November 8, 2010
Simon Says: The Future of Neverwas.
I didn't want to leave you guys one such a depressing note as I did with the last Simon Says:Retrospect. Instead I'm going to leave you with some info on what would have happened if Simon Says had continued, and also my commentary on web comics and why I think print comics are not only dead, but not a good thing from an artistic stand point.
First, I want to say I won't be spilling all the beans and the beans I do spill won't be anything really, really good like full scripts or anything. This is mainly cause I still have hope of Simon Says returning at some point. Probably won't be anything like the five comics you've seen in the past few days. I'd like to have an artist come in with a style dramatically different from what was done before. The strip its self would more likely be a total reboot. Characters would look different, maybe even act different (not that we got a chance to really see how they acted.) and I had planned to rewrite, and shuffle the order of the comics to bring in a different feeling as a whole early on. It would be more like Simon Says version 2.0, rather then a continuation of what has come before. The five comics that Dwayne drew would most likely be retired completely and I'd write a whole new intro to the strip. They'd become like KTMA. We know they are there, but they won't factor in it going forward.
So what would have happened? Well first let's talk about the cast. What you saw were my three first day creations. Simon Lamont, Liz Silvas, and Thaddeus “T-Bear” Smith. But as of right now there are seven Simon Says characters. That means there are four people you don't even know. So I might as well tell you all about them.
First we have Reno Lamont. Reno is Simon's older brother, by ten years to be exact. Reno comes to live with Simon and Liz at a point in their lives when they are very content and happy and of course spoils this. Reno however is just a harbinger of greater things to come, but I'll get to that in a minute.
I have a few friends that were not raised in the 80s as I was, but instead the 70s. Reno was going to represent these people in the strip in a way. He loves things like the Love Boat, or Greatest American Hero and disapproves of things like The A-Team or Knight Rider. Transformers suck and Micronaughts are the end all beat all. That's pretty much how he is.
Reno is also a constant thorn in Liz's side just by being Reno. He is also kinda pervert and is always trying to get the ladies (What ladies? There is only Liz isn't there?) of the strip into the sack, but as of yet none of them have caved in. Reno would have in a way taken T-Bear's place, although T-Bear would have never left, but instead was pushed back to smaller role.
Next is probably the most important character behind Simon and Liz themselves. Misery Daniels is Simon's ex-girlfriend from high school, who left Simon and the town behind after graduation. Now she has come back into his life. What's more is she may still have feelings for Simon. Of course her reappearance doesn't sit well with Liz at all. So you can see how that adds drama in there. Misery is also a failed musician, and is looking to take that up again.
Misery was created one night when I had fallen into a depression, as I do from time to time, and thus she will end up being one of the darker characters. This hasn't really come to the surface yet, but I've been slowly laying the ground work for it. She has problems and things don't really work out for her. In a way Simon is really the me I want to be, but Misery is more the me that I am. I don't want to know what Freud would think of me having a character based on myself, dating a character also based on me. Misery could be the main character of this strip if she wanted to, but it's hard to funny when you are as sad as she is.
I actually had visions of selling Team: Liz and Team: Misery T-Shirts at one point.
Then we have Zoe Dee. Zoe would be Misery's roommate. I went the cliche way and had her be kinda a slut. Sluts are fun to write, what can I say. I had considered going against type and making her a him. The problem I ran into then was that she'd be trying to get into Misery's pants a lot and that was something Reno was already going to do. Plus I needed more women in the strip. Thing is with Zoe is she really isn't a slut, it's a myth that she just never denied and like the attention it brings. Right now Zoe is nothing more then Misery's roommate, but I think she'll take on a greater and more important role as I go forward with her.
Willy Stewart is are final guy. I'll be honest, if the comic was to reboot Willy and T-Bear might become one and the same. Really neither of them has as big a role as the others do. Right now Willy is a guy that lives in the basement of Misery and Zoe's house. He believes in conspiracy theories and even makes up his own from time to time. Simon has kinda taken him under his wing, much to Liz's chagrin. His role is just to come in from time to time when I need him to make a really strange or crazy joke work.
Now that we know all the players I'd like to look at the story lines that would have come up. A lot of the first strips I wrote where one-off jokes. You come in, tell the joke, and get out. They have no connection to the other stripes before or after them. These are fine. They have their place. Hell the "Far Side" is nothing BUT one-off jokes. Thing is, as I wrote more and more the strips seem to flow into each other more and more so that we are starting to get actual story arcs. Because the first half of what I wrote is so heavy in One-Offs, and the latter is so heavy in arcs, I think I'd mix them all up now and move up introductions, so that we get important characters in there and moving as part of the stories going forward.
One major story arc was the "When Simon Met Liz" arc. I actually am considering getting rid of this. As I said when I first mentioned this in Simon Says Retrospect 001, I didn't create this story for the right reasons. I may one day want to tell how they met, but it'll be on my terms.
The next major story arc would have be "Simon Lamont in the 25th Century." This was a really silly strip that saw Simon frozen and waking up 20 years later. Of course he gets back, but it was just fun and silly and I pride myself on the fact that I didn't make a dream or something. Simon really went to the future and then came back to the past.
We get a small arc which introduces Reno, but then the big one was "Misery Loves Company" which saw Misery Daniels arrival on the scene. Misery is the character I want to move up the most. She is so important she should take T-Bear's place on that logo up there. We get a few more arcs that deal with Misery again after this, which add even more stress to the whole thing and play into Misery's downfall down to Morrissey level mellon collie.
That's the point I am at now. But I said I'd tell you what I thought of web comics and why I thought print comics were dead. So let's get to that and wrap this already too long post up.
There are a lot of reason I think print comics will be gone in ten years. One, newspapers themselves seem to be a dying breed. First the TV hurt them, and now the internet is going in for the kill. When the newspaper goes, so do the strips that are contained within. It's like trying to put movies on Laserdisc when DVD has already come out.
Print comics also limit what the writer and artist can do (which most of the time are the same person, but sometimes not) you have to follow the rules they lay down, keep your comic in the space they give you. They decide when your toon appears on T-shirt, or a coffee mug. Then if you don't write something a paper likes they drop you and you get yelled at. It's outdated system and not only that it's a stupid system.
That's why new talent that should be coming to replace the Gary Larsons and Jim Davies of the world are going to web with their creations instead. No one to tell you how to tell your story. You decided if your toon goes on a calendar or not, and if you do you get most of the profits. Your comic can be as big or small as you want to be. You only have to please the people that come to read and see what you put up. You don't have to deal with a publisher that doesn't "Get it" and thus shuts it down. If I wanted to send Simon & Company on a romp through a movie serial inspired sci-fi adventure for a month and half, I could do it. No one is going to tell me I can't.
Print is dead...at least as far as comics go. I think anyone that still wants to get into that market can't see the forest for all the trees. Would I like to see Simon Says right under Garfield? Yeah, but I'm not willing to sell my soul to do it. Not when I could probably make just as much money selling ad space and merchandise on my own web space and not have to change what I write to do so.
So that's the end. For now...I guess we'll see what the future holds. You may never see Simon Says again. That would be a shame, but it's sadly also possible if I cannot find someone that wants the same things I want out of life, understands what I am trying to do, and has the talent to be the Yin to my Yang...well as far as Web Comics go. But trust me, I'm trying. I just need a little luck, but like Misery...things don't tend to work out for me.