Last week’s issue of my webcomic Negative One involved a storyline that smashed my audience over the head with a mostly unexpected sudden tragedy. You don’t get much more horrible than missing children without involving death.
I was pretty depressed about it, even though I knew it was coming. This is me after I finished drawing it.
So it’s been nearly a week since I posted the update and people are still e-mailing me with tales of woe. Most notably, I’m receiving e-mails from parents who have had close calls with their children similar to what I’ve depicted in #0159, and they’re all talking about how much they hope Amanda’s parents find her.
Gulp. . . .
Looks like we are all in for a really hard couple of months here, ’cause the comic is going to continue to be about this. What choice do I have? I have to deal with what I spawned now.
One parent posted a comment about the issue leaving them “sobbing at the keyboard.”
Another shared a similar experience of losing (but finding) their kid.
And one person’s just mailed to plead for Amanda’s safe return as well as to ask how this couple ended up with an “Elfquest Glider baby.” (I don’t get this reference. Er?)
Well, I cried over this, but I knew I would. I’m the author. I go through whatever the characters go through, sorta-kinda. (Sometimes it can seem pretty real.) It was touching and rewarding and . . . a little disturbing . . . to get so much mail about people crying over my work. I didn’t WANT to upset people, but I guess it’s also a sign that there are tons of people I don’t even know whose lives I am touching once a week by posting this.
I could tell from the hundreds of hits per week, but it’s more real to me when I get the letters.
I hope I have a chance to do this with my novels sometime in the near future.