Hey! This isn’t a three-panel vertical layout! And neither was the last one!
Shawn and I began playing around with the format at #39, trying different layouts. I was still struggling to to do story and jokes in the three-panel format. Looking back, the material works pretty well for me, but at the time I was still standing in the shadow of DM of the Rings. Our webcomic was perfectly successful from a readership standpoint, but DMotR was a tough act to follow.
1) Art was “free”, so it was big. (So every strip could have four or five jokes instead of one or two.)
2) It brought in Tolkien fans and roleplay fans. (The Tolkien folks didn’t stick around for Chainmail Bikini.)
3) Art was “free”, so it came out three times a week. (Which keeps the story flowing.)
4) It was cutting a lot of new territory, while Chainmail Bikini had to be careful to avoid doing jokes that Knights of The Dinner Table and Dork Tower had done before.
So even though Chainmail Bikini was doing very well, it wasn’t quite measuring up to my previous comic, and so I was a little disappointed with my work. At the same time, I think Shawn was frustrated as well, although I’ll let him speak for himself on that.
In any case, at this point we began shaking up our workflow and approach to producing comics.
This is the last Chainmail Bikini strip that I did the layout and lettering for. #39 was actually Shamus’s first, and then he does all of them from #41 out. The odd thing is, this is probably my single favorite Chainmail Bikini comic we ever did, right here.
The main reason we switched to me doing the art, Shamus doing the writing and compiling was that in the original set up, it would take him about half an hour to write a comic and it would take me about 6 to 8 hours to draw and photoshop it. So we wanted to make that division of labor a bit more even. Unfortunately, I’d spend an hour or two obsessively going over the panel structure and word balloon sizing and whatnot once Shamus was doing the comics, so it didn’t really help. But we’ll get to that on Friday.