It took over a month, but Fred Gallagher has finally concluded his “leet” 1337 update for the meta-manga webcomic Megatokyo. Part of the reason for the delay is that the update is three times the normal size for MT; rather than let the comic slide into hiatus while he worked on finishing the entirety of the comic, Gallagher teased readers with incremental updates as he finished them. And I must admit, upon seeing the final panel of the update, I actually got misty-eyed. 1337 is in many ways a nod to events in Japan, and according to Gallagher is in fact canon (which does mean that MT has gone from that misty ground of existing at any point in time to being lodged firmly around 2011-2012).
For the most part, 1337 was full of silliness and did nothing to continue the current storyline concerning Piro and Tohya Miho. Thus I was not exactly pleased with the initial updates, especially as it seemed Largo was about to reenter the story. (I personally feel Largo is best taken in small doses, especially when he starts indulging in “leet speak” and rather enjoyed the fact Largo and Hayasaka Erika were sitting out this latest storyline.) As such, I wasn’t thrilled by the incremental nature of the updates. The thing is, 1337 only truly shines when read in one sitting; it is the reveal in the final panel that truly sells the update.
One interesting note is that Gallagher has adapted a new panel design to try and improve on his efficiency and increase his update schedule. Having a uniform panel size will likely reduce time spent working on the page format (which has been fairly complex in places). In simplifying this format, Gallagher hopefully will condense his storytelling and speed the pace of the comic. At the same time, he leaves himself room for spread panels that ignore borders and can establish setting shots. Probably the only other thing he could do to speed production is splitting the art into half-page segments similar to that found in Lady Sabre and other comics along that vein.