Tee-Ball #02

Since Tears is full of questions, we figured we’d ask you guys a question too.

What makes or breaks a web comic for you guys?  Not specifically THIS one.  ANY web comic.  Humorous or serious.  You’ve already shared a wide variety of recommended web comics, but now we’re wondering what makes those special.  What would have to happen for you guys to stop reading those strips?  Have there been web comics you did stop reading?  Have there been web comics you simply could not stop reading?  Why?



Be Sociable, Share!

Ask Us Anything


Discussion (44) ¬

  1. Dan Genesis

    Poor Tears. Doesn’t quite understand this, does he?

  2. LostInDarkness

    Wait, Pain figured out what tee-ball is, but tears didn’t?

    To answer your question, while I haven’t read a lot of web comics, I have found that what makes or breaks the comic for me is the comic’s characters. Do the characters have interesting/unique personalities? Would I enjoy coming back every time a new comic is up to see what is going on with the characters?

    Additionally, while I do love comics that poke fun at certain things in society/media/ect, I’ve found that comics that have a good story also have a better chance at winning me over as well. If the comic can successfully combine story while poking fun at things, then I’m usually hooked.

    But the main thing for me is the characters. If a comic has a unique and interesting set of characters, I’ll be sure to stick around to read more.

  3. dale_mettam

    Thanks, LiD. Great points.

  4. Tbehartoo

    I love this webcomic because the stories are clever and the art is awesome. For me it’s about the unexpected view of the world that a comic can give.

    I like puns and word play, but I also love great artwork. Sometimes I’ll read a badly drawn comic because I find the story to be interesting, but well drawn comics will always keep my attention. Well drawn to me is clean, visually interesting, and dynamic. It can be as simple as XKCD’s black and white stick figures or have shading, background, and bold color like the above comic. If a comic can be clever without being crude, I’ll be a devoted reader. As soon as comics feel they have to be explicit I drop them.

    I’m also more than a little nerdy so comics that have clever explanations of scientific or mathematical ideas will get a chuckle and continued readership from me.

    Thanks for the enjoyment I get from Luci and the Imps! Keep up the great work.

  5. Rachel Stern

    (Because of the new commenter thing and waiting for clearance to post – our way of filtering the SPAMMERS…. you would not believe, or maybe you would, the amount of junk this saves us all from here – I cut out the stuff that had been posted before and just let the new stuff be added here. Hope that is OK. DM)

    Ow. Ok, now I can be civil again. Seriously, the Imps rock. And Luci is so sweet, especially when she’s plotting revenge against a bully or so. (I apologize if I am getting any storylines mixed up. It’s been awhile since I went through the archives.) Good night. That’s all, folks!

    P.S. If I may respond to LostInDarkness’s post, of course Pain figured it out. Haven’t you ever hit yourself with the bat or tripped over the pole and scraped yourself up playing tee-ball? Or is that just me? …Ok, maybe I’m a little clumsy, but I’m sure everyone has walked into a doorjamb or two. As for Tears, he doesn’t seem the athletic type. Heck knows I don’t know a baseball bat from a brown bat, except to duck if one is headed for my face.

    P.P.S. In hindsight, I think Alasdair may be hanging around me in his spare time. Either him, or someone very similar. *freezes, then looks over shoulder* I’m going to sign out before I scare myself.

  6. Rachel Stern

    Hi! First time commenting, though I lost my first try at this because it was too long.

    For me to start reading a webcomic, it has to have at least two of the following: Good art, interesting characters, a fantasy/sci-fi theme and good jokes. I am aware I used the same adjective twice. I used all the good ones in version one, and that got lost. To keep reading a comic over time, it has to have at least semi-regular updates (or at least a hiatus notice and/or filler) and an engaging plot. If a comic started out a bit rough and improves over time, that’s another plus. As far as my own interests go, science/philosophy references are fun, and anime references. I love books, so literature references help too. Non-sarcastic Twilight references are strikes one and two – rarely are books bad enough that I actively avoid finishing the series. I don’t think there’s room left, so for now…

    That’s all, folks!

  7. DktrAgonizer

    Since I somehow forgot to check out the last strip until just now, hooray! Luci and the Imps are back! This will certainly be a fun arc.

    As for the webcomic thing, well… I read like a million things now, so more and more often the thing that draws me in is art. Black and white stuff is cool and all (and I do read a few noncolored comics), but I tend to prefer things with colors. And things that are just, well, well-drawn and well written.

    I think one of the biggest deal-breakers with me would be overuse of copying and pasting with the art. I know there have been instances where LPI copies some panels, but it’s nothing too frequent so it’s not too bad. Otherwise though, I get bored with. That said, it’s a wonder I stuck with Ctrl+Alt+Del so long… I’d like to think it’s only because it was the first webcomic I ever started reading. 😛

  8. bibliomatsuri

    For me to start reading a webcomic, it has to have at least two of the following: Good art, interesting characters, a fantasy/sci-fi theme and good jokes. I am aware I used the same adjective twice. I used all the good ones in version one, and that got lost. To keep reading a comic over time, it has to have at least semi-regular updates (or at least a hiatus notice and/or filler) and an engaging plot. If a comic started out a bit rough and improves over time, that’s another plus. As far as my own interests go, science/philosophy references are fun, and anime references. I love books, so literature references help too.

    That’s all, folks!

    Edit: Sorry about the multiple post. I’m the same person as above, now with an avatar. Sorry again! I’m new, so please correct anything I’ve messed up.

  9. Marvelous TK

    Oh, Lord. ‘Making or Breaking’ a comic… s’a loaded question. I’m not sure how to answer. I’ve read ones with great art, or ones with art that occasionally made me want to cringe. Art was never the deciding factor. Ones with deep, detailed plots, ones with short but ultimately frivolous plots, and gag-a-days. Plot clearly was never the deciding factor. I’ve read comics with viewpoints that all but mirrored mine, or ones that were, like, the complete opposite of anything I believed. Even that was never the deciding point.

    So that leaves me with the question of ‘What is it that draws me into these comics? What turned me off of these ones?’ They’ve got no common thread at all, by and large, judging from that list up there. … Well, in the end, I guess the ones I like, are the ones I feel the people behind it like. If I feel like the people making the comics truly enjoy doing it, instead of, say, pandering to a crowd, trying to make a buck, or simply using it solely as a soapbox for their own beliefs*, but actually enjoy the comic itself, I’ll stick with it.

    Suppose it’s kind of a cheeseball answer, that the people behind the comic make or break it for me, but it’s how I feel. If the people behind it can, in any way, truly make me feel like they put part of themselves in the comic… I guess that’s the common thread, far as I’m concerned.

    *Note that this doesn’t mean I oppose using a comic for passing on what one is concerned about. I’m having trouble explaining it properly, but… if -all- a comic is simply one big soapbox, is where I have the issue. If the soapbox overrides character, plot, and world, yeah? Let your voice be heard, but don’t drown out everything else in it. Mm, I’m gonna stop trying to explain myself before it just becomes one big rant on the subject.

  10. keylaleigh

    Fortunately, the only thing that really breaks a webcomic for me does not exist with this one. I hate jumping into the middle of one with YEARS of archives. I have a tendency to get stressed out when I see a huge archive and will end up never reading it. I need to start from the beginning. Which is what I did with you guys.

  11. Orion Fury

    I find that I like a mix of humor and drama. As well as an over-arcing storyline. While quality of art helps, writing sits higher for me, as XKCD, and CAD as well (to which I’ll probably be mocked for saying them).

    Regular updates are important as well, if at the very least to state what your working on, rough sketches, etc. Don’t abandon your fans, regardless of what your going through, because if they like your comic, by proxy, they like you, and will show concern if you let them in.

    As to Imps, it is one of the newer comic I read, I started back in the Fall of last year (I forget how I linked through). The art is great, giving it a kiddy feel, which combines with the humor style nicely. While some one-off’s would be nice, I do like how you break up the story line into Chapters, and one-off’s can be saved for down the road anyways.

  12. Ustice

    The thing that makes me loose interest in a webcomic is when it just gets stale. When story or jokes just seem rehashed. Cyanide and Happiness did that, and Get Fuzzy has too, though there is still the occasional gem (I haven’t given up on that one entirely).

  13. VickyT

    Ah, what gets me to read a webcomic? Well, for starters, the plot. I don’t like to read things that have no substance, no meaning to it, and aren’t heading in any one direction. I have this thing where I’ll at least start out reading everything I can find, but then if I lose interest (if there’s not a good plot like I thought there would be, or the characters aren’t unique and individual) I’ll stop reading. Or if I just don’t have time to be constantly checking up on a million different comics. I mean, right now, I have at least five or six comics to read every day, and at least 50 that I’ve lost interest in and dropped. I don’t really know, things change for me, and I might eventually lose interest in most of the ones I’m reading currently. (Not this one, though. I love this one)

  14. dale_mettam

    As we expected here on Luci Phurr’s Imps Island (yes, we’re based in a dormant volcano…. like you had to ask) the comments have been great so far. Some things we expected, but not all.

    Also a welcome to the new faces popping up. We know you guys are out there and it’s always great to put a face…. or an avatar…. or that gray and white thing that looks like a chess pawn…. on a reader.

  15. DCRyan

    Here’s the requirement list:

    MUST HAVES
    good art – if I can draw better, then I see no point in subjecting myself to the pictures
    compelling story – continuity of some stripe is a must or the characters cannot grow and develop
    good writing – bad spelling and grammar are forgivable when used for comic effect and used sparingly, but consistently horrid usage sends me packing

    DEAL BREAKERS
    consistently offensive – I’ve stopped reading more comics than I care to count due to this one. I don’t offend easily, but comics can get preachy about what their creators believe and, truth be told, I’m not reading a comic to learn what the creators believe, I’m reading to be entertained. So, if a comic consistently offends me or gets preachy, I remove it from my read list and stop recommending it to others. I try not to speak ill of the comic, but will give an honest opinion if asked directly.
    persistently inconsistent updates – if the update schedule says “MWF”, I figure the creators have hashed out a plan for updating thrice a week. However, if the comic is constantly going off the rails, I’ll lose interest and find something else to read. There’s too much out there to waste time with something persistently inconsistent.

  16. Trixxer13

    The imps look awesome all geared up for “Tea” ball! Did tears steal teapot from Luci’s room?

    As for web comics, it just has to keep moving. When the story starts getting to drawn out or the plot is lost due to subplots, I start losing interest. Yes, my attention span is about as long as Pain’s. But the comis I really enjoy keep the story interesting, the subplots work well and everything flows. Some I quit reading because of long breaks in publishing or the story getting to “intricate.” I read webcomics to relax and take my mind off the world, not to get shoved face first back into it.

  17. Minax2802

    For me I always felt it was the web comic’s “synergy” that keeps me coming back.

    It’s not just one thing (big or small) but how a group of things (both big and small) and how they come together to create a whole.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synergy

  18. Silverjak

    Does the webcomic in question update regularly? Does it (serious or humorous) keep me entertained/interested?

    these are make or break for me…

  19. Karyl

    I resonate with many of the answers above–art, story, characters, coherence-all have to be there for me to enjoy and return to a comic with enthusiasm. I am generally an avid reader, so I don’t get troubled with big backlogs, I just go into a few months at a time reading archives, and break it up.

  20. momcat09

    Plot, characters, storyline… good art’s a plus, of course, but… the thing that ultimately makes me come back to a Web comic… or any other kind, for that matter… is the need to find out what happens next..!!

    If it doesn’t have a story arc, say “Two Lumps”, then I gotta find out what those two goofballs are up to NOW…

    If it does, say, “Luci Phurr’s Imps” or “Girl Genius”, then the plot line and characters are everything… subplots are fine, even intricate ones… ultimately, I’m here to take a short vacation from the “real world”, and the more I’m engaged in this other place, the better I like it..!

  21. Aletheya

    I like comics which make me laugh and relax. Any comic that puts a simle on my face is worth start reading for me. However, I will not stick by it if I get tired of the jokes or if, by some reason, I find that a character is irritating me. I don’t care much about the art, seeing as I can’t draw a thing myself, but I like it when the art style is consistent and regular. I don’t need a real plot, though I like it best when there is one. As long as the strips keep being interesting, I’ll keep coming back.

    Also, about today’s strip: I know how you put the Tea in the ball, Tears! Simply make a hole in it and pour hot tea inside, and there you have it! A Tea-Ball!

  22. Lillith

    @DCRyan
    I just have ONE issue with your “Good Art” must have.. In that a few web comics i’ve read, over the course of there runs, have started with much worse artworkthan they currently have. For example DMFA had some pretty basic art at firt, now it’s really nice, just like a few others, such as Girly (now finished btw) and to a certain degree Jack looked a look different to it’s current form. I guess i’m trying to say that i personally don’t judge just by good art. 😛
    As for what’s “hooks” me.. Jeez i dunno.. I read a few comics and they all have vastly different styles. Other than Luci’s, i read things like:
    Looking For Group (Humor in spades, with a underlying strong plot and some great art)
    Jack (Very dark sometime humorous, most times certainly NSFW, HUGE over arcing plot)
    Wayward Sons (More recent comic with stunning art, a great story and characters)
    Flipside (Funny, strong story and likeable characters with detailed black and white minamalist art)
    Honestly i could go on, but i think i’d run out of space 😛

  23. ChryssHart

    The main criteria for me in a webcomic are regular posts and a good story. I’ve read a lot of comics where the art was iffy but the story was good (and the art got better). It would be somewhat hypocritical of me to require stunning artwork as the artwork in my own comic is rather sub-par. That said, whether the artwork is stunning or horrible, a bad story (or none at all) or a particularly bad posting schedule will cause me to stop reading. I do make allowances for extenuating circumstances. For example, Jon Rosenberg of Scenes From a Multiverse was posting every weekday, but due to some complications with his wife’s pregnancy has recently just been posting when he can. I can understand that so I still read the comic.
    I hope this makes sense and is helpful to you. 😀

  24. Courtney

    Wow, many thanks for all of the insightful comments.

  25. Whirlwitch

    To make me follow – does it inspire curiosity about the next strip, and the strip after that? Most of my likes are plot-driven. Do I think about the plot in between reads and want other people to read it so we can discuss it? I’m hooked.

    I read some gag-driven ones like xkcd and Kawaii Not. If the first strip I encounter is funny or clever, I browse around. Consistent goodness? They got me.

    I stopped following Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire because a funny, interesting plot with likable characters devolved into a graphic violence-fest. I hate gore, but I’ll hang through if the plot requires it (as in Namesake). Overblown violence as main plot device? Deal-breaker.

    If the comic is offensive, or reading it makes me feel sleazy and sick – I won’t visit again. That doesn’t mean I need a PG rating – some of the stuff I like is at least R-rated, and I love kink and irreverence – but there’s a line. You could define it as: if everyone in the comic is a huge jerk, or if the creators are obviously huge jerks – no go.

  26. jjmblue7

    Been on vacation, so I’ve been absent the past few strips. I’m in Tears’ boat when it comes to sports. O:)

    What could break a webcomic for me is if updates are too infrequent or random. There was one comic I was really into, with engaging art, story, and characters, but it started updating only once or twice a month and I lost interest. Checked it out about a year, got interested again only to have it go on (likely permanent) hiatus.

    Another thing is if the art style and type of writing/story/characterization being presented don’t match. Like if cute characters were in a consistently serious story, with little, if any, humor. Or if very adult-looking characters were supposed to be cute kids (and not just childish adults, like Rayne from LICD). There are a few exceptions to this, though, as long as it fits in some way, like with the “Hey Arnold” or “South Park” kids often being more mature than the adults taking care of them, an oft-running joke.

  27. MagicalMadge

    Fail Tears. Major fail.

    Anyway, what makes a webcomic for me is the story line. I don’t care how beautiful or lousy the art is, as long as the plot is compelling or the jokes keep me coming back for more. The characters have to be interesting as well and have to stay consistent between pages.

    What breaks a webcomic for me is the author depending too heavily on the reader. When the creators are asking the audience what the next story line should be or how they want a situation to end, it makes me think the authors aren’t creative enough and the comic tends to become crappy. If the characters change personalities completely in the matter of one issue, then I also feel like the comic’s not very good.

    Luckily, you guys are doing phenomenal and I LOVE Luci and her imps!

  28. Comichero

    in my humble opinion what makes or break a comic is story either it has it or it doesnt, even if it takes a bit toget into the the story once you do your hooked.

    the second thing is characters the reader can identify or like weather its how they look of the actual character of the person in question humans are simple creatures they like those that are likeable.

    thats my take on it anyways

  29. Secret Agent 000

    …mostly, I just read whatever webcomic I find. This can take quite a chunk of my free time however…
    But, I DO tend to avoid webcomics I find TOO offensive.

    …Though I STILL have probably about at least 75 webcomics I read…

    Wow. That’s….kinda sad.

  30. Kiriel

    Sheer enjoyability while not shoving any specific message/view down your throat. (Like with this one it’s religious toned because of the devil and god and stuff but ti doesn’t seem like it’s trying to preach)
    Think of how Ferngully Avatar and Happy Feet all seemed to border or go over the message of take care of the planet/humans are the enemy (even if I agree with being an environmentalist how pushy a couple on that list are turned me off of them)
    The subject matter doesn’t have to be amazin, if it’s technically well written and enjoyable to me I’ll like it. 9Hell, I even love the new My Little Pony TV show)

  31. Pyro

    I say what makes or breaks a comic is, well firstly the characters, all these stories are largely character driven. Secondly, the comic needs to be updated regularly, no skipping updates for a month, etc etc, gotta keep the audience engaged.

  32. garym43

    A webcomic, for me, needs to progress and evolve…in other words, have a storyline that actually moves along. Examples of the ones I like Schlock Mercenary, Girl Genius, and even silly ones like Zombie Roomie and Woody-After-Hours…and of course Luci Phurr’s Imps.

    The one-shot funny webcomics are okay, but they don’t allow you to “care” about the characters. Others have storylines that just don’t go anywhere. For example, some strips that I’ve given up on lately are the Blind Ferret strips. LICD and LFG have become so repetitive and boring that they are no longer enjoyable. To me, they’re more about what the writer and artist think are funny than producing a story that draws you in.

    You folks, that I found by accident on the Girl Genius page (that little sketch of Pain made me wonder what a click there would bring), drew me in from the first click. I stayed up way too late that night reading from the beginning. I’ve enjoyed this ever since. The art is great, and the story is actually a story. I did a little dance when you went daily. Now, if only you could post twice a day, I’d really be happy. That’s a testament to your abilities. Thanks, and keep up the excellent work!

    Thanks for all the great work.

  33. Ada

    For serials (ongoing story lines and characters)
    1) Lack of preaching
    2) Solid character development
    3) Solid story line
    and for one-strippers
    1) Premise
    2) Humor
    You gots to be original to make me laugh.

  34. Topazert

    Give ’em heck pain, give ’em heck….

  35. dangerdoll

    Tears FTW! LOL 😀

    I have the attention span of a gnat so anything that stays fresh!
    Also, feeling like a valued reader doesn’t hurt either :)

  36. Mi

    Anecdotal evidence follows:

    1) I used to read ctl+alt+del . It was fun. It decided to become a little more serious, and then a lot more serious, and then the characters weren’t the characters I fell in love with. So after a little less than a year, I stopped reading. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t only read comedy or light and funny stuff. I do more serious webcomics also; but if an initial character-set drew me in, changing them or the storyline completely will not keep me as a reader.

    2) Updates are that are too weird and sporadic. I don’t mind updates once a week, or even as far apart as bi weekly. But when I felt one of my then-favourite online comics was confusing me with their updates, it went on my ‘back burner’ list: I still read it, just not frequently.

    3) Overly long arcs that either aren’t cannon, or have no relationship to the story within a reasonable number of updates. Even a glimmer of a relationship keeps me happy. Just let me know we’re still on the same page, and I’m happy.

    4)Me knowing that you know where you’re going will keep me hooked. Unless point 1 is affected and you start losing the initial draw of the characters…

  37. Dan Genesis

    So…. I make a comment, then I get drowned by a ton of wordy posts about what they like in a webcomic…..?

    Useful information for me!

  38. Alix

    Really, it’s gotta have a great story that interests me.

    I can tolerate bad art, a long time between updates, terrible grammar…as long as the story is good enough to keep me coming back. Of course…if you can add in good art, good editing, and frequent updates, then you’ll have me on the website every day.

  39. Mutterscrawl

    Hrm, the story is what holds me, and frankly, this is one of the iffy points for this webcomic in my opinion, it’s quirky and the art is good but I don’t check it terribly often because the story feels… jumpy.

    Why didn’t we see Luci jump out of the closet to welcome OUR imps back? We jump straight to… Tee ball… isn’t she going to ask where the other guys went? etc…

    I’m sure things like this have been addressed, maybe the more important stuff ends up in for sale books, but I dunno 😛

  40. dale_mettam

    WOW! A lot happened while I was away. Lemme just quickly address the question by Mutterscrawl above. We made a decision to have the return of the Imps and the warm fuzzy moment happen “off camera.” Since we’d done a pretty intense storyline, we kinda thought it would be overkill to have that happen and instead changed scenes, with the note in the comments that this was gonna happen.

    ANY extra material we include in books is NEVER the kinda stuff that the whole story makes no sense without. Yes, that extra stuff DOES add extra layers of (hopefully) goodness, but you don’t need that stuff to get the big picture.

    An example – In Luci Phur’s Imps: The Book, we included pretty much all the extra material we had previously put on the LPI Facebook Page. Several readers said they didn’t like Facebook and wouldn’t join. As a result, they got access to the bonus material they wouldn’t have had before. But some stuff is completely new and NEVER seen before (like the short story of how it all happened…. you don’t NEED that story, but it adds extra fun if you do read it).

    Hope that answers why we did that and clarifies what we do with extra stuff.

  41. dale_mettam

    @Dan G – No… no he doesn’t. (Feel loved now?)

    @garym43 – Thanks, dude. We try.

  42. Dan Genesis

    Is quite alright, Mr. Mettam. I’m just surprised that happened.

  43. dale_mettam

    Mr. Mettam is my Dad, Dan. 😀

  44. Ragedoll

    I love Tears :)