So as you guys know by now the main comic is basically in cryosleep as I build my brand so strong that I can sustain it indefinitely and never have to pause it again. Things are going well on track and I've seen a pretty sizeable uptick in Patreon since launching the Arena content. We're talking like +$50 in pledges so far. This will hopefully increase as we do more and more matches with even more exciting matchups, and I have further plans to bring in even more recurring revenue. But what I'm asking you guys about right now isn't entirely related to that, but it's kinda something that's been on my mind for a while now.
I wanted to ask though how people would feel if I revealed the 4th Harem Member before she ever gets introduced in the story. Here me out.
The 4th Harem Member was originally someone else entirely. But the one who was GOING to be #4 got shifted up to #5 like 4-5 months ago after I had this idea to introduce someone into the story a lot sooner. If you want to know why I changed that around, it's because it kinda dawned on me that Futura turned out a lot less kuudere and a lot more tsundere than she was ever planned to. Rizl was supposed to be the tsundere, but Futura is the sassy, exasperated tsundere and Rizl is the angry one. Characters evolve and change like that, but it does make the dynamic a bit unbalanced. Tali was supposed to be the loving girl, Futura, the neutral one, and Rizl was the angy gal. I set things up this way since we were supposed to spend a couple of arcs with just the 4 of them together before the 4th girl joined.
Anyway back when I decided to secretly alter my plans and add a new girl inbetween Rizl and the PLANNED #, well, Things were incredibly different back then, and I was planning a series of 4 Panel comics similar to the Ask series except they'd be canon slice of life things. The plan was to get like one of these done a day, and I had written a good bunch of em, but as things stand now I will not ever be able to do this series by myself anytime soon. If I can't even work on the main comic in peace then I sure as shit don't have the power to do a daily 4 panel thing on the side.
The thing I'm getting at is I was planning to secretly introduce the 4th Harem member as the introduction to this side comic, and become a recurring character in it before she crossed over to the main one comic in between the Goblin arc and the Moonstained Manor arc, where she would be formally inducted. The reason it worked in my head is because,
1. This character is a joke. A legitimate member of the group with her own personality and such, yes, but very much a gag character. She wouldn't get in the way of the ongoing character narratives I have planned for the more serious Harem members.
2. She would not effect the group's current power level at all really, she would make them a tiny bit stronger but barely so. The original #4 was going to be a good deal stronger than the original members of the Harem (who would eventually catch up to her Shounen style), but this is balanced out because spoilers. Similar to Futura this char has a big limiter but it's a lot less severe than Futura's. But the new #4 is very fucking weak in most circumstances until a lot later on.
3. She fills a niche for a species that should probably be in the main cast but one that I had no plans for.
4. Importantly at the time, although she is regular sized she is able to change sizes and would have taken up almost no panel space in big group drawings when the harem were all in shot, and would only have to be full size when doing things or sex. We're talking like Pikachu on Ash's shoulder size, if a little smaller.
5. Obviously as you might have figured from context clues, she would have brought balance to the early Harem and would be on the 'loves Hero very much' side next to Tali. The original #4 is hard to explain. Like, really hard. She also would have balanced it out, but... uh... hmm. Spoilers. Lot of stuff going on there.
So I'm kinda at a weird place regarding her. I think sometimes I should just announce her, start drawing her, involving her in art, promo stuff, Arena, and so on, and just mention that she'll be in the main comic one day. But also I'm torn because I feel like that'd be a slippery slope. What's to stop me from then deciding 'well, you know, it'll be YEARS till I reach Harem Member #5 in the main comic... since I can't even make the fucking comic from lack of money... why don't I just do what I did with [REDACTED] and just start drawing her now?' and so on with the other Harem members I have planned until we reach all 7 of the currently planned ones. Which would be hard for a few of them since one is explicitly a twist member and I'd have to make any content regarding them make sure it doesn't explain any reason as to why she's part of his Harem lol...
The Harem model is based very much on Luffy's crew from One Piece, but unlike Oda I don't get to rapidly draw my comic every day of my life because I don't get paid for it. I have a vision similar in scope to the giant epic that One Piece morphed into over the years, but I get paid from the bonus stuff around MHFAP!, not MHFAP! itself sadly. I'm not really paid to tell my story but to make characters and art that take place inside my story's universe (which is why I recently resolved to just build up my brand so big that I can work on the comic as much as I want)- And so I have this big pile of secret characters who've been living in my brain for like 3 fucking years that I wish I could draw. All my other art friends have all their beloved OCs that they get to do cute shit with and I'm just like *grumbles incoherently*.
And then part of me feels like if I did this for #4 I'd be leading people on. Like oh yeah, that's [REDACTED]. She's not in the comic yet but if you pay me more we'll get there one day! And I don't really want to send that kind of message.
Instead of a poll like when I asked you guys if I should start drawing the Artifacts, I figured I'd just let you guys comment about my thoughts and I'll gauge the consensus for myself.