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Neopia's Comic Craze

by Tdyans

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 Times.

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 and humor.

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 their artwork.

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.