2015: Metrocop’s Year in Review

Happy New Year, everyone! Now that we’re officially into 2016, I’d like to take a moment to look back at Metrocop’s year, see what went well, what went not-so-well, and what the Metrocop Team is thinking of doing for this upcoming year. Expect my usual verbosity and lots of writing, which you can skip if you just want to see the good stuff coming in 2016. Anyway, let’s get started!

So, what happened this year?

Quite a few things! Here’s a walkthrough of all that went on in Metrocop. If you followed the site closely and/or would rather skip this part, go ahead and click here for the next section. Otherwise, keep reading!

The year began slowly but positively, with two Worse than Life comics from AJ Rimmer (his last so far, sadly) and a bunch of community comics throughout January. Then in February, perhaps the biggest thing for Metrocop all year (or maybe ever) hit: the new forums launched, opening a place for the community to hang out and share their own creations. While the forums have since slowed down considerably, we still reached over 3,600 posts in under a year, and filled a whooping 7 pages of forum threads with comics both new and old! All that content was what kept Metrocop alive and well throughout the year.

Soon after the forums began, we got another landmark of the year: famed comic maker Jim_Riley finally made his long-awaited comeback with redux editions of his classic series Beyond Borders, which led into some other things later in the year… but I’m getting ahead of myself. I also launched a series I’d promised in late 2014 called Mythic Comics around the same time, but we’ll also get to that later.

From then on, things only got more exciting as Beyond Borders got a brand-new issue and one of Garry’s Mod comic piooners, John-Matrix, made a return of his own, though so far he has yet to do more. Metrocop got an article in late April detailing an oral story of GMod comic making, while classic comics kept being re-released by community MVPs Arctic Avenger and jim_cjr. Also worth mentioning is PypeBomb with his Soft Power series, which has been by far the most actively-released GMod comic of the past few years, and kept content coming throughout the year.

Finally, May hit with a bunch of major updates to the site. Starting with a celebration of 10 years of GMod comics’ magnum opus Concerned, quickly followed by a massive number of releases including some re-released masterpieces like The Third Reborn, the month premiered the re-release of 142 classic comics with the Widescreen Update, and the dawn of a Metrocop Comics Team with Jim_Riley joining the roster.

Unfortunately, that was the turning point for the year, as things slowed down considerably from then on, although not by lack of effort from the community. There was a big update to the site’s visuals on its third anniversary, but content-wise there were glaring gaps, including a complete absence of Hercule Cubbage all year. We were, however, lucky enough to have Pyren return to the community in September, and October marked a community contest that gave us four excellent new comics, including the long-awaited official debut of Mark “Orpheus” Charest, the most promising comic maker of recent years.

Overall, I think it’s fair to say that Metrocop had a great year for a good while, thanks solely to the excitement of the community that had been absent for a long time, but midway through the year things calmed down and the year ended on a bit of a whimper.

Let’s look at some graphs now

Much like I said last year, I don’t really look at the stats anymore, but I like to be open about them and share them with people once the year ends so we can see what went on. With that in mind, I have to admit, when I first looked at these stats, I was mindblown. Just take a look for yourselves, courtesy of WordPress:

Metrocop's views between 2011-2015. (Source: WordPress.com)
Metrocop’s views between 2012-2015. (Source: WordPress.com)

After two pretty good years in 2013 and 2014, 2015 marked a shocking turn as views more than doubled, as well as reaching a new high in visitors! I am genuinely excited by these results, although I can’t take credit for it, considering the great majority of content was provided by the community alone.

Notably, while 2013 had those views thanks to referrals from Kotaku, by 2015 we were hardly getting visitors from that old post, although we can still thank them for 127 views (not too shabby considering they come from a 2-year-old blog post!). Nearly 500 visitors came from Twitter, thanks in large part to Chris Livingston, creator of Concerned. Then a whooping 3,000 came from Google searches, albeit sadly I don’t know the keywords that brought them here – but I’m glad they did!

Curiously though, albeit there’s still a lot of people looking for Hercule Cubbage and a good number of readers of all its chapters, as well as a lot of readers of classics such as Apostasy (by far), Jeff, Worse than Life and Beyond Borders, I got the distinct feeling that a lot of other series got the short end of the stick viewership-wise. There’s an awful lot of series hosted on Metrocop now and I’d like them all to get the same spotlight, so I’ll be thinking of ways of correcting that this year.

So, in stats alone, 2015 was definitely Metrocop’s biggest win in its short lifespan. Somehow, not only did it stand alone with little help from spotlight elsewhere, but it also saw a massive turnabout compared to previous years. While it’s still the small little site it’s always been, it’s great to know people came here and explored, and despite my general lack of interest in the numbers, I hope it can keep up that momentum for 2016.

Okay, so what was the good, the bad and the ugly of 2015?

Well, as I mentioned before, Metrocop had two really good things this year: a huge increase in viewership, and a fantastic output from a forming community the first half of the year, which was really the fulfilling of the site’s promise to be the center of all things Source comics. The latter was a rebirth of the spirit we’d all been missing so much since 2009 and it was an absolute joy to witness and be a part of. It was a bit disheartening to see all that excitement and activity slow down as the year went on, but I cannot call that a low point since we kept a number of regulars keeping the fun alive. Overall, the forums were a success and the site saw new life thanks to them.

As for the bad though, it’s easy to pinpoint: it was all me, Mythos. Genuinely, the worst part of Metrocop was yours truly, and while I think I did okay on some things (launching the Forums, the Widescreen Update), I’m also the reason it didn’t go further and lost all its steam – no pun intended – as the year went on.

Namely, I provided extremely little actual comic content all year, and it can all be summed up in two words: Mythic Comics. Which, to be completely fair, in hindsight I consider an utter disaster. They were supposed to be released fairly regularly but the only two installments suffered delays and were released months apart, ultimately there were only two installments when I had plans for a long-sprawling storyline, and last but definitely not least, I don’t think they were very good.

Besides that, there wasn’t a lot of initiative from me even in just managing the site and having new original things. I do have the excuse that I was working a grueling full-time job since March that left me with little time, but it’s still a major failure from me. Overall, I sucked, and my stubbornness on being the sole Admin of the place (despite starting to form a Team) didn’t help. For that, I apologize to readers.

Fine, stop whining. If you sucked that bad, what are you gonna do for 2016?

I’m glad you asked that, hypothetical questioning reader. Let’s look at what 2016 will hopefully bring.

I have two major concerns about Metrocop: engagement from people and new content. As it so happens, having the former would help with the latter, so let’s start with the former. I’ve spent some time thinking about it, and I have a not-wholly-original, no-guarantees possibility lined up: social media! I think a dedicated Twitter account and a Facebook Page would be good ideas, although both would need a lot of extra maintenance time to have any success at all (including, perhaps, a little money investment on the former to get a larger reach). With some luck and things done right, perhaps it would bring, rather than more views, a broader fanbase, and hopefully also breathe some more life into the forums. I’d also love to have some more connectivity with other Half-Life fansites somehow, but seeing as I had a falling out with LambdaGeneration (don’t ask, it really doesn’t matter) and the other sites generally wouldn’t care about our niche, it could be a tricky thing to achieve.

Regarding new content, I think I made it clear that being one busy guy caring about the whole site is a huge mistake. I’d like Metrocop to stay focused on comics but also have additional interesting content such as articles, preferably not all written by me (since, not only do I lack time, but I write too much, as you can see). Therefore, not only do I want to expand the Team, but also expand their reach on Metrocop, and work together to bring this site more fun site that makes it worth visiting.

On that note, I’m gonna start right now with the Team. I want to officially welcome both Mjolnir82991 and Mark “Orpheus” Charest to the Metrocop Team! Mjolnir is one of the all-time greats and Orpheus is, as I mentioned before, currently the most promising comic maker, so their joining the ranks is an obvious boost. I know that both will provide something new to Metrocop in their own ways, and I hope you’ll look forward to it. Naturally, there are also openings available for more people to join the Team, so if you’d like to apply, just let me know!

Besides that, the obvious thing to note is, yes, there will be new comics. I, for one, have already made efforts in the past couple of months to get my own shit together and finally get back in business, and unlike the past, I want to be more open about my efforts and keep teases and behind-the-scenes looks coming. As for the others, I have it on good authority that Jim_Riley and Orpheus are working on their own excellent comic to bring to Metrocop. On the other hand, regarding classic comics, there will most likely be one thing coming to the site, but I don’t predict any major batches like the previous Nostalgia and Widescreen Updates, I’m afraid. So, we’ll really have to survive on brand new stuff now!

Here’s an exclusive first look at what the Metrocop Team already has planned for the new year (click for a slideshow with larger versions):

So, you see? There’s definitely stuff to be excited about for in 2016!

Jeez. Is that it? Can I finally go now?

Well, if you somehow made it this far, it’s only fair to shut up and let you leave. Yeah, that’s pretty much it – essentially just a look at some stats, a few posters and a “my bad” in 1,900 words. Sorry for the waste of time! In any case, I hope you enjoyed it (you masochist) and please keep visiting Metrocop.net for more good stuff throughout 2016. We won’t let you down!

And, again, happy New Year! Have an awesome 366 days!

One comment

  1. Oooh! both: “Beyond Borders” and “Escape from Nova Prospekt” sound extremely interesting, can’t wait.

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