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Creator Breakdown / Webcomics

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  • Real Life Comics suffered from a form of Creator Breakdown twice, both times when Greg Dean broke up with his then-current girlfriends. Rather than affect the quality of the series, though, he simply took a brief hiatus from the comic (as he didn't feel like working on it at the time) and returned a week or so later and picked up where he left off, with the ex-girlfriend's character vanishing without a trace and never mentioned again. Of course, Greg has since gotten married, so these mini-breakdowns may be a thing of the past.
    • One strip does playfully lampshade it, however; Greg and Tony are visiting multiple dimensions and they stumble across the Offstage Waiting Room where Crystal (the first ex-girlfriend) is playing cards with Danny (a friend who gradually faded out of the strip). Crystal looks up and says, "What, did the Artist get bored with you, too?"
  • In 2002, took two-and-a-half months out from an ongoing plotline to inflict the author's computer woes on one of the main characters.
    • A similar story is behind the Bob the Angry Flower strip My Computer Is A Monster, in which Bob's computer unplugs itself, grows to the size of a small house and rampages through the streets eating people.
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  • While the official explanation for why RPG World was canceled is due to Artist Disillusionment, the fact that the main arc just suddenly ended without any noticeable decline in quality during the ostensible final storyline, along with a couple post-script side stories that basically curb-stomped the characters, seems less like actual burnout and more like some event really turned the author against his work. The creator would eventually join the animation industry and have his own television series, where members of the writing team would urge him to let them give it some sort of ending through a crossover with the show, which he did.
  • Parodied (and very possibly played straight) with Homestuck, dealing with Andrew Hussie's massive ego.
  • As discussed in an episode of Down the Rabbit Hole, Real Life hasn't been kind to Sonichu creator Christian Weston Chandler. As a result of a combination of internet trolls and Chris's own incompetence, he has been reluctant to write the comic series for years now, and when he does it's more or less just a mouthpiece for whatever views the 'weens' (unfunny trolls searching for attention, according to Chris's fandom) have jammed down his throat.
    • He does this in issue 10, eradicating everything that has bothered Chris up to that point. After that, he unofficially abandoned the comic, claiming that the trolls "drained his creativity". A lot of Chris' breakdown was due to the fact that his Internet Trolls wanted (from their point of view) to show him the reality of him wanting to officially produce his comic. Major cases of Schedule Slip, Chris fighting with a fan who didn't like that he used a female version of a character he created, having a rival webcomic being more popular than his, all culminating when it interfered with his real life and angrily deriding his fans as those who'd just want more of his comics than him having a life. Which isn't much, but that's a different story altogether. A few years later, armchair psychiatrists surmised that the leading factor was actually Chris being forced to kill off the character of Simonla Rosechu. The comic, however, has since been updated, with a retcon of the Issue 10 ending and the conclusion of the Christmas Special.
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  • Parodied in a brief Bob and George storyline, in which the author character becomes extremely depressed, causing the strip to literally start to fall apart, with panels sliding off each other, becoming disoriented, and appearances by characters who are supposed to be elsewhere. Naturally, the problem is solved with explosives.
  • Real Life seems to have been playing Break the Cutie with Maritza Campos, author of College Roomies from Hell!!!, slowly but surely, since 1999. It shows.
  • Doobl was a short-lived comic that started as a Christian evangelical comic and became eventually more and more dark when the author's mother died, finishing in killing off every character and then the author himself. It was later made official that it was a Stealth Parody, but man, it'd be easy to get fooled.
  • Anne Onymous, pseudonymous creator of The Wotch took a hiatus when her marriage abruptly ended but came back and soldiered on for nearly a year before petering out again without much explanation, citing unspecified "avoidance issues."
  • Brawl in the Family creator Matthew Taranto suffered a short case of Creator Breakdown when his Wii was gutted out and lost all of its data. He drew a bonus strip where all of the major cast members as well as the Earth itself were destroyed by the Sun, as a comedic reference to a previous bonus comic.
    • Another example was the time he spent in the hospital dealing with his Crohn's Disease, though the effect of that was less "weird stuff happens in the comic as a result" and more "the comic doesn't get updated as a result".
    • A third example was when his pet puppy got loose and was hit by a car. He halted the scheduled update and instead posted a picture of her and asked for his readers to share stories of their own pet losses. It concluded with a musical comic depicting the life of Mario and Yoshi together.
  • The webcomic Avalon unfortunately suffered from this more and more as the author went through progressively worse states of depression not long after being launched. The planned four-year series lasted much longer due to month-long hiatuses. After a year of not-updating, the author gave up and the ending was written out instead of drawn.
  • Living with Insanity was originally supposed to be a solo comic done by David Herbert, updating every weekday (and sometimes on weekends) successfully. However, despite there only being thirty strips, David was repeatedly told by friends and pro editors that while they enjoyed his writing, his art was horrible. To make matters worse, his girlfriend dumped him around this time. His already frail ego shattered, Herbert quit the comic's art duties and hired Paul Salvi, which ended up making the comic much more successful than any of Herbert's other comics.
  • Sean Howard has claimed the reason A Modest Destiny has been on hiatus for years is that he is no longer deep enough into Creator Breakdown to follow coherently from where he left off.
  • The author of Game Destroyers reached a point in the story where he grew to hate what he was writing, which led to two of the four hiatuses and a lot of Schedule Slip. This was eventually solved by getting past the horrible storyline and moving on to things which made more sense and allowed for more freedom.
  • Ever since Randall Munroe's fiance was diagnosed with breast cancer, xkcd has featured several strips dealing with cancer, ranging from Black Comedy to not comedy.
  • Teased but averted in-universe in Darths & Droids (a retelling of the Star Wars movies as a tabletop RPG). Jim and Annie (playing Padme and Anakin respectively - things just turned out that way) started Episode III with their relationship having gone sour, and with Annie really enjoying the roleplaying aspect it looked like a breakup would prompt her to make Anakin have a Face–Heel Turn and kill Jim's character in revenge. What actually ultimately happened was that they reconciled; Padme still died but this was Jim actually roleplaying for once, using the death scene to give Annie more angsty material to work with. And then it's revealed during the Empire Strikes Back game that Padme was hard to kill, and she eventually became Darth Vader played by Annie.
  • John Kossler, author of The Word Weary, has no problem admitting that his entire comic is a way to cope with his depression humorously.
  • Lis Boriss of Broken Plot Device fame had her mother diagnosed with breast cancer. Lis's depression caused an unexpected indefinite hiatus, but luckily, surgery was successful, and webcomic came back very quickly.
    • Now her relationship of eight years has collapsed (though it appears to be ending amicably), and the strip is on hiatus again. The biggest problem seems to be how to deal with Sid, who is strongly based on her now ex-boyfriend.
  • This was one of the most popular theories about Tess Stone and her jarringly abrupt abandonment of her series Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name.
  • Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content has had issues with depression and anxiety in the past, which have on occasion caused him to take a day or two off from drawing the normal strip. However, in 2012, he stabbed his hand in a drunken stupor and took two weeks off from his comic after a tumblr user sent him an angry and belligerent post over one of his latest comics. What did he do? He didn't draw Hollywood Homely nerd Marigold "fat enough" in a swimsuit.
  • Nicholas Gurewitch of The Perry Bible Fellowship suffered a breakdown in 2008 when he put the comic on indefinite hiatus out of fear that becoming too dedicated to it would forever pigeonhole his career as only a webcomics artist. For some time, the final strip appearing on the site was "Catch Phrase", a rather dark and poignant comic (even by PBF standards) in which a TV personality commits suicide after becoming sick of the over-saturated popularity of his catchphrase, "Gee Golly Jeepers!" PBF would not return until over two years later, upon which Gurewitch began updating the comic again, albeit much less frequently than before. The "Catch Phrase" strip has since been removed from the official website but can be seen here.
  • Michael Poe, the writer/artist for Errant Story, has been having a long run of bad luck for the last couple of years, culminating in his hospitalization in February 2013. Between his health problems and his wife's, it's hard not to wonder if there's some kind of ancient curse involved.
  • Hyperbole and a Half has suffered majorly from this, putting the comic on semi-permanent hiatus while the writer battles depression.
  • The author of pictures for sad children suffered from one. After removing all comics from her website right around the time she started a Kickstarter to publish them in book form, she eventually exceeded her goal, but then suddenly she made a rambling Kickstarter post stating that she won't be giving out any more of the rewards backers earned, and calling out her backers for expecting something in return for their investment (which she'd promised from the beginning) and basically saying that she shouldn't have to do anything in return for payment. Along with the post was a video of her burning a Pictures For Sad Children book for every email she received about said rewards, and threatening to burn even more for every e-mail she got afterwards. To this day it's difficult to find a collection of the comic online (mostly on torent or other file hosts), and she is apparently actively filing DMCA takedown requests.
  • A purely physical variation affected the creator of Paradigm Shift; he pushed himself a bit too hard and ended up with a pinched nerve. A long hiatus ensued while he underwent physiotherapy, and updates have been sporadic ever since.
  • Ellipsis Stephens (at the time still going by her old name), creator of Goblins, had a nervous breakdown in early 2014. Instead of affecting the contents of the comic proper (other than it being on hiatus for a few months), she managed to draw this. She explained everything in this blog post (warning, Wall of Text).
  • In-Universe example: In Bad Machinery (a Bobbins interlude), Shelley writes books for children and may be letting her recent, brief affair with Tim affect her work.
    Barry: It's called "Tibkins Makes an Awful Mistake". The change in tone is striking.
    Shelley: Basic Tibkins story. Under-fives gonna love it. Print it. Send it to the printer.
    Barry: "I love you," said Tibkins to the vacuum cleaner. "But we can never see each other EVER AGAIN."
    Shelley: Make sure the last page is just printed completely black.
  • Ed Gedeon of Everyday Heroes took a brief hiatus after the sudden death of his wife. While the strip has resumed, updates have been very sporadic. Also, Gedeon no longer posts his almost daily Filk Song in the comments section of Skin Horse.
  • Vivienne Medrano of Zoophobia put the comic on hold, and during the hiatus something seemed to happen with her personal life that made her stop working on it. Adding to the fact her works gained an unexplained and nasty backlash, Viv admitted in this Tumblr post that she's simply unhappy with the comic in its current state, but hopes to reboot it sometime in the future.
  • Chris Onstad's self-admitted clinical depression led to Achewood taking several long and unannounced hiatuses. Onstad finally announced on Christmas day 2016 that he was ending Achewood (though he did say he may come back to it after a few years) out of a desire to pursue other projects.
  • The ending of Ghastly's Ghastly Comic came about due to this, with factors being the author's divorce, spending time in a mental hospital, and questioning his sexual identity.
  • Erfworld had its updates slow down to a crawl after the creator's wife (who was involved in the production of the comic) got cancer, as well as multiple artists joining/leaving the team over time and numerous other issues and personal tragedies. The comic was eventually cancelled after the creator's stepson got into legal trouble, then died a few months later.


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