Marten and Pintsize, 2003 vs. 2010.
Some webcomics just get off on the wrong foot. Maybe they took a hard left turn
in the middle of the archives, maybe they just had horrible art
, scripting or were just plain boring. Sometimes, it just pays off to give new readers a new place to start off.
The two most popular options are to declare a midpoint in the run as "the beginning" (which works well if it's the start of An Arc
, especially if earlier comics were mostly one-shots), or to go back and redraw the earliest strips — either all of them, or just a few in order to demonstrate to new readers that It Gets Better
- Divided Sky's first few chapters are in the process of being re-written and re-drawn. In fact, the artist had the first few pages up before redesigning the site.
- Now she's completely redoing the story, with Art Evolution to boot.
- Sluggy Freelance has a prominently labeled New Reader's Page that can start new readers off at least a year into the archives (it used to be later!).
- It's Walky! was redrawing its first storyline, to help people around three years of the comic from which it spun off. This effort was eventually abandoned, for the sake of prioritizing new material.
- Similarly, Shortpacked! started out as a gag-a-day comic and was very quickly rebooted with a permanent cast and storyline, displacing the old version.
- Melonpool started all over, once, but the artist eventually decided to devote himself to new projects and put the old archives back online.
- El Goonish Shive is going to make the Bringing Silly Back arc the New First Comics, to help people past the unnatural amount of exposition in the first year or so.
- Dresden Codak has a dozen or so shorter, less coloured comics in its gallery. They used to be hidden at the back of its archive, viewable by replacing "013" in the first comic's URL with a smaller number.
- PvP had an entirely different look once upon a time. The comic went into hiatus for a few weeks and came back looking like it does today.
- Actually, its done this at least twice, generally for an Art Shift
- The Midlands (now called Heliothaumic) had its author make up a completely new prologue for it and relegate the old prologue into more or less oblivion (It was still available on The Midlands' keenspot site but links to that are hard to find). Also, the author cut out a good chunk of Chapter One.
- Rich Burlew regretted starting Order of the Stick with an obscure edition change joke (it started as a side piece of his hardcore gamer site), so he started the first compilation book with a new intro that also properly introduced the setting and the main characters.
- Used as a plot point in The Japanese Beetle after the shift in publishers. The first few strips of the 2003 series are essentially better-drawn updates to the series' 1998 beginnings. Later on, it's discovered that it was All Just a Dream.
- Schlock Mercenary encourages new readers to skip the first three years or so of archives, starting at where Book 3 begins.
- Altermeta started over with what appears to be an alternate universe altogether. The old comics are still available in a separate archive.
- The earliest Nothing Nice To Say comics have been redrawn but this is due to the originals being in a file format that prevents them from being usable for the upcoming book. The original first strips are still online so anyone can see the Art Evolution if they want.
- Averted with Looking for Group. New readers are encouraged to start from the first page.
- Also averted in Something Positive, where the first page's gag sets the tone for the entire strip. Provides a handy resource for experienced readers when new fans complain the comic has gotten too mean.
- The author of Earthsong, upon securing a publishing deal, considered her original work to be too unprofessional for a published volume and she began what started out as only a partial reboot of the earlier chapters. Though the publishing deal ended after the first book sold poorly, the author proceeded to do a complete rewrite of the entire comic and stopped production of the storyline in favor of continuing the comic with a pure reboot. The archives of the old comic no longer exist.
- Strays is in the process of redesigning its first few pages. The original exposition didn't work out as well as the author had planned, so she's making a new one.
- Red String, after securing a publishing deal, redrew and rewrote its first few chapters. The original first chapter, which was the standalone short-comic the artist based the rest of the series one was completely rewritten into a proper introduction to the series. The original second chapter taken out entirely and some of its events retooled and placed into the new first chapter. The following chapters had progressively less changes made to them, mostly a few redrawn pages and tweaks to the art and story so they would flow better. Unusually, all of this was done without interrupting the production of the current comic.
- Angel Moxie went though a format change horizontal strip to a more traditional four-panel layout with bigger art and proper word balloons and dialog. The original format using tiny panels and even tinier fonts and speech balloons was used because the author thought he could possibly get his strip to run on cell phones. Upon discovering this venture to be economically unfeasible, he eventually changed the format and slowly redid the original strips to match as he progressed with new strip updates.
- Jayden and Crusader placed up a new first page on December 6th 2008 to act as a cover page. On the artist's deviant art account there are several redrawn pages the artist has stated he eventually intends to replace the current first pages.
- Elven Lacryment was an halfway through with issue 2 when the original artist had to focus on real life. Another artist was brought in, but she didn't get very far. Now the original artist has returned and the comic is starting fresh.
- Picatrix has a long history of restarts. Picatrix began as an MS-paint-esque comic and ran for about a year after which the artist decided to restart the comic in a manga style. Several chapters in, the artist took a hiatus to work on her art and came back with the current version of the comic. Purportedly, the comic is currently undergoing additional editing to prepare it for print.
- Drowtales also had this, in part to remove the DnD references from the setting. Also, to fix problems with the story. (For one thing, an enemy who is locked away in a cardboard prison is now dead, and some of Ariel's kick-the-dog moments were removed)
- Millennium had a complete reboot in 2008, its older version archived (and still available to read). The author essentially describes the reason as a need to tell the story a different way before it snowballed into something else entirely.
- After Exiern got a proper artist, they went back and redid the introduction, eventually catching up to the point where the new artist signed on. In the process, they also threw out a lot of nonsensical filler, including a lengthy and confusing "just a dream" sequence.
- The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! started out as a print comic in a 1990's college newsletter. When it was revived in 2006, it began by posting scans of the original strips?the earliest ones of which were very crudely drawn. But the first strip posted was a newly drawn introduction, giving all the regulars a cameo and explaining the strip's printed origins.
- Namir Deiter started in 1999. In 2003, a new first page was added to better explain things.
- Unlike Minerva started out as a fourth-wall breaking parody strip. Then it rebooted and didn't do that kind of thing any more. And Kimberly showed up.
- George the Dragon has been slowly re-doing some of the older strips.
- After the art shift and colorization in A Girl and Her Fed, the author began releasing a second archive parallel to the original with the new art style (it has eyes!).
- Girly proposed a starting point at Chapter 12, or around 500 of what would eventually be a 750+ page comic. Still enough to cause some minor Archive Panic but it made for some nice Book Ends.
- Charby the Vampirate didn't redraw the start of the book, but it did insert an origin story for the main character as a new beginning. Also, periodically pages throughout the archive are completely redrawn, either because the author wanted a plot-important scene to have more legs, or because she simply lost the original image file.
- The first dozen pages of Emergency Exit, which had been random gags, were redrawn in August 2009 with far better art as an introduction to the main characters.
- Achewood did this twice: the first batch of comics was never even officially published (and is now subscriber-only content), but one of them, "Philippe is standing on it", became the first episode of the series proper. However, the comic only really took off with "The Party" (its first storyline), and the first couple dozen strips now aren't actually linked in the drop-down storyline menu.
- I Talk To The Wind has nothing on its site that links to the first few dozen comics. They're still available, but almost impossible to find.
- Goblins has a variant: Thunt doesn't start you at a later date, but put up a comparison of his current art with his original art so you "wouldn't think you accidentally clicked on the wrong comic".
- Bob and George actually started out as filler, because the author wasn't able to get the hand-drawn comic ready on time. He attempted to launch the hand-drawn comic twice (the second time after killing the Author Avatar in the sprite comic), but poor pacing, a premise that intimidates College Roomies from Hell!!!, and other things ruined it. He now encourages you to skip to the "Just Another Day" storyline. Additionally, the first eighteen comics were remade, and the originals can be viewed in the commentary.
- Questionable Content's art has improved out of all measure, and Jeph redrew some of the early strips for the first print edition that he no longer has the original high-res art for.
- Ruby Nation is a continuation of the story in Ruby's World, but the perspective has shifted to that of Elise.
- Funny Farm did this, but only after the series had formally ended. The author decided to release the series again, one strip at a time but redrawn in his current art style and with a spoileriffic commentary on each strip.
- In a strange comic book example, the publishers of Mortadelo y Filemón had around a hundred of their early strips (including the first one◊) redrawn by unrelated artist Martínez Osete to account for the changes Ibáñez introduced after 1969- mainly, changing the heroes' roles from private detectives to secret agents and adding their new boss, Súper, who would take in many cases the role of Filemón, now Mortadelo's sidekick instead of his employer.
- Planescape Survival Guide added a new "Prologue" chapter in its second year that became the new starting pages of the comic. The original starting pages followed after, including newly added color to most of the original black and white pages.