When I read comic books as a kid and young adult, I would rotate through which comics were my favorite. I wasn’t so flighty as to change from month to month, but I would periodically realize that I was enjoying Silver Surfer a lot more than Fantastic Four, or Judge Dredd more than Conan, or whatever. The changes in quality, tone, and style were frequently pretty obvious as the books would change creators to ones with different sensibilities. Sometimes they were hired specifically with the instructions to do something different. And I would respond to those creative shifts positively or negatively, and a new title would find its way up to being my favorite.
I see that in webcomics too. There are comics that I would consistently hit as my favorites first thing in the morning to ensure I didn’t miss an installment, and they’d later become ones that I eventually realized I hadn’t bothered to check for a couple of months, and I wasn’t even sure if their RSS feed was working any more. Which, stepping back, strikes me as particularly interesting since the creative team never changed. In fact, some of these folks have been working on the same comic for a decade or longer, so I certainly can’t blame a new creative team that I just don’t care for.
Now some webcomics jump to the top of my list just because they’re new. At least to me. They’re doing something I perceive as fresh and different, and there’s a level of interest just based on that. And conversely, sometimes a favorite webcomic goes on hiatus (intentional or not) and there simply aren’t any more updates. It’s hard to remain a favorite if there’s nothing else new to hold my interest.
But those don’t explain everything. Sometimes, I just change what I think about the comic.
There are two things to think about here. First, and probably most obvious, is that perhaps the creator is coming to their work with a different level of effort. Maybe they’re distracted by another project or life stressor, and not able to focus on the strip as much as they’d like. Maybe they happened to be sick that week. Maybe they just got married, or their spouse got a raise. Any number of things you might not be aware of as a reader could impact the creative process.
Perhaps less obvious is that you, the reader, might be coming to the work with a different level of effort. Maybe you’re dealing with a lot at work or with family, and can’t focus your attention on the comics well enough to appreciate the subtle nuances or complex storytelling that’s being implemented. Maybe your life is going swimmingly, and you’re really able to dig deeply into a strip’s context. Or perhaps your own life has changed in such a way that you respond differently to the comics’ frequent themes.
While it’s not unheard of for webcomics to see creators change, it’s not very common. Which means that if you find a favorite of yours isn’t quite as favorite as it used to be, it might be worth examining why it’s no longer a favorite. If you find the reason is on your end, I might suggest trying to check out other new comics to look for others that you respond to like your new favorite. Not only will this make it a little easier to find new works that you enjoy, but it will also improve your overall reading experience, as you’ll be spending more time with more stories that you have more response to.