Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hotspot #23: So What Happens To Your Comic After You Die?

First and foremost, I apologize for the morbid subject matter. I am absolutely sure it's unlikely this is a topic you want to spend your weekend pondering over.

All that said, we all know we're going to die someday, but most of us don't like thinking too much about it unless an occasion gives us reason to. I'm sure some psychologist out the already has some fancy name for it but I honestly don't feel like going into web search mode right now.

I should mention that this idea first came to me while waiting at a funeral wake, but I never got around to writing about it until now. Contrary to common depiction in popular media, funerals aren't filled with grieving kids and weeping widows. In fact, there is a kind of grim cheerfulness in the atmosphere, and people you haven't seen for 20 years suddenly pop up. Like they say: Weddings and funerals bring people together.

Well that was what was said the other day when I was talking to a colleague about how death comes without warning. Like that old schoolmate who died in a car accident not too long after you guys graduated or your old maths teacher who passed away for cancer two years ago. And then there's always the grim possibility of the Grim Reaper deciding to pay you a visit personally.

But I digress. The hard question today is as the title says: What happens to your comic after you die?

Realistically speaking, I now live in Asia and driving on the road alone is so freaking dangerous that I wouldn't be surprised if it does me in. In addition, I am partial to doing dangerous stuff like you know, scuba diving and playing with fire. That's not what disturbs me. What disturbs me is that should the worst happen, what with my frequent hiatuses, no one would probably realize I'm missing, save the people who know me in real life.

I have to say this does fill me with some alarm as even though I go on hiatus I do have full intentions of finishing what I started, and leaving my stuff unfinished and on eternal hiatus due to creator existence failure is not really what I want to have happen. At the very least I should try and find some way to let my readers know that there probably won't be any more updates or something. The least I could do, you know?

Which brings me to the next question, I am guessing the majority of you guys keep your access passwords only to yourself, and probably do not write them down. So should something (touch wood) happen, would anyone else be able to update your site?

The answer is probably no.

So what kind of contingency plan can a creator come up with then?

It does make me wish that I had access to the typical villain's post-hero defeat's ability to have their evil lair magically collapse around them. Except I probably wouldn't have my website collapse upon itself, but rather, send out a message to someone I trust with a list of my website logins and passwords with a request they post a quick message to update.

Actually, I suppose I can include that instruction in my will too, but any lawyer who sees that will probably think I'm nuts.

But at least that would be something for them to do during my wake. I'm the type who would prefer to have a cheerful funeral. I'd hate to think that in addition to making people sad at me being dead, I'd be boring them too...


  1. I've had this situation forced on me. In september last year I lost my mum and a good friend, a week later a step grandmother.

    It's disturbing their online presence has yet to recognise this, but none of these people left any details to tidy things up with. Facebook you can submit a deceased form to clear things up but my friend's portfolio site is still up and I can't bring myself to visit it. I can only guess the hosting will time out. When I can bring myself to visit the site again, I'm tempted to contact the hosting company and look into making an edit.

    Personally, my brother has all my hosting so he'll clear everything up on my behalf - but all those social media sites? Not much you can do but give out passwords and hope for the best.

  2. Really sorry to hear about your losses, LAG... hope this didn't stir up too many bad memories.

    I didn't know about the Facebook form, so that's something. But I can't imagine how it would be like trying to clear for someone who didn't leave details.

    I did think of setting a future dated post for the blog with a "If you read this, I'm probably dead" message. It probably would work (for the blog at least) as long as I remember to keep updating the date so no one freaks out.

  3. Firstly - I'm very glad that you are still alive Ping... I would hope you have many fruitful years ahead of you yet! :D

    That said, I know what you mean - this kind of plays on my mind from time to time. I do have a mostly up to date list that is in an envelope addressed to my folks which hopefully they'll find if I kick the bucket before them. But what if I buy the farm because a 747 plunges into my home and obliterates me and everything else? I have seriously considered a bank safety deposit box for "The List"! It would be a drag having to access it every time details changed though (and it's hard enough keeping the current list up to date as it is!)

    I have actually had readers write to me, worried that I missed an update (so sweet!) - so if I shuffled off the mortal coil I guess it would get figured out eventually, regardless.

  4. Yay! Ping is back from the dead! I hope I can read more of your reviews soon. Speaking of reviews, have you seen this? Now that I hope the place would just die off quietly.

  5. @xmung: Thanks for that! I hope so too ^_^

    You're pretty prepared, all things considered! I don't think I have it planned that far in advance. I wonder if there is some sort of password keeper app out there that makes this list updating process easier?

    @Mos: Oooh people who cannot get their facts straight? I'm there. BRB. I did not get my rep as a critic for nothing...

  6. This might be twisting the topic a bit, but there's another angle to this, namely posterity. I sometimes go through my list of webcomics and find a few that are dead. Not on hiatus, but with the site down altogether. Unless authors want to go the route of Go For It, they should at least post a download of the comic files, like Squidi did when he broke down.