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You Had Me, And You Lost Me: Why I don't read Megatokyo (2004) (websnark.com)
44 points by luu 7 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 43 comments

When Rodney left it stopped being funny and slowly spiraled into generic romance and drama.

Sinfest is a sadder loss. You will never see a bigger difference between first and last comic strip. The first ever Sinfest strip is still best Sinfest.

Rodney left precisely because Fred wanted to do less goofy comedy. I've gone back and purchased the first two compilations, and they're rather thick. There's a clear transition when Fred switches from webcomic style panel layouts to a clear full page manga layout. There are little Piro joke comics under every one of the web-style comics just to fill the gap, and the storylines are really all over the place thematically. Once they parted ways, things become way more coherent, if a bit boring for folks who made the jump over from the Bench comics that MT did for Penny Arcade.

I just took a look at sinfest after not reading it in several years. I read back a few days in the archive and I liked it. The style has gotten cuter.

Could you explain what you don't like about it?

Tatsuya is taking a stand against the Patriarchy. He will defeat it with his stomach.[1] Beginning around October, 2011, though with antecedents.

The patriarchy objects, as a patiriarchy does.

The Sisterhood http://sinfest.net/view.php?date=2011-10-03

...Crim gets Lit http://sinfest.net/view.php?date=2011-10-06

...'Nique gets woke http://sinfest.net/view.php?date=2011-10-07

Patriarchy http://sinfest.net/view.php?date=2011-10-17

Rad Fem http://sinfest.net/view.php?date=2012-05-06

Peak Dudebro http://sinfest.net/view.php?date=2013-09-06 http://sinfest.net/view.php?date=2013-09-14

Woke Televisio http://sinfest.net/view.php?date=2018-10-11

Though the early days had some highlights http://sinfest.net/view.php?date=2009-03-15

1. http://sinfest.net/view.php?date=2014-10-24

> The patriarchy objects, as a patiriarchy does.

People read sinfest for the humor. You can call it offensive or destructive humor, but it was humor nonetheless.

Then the comic switched away from humor to being moral lecturing.

It's not the same audience, so naturally you'll lose most of the old readership, and have to acquire your entirely new audience.

Today's comic is a joke. Maybe you don't get it?

Yes, that must be it. eyeroll

It's not so much a joke as screaming an on-the-nose message.

Decent summary here:


Tldr, he took the soul out of the comic and the characters to push an agenda, and devoted cycles to mocking his fans instead of keeping up the wholesome stuff.

This is like the one case where that isn't an exaggeration.

I don't know Megatokyo, but I do recnogise the comment about speed and consistency of updates.

I used to read Order of the Stick, which is a brilliantly funny yet epic fantasy comic. There used to be fairly regular updates, then it dropped, came back, dropped again. At some point, he had a very successful Kickstarter, but somehow things became even more irregular after that. Eventually I sometimes had to wait more than a month to see how the story continued. And when there's no need to check for a month, eventually that turns into two months, and I think I haven't checked it out in more than a year. Years maybe? I should probably check, but chances are there's now an immense backlog and I don't know where I left off. Or there's still only a few. I don't know which is worse.

OotS was an interesting case; doing a Kickstarter seemed to partly destroy the author (Rich Burlow for anyone who wants to look him up). I don't think he's recovered his peak upload speed, but it has been so long I don't recall what it was.

He understandably got caught out by the demand, the Kickstarter totaled up ~$1,200,000 vs $50,000 target and the webcomic really took a hit. And he sliced his thumb open filling orders which didn't help at all.

It would be lovely to know what his take is on the strategic success/failure of that with benefit of hindsight. A lot of money was involved; but he did suffer physically and the webcomic would have suffered an audience drop. $1.2 mil is a lot of money but it has been 6 years and I think there still might be a few outstanding items from that Kickstarter campaign.

As a longtime reader who pitched a few bucks at the OotS kickstarter years and years ago, I do still get occasional progress reports to my inbox. The last one was from September: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/599092525/the-order-of-...

A choice quote: "While there, you may also notice that it's the tenth wallpaper I've released, so that means the wallpaper reward is officially finished. One thing I saw when posting this last one, though, is that it's been so long since the first one that the screen resolutions I've been putting these out at are a little dated in some cases—especially with regard to phones. Is Windows Phone even a thing anymore? And I know the iPhone has completely different screen sizes now, right? So if you have a device that isn't represented with any of those resolutions, go ahead and comment on this post with what screen sizes you'd like to see, and I'll try to go back and add like 5 or 6 of the most popular for all ten wallpapers by the next time I send out an update."

Also be sure to check out the image of his "workometer", which he's been using to track his reward fulfillment progress since the very start. It's nearly all complete by now, but some of the remaining items are substantial.

If I had to guess at what his folly was, I'd say it was simply overpromising with the stretch goals for various milestones. Remember that this was in the early heyday of Kickstarter, and few people had any experience with what an absolute slog fulfillment would turn out to be. I commend him for sticking it out regardless when so many other projects have just defaulted.

In retrospect, I think the biggest mistake early kickstarter campaigns made was to promise merchandize unrelated to the primary thing being promised. Such things detract from the main mission, not add to it. Stretch goals should be more of the main thing (longer support for the webcomic, extra content in the videogame, extra episode of a series, etc), not tangential things (shirts, posters, stickers, just about any physical item).

The other thing is that the Patreon model did not exist in the early Kickstarter days, and a lot of things are better suited to the periodic small payments for an indefinite period of time than an up-front campaign.

Also, it seems many people didn't realise that the work from physical stretch goals grows quadratically, rather than linearly: the more stretch goals you meet, the more products you need to create, and the more people those products need to be sent to.

Stretch goals always sound awesome, but people running a Kickstarter should be very conservative with them. The focus should be on the primary product, not the stretch goals, and stretch goals can get in the way of the primary product.

Reaper Miniatures had a spectacular Kickstarter with their Bones line, that was famous for the amazing value brought by the enormous number of stretch goals they met, but it worked for them, because their stretch goals were more of the same: more miniatures; and because clearly they did the math: every stretch goal they met was spaced further apart, and about half the stretch goals were not free stuff, but extra options to buy.

After this, everybody went nuts with the stretch goals, but many people messed up and ruined the main product with all the stretch goals.

It's a shame RSS isn't more well-known and well-supported these days. Most webcomics I've followed in the past have had RSS feeds, at which point you don't need to keep rechecking the site; it'll pop up in your feed reader when it updates.

I could not imagine ever following a webcomic without an RSS feed. I don't think I've encountered it either.

If I did I'd just think "funny webcomic. It's a shame I'll never see another one of those".

This is exactly how I feel about the myriad artists on Twitter and to some extent Tumblr if they use the one blog for art / comics and also have conversations on it.

Blogs aren't galleries or appropriate comic sites.

Indeed, OotS does provide an RSS feed.

And via RSS, it can brighten my day as a pleasant surprise, rather than visiting it once a ${SCHEDULE} and being disappointed. It's nice that way.

As for the other webcomics I follow, I'm just using a RSS reader for OoTS, so I get notified when there's a new comic and I don't have to go and check regularly.

Wow, Megatokyo. Thats a blast from the past. Next you'll bring up BBspot!

Truth! I'm kind of amazed that it's still around. I went to check it out and if anything the pace of updates seems slower than ever. Ten so far this year. What's amazing to me is that he has $2000 a month of Patreons for this pace of output. That makes it clear to me that this comic really touched something for a lot of people.

I used to read Megatokyo back then but stopped visiting regularly as updates slowed, and eventually I stopped altogether.

It's interesting that there's a different business model open to webcomics now, than there was back then, with Patreon (And similar sites).

I back a number of webcomics that way (Gunnerkrigg court, Questionable Content, Wilde Life, Girl Genius Online) but it only really suits webcomics that get regular updates, as you're generally paying by the month.

It'll never make them super-rich, I'd guess, but can provide a decent amount of monthly regular income.

I also used to read Megatokyo and then stopped, although for me was that i started losing interest in the story. But it was the first webcomic i read and for a while i was reading a lot of those (i even managed to finish one... i don't remember the name but it was about some anthropomorphic animal magicians or something - no, it wasn't erotic at all - and had insanely great quality, with fully colored pages and detail, which was very rare), although it has been many years since i followed any (i do not really like the weekly wait... :-P).

Grief, Gunnerkrigg Court is amazing.

when i was a kid i would read megatokyo because webcomics seemed like they were new and cool to me. then, i stopped reading eventually due to a combination of factors:

1. the jokes got stale, or i grew out of the humor 2. the plotline moved too slowly 3. i grew out enjoying the "will-they get together / why won't-they get together" relationship arc(s). as a younger teenager the dorky and childish romance was relevant to my life, but i grew to find it very cringe inducing eventually.

i don't really miss reading it.

Yeah, I read it too back in the early days, then it just sort of stopped going anywhere. I've halfheartedly intended to catch up on it for about 14 years now.

I'm one of the people who kicked in for the Megatokyo visual novel kickstarter. Years later, no visible progress; I'm not even mad, I knew exactly what I was signing up for, which was supporting a comic that had slowed to almost non-updating, and maybe getting a thing someday.

New comics are still weekly to monthly, if that. I've completely forgotten the origin of the current catgirl plot, but possibly Ping (or the catgirl she's based on?) will finally do something, maybe in the next couple years? Who knows.

The guy who drew "Sad girl in snow" isn't going to be one of your super productive Jack Kirbys, he muddles along as best he can, like a lot of us.

I am struck by the self-absorbedness and entitlement this person shows as they go extensively over trivial points relating to a free online webcomic. The community represented longitudinally exhibits the same odious qualities.

Websnark, back in 2004 when this post was written, was a major critical voice in the world of web comics. He read a lot of web comics, was passionate about the medium, and talked a lot about them in detail.

And Megatokyo was a major web comic back then, despite ever-slower updates. It was one of the successes of the first generation of people saying “hey what if I put my weird indy comics up on the World Wide Web”.

This all feels much more trivial thirteen years later. Megatokyo would probably be unnoticed if it started now. But this was a major, respected critical voice of that scene talking about the slow decline of one of the major fixtures of the medium.

Back atchya. It's some random person's blog rant and I bet they didn't ask for it to be here. >.>

Megatokyo is still in my fixed rotation of daily webcomics...

Fascinating how some articles manage to pop up on the front page. I wonder what prompted this to be submitted and upvoted?

I remember reading Megatokyo back then (fifteen years ago!) and stopped when it got too — excuzes le mot — cringey.

Long standing webcomics can change over time as the author(s) age and change. Some stay fairly constant (e.g., XKCD, The Perry Bible Fellowship), others change so much they alienate many of the readers (e.g., Sinfest).

And some just stay awesome (e.g., Oglaf (NSFW)).

Oglaf is still around!? I have a lot of catching up to do.

They are, and I envy you for getting to read a bunch of their comics you've never read.

I find Oglaf intriguing in how its backdrop is essentially a mediaeval fantasy world, in which the authors (Trudy Cooper and Doug Bayne) manage to consistently present a world where diversity and sexual diverseness are a given, without coming across as forced or overtly political.

From skin colour ranging the whole gamut, to physical characteristics (boobs in different sizes including A-cups, hair styles both above and below the fold), to sexual attraction (gay, straight, dead, and everything else), it's all there, and yet it never really jars or gets in your face. I find that quite an achievement and inspiring.

These days I give them money through Patreon, but back in the day the usual way to support comics was merch, and since I wear T-shirts most of the time it's no trouble to buy merch from most comics I read. I'm wearing one right now which says "Jetpacks are impractical and dangerous".

But Oglaf seemed to go out of its way to make it difficult to find anything sane to buy. I own the Sithrak shirt, and almost bought the Derp Fox recently, but "I'm telling!" is a sufficiently unsubtle joke that I'd have to actually think about where I might wear it, and likewise "Steak and Bitches". These days they have a few more options I may buy one day, but definitely when I was last looking it was harder than it has any right to be, for a comic that is often much Safer For Work than it has any right to be.

Take last weekend's "Fog of War". You could make a shirt of that (not the entire comic but you get the idea). Most D&D players would laugh at the joke even without knowing what Oglaf is. But nope, there's more chance Trudy will decide to do a joke shirt about medieval architecture or something. Not complaining, they should do whatever they want, but it's weird is all.

I've just bought their new mediaeval architecture joke T-shirt a month ago:


I like it. Subtle, droll.

What happened to Sinfest? I remember reading it, but I eventually just sort of stopped, but I don't remember why.

My experience is different from the others; maybe I don't mind the political message. But at some point it was just rehashing the same jokes over and over again. A bit like Dilbert. Still great, but nothing new anymore.

It’s still around. It effectively went on a political rampage after the Obama election in 2008

>I'm launching a new forum for people who like the message of my comic.

>The new forum will be anti-pornography, anti-prostitution.

>It will favor the radical feminist perspective over a liberal or conservative one.

Radical feminism is a dude telling people what they can and can't do with their bodies, apparently.

I swear these people want to be puritans but it's too unfashionable where they live so they wrap it up with some token progressive buzzwords.

For me it was that it reused too many jokes too often.

Tldr: Became absurdly preachy and political.

Fred really needed a guy like Caston. I thought the series became too insular right after Caston left.

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