moby-dick-(or-the-whale)-95
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YEAR THREE IS DONE

31 October 2007

It's unbelievable. We're done. Year Three has ended! When I came up with the idea of a year with a single continuous, semi-coherent story way back in the middle of Year Two, I knew it'd not only be a change of pace, but also prove difficult in different ways than regular ventures.

What sparked my interest at that time in a pre-scripted story were the troubles I was having coming up with crazy new ideas for episodes twice a week. I would sit and stare at an empty page and try to squeeze out some weird new sci-fi idea or concept I could use. The episodes suffered from this in my opinion, because as a result August's personality never really got developed. He was always tumbling into situations; external things would happen to him instead of him as a character setting events in motion. In a bid to prevent this and provide myself with the luxury of never having to wonder about what an episode would be like as the deadline approached, I came up with the Moby Dick saga. Also because no one was expecting it, of course.

And indeed, many took me for a fool with this move. It had its drawbacks, of which I was keenly aware from the start. I would alienate some readers who had no interest in the story. The year would feel 'slow' due to the drip-feed nature of webcomics (despite my best efforts to keep everything snappy and to have 'arcs' last no longer than 5 to 10 pages). And of course, the change of pace and setting would not sit well with some, or many. These were all risks I was willing to take in order to further the comic and to break away from the comfort zone. Without challenge and difficulty there can be no progress. At the same time, I knew that the rewards for those who persisted (including me) would be great.

I propose you go back to the first episode of the year and read through the whole story in one go. You will find that what once seemed a tedious and slow yarn, is suddenly swift and zestful. You'll find threads and plotlines you hadn't noticed before because of the gruelling pace. It is my estimation that you'll enjoy it in a whole different way!

I also hope I've done the mighty epic that is Herman Melville's Moby Dick justice. It was a pleasure to adapt that delicious book, fitting in pieces literally or interpreting events. Warping the August mythology around it. Changing the ending to once again surprise and delight. In this my hands may have been tied. After all, how could I let the good captain perish? Catharsis had to come, because August needs to go on for many more years! With this Moby Dick adaptation I hope to have brought something unique, refreshing and of certain quality. And it has also established the book as a part of me, along the way. Great white, vein-leaked whales have become the everyday idiom that I have lived and breathed for over a year.

So, what's next? Well, the coming episodes up until 300 will be Specials made by others. Five artists in total will give their own view on August, and particularly the previous year. After that, another surprise -albeit perhaps a less pleasant one- is waiting. Instead of twice a week, August will be published only once a week from then on. Why? Simply because I found that the quality per episode was threatened by its quantity. When returning to the single-episode humorous format, I will be better enabled to put out awesomeness if I only need to come up with something brilliant once a week. Two Augusts per week is simply too much to ask of any man. The brain simply won't accept such disastrous strain. As a result, in short; expect a lot more episodes of the quality of the one where Nuch got hit in a back by an alien plant seed.

As a very positive outcome of this for me, I will have more time to do other strips next to the captain. I have been pining to do more comics, and finally I'll have the opportunity. Lastly, I want to say Thank You to you all for sticking it out when all I do is throw one preposterous idea at you after the other. A Moby Dick adaptation... pfff. The work of a madman.

Roderick.