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November 16, 2022 | Costello

Looking For Thoughts – LFG Has Issues

Once a week, longtime LFG fan and current LFG writer Ryan Costello looks at an element of Looking For Group lore, trivia, or development, and shares insight into why he appreciates it. 

Do you spend as much time in the Looking For Group archives as I do? Notice how they’re divided by issue?

You might ask yourself, “why?” When reading page by page, there’s no explicit indication when one issue ends and the next begins. However, as the art of the covers (especially the earliest issues) indicate, each issue contains a particular chunk of the ongoing LFG saga.

Why Do This?

Although most successful comics published online eventually release collected editions, I’ve never seen the archives treated like a physical media bookshelf elsewhere. This oddity actually showed forethought on Sohmer’s part.

Looking For Group may be published online, but Sohmer never saw it as a webcomic. In fact, he hates the term. To him, a comic is a comic, regardless of where or how it’s published. As he scripted Looking For Group, he kept other ways it could be released in mind. As a result, the pages collect nicely into floppies and volumes.

Fitting In

Becoming aware of the 28-page format that Sohmer wrote to enhanced how I read the pages. Before, I’d get to a page like 88, acknowledge it as the end of an arc, and move on. Now I imagine myself reading the page and putting the comic down. I admire the (entirely unnecessary) attention to pacing.

It’s especially impressive that some of the best conclusions and dramatic cliffhangers came early in the comic’s run. Issue 1 aside (unless the extra four pages were intended to make it an oversized 1st issue), the first 5 issues in the archive end on a high note and open with a new direction. I especially appreciate this as a fan of stand alone comics. And, bonus, no need to wait a month for the next issue to come out!

It also prepared readers for short jumps in time and space. The transition from page 32 to page 33 works better when you read page 32 as a conclusion to the first issue.

Issues Going Forward

I mentioned that Sohmer wrote 28 page issues. Well, I missed that. I thought LFG issues were 24 pages. So much so, I wrote my first arc as a 24-page issue. And on purpose! I wrote and revised some pages to make sure I hit story beats and punchlines on pace for the big reveal and cliffhanger on the 24th page of the story.

So, I told Sohmer about my miscalculation. I asked, is issue 58 a 24-page anomaly, or the new format going forward? Ends up, he’s not married to 28-page issues. Most modern comics clock in at 32 to 48 pages anyway.

So, don’t mind the shrinkflation. You’re now getting 24-pages for the cost of 28. But think of how much faster and more often you’ll hit that cliffhanger drama and end of arc satisfaction!

Now you know,