Friday, March 17, 2006

Kurtz is really trying his hand at storylines lately, and he's very self-conscious about it. The previous story involved the cast of PvP traveling back in time to Medieval days and meeting the cast of Kurtz's older strip, "Tales By Tavernlight." I enjoyed it immensely, but he wrapped it up quicker than it took to set everything out in front of the audience; it was over before it really even started. I thought that was simply how he wrote it, but his newsposts say otherwise:

"I don't think I've ever done a story arc that lasted a whole month before. I really had high hopes for it, and I think that ultimately I fell short.

I wanted to re-introduce everyone to the gang from "Tales by Tavernlight" because I'm going to be making new stories with these characters as a backup feature in the PvP comic book starting with issue 26 (I think). Paul Southworth is going to be handling the art chores on these shorts. So I kind of had the characters on my mind.

I started to panic when I realized this thing had been going so long and ended it a little quicker than I had hoped. I wanted to reveal that it was Sam who turned everyone in to the templars, and not Binwin. Sam was too jealous about Brent's new bardic abilities.

I also had a strip where Maximillion could not see the Delorean. Because like Max of the future, he can't see anything based in fantasy. And back in medieval times, technology is fantasy.

Meh. Anyway...I hope this thing wasn't too boring."

Boring? Considering Kurtz's one-month storyline would've taken a 1x a week comic an entire year to finish (and there are comics that accomplish the same in that amount of time), for a 7x a week schedule, it's hard to be bored by a storyline. It's a real shame Kurtz didn't finish it the way he wanted to... that decision is already starting to surface in later newsposts (emboldened is the important part):

"I've avoided making posts about this because I hate explaining strips. I hate explaining jokes and concepts. They come across better on their own merits than if you try to explain it out. But people are sending emails. I got three phone calls today. So I'm obviously doing a poor job of getting this across clearly. It's time for me to try to clarify

First things first: Skull is real. He's not imaginary or a figment of the PvP staff's collective imagination. He's a real troll that's been around for 500 some odd years. He used to know Sam and Moe and the guys back in Medieval times. And now in 2006, he knows he staff of PvP.

Other people besides the staff of PvP magazine can see Skull. I always enjoy playing with what people THINK Skull is. People have mistaken him for a gorilla and a dog in past strips. But people can see him, with varying reactions. When Skull was on jury duty, everyone in the courtroom could see him.

Max can NOT see Skull. He can not see Skull because Max is all about Max, and the idea of a big troll just doesn't fit into his world. His brain just blocks Skull out because taking that in would mean accepting a reality beyond his narcissism I guess. But Skull is there. Skull could punch Max in the face and Max would probably feel it. There are a lot of "ifs" and "buts" about the whole thing that would be fun to explore in the strip in the future.

So Max can smell Skull's fart in the coop because he came into that smell outside the context of Skull. If Skull walked up to Max and farted, he probably wouldn't smell it. He might pass out from it and never know why. Because his brain is blocking it all out. I dunno. Again, that's the fun of writing PvP. I have to deal with those situations when I write myself in that particular corner.

Sonya, Max's sister, is the OPPOSITE of Max. She is so good hearted and cares so little about her own interests, that she can't see bad things about people. She can't see the outer shell of Skull. She is oblivious to the fact that he's not a person, but instead a big fat blue troll. She only see's what's in his heart.

If I had not chickened out of the time travel storyline, I was going to show that Max of the past could not see the Delorean. Because in Medieval times, technology is fantasy. So Max back then would never be able to see an ipod or a delorean. But I never got to that.

I hope I didn't ruin things more by trying to explain things out."

I should mention that the Time Traveling storyline happened first, and the Troll Fart story happened afterwards, and the previous reproduced newsposts correspond accordingly; the e-mails and phone calls Kurtz mentioned receiving occured during the Troll Fart storyline, which leads me to wonder if he received any similar sort of feedback mid-Time-Traveling-storyline, which may have been the reason he ended it so suddenly?

Despite the several e-mails and phone calls, I'd wager that those confused are in such a small minority that Kurtz might as well forget about them entirely. Then again, that would only fly if he was doing PvP for himself... with money worked into the picture, he practically has to worry about the minority. For Kurtz to subsist on wages earned from PvP, it has to make the most moolah; to do that it has to be accessible to everyone. What if those left scratching their heads are also the ones who open their wallets for PvP merch? Well, then Kurtz is in a jam.

Kurtz's concern is understandable, but I think it's a paranoia that's costing him good stories and solid pacing. With him ending the "Back in time" storyline prematurely because of fear of reader boredom, who knows how that attitude will affect PvP in the future? What if this attitude popped up in the middle of Jade's pregnancy scare storyline? When it first began, I thought it was simply going to be about anxieties about becoming a father; instead, the storyline delved into far deeper territory, asking questions about what it's like to be a father, and how it affects your life and the relationships you take for granted. What if instead of following through, Kurtz instead opted to place a quick cap on events, worried that the subject matter was over the audience's heads, and get back to throwaway gag humor which is also undoubtedly the most accessible?


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2:08 PM  
Blogger Mr Myth said...

Perhaps anonymous has the right idea - if we could all make quick and easy cash, the concerns of a webcomic's audience would no longer be of relevance! Quite an insightful and valuable comment, he has.

Hmm. Anyway, I certainly agree with what you are saying. I find it interesting the mention of some of his previous plot heavy storylines - because he has definitely done them before, and they all turned out well.

So... not sure what there is for us to do, aside from those of us who have really appreciated these recent storylines sending him our feedback. I think the more he hears that people do like what he has been doing, the more he'll be willing to keep going with it, and with where he wants to take the strip.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Mr Myth said...

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8:58 AM  
Blogger Mr Myth said...

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