This is not going to be an easy post for me to write. I have been aware for a while that this moment has been coming, but I’m still rather in denial about it. I know that West of Bathurst may not be the Internet’s most popular comic, but it’s kind of my baby, and I very much enjoy creating it. Oh, look, I’m crying already.
This is more or less an announcement that the comic, in its current incarnation, probably has about a year left to go. I’m including all those “more or less”es and “current incarnation”s and “probably”s because I’m not entirely certain how long the GRIPPING CONCLUSION is going to take to write. The rough plan is for everything to come to a close around and about the fall of 2013, near the point at which the new term begins. I like it when stories go around in circles, you see.
I’ve always thought of seven years as being the natural length of WoB. It’s basically a fairy tale, after all (not a Disney fairy tale but a girl-goes-out-into-the-world-to-confront-monsters fairy tale, albeit in a somewhat unexpected form and with the monsters not quite where you think they are). Every once in a while, I’ve rebelled against this natural length. Why not have a ten-year comic? What’s wrong with continuing indefinitely? But one characteristic of WoB that sometimes attracts readers, sometimes repels them, and sometimes maddens them with helpless rage is that it is a story. Despite its newspaper-comic-y form, it isn’t really a gag-a-day comic except in the sense that there is, in fact, a gag a day. It’s just that all the gags are sort of joined together into this monstrously huge storyline that goes on and on and on like Lost or Battlestar Galactica, and it’s still not entirely clear whether the Cylons do have a plan. And since monstrously huge storylines are still storylines, the impetus is always towards some kind of an ending. This does sometimes cause problems, as it did with, oh, let’s say Lost and Battlestar Galactica.
At any rate, WoB is going to have to end. I don’t really want it to, but it wants to. Like the characters of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, WoB is figuratively screaming, “Get on with it!” I do kind of see its point. I’ll therefore attempt to get on with it as best I can, on the understanding that the story will most definitely be ending.
After that…who knows? I can’t give up comics, so there will be some other project. My friend House has made a suggestion I like at least as a transitional project to get me through what is, for me, probably going to be quite an extensive grieving period. House has pointed out that there are many WoB-related gaps that can be filled in in a series of shorter graphic stories. Characters such as Weird Beard, Kenneth the Porter, Sara, Steve, Basil, Morgan, and Ursula are crying out for their own stories. Periods of time have been skipped. And who knows what Evil Marie gets up to on her own when Marie isn’t around? Maybe even poor neglected Fred will finally get his due. (If you do not know who Fred is, that’s because he hasn’t really had anything to do since the first couple of weeks of the comic. He was originally meant to be a major character, but Rahim, who wasn’t, shunted him aside.)
I’ll have to figure all that out over the course of the next year and a bit. Until then, it’s worth saying that I really appreciate you guys sticking with me all this time. I know I’ve lost a lot of readers (while gaining some new ones), but that’s how webcomics go.
Tomorrow is West of Bathurst‘s sixth birthday, so stop by for an extra comic panel, a giveaway, and possibly some unnecessary snivelling on my part. Try not to be distracted by the shiny object.