You Heard It Here First...

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You Heard It Here First...

Postby TCampbell » Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:53 am

Okay, guys, I got some news that's hard to write.

QUILTBAG will not be renewed for the "I" season.

Chapter Two will be wrapping up in the next 2-3 weeks, and obviously, I'll make it the best ending I can.

That's not the hardest part to write. The hardest part is to say why. I don't want to imply that any of you who have enjoyed the series are wrong to do so. From my perspective, there are some things that have really worked about it.

But there are a lot of other aspects that suggest, to me, that I got into this project too quickly, that I should've done more research and backstory, and that I was motivated a little too much by what would please the Penny and Aggie audience, and a little too little by what I really felt the need to say. I don't have nothing to say about this topic, but I feel like I'd be better off exploring intersex identity as part of a work about other things than within a 72-page chapter where that's a major theme. (You risk defining characters by their sexuality when you do a project like this, something I've always tried to resist.)

Things like using my old college as the setting and fan-contributed characters as the cast now seem like crutches to me, "creative" ways to avoid doing the hard work. And without doing the hard work, I'm not feeling the emotional connection that I need to do my best. Sara and Lisa and Theo and Iseul still speak to me, but I always knew that the series would need to grow past them to fulfill its goals.

When I measure Penny and Aggie against its creative competition (Luann and Archie, primarily) it holds up pretty well. I measure QUILTBAG against Girls With Slingshots and Dumbing of Age, and those strips just completely kick its ass. (If you're looking for enlightened perspective on modern sexuality and/or great characterization and dramedy in a college setting, I'd look there.)

I know you'll be disappointed by this decision, but those of you who have followed my work for a while know that ideas and characters from one series tend to show up in another, maybe older or younger, maybe not with quite the same life experiences, but close enough.

Not immediately, though.

What's next for me? Well, there are lots of demands on my time right now (like a new city, perhaps a new job, and a new roommate situation with my goddaughter and one of my oldest friends), so I'm scaling back in the short term. I'm also doing more crossword-related work. "Webmasters" will continue at http://faans.com until its planned ending, but it's pretty much mapped out already. After that, as far as comics go, it's going to be just Guilded Age for me for a little while, except for the editing I do on Gisele Lagace's comics (Menage a 3, Eerie Cuties, Magick Chicks). Whatever's next, beyond that, will be announced on those sites.

I thank you as ever for following me so loyally over the years, and I'll continue to do my best to earn that.
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Re: You Heard It Here First...

Postby sun tzu » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:05 am

Aw.
All right, understood.
*goes back to re-read Webmasters*
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Re: You Heard It Here First...

Postby Alice Macher » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:16 am

:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

I'm sad now.

I'd hoped to be able to follow the doings of Sara, Lisa and others in the P&A-verse for at least another couple of years.

And I'd hoped to continue making this forum my Internet home for at least the next couple of years. I mean, I'm sure you'll leave it up for the time being, but without fresh T and Jason material to spark discussion, there's not going to be much point in coming back on anything like a regular basis.

*Sigh* I'll probably have more things to say later, but right now I'm just going to go over here and be sad.


P.S. Thank you for Lisa. She is joy.
"Life doesn't wait forever." --Lisa Winklemeyer
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Re: You Heard It Here First...

Postby oddtail » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:20 am

This IS a little disappointing, but while I don't like the decision, I like the reasons you made the decision, T.

I guess I'll have to give Guilded Age another go (it didn't pull me in like most of your other comics did) and/or read Webmasters. And, of course, wait for something new and interesting to show up.
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Re: You Heard It Here First...

Postby Artemisia » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:28 am

I certainly understand. It also doesn't help that the story came to an end, in a way, with P&A's conclusion.

I'm just sad because I don't know what's going to happen with the great community here :(
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Re: You Heard It Here First...

Postby oddtail » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:45 am

Artemisia wrote:I'm just sad because I don't know what's going to happen with the great community here :(


I guess I'm not too worried - T will start a new project sooner or later (I presume), and many of the people who read P&A/QUILTBAG will gravitate towards there. Plus, a new beginning might lead to a few new faces in addition to old ones, so in the best case scenario, there will form a new community with the good qualities of this one, plus a few ones of its own =).

But I also suppose it's less emotional to me, as I was relatively little-involved in the forum, especially compared with P&A days.
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Re: You Heard It Here First...

Postby Bardlp » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:46 am

That's a bummer. I certainly understand your reasoning here. There've been moments where I or others have jumped in and been all, "Hey, wait, time out", and if you feel there've been too many of those, especially on sensitive topics, then you're probably right.

That said, don't be too hard on yourself. There've been a lot of times where I've got on the Girls With Slingshots comments and called for a time out. Primarily on Clarice's characterization, because she makes it really really really obvious that Danielle did only a nonzero amount of research on BDSM culture and instead thought "You know what'd be a cool character? Dom librarian. I'll draw a chick with a whip and a book and it'll be gold!" (For an example of a *good* characterization of a dom librarian, look at Garden Hose. Almost exactly the same character dressings, yet she's portrayed much more competently.)

Sorry to see QUITLBAG go, but I support your decision.
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Re: You Heard It Here First...

Postby Artemisia » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:12 am

oddtail wrote:
Artemisia wrote:I'm just sad because I don't know what's going to happen with the great community here :(


I guess I'm not too worried - T will start a new project sooner or later (I presume), and many of the people who read P&A/QUILTBAG will gravitate towards there. Plus, a new beginning might lead to a few new faces in addition to old ones, so in the best case scenario, there will form a new community with the good qualities of this one, plus a few ones of its own =).

But I also suppose it's less emotional to me, as I was relatively little-involved in the forum, especially compared with P&A days.


Well, I certainly hope so. I like a lot of you guys here a lot and don't want to see you all disappear :(

That said, I think I understand the biggest problem with QUILTBAG...there's too many characters. GWS focuses on roughly four main characters- Hazel, Jamie, Clarice and Thea. EC focuses on, really, three- Layla, Brooke and Chloe. MC focuses on Tiff, Mel and Cerise. I feel like QUILTBAG has had too many 'main's and so it tends to get a bit muddled. We've got Sara, Lisa, Temp, Hank, Iseul, and I've lost track now. When it's like that, it can often become too easy for a character to be defined by their sexuality rather than their personality. It kind of feels like T jumped into the story expecting it to be fully formed the way P&A became at the end, but all things have to evolve with time, and this has kind of felt like it never got enough time to evolve the way the story wants o.
There was a girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead, and when she was good, she was very, very good, and when she was bad she was homicidal.
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Re: You Heard It Here First...

Postby Lia S » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:39 am

Well, there goes my favourite webcomic, written by the guy who in all aspects of it writes better stories than I do. I understand, though.

Although I’ve always been much more interested in P&A/QUILTBAG (and CCS before that) than in your other projects, I am curious about future ones.

Bardlp wrote:Sorry to see QUITLBAG go, but I support your decision.


:lol: I’m glad this sad news at least led to a typo that made me giggle.
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Re: You Heard It Here First...

Postby Mr. Brightside » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:07 pm

I'm not surprised... or even disappointed, really. I love T's writing and characterizations, but for all the good moments, taken as a whole... this whole thing's been a little awkward from the start, as I may have said once or twice. I am disappointed that all that's been building will be wrapped up so quickly, from where it stands now, but I guess that... er. Someone else finish this sentence.
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Re: You Heard It Here First...

Postby Tamar » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:11 pm

TCampbell wrote:I measure QUILTBAG against Girls With Slingshots and Dumbing of Age, and those strips just completely kick its ass. (If you're looking for enlightened perspective on modern sexuality and/or great characterization and dramedy in a college setting, I'd look there.)


I agree fully with regard to DoA being an excellent college dramedy. In terms of GwS as a superior exploration of sexual diversity... I think Corsetto's results thus far are mixed. (The good: the two same-sex relationships, especially Jamie's and Erin's "no labels" one. The bad: Darren, the comic's only gay male character, while certainly likeable, could use some fleshing out beyond the "cross-dresser who sleeps around" stereotype). Nevertheless, I don't read GwS primarily for the LGBTQQ themes, so those two criticisms aren't a deal-breaker for me in terms of enjoying the comic. It may help matters that Corsetto doesn't market her comic as a "QUILTBAG/LGBT/queer/&c" strip per se. It's simply a comic--usually funny, often deliberately silly (McPedro and such), sometimes dramatic--about a group of friends and acquaintances who hang out with, date, sleep with, and/or infuriate each other.

And maybe that's where the P&A spin-off--much as I'll miss it for the Sara-and-Lisa odd couple dynamic and Jason's new, dynamic art style--could've used some more thought. I said, not long ago, that the "beginning almost every strip with the chapter's keynote letter" motif has been at times obtrusive and artificial. Now, in light of your comments here, T, I'm thinking that the same is probably true of, if not the very title QUILTBAG, then certainly its planned structure where each chapter would centre on one "type" of sexual or gender orientation. Perhaps if you'd simply conceived the new comic's scenario as something "Sara and Lisa go to college and, together with new people they meet on campus, develop in ways neither could have imagined."

To illustrate with an example of one of my favourite QUILTBAG sequences thus far: Lisa, the parent comic's resident jester or "manic pixie dream girl," now finds herself in situations where being a quirky-sexy "make 'em smile" type doesn't work, and indeed can make things worse. It would've been wonderful to see that discovery of hers followed up on over time, and perhaps taking root more deeply in her and ultimately transforming her into someone who's still upbeat and fun but is also fine with dialing it back and relating to people in other ways. Maybe, someday, you could still do a series, perhaps set at a different stage in her life, where Lisa gradually develops into someone who, while always recognizably Lisa, is nonetheless no longer "high school" Lisa. The same way that, as Aggie observed in the last P&A strip, "The high school Penny and Aggie are gone, but they created you and me." Or, you could do a series focusing just on Sara (and perhaps her parents) at a post-college stage of life.

Anyway...something to think about, maybe, T. I'd hate for Lisa and Sara, two of my favourite fictional characters ever, to have the door shut on them forever, just because your attempt to fit them into a somewhat artificial thematic structure didn't work as well as you'd thought.
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Re: You Heard It Here First...

Postby TCampbell » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:58 pm

At this point, Tamar, I think you're probably on to something there. I felt the structure gave me some leeway in the first couple of chapters, in that "questioning" and "undefined" leave a lot of wiggle room for a wide variety of types. "Intersex," though, is a very narrowly defined minority (and a very small one, and not a very united one: while lesbian sororities do exist, it would stretch credulity for a social circle to suddenly seem full of intersexes). There are also other meanings of "questioning" and "undefined" which suggest themes even for characters who don't technically fit the label. My basic idea for Chapter Three would've been even more scattershot than Chapter Two... which ties to what Artemesia was saying about too many "main characters." (Fans and eventually Penny and Aggie had a lot of characters, but there was less ambiguity about who was most important and closer-knit communities.)
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Re: You Heard It Here First...

Postby Artemisia » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:16 pm

I do understand what you're saying, T, about the issue of intersexuality. We can't even agree on what qualifies as intersexed sometimes. There are so many issues and so many complexities to each single corner of the 'Community' that trying to do them all is incredibly difficult.

If I may make a suggestion...if you want to continue this kind of project in the future, maybe hone in on a couple of the issues and touch on the others. It's what I'm doing with my own writing.

I hope you don't mind, I did up a story including your statement for LezGetReal. I figure, I announced the start of the strip, I might as well announce its end too.
There was a girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead, and when she was good, she was very, very good, and when she was bad she was homicidal.
I am a lizard woman from the dawn of time, and this is my wife.
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Re: You Heard It Here First...

Postby thebitterfig » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:51 pm

Well, my first thought is tempered greed. I'm not done reading about Sara and Lisa and Hank, and I'm willing to wait. If Milly-Filly Adventures returns in a year without the ambitious Dwayne-like letter theme, exploring an interesting set of characters established in QB, I'd be pleased as punch.

I guess what I'm saying is that even if you have to close the door for now, I hope you're not putting up bricks and mortar blocking the way.

This is all gut-reaction, and not well considered though.

One thing's certain: The forum rocks. I'll miss losing this particular group of commenters. Sure, I'll see some of you on other comics, but not in this combination with these concepts in the air.
The notes of this paradoxalist do not end here, however. He could not refrain from going on with them, but it seems to us that we may stop here. - Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground (trans. C. Garnett)
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Re: You Heard It Here First...

Postby Zanosuke Kurosaki » Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:27 pm

I had always felt something a bit "off" compared to Penny & Aggie, but I had honestly thought it was just my perception and that I was just nuts. I will be sorry to see it go, as I was hoping to see just where it all went, and to see if any other P&A favorites made any small cameos. Thanks for Duane and Michelle, who I kind of wish we could have seen more of, and thanks for finding the description I gave you interesting enough to use. (I have to admit, at first I didn't actually recgonize it as me, my conscious mind had to just about yell at me, "Go back a couple panels and look again, dummy! That's you, twit-for-brains!") I hope you can find a way to tell the stories you meant to tell that got away from you here, and I look forward to your next project.
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