Skip to content

The latest in #WebcomicChat — cameos!

The latest in #WebcomicChat — cameos! published on No Comments on The latest in #WebcomicChat — cameos!

Today’s topic is cameos!

Used to do them all the time in And Shine Heaven Now. They have their own tag on the new Shine site.

Mostly in Leif & Thorn I’ll only do cameos from But I’m A Cat Person, and vice versa. But if there’s a big crowd scene, sometimes you want to make it interesting.

Q1: Have you ever used other comic creators’ characters as cameos in your comic? If not, would you?

Not characters from webcomics specifically (I don’t think). At least, not yet. Characters from other media, sure.

Speaking as a reader, they’re a really fun Easter egg to catch. Rereading Bruno the Bandit recently, I was all entertained to spot some cameos from Sluggy Freelance. In an intra-artist example, Sleepless Domain borrows some characters from the same author’s Kiwi Blitz to fill out magical-girl crowds.

Q2: How do you usually go about adding cameos – ask people, request cameos, or just add them as a fun surprise?

Fun surprise!

If it’s a quick background appearance, I don’t think you should ask. The goal is to show your appreciation for the other creator’s work, not get their approval for yours. (Copyright-wise, you’re fine here — look up the YoI cameos in the Steven Universe comics, or Sailor Moon characters in the background of My Little Pony issues, for examples.)

If it’s a long-term use of someone else’s character, then either it’s some kind of planned crossover/tie-in (in which case, both creators should be discussing it), or it’s a fancomic (in which case, do whatever you want! — just don’t sell it). Or it’s a mid-line case, like Phil Likes Tacos — an original comic, but with so many sci-fi and video-game cameos that the artist has consciously decided not to put it up for sale.

Q3: What are the upsides to using cameos of other people’s characters?

It gives you a break from drawing your own designs, lets you branch out a little.

It livens up boring crowd scenes.

It’s a small way of showing your appreciation for the other person’s work.

If you’re lucky, they see it and like you back and link their followers to your strip — but don’t make that your goal. There’s an episode of the Webcomics Weekly podcast where the artist of (iirc) PVP complained about how many “look, I gave your character a cameo!” emails he gets that are clearly just shilling for links. That’s just rude.

Q4: What are the downsides to using cameos of other people’s characters, if any?

Well, if you’re rude about it, the creator you admire is going to feel annoyed rather than appreciated.

And if you overuse the cameos, it limits your ability to sell the comic. (Only a downside if you were hoping to sell the comic in the first place. If you’re just here for the fun of the hobby, it’s all good.)

Some people are probably going to answer this with “it limits your creativity and gets in the way of developing your own characters,” but, listen, if making comics with 100% other people’s characters is fun and entertaining for you, go for it. Four King Hell and Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi are pure fancomic, and they’re delightful. Have fun.

Q5: Share a page where you have used cameo characters!

This L&T strip has gay skaters on the left, Magic Tavern podcasters on the right:

Read the whole storyline to pick out others! Including the Leverage crew, apparently stealing a Summerfest.

The Moral Of The Story — for #WebcomicChat

The Moral Of The Story — for #WebcomicChat published on 5 Comments on The Moral Of The Story — for #WebcomicChat

For today’s discussion on @webcomicchat.

Q1: How do you define the “moral of the story”?

A practical lesson it teaches. Can be a deliberate anvil-dropping, but any well-written and complex story will have natural morals, in the sense of “if you, too, behave like this, you’ll face these consequences.”

e.g. a moral of The Lord of the Rings (and by extension DM of The Rings) might be “don’t underestimate your gardener.”

Q2: Are a story’s morals and its themes the same thing? Why or why not?

A moral should be an outgrowth of a theme, but a theme doesn’t necessarily lead to a moral.

e.g. if one of the morals of Sleepless Domain is “reaching out to your friends can help you deal with a traumatic loss,” that comes from the way it handles the broader themes of loss/grief and friendship.

Contrast something like Catball & Clown Girl, which arguably has themes of friendship (and hatred, and cat-ness), but I don’t know that you can draw any useful lessons from it. It’s just cute.

Skipping around because this one’s related:

Q4: Do a story’s thematic elements need to reflect any of its morals? How so?

…how would you get a moral that doesn’t involve any of the thematic elements? That’s like asking if the answer to a riddle needs to reflect the setup.

I guess you can read this as “do the characters need to behave in accordance with the moral,” in which case, no. You can have a story that centers on Bad People Doing Bad Things (consider String Theory, or Bruno The Bandit), and interpret the moral as “hey, don’t be like that guy.”

Q5: Tell us about your favorite stories with a central moral to share!

Ehh. Anything with a “central moral” is likely too anvilicious to be a “favorite story.”

Good storytelling and character development needs to be at the center of the writing. Morals are just an outgrowth, an aftereffect, of that focus.

Q3: What are some examples of stories (including your own) you see with morals imparted in them?

I think the most obvious moral of Leif & Thorn are “communication is important, even (especially!) when it’s hard work.” Maybe with a side of “be kind to people, because you never know what they’ve gone through.”

…Readers, any other nominations?

A Small Orange vs. SiteGround: customer service FIGHT!

A Small Orange vs. SiteGround: customer service FIGHT! published on 2 Comments on A Small Orange vs. SiteGround: customer service FIGHT!

Well, if you’ve been watching any of the sporadic blog/tumblr posts over the past few days, you know I’ve been working on migrating my site. A lot of the reason it took so long is because I had to keep shuttling between two different incarnations of tech support.

I’m writing it up for anyone who could use a case study of the customer service at these two companies. Or anyone who just wants to read juicy details of data migration.

The project: Moving a grand total of 3.7 GB of data, including 3 separate WordPress installations, tied to 2 different domain names plus multiple subdomains.

Original host: A Small Orange. I got an account there in the halcyon days of 2007, when it was just a scrappy startup with chart-topping reviews. Bought out in 2012 by the notorious EIG, but the original staff was kept on and the reviews stayed high…until some kind of shakeup in 2015, followed by the reviews going off a cliff.

New host: SiteGround. I followed a rec to research this small still-independent Bulgarian company, founded in 2004 but having a growth spurt recently. Their reputation is solid, they get praise for customer support, and it’s deeply encouraging to hear phrases like “strong feature set – especially if you are more technically biased” and “it’s apparent that they invest a lot in their employees.”

Continue reading A Small Orange vs. SiteGround: customer service FIGHT!

So Leif & Thorn was down for a while this afternoon.

So Leif & Thorn was down for a while this afternoon. published on 3 Comments on So Leif & Thorn was down for a while this afternoon.

With an error message that said something about “account suspended,” which was immediately suspicious, because my web host hadn’t sent me any kind of “we are suspending your account” email. (But I’m A Cat Person is on the same host, and had the same issue.)

Well, it turned out it wasn’t a hack. Turns out A Small Orange can just…accidentally put that error on your site now.

I got into a chat with tech support, where the agent was able to fix it. They explained the glitch as “the permission of the website was not set.” What permission? Not clear (although maybe that was an EFL issue). How and why did it come un-set between this morning and this afternoon? No way to tell. Will this happen again? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Last unexpected downtime was less than a month ago.

Long story short, anyone reading this who has a website and is loving the quality of the hosting, please send me a rec. I don’t need anything fancy, just 5 gigs of space where I can install a few WordPress installations and run them in peace.

Original Character ask meme – Psychology edition~

Original Character ask meme – Psychology edition~ published on 5 Comments on Original Character ask meme – Psychology edition~

Comment with a number and any Leif & Thorn character(s), and get an answer! (May be redacted when spoilery.)

1: What’s your OC’s biggest insecurity and how would they react if someone pointed it out to them?

2: If your OC wants to buy a firearm, what it might be for?

3: Does your OC behave differently around different people, if so with whom and how?

4: Would your OC want to involve themselves in humanitarian work ? If yes, then for what? If not, then why not?

5: How would your OC generally react to someone being verbally abusive towards them for no apparent reason?

6: Does your OC have a realistic image of their own intelligence?

7: Does your OC have any irrational phobias?

8: How is/was your OC’s relationship with their parents?

9: Does your OC feel a pressure to achieve or are they content and calm with doing what they can at the moment?

10: Does your OC guard their emotions by being tough? If not how would they?

11: How would your OC react to hearing they’re adopted?

12: What is one of the most primary things your OC feels that is missing from their life?

13: What kind of situations does your OC avoid the most?

14: If your OC gets into a fight with their best friend, would they wait for their friend to make up with them, or would they try to make up with their friend?

15: Does your OC consider themselves a good person?

16: Is your OC good at giving others validation of their feelings and making them feel understood?

17: Does your OC suffer from any mental health issues?

18: What kind of intrapersonal values does your OC have? (values about their self, what makes them feel like a valid person)

19: What boosts your OC’s confidence the most?

20: Does your OC hurt others often unintentionally? If yes, how?

21: Does your OC hurt others often intentionally? If yes, how?

22: How does your OC usually show affection? Are they openly romantic or more restricted with their affectionate emotions?

23: Does your OC tend to hide something about their personality/essence when meeting new people? If yes, what?

24: How would your OC react if they got humiliated by someone in a group of people?

25: How would your OC process the grief caused by the death of a loved one?

26: What is the most intense thing your OC has been battling with?

27: Does your OC practise any kind of escapism? If yes, what kind?

28: How would your OC react if a bully stole their lunch money in high school?

29: How does your OC behave on the face of a conflict?

30: What makes your OC defensive quickest?

(Original on Tumblr.)

Primary Sidebar