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. It takes a while for an artist to find their style,note and once that style is found, the comics made eons ago strike of Old Shame to the artist.
Sometimes, it just pays to give new readers a new place to start off.
There are three ways to do so:
- New Starting Point: A comic not at the start of the story is treated as the new start of the story; previous material is effectively rendered inconsequential (if not Canon Discontinuity) and nothing replaces it.
- Rewritten Prologue: As "New Start", but there are additional prologue comics written to get new readers to the new starting point. These may be summaries of past events or they may render those past events Canon Discontinuity, sort of a Continuity Reboot within a Work In Progress.
- Same Starting Point: The comic starts with the same comic plotwise; early comics are revised to show the Art Evolution endemic in the comic's run. Sometimes only a few comics (including the first) are redrawn to emphasise plot points or just to show new readers that it gets better.
Compare Jumping-On Point, where a synopsis is made to get the new readers up to speed without (substantially) redacting any previous material. For works that undergo aesthetic or minor plot revision after they're finished, try the George Lucas Altered Version.
- 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.
- 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 imitates College Roomies from Hell!!!, and other things ruined it. He now encourages you to skip to the "Just Another Day" storyline, the first real storyline in the sprite comic (which was ironically born out of Writing by the Seat of Your Pants).
- 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.
- El Goonish Shive at some point advised new readers to start with the Bringing Silly Back arc, to help people past the unnatural amount of exposition in the first year or so. As of late 2021, there is no mention of this on the main page or "new reader" page: Both said page and the "first comic" button simply direct the reader to the actual, January-2002 first comic.
- 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.
- 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.
- Schlock Mercenary encourages new readers to skip the first three years or so of archives, starting at where Book 3 begins.
- Charby the Vampirate Initially just inserted an origin story for the main character as a new beginning. Also, periodically pages throughout the archive were completely redrawn, either because the author wanted a plot-important scene to have more legs, or because she simply lost the original image file. Currently the old archive is being revamped to maintain better style consistency and add more plot.
- 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.
- 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.
- Rich Burlew regretted starting The 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.
- 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.
- 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 on 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.
- 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!)
- 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.
- 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!).
- 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.
- Bob and George's first eighteen comics were remade, and the originals can be viewed in the commentary.
- Boyfriends. was originally hosted on Tapas and Webtoon Canvas, but was taken down on both of those platforms pursuant to the comic's rerelease on Webtoon Originals. When it did arrive, many scenes and lines of dialogue from the early chapters were new, and many chapters had not appeared in the original runs at all. Furthermore, all of the early chapters were originally in black and white, but were remade in full color for the Originals debut.
- 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)
- Partway through Volume III, Earthsong was restarted from the beginning because the artist was dissatisfied both with the art and writing quality. The Redux not only showed off her Art Evolution, it had revisions to characterization and changed the explanation of the Backstory from a plain Info Dump to a flashback with dialogue and characters.
- 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.
- 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 artist of Forest Hill redrew the first page of the comic to give new readers a peak at how the comic's art evolved since they admit that the comic's early art is pretty bad.
- George the Dragon has been slowly re-doing some of the older strips.
- Isla Aukate is a sketch comic for the majority of its' run, with Patreon funding an ongoing colored redo of the first chapter that follows the same broad strokes but consolidates some points and shows how Artemis came to meet Hector.
- It's Walky! is an interesting case. David Willis began redrawing its first storyline, "Year Zero," in 2005, to allow readers to skip their Old Shame Roomies! (from which it spun off). However, this effort ran into Schedule Slip and was eventually abandoned halfway through for the sake of prioritizing new material. Willis eventually finished it for the "bringbackroomies.com" rerun site... in 2014, leading to an Art Shift reflecting nine years of Art Evolution within the redrawn story.
- Jayden and Crusader placed up a new first page on December 6th, 2008 to act as a cover page. On the artist's DeviantArt account, there are several redrawn pages that he has stated he eventually intends to replace the current first pages with.
- The fanfic, Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, has the Special Edition of Episode 1 which tightens continuity, streamlines paragraphs, and fixes a lot of typos.
- 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.
- The printed NIMONA has five redrawn pages that bring it closer to the art style in the rest of the story, all for the best as those pages were made for a small, but well-received, college project which got ND Stevenson to complete the story. The originals can still be found online and on the artist's tumblr.
- 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.
- 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.
- PvP has undergone an Art Shift at least twice.
- 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.
- Slightly Damned has had a few random early pages redrawn to match the comic's later art style but kept up the old pages.
- Tiffany and Corey: The first comic was redone but still has the original on the same page for comparison and archival purposes.
- 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".
- 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.
- 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.