I can’t do The Trenches anymore.
The simple reason is it is not the comic I began to enjoy in its first couple “seasons”.
The more expanded reason is it has validated the fears I have about “PA Megacorp”. It had become a weaponized battlestation of webcomics run by Emperor Khoo for the purposes of extracting more money from a userbase that might’ve otherwise moved on to someone else’s comic and left them to rot. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Khoo or his business methods, in fact, I believe he is a goddamn genius for finally figuring out the formula to webcomics that everyone, including Scott Kurtz, has ignored for over a decade, and he’s the last person I expect to miss the boat on this business model being very attached to the past. Khoo has effectively created the digital comic syndicate, not unlike your King, United Feature, or Universal Press. The difference between his empire and previous attempts like Keenspot, is that he built a conglomerate of artists around a single successful brand and expanded upon it. Maybe that has been done before, but few comics can match PA’s power level, in my opinion. But where he won, was that he found a dozen artists who were no-names in the thick of it, brought them up into the star light through PA’s influence, and now they contribute to his bottom line in a variety of ways. It’s really like driving to Home Depot and hiring the first group of laborers you see and paying them for a day’s work. Their work is quality, but no one knew who they were before, and few will after.
I guess I liked it early on because it was the best of their three minds. Jerry brings the language, Mike brings the fucking nuts, and Scott ties it all together. Then I guess their own stuff came first. That’s fine. But now I have no idea what is going on. The art style changed, and I don’t recall them acknowledging the change for some time, now they just have anyone illustrate it. I’m not even sure if it’s still their own ideas, because if it is, they’ve gotten impressively bad over the last season or two.
Video game testing is rough. Not my personal experience, but I did software testing for a couple of years. It’s certainly rough. I thought what they had to start was pretty good, but it’s obvious we’re scraping the bottom here. Maybe you should just use some of the reader-submitted stories to make strips. Most of them are way better than anything being published now, and you can use anyone to draw it, I won’t even be upset. Ty’s style probably suits that better.