it, it isn't day after day after day of fashionable people talking about their feelings and white person pain. I enjoy monsters and explosions and blood, and you have provided that in a coherent, entertaining format. QC's got nothing on you. I'll miss Tackleford, but look forward to future spookiness.

mpjr said...

Interesting you mention Achewood. I always thought of SGR and Achewood as being in the same league wrt. number of readers, and perhaps income generation. So I guess I was wrong about that.

I kind of think of comics (and most art, I guess) to fall somewhere between the two extremes: large audience, rather shallow connection vs. smaller audience, stronger commitment of the audience to the product.

Don't know if Alexa can be trusted, but it seems that achewood and SGR are roughly on par considering page views. I wonder how much of Onstad's income is based on his premium content subscriptions.

Also, I just spent ~80 Dollar for an original drawing by Rene 'Anders Loves Maria'Engstrom. Sort of a corollary of what I said above: fairly small reader base, but willing to support the producer if asked.

Sky said...

Change the name of the comic! Then only we, loyal readers, will know that it is secretly still the same strip. By which I mean that I would weep softly if you took Shelley away from me, but I think maybe you would weep softly as well.

Utopian said...

Awww! I better buy all the t-shirts I haven't already got now then...

Scarygoround has formed a massive part of my routine for several years but that's down to me enjoying your style more than anything else. I'm sure I'll enjoy anything else you do and so long as it's available for me to reread I won't mind so much about the demise of SGR.

jhoff said...

That would indeed be sad as I am one of those new readers and haven't even had time to make it all the way through the archives yet. Youre part of my daily webcomic experience.

But then I respect the decision that essentially Bill Watersson made; move on before you stagnate.

sad news bear though (for real)

the erudite baboon said...

I suggest you just start reposting all your comics from the beginning, but change all the names and draw hats on everyone. I feel this is the breath of fresh air you've been looking for.

John A said...

Please please, I am not giving up any time soon! And what follows will be instantly recognisable as being of a part with what went before, just as Scary Go Round was son of Bobbins.

I love making these comics and will not stop until every circumstance conspires against me.

John A said...

James you always know what to do.

James said...

John, as a reader for many years, and a purchaser of many books with the hand-drawn art, I just wanted to say I start EVERY day off with SGR. One day less saddens me, but if that is what you need to recharge, then so be it.

I honsetly prefer SGR to QC and indeed any other webcomic out there.

Keep up the good work

KJ Milks said...

Mister John, everyone's already said everything, you know, but I really love your art, and I'm willing to support you wherever you might roam. xxxooo

warnthepenguins said...

Since A Lesson Is Learned went on hiatus, SGR's got top billing in my heart.

That said, if it's petering out by all means let it peter and start something new. After all it's your particular idiom I (we?) enjoy so much, no matter which character's talking. Somebody said up there something about fitting future SGR tales in on a case-by-case basis, which I'm all for.

When it comes to income generation, how viable is the whole 'premium content' concept? It's working for some, I know. And merchandising can go beyond shirts; any idea how much offering prints would turn over for you?

Also, since your T-shirt designs don't trade on SGR in-jokes, that business is portable. Neat!

Oh right, the problem wasn't income it was growing readership. You could start a new comic every few years. You could market more aggressively (to whom, though?). You could expand beyond your medium -- print? (shiver!) Would a publisher pick up SGR? I might, were I a publisher. But then I am not a publisher, I'm a penniless twentysomething.

Whatever you do, good luck to you. You bring vim to my days.

norby5006 said...

Hi! I don't leave comments on sites like this often but I feel moved to talk! I bought Ghosts a while back - a small contribution I know! But honestly, SGR is brilliantly fantastic and I love it.

I want to say something that carries great weight behind it but I can't think of anything. Clearly, John, you have a loyal hardcore readership who will follow you no matter what, so this will hopefully be helpful whatever happens!

Have you considered Dragon's Den for a cash injection? :-)

Schwarz Adi said...

I'm pretty sure if it's written as well and as frequent as scary go round you won't lose very many readers and you'll gain a lot. I have to say I started reading this comic a few months ago and I did find the giant history a bit daunting. Especially since I'm the type that will read from the beginning even if I don't have to.

I ended up skipping a chunk in the middle. Maybe you can sort of place a character or two in your new story/comic to help ease the transition?

Ian said...

John: I guess what I mean by having the "First" link go back to the start of the story is different from what you mean. I tried it before I wrote my first comment, and it took me back to 2002. That's very daunting for a new reader. What I meant was to have it go back the few months or a year to the start of the current story cycle.

Tony said...

SGR has become the strip that I save for last every day. It's fun to look at and to read even when I don't know what's going on -- the art and the quirky language alone make it worth reading. This is what drew me in to the long-format stories.

You may not be XKCD or QC but I've always thought you were one of the big ones out there. But maybe it's not enough...

If SGR goes, I'll really miss it, but I'll look forward to the next thing. Creativity's an interesting beast; sometimes you need to step away so you're not in a rut, or so you can grow.

Meanwhile, I luv luv LUV Desmond, and I think you should make a series of children's books starring him. Yes!

Jon said...

Monsieur Allison.

I, like many, have been following the story for years and with that in mind; I look forward to whatever you produce next for the masses. Good luck sir.

anonymousse said...

I say just go for it. Sure, it's easy for someone whose income doesn't depend on the comic to say such a thing but if you're feeling like it's time to start again with a brand new name then it might be the right time. A change is as good as a rest, as Ringo Star once opined.

If it's no different and just a matter of a fresh start with a clean archive then there should be no problem in bringing in the old folks and new folks.

The only problem I can see is how do you beat a name like Scary Go Round? You've gotta pull something magical out of the bag to top that.

DL said...

I dunno how equitable the idea is, but if you really feel the need to burn the hedges and start anew, is it possible you could do the new one online, but continue SGR in highly infrequent but chock full of goodness exclusively print format? The idea being that you still have something to entertain people who love your work on the day to day, you get cash for your SGR work and since it'd just be a print volume there'd be less pressure to do that in a timely fashion. But, you know. I confess ignorance on how much that could actually work out; I just want to put the idea into the relevant discursive space. I'm sad you have to make a minor cutback on SGR refining, but I wish you luck regardless.

Shinymelon said...

Verny is right: some adult-swimmery would be sweet.

SGR is also the 'one i leave for last': I snort more beverages out of my nostrils to the amazing turns of phrase than I can tell.

But you make beautiful things, and what you make next will be filled with awesome. I just hope you keep drawing cheeky chicas with such flair.

Richard said...

1) Outside Voice: You do whatever you need to do to keep things working for you, John.

2) Inside Voice: NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

3) Insane Voice: Ah, perhaps it will be Erin Winters' Underworld Adventures. I could get behind that.

4) Backside Voice: Parp.

Adrian said...

John, I greatly enjoy SGR and have to say that I had no idea you were getting burned out on it, based on the excellence of the comic currently. It is the web-comic which I most look forward to reading each day! Naturally, I think you must do what is best to keep your creative juices flowing, but do remember that many comics self-destruct at the transition to a new series, because the new concept is even more marginal than the last. It is the conceit of the more successful webcomics that they dole out gently dark humor in single servings, each to be enjoyed in a single sitting, or at best over the course of a week's story arc. Does this facilitate new readers? Perhaps, and Bobbins fit this mold, though the humor and art were not on the level of SGR today. Enough occasionally extra-good strips will keep the readers coming back hoping for another good one.

If the comic is less funny, a longer story arc with more filler strips will keep established readers returning. The issue is frequency of update, with thrice weekly being perhaps the minimum. Any less, and readers will tend to drift off if things remain boring for a while.

I would say an emphasis on inserting stand-alone humorous short arcs into extended storylines, such as you did on February 5 & 6 of 2009, would be an excellent bet on increasing readership and renewing dynamism. Nevertheless, with your strong storytelling skills and art, I am sure that whatever direction you take will be an exciting one.

Adrian

Kelly said...

I have followed you since Bobbins, through the art changes, story changes, characters lost and killed. I enjoy your stories, your art, and your wacky humor. Its going to be tough to get rid of me as a reader, although there might be a spray for that.

I have much love for the current cast of characters, and I would hate to loose them. But if you are making changes because you feel story-wise or art-wise that it needs to be done, I will (of course) stick with you.

If you itching to start from scratch, or shake up your current universe just to try and gain new readers, I would urge you to reconsider.

Find other avenues to promote the comic (I haven't noticed your presence on Project Wonderful or the like, but that could be the web circles in which i travel).

You could promote some relatively stand-alone stories that new readers should be encouraged to read to get them hooked, or offer an abridged storyline guide with jump-to links to get them involved in the past storylines of their choosing. There are other innovative tricks to do to grab new readers and make them stick around.

After all, I <3 scary go round and there are still a lot of stories left I'm sure. I also may be one of the few people still wondering what happened to Shelley's sister, old what's-her-face and Alister Crowley.

Erin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John A said...

Adrian: I should stress that I make sure the comic is the first thing I do, but I haven't had any energy left to use to make the things that actually earn me a living - new books, tshirts, posters etc.

The many kind words expressed in these comments really do lift my spirits. I reiterate, I have no intention of ending Scary Go Round today, tomorrow or months from now.

Even if it stopped being my daily webcomic, the replacement would be a spin-off and there would be new SGR stories in one form or another. I don't know how to do anything else.

Michael N. Escobar said...

I'm in love with your girl characters and I admire your boy characters.

The comic is a pleasure to read because the drawings are so beautiful.

I get a kick out of the writing too - they way you represent all the English dialects which we hardly ever see in the U.S.

The Conde Nast story and the French Bell story were really fun. That's when I became a regular reader.

So I love this comic! Keep it up as long as you have the stories to tell.

streever said...

The comic is quite wonderful as is, Jon, & I only offer a suggestion because you seem to be looking for them!

What about re-tooling the homepage to make it more attractive to new readers? I don't mean a design re-do, but have it be the jumping off point, right on the homepage.

You can then have a page for us, like, "scarygoround.com/new/" which points to the latest comic.

Bloggy said...

Is it something I did? I'll be better, I swear!

Jon said...

I'm sorry and worried to hear that.

There is a comic called Daily Grind that does a really cool thing with their chapter(story) breaks, you should check it out as a way to see about lessening the history that new readers might feel intimidated by.

Good luck to you, I'll be reading your stuff no matter what you write.

A Friend in Seattle, U.S.

Lucy said...

FOP CHASER FTW!

Steam said...

As there were too many posts to read, don't blame me if someone already said this, but why don't you do something in a similar vein to "Irregular Webcomic?"

felix said...

I am disappointed by the loss of Wednesdays. I am glad that you don't know how to do anything else.

SGR is moving into soap opera territory and has always had its feet there. Maybe your four years are finally up. Maybe you would enjoy working the many little stories you make into one four-year beast for once, and then starting on a new four-year beast?

I still love SGR.

Voxen said...

The epic climax of the last story arc was Ryan getting punched by a guy, who forgot about it the next day. It's hard to gain/keep readers if the stories are without consequence.

New characters are introduced every few months, leaving less room for old favorites. As for me, I'm still hoping Unit Daisy will come back! My heart has no room for a bunch of new teens-agers and their assorted family members.

That said, the dialogue and art is top notch, as good as ever. It might be the time to start over with a smaller cast of characters and a tighter focus.

Gretzoid said...

Please Mr. Allison,
NO PLEASE O PLEASE O PLEASE do not replace ol' scary go round! Sure, it has been 6+ years, but Scary Go Round is a beautiful work of magic. I HAVE A CULT FOLLOWING THE TEACHINGS OF SCARY GO ROUND!! My fellow Amyists would be very sad if Scary Go Round was breathed its last beautiful breath. However, we understand the pressure of A-COMIC-A-DAY sites. You are only human, Mr. Allison. I sleep in a hat, just like Amy. I was a wendigo for Halloween, next year will be Amy with my friend as Shelley. My ringtone is the 'Cheeky Little Corncob' song!
We hope to Amy that Scary Go Round will continue at least a little bit longer. As it is pure genius.

~A literate realist,
Forensic Scientist of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Team Gibbs,
Abby Sciuto

Adrian said...

John, there may be some very simple things that can be done to make SGR earn its keep, which can be entirely automated. Consider a fee-based subscription service that allows readers access to exclusive content, such as: sketches, blog, or perhaps early chapters from SGR. Especially since these are no longer in print, I am sure many readers would be willing to pay a fee to view them online. You could also make a donations interface more prominent and use a tiered system (e.g., gold, silver, bronze, etc.) that posts the names of persons who donate at a certain level each year. It's not re-inventing the wheel, but it seems to work and would require only the effort to set it up to begin to generate revenue from avenues that now lie fallow. Regards, Adrian

starside said...

I am a new Scary-Go-Round reader. I started reading late December. It figures. I find it and start recommending it to others, and then you decide to post a State of the Onion. Good luck with your future!

I love your comics so very much. Beautiful story, beautiful art, and it's oh-so very humorous. Really, this is one of my favorites. Captivating story, lots of exciting updates, and so much to reread!

If you were going to explore any new areas, I'd love to see more of the afterlife, or sections with lots of monsters and witchcraft. Your imagination is so much fun to see on the web. If you think these characters have run their course (I'd still love to see more!), then start up a new project! Keep writing. Keep drawing.

You've got me hooked :D

Nicole said...

I, for one, will read your new endeavors as enthusiastically as SGR.

I became a reader only a few years ago, and I slogged through archives with joy. Good luck with whatever you choose to do. (But I love SGR and will miss it!)

KNar the Destroyer said...

Scary Go Round is THE only webcomic I read on the regular. I get so excited when I check it late at night here in the states to find tomorrows has been posted! I've been reading for years upon years, and am saddened to think that it might some day not be- but also extremely excited for what might pop up in its place. Losing wednesdays will be a bummer (even five times a week isn't enough), but still completely understandable!

As for ideas to draw in new readers- it might be nice to have a page with bios of your characters so that one could get a general idea of their history and dispositions right quick.

I used to read achewood and never felt compelled to subscribe to the premium content, but I definitely would do so for SGR.

Good luck, and thank you for your amazing work!!!

Johnny Mastronardi said...

Well first of all, I love your work and will continue to follow it in any form. (I'm secretly hoping for a spinoff featuring the scandalous adventures of Tackleford's delinquent youth.)

To tell the truth, though, I sincerely doubt ScaryGoRound is the type of strip that would get bogged down in 'too much history'. Most of the humor and even the plot is more based on characters and their eccentricities than on plot continuity etc. Esther is Esther, Amy is Amy, and Desmond is Desmond, and they haven't changed much in light of their many adventures. It's really the exotic situations and large cast that make the strip work so well.

The one benefit I can see to spinning off a new strip is a logical separation to make new readers more comfortable and allow a shift in a new direction, even though many old characters would likely still be around. Also, make sure you use that extra day off to enjoy movies/books/comics and keep your influences wide.

By the way, what's the chances on a larger ScaryGoRound collection, say of books 1-3?

Emma said...

I don't usually comment, but I did want to say thank you so much for making this comic all this time. I love SGR best of all the comics I read - almost as much for your regular, consistent, and frequent updates as for your fluid style (I love both the pen drawn and computer drawn styles) and action-adventure-insanity-monsters-fishcreatures. I'm particularly a fan of how everything starts to link together and circle back after a time in your storylines. I'd hate to see SGR go (or morph) but like everyone else so far, I'd read whatever new or related comic you may start.

Queclecumber said...

John--

I've been reading SGR for several years, and it is by far my favorite comic. I know that burn-out can happen, and sometimes it is time to move on, but if/when you move onward, I hope to see more of Esther and The Boy, because they are both entertaining and fun to look at (my favorite part may well be the art)!

As far as practicality, I'll echo several others in saying that you should just link to the beginning of the last story arc, and one-up people by suggesting that the older archives are separately linked to so that the "first" button links to the more recent (or maybe a few stories back), and the really "first" is available in the menu bar or something for the hard-core enthusiasts. You can also have a "quick catch-up" page of sorts, which would be like a cast page, but updated regularly with notes like "This is Shelley Winters. She's working for Hugo and recently ___________". Something else (entirely crazy) you could do is have the names of the common characters show up when you hover over them or something similar (and possibly less challenging) so new readers are less confused trying to keep everyone straight (and you might consider asking some higher-profile comic artists who have already linked you to mention that it is now "new-reader-friendly" if you're feeling particularly bold).

With all of that said, I have to also agree that having some sort of "premium" system, while not exactly ideal, is a good way to earn a little more while not increasing your load all that much.

Anyway, I'll definitely read any future endeavors, and I wish you all the best.

Alli said...

Scary Go Round is by far my favorite- as the rest said, the one I leave to last to read because it's the best. I can't in good faith encourage you to make your work more commercial. I'm really sad to detect a note of melancholy that your comic is not as 'successful' as, say, Questionable Content. I'd hate to define success as the number of readers you have.
As much as I enjoy Questionable Content, it's nothing like Scary Go Round in terms of quality of the product.
I just wanted to make sure you knew that I think the world of your work- never even measured it on the same 'success' scale as other webcomics. To me, Scary Go Round is the best.
As for moving on, that is your decision and not mine. I am happy to read your work.

Jeff said...

WEll, I respect whatever choice you make, but I think you should consider the lifetime artists, picasso didn't feel like painting everyday, but he did, and he spoke french... maybe answering machine messages are the new medium for art.

Consider For Better or For Worse, which ran for 29 years as a daily strip with a continuing story.

DaveNJ said...

Firstly, rest assured that you have a loyal reader here. When I first found this comic I stayed up until seven in the morning reading the entire archives because it's that good, and anything you produce after this will almost certainly be of similar quality.

Now, some ideas: I'd like to see the SGR storylines get wrapped up before the comic ends, by which I mean I'd like to see some sort of conclusion about Tim, something about Shelley's sister and Saucy Bob Crowley, and something about the whole portal to Hell thing. I really loved those storylines, and it'd be a shame for SGR to end on a sour note because stuff is left dangling. A satisfying ending is the best thing any long-running story-based webcomic can ask for.

That said, character transfer and marketability: you've got a good dynamic with Eustace and Esther as well as the other children of Tackleford. You acknowledge that this is their last year of school. Perhaps the follow-up is a college-oriented comic? It allows for established characters, but little necessary backstory, and it's definitely relatable to a lot of webcomic readers. Just an idea.

Anywho, I'll still be checking up on this every day no matter what.

Avi said...

Please Please Please Please Please Please Please continue with Scary Go Round. It is my only reason for staying alive.

Calla Nicole said...

AHHH!! I love scary-go-round so so so so so so much, but understand if you think it is time to start something new. Though, probably I will cry when it ends. (no, definitely I will cry when it ends.) I know whatever you do next will be just as amazing and I will follow you to the grave! But, I will miss SGR more than I can say. It is the funniest thing I have ever encountered in my life.

I want to hear all the ideas you have for the characters even if you don't continue the comic much longer. Perhaps, when SGR ends, you could make a blog post summarizing your ideas?

Jenny said...

Well, I'll click on/ follow you to any new venture. Online I followed Aaron Williams from Nodwick to PS238, and I've enjoyed the trip. Some online artists are maintaining two comics at the same time by staggering the schedule - Aaron publishes his new content only on an M-W-F schedule so that he can handle multiple titles. Other authors publish different titles on alternate days. Some keep up both the old work and the new work just long enough to bring the old fans into the fold and close out some story arcs with a bang.

But you knew all of this. You hang out with all the cool kids with all their stylus devices and paintbrushes and con booths and stuff. Whatever option you choose, I plan to stick around long enough to get to know the new work/ new stories in the old work.

Robin said...

I lovelovelove what you're doing with SGR, and the weirder the better as well. So thank you for that.
And if you decide to retire the strip into the foggy mists of the internet, I'll continue to cherish the archives and follow whatever new projects you begin with a great deal of interest.
You are an excellent artist with a distinct, beautiful style, and you're a clever, fascinating writer. Keep up the good work!

Richard Brown said...

I've always loved SGR - it's the first strip I check every day (and it's always online on time, every day, which makes it almost unique among webcomics). The quirky humor, the outstanding artwork, and the engaging stories have kept me enthralled every weekday since 2003, and sometimes when I need to entertain myself I'll just pick a random comic out of the archives and read the whole backlog from that point up (I've probably gone through the entire archive four or five times, and Bobbins a few times too).

Creative people can't be expected to do the same thing every day forever - Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side both ended after long, successful runs too. But even if SGR does one day go the way of the unicorn, you can rest assured that people still, and always will, think unicorns (and by association, your works) friggin' rock.

Corwin said...

O Captain! my Captain!

Do what you believe is necessary and never stop until you control the Internet, nay, the world!

Raphael Kabo said...

Questionable Content is funny in a haha-indie-kids-getting-in-relationship-scrapes way.

xkcd is funny in an oh-wow-he's-a-nerd-like-me way.

But Scary Go Round is funny in the way that I want to hug it and pet it and feed it with chocolates and fine wine.

Anything you might do in future, including spin-offs, new creations, or The Fop Chaser, I will read, support and love. But for the moment, 4 days a week or not, I will read SGR as I have for years. Bravo, Mr Allison!

Shirish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shirish said...

I've now spent close to two hours carefully trying to summarise in a hundred odd words how much SGR means to me... funny/touching SGR related anecdotes... how many SGR t-shirts and posters I've bought... perhaps in the vain hope that I can single handedly convince you to continue SGR indefinitely... ALL of this while trying very hard not to sound like a crazed fan-boy you'd consider getting a precautionary restraining order against.

I've failed.

I will be truly sad to see the SGR-era end. But at the same time I can't help being a little curious to see what you would have in store for us next. Have you thought as far as possible names for this next comic venture?

Anyway, for your enjoyment and my public embarrassment:

http(colon)(slash)(slash)i628(dot)photobucket
(dot)com(slash)albums(slash)uu5
(slash)rufusjumpalot(slash)
OkToBeYou(dot)jpg

Thanks! (And sorry!)

carroll said...

i advise whole-heartedly that you yell at your readership more in terms of passing on the news of the comic to their friends. i know i could do better, and i've probably also been part of the problem as far as portraying scarygoround as the sort of comic that requires starting at the very beginning. it's just that i love the whole story (who can say no to zombie shelley?!) and wish that others read ALL OF IT. i shall henceforth cease & desist with any intimidating mentions of length.

that said, i'll echo the legions who've proclaimed their dedication to your cartooning in whatever form you choose to post to the interwebs, though i personally am game for plenty more ryan, amy, shelley and the rest of the gang. thanks for sharing the journey with us so far!

Kent said...

I'm a bit conflicted as to what to tell you, John. I myself being a cartoonist... I know what it's like to start to feel burnout.

As a fan, I want to see the comic continue on and on. I started reading a few years ago, fell off when I lost the internet, then picked it up again and have read it every day for about a year again. I love the characters (my favorite is Esther) and I love your storytelling. I don't think you have to worry that much about the continuous aspect. That's what the internet is for. I caught up on your archives and loved doing it. I do think it's a mistake to stop selling your early books because of that though. I'd buy them in a second if they were still available. You're just keeping people from being able to catch up in print, which I would rather do than on the internet any day. If you DO end it, you could always put out a "complete archive," Calvin and Hobbes-style.

As an artist, I can see your desire to move on. Brad Guigar of Evil Inc. left Greystone Inn and ended up being far more successful because of it.

I'll tell you what I'm doing; I feel a bit burned out on my comic, so, since I never had many readers in the first place, I got rid of my old strips and I'm restarting it. And I'm starting a new comic that is absolutely different in every way. Perhaps you don't need to drop Scary Go Round, but just lessen your production to keep from being overcome. You could always do Scary Go Round MWF and Fop Chaser T-Th, for example.

Ah, I'm just rambling. I should just thank you for being an inspiration, tell you that I hope you don't end SGR, and reassure you that I'll follow you whereever you go. In spirit. Not to snoop through your garbage.

fingle said...

I'm with you fellers...

mistersaxon said...

Have you thought about adding a button or two for sites like Digg? That can generate traffic for any especially good "stand-alone" strip. Some strips do work well on their own you know - for example I sent my sister a link to the recent strip of Esther and Sarah dispatching the little sister into school and that prompted her to begin reading backwards through the archive (No, I don't know why she went backwards either).

Anthony said...

I can't remember when, or how, I discovered SGR. It must have been a couple of years now.

I remember that when I did stumbled on these hallowed pages I immediately went back as far as I could in the archives and read every single page I could. Then I went through the interwebs looking for the even earler stuff.

I'm not sure what that tells you, but I thought it should be said! I think lots of people have said the same.

It will be a huge shame to see the gang moved out to pasture like glue factory destined donkeys... but you've always managed to do it in the past - major upheaval is a part of life in Tackleford.

M said...

I understand what you mean.

I feel privileged to have read SGR for this long.

If you do decide to do something will you give me the opportunity to purchase a printed copy of every SGR comic made?

Jonah said...

I've been following your work for this entire century so far and will continue to do so however your output evolves since it it CONSISTENTLY EXCELLENT and for my money the BEST WEBCOMICKING ON T'INTERTRON.

Lead on, and I will follow, and from the looks of it, so will everyone else.

Chin chin old chap.

DEO said...

I've read your work since Bobbins and I will come along for any new ride and purchase books when I can.

Though I would love if Shelly and Desmond ditched Ryan and Amy.

Kate Holden said...

I'm a relatively new reader to SGR, I started after buying 'Ghosts' at Thoughtbubble in Leeds.

I do have to admit, it took me about 3 days to read all the archives, an enjoyable 3 days, but that is very long for a webcomic that's still ongoing. Since you've already tried putting up the chapters like 'Doctor McNinja' I guess that solution doesn't work so well.

Maybe you could make a new comic with some of the same characters in but no requisite knowledge of the continuity required? I guess much as SGR is kind of a sequel to Bobbins, but kind of a different series.

I don't mind, do what's best for you...but I hope it has Shelly in.

Weshtery said...

How about we all find you another 3 readers each? Will that do? I myself have a couple of cats who'd be delighted to join the cause.

My word verification is 'Monaggl'. Isn't that another word for a yeti conquistador?

laner said...

*small voice* don't kill shelley, please

a)what about lunchboxes? i would absolutely buy a lunchbox with desmond on it, even though i don't eat lunch from a box.
b)you do connect with people.
c)fop chaser is an excellent role model.
d)i'm going to go stare at my navel now

Laurie said...

John.

At the moment - I think you're on top of your game. As despondent as you may be (and you're being despondent enough to melt my shoes, god help you), from the Bell story onwards last year I've had to keep pinching myself.

I don't have any skin, John, that's how much I think you've hit your stride. Although I loved you from Bobbins and loved you hard, I always thought the humour was too esoteric for anyone but myself.

Not anymore.

Although I will follow you anywhere and that anywhere is down a drain, into the sea and the mischief o' the portuguese man o' war, I still think SGR is the stuff. I've not been able to stick with other webcomic for more than a week and I don't get the Beano anymore. Moreover, living in a West Yorkshire town myself, who else shall I have to document my rain-fed life?

So. Do you want more readers? Is that what you want? Is it? 'cause I'll try and get you some.

rob said...

The people who are onside will, I'm sure, remain onside whatever you decide.

Life is more important in the long run, I'd say, so do what you need to do with unreserved support from my quarter at least. It would be churlish to make demands of someone who has maintained such quality for so long.

Usby said...

As a fan of SGR I fear change. But, considering your progress as a storyteller over the years, I am sure anything you put your hand, mind, and drawing tablet to will be worth a look. Sometimes a change is as good as a rest. And if it all goes tits up you can always come back to SGR refreshed and reinvogorated, welcomed back into the loving digital arms of your digital audience.

Alternatively you could do a "Skins" and phase out the entire cast and bring in a new sexy crowd

Zachary said...

I just started reading recently. It's great that the humor is inference-based, like what newspaper comics could be if they didn't have to worry about their syndication all the time. It's a quality work.

Because of this, I think you could sell pages of SGR to some magazines with similar demographics. (It's too big for a newspaper format. Or is it?)

If you do decide to end it, I'm sure your next work will garner just as many readers within a year or two of its launch. SGR could even be a side project instead of the main work. Perhaps a bonus to place in the back of future print collections.

anjiaoshi said...

For what it's worth, here is my daily morning routine:

1. Questionable Content
2. Scary-Go-Round
3. Diesel Sweeties
4. Octopus Pie (which is gonna lose me soon if it doesn't get more interesting)
5. Check Giant in the Playground for update of Order of the Stick or Battle of Gobwin Knob, slink away disappointed
6. Nobody Scores!

I think you're in some pretty good company here.

spasticfreakshow said...

i understand why a stand-alone comic could be a good idea for you, but i, too, would be heartbroken, for i love tackleford's whimsical residents and they brighten my day.

i have not only read your comic for years and purchased merch more than once, but referred your comic to my friends by sending the link on.

here's my suggestions: jro has 2 popular webcomics, and his fans are all pretty sentimental about wigu. i even bough an aa shirt which i cannot wear even once because it features sheriff pony, one of my all-time heroes, right up there with wonder woman - maybe i will hang it on my wall or cut the front out for a decoration on a dress. you could cut down to 2-3 days a week permanently with SGR and then have a second comic running 2-3 days a week. you'd still only produce 5 comics a week but you'd be accomplishing your goal of drawing in new readers and starting a second project. that's my two cents.

but i will follow you whatever you do - bc i loves me some john a!

John A said...

I don't have the mental wherewithal to do a standalone comic, or two comics at once, so I wouldn't worry, Michelle. Telling yarns is all I know.

Kate said...

I'm sorry you're feeling burnt out and I fully support you doing whatever you need to to avoid burning to a cinder as you hurtle through the earth's atmosphere.

That said, SGR is my favorite comic in any format and I am disturbingly fond of the characters. I look forward to whatever you create and I need to pony up some cash for books...I have been mooching free comic for far too long!

spasticfreakshow said...

oh, also, i think there are two really good suggestions already in the comments:

a-revamp your site aka drmcninja - each story is easy to navigate. your navigation does make the whole thing a bit heavy for new readers - i'm an older reader, but some of my friends have said that when they clicked the link i sent them. mcninja's format would suit your comic well.

b-digg and other such. i think, bc you are in the uk and only visit the u.s. for conferences, you miss out on some of the excellent advice and help that some of the u.s. comic-makers get from friends and fans. your online marketing techniques or lack thereof is part of the problem if your readership has hit a plateau, bc it definitely is not your quality of work. don't be intimidated by this issue, instead, accept the help of a fan or friend on this issue.

for tartness said...

I'm another long term reader - SRG has been my favorite thing on the web since it started, and before that I was a Bobbins fan as well.

I remember during the Bobbins to SGR changeover I was at first confused and distrustful, but after about a week with SGR my faith had been restored, and I'm sure that I (and many others) will equally enjoy whatever new creation you see fit to bestow on us readers - even if its only the occasional fop chaser scribbled on a dirty napkin.

Also, regarding the length of the archives, I find that they're much easier to go through in book format, and I've converted a few people to SGR by shoving my pile of brightly colored books at them and not leaving them alone until they're equally enthusiastic about Shelly and the gang as I am. Perhaps this effect could be achieved by setting up a booth on the street for passers by, or by donating your SGR collection to the local library for any citizen to become addicted to!

Matt said...

Do what you must Mr A.

I'd rather the Tackleford cast didn't disappear like Benny from Crossroads or the population of Emmerdale in a plane crash.

I count your comic as the finest on the inter-globes.

Please continue with something, if not this.

Your mix of humor, localised UK miscellany and stereotypes from all walks of life, (even the fish based) make SGR a daily treasure.

Long may it continue.

Morgan said...

John,
Yes, please continue, whether it's SGR or something else. The draw is that it's your creation, your brand of humor, and art.

I will miss Shelley dearly, but she will always live on in archives, and *tear* in my heart. XD

brain said...

the latest arcs have been kind of a drag-- they are lacking in a clearly-defined plot.

Positive Example: the pirate smugglers. It's a zany mystery! The only problem for new readers there is the payoff was that it turned out to be Moon.

Positive Example: rescuing Ryan from a cult. That one was fun. Mostly new elements (the cult) that didn't require knowledge of the character history. It was made fairly clear at the beginning that the sweet girl was actually the spy character, Fallon.

How most TV shows or movie sequels get around this very problem: they have a new character who to whom the more established characters must introduce themselves. Exposition!

beth said...

Just like pretty much everyone else, I'd support you and understand if you feel the need to move on, and I'd follow your next project.

My honest opinion is, though, that I'd be massively disappointed if SGR ends. Webcomics used to be my absolute passion, several years ago I was following over 50 a day, but things have come up and now I only follow two or three- and I have never missed a day of yours. I dunno if this is the sort of response you are looking for, but there it is.

Snowpea said...

[dramatically flings self to floor, wraps arms around John A's leg, and looks up pleadingly]

Oh sir, oh please don't stop SGR. It's my most favouritingest comic. I love it so much, I save it for last.

[sobs in delicate ladylike fashion]

Snowpea said...

And who else remembers the existence of Canadians in their comics? (Kate Beaton does not count since she is one)

krystlechow said...

I started reading your comics sometime last year and breezed through the entire archives in two weeks, then went on to Bobbins. I really hope you keep doing SGR! I love your art and Shelley. But hopefully there will be something in its place - I'll keep reading =)

Michael Sidlofsky said...

I'd understand if you stopped doing SGR as a regular, daily comic. Seems to me that in the last few months you've been moving away from the "Scary" part, in that apart from the current storyline focusing on Des the chapters have been more teenage romantic comedy and less "supernatural comedy." Don't get me wrong; I like the teenage rom-com stories too but I imagine the shift means you've been getting bored with the spooky stuff.

Whatever you do, I'll keep reading unless you get so desperate for readership that you start doing Furry Gender-Switch Stick Figure Gamer Funnies. :-)

La Chelsa said...

Scary-Go-Round is something I look forward to daily, and one of the first things I catch up on when I've been away from the computer for several days. I would love to keep reading the stories you say you've still got to tell. I understand if it makes better sense for you to do a different project, but I hope you'd keep on with SGR as well -- even if you had to cut back on the number of installments per week. Although, I must say: Beautiful artwork, well-developed characters, and interesting storyline are of course the main draws to the comic, but the fact that it is daily is a big one as well.

Regardless, I will follow and enjoy whatever you choose to do, because I like the brain of John Allison.

Robyn said...

Randy of Something Positive writes five comics right now. SP updates on a schedule, the other four whenever he feels like doing an update.

Two of the strips are spin offs, but they do not require knowledge of the original strip, though the connections make them more interesting. One of the two can more than stand on its own, as the only connection is a little girl who grows up to be a minor character in SP.

What I'm getting at is that if you decide to take off in a different direction full time (Erin's Underworld Adventures, as someone else mentioned, or the full tragic story of Hugo's childhood or a flashforward to The Boy and Elodie's marriage + 15 kids), we'd read it. And if you decided to put SGR on semi-retirement, we'd be more than happy to, at random, see a mini-arc of Shelly stories cropping up.

You'd get a fresh start, archives/story history that are slightly less intimidating to the new reader, and an outlet for those SGR stories you have yet to tell.

Undead Trout said...

Hi John,

I'm a homeless, unemployed American and SGR is one of the highlights of my (usually rather depressing) day. Love the cast of characters, the screwball comedy, the superb art... pretty much the whole kit and caboodle. You've taken the comic in crazy/fun new directions before and (in my mind) it's always added to SGR's charm. Go where the Muse takes you, those of us who love your work will follow.

thomas j. cooper, the third said...

Perhaps change the focus into doing standalone stories that take a year or so of your time? Like Anders and Maria. Kind of similar to what you are doing now, but with a larger plan and a firm endpoint. Then you will build up an archive of stories that anyone can just jump into without feeling like they gotta read the whole thing-- but giving them a nice, meaty, taste.

I guess what I am mostly talking about is perception. Maybe if the first thing you see when you log onto Scarygoround.com is a collection of "titles" rather than a single comic with an endless and unfathomable background it appears easier to get into.

J M Hoffman said...

I think I said a few times before that having a lil url somewhere on the shirts is a great advert tool and also allows me to point to something when the uninitiated ask what a saddest wookiee is.

Also, popular webcomics generally are bollocks. Example: Ctrl alt del, the lord high chancellor of bollocks. SGR's entire humor scheme is different than most of what I've found and it takes a certain class of people to appreciate that. The class that wears monacles and says "indeed".

If you can survive on whimsy alone you'd be fine, and I am sure that this advance is not far off in the span of human history. Also, before you pan off this work for greener pastures I've still yet to see an actual skellington in the comics, and I want my skellington! Indeed I do!

rdsmith said...

Dear Mr. Allison,

As one of the aforementioned new SGR readers, I would just like to tell you that while the comic's archive is indeed quite massive, it's really up to the individual reader whether or not they think they've got what it takes to master it all and get up to speed with the current storyline. Please believe us when we say that it's not your fault at all, just the luck of the draw. That being said, they'd be fools not to try.

Your art is amazing and fluid, and the stories that you tell are hilarious and heartfelt. Each and and every one of the characters that you've introduced over the years has had their own trials and tribulations to overcome, both weird and ordinary, which makes them incredibly relatable.

Like many have said above, regardless of what you decide to do in the future with SGR, the people that love the comic and your zany, madcap style will follow you, and hopefully, they'll tell their friends about it and spread the word. That's how I learned about the strip, and now it's one of my favorites.

I'm sorry that I couldn't give you any real advice here, but I wish you the best of luck in your future comic-ing endeavors, wherever they may lead you.

Raven

Noah J. said...

i will personally recruit people to read your comic. please keep telling SGR stories!

they make my days -wonderful-.

Minkey said...

John,
We understand but we have been enjoying SGR for so long, it will seem strange to not have it around. We both started reading it by starting with the Archives first; we were so new to fandom and now it has been years!
One thing I must say, there are zillions of folks out there who actually prefer your comic to the big popular ones. I have never been able to stand Ache. Perry. or XK. for more than a handful of strips every six months or so. And, although I love QC, I must say that SGR is THE ONLY ONE I read everyday even when I am in comic-overload-no-longer-interested mode. Yes, yours and anything from S. Garrity stay in the top two but yours is the one I never miss. We, my guy and I, have referred your strip to everyone as we absolutely adore it. My only questions is: will you resolve Erin before you end it? Oh, we do hope so!! What ever you do next, we will probably drool all over it with big smiles.
What ever you decide, we thank you for such a fun and unique strip!

F. P. Off said...

I love your work, got the t-shirts (and proudly wear the "Major Teacup" shirt), and even passed along your comics' process strips in my "introduction to web" classes.

I look forward to what you do next, whether you continue SGR or try something new!

vmlojw said...

Dear Mr. Allison,
Your art inspires me, your stories delight me, your macabre fantasy tickles my funnybone, and I fully intend to keep reading whatever you write/illustrate.

I know how hard it is to keep doing something when it stops being funwork and starts being grindwork (hence my lack of career as a concert violinist). But I think you'll find that whatever you do next will work out just as well as SGR.

I now feel obliged to buy myself a t-shirt! Oh noes! I have to buy myself treats!

Cheers,
vmlojw

P.S. I mentioned SGR in my MEd final project about teaching English using webcomics. You have limited fame in the dry academic world of the Canadian prairies.

Robert said...

You could always advertise? Have you stopped doing that? Those banner thingees. They are all over the place. If you are, and that's not bringing in new readers and the content isn't keeping them, them gosh, who knows?

You could also sell it. Sell the whole thing (website, business, characters, etc) for a big load of money, you go on to something else, and some other artist/webcomic guru could keep it going or what not.

Josh said...

I won't pretend to know what's best because only you can make that decision. However, I will say that Scary Go Round has it's offered it's own particular little niche of humour that I have been loving ever since one of my ex-girlfriends introduced me to it years ago. I can honestly say that I don't know what I'd do without Shelly or Ryan. My week would not be as cheerful, that's for sure.

Vlad Novok said...

You'll have me as a reader, that's for sure.

Paul said...

This post came just one day after the following event: I was sitting in a tedious meeting when my phone beeped - it was an MMS with the title 'Best SGR Ever' with a photo of that day's page on the screen of my friend Dave's work computer. Whilst I would probably place it at third (after Gladwell and Poutine) it was indeed a joy.

I will be as sad as any to see much loved characters depart, but needs must in these tough economic times and I know that I will love whatever you produce. In addition to an ongoing story arc I think that you could readily produce regular (weekly?) stand alone pieces that could appeal to a more casual audience - a topped and tailed Poutine springs to mind for a start - but then perhaps my sense of humour is a little niche.

Was also overjoyed to see the Terry M-B reference the other day. Have you read his biog 'Major-Major'? A glorious piece of totally unaffected writing.

George Buckenham said...

As long as you're still making some kind of webcomics, I'm pretty sure I'll be reading them. If the problem is that you are getting dispirited with a (?) slowly dwindling audience, then you can do something about that with promotion. You don't seem to promote your work much, and you could. But I understand that drawing the comic takes up all your energy, so theres little time to do that: so switch to 4-weekly or 3-weekly, and use the extra time promoting yourself. You've got the most consistent update schedule of any of the webcomics I follow, so I think you can allow yourself a little slack in that department.

As for making your archives available in print, I for one would put money towards a preorder of The Big Book Of All The Scary Go Round Stories Up Until Soonish. Maybe enough others would, too?

Anyway, I am sorry to hear about this, and I hope your professional life regains some of it's former sparkle. Because it still looks fairly shiny from here...

Anarchyboy said...

SGR is awsome, and I'll miss it. Bobbins was awesome, and I missed it; but SGR is no less good for that. Expect any future direction will also be compelling.

Two possible moneymaking ventures, which would also benefit me directly:
- put out-of-print books on Lulu. Sure, there's no personalization option, but we could still acquire them. That I personally happen to have them all already doesn't help anyone else, who may not borrow mine.
- a Bobbins collection in any form at all would be excellent. I'd kick for a book, CD, download, ...

Dan said...

Well, as a fairly new reader myself (maybe 3 months) I have a different take. I started reading a single webcomic and kind of rolled into reading almost ten a day. Your's came highly recommended, I looked at a page once and then turned away, but the second time... your prose was just so overpoweringly sharp and clever, I felt like an insider and was compelled to leaf through the archives. This cheered me up immensely because, for several weeks as I paced myself in order to savor the experience, I had as much SGR as I wanted. You are an incredibly talented artist and your writing is a joy, so whatever you do, it will succeed. But I confess I'd be sad to see SGR go the way of the dodo, I'm so fond of the characters. I just want to hug Shelly's insane little self until she squishes.

Mingosthename said...

I've been a reader for a long time, in fact SGR was one of the first webcomics I started reading. Every story is a delight to read and I'm with you wherever you want to take it.

David said...

Before leaving SGR behind, would love you to produce some posters as a good send-off. Maybe one poster per character? I'd buy each one!

Christina said...

I love SGR and I don't think I would ever want to see it go! But no matter what you decide to do, I will continue to read all of your comics because I know they will be just as awesome as SGR.

Zoe said...

I'm sure whatever you decide to do it will be awesome. I love SGR and I'll be sad if it ends, but if your new comic still has your particular brand of insane humour it will be just as great. And you would have the added bonus of already having an established fan base!

Dran said...

I vote new comic! But then again, more Scary Go Round is pretty appealing. Oh well. I'd be excited about either but it's the readers who might leave or those who might not come who you're interested in hearing from...

Well, new comic unless the stories you've got in mind for SGR are pretty cool, which... they undoubtedly are...

Elyse said...

I have nothing original or insightful to add, other than to say that I utterly adore Scary-Go-Round. I read it faithfully every morning while I wait for the coffee to finish. I would miss it so much. And I can't understand why you don't have oodles and oodles of readers - is everyone insane? Do they really prefer the same dinosaur layout or (ugh) physics jokes over your beautiful drawings, clever dialogue, and silly girl adventures?

But I would of course follow you on to whatever new project you choose. I'll just sigh a little each morning over the absence of Tackleford with my morning coffee.

penthimos said...

It's shocking to hear you aren't in "the big leagues," because I always thought you were one of the biggest webcomics.

I found SGR from QC, actually, about four years ago, but I like it much better. Each day a little after midnight I open all my webcomics, and I save SGR for last because it is my favorite. I think Wigu is a close runner-up. There's a sort of whimsy at work I think is hard for most cartoonists to produce.

I've been through the archives for SGR and Bobbins a few times each, by the way, to remind myself how we got where we are, and it's always been a pleasurable experience. The long storyline I've seen others complain about in these comments is a bonus as far as I'm concerned.

Anders said...

I'm absolutely confident that your next project will be fantastic, John, no matter which form it takes. Best of luck finding something that you can properly live on.

David Nett said...

SGR is the King and Queen and bizarrely big-headed Duke of webcomics as far as I'm concerned. I own all the print books and read faithfully every day and recommend it to all my friends. I've bought your t-shirts at ComicCon (though I was too shy to say hi to you). I followed your work from Bobbins to SGR, and from cut-out-style SGR to hand-drawn SGR to the current incarnation. You're a genius, John Allison, and I'm sure whatever decision you make will lead to fantastic things. In fact, I'm excited for what will come next.

That said, I will miss all the SGR kids terribly if they go. Especially Amy. Oh, especially Amy.

-David Nett
Executive Producer
GOLD, the web series that does double damage
www.goldtheseries.com

PS: AMY!!!

arborealprimate said...

I am about to go and update my Facebook status to big up your comic. Maybe if we were all to do that it might work well for word of mouth?

Amerella said...

I WILL CRY IF THEY GO. But I expect I'll live.

Marc Ellerby said...

Mr Allison, do a diary comic. That way no one will read it and your illustions of fame and food will be banished forever.

I do hope you continue the SGR experience and print bloody book 7 as I need a jumping on point and I ain't trailing through the net for it. When it comes to making webcomics, newbies like me look to you for what it means to be an achievement. GODSPEED!

mistersaxon said...

I mentioned Digg buttons on each page but there is something even more obvious you should do:

Why O why O why do you not have the website on your t-shirts somewhere?

A little tag-line on the front would help passers-by in the street who see your awesome designs and think "I need some threads like that! But where, o where, could I ever find something so awesome to wear?"

Where indeed? I am proud to inform you that me "Saddest Wookie" shirt attracts a lot of admiration - if only for my impudence in wearing it at customer meetings, or to preach in church. My daughter's favourite garment du jour is her "Maths is easy" shirt, making her the envy of all her friends.

Big yourself up man! We don't want to see SGR go the way of the Dodo, the Yangtze River Dolphin or, in all likelihood, the Kakapo.

bluecat said...

I think we're all agreed that Scary Go Round is the most amazing comic, both in terms of story and art. Sooo... to fund a more luxurious period of recuperation, have you considered doing a donation-a-thon? We want you in tip-top-condition for these 'new stories' that you cryptically hint about. I know this isn't a long term solution, but surely if we all clubbed together we could at least give you a weekend in Torquay! Bognor Regis! Hell's teeth, even Skegness!

Let's turn these words into positive action...

John A said...

Marc Ellerby. How typical that a rascal like you would yank my chain. One day I will sit down with you and tell you EXACTLY how to make your fortune. At one point you will black my eye for my cheek but it will all work out. I want 5%.

Mister Saxon: my URL is on some of my newer shirts but when it comes down to it, it is never going to big enough that they can read it from afar and they will still have to write it down or text it to themselves whether they ask you or read the 4mm high text off your shirt so what is to do?

But I take your point, it is a fair one.

Blue Cat: the last donate-a-thon was recent and raised a very, very modest sum. It paid to replace half a broken computer. I don't think the majority of people reading are able to make financial contributions.

I think I said before, if I received a US dollar per reader, per year, I wouldn't have to run adverts or sell anything. But that is not the way that the internet works.

Puffs Of Smoke from the Blogosphere said...

The first thing I do each weekday morning is read Scary Go Round and Wapsi Square, along with my daily read of Schlock Mercenary. Before coffee, before news, before waking, really.

I would miss Scary Go Round terribly. I find it consistently clever, entertaining, and sneaky-smart. I will follow you on your next endeavor, but I do hope you find it in your heart/wallet to continue SGR.

Pablo from Wapsi sells original art on eBay just about every week and makes very good coin on it. Howard Tyler does it less regularly but also does very well. Perhaps you should consider that as well for another income source along with your books and shirts. I've certainly bought my share and will continue to.

bluecat said...

I quite understand. Although I have to say I totally missed the last donate session - very dozy of me. But could we possibly have a 'donate' button? If there is one on the site already, many apologies - I just haven't found it.

I will be following any future comic with the same love that I've followed scary go round. Thank you for making such an amazing piece of work.

Kathryn said...

I'll be a fan of anything you create, but I really hope you don't axe SGR. Maybe if you did New Comic M-TR and SGR on Friday, that would work? We've grown to love these characters. We don't want to see them go.

Learning Linux said...

The answers simple Ultimate Scary Go Round you can relaunch from issue 1 with updated characters and retell classic stories with a modern twist as well as original stories you've not yet told.


I was going to add stupid comments and jokes but the more I thought about it the more sense it made.

Velocir said...

I've been readin since the beginning and I say keep it goin ad infinitum- it's still my favourite webcomic, and I read a lot of them. Bravo.

Just Joe said...

Mr. A: Your work is absolutely splenderiffic. I wrote awesome there before, but it seems overused and trite. I consider you to really have it all worked out, which is why this update was such a surprise to me, personally.

If I have to change a bookmark, no big deal. Just don't quit doin' stuff.

TIGERSTYLE said...

Why not finish the stories you still want to tell, then move on to something else? I don't think the situation with SGR is dire, per se... I've managed to get a good number of my friends hooked on it relatively recently. It's really not THAT hard to get reasonably caught up.

Martin: Angry Owl said...

The worst thing would be for you to feel obliged to continue SGR because of us. You're the artist, you do what you want to do.

I've been reading SGR since the start, the first webcomic I read, and I'm confident you'll be just as successful and accomplished with whatever you decide to do, although I'll be sad to see it go.

You could always do SGR half the week and Mystery New Project the other half!

MC said...

Please don't feel obliged to drop this strip just because of its weight of archives (hey, I've read them all), but please start a new project if you're feeling burnt out. As several posters have suggested already, you could alternate Scary Go Round Classic and SCG The Next Generation :-) PS keep doing whatever you're doing with the artwork - the Adobe Illustrator stuff was OK but it looks really good now.

Chris said...

Totally have to concur here - whatever you write, I'm sure it'll be great! Go where your muse takes you, man.

Pez said...

so, I have just started reading this past week and quite frankly, I'm in love with your characters. I'd be quite sad if I had to lose them so soon after finding them! Reading through the archives, though daunting at first, is nothing more than pure bliss in the end regardless. I believe it took me about 3 days to read through it completely and that was with sporadic readings between each of my college courses. It wasn't too bad a venture at all.

However, if you as the artist believe it is time to move on then that is when the time to move should come. I might suggest continuing SGR (Mostly cause I love it), but update it less and less while you start working on the other piece that you have in mind. You could continue to update SGR maybe once a week (Or even once a month) once you finally shift to your other comic to simply keep the characters alive and the hearts of your current followers beating. This is something that the author of YU + ME (www.Rosalarian.com/yume)has done and it seems to work out quite nicely. Gives you a new audience while keeping the old content while its changing. :]

FSogol said...

John, As a long time fan, I'll always felt you consistently put out the best web comic period. I'd rank in above Xkcd, Achewood, or Questionable Content. Your next step should be a SGR TV series.

Follow the footsteps of Aaron McGruder and look around for how to propose your strip as a show. Thanks and keep up the good work.

Liz said...

YOU CANNOT STOP SCARY GO ROUND!!!!!!!

Francois said...

I think it is best to go out with a bang rather than end up in a cycle of retcons and pseudo reinvention (which you haven't done, but which has marred my enjoyment of mainstream comics).
However, you can ONLY end SGR after Milford has had his adventure with a burly sailor. And gets a spin-off series. Called Milford Does Milton Keynes.

Michi said...

I want you to know that I only started reading about a year ago. I didn't find the archives intimidating at all. Of course, you would have a more intimate knowledge of large-scale reader habits than I, but I want you to know, it is still completely possible to get new readers. (On second thought, I'm probably an anomaly. I hate new comics, and only want to read well-established ones. It's going through the archives that's such fun).

This comic or another, I adore your work.

Fungelstein said...

You deserve that mid-week breather, John. Truthfully, I've always wondered how you managed releaseing a new webcomic each week day. Don't get me wrong, I love Scary Go Round. Scary Go Round is the webcomic I read on a daily basis.

The other daily webcomics I read, I only check along-side my other M-W-F webcomics.

Man, I remember when I first got acquinted with Scary Go Round was when you were close to finishing the Giant Days strip. At the time I was confused by why a broken up cell-phone was causing so much distress. So I decided to start at the very begining of Scary Go Round to get an understanding of the plot.

And let me tell you I've been hooked ever since. Every comic has been a happy funny experience. Whenever I read my bookmarked webcomics I usually save yours for last, like a person saves a tasty cherry rhubarb pie for Sunday. Just so it'd be at its tastiest.

And after re-reading what I wrote, I realized how insane all that sounds, but its true. Insanely true.

On the inside I'm cringing at the thought that Scary Go Round might not be around anymore, but I also want to see what new projects you'd come up with. I know whatever you do, I'm going to be there reading it.

That reminds me, are you ever planning on putting together a book with the webcomic chapters that weren't featured in the other Scary Go Round books? Because that would make my collection complete.

I can't wait to see what you do next with your comics.

Secret Histories said...

I've been a steady reader for the past three years or so, own a t-shirt (and am definitely considering getting more now!) and would be very sad to see SGR go - although of course, even sadder if you were to keep forcing yourself to do it beyond the point where it was fun or interesting.

Many apologies if this is a very obvious suggestion, but one of my favourite ways to get into new webcomics has alwawys been via guest strips - I know you've done these in the past, but perhaps some kind of big push (or a even something like a massive guest-strip exchange week between loads and loads of different artists on both sides of the pond) might be a fun way to shake things up a bit, and generate at least a few new readers for everyone?

Also, as far as revenue generation goes - I've wondered for some time if it would be possible to run a webcomic model where updates were put up each day for free, but the whole story was also available for immediate purchase and download. Eg., if I were reading the Wendigo storyline (my personal favourite!) and had got to the point where I was extremely anxious to know if Elodie and Useless were going to escape from the terrible rhyme-spouting beast, I could choose to wait for the next day's update, or pay a nominal amount by paypal to get sent the whole story in one go (probably as a pdf or similar?) and relieve the terrible nail-biting suspense! Probably each reader would be content to read some storylines for free day by day, and would want to purchase immediate access to others, depending on which characters or stories s/he was interested in... but hopefully it would generate a bit of extra money, anyway.

jammy411 said...

SGR > QC

the crocodile DOES eat the bigger/better one, right? i've read SGR for a couple of years now, and it was quite far in, but i just clicked on the "start from the beginning" and enjoyed the fact that for a long time i could read it for as long as i wanted without a "dude, i havent gone that far yet" type message. Long history never bothers me for a comic unless its good. and long history is usually a SIGN that it's good. by now anybody reading this has realised there is no method to this comment only madness. anyway, john, KEEP ON TRUCKIN! end.

InhabitantJ said...

I rather enjoy all the characters too much to see them go the wayside of cameo/guest star.
Have you consdered creating an SGR Wiki? I mean, c'mon, the fans alone would save you much work and people LOVE WIKIS. click click click click click CLICK LOVE WIKIS. This'd be one of those things that can keep people up to date and can include the previos series too.

mtthw dnldsn said...

in my humble opinion, there should be a Scary Go Round: The Movie. End things with a wham! pow! snap! bang!

Zeke said...

A Fop Chaser movie would also be super-fine.

Adrian said...

Or have a big prominent "Donate a dollar! It's cheaper than a coffee!" button. That will get some folks to donate. Really, putting the donate button up on the front page would help.

Now, do tell, which characters are you going to kill next?!? >:)

maritzac said...

Dear Sir: You're one funny guy, no matter what's the name of your regular incarnation of comic.

We'll be looking forward to it while we salute SGR taking off our hat. We're gonna miss it.

Jackson's Mom said...

Mr. A, your comic alone made me query your marital status a few years back, which prompted you to add Single to the FAQ. Were I not since quite happily married and initiated into mom-hood, you'd still be on my top ten list of famous strangers to stalk--and I know nothing about you other than your internet presence as this ethereal John Allison, comic artist and shirt designer extraordinaire.

Your artwork is fantastic. The dialog in your comics affects my daily speech patterns in recognizable ways. You keep the story fresh, unlike the stagnation of other comics (such as Something Positive, which is only just starting to rebirth itself into non-suck after a few years of patheticism).

And of the t-shirts that I willingly wear, all but one shirt (pi, from Think Geek) are Mr. John Allison originals.

The SGR characters are great. Your stories are still highly original and imaginative. Regardless of the name of the comic, and whether or not Shelley and friends are in your possible future comic incarnations, you will have people out there who appreciate your work. It's good quality, and it tastes finger lickin' good. You get a gold star!

If you need an army of free promoters, we are out there!

andi farr said...

And my axe!

Mike said...

Dear Mr. Scarygorounde,

Two points.

1) Thank you for your comic. It's great! Several others that I regularly read have fallen by the wayside, but I read SGR faithfully.

2) I started reading your comic during the Easter Bunny storyline. I don't have all too much experience with your backstory, but through the comic itself - as well as some friends that are old hats - I have a pretty firm grasp on what's going on. I suppose that I am offering you the good news that your comic is not as obtuse as you make it out to be!

spasticfreakshow said...

john allison is a giant teddy bear but he probably looks just like des (but not scaly or slimy) and his photos are a ruse to mislead us so we won't all fly to england at once and hug him to death!

professional daydreamer said...

the prospect of no more scary-go-round does sadden me. my "it is okay to be you" shirt is among my favorites -- so favorite i have two of them -- and people on the street have actually recognized it and yelled out "scary-go-round!" montreal seems to love you. none of my other webcomic-related t-shirts has been recognized by multiple people, and most of those a) are directly character-related or b) have the site's url printed on them. when it comes to clothing, you have more fame than qc.

Natalie_S said...

I read three webcomics on a regular basis: xkcd (because I being a girl with an English degree who reads nerd comics), Kate Beaton ('cause who doesn't love fat ponies and history?), and SGR (because I can't decide whether or not I want to be Shelly or Esther when I grow up). I love your work, and in light of your financial woes I will plan on adding to my t-shirt collection posthaste. There's at least have a dozen I need that haven't made it to the top of my "to buy" list.

Elix said...

i'm new to te comic (all the way to México) , gone trough the complete archive. it's the best comic ever read,

FacePalm said...

SGR is my favourite webcomic. Period. Just putting that out there.
And by the previous comics, it seems that I am only one of many loyal readers who will support your efforts whether or not SGR continues.
Good luck!

R. C. Monroe said...

I suspect any new project you launch, with or without the charming denizens of Tackleford, will wind up on my daily reading list.

Wooly said...

Mr. Allison, sir!

I think it's been suggested a few times already here to have a 'Premium service', something along the lines of Sluggy Freelance's 'Defenders of the Nifty'.

To be honest, I think the Defenders account doesn't really buy me that many privileges (special content is not all that frequent, and the other big advantage is Defender-only ebay auctions, in which I don't take part)... but I've renewed every year since 2003 because I want the comic to continue.

It's $25 bucks a year, and because it is a completely voluntary payment that keeps the site free for other people I am happy to do it.

I would do it for ScaryGoRound too.

Now, of course, it's really easy for me and others to sit here and suggest such a thing: Pete Abrams has people working for him who will set such things up, while you seem to be a solo act.

But if you could get something like this set up, I would be first in line to 'pony up the dough', as the kids say these days.

I have more suggestions, but my feudal lord will return soon, so I need to get back to planting turnips for now.

Lucas said...

John, you're super. Say what you will about SGR, and you will have given a reason why I love it. However, I can understand that you'd want to move on to something different. I do hope you continue selling prints of the SGR characters though.

Don't Think, Boy said...

John - I have been a webcomic aficionado for going on 10 years now and I never hesitate to tell my friends that SGR is the best on the web. Your work inspired me to start drawing again, and for that Mr. Allison, I thank you greatly.

The end of SGR would be sad, but the thought of it gradually turning sour would be sadder. I look forward to following your future endeavors, Mr. Allison, wherever they may lead.

Elizabeth said...

I think if you're at a point where you feel like you should do something different, then that's what you should do. Maybe that "something different" could also apply to SGR, as well, if you still want to continue with some of the remaining ideas you have.

Either way, you've already demonstrated that you can be consistently awesome, so like everyone else who's commented, I know whatever you end up doing will also be awesome!

Phillip said...

I have only been a fan for a couple years, but recommend SGR whereever I can. Hopefully I have made at least a couple of converts.

Kyle said...

This is one of my favorite comics. Hope you continue this in some fashion. And I look forward to your new project possibilities.

Desidirius said...

Haven't read all the comics, so perhaps this already has been suggested, but what about going to a half-weekly sked on SGR and spend the other half on a new project? The SGR audience should mostly transfer over to the new comic, and hopefully the new comic can also find an audience of its own, some of whom might become interested in and latch onto SGR as well, freshening up that fanbase.

Alisa said...

My comment will probably be lost in a sea of...comments.

But John, I read up there you said you can't connect with people the way QC does, I don't know about the rest of the people here, but I assure you I care far more about the fate of poor Erin and Des' current state than anyone or anything on QC. The art and the writing in your comics is always top notch and SGR has been the first comic I have checked every day since I found it. Whatever you do next I will read with the same gusto, but I'll miss the old favorites of course.

Amanda said...

Oh gracious, I'm glad you said something. I came to the blog to make sure you were okay, since there's no comic today and you're the most reliable webcomic I follow. Sad to see production reduced 20%, but good to know it was on purpose.

heartlikeaglass said...

ditto amanda.

sgr is top-notch, and my third read every day (though really, it could be second - don't know why it's not). i wish you the best in wherever you head, and will most certainly follow, but PLEASE DEAR GOD just wait for me to get a job (and trust me, i've been tryin') so's i can get me a saddest wookiee t-shirt!! and maths, and bears, and secret scary friend, and... and i will of course always cling to the tiny hope that maybe someday i could own all the comics in book-form as well...

also, if i'd known an american dollar per reader per year would do you, and if i could find a donate button, i'd give you five, jobless or no!

heartlikeaglass said...

oh! it's in the shop! well, now i feel like just the tiniest bit of a moron...

J. "Suiz" Uzcategui said...

There's no shame in ending it and moving on to a different project. If you feel SGR has no more stories left to tell in a novel way then by all means use your creative juice in another shake.

Some will definitely claim that you're closing shop on your best work, but then again no one thought anyone could top Nicholson's Joker either.

Bill Watterson, Quino...the greats did at some point ended their biggest success's run and now we fondly remember them as treasures.

Can't say the same about comic necromancies like Dennis the Menace or even Peanuts, ne?

julrosec said...

as has been said more eloquently in previous comments, I'll be sad to see SGR go, but look forward to your future projects.

thanks for so many giggles past/present/future.

Joe said...

With all due respect, don't ever become like QC quality wise. If you can find the massive success that it seems to have going for it, I would be ridiculously happy for you as I've been reading your comics daily since the Bobbins days and they are definitely something I consider worth waiting until 12 AM Est for.

However, the only similarity I could stand between anything you put out and QC would be success.

BerkeleyBull said...

I have my 'coffetime' tab in my browser at work.
I have 5 comics that I read everyday. I gather from reading the previous posts that some of these online comics are able to extract juice from the ripe fruit of the Internet, perhaps in the same way that oil is extracted from oil shale? I can see why that process would be of interest to someone wanting to make a living. I suspect that it is a separtate skill from that of creating wonderful, wonderful art.
All I know is that I read my favorite one last, and that is SGR.

Jay said...

I think it's criminal that your comic doesn't get the readership it deserves. What's economically unfortunate is that your humor is not reducible to Digg-able one-liners. But nobody wants that.

Maybe if the "Cast" page were more prominent? Updated more often? Sorted so that the characters in the current chapter were at the top? With links to memorable moments in each character's past?

John A said...

God Jay, that's sensible.

clickie said...

You know I love your comic and always have, and I'll follow you in whatever you choose to post on the internet!

I'm thinking...what about something like what MS Paint Adventures was doing for awhile: if you donate a certain amount, you get something nifty. Something like, donate $10 and you'll get a sticker?

clickie said...

Also, maybe the donation sticker would be a new, different one every few months, to encourage repeat donations?

Raphael Kabo said...

My question is very simple: what on EARTH was a dolphin doing in the Yangtze River in the first place?!

Aversa said...

I think the important thing to your readers is that _you_ keep on creating comics. We've watched Scary-go-Round morph from Rachel and Tessa-centric to the exploits of Shelley and Amy, and now you've got Esther, The Boy and Erin playing larger parts. Though the characters are brilliant, I think your loyal cadre are more concerned that you are producing your own brand of wackiness for all to see, no matter the form. Where you go, we'll follow, and if you need to switch about to get some more bread on the table, we've got your back.

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