Monday, February 08, 2010

Decisions Decisions

I'm writing the end of the current Bad Machinery story and I have to decide what to do next. I can either plough into another one immediately or do one of my other projects for a bit while I work out another complicated 100-page arc. The only other project that is fit for purpose is "Esther Project", let me dig out the piece of scrap paper again...



Yes you see the scrap of paper is still in rude health. I think I accidentally already used Daisy Minter's hair on another character though so I will have to work out a new look for this highly developed character.

While Bad Machinery has not been to everybody's taste (and has proved thus far to have a more selective appeal than some of my earlier work), it has turned out how I wanted it to and I wanted to thank people who have written in support - here, on Twitter and via email, it has really helped me to not go too mad, especially early on when ratings were tumbling.

27 comments:

Possible Piper said...

I've actually come to like Bad Machinery more - it's not that Scary Go Round wasn't good, because it was, but there's something about Bad Machinery which is better. Maybe it's that the characterisation feels stronger, or that you've got a much bigger pre-plotted segment so there's more coherence in the narrative. Something's good anyway, and certain aspects of the way the children are behaving rings very true with my memories of school days.

There are also fewer moments where I think 'hang on, what just happened, are there a few panels missing here?' so big thumbs up for that.

I wouldn't want to suggest whether it's a good idea or not, but what I would like to see is another Bad Machinery plotline, maybe shifting forward in time a bit or disjointing the character set a bit (or both) so that we can see that yes, this happened (whatever happens with the outcome of the current plot), and there were some impacts to these people's lives, and this is how it came back to bite them in the arse six months later.

Samvel said...

I can't deny that I was skeptical of Bad Machinery at first. Scary Go Round was probably my favourite webcomic, so it was a bit of a jolt to have all these new characters, with scarcely a word of introduction. But having Ryan and Amy smoothed the transition somewhat, and now the new characters are developing nicely. I still can't help missing Shelley and my personal favourite Tim, but I suppose it's better to miss characters than to resent them when they go crappy.

I don't want to see it getting too 'serious' though, which it hasn't thus far. 100-page story arcs are fine, but a rocky shift to 'drama' is never pleasant for anyone. If you feel the urge to create a sober and existential work in which all the main characters die alone, I BEG you, don't set it in Tackleford! Set it in Yaroslavl!

David said...

For what it's worth, I think I'd prefer to read more Bad Machinery rather than zig off on a different tangent. I'm just starting to get to know the characters and my concern is that if we don't see them for a while we'll forget all about them and it'll be the same rude shock when they come back.

JAM said...

I've really been enjoying Bad Machinery -- it's one of the first things I check (if not *the* first) when I sit down to my desk on Mondays through Thursdays. I'm curious to see where you're going with Yuri -- he seems misunderstood. But I suspect that I will enjoy whatever the next project is.

[Eagerly awaiting receipt of "Devour Your Enemies" apron. Can't wait to serve snacks at our next party wearing that and an evil glint in my eye. And clothes, of course.]

Sigivald said...

I think it's just fine, but then again I still want my Tessa and the Bobbins Team fix, after you cruelly abandoned her at the start of SGR.

Lamdogjunkie said...

Thumbs up for more Bad Machinery!

John A said...

I only mean a month off the main story while I do plotting and complicated character design manoeuvers - long stories are a lot of work. Not an unending new comic that goes beyond time and space. A fun standalone story just to blow out the cob-webs.

Maybe this is too much for the internet, too complex a scheme.

dantemichaels said...

I am sorry I did not write you to tell you that you were doing a good job. I meant to! Honest! I was curious to see where you'd take us in this zanny universe you have concocted and have been making regular check ups. You've some of the quirkiest humor and your artwork is truly a wonder to look at.

Samvel said...

No, that doesn't sound too complex! Do it! The B.M. characters seem important to you, so you deserve the right to develop them at your leisure.

evaristo said...

i loved Scary Go Round to bits, and quickly got used to the change of pace of Bad Machinery. My rational side would suggest you take the "doing something different" route especially if it will help plan the next arc, and because different material could bring in new readers (or bring old ones back).
However, my heart says you should just do whatever you feel like doing: i have no doubts i'll be reading and will enjoy it.

Maryjo said...

i'm really liking Bad Machinery. I like the younger age range. that said i think short forays into what is happening with past characters might be interesting, if you wanted to go that route. maybe a week in the life of (insert SGR character or other random person in Tackleford)?

anyway, i think you are doing a super job John. no matter what the internets say.

Kate Beaton said...

Bad Machinery is the best and I preach it from all the rooftops all the time.

Hannah said...

Thumbs up for Bad Machinery.

Also want to thank you for the Picard. He is everything I wanted and it brightened up this rainy day.

Skippy said...

I think a fun standalone story is a good idea, and would also make for a less intimidating archive section once Bad Machinery has a bit of history behind it. Gives a sense of 'there are this many stories', rather than 'this one story has been going for this many years'.

xmung said...

I was having a lot of trouble warming to Bad Machinery at first, but around Christmas I decided to reread it again from the start - and that's when all the pieces started to fit together and now I find it to be quite enjoyable. Thanks for all the time and effort you've put into it, John.

Mike said...

I'm really enjoying Bad Machinery as well. There's more depth to the writing and illustration both, so if you need to take a break to plan out the next arc, I say don't rush it. So long as you keep amusing us in the meantime.

Also, I hope the ratings are bouncing back. I'm doing my part by checking the site every Friday even though there's no new comic. Actually, that's not so much "doing my part" as "forgetting there's no Friday comic every week for a hundred weeks in a row".

Red_Dog said...

I think it all just goes to show that it wasn't a weakness in the material, more the fact that people don't like change, especially when it relates to their most favouritest web comic in all the world. When you add into this the ability for people to comment instantly and vocally on any web forum that comes to hand, I think you have a recipe for mucho ennui and doubting, which was a shame.

But hopefully you have regained your bounce (but not too much - we are English, after all), and will continue to entertain us for a good while to come...?

K said...

You know I'll read whatever you write, no?

Personally I am fond of Esther, so would be glad to hear how she's getting on. Or whatever. I hope Shelley and the Ministry of History haven't been shelved completely, though.

Is Daisy Minter's name inspired in any way by Daisy Munter, Lupin's fiancee from "The Diary of a Nobody"? (Probably not.)

Emil said...

Please just keep making awesome comics and giving them to us for free. It makes my life way better.

烤肉 said...

It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.............................................

Nick said...

I love Esther, and Shelley, and would love to see stories about either or both of them. However, I also have been really enjoying Bad Machinery. I appreciate its slightly drier sensibility very much, and the plot and characters are really starting to pay off. (I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the mini-arc with Shauna's coat, a slight-sounding idea made great by the characters.) I think it's usually pretty clear when you're doing work that genuinely pleases you. So, I'd say that your next story should be chosen based on what feels most satisfying to you, and the resulting quality work will, over time, bring in the audience you want.

Watcher said...

Please write more Bad Machinery. . . I am looking forward to find out what happens. It's nice to read a new story. I don't know why people are complaining about scary go round.
Stories are better when they end.

KBenloucif said...

I have hopes that someday we'll get to see how Amy and Ryan finally sealed the deal... someday...

Jon Downes said...

You have made me feel mildly guilty now that I have not commented earlier.

Whilst I enjoyed SGG immensely and even posted a farewell to it on the CFZ Bloggo (although it had very little to do with cryptozoology), I have really enjoyed and appreciated the greater depth of Bad Machinery since you started. It is one of the highspots of my day monday-thursday, and another reason to despise fridays...

Brian Swetland said...

I'm seriously enjoying Bad Machinery -- it's quality stuff. I would not complain at all if you took a detour to revisit Esther and the gang or explore some other side-story, but I'm quite content to be getting my fix of Bad Machinery 4 days a week. So really, whatever works for you is probably going to entertain me. Thanks, as always, for the great comics!

Smashy said...

Bad Machinery is quality, man; the more people get used to it the more they’ll like it. Layers!

Sarah said...

I'd be happy to read an Esther project, but only while you are plotting more Bad Machinery! Please don't abandon Bad Machinery, I love it.