John Allison has had an impressive commitment to webcomics for years and years now. Rather than telling one long series, he rotates between different stories every few months. As a result he’s built up a series of stable stories over time, of which perhaps the most famous is ‘Bad Machinery’. Following a group of schoolchildren who solve mysteries from time to time, it’s been one of his most successful books – leading to an ongoing project from Oni Press to collect each case in trade.
This week, however, he’s taken to his blog to say that Bad Machinery will be retired for the future, as he has exhausted where he wants to go with the series. Instead, he’ll be first wrapping up some of his other series – Bobbins, and the new ‘Expecting to Fly’ – before looking to the future, where he’ll be going off to create some entirely new stories and concepts for his site. As he says:
“….Comics won’t stop in the meantime. When Expecting To Fly ends this Friday, Bobbins will return for a run of a few months (6 or 7 days a week) while I work on the 4th Bad Machinery book and a (currently secret) print project. I came up with so many ideas creating the idiotic, fictitious “Scary Go Round universe” over the last couple of months, that I see no reason for anyone to panic any time soon. The website will probably revert back to being called “Scary Go Round” as an umbrella for all the different things I’ve been doing over the last five years.”
Which is a really notable development, I’d say. Allison’s work has been a real progression for webcomics, and his work ethic has made him into a one-man industry. That he feels secure enough in the world he’s created that he can retire his main series and move onto new projects is a welcome sign, and should prove a fascinating development for the future. We’re currently seeing several webcomic makers look to move off in new directions – I’m thinking of people like Kate Beaton, or Meredith Gran – and this is going to be one of the big stories of the next few years, I’d wager.
Expecting to Fly, Allison’s current story, is fantastic, and a real step into something different and new. You can find it here – and I’d strongly recommend you give it a look-over.