Working on Traveler has been a real roller-coaster ride. You may remember that the series only came into existence because I said it would probably never happen on these very annotations—which were read by Tyler Beckett, longtime reader and then a new Webtoon editor.

The series still had to be pitched to a team of reviewers and then developed. Nothing I’d done before, not even Guilded Age, had involved as much pre-launch preparation. I wrote the first episode in ten different styles, trying to be sure of myself as I assigned the series a voice. (Some of those styles were just loosening-up exercises. I didn’t seriously expect to write the series as a set of rap battles, but it sure was fun to try.)

Jason and John Waltrip were drawing the whole thing and colored the first couple of episodes, but as I realized they were on a seven-day week trying to get all this done, I brought in Monica Marier to do the colors. (My wife and I had known her for years beforehand. In time, Monica would get some help as well, but that’s for episodes that haven’t gone live yet.)

The first few episodes, especially, represent a lot of back-and-forth between me, the team, Tyler, and other Webtoon staffers. Tyler saw to it that there was a lot more “spooky action” at the start than what I had in my notes. The discussion of Navy SEALs, a fictional TV series best described as “like G.I. Joe but more for the post-9/11 years,” was redrawn and edited down to essentials. The installments up to when Trevor, the main character, gets his powers feature more WandaVision-esque glitches in reality than were in my outline. The Waltrips and I adjusted already-drawn layouts to make better use of the phone format. I tweaked some early references to brands (and added some references to other Webtoon features I admired). We expanded the opening space sequence to immerse the reader as much as possible. (I loved the idea of taking infinite canvas and using it in an agoraphobic way. I don’t think I’ve seen that done before.)

It was about a year from the series’ original conception to its launch, but by launch day, we were all as confident as we could be. We didn’t expect to be a #1 feature on Webtoon’s internal rankings or anything—there’s a lot of competition—but we thought we’d do well enough. I’d expanded my plan for the series from a two-year run to a three-year one, then a four-year one…

…And after we saw what the audience numbers were doing, I adjusted it right back down to a one-year plan.

So…yeah. Ouch. What happened? And what’s next?

(Concluded tomorrow…and sorry this one went up a bit late.)


No, n-no, no, you and I, I, I
We ain’t gonna sleep tonigh-igh-ight
Oh baby, no, n-no, no, you and I, I, I
We ain’t gonna sleep tonight