What Did I Learn?

weekly webcomic reviews by Delos

(this is a repost)

This review covers Toyzville by Larry Merrill. Toyzville is a recently retired (early 2007) comic that I have enjoyed for quite a while. I normally avoid reviewing comics that are no longer updated but life is full of exceptions.

Toyzville is cute and full of funny jokes. The cast is well designed and the dialogue is great. There are a number of other things that are well done but all that is not what I’m going to focus on here. Sometimes it’s not how you ran the race but rather how you finish it.

There’s always some discussion in comic creator forums on if and when to end your comic. No one wants to give up on their projects that they’ve devoted countless hours to and yet there might be a point where you could be having more success elsewhere. But you just don’t know…

There are a few comics out there which immediately catch on. If your audience grows at a 1000% rate every month, you know that you’re successful. Most comics languish in relative obscurity and it will be years before you will know if they will ever give you enough success to be worth all the work you put in. You may not even know where it is taking you, so how can you know when to call it quits?

In the case of Toyzville, the creator realized that there was a flaw that prevented the comic from progressing. He talks about it here, but the summary is that it wasn’t feasible to continue even though it was what I would call a solidly successful comic with lots of gas in the tank. You can tell that he really wished otherwise, but it was time to end it. This must have been a dreadful decision to make, but it was probably the right one.

What did I learn?

If the comic cannot progress, it’s time to end it. This is not the same as deciding not to progress. You might not want to print books or you might just want to make a comic for your friends to enjoy. If you’re satisfied then it’s not time to stop. That’s the difference between choosing to quit and choosing to end gracefully, like Toyzville did.

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