Waiting for the Next Part: How the Temporal Dimensions of Digital Serialisation Have Changed Author-Reader Dynamics
A work of serial fiction is defined as ‘a continuing story over an extended period of time with enforced interruptions’ (Hughes & Lund 1991, 1). It is that “enforced interruption” which makes for a temporal and spatial pause between the author, the reader, and the text. The distribution and publication of instalments for traditional print publishing and print comics works on strict schedules but this is not necessarily the case for digital comics. This paper explores how the serialization of webcomics functions with both defined and indeterminate publication schedules and how this affects the author-reader relationship. It uses textual criticism to better explain the publication aspects of narrative production and adapts these concepts to digital comics and their serialization. The analysis focuses on Rich Burlew and Tarol Hunt, two professional webcomic cartoonists who continue to search for the best publication schedule for their authorial processes.