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I'm going to have Joan Osborne in my head for the rest of the day.

(From Overcompensating. Click on the thumbnail for full sized Action Comics!)

You know, if Superman were real, there'd reach a point where he would finally just get pissed off. I mean, he was raised in America, right? And we're trained by movies, television, stories (and yes, comic books) to grit our teeth and bear adversity until the day when the bad guy goes Too Far, and then you go in and start punching and punching and punching.

Of course, the rest of us can't light our breath on fire with rays from our eyes, but he's Superman. He can.

Rowland also declared an end, more or less, to WIGU-TV and the launching of Magical Adventures In Space the series. I'm a big fan of Topato and company, but I'm not as sure about this as I was about WIGU-TV. WIGU-TV gave Rowland tremendous freedom. I'm also not sure why we didn't just flip the channel to watch some MAIS for a while, and then go back to American Platypus when he tired of the MAIS plot.

Anyway, it almost doesn't matter. I'm going to be here through it all, and I always liked Princess Dongle as a character. So, I'm all good with the switch. And also, there's Superman. Dude, he's Superman.

Of course, Cheney's powered by a Kryptonite Heart, so this won't end well any way we look at it.


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Yeah, I was rather enjoying WIGU-TV. With this switch over to MAIS, I suddenly feel completely lost. (I never read the original Wigu.) And from what I've seen so far, it's just not grabbing me the way the WIGU-TV concept was.

Jeff in the forum says WIGU-TV lost him over 4,000 readers, which was admittedly a bit of a downside. He says he's considering continuing American Platypus as a pay-to-see feature. And he tells us that this time, MAIS is going to be... different.

Wow, I was just over at Overcompensating and I immediately jumped over here, wondering if you would snark this. Scary.

Anyways, I guess some Wigu fans (me, at least) were kind of relieved with the switch to MAIS. I can see why you were excited about WIGU-TV, and I can see how people not familiar with Wigu would like it, but I loved Topato and Sherrif Pony, and I'm glad to see them back. But that's just me.

Also, Overcompensating rocks. Jeffrey Rowland sure seem to be overcompensating for something with all this goodness.

I liked the WIGU-TV idea, but hated American Platypus. Hated hated hated. I didn't stop reading, but if he'd continued it for a week I'd have considered. Too boring, lame characters, etc etc. I'm looking forward to more MAIS goodness. (And I agree, Topato is a jerk.)

Alexis: So...you jumped the snark?

I don't know. MAIS feels to me like a WIGU with more license to weirdness and science fiction. In a way is like he switched from Roomies (WIGU) to It's Walky but without all the dark parts. It feels like a cop out, but at the same time if the drop on readership was that high...
Then again, WIGU-TV could represent a lot of freedom but Science Cop was over before I could even "get it", feel what was about... and the only strip I liked from American Platypus was the one Goth Dachshund saves the day (http://www.wigu.com/?date=20050127). Not much point in freedom if it don't bring the funny.

WIGU-TV was a good try, but ultimately failed. The freedom of creativity it offered simply did not make up for the incredible inconsistency of the material. Science Cop didn't last long enough to hold my attention, and American Platypus dropped readers into the midst of events that had no previous context. It was a classic case of an author either ignoring or (more likely) miscalculating the frame of reference of his readership.

Perhaps a more succinct example would be me. I went from making it a point to read Wigu every day, to completely forgetting to check it for a week. Because it didn't grab me, and I didn't care.

MAIS will give Rowland's readers some much-needed consistency and continuity, and I'm looking forward to it.

Oh, and Eric, you're totally wrong about Superman. The entire point of Superman, real or not, is that he doesn't give in to the temptation to abuse his power. Believe it or not, there are still plenty of people like that today, no matter how bad things may seem on the evening news.

Sage -- regarding Superman...

Well, you're right. Conceded.

And as for the loss of readers for WIGU-TV... it was a new strip. And even though Rowland got a ton of readers carried over from Wigu, a new strip still needs to build a new readership. I thought the In Loco Parentis style of American Platypus worked, and I was excited to see how the strip evolved. It was only 3 weeks, after all.

But, either way, I'll be reading MAIS.

American Platypus dropped readers into the midst of events that had no previous context.

The first two (expositionary) pages of American Platypus were published in "I was a Teenage Billionaire Psychopath", so I guess maybe 500 people knew what was happening. I agree it was a strange move to just drop into the story like that - I can't imagine what Jeff was thinking. But then again, I'm not a billionaire psychopath.

I dunno, I thought it was pretty clear why Science Cops ended so early, and we were dropped into the middle of American Platypus -- it was to create the effect of channel surfing. That idea was built right into the strip's concept. But since they were TV-like stories, figuring out what's going on isn't too hard.

I suspect the eventual goal was to have a rotating roster of "shows" that we would cycle through. Individually, episodes wouldn't have been complete stories, but over time, the individual fragments would have added up to something larger.

I found the idea pretty exciting, actually. Whereas the MAIS stuff--well, I'll give it a shot, but so far I'm enjoying it a lot less than WIGU-TV.

And I have to agree with Eric completely -- three weeks is not nearly enough time to judge whether an experiment succeeded or not.

I absolutely adored American Platypus. I thought it hit the ground running at full speed, and I had absolutely no problem grokking it in its fullness, even without having read I Was a Teenage Billionaire Psychopath. And I absolutely loved Hooch Girl's perpetually blissful expressions. I was so grooving on that "show," it defied belief.

Science Cop, on the other hand, I found a bit wanting. It was funny (Kevin Costner?), but I got the sense that Jeff didn't quite have enough story to go around there.

...Which was fine, in a way: I mentally treated Science Cop as a brief but necessary transition away from Wigu.

I was actually upset, at first, to see MAIS in place of American Platypus on Monday; on the other hand, by Tuesday's "...he reacts poorly to explosions," I was fine with it on its own terms.

But I still want me some of that American Platypus.

I'm with Ray; I had no trouble following American Platypus, and I enjoyed the change of pace. It's true, though, that jumping into the middle of a brand-new storyline demanded more from the readers, and any artist who demands more from the audience... will have a smaller audience.

(For instance, Gene Wolfe is an oh-my-god-if-I-could-write-like-that author, but because of the demands he puts on his readers, he'll never sell as many copies as Piers Anthony. Alas.)

That said, I'll be slightly bummed if Platypus continues as for-pay, because I can't quite self-justify paying for webcomics yet. (Not that the creators don't deserve payment, just that I have higher priorities for my income.)

Eric, good point about giving the strip more time than it got. I have to admit that when Wigu originally began, I didn't much care for it, since I was used to When I Grow Up. But it grew on me quickly, and soon became one of my absolute favorite strips. American Platypus itself may have grown on me as well, had it had more time.

However, that's the very problem with WIGU-TV. Science cop ended as soon as it started. American Platypus lasted longer but didn't really deliver. By that point, Rowland had to realize that he had introduced us to two new strips but neither had the chance to go anywhere due to the new "channel surfing" format.

That's the inconsistency I'm talking about. What happens when readers like one storyline but not another? Even if you have only four rotating "shows," each getting a week at a time in the spotlight, you only get one week per month of the story you like. The signal to noise ratio is way too low. It gets frustrating, and people end up ignoring the whole shebang altogether.

For gag-a-day strips, such a format could really shine. But Rowland doesn't do gag-a-day humor, and I'm not sure he can. His strength is continuity with humor every day.

The obvious advantage that MAIS offers Rowland is characters. I think he's more of a character-writer than a gag-writer, and without characters he knows, he seemed to be a bit lost and attempting to write gags. I'm glad he's back to characters he feels comfortable with -- the strips have got some of their shine back.

As for American Platypus, it was OK, but I didn't feel that I knew the characters there... I was willing to give it more time, however.

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