Earlier this week, Comics Alternative released a podcast I co-host in which we reviewed Sean Wang’s Runners, which ran until 2012. Wang ran a Kickstarter the following year to publish a printed version of the story. But while he’s done some comics work since then, he’s never returned to Runners. Not for lack of interest on his part, or a lack of ideas; he just became very busy with regular paying gigs for folks like LEGO and Scholastic. And, as I’ve noted plenty of times before, you can never fault a webcomiker for focusing on work that’s actually paying their bills!
Wang heard our review and wrote back to express his thanks. He had actually been trying to figure out a way to get back to working on a new Runners story, and the review happened to coincide with his sorting through out how best to approach it. But without any new work there in several years, the question of how receptive people might be to it did hang out there.
…I had really been lamenting the hiatus RUNNERS had to be put on during that time… After my long time away from it, I am very much eager to get back to the series, but this time, I plan to embrace it in a more full-time capacity…
As the webcomic has been a bit fallow for a number of years, it was extremely heartening to hear your podcast episode this morning to remind myself that people do like the series and would like to see more.
I’m not conceited enough to think that our review is what convinced Wang to return to Runners. I don’t expect anything that was said in the podcast would alter how Wang approaches the story either. (Frankly, we didn’t have much in the way of actual criticism; we both just really enjoyed pretty much everything.) But he did say the podcast “made his day” and was very encouraging.
The moral of my story here is that providing feedback to a creator, particularly when you enjoy their work, can be a very positive experience for them, even if you’re talking about a piece that’s several years old. Creators, as a rule, like their work to speak to people and providing feedback—whether that’s as lengthy and nuanced as a full podcast, or as abbreviated as a quick Tweet—helps validate that they’re doing something good and worthwhile.
Those can lift them up on a bad day, or might even stay with them for a while, encouraging them over the following days or weeks. And in a climate that seems to be nearly overrun by a lot of hate and divisiveness, a little love can go a long way.