Webcomic artists are only human.
Sometimes they're sick, sometimes they get swamped by their day job, sometimes they just want to take a break
, dammit! ...and they can't update the strip for a day or two or twenty. They might just leave a blank spot on the calendar
, or if things get drastic they might change their updating schedule permanently, but the more common solution is to just drop in some kind of non-continuity filler. Generally the filler takes one of three forms:
- Guest strips by other webcomic artists. Actually quite popular amongst webcomic readers, as guest artists tend to try their best to make a funny contribution, and when you're familiar with the work of both artists it's fun to see the guest's take on the strip.
- Bonus material — work the artist did years ago, doodlings from their sketchbook, photos of their vacation, walkthroughs of how they put the strip together, that sort of thing.
- Some actual original material, but something easy — brief, quickly slapped together, not even necessarily done by the artist, and possibly outright Stylistic Suck.
None of these are objectionable, provided they're used in moderation. Once an artist puts up filler every third day or so, the audience's patience starts to wear thin.
Print comics will rerun old strips instead of creating filler. Rerunning strips is considered bad form in webcomics because the archive is easily accessed if fans want a second look. Filler may or may not be included in the archives; if not, it generally either is put on a separate "Art" page, or disappears into the electronic aether.
The only way to avoid this is to have a Strip Buffer
discusses the best kinds of original filler material here