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GPF, Webcomics

The (ambitious) plan

September 10th, 2007 by Jeff | 2 Core Dumps

It’s been a while since I’ve made an update here on the state of all things GPF-ish. Of course, the official state of the comic stuff should come only from the GPF News, but I tend to occasionally give those of you who visit this site (both of you) more nebulous, wishy-washy updates that may or may not come to pass. I guess the blog has taken the place of the old Rumor Mill, only not restricted to just Keenspot PREMIUM subscribers. (Man, I feel guilty for not keeping that up. But truth be told, I honestly haven’t had any “rumors” worth posting there for ages.)

Things are moving along slowly but surely. I will assume everyone has read the September 3rd News update by now. The important thing to pull out of that one is that Miscellaneous Fridays will be the Book 1 bonus story until the end of October. This wasn’t my first or best choice, and I was very reluctant to use “exclusive” content from one of the books as main page filler. Still, that content is now a good seven years old and will not remain permanently archived on the site in a freely available form (you have to have access to a physical copy of the book to access the online archive), so I will assume this is okay. I also didn’t have much else I could pull of the old archive DVDs that would buy me enough time to play catch up. I’m still sitting on the Book 2 bonus story, which at twelve pages could last me a good three months of weekly updates, and I’ll pull that out of the hat if I have to.

However, the extremely ambitious plan is to get GPF back to three real comic updates per week by November. This, of course, will mark GPF’s ninth anniversary and will be a perfect opportunity for an at least partially triumphant comeback. Fortunately, this is looking a lot more possible that it was several months ago. It’s still going to be difficult, but at least it looks more obtainable than it has for the past year.

The biggest obstacle to upping the frequency has been Ben’s sleep schedule, which has been very erratic and difficult to manage pretty much since he was born. However, we’ve had a major success in getting him on a pretty regular schedule lately (although he’s only been complying while literally kicking and screaming). This has freed up some of my evenings again; I managed to get almost an entire old-style week’s worth of comics (one color Sunday and six dailies) done last week. We’ve also finally started making some headway in cleaning up the basement, which for over a year after our move back to West Virginia has remained a catch-all of unpacked boxes of stuff we haven’t found storage for. Now most of the moving stuff is packed away or discarded, my GPF corner is an organized and semi-efficient workspace, and the remaining unpacked boxes are lined against the walls, making much of the floor space actually usable. More storage space is on the way (once I put those do-it-yourself cabinets together) and many other home improvement tasks should be relatively easy to complete.

What remains to be seen is what will happen to Tuesdays and Thursdays if GPF actually does return to a three-updates-per-week schedule. The two primary options are to (1) let the T-days lay fallow as they currently are or (2) move the Sketchbook reruns there and update them twice per week. Option #2 has the obvious benefit of increasing page views and thus ad revenue, but with the detriment that it depletes the backlog of sketches twice as quickly as they are generated (as new Sketchbook updates occur only once per week). I suppose Option #3 would be to make one day Sketchbook reruns and the other Miscellaneous Thursdays or somesuch, but I’d rather not go that route; I’m running out of miscellaneous stuff as it is. I think the most likely scenario is Option #1, with the possibility of Option #2 leading to the ultimate goal of GPF returning to at least five updates per week (M-F). (Six or seven updates shouldn’t be likely for the foreseeable future.)

As for story line stuff, that’s pretty much up in the air. I have a number of loose ideas of where I want to take the comic once To Thine Own Self… finally comes to an end. I think I have only one or two really major story arcs left unresolved that I want to complete before I can comfortably see the strip end. I might take a diversion from the main comic and move Surreptitious Machinations II into the main archive; as awesome and ambitious as the idea was to make it an exclusive pay-only feature, I think it might be more practical to simply finish it and get it out into the open. Since it’s already scripted, it would just be a matter of finishing the art, which I’m already over a fifth of the way done with anyway. It would also provide an excellent diversion for both me and you, the readers, as we take a break from the main cast and from TTOS’s weighty length.

(Note: The above paragraph should not be misconstrued as rumblings that GPF is coming to an end any time soon. I’ve always kept the option open that if I had to I would end GPF if the needs of my family were too great to let it continue. My family has and always will remain my top priority and will always come before the comic. However, I still have plenty of ideas and I’m sure more will present themselves as time continues. At the moment, I only have two major stories I’d love to see published before I brought the strip to a comfortable conclusion, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t tons of smaller, lighter story arcs I could pursue. When I started Surreptitious Machinations, I was afraid I would have to end the strip once it concluded because I would run out of ideas. Quite to the contrary, SM seeded even more story ideas and kept feeding the comic all the way up to today.)

I suppose that’s all I have to tell you for now. I’ll try and give you a greater feel for how likely the schedule increase will be as the time draws closer.

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