Monday, October 25, 2010

Mystery success

Well, Giant Days week one produced some odd statistics, namely twice the traffic that Bad Machinery had been getting. Since it didn't get any links from anywhere special, I have to put this down to youthful high spirits.



After a year of struggling to build traffic for Bad Machinery and crossing my fingers that things would get better, it was a bit weird to watch the unique numbers shoot up throughout the week. You can say it's a bit more like Scary Go Round was but, really, it's less like it than Bad Machinery was! There's one character left! Well, I'm not complaining. My only concern is what might happen when the five weeks are up. If the situation stays like this (and it might not, of course), there may have to be a CLIMACTIC POLL OF ALL SCARY GO ROUND READERS.

33 comments:

Raphael Kabo said...

My viewing of the Scary Go Round Comics Empire has been roughly the same since I discovered it two years ago - a reread of a swathe of archive every few months, and a weekly checkup on new comics. Only recently, I've discovered 'RSS' and have gotten to reading updates in the normal fashion.

I can't lie, though - I love Esther, and I love stories about university, because I'm in one. As much as it annoys me to say it, maybe I just don't relate to childish hijinks as well any more (even if the Bad Machinery children behave far too intelligently for their own good).

The new art style might be a cause, too. I'd say I prefer colour in the long run, but duotone is a refreshingly simple change.

Kate Holden said...

Personally I think that despite having fewer characters from SGR, Giant Days is more like it than Bad Machinery. The general atmosphere and the banter between the student characters is reminiscent of the early days with Rachel and Tessa.
The more innocent and sincere younger characters, more straightforward mystery solving plots and the stable school routine in BM is less edgy than SGR, and the characters are less weird than their older counterparts due to a lack of accumulated adult neuroses.
I'd say I like the plots and art about the same through all the different comics, but I do like the adult characters slightly more because they have more freedom with their access to money, tools and positions of authority to misuse them, and they're generally more unpredictable because of their more complex motivations.
I've immediately taken a shine to Giant Days, because the characters set up are fascinatingly odd, leaving me immediately feeling like anything could happen with them.

thomasjmaccoll said...

Oh John, I thought I'd love Susan Ptolemy, and I do! I wish I knew a girl like her so I could sit in a corner of her room and laugh at her and try to convince her she'd actually enjoy going out to the cinema with me if she'd come.

That said, Bad Machinery has been outstanding so far, I'd say I probably enjoyed it even more than the latter stages of Scary Go Round. If there is a noticeable and sustained upsurge in traffic to Giant Days, I'd say it's a sad comment on the intolerance of the internet-comic-regarding public rather than on your work.

Hope your spider-web of ropes and pulleys is holding up!

x-hj-x said...

As much as I love Scary-Go-Round, and as much as I'm enjoying Giant Days so far, I REALLY adore Bad Machinery, as does my eight-year-old daughter (who recently wore a homemade temporary tattoo of Mildred and Pepper on her arm). We are looking forward to the book, and to new Bad Machinery starting next month. Once the guest strips dried up, she started going through withdrawal. I really hope you can find a way to continue it.

Dewey said...

I'm enjoying Giant Days thus far, and it's nice to see Esther again, but I think you've been doing some of the strongest work of your career in Bad Machinery. I've enjoyed the longer storylines and all the new characters, with the occasional glimpse at Ryan & Amy for good measure. I suppose it's not as "weird" as SGR was (Though I'd argue the climax of the last story was prrrrretty weird), but the strange has been replaced with an emphasis on character, which is never a bad thing. Giant Days is a fun, and I hope we see Destroy History someday, but Bad Machinery is a wonderful strip.

DCW said...

I think I'm simply going to put it down to people wanting to see what happened to characters they're already very familiar with. Character, rather. Esther was popular.

Also I'm under the impression that a considerable amount of the SGR fanbase preferred to see adventures of characters in their own age group. In fact, you can almost say that about the whole webcomic circuit in general: "20-somethings doing stuff? I can relate!"
I presume a lot of the popular webcomics that I don't understand (and shall remain nameless) out there also fall under that category.

Personally, I've loved Bad Machinery so far. I got used to the change between SGR ending and BM starting almost immediately. For me, the character personalities seemed so well developed at this early stage, it's almost as if they were there the whole time.

Abby Ryder said...

I think it's different for me, being a latecomer to SGR. So although I really enjoyed going through your archives watching Bad Machinery from the start has been something special. I think the school setting and the characters just really struck a note with me.

But the Esther story is great so far. Just let it be known that if you get that Bad Machinery collection done I will push it like some kind of mental person, throwing it at customers as they enter my shop! Cuz I loves Mildred.

Dizzy said...

Giant Days is really fun for me to follow because it's really different than SGO or Bad Machinery (not to say I don't just adore them both, but I just keep dreading the end, or break from one story, only to keep getting suprise-pleased by something totally new and wonderful). Another factor is that this is my first year in college as well- trying to keep it together with a long distance boyfriend, making new friends and just trying to find my way. I like all the new characters a lot so far, but I would be sad to see the end of Bad Machinery. It's so adorable, I just love it. But I was also a hardcore SGR reader. So just follow your heart and I'll keep reading to the bitter end.

Sandra Rose Hughes said...

I have been following Scarygoround since 2007. I read Bad Machinery with interest, but I have to say, I was really more interested in Giant Days because of Esther.

Naelok said...

I love Esther to death. The way you've developed her personality over time from her goth roots up to the confident adult she is now makes her an easy favourite. Judging by the comments, I think people share this sentiment.

But I love what you're doing with Bad Machinery. While the characters in BM haven't reached Esther/Shelley heights, it's clear that you're building things up and very much know what you're doing. I would thus (in spite of the fact that I love Esther) be extremely disappointed if you put the project on the back burner in favour of Giant Days. Go with your passions, John A!

Though really, the true solution is to clone you. The original may work on BM while the duplicate tosses down Giant Days 5 times a week. It's the best solution for everyone involved.

Farvana said...

I don't know if I'm alone in this, but the constant little jokes and asides are distracting from the plot, which doesn't work that well in a plot-heavy webcomic for me. Going back and reading the archive is fantastic; getting a little 30 second dose a day, not so much, because in the intervening day or weekend, I forgot what happened and just remember the jokes.

Even so? I love Bad Machinery, much more so than Scary Go Round.

John A said...

I think I'd be lynched if I stopped Bad Machinery. Lynched up real bad. And it would be a waste of a lot of hard work. Starting them at 11 alienated some folks, I know that for sure, but when you get to 13 and 14, we're only a few steps from where Esther and The Boy started off. I would prefer to plough on, I think.

Giant Days is tremendous fun to make though, there may be different avenues for my other projects - collaborations with like minded artists or occasional jaunts like this.

John A said...

Farvana: I know what you mean and I had to make a decision to make things work as a whole story or as individual self-contained pages at the start. I decided that it was better that they read properly in sequence than every page constantly reminding you what the plot was - something which made the Scary Go Round books seem a bit fussy (I'd often have to edit out a lot of unnecessary explanatory dialogue towards the end of stories).

Brian Swetland said...

I'm still enjoying the hell out of Bad Machinery. Giant days is a fun diversion (certainly not harmed by centering on one of my favorite SGR characters). Though, really, the only part of the SGR/BM universe that I wasn't very fond of was Desmond -- and I certainly didn't hate him, just found him a little annoying.

I guess you can count on my to keep reading your comics whichever direction they head. So far it's all been good stuff.

Andrea said...

I really love both Bad Machinery and Giant Days. I don't think you've put out a comic that I haven't liked. I especially like the smaller chapters that keep the story on track. I would not be sad if you did a Giant Days story in between when you finished the Bad Machinery story. And a Destroy History story as well, or whatever else you happen to think of. It would make the time go by easier in between the Bad Machinery bits. :)

La Chelsa said...

I never post in the comments, but I wanted to add some support. I read SGR for years, and I haven't had a problem getting into Bad Machinery. The same stylistic elements that kept me interested in SGR for so long — artwork (evolution is appreciated in all stages), pacing, writing, etc — are still prevalent in Bad Machinery. I enjoy it very much!

I don't think I can express it better than Dewey's comment up there. Completely agree.

Barring any accidental lobotomies (on your part or mine), I can confidently say I'll continue to be a dedicated reader for as long as you produce work. And I hope that will be a long time indeed.

Patrick K. said...

Bad Machinery has been winning me over despite my initial lack of interest in the lives of school children, but I still feel that it's pacing would be far better suited to being a graphic novel than a daily webcomic.

Given that a person might not have time to develop a graphic novel AND a separate daily webcomic about Esther or Shelly, you could consider reincorporating the old favorites with the kid cast in an "upstairs/downstairs" parallelism, even if the characters are not all living in the same city anymore.

Another possibility (inspired by Andrea's comment): you could consider having a fixed rotation between Bad Machinery and Giant Days and/or Destroy History, allowing you to mix weekly the pleasures of gradual development with instant-gratification crowd-pleasers. (The blue tint on Giant Days has been cool--you could give DH a red tint or something.) Yes, it would mean dividing your creative energies, but it'd also give you more time between installments of any given story to make any adjustments you like in the trajectory.

As many have said here, I will keep reading the comic and buying the books whatever you do, so you will always have my $20-40/year to live on.

Mym said...

Are you counting today's-comic-page-views or site-page-views? I am definitely hitting the site twice as often for Giant Days as for Bad Machinery, for the very simple reason that I haven't bothered to change my bookmark so I hit the front page every day and continue on to the actual comic. I very highly doubt that I'm the only one.

Elizabeth said...

well you have at least one new and loyal Bad Machinery reader. I never read SGR while it was running, though after I got into BM I read a lot of the archives. So far I like BM better than SGR, though Shelley is a blast. I'm really enjoying the new comic, and I hope it gets more successful for you

Colin Rankine said...

I think there was an element of chaotic nuttiness and unpredictability to SGR that was particularly suited to the medium of a daily webcomic, and which is not present so far in Bad Machinery, which has a more stable, long-form feel to it. Certain people might be like, "What the hell am I reading, a book? I don't have time for this." Even though they totally do. I think you are kind of casting your pearls before swine here. I really appreciate it, being a swine myself.

Josher said...

I suspect that you're getting twice the pageviews because people are coming to the usual front page and then clicking through to the microsite, thus seeing two pages instead of the usual one.

Sorry if that is an unglamorous suggestion :(

John A said...

No, it's double the uniques... although to be honest, I am questioning the boffin in charge of my "metrics".

Timothy J Swann said...

I've loved everything you've done (Bobbins, SGR, BM) but I think because of its proximity to my university experience at Oxford, Giant Days really gets inside my head or something. It's brilliant. I won't say Giant Days forever, but regular recurring feature for sure!

Harold said...

On the subject of Giant Days, you know an almost alarmingly large amount about being a girl at uni...

Martin said...

I love the blue style of Giant Days. Also, I am at university and living in a hall (a residence hall, not a hallway) so I feel connected to the characters and situations. I didn't make that kind of personal connection with Bad Machinery.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

This talk about stats scares the hell out of me, for while I never quite got into SGR yet am really enjoying Giant Days, I LOVE THE UTTER @#$K OUT OF BAD MACHINERY and would be devastated to see it pushed aside like the litter-runt because of numbers.

Why not into SGR? Maybe I sampled it at the wrong time; there have been other long-term webbers I avoided for too long because I pranced into the middle of a weird story arc, looked around, got confused, yelled WAT'S DIS CARAP, and bolted for the exit.

4chan may be a complete Internet toilet, but if it weren't for a couple of folks on plus4chan persistently flogging Bad Machinery, I might never have fallen in love with it.

Phillip said...

Bad Machinery is witty, stylish and fun to read, like all your work, but what really sets it apart for me is its sweetness and depth. You are doing a great job of following your characters through their first pangs of adolescence, and it's really a pleasure to watch unfold. Maybe the subject matter and the longer storylines help, but Bad Machinery's got real depth and subtlety that puts it in a league of its own. SGR hit the same heights from time to time, but not as consistently as Bad Machinery has thus far. Giant Days? Well, we'll see, but so far it's somewhat boring by comparison and I find myself missing BM and awaiting its return.

Casey said...

You know, I loved SGR. LOVED it. And when you ended it and started up Bad Machinery with all these kids who were not Shelley and Amy, I got all sad, 'cause I am an old woman who hates change. But I still gave Bad Machinery a chance, and somewhere in the middle of the first arc, I realized I totally loved it. More so than the latter parts of SGR, actually. Giant Days is pretty fun, but Bad Machinery is somehow both sweet and irreverent and I hope it sticks around for a while.

John A said...

These replies have been very interesting. It is always fascinating to hear the reasoned views I get on here.

A break from Bad Machinery was 100% necessary for lots of reasons - first and foremost, exhaustion.

While Giant Days may return at some point in a slightly different form, Bad Machinery will be back in November!

Mike said...

I'm just going to pile on and say that, while I loved SGR, you have elevated every aspect of your game with BM. The artwork, plotting, pacing, a more consistent level of quality - I was worried that you ended SGR due to burnout, and this new strip would be the "Silly Love Songs" to SGR's "In My Life." Far from it - I think your talents had outgrown the framework of SGR, and a new start allowed you to set a higher bar. It took a lot of guts to do so, which makes it hard to see that you've suffered financially for making this bold leap.

Michael Collins said...

It is strange to hear of people who 'cannot relate' to school-aged characters. Calvin and Hobbes was a great comic. Calvin was six!

I love Bad Machinery and think it's very strong work; not only that, it's also (as far as these withered internet-eyes can see) unique. We do not need another comic full of twenty-somethings who go to coffeeshops and quip at each other!

Hilary said...

I love Bad Machinery, but I absolutely ADORE Giant Days. I think it's because I'm in college right now and everything that is happening is oh so true. I suppose it is also my natural affinity for characters closer to my own age... I'm so excited to see what happens! Thanks for making something so awesome.

Silver Countess said...

I've followed SGR and I can say with some bias, that I would enjoy Giant Days than I would Bad Machinery due to having Esther as one of my favorite characters in SGR.

Another factor for me is age (I'll be hitting 30!). Bad Machinery is cute and well their adventures feel so "toned down" (due to them being children) as compared to the hi-jinks Shelly and Co. had.

I guess it also helps that I love the humor and writing more in Giant Days, that makes it unique compared to all the drama-laden college-based webcomics.

I'll still be a big fan wherever you decide to take the comics, but if asked I would most likely check on Giant Days often than I would Bad Machinery.