Nov. 1, 2011: Still Evolving

Gravatar Posted 15:10
Tue 01 November
by Talthos

I have thought all month on what I was going to say here. I know there are countless examples of Webcomics who try to come back after some downtime, after an event, after something gets them behind or unable to update. I know there are clichés and tropes about comics that keep promising things and never delivering, or disappear with promises of new updates that never happen. I know that this has to be treated first and foremost as a business if we want it to be anything more than a hobby. To add to that, our writing has been sub-par, the art has been forced, and we have updated with more “art pieces” and filler than we have actual content.

I could list all the excuses, from money to jobs to health reasons to time, but at the end of the day we, as a company and an entity, have failed on every front we worked on. Further, while many of you have been very supportive about the entire thing, our continued problems and hurdle after hurdle has cost us even some of our most loyal readers. That is our fault, and we accept that.
As much as I would like to say this was never about the money, we all know that would be a lie. From server hosting to supplies to programs to time, everything in this costs money. Money we just didn’t have. Everyone says to “never quit your day job to make comics” but at the time we didn’t have jobs. This was going to be our career, and in our naivety we thought we could make something of it. Sadly, that just was not the case and after a couple years of burning through our savings and a lot of stress and drama, we both went out and got jobs to pay the bills. Bills which are still overwhelming, even a year later.

The other side of that coin, of course, is the readers. You. And we would not be keeping you, as readers or fans, if we put our hand out every time we needed something. Sure, we love the donations we have received, the swag purchases, the commission requests. But we also feel asking for money defeats the purpose of making this product for you; we should be making something you WANT to support, not something you feel obligated to fund. I am not looking for the comic to fund a vacation or a new home or new vehicles for the family; just paying its own bills and giving us a little to pay our bills would have been enough. But we failed in that as well, because we did not strive to be the best we could be at this.

Overall, joke-a-day comics are not as successful or retain the readership that the story comics do. Complex Actions was a test, and it was one we failed at. We needed to improve our writing and our art, and while the art did improve my writing didn’t. I tried to read books and take notes at cons and listen to the advice from others, but the truth is I am just not very funny.

At the same time, I don’t want this to sound like a “poor me” post, either. I am working on my self-improvement and that really does not have all that much to do with the comic. What the comic is, and what it will become, is still the same as it was: a place for us to practice, work, joke, and share a relaxed community with our fans. If we make some money at it, great. If not, then we will close the doors. But for now, the site is still up and we are still supporting it, even slowly.

To that end, we are looking to make some changes we talked about earlier in the year, changes that have been a bit slower to implement than we would have liked.

1. We are bringing on another artist for some commissioned work. This work will be in a different style and storytelling method than we use in the joke strips, and will be a test of our ability to actually, you know… tell a story appropriately.
2. I would like to go back to doing game and movie reviews. I enjoyed doing it and what kept me from it in the past was our budget. With us both working I feel we can get back to that. You know, if people enjoyed that.
3. We are both going to pick up on the blog and forum posting. As we were getting burned out, it was reflected in our communication to the site. We need to fix that.
4. I am going to up my writing, and some of that will be reflected in the site as well. I am hoping this will not only improve my writing in the comics but also grow my ability in all forms of written expression.
5. We hope to transition into better swag for our readers, including partnerships with companies in the RPG publishing, dice manufacturing, and comic industries.
6. We are considering podcasting as well. Discussion on games, movies, music, nerd culture, the site, us, whatever. This may include some additional members to our staff who are experts in these fields moreso than we.
7. We are still going to keep to the one-strip-per-week schedule, but one from us, one from the other artist, and other updates should keep the site more active, and hopefully bring our wayward fans back, new fans in tow.
8. We are still attending cons, and if the site takes off (along with anything else we have in the pipe) then we will expand what cons we go to.
9. Lastly, we will be putting some of our strips to print. Our goal moving forward is to be able to put together print projects annually or semi-annually, as need and funds allow.

We could be wasting our time, again. Who knows? However, this is a project we still very much believe in, and desire to be a part of. We want to use this to springboard forward with other projects, and ultimately be able to say we did something awesome that people liked. We have stories we want to tell, and hope we can get them out there for all to enjoy. It is still going to take time, determination, hard work; and sad to say, money. We don’t have a foundation strong enough to Kickstarter, so we are still self-funded for now, plus whatever contributions we get from generous and angelic readers.

So, to sum up: We are still here, we are not leaving, the site will continue to get updated, we hope everyone comes back, we hope to improve, please bear with us. Right now, the only hurdle we see in our future (other than updating around full-time employment) is the possibility of surgery for Emily’s wrist. If that happens, we will have a plan in place to keep the site rolling.

Come back to Complex Actions. Bring your friends with you. We still have a lot in store, and we believe with all our hearts you will like what we have planned.

Thanks for all the support,

Michael “Talthos” W. and Emily “Silkspinner” K.

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