Friday, September 10, 2010

Courage, courage

There are some changes coming up on the Scary Go Round site over the next couple of months.

Bad Machinery / The Case Of The Good Boy ends at the end of September, after which Bad Machinery will be going on a break for a little while. While it's been about as successful as I thought it would be on the web, given its long, long story arcs (only long when taken day by day, admittedly) and child cast, it's struggled to build an audience and after a year, I need to look carefully at what to do next.

So, I will be looking to find a publisher who can perhaps take it where it needs to be (into young, impressionable hands). I love writing these characters and the third story is all worked out, so I hope to bring it back as soon as possible.

In the meantime, following a couple of guest weeks where I will attempt to "relax", I have a nice month-long fill-in for you, the pilot of "Giant Days", the comic that shows you what Esther de Groot did immediately after this comic. You'll even get comics on a Friday again.

I did try to write a Shelley story but my heart wasn't it it at all. It felt horrible. I think you will enjoy the alternative a lot more, I have been working on the mechanics it for weeks. Thinking extremely hard... about how to rock your WORLD.

68 comments:

MakTheYak said...

I have to say I'm very sad for you that it hasn't been more popular. Everything about Bad Machinery (characters, stories, writing, art) is fantastic and it's pretty much my favourite webcomic. I hope that you will find a publisher quickly - you've got one customer in the bag already ;)

Red_Dog said...

So you plan to become a kind of UK Brian Lee O'Malley? Well why not sir - more power to your elbow!

Sam said...

I understand the need for an audience in order to keep a project going, but I just wanted to say that I've really enjoyed Bad Machinery!

mordicai said...

As they say, sir, I'll follow you into the dark.

juie2 said...

Noooo! I love Bad Machinery! It's the best comic I have ever found! If it's possible I love it more than Scary Go Round, and that's saying something... :(

Nevertheless, I too hope you find the right outlet for it and please let us know, I for one will be waiting impatiently for the new story. I couldn't bear it if we never found out what happens between Jack and Shauna!

Still, please keep up the good work, I remain an undying fan.

drinksnob said...

I've been reading since Bobbins and, as they say in the self-help books, every day, in every way, your comics have been getting better and better. I hope this isn't the end of Bad Machinery.

That said, if the alternative is an actual physical work I can buy several times a year from my local comic store and put on my bookshelf, let's do this thing. If you're publishing, I'm buying.

mustardsundae said...

I echo the unfairness in Bad Machinery not being more popular. I love that you're so honest about your struggles with the comic because it's so easy to assume that things are either easy, or popular, or of only peripheral importance to their creator.

I was honestly sceptical about Bad Machinery as I loved SGR like a little brother, but I can't believe how attached I've become to it since it started. I still get a little poke of sadness when I check the site and realise it's Friday, which isn't to say 'please post on Fridays!', just that I appreciate it so much more the rest of the week. I love reading about the kids. I just wish I'd been so cool when I was at school.

Best of luck with whatever you're working on next!

Sunfire said...

Everything about Bad Machinery (characters, stories, writing, art) is fantastic and it's pretty much my favourite webcomic.

Seconded.

x-hj-x said...

I still love Scary Go Round but love Bad Machinery even more. What's more, I can read Bad Machinery with my eight-year-old daughter. I know she'd LOVE to have Bad Machinery books.

Lucas said...

John

You can do no wrong. What's more you do lots and lots of right, especially with Bad Machinery. I look forward to its return and wish you the best of everything.

Lucas

Sarah said...

I love Bad Machinery. I'm a Youth Services librarian in the States and I keep wishing it was in book for so I could buy it for the kids!

Jeremy D. Impson said...

I BELIEVE IN YOU.

I ALSO BELIEVE IN GHOSTS, IF THAT MATTERS.

quest4pi said...

Just chiming in with all the other love.

I never actually read SGR (although I'm now making plans to wind my way through the archive) but Bad Machinery has been an absolutely amazing trip. Whatever you do next will certainly have my attention.

Virtualbri said...

As long as you're happy doing it,that's the important part.

Hopefully you'll get to take a break, gather your wits about you and keep on keeping on, and whatever other cliches I can come up with....
--Brian

Claire Connelly said...

Also just joining in -- I'm loving everything you've done so far and am especially glad for Bad Machinery, both for its own wonderfulness and for letting me find Scary Go Round and Bobbins. Webcomics with ongoing stories seem to be a tough sell for some people -- it's great when you find one that's been running for a long time, but once you run through the backlog, you're waiting day-by-day. I know my partner has gone into wait mode on a few after catching up, and I haven't been able to get her to read more even when a storyline has been wrapped up.

But I would be very, very happy to buy your (future as well as past) work in printed form (and I have nieces and nephews who will be old enough for Bad Machinery in a few years!).

Larry said...

I agree with all of the love for Bad Machinery. I also agree that I'd buy the books. Can we have a whip round?

John A said...

I should just add that I could publish the Bad Machinery books myself with no difficulty, but I feel like it's work that could, with help, reach a wider audience that don't really read comics on the internet.

Esti said...

The phrase 'impressionable hands' makes me think weird things... like how much I'd love to see a little Archie gazing up at me from my palm all the time. I suppose I'll have to settle for a shirt.

That said, I've loved every minute of Bad Machinery (even though I miss the SGR gang). And I can't wait for the Esther Project, because she's been my lace-gloved favorite ever since the incidents involving the caravan in Wales.

Allen said...

I loved Scary Go Round; it is my favorite web comic by far. While I was initially skeptical of Bad Machinery, I have come to enjoy it and I would certainly be happy to see more. That being said, Esther is my favorite comics character ever, and I will be extremely happy to see her again.

motortree said...

Much as I loved Scary Go Round, it's not a patch on how much I love Bad Machinery--it really deserves to be in print from a publisher that can show it to a wider audience. It's not just that it's your best art and best writing yet (though it is!)--the characters and world are extraordinarily appealing and fun. I'm sure I'll be a big fan of whatever you do next, but I'll be a little sad until the next installment of Bad Machinery comes along--I hope in a big old book I can buy lots of copies of and send to friends.

pixienighingale said...

You know, I have to say that I didn't particularly enjoy the start of Bad Machinery - but I came back to it via THIS blog (its Smallville post actually, and GoogleReader) and now that I've read back to where I left off... I actually enjoy it.

Enjoy your break, and hope you'll e back!

Kent said...

Yep. I'm also of the "SGR was one of my favorites of all time" camp, so it took me a little while to get into Bad Machinery, especially very early on when I was confused as to who was who, but as you've gotten a handle on it, I've began to love little BM. It's really too bad that it hasn't kept up the popularity of SGR since it can pretty much be considered a spin-off. This current storyline has been so much fun to read and I really hope you do find yourself in a situation to get it published the way you want it to be.

I see you as a modern incarnation of the golden age cartoonists that would retire strips and start new ones so they could keep themselves fresh.

Much as I'm sad to see Destroy History go by the wayside (I really liked the previews we got of it) Esther is my favorite character, so I can't complain at all.

Kyle Phaneuf said...

I like that you can spend a chunk of time on one group of people or one storyline and then take a break from them and examine what else is going on with fringe characters or old characters or whatever characters.

Scary Go Round is like The Wire of webcomics. I'm always interested, no matter what direction it takes.

donalfall said...

I've been following you a long time and you've gotten progressively better constantly. The Case of the Good Boy is your best work ever. The kids are phenomenal characters. If you can get it published out there in the real world, go for it. It's so strong, it deserves to do well.

Enough with the ass-kissing. I'm sure whatever way you go, things'll work out. No matter what format the kids continue their adventures in, I'll continue to consume it. ;)

Mthrndr01 said...

I was reticent at first, but Bad Machinery has held a steady level of awesome from the SGR days. Possibly this is helped because you've not had the time to put the axe to/bussed off any of my favorite characters yet (...you're like webcomicdom's own Joss Whedon, except less pretentious).

Still, consider going through with the Shelly story, since I'm certain that some of the greatest works of history have been the result of millstone tedium and emotional barrel scraping. For example, imagine the life of the poor artists who actually produce Garfield now...but THEY SPIN THE PUREST GOLD, sir!

...Well, that went in an odd direction.

Toby said...

I feel John Allison that it is a great shame that Bad Machinery must be cancelled, and thus I must dictate this comment to you (as I am very drunk (though my scribe is nearly as drunk and has taken an average of three tries to correctly spell each word)). Bad Machinery is an exellent comic which fulfills the cravings of a niche market of comic readers, who do not want to only experience the trias of indie gil and indie boy (cheap blow at QC) bit enjoy a storyline of nonsense and sillyness based around secondary school children *spellcheck-honk* (who to my recollection do indeed indulge themselves in such contrived hijinks). So, Mr Allison, Sir, I do implore you to continue to fart out such comics as Bad Machinery, as they amuse me greatly.

Your's Sincerly
The Kaptain.

Thank you.

Ryan said...

If it were not for Bad Machinery and SGR, the web would be a dark, lonely place filled with cobwebs, tumbleweeds and dejected routers.

In whatever form, please keep doing what you do better than anyone else.

faith said...

THIS NEWS MAKES ME SAD.

Bad Machinery is the best webcomic I know!

The best luck to you anyhow!

Doug said...

I'm sorry that Bad Machinery isn't taking off the way you hoped, John. However your humor and art has really been top-notch and if your new stories have the right hooks I can't help but see them catching on!

Kristen said...

I am commenting to provide the alternative viewpoint of someone who never read SGR (and even now have only read some selections from it), but who started on Bad Machinery on day one and was completely hooked within a few days. It's my favorite comic as well, and I sincerely hope that it is taken good places.

John said...

Much as I love the Bad Machinery kids, I can't wait to spend a month with Esther again. And YAY for Friday comics!

DarthMarmite said...

Bad Machinery is the bees knees... Can't wait to see your next project.
Good luck!

DSP said...

I found SGR/BM from a link on Dinosaur Comics (or was it QuestionableContent..?), and have remained there ever since. I've dipped into SGR and like some of the stories, etc; but Bad Machinery is fantastic - the capture of that age group/ the school mentality, and the stories are fabulous.

I've caught up on the world in which it exists via the SGR back catalogue, and it all rounds itself out very well.. congratulations on creating a universe in which many different strands all work together like that - it's quite an achievement :-)

I will miss Bad Machinery terribly, and look forward to its return. If there were any in a book format, I would happily part with cash to own it.

ATB

DSP said...

I found SGR/BM from a link on Dinosaur Comics (or was it QuestionableContent..?), and have remained there ever since. I've dipped into SGR and like some of the stories, etc; but Bad Machinery is fantastic - the capture of that age group/ the school mentality, and the stories are fabulous.

I've caught up on the world in which it exists via the SGR back catalogue, and it all rounds itself out very well.. congratulations on creating a universe in which many different strands all work together like that - it's quite an achievement :-)

I will miss Bad Machinery terribly, and look forward to its return. If there were any in a book format, I would happily part with cash to own it.

ATB

andipandi3 said...

While perhaps I loved ye olde SGR more than Bad Machinery, I still tuned in to see what those crazy kids got up to. Maybe if it posted on Fridays too? Keep the story going etc.

vmlojw said...

Yes, publish! I am about to have a sprog, and Bad Machinery will be good for it to read in a year or 5 hence. I look forward to reading whatever you write, and I have loved watching your drawing style evolve. cheers, vmlojw+

Christopher said...

OH, NOES! Let us just admit that many of the Viewing Public cannot appreciate excellent storytelling, because Teh Web Kittehs have eaten their cultural appreciation genes!

I love Bad Machinery, but look forward to Whatever Comes Next!

unavoidedcrisis said...

Echoing what pretty much everyone else has said, but I've been following you for about two years now and would gladly follow whatever you choose to do for another two (or more!). Thanks for everything you do.

sleek said...

Hmmm...

English tweens...supernatural elements...

Do you have somebody who will take this to the studios? I live in Hollywood, and it's become a joke at the local comic store how "the biz" tends to snap up rights for just about everything that gets published these days, and the store is always filthy with industry types asking what the new thing is.

I guess they haven't "discovered" the web comics yet...it might be a good thing for you to get proactive on that front. Sell a little bit of your soul, get a little cash to allow you to live like a person...

gypsymoongate said...

I just wanted to say that after years of reading Scary Go Round and gradually losing interest, I found Bad Machinery to be totally fresh and fun. I love the child characters and the wackiness of the environment, and I'm sorry you haven't had more success with it. I hope you find something that works out for you and this project, because it really is quite good.

Katie said...

Been hanging on your every word since Scary-Go-Round (why, NO, that DOESN'T make me sound like a creeper).

You've produced fantastic stuff from the start, and I hope you continue to do so in the future.

And no, that is not me in your bushes.

brian said...

Just joining in with the love. I think your work is, by and large, excellent. I've greatly enjoyed both Scary Go Round and Bad Machinery and I look forward to seeing what comes next. I'm also sure I'll enjoy the temporary return of Dark Esther.

Alex Maurer said...

Hey, I was referred here by a friend, to read both Bad Machinery and Scary Go Round. To be honest, I'm going to prefer a month with Dark Esther than the cast of Bad Machinery. Just promise to keep doing something, sir.

kcoupar said...

The only bad thing about my Friday is that Bad Machinery doesn't update. I've turned all my oddball friends onto it, and they all love it as well.

I hope it returns in some form or another. Even as a sprite comic. Those might be back again?

Also, the capthca for this post was "gnone", which is almost "gnome", which I thought was very fitting.

Shinymelon said...

As i once posted to you in the strictest confidence, Esther de Groot is the sweetest dearest sexiest girlfriend i've never had, and her passing into the future did pain me deeply.

But now, now a new day, a new wiff of Things Dark and Cheerily Estherian....i am renewed!

Nap well, gentle Machinists! Welcome back, fictitios Mrs Shinymelon!

SoozBot said...

Aw, I'm sad to hear that Bad Machinery has not been as popular as you hoped. It is one of my favorites right now- easily the one I am most excited to see. I hope you find a publisher quickly so I can get back to reading. <3

jddavenport said...

Dear John,

Bad Machinery is fantastic (especially this story), but so was Scary Go Round. Bobbins, as well. And I'm sure whatever comes next will be terrific. So.

Thanks for all that sickening talent!

- Joe

abrupt said...

i hope this story ends with my little brother getting a copy of bad machinery for christmas at some point.

Neil said...

I'm so sorry to hear that Bad Machinery isn't perhaps getting all the kudos it deserves so richly.

It is funny, exciting and original and while the characters may be 'only children', as someone who works with children every day, I really respond to such fantastic interesting and real characters. The writing is second to none.

Being a newcomer to SGR, I can heap plaudits upon BM without need for comparison to the success of it's ancestor.

I hope a way can be found for us to carry on regularly enjoying such a fab comic - in any format - soon!

Owen said...

Sad news indeed. I've been visiting daily for the past 4 or 5 years now and enjoyed every moment. SGR was amazing, BM even better. I've been lucky enough to introduce a couple of mates to the site that have also loved it. Whatever is coming next, I'll be sure to follow with avid enthusiasm. Good luck John.

Kat Monday said...

I'm sad that it won't be around for a while, but I hope it continues in some format, because seriously, you and Kate Beaton have my webcomics fix satisfied, and out of the two of you, only Bad Machinary is updated regularly.

Anyway, best of luck making things work out :)

wombat said...

Nothing I could say would be righter than "Scary Go Round is like The Wire of webcomics. I'm always interested, no matter what direction it takes." You go, I'll follow.

Anna said...

I just wanna say I adore Bad Machinery, maybe even more then I adored Scary Go Round.

And I would totally buy a poster of Archie and Pepper chilling by the wall.

James said...

While I am not a fan of Bad Machinery (having read SGR every single day for many a year - and always looked forward to the next days - but we have discussed the reasons BM wasn't for me about 2 months after it started), I don't think anyone can fault or match your unique style and humour, John.

Please, don't give up on webcomics. The internets wouldn't be the same without Tackleford. :(

Dichotomous Rex said...

I love your work, so I've been giving some serious thought to why Bad Machinery hasn't been more successful. I think your comics are still adult humor, with an adult sense of comedic rhythm and timing that only comes with age. While there is a lot of media out there that caters to the adult AND child market - that Adventure Time cartoon, for example - my children don't follow or 'get' Bad Machinery at all, and while I read it out of love for Scary Go Round, I don't get why you built an audience of 18-35's and then replaced all their favorite, identifiable characters with a bunch of kids, kept the humor the same, and expected your audience to grow and not shrink - you essentially cut out all adults who didn't want to read about school age kids and all kids who didn't have the dry, british wit of a John Allison. Which is most of them, unfortunately, at least here in America!

Jake Kale said...

I'm a newcomer to the Tackleford universe - I only discovered the Scary-Go-Round archive this year, and no, knowing that it would end didn't make it any easier. Having said that, Bad Machinery to my mind has been excellent follow-up, and I've become quite attached to it. I think that's because it just clicks with me in a way that SGR, much as love it, didn't. It evokes memories of my childhood ghost/monster/UFO hunts with my friends (yes, we really did that). Said hunts were entirely fruitless but a lot of fun, and it kept us out of trouble for the most part - well, aside from that one attempt to infiltrate the underground reservoir that we took for an alien base - so I can identify with the characters, especially Sonny. I was kind of like him, but more nervous. If we actually had run into a ghost/monster/alien/anything taller than me, chances are I would've collapsed in quivering heap of tears and unfortunate bowel movements. But steering back on topic from my childhood lack of fortitude, I echo the sentiment that whatever direction you choose to take you have a fan in me, as someone who would like to get into this field you are a source of great inspiration, and I really hope Bad Machinery continues in some form.

John A said...

Dichotomous Rex: I think the point you make is more tidy than fair - although it is fair in parts. The writing on Scary Go Round was completely overwrought at points and the last year has been an attempt to break away from that.

As to why you would build an audience of 18-35 year olds, then replace their favourite characters; I have to take risks and try things, and I can only really focus on one creative endeavour at once. Not everything will succeed, but I feel I've learned a lot in the last year.

Maybe you're right and Bad Machinery will just sail over kids' heads. At least I had a go.

Aki said...

I liked Bobbins way better than your later comics. That being said, your stories since then have still been interesting enough to keep me coming back (with varying degrees of enthusiasm). To me it seems that there is simply something fundamentally appealing about your storytelling that transcends the subject matter and cast. So, keep experimenting - when you finally find something that works for you in the long run I'm sure a whole darn lot of your old fans will still be around to enjoy it...

Carl said...

Bad machinery's meant for kids? I love the story and the art and i'm a 28 year old engineer.

Keep them coming i say.

Wild said...

I JUST found Bad Machinery and read every single comic in a day.. I can't say that I am happy to see the comic go, but would like to say good luck.. So good luck sir.

Leon Watkins said...

John, are you in contact with Raina Telgemeier? It just seems an natural conversation for you to have with her, seeing as you're thinking of taking steps down a similar path; although there will be obvious differences between the US and UK markets (and of course, your work), a few years in the book trade (long ago) gives me some confidence to say there are more similarities than differences. If you're not in contact, you can always bring up the fact that you were sitting on the next table at one of the things a couple of years back as an introduction :)

Shaun said...

It doesn't feel like a year since Bad Machinery began - it feels like it was just a few months ago, in fact. I've been enjoying the comic every step of the way.

Watcher said...

Oh no! I hope bad machinery continues in someway...I've become attached. It's such a good story and so much tighter than sgr ever was.

I know that whatever you write it will be great, and that I must read it. But I have to admit that I never liked Ester DeGroot character very much ... Maybe something new after her story?

John A said...

Watcher:

I love the idea that I might have "something new" up my sleeve, you know, I could just make something up on the spot! It takes me months and months to work out a continuing series so that it isn't a horrible mess.

John A said...

I forgot to add - what follows "Giant Days" will be the 3rd Bad Machinery story - unless I am flattened by farm equipment in the meantime!

John Reynolds said...

I'm sorry to hear that. I look forward to it every weekday morning, except Fridays.

DSP said...

Quoth John A. Maybe you're right and Bad Machinery will just sail over kids' heads. At least I had a go.
FWIW, I'm 38 & love BM; my eldest daughter is 12, & loves BM.

For me it is memories, for her, it's where she's at in life..

Glad to hear there's another BM story coming at some point :-)

Jennifer said...

Bah! BAH, I say! And after I've just fallen MADLY in love and want more-more-more Bad Machinery (thanks to io9.com) I find you're moving on. I'm sure the new will be good, but I adore these characters.