So, what was up with 2017?
2017 felt very much like an extension of 2016, for better or worse. On the side of the Comic Archive, we managed to keep quite a momentum going with Striker89’s entire collection of comics, followed by Pyren’s archive with classic gems such as Infection and Subject 23. After we finished re-releasing Pyren’s comics by late August, we had a brief period with only one release (I’ll get to that one later), but then released the works of one of GMod comics’ most important and influential creator, Near Elite. After The Last War Part 4 in mid-November, we once again slowed down to a crawl for the rest of the year, although we do still have comics by Near to release — I just didn’t get around to it for a variety of reasons, all of which personal and unrelated to Metrocop. So, uh, sorry about that. More on those unreleased comics later.
The actual Metrocop Comics Team – i.e. myself (Mythos), Jim_Riley, Mjolnir82991, Petfe and Orpheus – was slightly more active than 2016, but only slightly. We did get a new series by Jim_Riley in the form of a 36 Bullets remake, a fantastic episode of Combine Exchange Program by Mjolnir at the very end of the year and, to everyone’s surprise (including my own), the sixth chapter of The Adventures of Hercule Cubbage actually came out after a nearly-three-year hiatus back in September. Petfe also released his magnum opus Questions – ironically enough, about the problems of being a GMod comic maker -, which was the comic that got him a spot on the Team; he did warn that it was going to be his last comic for a while, so it’s perfectly understandable that he hasn’t put out a new one since, although he has shown that he’s working on new stuff, which is exciting. More troubling is the fact that we haven’t actually added Petfe’s own backlog of comics to the Archive, which is on me – I should get on that…
Overall, it was another slow year for the Team, which I think can be attributed to the fact that we’re all grown adults with responsibilities now – some with kids as well -, which doesn’t leave much time for comics. But even so, while that may sound disheartening, the comics we did get are absolutely fantastic and show that, despite real life getting in the way, we’re all very much still passionate for this medium and working on it as best as we can.
As for the community itself, we got a few comics here and there, but it also felt like a slower year overall, although usaokay has been picking it up of late with lots of content for his old series Server and we got some new blood working on their own content throughout the year. All the more promise for 2018, then!
By far the biggest change for Metrocop in 2017, though, was the screenshots section. The forums over at Facepunch – the ‘official’ Garry’s Mod community, as well as for other things – have been going through a state of flux for quite a while now, and a few people haven’t been too happy with that. In particular, the screenshots section over there wasn’t altogether happy with some changes, meaning that quite a few people opted to migrate to Metrocop in late 2017. And with that, the screenshots section of Metrocop has grown exponentially, going from a few posts every month or so to a handful of new threads pretty much every single week! Not only that, but Metrocop is also now the proud home of the Espionage Wars and World Divided story threads, formerly exclusive to Facepunch. All these guys have really breathed new life into Metrocop and I’m extremely grateful that they opted for our little forum for their needs.
Wanna see some stats?
For some dumb reason, every year I’ve shown off the stats for the site in a bid for transparency, even though neither I nor anyone really cares about how many views Metrocop gets. I mean, it’s not a monetized site (except maybe for our WordPress.com hosts), so it really doesn’t matter how much the numbers go up or down, just that people have good content to enjoy.
With that said, here’s a graphic comparing Metrocop’s traffic throughout the years:
As you can clearly see, both the number of views as well as unique visitors has dropped slightly compared to 2016. That’s not a complete shock seeing as 2016 was by far Metrocop’s best year, at least in number of views alone, and the fact that it’s stuck relatively close to that is a good sign. Like I mentioned before, 2017 was pretty much on the same line as 2016, so it makes sense we’d get similar numbers.
And if you’re wondering about the recurring disparity between views and visitors, bear in mind this means that the average number of views per visitor is around 11 pages, which makes perfect sense considering how many comics we’ve got hosted. I imagine even random people who find their way here accidentally may end up reading a few comics.
Anyway, like I said, it’s really not a big deal, but it’s still good to know we’ve stuck to the same level as 2016. As for 2018, well… we’ll get to that.
2017 in conclusion
2017 marked 10 years since Valve’s The Orange Box came out, 10 years since the last really good year for Garry’s Mod comics as a whole, 5 years since Metrocop (and, by extension, Hercule Cubbage) began and also 10 years since I, personally, posted my very first comic – not to mention being the year when we finally got a sort of “ending” to the long-suffering Half-Life 2: Episode Three subject matter. By all accounts, it was to be expected that 2017 would mark some sort of ending for Metrocop as well – if not a complete end, then perhaps some change in direction, refocusing efforts on a different subject than GMod/Half-Life/Valve stuff.
Instead, we got nearly a full year of content three times a week – granted, old content, but content nonetheless, and most of it long-lost – and a few of those anniversaries I just mentioned were celebrated by the return of Herc Cubbage, three years after we last saw him. While I’m not gonna write this year off as an unmitigated success (I’m not as delusional as Donald Trump), it was still a year where the site sustained itself quite healthily, keeping people coming back and being solid enough that a whole other community looked at us and say “hey, you know, that’s not a bad place to move to”.
We’re still here. We’re still active, arguably way more active than most Half-Life fansites, and whereas we had some previous years where we had long periods of inactivity broken by some huge release, this year we instead kept our ’16 rhythm and kept posting stuff non-stop with a couple of short pauses in-between. And at this rate, we’re not going anywhere.
What to expect in 2018
I wish I could say that I have the whole year planned out, that I have enough content already safely stored away to keep Metrocop as active as 2016 and 2017, but the fact is, neither of those things are true. I’m optimistic that we might find some long-gone author and get to upload his archive – hell, I’ve got five comics from one of the greatest Half-Life 2 comic series of all time, which I only haven’t released because the author won’t let me -, but for now all we have is a couple of Near Elite series to repost and, of course, Petfe’s aforementioned comics which should really already be here, my bad.
As I mentioned before, the Team as it currently exists doesn’t really have the time anymore to pump out content on a weekly or even monthly basis, but that doesn’t mean stuff isn’t in the works. In particular, Orpheus has been teasing the imminent release of his long-awaited comic Kaden, which has had a long and winding journey since it started being made all the way back in 2012(!). That will probably be the biggest GMod comic event of 2018, assuming it does happen in 2018 because Orpheus’ track record for release has been… erm, let’s not go there. 😛 Beyond Borders has also been missing since 2016 so I imagine it’s due a return, but I can’t say I know Jim_Riley’s plans for that and, again, he’s quite busy.
As for me, well, I’m at a very weird phase in my life right now, which is why Metrocop spent a month in silence recently. Even so, I’ve been slowly doing things, including working with our resident mapping pro ESToomere to get everything ready for Hercule Cubbage Chapter 7. In fact, I can’t blame mapping at all for any delay since ESToomere has been quite speedy with his maps – it’s really up to me getting my shit together for us to see Herc again. Despite everything going on lately, I am luckily in a stage where I am super-excited with working on The Adventures of Hercule Cubbage, so you should hopefully see more sooner rather than later. I do have a different comic I’d like to make before that, though, so let’s aim Chapter 7 tentatively for, like… March? I never do hit these deadlines though, but safe to say I’d like to have at least two decently-sized comics out in the first quarter of 2017. Fingers crossed!
In any case, it’s safe to say 2018 will be a different year for Metrocop compared to 2016 and 2017 – if nothing else, because we probably can’t depend on great old comics much longer to keep the site alive. So let’s get making some new comics, shall we? See you up ahead!