Story is the first thing to consider when starting a Webcomic and arguably the most important. That being said here are some things to consider when choosing the right story. It should be noted that there is much more beyond this list. However, these are the most important and shouldn’t go unnoticed so we will focus on just these…for now.
Is this a story I will want to stick with for the long haul?
Webcomics are a commitment. Plan it to be long enough to capture an audience into investing their continued time. More importantly it should be something you really enjoy doing since your giving up your own time in return. It’s very easy to burn yourself out since comics are a huge undertaking. Creating a story you truly love telling is a great tool to have in fighting burnout.
How original is your story?
I know what your asking “Is anything original anymore?” There are varying degrees of originality. Ideas are used over and over, however, the method in telling and details can make all the difference. Make sure you’ve checked your story idea with what is already out there. The last thing you want is to create a story exactly like another or worse an existing Webcomic. Make sure yours is different.
Is this story compelling enough to keep viewers interested?
Really think about how interesting and compelling your story is. It can be hard to do this since you’re so close to it. A good rule of thumb is to bounce your idea off some of your trusted friends and get feedback. Reassurance is always a good thing to have since more than likely you will at times doubt your talent throughout the long process of the Webcomic.
Is this story aimed at a certain niche of people?
I hate to consider this when it can stifle what you truly want to do, however, it needs to be addressed. There are certain genres within the comic world that does extremely well (i.e. superheroes) and some that don’t (i.e. girl related comics). That being said there are many exceptions to the rule (you need to consider who the creator is and what hoops they jumped through to make it to the point they are in now. I’m willing to bet it wasn’t an easy road). Much of this is the fact that these niches were planted and grew over time. If your story idea is something that falls into the range of obscurity (i.e. girl related comics) then you need to make the decision if it’s worth it to grow your viewers yourself and be willing to handle the fact that there might not be a big enough audience for that particular story…yet. If your niche is something extremely popular (i.e. fantasy) then you may be better off…then again maybe not. Take into consideration that there are many comics under that niche already so you’re likely to be judged more harshly than say something that can’t be compared. I stress this because there’s no easy way to get around this. You will have to overcome hurdles in your Webcomic life and rightfully so!
Before diving into anything else with your planned Webcomic I suggest you write the whole script before paneling or anything else. If your plan is to do an ongoing story with no definite ending you still need to plan an ending. It’s okay not to fully script out your stories future, however, you should create an outline of your plot. It will give you an idea of the stories direction and purpose and believe me when I say there are a lot of things that can go wrong if you don’t know the ending. Let’s say you don’t have a planned ending and your now into your second volume of your Webcomic and you want to end it on the third volume. Now you’re stuck scrambling on how to make everything fit (I’d wager you end up wishing you had changed a few things you previously wrote). You want your ending to make sense with the story you’ve told otherwise your viewers will feel short changed.
Having a formed ending doesn’t mean you can’t extend the story if you’re Webcomic does extremely well or you just have a lot of fun working on it. A good example is to think of Lord of the Rings. Frodo has to get the ring to Mordor to destroy it. Think of the journey in between this. You can add more adventures before he even reaches his destination without loosing the whole purpose of his journey.