No Need for Filler

Click for full-sized Taoist proverb match! No Need for Bushido is a comic that succeeds in many ways.

Each strip is extensive, with clean, colored art that is pleasing to the eye. The characters are a combination of cliche and unexpected, with excellent interplay between them and plenty of humorous quirks. There are tons of fleshed out and entertaining side characters. There is an overarching storyline, as well as plenty of minor plots. All the good things a comic needs to succeed.

But what impresses me, what really stands out to me when I visit the site, isn’t the comic itself – it is the amount of content available.

The update schedule for NNFB is not as extensive as many other comics. It updates the main comic once, twice a week.

However, I have rarely felt the lack of comics. Perhaps it is due to the Alternate Script pages – former strips with the text replaced with surreally absurd dialogue. The first ones were a bit weak, but some of the more recent ones have been absolute winners.

The vote incentives provided for the top webcomics list aren’t just casual sketches, as with many other comics. Instead, they are generally elaborate drawings. Good deal.

Glancing around the front page, what else is there? Tutorials on the comic’s cell shading, exclusive content available for purchase, links to past bonus art projects (flash animations, past April’s Fools jokes). They don’t even have a cast page proper – instead, they link straight to the webcomic’s wiki. And the latest feature is the inclusion of a blog written by one of the villains of the series.

I like having that much material at hand when I visit the site. I like having filler at hand that I can actually enjoy, rather than filler that is simply an effort to provide content, rather than provide humor or any sort of, you know, actual enjoyment. I like having a site that throws material at the reader, rather than make them hunt down for the merest scrap of information. When I can’t even find an archive page, I generally know I’ve got a struggle in store for me. When, on the other hand, the archive is the least of the material offered, it makes for a good experience.

Part of being professional about a comic isn’t just about the comic itself. There are obviously plenty of those elements involved – good art, writing, consistency, and so forth. But it also helps to have a good site. That helps make the reader feel like a part of something – and establishing that reader community can be a very good thing.

So here’s a shout-out to No Need for Bushido, for providing a good comic when it updates – and a whole hell of a lot of other good stuff the rest of the time.

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