The Apple of Discord is taking a break while I come up with new and
interesting stuff. In the meantime, I STRONGLY recommend you check out my
Fantasy Parody Epic, Apple Valley and my brand new 5-day a week humorous
expose of the dark underbelly of the Webcomic world, Webcomic Hell.

The Future of Discord




So here’s the long story short; Apple Valley is over, effective immediately.

For the short story long, read on.

The Apple of Discord didn’t start out on one of the big multi-comic network sites (Comicgenesis, Smackjeeves, DrunkDuck, etc) so I’ve never really know the “embrace” of a full on comic community.  I’ve been the member of a few groups, ([i]nsignificant Comics, Misfit Comics, Webcomic Planet) but a lot of those collectives have fallen short of what all I was hoping to get out of them – and worse yet, they’ve fallen apart… usually within a short period of time of my joining.  I don’t know if it means I’m a jinx, or they have to be on their way out and in such bad shape that they’re willing to take me on as a member in order for me to get in.  Read into it what you want.

So I recently applied for membership to Spiderforest, an esteemed (in my eyes) comics collective that several of my friends, as well as several comics that I read, are members of.  This isn’t the first dance with the SF application process – I did it once before during the first year of AoD and was rejected back then… so I figured now that I’m on year 3, have grown as an artist, endured hardships and become a better (possibly worse) person in the process, I would give it another go.

It went about as well as I expected.

The thing is… I hold absolutely no ill will towards SF.  A different me, a different time, would have raged against the system, bitched and moaned, thrown volleys of accusations – but honestly, they’ve got a point.  The Apple of Discord has some serious problems I’ve yet to overcome, and until I do sort some of it’s long-standing issues out, my comic isn’t really suitable company for anybody.

Look at it this way – I’m not ‘breaking up the band’ because SF rejected me.  It’s more like I was trying to hold the already fissioning band together on the promise that we were about to get that big gig… which we didn’t get.  It’s time to let some of this stuff go so that the comic can move forward.  And, unfortunately, as much as I personally like the ongoing story and characters in Apple Valley, they’re the weakest link in my chain of comic-y goodness.

A few months ago I put out an open call for you all to tell me what was wrong with the comic.  And more-or-less everyone agreed, if not on the exact nature of the problem, then at least on the source - Apple Valley.  Some of the feedback I got was positive, some was negative, but here and abroad the general issue everyone brought up was AV.  Some of the comments:

  • The “Apple Valley” (AV through the rest of these comments) pacing drags compared to the rest of the comic
  • The AV story is too interrupted because it has to fight with the non-AV comics for time and attention.
  • The non-AV comics suffer for the random inclusion of disconnected chunks of AV story
  • The AV characters are too bitter, cynical, and pessimistic to live
  • The AV story itself is too complicated, or relies too heavily on events that took place before the comic itself started.
  • AV does not appear to be able to make up it’s mind, with characters appearing both in and out of character and a story stuck halfway between being a regular comic and some sort of metacomic.
  • AV isn’t funny.

And these are just the ones I remember… there were others.  Worse ones.  But the worst part is that these are all fairly accurate.  Even after getting the feedback that I got 6 months ago and me actively trying to make changes, things aren’t really any better.  In fact, if anything, they’re probably a lot worse.

I have to look at the facts.  In the last 6 months, despite my best efforts, I have  successfully (nearly) completed one two-part arc.  Art is probably not a zombie for much longer, Steve and Fletcher learned some valuable information about what happened 10 years ago when the world broke, and I got to introduce Mina.  That’s about 2 weeks worth of comics for some webcomics, but it took us 6 months to get there; 6 randomly scattered, confusing, disrupted months of bits and pieces of story dribbling in.

And that’s more or less… that.  Apple Valley is not sustainable.

Starting Monday, AoD goes back to it’s roots.  AoD is dropping back to it’s traditional 2-3 times a week focusing mostly on parody, social commentary, and good ol’ fashioned random humor.  No more filler art, no more character sheets.  Unless they’re strong enough to stand on their own, the AV comics are going to be pulled from the archive over the next few weeks, and no new comics will be made any time soon.  A select few of the previous main characters will be absorbed back into the comic as recurring characters for funny stuff like it was back in the beginning.  The rest will be allowed to slip quietly into that good webcomic night and get the rest they deserve for their hard work.

I know at least some of you liked Apple Valley, and I hope to salvage a) your readership, and b) the parts of AV that you liked the best.  All I ask is that you try and be strong, be understanding, and give me some time to try and sort out the mess that is AoD.  Hopefully, on the other side of this tangle, I’ll find something we can all be significantly happier with.

3 Comments

  • You know, if I recall correctly, some of the better aspects of Apple Valley started out as joke-a-day aspects and then… mutated. Like Dr. Hubris. You can probably rescue some of them just by turning them back to that earlier format. (Don’t feel obligated to rescue Hubris, though.)

  • Do rescue hubris. I love doctor Hubris. I miss the show.

  • Well, as I said, some of the characters are being kept for disconnected random humor snippits, while others are moving on to “greener fields”. Steve, Gabbie, Eric, Mina, Zeb, General Manowar, Ralph, Bimbo, Az, and others are not likely to appear again here, while Art, Leaf, Sir Vivor, and Doyle will all probably hang around (though not in prominence). Hubris, Fletcher (as The Archer), and Horn are good on stand-alone sort of adventures, so they’ll probably rise to the forefront, and I may do more with Fletcher’s cavalcade of c-list roommates.

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