So last week's Malcontent, Nutritional Value, was not a big hit. I was a little surprised as I had really rather liked it, but I have to admit that, pressed for time, it was kind of a rush job. I wanted to get something posted, and I did it in a hurry.
After seeing the rather lukewarm reception, I started thinking about how I could make this thing better. I still liked the idea, but there was something that clearly wasn't working. Starting over with a visual idea — as I've done before — seemed to be the key.
The image that came to me was of our protagonist comically eating the chips, rather than the more static action of reading the back of the bag, which is pretty visually boring and certainly not particularly funny. This action-based idea changed the writing too, which I think also made the panel stronger. The phrase, "just tell you" became the more descriptive, "just come out and tell you." And the "half a bag" became just "the bag." In this phrasing there's more detail where it's needed and less where it's not. In a single panel strip, the tiniest details really add up.
I think the new rendition is much stronger, and others I've spoken to tend to agree. It's actually quite rewarding to iterate on a single idea and finish with a stronger piece. I just wish I had more time to do it.