October 25, 2010

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While I'm Thinking About It

It's the end of an era

Certain segments of the internet are littered with ended comic strips. Or, rather than ended, let me say abandoned. That's a better term for so many of the five-update wonders that continue to linger on Comic Genesis, and DrunkDuck, and SmackJeeves, the ones that ran for too-brief a time, with actual potential buried down deep somewhere, until real life or a lack of interest in the long haul got in the way. But this isn't about those.

Rarer still are those that are deliberately ended. The creator takes the time to make sure every possible loose end is tied off, so that there are no lingering questions left hanging in the audience's mind. The thing about these sorts of strips is, they tend to be planned from start to end well before the first panel is ever penciled. Also, they're usually of a fairly short duration, running for a period of some months, possibly a couple of years depending on update frequency.

Rarest of all is the sort of strip that goes for an emotionally satisfying conclusion, one that implies the adventures will continue, but those to come are less important than those before. Exciting enough for the characters, perhaps, but the audience has seen things much like them already, so to continue would be redundant.

My buddy Liz successfully brought The Tao of Geek to an emotionally satisfying conclusion on Saturday. Which, given how much storytelling cruft builds up over the course of eight years, is an amazing feat. If you've never read it (beyond maybe her half of the crossover we did awhile back), now's the perfect time. Go, start at the beginning, and watch a master at work.



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