Lately, avid readers of the Neopian Times may have noticed
a growing trend: the rise of comics. Comics first appeared in the early
days of the Neopian Times, but then mysteriously disappeared from existence.
In Issue 52, however, we were blessed with the appearance of "Neocomics"
by Cyaneus. Since then, there has been a boom in the popularity of comics,
with NeoPets creating a special section for them in the Times and more
and more strips appearing every week. This comic craze seems to have brought
new enthusiasm among both those who submit to and those who read the Neopian
So, why have the comics become so popular in the Neopian Times? One comic artist, Jadephox2, points out the obvious: "It's a newspaper.
It needs comics in it." Said Cyaneus, who revived the popularity of comics,
"Here was a way for me to show off and have fun doing it." Indeed, the
Neopian Times has been a great creative outlet for those who want to show
off their talents to others, but up until now its focus has been mainly
on showcasing writing talents. The addition of the comics section, however,
has "inspired so many people to share their talents in cartooning and
maybe even discover them," said Cyaneus. Nearly all the comic artists
interviewed agreed that the new comics section was a great way for them
to use and show off to others their artistic talent and love for drawing
Meanwhile, the comic section has also become a popular
stop for readers of the Neopian Times, giving loyal readers a new treat
and even bringing in new readers who might not have bothered before. Another
comic creator, Ambular79, pointed out, "Comics are classics for newspapers.
They're quick and easy to read, and much less tedious than reading huge
articles." While some readers may shy away from longer stories and articles
no matter how good they may be, comics are short and sweet. "I think they
are creative and cute!" said Chickensoccer when users were asked what
they thought of the new comics. Don't be deceived by their simplicity,
though; comics can be enjoyed on many different levels, from just laughing
at their jokes, to getting caught up in their storylines, to admiring
Of course, as with anything new, there are always downsides
along with the upsides. One user, Cutevoicegirl, thought that "The Neopian
Times was better" before the addition of the comics, that there used to
be "better news and now it's starting to get totally boring," implying
that too much attention is going into the comics and is being taken away
from other parts of the Times. Certainly, many Neopians seem to have focused
their efforts and their reading on the comics section, but while this
may have its disadvantages, it can be good also. Another user, Planketon,
said, "It encourages the younger kids to read the Neopian Times, which
is good for their writing ability further on...They may even contribute!"
So, the extra attention being paid to the comics may encourage younger
users to enjoy the Times and to read and write themselves.
Also, as with any part of NeoPets in which users submit
something, not every submission can be chosen, and this inevitably leads
to disappointment for some. After submitting comics and not being accepted,
Cutevoicegirl and Firefaerietouch were so discouraged that they both said
they would never try to submit again. This side-effect of the new popularity
of comics is unfortunate, but all of the artists whose comics have been
chosen that I spoke to urged others not to give up. Cyaneus pointed out
that "Not all of my comics have gotten accepted, now that the section
is so busy," and those who don't get in on the first attempt should "try,
try again." Jiglypuf77 also encouraged others to keep trying, and for
those who continue to be disappointed added, "Have you considered a different
thing on the Neopian Times?" Though comics may be popular right now, there
are many other options if you want to submit to the Neopian Times, and
your true talent may lie elsewhere.
In addition to their encouragement, the successful comic
artists also offered tips to hopeful artists. Radiopup advised, "Try not
to make the comics too long and make it original." Ambular79 agreed that
it is important that your comic be original, "but also clever." When looking
for ideas on what to make your comic about, "Start out by figuring out
your pets' personalities and go from there," said Cyaneus. Most important
is that you enjoy what you are doing and do it for yourself more than
for anyone else. Cyaneus added, "Like every aspect of this game, don't
stress if you don't do well the first time -- have fun. If not for NeoPets,
draw and do comics for yourself." The enjoyment of drawing and reading
the comics that have become a welcome addition to the Neopian Times is
what has led to their popularity, and that is how it should remain.
Note: Thank you to all of the helpful artists and NeoPets
users who gave me the material for this article.